November 15, 2012



You’ll have lots of contact with folks you wanted to hear from this week. Your telephone is your best tool, and you’ll enjoy talking and listening to many supportive and loving friends. A letter may arrive with an invitation.  Soul Affirmation: I smile and trust in the powers beyond myself.



You are too kind this week and it’s a wonderful thing.  By doing things for others without thought of a reward, you’re racking up beneficial vibrations for your future! Take personal pleasure in what you do for others this week.  Soul Affirmation: Moving slowly is often the fastest way to get there.



Change your routine this week. Even a minor change in the way you approach your week will enable you to feel happier and more adventurous. Try something new, and you’ll be happy with the outcome.  Soul Affirmation: I know that my life is full of good things. I enjoy!



Create a map in your mind to chart a course through unfamiliar waters. You’ll be as happy as you make up your mind to be. Because you are so wise, you’ll be at peace with all outcomes.  Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for who I am this week.



It’s a good week to reflect on your personal network of friends and co-workers. You are surrounded by supportive vibrations, and you’ll be counting your blessings by the end of this busy week!  Soul Affirmation: It’s bad only if I see it that way.



Find a way to love the work you do this week.  Use your creativity and wonderful sense of humor and you’ll be finished with chores early enough to relax.  Use your energy wisely.  Soul Affirmation: I let worry fly away.



A romantic partner returns and wants to pick up the past and start over. Friends are good to have, but this particular friend will be best kept as just that . . . a friend! Enjoy your ability to choose what’s best for you. Soul Affirmation: My spirit gives me limitless possibilities.



This week is a week to let your diplomatic side work for you. Forcing will get you nowhere. No man or woman is an island. Focus on togetherness even if you are annoyed with people.  Soul Affirmation: Charm is my middle name this week.



You have wonderful ideas about interior decorating. Be ready to accept a great opportunity at work. Money doesn’t matter this week. Don’t make finances more important than they need to be.  Soul Affirmation: I appear to others what I know myself to be.



Keep all your ducks in a row this week. No mixing work with fun or business with pleasure. Save your affection for the home front and stay focused on the work in front of you on the job. Things are working out perfectly.  Soul Affirmation: This week I find joy in the gifts that life has already given me.



Why not take each perfect moment as it comes? You are struggling to find a solution that time can and will provide. Perform your tasks cheerfully this week and let the future take care of itself. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy each now moment. Soul Affirmation: Worry will only create more worry. I stop all worry.



Your anxiety about an important issue can now be seen as needless. You don’t have to worry! Have faith that things are working out perfectly and they will! This week especially consider all options before you make decisions.  Soul Affirmation: I am uplifted by the presence of friends.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 11, 2014


City News Service




The Real Hip Hop Network (RHN) and Real Hip Hop Cares (non-profit initiative for “The Real Hip-Hop Network”) is planning a major concert and movement called “Real Hip Hop United.” The campaign will make a historic call to all rappers, community leaders and entertainers to come together and take a stand for Justice and peace in neighborhoods across the country.


The initiative will begin with Chicago to address the increasing murder rate among Chicago’s youth, inspiring the infamous name “CHIRAQ,” (a name given due to the excessive killings by gangs on Chicago streets surpassing the death toll of soldiers in IRAQ.)


“Real Hip-Hop Network believes in hip-hop’s power to heal and will be calling on fans and artists around the country to come to Ferguson to peacefully raise awareness and address the alarming spree of murders that have occurred of unarmed black men by Police around the nation,” said campaign organizers.


“From Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown, these events have gripped the conscious of the nation. The nightmare must end. The coalition's effort is to bring awareness to America about this crisis and create a coalition to address police misconduct and insure Justice.” 


“The Real Hip Hop United” album project will be executive ­produced by RHN Music Group. “The Real Hip-Hop United Move­ment” will unite the biggest stars in hip-hop to produce the title single “No More Tears.” Proceeds from the project will be donated to address the needs of cities like Ferguson and Chicago in crisis, giving aid to the victims and giving vocational training in the entertainment business, TV and Music Production.


“Hip Hop is an international phenomenon and its power should be used to help develop minds, not destroy them,” said Atonn Muham­mad, CEO/President of The Real Hip Hop Network. “It is time for Hip Hop to unite and demand peace and justice!”


“Hip Hop has been unjustly criticized as a source of America’s ills,” says RHN Music Group President Bernard Taft. “The time is now to demonstrate hip hop’s ability to inspire change.”


