Tag: Black History Month

#FitnessFriday: PowerHouse Sports Academy

PowerHouse Sports Academy is a Fitness Company established on January 31,2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. In their short existence, they have been extremely successful in changing the lives of many by the way of fitness and proper nutrition. Because of their success they have been able to expand to three locations throughout the Atlanta, GA area (Tucker, Midtown, and Decatur). Regardless of the fitness goals that any client has required of the PowerHouse Trainers they have been successful in helping clients reach and succeed their fitness goals promoting a healthier lifestyle for many and also upcoming generations. We will love for you to join us and our family as we continue to strive to not only change lives in Atlanta, Georgia but lives across the world.

#EntertainmentThursday: Robert Townsend

How would one describe Robert Townsend? A talented actor, Hollywood trailblazer, passionate visionary, or just a regular guy seeking to make a difference, these are all phrases that apply to the multitalented entertainer. Townsend is the last of a rare breed of artists that scrutinizes every word and syllable that is expressed in his work. It’s no wonder that so many people regard Townsend’s body of work as classics. A Hollywood pioneer well ahead of his time, Townsend, is often referred to as one of the “Godfathers of the Independent Film World.” With more than 30 years in the entertainment business, he has made an indelible mark in Hollywood with an extensive list of credits.

Robert’s genius first revealed itself in elementary school. As a kid Robert was always fascinated with television, watching and studying it tirelessly, he began to practice acting out scenes and impersonating famous characters. At his school during a reading of Shakespeare’s Oedipus Rex he dazzled the class with his ability to transform effortlessly into character, and as a result Robert’s remarkable adaptable talent as a young actor was born and caught the attention of Chicago’s X Bag Theatre (the Experimental Black Actors Guild). Robert made an unforgettable mark in his hometown of Chicago, then he took the next step and where went to New York and became a regular at the Improvisation, the renowned comedy club, which jump-started his career as a stand-up comedian. Then for Robert it was on to Hollywood, where he dabbled in a mixture of industries and found that with his undeniable talent, he was able to adapt easily from being a comedian to working as an actor on the silver screen.

Robert’s first film appearance was as an extra in the urban classic, Cooley High. His break came while performing on various television comedy specials including “Rodney Dangerfield: It‘s Not Easy Bein’ Me” and “Uptown Comedy Express.” Although comedy had been his forte during the early part of his career, he knew he was destined to be on the big screen. He landed the role of a lifetime co-starring opposite Denzel Washington in A Soldier’s Story, and appeared with Diane Lane in Streets of Fire and Kevin Costner in American Flyers.

Once in Hollywood, seeing the difficulty black actors had and the lack of good work available in the film industry left a burning desire for Robert to step behind the camera. With his acting career in high gear,

Robert’s career took a turn for the best when Robert Townsend the “independent filmmaker” was born. He wanted to do something to fill this void. Without formal film education or outside funding (using his own credit cards to finance), Robert wrote, directed, produced and starred in his own first film. The result was the critically acclaimed, Hollywood Shuffle, a satire depicting the trials and tribulations of black actors in Hollywood. The success of this film forced Hollywood to recognize and appreciate the visionary and multifaceted talent of Robert Townsend, Tinseltown’s newest, talented actor and filmmaker.

Following the success of Hollywood Shuffle, film projects continued to pour in. He was soon directing Eddie Murphy in Eddie Murphy Raw. His next film endeavor was the inner-city fable: The Meteor Man that he also wrote, directed and starred in, was another huge success. The stellar cast included James Earl Jones, Bill Cosby, and Eddie Griffin. As a filmmaker, director and producer, his unbridled success continued.

The movie that landed Robert the credit of a lifetime was the popular soul musical The Five Heartbeats, a semi-autobiographical piece, reminiscent of the 60’s R&B male groups and the up’s and down’s of the music industry. This classic continues to be a favorite among audiences and one of the most talked about films in the industry. In between features, Robert created and produced his ground breaking Cable Ace award-winning “Partners in Crime” variety specials for HBO and highly praised “Townsend Television” for FOX television. He also created and starred in the WB Network hit series “The Parent ‘Hood”.

