June 06, 2013

By Cora Jackson-Fossett

LAWT Religion Editor


The musical genius of recording artist Kirk Franklin headlines the Sunday Best Stage at the BET Experience at L.A. Live on June 30 at 12 noon.

Entitled ‘Kirk Franklin & Friends,’ the concert features Grammy winners Donnie McClurkin and Karen Clark-Sheard along with her daughter, Kierra ‘Kiki’ Sheard of The Sheards.

In addition, rising stars Amber Bullock, Joshua Rogers and Le’Andria Johnson will perform.  All three were past gospel competition winners on BET’s Sunday Best TV show and recently released chart-topping albums.

The L.A. Sentinel will also participate in the BET Experience by presenting ‘A Taste of the Taste of Soul’ that will showcase a wide range of vendors.

“I was excited to be a part of this. It will be an inspirational morning of good music and celebration,” said Franklin, who serves as host and co-executive producer of ‘Sunday Best’ and participates in BET’s annual ‘Celebration of Gospel’ program.

“To me, it’s a great concept that they [BET] are doing, to create a weekend of festivities for people to get a whole taste of the culture of Black entertainment,” he said.

Urging the greater Los Angeles community to attend, Franklin noted, “I think that anytime we, as people of color, can get together and do something positive, that uplifts, a genre of a particular art form that we don’t get to see all the time, then we should celebrate and support it because it’s ours, something that belongs to us. 

“When you look at a lot of art forms, they were originated by our people, for our people, to celebrate our people.  Not only does it make sense, but it can also make dollars. 

“It’s something that will continue to show companies, sponsors and just the culture that entertainment from our people is alive and well and it’s something that can be invested in.”

Investing in gospel music has certainly been fruitful for Franklin, who began his professional recording career in 1992.  Over the years, he’s garnered multiple Dove, Stellar, and BET Awards as well as nine Grammys.

Franklin has also sold-out venues during tours with his choirs and with leading gospel artists such as Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Cece Winans, Trinitee 5:7, TobyMac, Souljahz, and Mary Mary.  Last year, he joined with McClurkin, Marvin Sapp, and Israel Houghton for ‘The King's Men Tour’ that packed concert halls across the country.

Achieving such incredible fame may lead some performers to have elevated opinions of themselves, but Franklin remains humble and focused on Christ. 

“The legacy to the gospel music industry that I hope to leave is that ‘he was a nice guy and he lived what he sang and wrote about. He wasn’t one way in front of the people and another way when nobody was looking.’  I hope that’s what people see,” he said.

Franklin’s legacy will definitely include the tremendous catalog of songs he’s written and performed that are now standards in the Black Church.  Initially, his music was labeled ‘Christian hip hop’ or ‘urban contemporary,’ however Franklin discourages categorizations of his music.

“To be honest, I don’t really try to even describe it.  I just try to do music that talks about my love for Jesus and try to encourage people.  I just do Jesus music and try to show that love and message through the music,” he declared.

In the midst of his prolific songwriting and ongoing business activities, Franklin still maintains a solid relationship with his wife, Tammie, and their children, which he counts as the most impressive aspect of his career.

“What continues to be most memorable for me is how I’m blessed to be able to keep my family together in the midst of 20 years of doing music.  That’s a very major thing to be celebrated.  A lot of marriages don’t survive this business,” observed Franklin, who cites his favorite scripture as Romans 8:28.

“To be able to still have a beautiful wife and kids who still call me ‘Daddy’ and see me as a part of their fabric, that’s the most successful thing I think I’ve ever accomplished.”

For more information and to purchase BET Experience concert tickets, visit BETExperience.com.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 06, 2013


Associated Press


(AP) — The Roots are officially living large in their hometown.

Members of the house band for NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in New York returned to their roots in Philadelphia on Friday for the dedication of a multistory mural in their honor.

The massive artwork occupies the back wall of a charter school on the street where the Grammy Award-winning band once busked for change after its founding in 1992.

“This is an amazing turnaround that on South Street we’re getting immortalized some 21 years later,” Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson said.

The mural, titled “Legendary,” is a colorful collage of images including portraits, cassette tapes and musical instruments that traces the history of the hip-hop group. It's one of more than 3,600 pieces of art created by the city’s Mural Arts Program.

