• Let’s Help Shantera Davis

    Last evening Amarillo’s KVII, Channel 7, ran a feature story about 13-year old Shantera Smith. Ms. Smith is a student at Amarillo’s Fannin Middle School. Her algebra teacher nominated her for the National Young Leaders State Conference to be held in Dallas June 5-8, 2014. Ms. Smith was accepted.

    Congratulations to Ms. Smith. According to Channel 7’s online website, www.ConnectAmarillo.com, “the conference is a four-day event that will help young scholars build leadership skills and strategies. It is also an opportunity for students to interact with individuals who have similar goals.” The conference will include students from 30 cities.

    In order for Ms. Smith to attend the conference she will need to raise $1500 for room and board and training materials. According to the Channel 7 report, Ms. Smith’s mother, Sharonda Davis, plans to hold bake sales, “anything to raise the $1500.”

    According to the Channel 7 report, Ms. Davis has opened an account at the Education Credit Union under “Sharonda Davis” for anyone wanting to help with raising the money for Shantera to attend the conference.

    Again, Congratulations to Ms. Davis. Let’s all chip in and help!!

    Copyright 2014 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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  • Take BACK your HEART!!

    Remember the Four Tops’ song back in the 60s, called ”This old heart of mine, been broke a thousand times-each time…” Remember this was a great swing-out dance song? Remember all the times your heart has been broken—over and over again?

    Somewhere along life’s journey all of us find ourselves with a broken heart. The strange thing about a broken heart is that the area of your chest where your heart is located actually feels a sense of illness or non-wellness—can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t think straight, and you just want to cry. And of course there is no medicine for a broken heart—nothing but time will heal a broken heart. And, this is all the more reason why we need to be careful about giving our hearts away to people who never asked for them in the first place.

    I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of talk shows lately about women especially who have been left feeling duped by men who stole their hearts with a “big ole lie” and stole their money leaving them broke. Some of these fatal attractions have even left some people dead at the hands of people who knew how to weave a tale to steal a heart. Some of these shows are about women who have fallen for the “Nigerian scam” where these foreign speaking con artists have swindled women out of thousands of dollars with “lovely” words (taken from a website for lonely women) that have lured desperate women into “falling in love” with nothing more than a voice on the other end of a cell phone. How can this happen? Who gives their heart away to someone they never met?

    Giving you heart away always precedes giving the rest of you away. Women especially are known for giving their hearts away to some raggedy rascal just to say they “have a man.” Men can spot a “heart giver” a mile away. They used these women like a dish rag. Women are famous for finding reasons to allow men to “steal their hearts” even in the face of every indication that the raggedy rascal is no good. I stumbled across the show “Cheaters” a few days ago, and of course, the camera followed the man as he cavorted about with another woman. (Yea I know some women cavort about too.) When the couple finally confronted each other she screamed out to him, give me my car keys, give me the keys to my apartment, everything you have own I bought, and give me back that necklace. She finally screamed out, “Hey, I own you.!” And herein lies the problem with too many women nowadays, they do stupid stuff to try to justify giving their hearts away to some raggedy rascal they should never have even spoken to. And so, they start buying them stuff thinking that stuff will act as relationship glue. It never works. You cannot buy a man’s affections.

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  • North Amarillo Girl Scout Troops Shine

    photos by Angela Allen |  North Amarillo Now

    North Amarillo Girl Scout Troops Shine at the Texas Oklahoma Plains Council Annual Girl Scouts Day.

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    On Saturday Amarillo Girl Scout Troop 5678 received A Gold Award the highest honor given for Girl Scouts Community Service Projects. This is the first time African American girls from Amarillo have achieved this award. Receiving the Gold Award were Victoria Miles, Monique Gassaway, and Veronica Miles who is away at Xavier University in Louisiana.

    Troop 5678 completed Project Lots of Love which involved updating the Hilltop Sr. Citizens Center located at 1311 N. Taylor. The project included renovating the main office and bathroom, installing an All-In-One Printer and Neat Scanner which will help the staff with faxing and filing. Renovating the Fellowship Hall with fresh paint, new furniture, computers and lighting was donated and installed. Also, cleaning out the front garden, removing dead trees, painting the outside building, cleaning and organizing storage buildings. Xeriscaping was installed in the front garden making it sustainable for the Senior Citizens staff. The Troop Leader for Troop 5678 is Janice Fagan.

