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Cover Stories
Thursday, 26 July 2012 14:12

Sustaining a Movement: The Journey Within

Natural hair is no longer a movement, it is a way of life, according to Chris-Tia Donaldson, author of Thank God I’m Natural. “When I went natural in 2002, there weren’t many resources, products and support, for that matter. Now there is a community of women, awareness, so many products the only thing in the way of becoming natural now is the choice of the individual,” she says. It was Donaldson’s choice that changed her life. “I was almost fired from my job; there were a lot of personal issues that I wasn’t happy with,” she explains. “At the time I was wearing a wig to fall into the standards of corporate America and the lack of my internal happiness showed in my work. When I decided to go natural it was life-changing and I became more confident in who I am as a person,” says the Detroit native. Taking the natural journey, Donaldson realized that a guidebook would be very helpful. She started writing Thank God I’m Natural in 2005; the project was complete in 2009. “I know the stars were aligned because the book came out right before Chris Rock’s movie Good Hair,” she says. “As I was…
Business and community leaders, youth activists and parents alike will join the Downtown Boxing Youth program as it hosts its annual fundraising event, Rumble On The River. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 20, at the historic Detroit Yacht Club, located at 1 Riverbank Rd. Detroit. The Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program is a non-profit organization that encourages Detroit youth to engage in a challenging physical, academic and social program in which trainers, tutors, counselors and social workers provide daily services directly at the gym. Participants are attracted by the desire to learn to box and with the help of the youth program they will stay active at the gym, in their schools and in their communities. “At the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program, we believe that by focusing on the body, mind and community, we are helping the youth within the program develop the skills necessary to be successful in boxing, school and life,” states Vice President/Chief Facility Officer Jessica Hauser.“Through Rumble on the River, this is our opportunity to showcase the great things that are happening at the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program and provide individuals with the opportunity to give to the cause.”…
Dr. Nat Pernick, founder and executive director of Detroit College Promise, will award 100 Detroit Public Schools students college scholarships year, a continuation of its awards program begun in 2009. Detroit College Promise, in partnership with the DPS, public and private sector, civic and community leaders and parents, strives to strengthen the Detroit Public Schools by offering a financial incentive in the form of a scholarship to students who live in Detroit and graduate from a DPS school. The incentive is a scholarship that can be used at any Michigan public college or university and students can apply as early as kindergarten. The Detroit College Promise fund has been able to provide a $500 college scholarship to hundreds of DPS graduates since it began in early 2009. Last year the average DPS student who received the scholarship also obtained $9,300 in other scholarship money. “That’s quite a bit,” says Dr. Pernick. “For most of them that paid all of their tuition. We’d like to give more than that. We are moving toward the Kalamazoo Promise model.” Detroit College Promise began offering its scholarships to graduates of Cody High School in 2009. It expanded to six DPS high schools last year…
Sunday, 22 July 2012 00:00

Microsoft Answers Apple

In the wake of Apple’s announcement of its new generation of Macbooks and OS updates, Microsoft fired back in a big way with its own first-party tablet aimed directly at the iPad’s market. The Microsoft Surface looks to be the next earth-shattering piece of tech that has the gadget world salivating. Strangely, Microsoft failed to announce any particular specs on the Surface opting to speak on the stellar design points and innovative peripherals. The Surface looks like any other tablet, on the surface. Its selling point is its elegant lines and the fact that it is one of the first tablets to feature full USB input and a dual Wi-Fi antenna that guarantees the best reception no matter what angle you hold it in. A kickstand built into the actual slate was a welcome addition as it eliminates the need to purchase an additional case. As expected of tablets these days, there are front- and rear-facing cameras both of which are set at an angle so the camera is perfectly lined up with your face when using the kickstand. In motion, the Surface looks super smooth. Capable of multitasking, the demo showed off the Surface’s ability to do things like…
Friday, 20 July 2012 00:00

