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One on One With The Great Gold Olympian: Gabby Douglas PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 23:23

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Gymnast Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas was born in Virginia Beach on December 31st, 1995. At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, she won gold medals in both the team and individual all-around competitions.

Gabby is the first African-American gymnast as well as the first woman of color of any nationality in Olympic history to become the Individual All-Around Champion. She is also the first American gymnast to win gold in both the gymnastic individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympic Games.

She was introduced to gymnastics by way of a cartwheel. Her older sister, Arielle, a former gymnast and competitive cheerleader, was determined to teach the toddler the sport she loved. Gabrielle immediately picked up her older sister’s love of the sport and soon taught herself how to do a one armed cartwheel.

Gabrielle vividly remembers flipping around the house and off the furniture from the age of four. After a couple years of poking and prodding, Arielle convinced their mother to allow her little sister to train at a local gym. Once formal training began, another two years was all it took for her to be crowned the State of Virginia’s Gymnastics Champion.

Exclusive Interview With The International Bestselling Authoress: Patricia Schultz PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Monday, 04 March 2013 17:51

Mrs. Schultz penned about travel for many publications, such as The Wall Street Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Oprah: The O Magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, Harper's Bazaar, Departures, Travel Weekly and Real Simple. She also wrote for guides like Frommer’s and Berlitz. Patricia Schultz is a popular speaker at travel shows, museums, associations, organizations in the U.S. and abroad. In more than 25 years of travel writing, Patricia Schultz’s passion and curiosity has not faded. In 2008, Patricia Schultz was chosen by Forbes among the 25 most influential women in travel.

Mrs. Schultz is the authoress of the #1 New York Times bestseller of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. It is a 2003 travel book published by Workman. A revised edition was published in November 2011. The updated version now lists circa 1,100 places to visit. The new edition is in color. In addition, an iPad app debuted in December 2011. Noteworthily, 1,000 Places is an avant-garde book. Since its first edition in 2003, it became possible to see the fax numbers, websites, e-mail addresses, among other information for tours, etc. Furthermore, the authoress went to 80% of the countries covered in her book. So, the information is far from being solely theoretical; it is also based on real and personal experiences. In this regard, the public really connected with that. The book covers chapters from the five continents and is well documented. This is what the media have to say about the new edition of Mrs. Schultz’s book: “The world’s bestselling travel book is back in a more informative, more experiential, more budget-friendly full-color edition. A #1 New York Times bestseller, 1,000 Places reinvented the idea of travel book as both wish list and practical guide.”  The books have sold over 4 million copies in the English language market alone, with twenty-five translations available around the world. Aforementioned, Mrs. Schultz is a veteran travel journalist with 25 years of experience under her belt. She also executive-produced a Travel Channel television show based on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. This series started on March 29, 2007. The same year a follow-up edition of the book appeared. It was entitled 1,000 PLACES TO SEE IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA BEFORE YOU DIE. Schultz also co-authored Made in Italy and wrote 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Traveler’s Journal among other travel books. 

One on One With The Youngest Oscar Nominee Best Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 17:22

Quvenzhané “Nazie“ Wallis was born on August 28, 2003 (the 60th anniversary of the Dr.  MLK's famous speech "I Have A Dream"), in Houma, Louisiana where she attends Honduras Elementary School. She is the daughter of Venjie and Qulyndreia Wallis.  Her siblings are Qunyquekya, Vejon and Venjie Jr.

Nazie loves reading, singing, dancing, acting and playing her iPod and Nintendo DS. She’s a big fan of China McClain, Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus, and her favorite sports are basketball, volleyball, dance and cheerleading.

On January 10th 2013, Wallis, a child prodigy became the youngest actress in the U.S. history to receive a nomination for an Oscar as Best Actress for the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2012 and won the Grand Jury Prize.  The film received the prestigious Caméra d'Or award for Best first Feature Film in France.  Wallis is currently working on Steve McQueen's upcoming film 12 Years a Slave with Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt. The movie is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a free man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana.