    A Bronze Award is the first level of the three awards given for Community Service Projects that make a difference in the community. A Bronze Award was given to Troop 5046 for the renovation project of Guyon Saunders/Tyler Resource Center Family Dayroom. The Family Dayroom is used for daytime activities for homeless adults and their children. Troop members cleaned the room, had the carpet professionally cleaned, and the toys were cleaned and sanitized. The Troop donated a large screen smart TV, along with tables and chairs for the room. The Troop also decorated bulletin boards with inspirational messages.
    Members of Troop 5046 are Lauren Burrell, Zariah Carter, Kristian Carter, Katilin Carter, Raquel Guest, Kayshanna Polite, Khia Polite and Jasmine Solis. The Troop Leaders for Troop 5046 are Anita Burrell, Hattie Carter, and Pam Guest.

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    Top Cookie sales also went to members of Troop 5046. Zariah Carter, Kristian Carter, and Katilin Carter each sold over 2000 boxes of cookies for a total of more than 6000 boxes of cookies. Each girl received an iPad Mini for their cookie sales. This is the third year in a row that these three sisters have each sold over 2000 boxes of cookies.

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  • {Music Corner} Brian Culbertson- Another Long Night Out

    Brian-Culbertson

    Brian Culbertson- Another Long Night Out

    Smooth jazz keyboardist/trombonist Brian Culbertson has released (on Feb 25) his 14th project “Another Long Night Out”.

    “Another Long Night Out” is a refurbished version of his debut 1994 project “Long Night Out” This 11 song project is identically the same as the debut now 20 years later Culbertson added an all star jazz cast to help revisit his roots such as Lee Ritenour, Chuck Loeb, Eric Marienthal, Rick Braun, Steve Lukather, Russ Freeman, “Patches” Stewart, Candy Dulfer and Jonathan Butler.

    Unlike Culbertson’s previous 2 projects “Dreams” and “XII” which I though was geared more on the R&B side where as “Another Long Night Out” is straight up jazz contemporary with him playing with a full band instead of keyboard sequences and drum programming.

    Personally I like “Another Long Night Out” better than “Long Night Out” although the songs are the same but “Another Long Night Out” sounds so much rejuvenating and fresher I’m sure technology changing over the course of 20 years have played its part but hearing all the different musicians playing on this project on one accord is simply beautiful.

    My favorite song is no doubt “Heroes Of The Dawn” but every song is good that you can just let play from start to finish

    “Another Long Night Out” is by far one of his classiest projects to date and I wouldn’t be surprised if Brian Culbertson receive a Grammy nomination. I definitely recommend “Another Long Night Out” for any true jazz listener especially if you do not have his debut “Long Night Out”.

    Nice Job, Brian Culbertson :) { Continue Reading… }

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  • What is Child Abuse?

    When parents post a Facebook video of them slapping, and verbally berating an 11-year old boy, and showing someone hitting him with a belt 60 times is this child abuse? When a father ties his son to a tree so he can smoke marijuana is this child abuse? When a parent locks an 11-year old boy in a 4 X 4 space under the stairs and barely feeds him is this child abuse? When a parent makes a child run laps around a yard until the child falls dead is this child abuse—turned murder? When does discipline by a parent go too far?

    You probably saw the video of the 11-year old being cursed, slapped and beat with a belt for posting something on his Facebook page about being in a gang. These three grown folks apparently were trying to teach this boy a lesson about not joining a gang (by ganging up on him) —in Flint, Michigan—a place with the highest crime rate in the world. The commentators weighing in were from one extreme to another. One man said that since the belt beating was done on a child fully clothed and the belt didn’t leave marks then it was not child abuse. Of course others disagreed saying not only did the video show child abuse but public humiliation, including an adult male literally mocking the boy as he twisted his body to absorb the pain. A few folks weighed in saying that these folks needed parenting skills.