Nas: Life is Good

Apparently things are looking up for Nas, who after a four-year hiatus released his 10th album, Life is Good, Tuesday, July 17. It has been a rough few years for the hip hop artist who underwent a very messy and costly divorce, not to mention tax trouble. Life is Good is the payoff for years of drama and his fans reap the benefits. Nas shows off his masterful ability to write powerful lyrics and weave intricate tales as he chronicles his bitter divorce from Kelis in Bye Baby and an ode to fathers raising little girls in Daughters. After watching the news night after night and seeing how many people get killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Accident Murderer, featuring Rick Ross, captures the tragedy and downright ridiculousness of gun violence, especially among our youth. Life is Good also features collaborations with Mary J. Blige, Anthony Hamilton and the late Amy Winehouse, whose soulful voice graces the track Cherry Wine with scats and runs that starkly evoke reminders of her musical genius. Nas brings in producers Rodney Jerkins, Swizz Beatz and Salaam Remi and the late Heavy D on a track called The Don, which…
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 20:43

In Her Own Words

With full, deep vocals and a 1000-watt smile, Ledisi has captivated our hearts for years. Her lyrics allow us to relate to life and in 2007 her hit single Alright became an instant groove that helped people cope with their day-to-day struggles. While Ledisi continued to create great music, she also found time to pen her first book, Better Than Alright. Released early this year and published by Essence, Better Than Alright is an inspiring and colorful story of her personal journey and the people who have encouraged her along the way. She shares pages with famous writers such as Maya Angelou, Nina Simone and music legends from around the world. During an exclusive interview with FRONTPAGE Detroit, Ledisi sat down to talk candidly about how it all came together. Tell us when you decided to write your book. When did you find the time to write? I started the book a while ago. Maybe two years ago and at the time it was just a book of affirmations. The next thing I know my friends saw it and grabbed a few pages and showed Essence Magazine. And the next thing I am here at Essence and it just grew…
The Masterminds Three Masterminds and a mission to change a community can truly create a movement. “Run This Town” was started by Shawn Blanchard, Terrence J.L. Thompson, and Armond Harris. Run This Town is a networking and exercise group (they coined the term networkingout) that is transforming lives, connecting people, and creating a grassroots movement that is meant to facilitate networking through fitness and fitness through networking. It is their mission to fight urban obesity by promoting fitness through healthy lifestyles. The idea came as the gentlemen were in the process of sustaining their personal exercise regimen. With busy schedules many people put exercise on the backburner. This was true for Blanchard, a student at Wayne State University Law School. “When I was living in New York and running the math department at a school in the Bronx I noticed my weight got away from me,” he says. He decided to try the P90X exercise program and lost 23 pounds. “This turned my lifestyle of fitness around,” he continues. After living in New York for five years both earning his Masters in Secondary Math Education and working in the industry, the Mackenzie High School graduate decided to return home to…
What began as a hobby for Melissa Butler has turned in to a full-fledged business. The 25-year-old native Detroiter and cosmetic queen is founder of The Lip Bar. In 2010 Butler started cooking up custom lip colors in her kitchen. Her unique line of bold lipsticks have met the demand for uncommon colors in the beauty industry. The Lip Bar lipsticks range from regal purples and blues to neon pinks and beautifully pigmented tangerines. Today the brand has a growing following and is making people take notice one pucker at a time. This week Melissa Butler and the creative director of the cosmetic line, Rosco Spears, sits down with FRONTPAGE Detroit to give us the inside scoop about The Lip Bar. Q: How did you get your start in the cosmetic industry? Melissa: I love, love, love makeup! It’s the perfect touch to femininity, that and high heels, but lipstick is my absolute favorite. It goes far beyond the average beauty enhancer. It’s a fashion accessory. Without lipstick, my look simply wouldn’t be complete. It’s the only cosmetic that can take your look from 0 to 10 with the simple glide of color. So as you can see, I’ve always…
Brooke Ellis is a woman who clearly reinforces the saying “age ain’t nothing but a number.” At 30, she’s earned her marketing degree from Hampton University, completed two graduate fellowship studies and currently serves as Diversity Media and Multicultural manager for General Motors. FRONTPAGE Detroit recently sat down with the busy businesswoman to talk about designing and delivering consistent messaging for GM’s brands and connecting with diverse populations. Who is Brooke Ellis? Well, I always like to begin with my family because they are my support system. I was born and raised in Detroit and I am the eldest of four children. Another part of who I am is my role in the community and with General Motors. I studied marketing at Hampton University and then I returned to my home town so I feel I’ve always had ties to the marketing and automotive industry. You sit at the helm of General Motor’s Diversity and Media group. Explain your road map to success? I think the biggest thing with my role is to ensure that we use the right media partners to get our message out. We really have a great creative team. So I help the team identify opportunities…
Monday, 02 July 2012 20:53