The project’s unveiling came a day before The Roots Picnic, an annual music festival in the city hosted and curated by the band. In a few weeks, Thompson’s memoir “Mo’ Meta Blues” will be released.

Mural Arts Program executive director Jane Golden praised the project's paint and design team, which persevered through numerous complications. The original location, about eight blocks away on the same street, fell through.

“What you see behind me right now is beautiful,” Golden said. “We think and we hope that we captured the wonderful spirit of The Roots.”

When plans for the mural were first announced in November 2011, Roots co-founder Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter noted how he once got busted for graffiti as a teenager and a judge ordered him to clean up such vandalism by painting murals. Trotter called the punishment “scrub time.”

On Friday, he said it was great to see his life come full circle.

“It hits close to home for me that this is in south Philadelphia. This is my part of town,” Trotter said. “It’s an honor and a blessing.”

Thompson, too, said he was proud.

“This is one of the greatest moments of our career,” he said. “I’ve forever driven the streets of Philadelphia wondering, when are we getting our mural?”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 06, 2013

LAWT News Service


ATLANTA– Platinum hip-hop artist and CEO of CTE World, Jay “Young Jeezy” Jenkins, and Los Angeles-based Gourmet Footwear announced the kick-off and celebration of their recently signed branding and marketing partnership. The brand activation launch party will include a meet and greet with the entertainer and select executives from Gourmet, including its founder, Greg Lucci, at Wish Atlanta Boutique and the private party will continue at Vanquish Lounge for a red carpet affair with VIP guests, local tastemakers, friends of the brand and other music industry elite. The two events will include entertainment from DJ RootsQueen, DJ Baby Yu, a special announcement from Jeezy and Gourmet, catering from Bottle Bar and complimentary drinks from Avión Tequila. In addition, Gourmet Footwear will host contest giveaways for shoes and other brand products throughout the two events.

 “Similar to Gourmet Footwear, Young Jeezy is an individual who has seamlessly navigated himself to an aspirational lifestyle from humble beginnings,” said Greg Lucci, founder of Gourmet Footwear. “We look forward to partnering with Jeezy and working alongside him on his upcoming projects.”

The partnership between Jeezy and Gourmet includes exclusive co-branded digital content, social media initiatives, and creative involvement from Young Jeezy. It also creates a platform to blend the very distinct worlds of footwear, fashion, and music to provide a comprehensive lifestyle experience that both Gourmet and Jeezy have incorporated into their individual brands. 

 “Partnering with Gourmet just felt like a natural fit for me,” said Jeezy. “I’ve been building my own clothing line for the past few years, so it’s only right that I collaborate with a top-tier footwear brand like Gourmet, who I believe to be the perfect blend of luxury and the street, which is what I’m about.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 06, 2013


Associated Press


The head of AEG Live told a jury on Monday that he believes a lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson's mother against the concert promotion company was a baseless extortion attempt.

CEO Randy Phillips also said the company bears no responsibility for Jackson's 2009 death, as his mother contends.

Katherine Jackson is suing AEG Live LLC, claiming it failed to properly investigate the doctor who was later convicted of her son's death. AEG denies wrongdoing.

Phillips said he agreed with statements attributed to him and defense attorney Marvin S. Putnam that the case was a shakedown.

“Yes or no, answer? Yes,” Phillips said in response to a question by Katherine Jackson's attorney Brian Panish.

Phillips is the highest-ranking AEG executive to testify in the case, now in its sixth week.

He will likely be asked about numerous emails he sent and received about Jackson’s health in the final weeks of the superstar’s life, as well as any interactions he had with former cardiologist Conrad Murray.

Murray agreed to serve as Jackson’s doctor for $150,000 a month while he performed 50 shows titled “This Is It” in London’s 02 Arena in 2009 and early 2010.

AEG denies hiring Murray and agreeing to pay Murray’s fee as an advance to Jackson.

Phillips’ testimony came after several days of often tense testimony from AEG Live executive Paul Gongaware, who told jurors he did not remember numerous details about Jackson's rehearsals and emails he sent about the singer.

Panish sparred with Gongaware, and pointedly questioned Phillips, whom he called to the stand as a hostile witness.