Exclusive Interview With The Author Keith Holmes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Thursday, 14 February 2013 02:07

When people see luminosity, for instance, they may think of Thomas Edison but it was his right-hand man, Louis Latimer, an African-American, who developed the filament for the light bulb, allowing it to function for more than three days. He also created the electric lamp, did trailblazing work in incandescent lighting, and diagrammed the telephone for Alexander Graham, among other things. The three-way automatic traffic signal was created in 1922 by Garrett Morgan, an African-American, who also invented the gas masks which saved multiple lives during wars. George Washington Carver revolutionized American agriculture through his work on crop rotation, replenishing nutrients in depleted soil, peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes and pecans. Jan Matzeliger created the shoe lasting machine that allowed the mass production of shoes. Dr. Charles Drew MD gave us blood plasma that saved hundreds of millions of lives, just to name a few. All four of these Black men were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for their innovations and inventions.

From the potato chip to the ironing board, from refrigeration systems to sound equipment like the microphone chip, many objects that we use daily were created by Blacks. This is what Keith Holmes’ book is all about as he provides a glance into the socioeconomic and political history of Blacks.

Hence, Black Inventors: Crafting Over 200 Years of Success identifies African, African- American and Caribbean inventors from over seventy countries and five continents. The researcher Keith C. Holmes uncovered over fifteen thousand innovations, inventions and trademarks by inventors of color spanning a period from 1769 - 2011. Holmes has crafted one of the first books which traces inventions by Black men and women in the world. Thus, the book exposes inventions, patents and labour-saving devices developed by Black inventors from many countries: the U.S. (including almost all 50 states), Belize, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Jamaica, etc. The readers will also learn about the contribution of the Native Americans which brings more originality to the book.

Exclusive Interview With The Authoress Hillary Drummond Simpson PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 02:29

Hillary Drummond Simpson is a mother who experienced the challenges of raising a Black son successfully and has also encountered hundreds of African American boys whose career goals are to become rappers or ballplayers. These were her main inspiration to write her book.

She is the author of How To Become A Successful Black Man. It portrays males from different backgrounds and it showcases diverse role models – including the President, Mr. Barack Obama1 and the NY Times Bestselling author, Omar Rashad Tyree – for the youth.

Each male presented in the book narrates his path to success while explaining how they overcame the hurdles they encountered. In other words, they provide a road map to achieve lifelong goals. Sequels of the book should be written.

Successful Black men from ages 21 to 80 spanning many generations are represented (in the book) all of them are testimony to the power of education.

The book gives a wide range of Black men succeeding in different realms. The patriarch was the author’s father who passed away during the writing of How To Become A Successful Black Man.

The book raises questions of substance (with adequate answers) such as:

How do you raise successful Black men?
Is it nature or nurture?
Are most successful Black men academically gifted?
How can you change his self-perception if he can’t envision it himself?
How can a single mom raise a son successfully?

Exclusive Interview With The First African-American Star in Soap Operas' History: The Legendary Ellen Holly PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Monday, 14 January 2013 16:29

The great Shakespearean actress Ellen Virginia Holly was born on January 16, 1931, in the city of New York. She is the daughter of William Holly, a chemical engineer -- he headed the laboratory at the Gypsy Paint and Varnish Company and was the creator of all its patents -- and Grayce Holly1, a librarian. Hence, the actress came from a prominent family. Her great grandmother, Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward was the valedictorian at her graduation from medical school in the 1800s. She became the third Black woman in America to earn a medical degree. Holly’s grandmother and mother were teachers. Her aunt, Dr. Anna Arnold Hedgeman, was a brilliant public speaker who shared a platform with former First lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In addition, she was an authoress and was an appointed assistant to Oscar Ewing, the head of the Federal Security Administration under the Truman administration. Furthermore, she had her own TV program One Woman’s Opinion, etc. She also earned Honorary Doctorates.

In this regard, Holly’s family history is rich in many ways. At some point in the 19th century her ancestors lived in Haiti. So, Ms. Holly has Creole and French origins. This provided the impetus to develop her film script (it has been out there for decades) Dark Ballrooms…Black Chandeliers and it has been a longtime dream of hers that it materializes as a movie one day.