Setting a New Standard of Excellence

Detroit Branch NAACP Executive Director Donnell White Takes the Reins of 100-year-old Civil Rights Organization By Lori Rankin Each year through the Men of Excellence Awards, the Michigan Chronicle celebrates the phenomenal men in our community who motivate and inspire others through their vision, leadership, exceptional achievement and participation in community service. Chosen from hundreds of nominees, this year’s honorees will be joining a group comprised of our area’s most influential men. These men are the beacons of our community and we seek to continually celebrate their contributions and impact on future generations. To that avail, Donnell White, executive director of the Detroit Branch NAACP, has been selected as one of The Michigan Chronicle’s 2012 Men of Excellence. As one of our 2012 honorees, White is a highly suited and distinguished addition to the current assemblage. White joined the Detroit Branch NAACP in 2003 as an administrative assistant and was promoted to director of Youth and Education in 2004. Having distinguished himself as a driving force in the civil rights and social justice community, White was appointed to the position of deputy executive director in 2007. Appointed executive director in October 2011, White continues to serve in that capacity and…
By R.J. English Known for setting stages on fire with her impassioned poetry and flamboyant style, world renowned poet, publisher, activist and playwrite, Jessica CARE Moore chats with us about her upcoming summer plans and poetry slams around the D. Q: How did you get your start as a poet? Where has poetry taken you? A: I’ve been a writer since I was a little girl. I attempted my first novel at nine--and I’m still working on it! I’m blessed to say, poetry has taken me all over the world. Poems have put me in front of 50,000 people at a New York City Aids Walk, at Carnegie Hall, and more recently the Manoogian Mansion with First Lady Yvette Bing. The most amazing experience of my life was touring in South Africa with Lynton Kwesi Johnson. That experience changed my life. They were celebrating a decade of no apartheid rule. I taught poetry workshops in Soweto, and I really want to get back to South Africa and do more work there. My dream is to build an eco-friendly library there. I was really moved by the students and really humbled by their presence and spirits. I’ve performed in France, UK,…
Monday, 02 July 2012 19:24

A Word from the Editor

Summer has (finally) arrived in Michigan and let me say I am simply ecstatic! The temperature is well into the 80s, bright colors are back in style and I can officially start rocking my favorite over sized sunglasses again! It seems as Detroiters we dream of these days all winter long and when warm temperatures arrive, we spend every second we can soaking up all our town has to offer. And speaking of Detroit offerings, this week I am excited to announce the FrontPage Detroit summer kickoff event: Unscripted. The* indoor and outdoor event will feature some of the most talented musicians from the Detroit Metro area, including Amp Fiddler and Sean Blackman, Jessica Care Moore, Kenny Watson, Wayne Gerard, Underground Resistance, and Jon Dixon. The soiree will encompass the entire N’namdi Art Center Campus in the Sugar Hill District of Midtown, from 8:00 p.m.- 1:00 a.m. This weeks cover girl Jessica CARE Moore will host the event and perform a few of her legendary poems. To read more about the dynamic poet, flip to page eight. All the best, RJ English
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