    Last year Melissa Harris Perry, the MSNBC commentator, got herself in hot water by making a statement to the effect that parents do not own their children but that children are collectively owned by society. The far right went nuts claiming that Perry was advocating some type of collective communism. To one degree, Ms. Perry was right because you can sell anything you own—but you cannot sell your own children—meaning they are not a parent’s property—as in chattel slavery. So how far can parents go to discipline their own children without engaging in child abuse?

    { Continue Reading… }

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  • NAN News: Accident at Amarillo Blvd McDonalds

    Accident at Amarillo Blvd and Pierce Street between a 4 door sedan and a flat bed semi trailer loaded with hay damages McDonald.

    Unnamed passenger of the sedan involved in the accident describes the incident: We were heading east and at Pierce we were stuck by the semi truck. The passenger in the rear seat was ejected from the sedan landing several yards in front of the wrecked sedan.

    The semi truck then left the road crashing into the west side of the restaurant.

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  • Don’t Bring Me “No Good News”

    Remember the movie “The Wiz” the African-American version of “The Wizard of Oz” starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horn?” Remember some of those wonderful songs—Believe in Yourself, If You Believe, Ease on Down the Road—and especially , “Don’t Nobody Bring me No Bad News.”

    If we’re going to be buddies
    Better bone up on the rules
    Cause nobody brings me no bad news.

    When you’re talking to me
    Don’t be crying the blues
    Cause don’t nobody bring me no bad news

    If you’re going to bring me something
    Bring me something I can use
    Just don’t bring me no bad news

    As much as black folks cheered the black casting of “The Wizard of Oz” we still seem to be a group of folks that expects and finds some type of comfort in “bad news.” I know some folks who will go a family funeral but find an excuse not to attend a family graduation. I know some folks who will sit all day long and talk about who in the family is “doing bad” or has some type of financial or personal problem, but won’t praise or commend those who are doing well. I know black folks especially who seem to have a perennial case of “crying the blues” but can’t find one good thing worthwhile to talk about—and if you are around them and have some good news you had better keep it to yourself, because black folks don’t want to hear any good news. I know one church going woman who when she was told that a certain family person had been saved, said “Oh No!!!”

    When I was a senior in high school I was on a panel discussion where we were given a quote to try to explain. My question was this: Explain the expression, “If you expect nothing you will never be disappointed.” I stumbled through the question but over the years the question continued to plague me about its true meaning. I have come to learn in my lifetime that the expression is more than a mere truism—it’s a mindset for too many black folks, and I was victimized by the same negative attitude. I have been in “girl talk” discussions where participation required offering up “bad, woe is me, he done me wrong, news.” I have been in beauty shops where I had been forced to listen to every type of negative “ain’t no good,” type conversation about everybody. Negative gossip. As a group black folks seem to have a built in “nogoodnewsmeter” meaning that we have seen the glass half empty so long that we cannot see that same glass as half full. And, the mindset and set of positive expectations that go along with seeing a glass either half empty or half full, makes all the difference in how a person responds to a set of circumstances—one can expect defeat or expect to overcome.

    { Continue Reading… }

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  • {Music Corner} Rest In Peace: January- April of 2014

     Due to my recent months of lack of inactivity I have gotten behind not only on my music reviews but also the passing of several music artists although I did acknowledge the passing of Anna Gordy- Gaye therefore let me catch up first by paying respect to these artists and then I will get caught up on music reviews. My apologies…!

     

     

    JANUARY

    Ronny JordanRonny Jordan (1962-2014)

    Born Nov. 29, 1962, in London, Jordan rose to prominence due to his standing in a subset of jazz known as acid jazz, which blends its parent genre with elements of soul, disco, hip-hop and funk — though Jordan called his contributions “urban jazz.”

    He came to prominence after being featured on Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1, which saw release in 1993. He was also one of the artists whose recordings are featured on Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool — a compilation album released in 1994 to benefit the Red Hot Org

    He came to prominence after being featured on Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1, which saw release in 1993. He was also one of the artists whose recordings are featured on Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool — a compilation album released in 1994 to benefit the Red Hot Organization.