Townsend has made history by being nominated for more than 30 NAACP Image Awards for film and television. At the 2001 NAACP Image Awards he directed three performers nominated in the best actor/actress category in three different films: Leon, for his role in NBC’s Little Richard, Alfre Woodard in the Showtime Movie Holiday Heart (which also garnered her a Golden Globe nomination) and Natalie Cole for her gripping self-portrayal in Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story (for which she won the coveted Image Award for best actress).

Townsend continued to helm films for the small screen including: Carmen: A Hip Hopera for MTV Films, starring Beyonce Knowles (one of the highest rated programs for MTV) and Image Award winner, 10,000 Black Men Named George for Showtime, a highly acclaimed period piece about the Pullman porter strike, starring Andre Braugher, and Charles Dutton.

Robert has worked with some of the top talent in Hollywood including: Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Alfre Woodard, Lou Gossett, Jr., Keenan Ivory Wayans and Chris Tucker, just to name a few and is responsible for discovering many of Hollywood’s A-List talent before they became household names. He is the mastermind behind many of Hollywood’s favorite and best-remembered movies and hit series. Robert’s body of work has been seen on various networks including Disney, Fox, NBC, HBO, WB, The N, USA, Nickelodeon and MTV.

Looking to give back and make an even bigger imprint on the movie industry and the community as a whole, Robert Townsend has created his 501 (c) 3 non-profit, The Robert Townsend Foundation, as a venue to inspire, create and fund new film content and set up a new distribution model. The foundation’s mission is to open the doors to new and underrepresented artists and create a new model to showcase the new filmmakers to the world.

What does Townsend want in the future? He simply wants to continue to create: creating more for the web, creating more for television, and returning to the silver screen with his unique brand of storytelling.

“I am truly blessed to do what I do,” said Townsend. “And as I write this next chapter of my life I will bring my ‘A’ game like never before, with more zest, more passion, more vision, and more love.”

#HumpDayLoveDay: Tamia + Grant Hill

Last year, sensational singer Tamia and former NBA star Grant Hill celebrated their 20th year of marriage.

Tamia is a six-time Grammy nominee, who has received numerous awards including a Soul Train Music Award, and a NAACP Image Award. Grant Hill, her husband, was the third NBA draft pick in 1994, and became a top NBA player who played with the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, and LA Clippers.

The two were introduced to each other in the 1990’s by R&B star Anita Baker. They married in 1999, and have two beautiful daughters Myla Grace, and Lael Rose.

In 2003, Tamia was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but turned her experience into an opportunity to speak on behalf of others– by becoming an advocate for The National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

In an Instagram post, Grant Hill posted a picture of the couple and shared with his followers that, “Seriously, I’m truly amazed and inspired by how far we’ve come; humbled by how far we have left to go; and beyond grateful to be on this journey with you…”

#TuesdayTalk Politics: James Clyburn

ames E. Clyburn is the Majority Whip is the third-ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives.  He previously served in the post from 2007 to 2011 and served as Assistant Democratic Leader from 2011 to 2019.

When he came to Congress in 1993 to represent South Carolina’s sixth congressional district, Congressman Clyburn was elected co-president of his freshman class and quickly rose through leadership ranks. He was subsequently elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Vice Chair, and later Chair, of the House Democratic Caucus.

As a national leader, he has championed rural and economic development and many of his initiatives have become law.  His 10-20-30 federal funding formula was included in four sections of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Congressman Clyburn is also a passionate supporter of historic preservation and restoration programs.  His efforts have restored scores of historic buildings and sites on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities.  His legislation created the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, elevated the Congaree National Monument to a National Park, and established the Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

Congressman Clyburn’s humble beginnings in Sumter, South Carolina as the eldest son of an activist, fundamentalist minister and an independent, civic-minded beautician grounded him securely in family, faith and public service. His memoir, Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, was published in 2015, and has been described ‎as a primer that should be read by every student interested in pursuing a career in public service.

Jim and his late wife, Emily England Clyburn, met as students at South Carolina State and were married for 58 years. They are the parents of three daughters; Mignon Clyburn, Jennifer Reed, and Angela Hannibal and four grandchildren.

#MedicMondays: Dr. Vivien Thomas

With no formal medical training, he developed techniques and tools that would lead to today’s modern heart surgery. In operating rooms all over the world, great surgeons who received their training from Vivien Thomas are performing life-saving surgical procedures. We honor his legacy with the naming of the Vivien Thomas High School Research Program at the Morehouse School of Medicine. The Vivien Thomas Research Program for high school students was established to provide experiences in the research laboratories at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Students conduct research for six weeks under the direction of a medical school faculty member and learn the content, process and methodology involved in inquiry science. At the end of this summer experience, students present their research findings to the faculty and staff at MSM.