Holly made her Broadway debut appearing opposite the film star, Barry Sullivan, in Too Late the Phalarope a play about South African apartheid based on the book of the same name by the great South African writer, Alan Paton. Ellen Holly did the N.Y. Shakespeare Festival as Joseph Papp’s favorite leading lady. In this sense, she played in Macbeth. During her theatre career, she also portrayed the role of Duchess of Hapsburg in Funnyhouse of a Negro among others. Later, she began a television and film career. She guest starred on Sam Benedict and The Nurses. Ellen Holly made history when she joined the cast of the ABC soap opera One Life to Live in 1968. She played the popular character Carla Benari on OLTL from 1968 to 1981, and 1983 until 1985. This role was the standout of the soap opera’s first ten years and Holly wrote the story to a great extent based on her life experiences. Moreover, she contributed to other story lines of the daytime show. Holly came to the attention of Agnes Nixon (then creating a new soap opera for the ABC network that would become One Life to Live), after penning an article entitled “How Black Do You Have To Be?” for the Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times2 about the plight of the light-skinned Black actor in America. Nixon created the role of Carla and offered Holly a role on her new soap opera. This made OLTL the first daytime show in history to have a racially mixed cast and to address interracial relationships.

Exclusive Interview With The Great Astronaut and Physician: Dr. Bernard Harris MD -- First African-American to Walk in Space PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Friday, 04 January 2013 04:13

Walking in the black vacuum, looking at the blue-white planet Earth more than two hundred miles below, would be a reverie for many children around the world. This dream became a reality for Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. on February 9, 1995 during Black History Month, when he glided out the gate of the space shuttle Discovery. This wonderful accomplishment made him the first African-American to walk in space. Actually, he flew on the space shuttle twice in the nineties. Dr. Harris’ story is the epiphany of the American dream, an amazing upward socio-economical mobility.

Dr. Bernard Anthony Harris, Jr. M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P was born on June 26, 1956 in Temple, Texas. He grew up on the Navajo Nation during his formative years. Dr. Harris left the reserve later with his family and graduated from Sam Houston High School in San Antonio, Texas, in 1974, where he was actively involved in science fairs, book clubs and other academic activities. He obtained a B.S. degree in biology from University of Houston in 1978, and got his Doctorate of medicine (MD) degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in 1982. Dr. Harris did his residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in 1985. He later received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Houston Clear Lake. The physician did a National Research Council Fellowship in Endocrinology at NASA's Ames Research Center in 1987.

A Conversation with the Brilliant Actress: Carmen Ejogo PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Thursday, 22 November 2012 15:29


Carmen Ejogo was born in London on New Year’s Day 1974 to Elizabeth Douglas and Charles Ejogo, a couple of Scottish and Nigerian extraction, respectively. She made her U.S. film debut opposite Eddie Murphy playing Veronica 'Ronnie' Tate in the 1997 comedy Metro.

Ejogo then went on to star in films such as Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, What’s the Worst that Could Happen? opposite Martin Lawrence, Neil Jordan’s The Brave One opposite Terrence Howard and Jodie Foster, Gavin O’Connor’s Pride and Glory opposite Ed Norton, and in Sam Mendes’ 2009 indie hit Away We Go opposite Maya Rudolph. Ejogo can next be seen starring opposite Tyler Perry in the feature I, Alex Cross, a psychological thriller based on the James Patterson novels about Washington DC detective Alex Cross.

Additionally, Ejogo garnered the attention of television critics and audiences alike for her portrayal of Sally Hemmings, the title character in the 2000 CBS miniseries Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal. Later, Ejogo starred as Coretta Scott King in HBO’s critically acclaimed film Boycott opposite Jeffrey Wright and Terrence Howard. Her role earned her a 2001 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a TV film or miniseries. In 2005, Ejogo starred in HBO’s Emmy nominated Lackawanna Blues. Her role as Aalen earned her a second Image Award nomination. Ejogo will next star as FBI agent Baca Sunjata in the highly-anticipated ABC television series Zero Hour opposite Anthony Edwards.