    Following the release of 1992′s The Antidote, recordings from Jordan have been a mainstay on a variety of Billboard charts. He was also the recipient of many awards, including The MOBO Best Jazz Act Award as well as Gibson Guitar Best Jazz Guitarist Award. His 2000 release, A Brighter Day, was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

    Jordan’s song “The Jackal” (from his 1993 album The Quiet Revolution) gained prominence when actress Allison Janney in the role of C. J. Cregg lip-synched it in the episode “Six Meetings Before Lunch” of The West Wing. She also did so on Arsenio Hall’s show in September, 2013.

    Jordan released 8 solo albums

    Ronny Jordan died on January 13, 2014 at age 51 causes unknown { Continue Reading… }

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  • Anger (Madness) and Mental Illness

    The most recent shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas has me wondering about a lot of things. I understand all the pain caused by what Ivan Lopez did and I am by no means trying to sidestep all the pain that will affect the families. But I am wondering about the immediate rush to label Lopez’s shooting rampage as the product of post traumatic stress disorder or some other type of mental illness.

    What we are learning more and more is that Lopez took a series of steps, including buying a gun and plenty of ammunition before he opened fire on his fellow soldiers. We are now hearing that some type of dispute over delayed leave papers may have triggered Lozep’s anger that led to him shooting people at random, a total of 19, 3 of whom he killed—not including himself. So my question is this, why does mental illness lead to violence? I grew up around a woman whom everyone labeled, “a little off” but she spent her time picking up paper and trash alongside the road. You always knew when this lady was having a bad day because everything was clean. Her mental illness was, not to diminish her illness, very productive. So why do so many people use mental illness as an excuse to “get a gun” and kill or otherwise cause a lot of destructive mayhem?

    Some of the television talking head doctors have made statements to the effect that some of the medications prescribed to Lopez caused a range of mental disturbances including violent fits of outrage. But I still wonder whether some of the folks who go on these killing sprees are not just plain angry, or mad. Ever head the expression, “I’m so mad I can’t see straight?” Have you ever seen people who get angry and knock holes in walls, throw things, punch things, and other people, or engage in an assortment of other violent conduct? Are these people “mental” or are they mad and for whatever reason, cannot or will not get in control of their own anger issues. And what is it that “mad” people want to do first—get even.

    { Continue Reading… }

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  • Dr. Ben Carson—A Surgeon Who Needs to Operate on Himself

    Dr. Ben Carson made an appearance today on NewsOne with Roland Martin—it was laughable to say the least. From the moment this once famous black surgeon opened his mouth, it became clear that he was little more than a “tinkling cymbal signifying nothing.” What Dr. Ben needs to is sew up one side of his mouth because he talked out of both sides for one hour. Dr. Ben you are no economist, and your pathetic dribble about the “American debt” showed the extent of your ignorance about America’s financial history—and the federal budget. You are also not a very good historian or constitutional scholar because no black man in American would ever refer to the historical foundations of the Constitution because, from its foundation it excluded folks who look like you Dr. Ben. Yet, you were determined to advocate “follow the constitution” positions that were laughable. Even Steve Harvey recently slammed the comedian George Wallace for sitting down on his show and “running off at the mouth” by telling him, “Hey we ask the questions, all you’ve done is sit down and run your dam mouth.” The same goes for Dr. Ben.

    Dr. Ben claims to have all the “common sense” in America yet he fails to recognize that “common sense” has never played even a miniscule role in American politics. Money runs American politics, not common sense. Dr. Ben repeatedly claimed that he did not say that he compared the Affordable Healthcare Act to slavery. Dr Ben must be a fool if he thinks that saying that the ACA is the worst thing next to slavery is not a comparative statement. And, Dr. Ben is a two-time fool if he thinks that making the scandalous statement that America is anywhere close to Hitler’s Nazi Germany is also not a comparative statement. Ask the survivors of the Holocaust if living in America is anywhere close to Nazi Germany.

    Dr. Ben seems to think that the Affordable Care Act is the government “forcing itself” on the American public, yet he said that he and his wife have donated reading materials to “Title 7” schools. Did he Title 7? And what exactly is Title 7 Dr. Ben? Is “Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” not a federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, and national origin? Dr. Ben, why isn’t Title 7 also not just about as bad as slavery? Huh Dr. Ben?

    { Continue Reading… }

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