Panish asked Phillips whether he was eager to tell his side of the story.

“I believe you called me as a witness, so I’m here,” Phillips said flatly.

Panish at one point asked the executive whether he was familiar with the music industry.

“Familiar with the music industry? I was working in it,” Phillips replied.

When the executive appeared to crack a smile, Panish asked if he thought the proceedings were funny.

“No, I think it’s tragic.” Phillips replied.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

May 30, 2013

By Charlene Muhammad

Sentinel Contributing Writer


When some people utter, “This is why you’re broke,” chances are it’s because they wanted something monetary they couldn’t get from you. So, in retaliation, they scrutinized your in-their-face purchase for not getting it. 

That’s just this writer’s simple theory on why we hear those stinging words. However, for those seeking a more honest, researched, well-rounded and grounded - just the plain ‘ol truth - analysis about why their “deep” pockets are really empty, Jarim Person-Lynn saves the day.

In “This is Why You’re Broke,” a 12 Step Guide to Defeating Your Own Worst Financial Habits, Person-Lynn uses vocabulary, humor, and real straight talk to shake people out of bad debt-forming habits.

“The original plan back in 2010, once I had grown pretty popular for my one-on-one consultations in my home, was to start teaching personal finance classes at the local community center. These classes were to be in conjunction with my father's (historian Dr. Kwaku Person-Lynn) Afrikan World Civilization classes,” states Person-Lynn on how he started this venture.

“I researched other successful financial classes/workshops such as Robert Kiyosaki's and Dave Ramsey's and realized that even though those classes weren't catering to the needs of the black community, they were in fact successful because they were each centered around a very popular book or manual,” he shares.

That’s all he was missing, a book or manual.

But, he didn’t jump right into releasing an untested book out of the blue, he explains.  He started first with the blog “Thisiswhyyourebroke.com” and began testing various sections of the book in progress.  Information gained through his very clever use of social media transformed into the five course guide, “Brass Knuckle Finance.”

That guide and a subsequent five-week course handled topics entitled, “How your Mentality, health and environment affect your Wealth,”  “The art of Budgeting and Spending,” “Getting out of Debt & Staying out of Debt,” “College, Entrepreneurship & Career,” and “Investing & Real Estate.”

“Part of the original premise for the classes were to provide classes to those who were fed up with their financial situations and willing to make a change. In exchange for providing these free classes to anyone who purchased a book, we asked them once they were done with our classes, to pass that book along to the next person in the community and have them attend our classes for free as well,” Person-Lynn explains.

But, he would notice that the 392 page book would be very popular with the first person who obtained it but it was a hard sell for the next friend or family member they would attempt to pass it to.

He formed the idea to simplify the message into a quick, easy to read, easy to pass along book that would become the namesake of the original blog: "This is Why You’re Broke."

So frank, Person-Lynn even labels the book on his website, “A Comprehensive Guide to Your Own Financial Stupidity.”

His ultimate aim:  to help stop others from being their own worst enemy each month and to begin building a better financial future immediately.

Being broke isn’t simply the lack of having money, he offers.  “Broke” means not having the specific amount of money to do things you may want or need to do in life, he explains.

“Broke is one part math and one part mentality,” Person-Lynn writes.

“Remember, there are millionaires who are broke:  billionaires with depreciating assets and ever growing expenses, who are broke,” he continues in his easy-to-read financial planner.

In essence, being broke is more about what’s eating people internally, what society has told them they need, and, what they plan to do to prove it right, he states.

If people master the 12 most dangerous areas of their financial lives, which include rent, cars, debt and food, they would then master their money, according to Person-Lynn.

The author recommends keeping rents at certain monthly percentages to reduce overall debt and struggle.  He also gives guidelines for obtaining home-ownership rather than home-loanership.  And, he breaks down steady steps for obtaining rental property as a source of real income. 

Without careful attention to certain details, the property could become more of a loss than gain, he explains in the guide.

“The person (or couple) who avoids debt, lives on half of their income and learns how to invest the rest, will be wealthier than just about everyone they know ... Remember:  You were NOT born to struggle,” he concludes in his guide.

For more information on the books visit ThisIsWhyYoureBroke.com / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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