Details about the upcoming event and album release are in the works. More information will be released in the coming weeks.


For more details visit

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 11, 2014


Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19


Clashes this week are possible, particularly as the Full Moon in Pisces could heighten feelings and cause you to overreact. Though you may feel like being blunt or having words with someone, it might be best to tone things down and opt for a compromise if possible. However, a positive midweek transit encourages you to explore the potential for collaborating on a plan or project. Later, you'll be in your element and eager to explore new pastures as Mars enters Sagittarius.




Taurus Apr 20 – May 20


Watch out for too much red tape early in the week that could scuttle a plan and cause delays. The Full Moon in your social sector could make up for any frustration by providing the perfect atmosphere for a party or celebration. Dating? Remember midweek that all that glitters is not necessarily gold. You may feel a lot more positive about investing time and energy into schemes and projects when Mars hikes into Sagittarius and your zone of shared assets. In addition, your intimate life could improve dramatically




Gemini May 21 - Jun 20


You may be in the spotlight on Monday, which could provide an opportunity to showcase your skills and talents or make a presentation. However, should difficulties arise on Tuesday, try to avoid getting into arguments with others as it might not look good. A delightful link midweek can be perfect for closing a lucrative deal or expanding your social circle. The weekend looks positively vibrant as new friendships may show up, paving the way for some delightful new experiences. A love adventure could be on its way to you, too.




Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22


The Full Moon in your zone of travel and adventure hints at a fatal attraction with someone from another country or culture. Could this be "the one"? Go easy, and don't jump to conclusions too quickly. Give yourself time to make a decision. Later, the move of Mars into Sagittarius stirs up your health and work zone. You may be motivated to join a gym or explore new potential jobs. Anything too boring may be off the table as your need now is for something pleasantly challenging.




Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22


The early part of the week could be fractious as you and the folks around you may be feeling sensitive, so don't rock the boat. Take advantage of a midweek opportunity to expand your horizons, especially if it allows you to harness your creative abilities! Finances need special care midweek, particularly if you're set to purchase a big-ticket item. Keep receipts, as there's a chance you'll need a refund. Later, your zone of leisure and pleasure gets a visit from Mars, meaning it's time to relax and recharge.




Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22


You're in your element with the Sun and Venus in your sign to boost your confidence. However, the Full Moon on Monday could coincide with mixed signals concerning a key relationship. Rather than get stressed, consider meditation or quiet reflection as a way to get your bearings. Later, when things have calmed down, you'll know exactly what to do. However, be careful if closing a deal, and be sure to read the terms and conditions before you sign. The weekend can be perfect for a get-together or party.




Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22


Try to lighten your schedule early in the week, as you may be affected by the energy of the Full Moon. Short or frequent rests can make it easier to work through the day without any mishaps. A sociable midweek transit may be perfect for that first date or generally having fun with your pals. Business meetings can go well at this time, too. Later, as Mars jogs into Sagittarius it's time to get your message out to the world and advertise your goods and services.




Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21


The Full Moon can be very romantic, so tying this in with a special occasion can make for a sizzling evening. However, watch your words on Tuesday because it could be all too easy to fall out with someone over something trivial. Later, Mars stirs up your money zone, which might entice you to splurge. As you're quite a generous soul, you'll want to spend on friends and family as well as yourself. Don't take things to extremes!




Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21


While Monday's Full Moon could put you in the party mood, it could also lead to mixed signals. As feelings will be heightened, try not to overreact or do anything you might regret later. In addition, your family and career balance might need some attention, too. The weekend sparkles as new meetings connect you with like-minded folks. Plus, you'll feel more relaxed, easygoing, and energetic as Mars enters your sign. Perhaps it's time to sign up for a new adventure!




Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19


Complications around communication and romance need sensitive handling early on. It's best not to jump to conclusions, as things may not be as they seem. Despite this, you do have an excellent opportunity to close a lucrative deal or zero in on new business ideas midweek. The wheels of commerce can turn in your favor if you're ready to sign on the dotted line. Later, Mars moves into your spiritual sector, so expect your intuitive awareness to play a bigger part in making key decisions.




Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18


Go easy at the start of the week, as the temptation to splurge could be overwhelming. The Full Moon might entice you to part with a lot more cash than you need to. Keep receipts so you can get a refund if necessary. Later, a delightful offer around the midweek mark might entice you to consider a collaboration or partnership. In this case, two heads really can be better than one. Your social life sizzles with promise on the weekend, so make the most of it.




Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20


The Full Moon in your sign on Monday could stir up feelings and encourage you to tell it like it is. Be careful, though, as there's a chance you might upset the apple cart. Opt for peaceful and harmonious ways to resolve an issue rather than rely on ultimatums or drama. Later, Mars moves into Sagittarius to revitalize your career sector. You may feel much more positive about pursuing a goal or career than you have in some time. Stick to a plan and you'll go far.


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 04, 2014


By Ron Scott

Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News



John Blake Jr., who continued the early tradition of bringing the violin into the jazz arena and making its voice heard with the music of Africa to avant-garde, R&B, blues and spirituals, died Aug. 15 in Philadelphia.


The cause of death was complications related to multiple myeloma, said Charlotte Blake Alston, his sister.


Blake wasn’t a media magnet, but among his many fans and established and young musicians he inspired throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and South America, he is considered a master violinist and genius of the music. Those fortunate enough to have witnessed Blake in concert understand the concept of his genius and significant contribution to the world of jazz and beyond.


John Edward Blake Jr. was born in Philadelphia July 3, 1947, and began studying violin at age 9. Classically trained, he graduated from West Virginia University and continued postgraduate work at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Montreux, Switzerland, where he received a grant to study East Indian music. He later studied the music of West Africa.


Blake is considered a jazz violinist, but his collaborations illustrate a musician who seamlessly took to the mountainous terrain of world music before it became a popular cliche. He collaborated with his sister, the master storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, for the program “Tell It on the Down Beat,” which featured storytelling infused with a jazz band. He was also significant in “Fiddlin’ Stories,” which focused on the role of string instruments in African and African-American cultures.


Blake gained recognition in the early 1970s with the avant-garde saxophonist Archie Shepp performing on his album “Attica Blues.” For three years, his reputation extended worldwide as a member of Grover Washington Jr.’s band, which double-Dutched between R&B and jazz.


With his reputation as a daring violinist in the tradition of Eddie South and Stuff Smith, he became a member of pianist McCoy Tyner’s various groups over a five-year period. Regardless of the band, Blake brought an undeniable sound and intensity to the mix. As a musical explorer, he disregarded categories, looking to bring new experiences to his fans and ­students.


His varied R&B, blues, jazz, and rock journeys included recordings with Norman Connors on “You Are My Starship” (1976), and again in 2010 with Connors’ “You Are My Starship/Romantic Journey,” Phyllis Hyman’s “One On One” (1998); Patti LaBelle’s “Flame” (1997); James Blood Ulmer’s “Harmolodic Guitar with Strings” (1993); Steve Turre’s “Right There” (1991); Pink Floyd’s “Atom Heart Mother” (1970); and Buster Williams’ “Dreams Come True” (1981).


When Blake held his violin, it turned into a magical instrument, accommodating all assigned performances, including the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Turtle Island String Quartet, Quartet Indigo, the Billy Taylor Trio, Avery Sharpe, Cecil McBee and Jay Hoggard.


“Maiden Dance” (1984) was Blake’s recording debut as a leader and composer, the first of five acclaimed projects on Gramavision Records, which included being reunited with McCoy Tyner and Grover Washington Jr., and one with fellow jazz violinists Michal Urbaniak and Didier Lockwood.


His most recent release was “Motherless Child” (ARC Music, 2010), an album of hymns and spirituals arranged for his quartet and the Howard University vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue. In 2010, Blake also produced jazz violinist Regina Carter’s album “Reverse Thread” (E1Music). He was a mentor and teacher to Carter.


Blake was also an accomplished composer, arranger and producer as well as an author, teacher and lecturer who presented hundreds of workshops annually to musicians at all levels. With Suzuki educator Jody Harmon, he co-wrote “J.I.M.E.,” the definitive beginning string jazz method book and CD in use around the world.


In addition to lecturing on campuses throughout the United States, Blake was on the faculties of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and Manhattan School of Music in New York City.


In 2004, he was appointed to the Basler Chair of Excellence for the winter semester at East Tennessee State University, and during that year he was awarded a Chamber Music America Jazz Composer Grant.


In addition to his sister, Blake, who lived in Philadelphia, is survived by his wife of 38 years, Barbara Irene Blake; a son, the drummer Johnathan Blake; two daughters, Beverly Woodson and Jennifer Watson; another sister, Vivian Blake Carson; two brothers, Alan and Elliot; and six grandchildren.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

Page 5 of 153