Exclusive Interview With The Canadian Filmmaker: Dawn Wilkinson PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 15:28

Dawn Wilkinson was born in Montreal (Canada) and raised in Toronto. Her father is from Barbados and her mother is a Jewish-Canadian (from Montreal). Dawn Wilkinson is proud of her Bajan and Jewish origins. She wears many hats: filmmaker, writer, director, producer and entrepreneur. She owns her production company, Afterlife Films Corp. in Toronto. The short comedy, Instant Dread (1998), is one of Afterlife’s previous productions.

Wilkinson studied at the Canadian Film Centre Director’s Lab1 and Short Dramatic Film Program in 2000. She earned a BA with high distinction at The University of Toronto in 1996. Throughout the years, she has produced music videos, commercials, short films and documentaries. Among the short films she directed are Instant Dread, 1998, Dandelions, 1995, Girls Who Say Yes, 2000, and Wilderness (which premiered at Cinefest Sudbury), 2012. In addition, she directed an episode of Murdoch Mysteries, a popular Canadian drama television series.  Working in documentary, Dawn Wilkinson co-directed Unexpected for the NFB’s Filmmaker in Residence project at St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, and the Teamwork Video Project, a Web-based documentary series for the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation.  She worked also as an apprentice with Norman Jewison on The Hurricane and Ernest Dickerson on Our America. Her first feature-length movie was Devotion (in 2005) which had its U.S. TV premiere on the Black Family Channel. Noteworthily, the smart Dawn Wilkinson is among the most hard-working directors in Canada. From 2001 to 2008 she was a teacher at the Toronto Film School and at Humber College from 2009-2010. She also taught at Trebas Institute between 1999 and 2001. Moreover, Dawn Wilkinson has been commissioned by the NFB (National Film Board) to train local youth in video-making. She is also a member of the Director’s Guild of Canada since 2008, and a member of the Writer’s Guild of Canada since 2004.

Dawn Wilkinson receives support for her work from organisations such as the Canada Council for the Arts. Her work was showcased (in 2004-2005) at the Reel World Film Festival and Urban Kids Film Festival (in San Francisco). In addition, she has been featured in www.whoswhoinblackcanada.com. She was interviewed for Global Cinema TV, featured in Sway (magazine) and Caribbean Tales among other media.  Dawn Wilkinson has been recognized for her work. In this regard, in 2008, she was the recipient of “Women in Film & Television’s Director’s Guild of Canada Emerging Television Director Award”. In addition, her feature film script, LOVE CHILD received the Best Screenplay award at the “African American Women” in Cinema Film FestivalWilderness won the “Platinum Remi Award” (where the U.S. Premiere occurred at Worldfest Houston) this year for Dramatic Original Independent Short Subject.

Exclusive Interview with one of the most brilliant documentarians from Québec: Yanick Létourneau PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Friday, 09 November 2012 19:07

Yanick Létourneau was a Concordia University communication student. He's a producer, movie and documentary director as well as co-founder of Périphéria Productions Inc. That enterprise, that was founded in June 2000, specializes in movie and TV production. Since its beginnings, that society's been creating politically and socially driven documentaries as well as fictitious tales while keeping its focus on what captivates the masses. Périphéria 88 strives to have the latest word on movie directors, chaotic world events and new technologies.

Létourneau always admired liberated and thoughtful filmmaking that is brave enough to take on industrial diktats through works of art. This documentarian's interests range from sociopolitical and identity questions to pop culture and urban music. He produced short films and music videos for Quebec hip-hop artists through that perspective. That's how Létourneau wrote, produced and directed 2003's "Chronique Urbaine", his first long film stemming from his short film entitled "514-50 Hip-Hop". He then produced 2005's “Souvenirs d'Acapulco”, a Diego Briceño-Orduz documentary relating to sex abuse cases towards the homeless Acapulco youth by North American tourists. Létourneau also produced “Territoires" by Mary Ellen Davis, a 2007 documentary on Canadian photographer Larry Towell who documented the impact of war and countries' borders on the nomads. Another one of Létourneau's productions include 2007's “Ballades de minuit” by Diego Briceño-Orduz, a documentary on Latin-American immigrants. Létourneau later on joined forces with Natasha Ivisic with whom he produced and directed “Je porte le voile”, a 2009 documentary on Muslim women and their use of the hijab. That film was shown at the “Parallèle” theater located in Montreal and was aired on the RDI TV channel.

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