Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson star in No Good Deed, the tale of what happens when a criminal escapes from prison and finds his way into an unsuspecting woman's home. We've seen this story before but with a full African-American cast, and no Tyler Perry involvement, it feels like a fresh idea and a worthy watch. Plus the stars make for pretty great eye candy, which I think the production team knew would be good for the big screen.


I was first introduced to Jhené Aiko on Kendrick Lamar's "Growing Apart." Her voice is gentle and somewhat tinged with a sultriness that often encroaches on cutting aggression. Aiko understands where to emphasize her voice, wrapping it around the lyrics to achieve a hypnotic mix of hip hop and R&B. Souled Out, the debut from the singer is made up of mid-temp melodies that emerge as freestyles, rather than songs. This is not a bad thing because Aiko has stated that her process of recording music is one of letting it unfold rather than rushing.

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Originality is such a hard thing to come by these days that it’s no wonder you’ll see so many movies, TV shows and music that look and sound the same.
 When is the last time you heard a song or movie that you couldn’t compare to something else prior? Probably never. That doesn’t mean that originality or creativity has died, but just means that people have a brand new way of seeing things. One of the greatest movies of all times, Star Wars is often compared to Star Trek. They have forums of geeks and nerds sighting the familiarities between these two, I’ll save you the time and say that I’ve seen all the Star Wars series and none of the Star Trek franchise despite their many TV shows and spin-off movies but I'm aware of how they tend to overlap each other in some aspects.


Blacc Hollywood is the fifth studio album from Wiz Khalifa - the rapper known for creating chill songs about getting high and living the high life. Being more of a fan of his mixtapes because he seems to offer more impactful, heavy-hitting rhymes on those, listening to Blacc Hollywood solidified my opinion even further.


Fresh off the stage of the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, performing alongside Beyoncé, Alvester Martin—dancer, singer, and songwriter has been accustomed to a dim limelight for many years as a back up dancer for several top celebrities.  But it’s the bright spotlight he better get ready for!


Being born in the 90’s certainly touched the new up and coming triple-threat artist Jo’zzy aka @dopebyaccident in a special way. She’s the protégé’ of super producer Timbaland and a talented singer/songwriter/rapper. Not only is the 90’s an inspiration and influence, but a way of life for this 24 year old; whose real name is Jocelyn Donald. She says of new single “Tryna Wife”, “It’s just nostalgic music and only the beginning. Some of today’s R&B and Hip-Hop can be so watered down and cookie-cutter, but my style of music makes you think of the 90’s.”


 
 

 

 

Black History is World History

As the month of February comes to a close, it must not slam the door on the appreciation of Black History.  For throughout the year, we must always reflect on the contributions and impact that African Americans continue to have on the United States and ultimately to the world.  Each year, we all should strive to expand and refresh our knowledge of Black history and the storied impact of Black culture.  From Jesse Owens to Jackie Robinson; Rosa Parks, Malcolm X; Martin Luther King, Michael Jackson and yes, President Barack Obama, each has shaped this country and the world in their own personal and public way. Consequently, Black American History is truly American History.  Since America leads the free world and Blacks helped to build this country, then Black history is also World History.  It's a proud and beautiful legacy.  It's also about time that we give it the credit it deserves.

Read more: Black History Shaped the World

Today instead of highlighting the accomplishments of just one individual, let us consider Black History itself, its progress. Throughout our history African Americans have made many contributions, and some very significant ones at that. Yet, somehow I feel that that there was more productivity, in terms of contributions made, when the liberties we now take for granted were the goal. Somehow we have become distracted with all the addictive technologies that we slave to acquire. We have so much untapped talent that needs to be exposed. Yet with the tremendous potential we harbor we procrastinate instead of being proactive. Many want to be millionaire as a life dream but when that becomes a reality, it’s like now what? Well, become a billionaire of course. It seems as though our life long dream was to have an African American president. That dream has become a reality and is already a part of our history.  I ask you, now what?
There is a time to work and there is a time to rest. We must not only look back on our history this month but we must also look forward at our future.  Black history month therefore is not only to be proud of what we have done but to also plan what we will do with the inspiration we have derived. We are sitting on a gold mine when gold is in demand and fetches a nice price. “To whom much is given much is required.”- The Creator. Let us publish our books, produce our screenplays, launch our small businesses, revolutionize our industries, increase the effectiveness our operations and get back on track with the quality or our contributions. Those individuals whom we will celebrate throughout this month have set a high standard for us to uphold, and dare I say raise. Those worthy of mention have merely opened the door for us as a people, but we as a people need to go through the door and grasp all the opportunities that there abound.  Let us stop eating the lotus flower. I encourage and thank all of you who are sacrificing your own pleasure and entertainment to consistently contemplate your responsibilities, concentrate on your goals and cultivate your skill set in order to deliver a superior product.

Today instead of highlighting the accomplishments of just one individual, let us consider Black History itself, its progress. Throughout our history, African-Americans have made many contributions, and some very significant ones at that. Yet, somehow I feel that that there was more productivity, in terms of contributions made, when the liberties we now take for granted were the goal. Somehow we have become distracted with all the addictive technologies that we slave to acquire. We have so much untapped talent that needs to be exposed. Yet with the tremendous potential we harbor we procrastinate instead of being proactive. Many want to be millionaires as a life dream but when that becomes a reality, it’s like now what? Well, become a billionaire of course. It seems as though our life long dream was to have an African-American president. That dream has become a reality and is already a part of our history.  I ask you, now what?

Read more: The Future of Black History

Neil deGrasse Tyson – The Prodigy Astronomer
 
Imagine having one of the world's most famous scientists ask you to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the country.  Wait, there's more.  You're 15 years old, he's Carl Sagan, a world-renown astronomer, and the school is Cornell University.  Well, that is exactly what happened to Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium.
 
Dr. Tyson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York City on October 5, 1958.  His parents were Cyril and Sunchita Tyson.  Cyril was a sociologist and human resource commissioner for a New York City Mayor, and Sunchita was a gerontologist.  Neil attended the Bronx High School of Science and passionately studied astronomy.  He made a name for himself in the astronomy community by giving lectures at the age of 15.
 
Even though Carl Sagan, a faculty member at Cornell at the time, contacted Dr. Tyson to make a pitch for his attendance at Cornell, Neil chose Harvard University instead.  There, he majored in Physics, was a member of the crew team as a Freshman and lettered in wrestling in his Senior year.  After receiving his B.A., Dr. Tyson went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin were he won a gold medal along with the dance team, in the International Latin Ballroom style.  He began a doctoral program but transferred to Columbia University where he earned a PhD in Astrophysics.
 
As director of the Hayden Planetarium, Dr. Tyson has removed Pluto from its place as the ninth planet in our solar system.  He made the controversial decision to change Pluto's classification to “dwarf planet.”  Hate mail ensued but his assessment was upheld by the I.A.U.  The reasoning is that terrestrial objects should be grouped together; gas giants together and Pluto with other like objects.
 
The author of several popular astronomy books, Tyson has also written for Natural History magazine, a column titled “Universe.”  He has also held a Presidential appointment on the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry and on the Presidential Commission on Implementation of US Exploration Policy (also known as the Moon Mars and Beyond Commission).  He also received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.
 
Dr. Tyson's ability to communicate his passion for astronomy is not confined to writing.  He has also hosted the PBS miniseries Nova and has appeared regularly on the series The Universe, which can be seen on the History Channel.  There have also been numerous media appearances on The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NPR and CNN.
 
Dr. Tyson lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
 
So, the next time you look up at the stars, think of Neil deGrasse Tyson and know that no dream is out of reach no matter how far away it may seem.
 


Imagine having one of the world's most famous scientists ask you to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the country.  Wait, there's more.  You're 15 years old, he's Carl Sagan, a world-renown astronomer, and the school is Cornell University.  Well, that is exactly what happened to Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium.

Read more: Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson – The Prodigy Astronomer

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established on February 12, 1909. The organization's mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
 
It was originally called the National Negro Committee. The NAACP played a very important role in the civil rights movement. The NAACP was such a powerful organization that in 1946 they won the Morgan vs. Virginia case where the Supreme Court banned states from having segregated sections on busses and trains that crossed through out the states and borders. Then in 1950, head of the NAACP legal department, Thurgood Marshall won his case in the Supreme Court when he asked for all state universities to provide equal facilities for students of all nationalities.
 
The NAACP has had quite a few members who are very well known today in history. One of the many is Rosa Parks, a black woman who refused to give up her seat in 1955 to a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery Alabama. Her decision to not give up her seat began the Montgomery bus boycott which had 17,000 followers. This bus boycott was organized by Martin Luther King.
 
Today the NAACP is still one of thee largest supported organization groups ever since 1909.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established on February 12, 1909. The organization's mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

Read more: Introducing The NAACP

Taking time to honor historical African-American figures throughout history is not only a privilege but a necessity as we should all understand the current things we as people experience would not have been possible without individuals in our past who contributed in the building of life as we know it now.  One individual in particular is Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Douglass was born in the United States of America during the slavery period.  In his autobiography “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” he states not even knowing when exactly he was born.  Imagine not really knowing where the starting point of your life is?  During his childhood, Douglass also dealt with being separated from his mother, being raised by his grandmother until she passed away, and working as a slave.
During his early teen years he was taught the alphabet, which ultimately led to his desire to learn to read.  Even though an educated slave was looked at as unacceptable and even punishable, this would not stop Mr. Douglass’ thirst for knowledge.  Slaves weren’t allowed to go to school and learn how to read and write in a traditional manner at the time, so Mr. Douglass would find other methods to pick up the information.  Mr. Douglass would read books whenever possible, and he would learn from the neighborhood white kids as well.  Once Frederick Douglass was capable of reading and writing he would hold Sunday school sessions with other slaves teaching them how to read and write as well.
Frederick Douglass would ultimately escape from slavery where his passion to see slaves freed would grow tremendously.  Frederick Douglas would go on to become a great speaker for slavery to be abolished altogether.  Not only speaking in the United States but also travelling to other countries gaining supporters who would support the cause of freedom for everyone as well.  They would provide financial resources, which Mr. Douglass used to own and operate newspapers used to speak out against slavery.
Frederick Douglass would spend his remaining years lecturing, writing, and serving in political positions, all with the goal of freedom for everyone.

Taking time to honor historical African-American figures throughout history is not only a privilege but a necessity as we should all understand the current things we as people experience would not have been possible without individuals in our past who contributed in the building of life as we know it now.  One individual in particular is Frederick Douglass.

Read more: Frederick Douglass - A Slave's Will To Be Better

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