Vivien T. Thomas was born in New Iberia, Louisiana on August 29, 1910. His family later moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was educated in the public schools. In 1929, after working as an orderly in a private infirmary to raise money for college, he enrolled as a premedical student at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial College. The bank crash that year wiped out his life’s savings, forcing him to drop out of school.

In 1930, he took a position at Vanderbilt University as a laboratory assistant with Alfred Blalock. Thomas’ abilities as a surgical assistant and research associate were of the highest quality, and when Blalock moved to Johns Hopkins in 1941 he asked Thomas to accompany him. Thomas joined Blalock’s surgical team and helped to develop the procedure used in the “blue baby” operation. He helped train many of the surgeons at Johns Hopkins in the delicate techniques necessary for heart and lung operations.

Thomas was a member of the medical school faculty from 1976 until 1985 and was presented with the degree of Honorary Doctor of Laws by the Johns Hopkins University in 1976. Today, in operating rooms all over the world, there are great surgeons performing life saving surgical procedures who received their training from Vivien Thomas. His achievements stand as a testament to the power of research, discovery, and persistence to improve the health of generations to come, a legacy we honor with the naming of the Vivien Thomas High Summer Research Program at Morehouse School of Medicine.

#HumpDayLoveDay: Reverend Run+ Justine Simmons

o the world, Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, co-founder of Run DMC, is a legendary rapper but to his wife Justine from Hempstead, he’s simply “Joey.” In their new book, “Old School Love” they both talk about their successful marriage of 25 years which includes seven children (three from Run’s previous marriage) and three grandchildren.

Today they live in New Jersey, but they’ll head out to Long Island for a signing at Book Revue in Huntington on Thursday.

Newsday spoke with the couple about how they met, the secrets to surviving stardom and how they’ve made their marriage last.

Where did you two meet?

Rev Run: Justine went to see Kurtis Blow in concert when I was 15. I was hanging out doing a little rapping on the side calling myself the Son of Kurtis Blow.

Justine: He looked so innocent, shy and cute. After he got off the stage they whisked him to the back, but I kept thinking about him. So I knocked on the stage door and he came out to sign an autograph.

You both reconnected then married in 1994. What has held you together for such a long time? 

Rev Run: Doing right by each other. If you are not selfish, you can make it work. We always say, be selfless instead of selfish.

Justine: We are constantly trying to make each other happy and look out for each other. I don’t want to see him sad and he doesn’t want to see me sad. We are always trying to make our relationship better.

The divorce rate is so high these days. What are some key tips you can give young couples about staying together?

Rev Run: Whatever you were doing that got you so excited to get married, don’t change those patterns. If you’ve been together for two years and now you are married, don’t start putting new rules in the game. Whatever made you say, “I do!,” stay right there. Don’t let the word “marriage” change the way you treat your significant other.

Do you think young people today are fearful of getting married?

Justine: Yes! That’s why we called the book “Old School Love.” The back-in-the-day love was more intense. People tried to keep it together and not break up as fast. We are not saying we are the “It Couple.” We say, here are some things that we do and hopefully it will work for you.

Run, being a rap icon, how do you stay grounded?

Rev Run: They come with me. When I’m in it, I make sure they enjoy it as well. Think about it, I took the whole family and put them on TV with me [MTV’s reality show, “Run’s House,” from 2005-2009]. They are stars in their own right. My daughter Angela has three times the amount of Instagram followers than me!

#TuesdayTalk Politics: Andrew Young

Andrew Young Jr. became active in the civil rights movement, working with Martin Luther King Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Entering politics, Young served in Congress, was the first African American ambassador to the United Nations and became mayor of Atlanta. In 1981, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Early Life

On March 12, 1932, Andrew Jackson Young Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. The product of a middle-class family — his father was a dentist, his mother a teacher — he had to travel from his neighborhood to attend segregated schools. After graduating from Howard University, Young chose to study at Connecticut’s Hartford Theological Seminary. In 1955, he became an ordained minister.

Civil Rights Leader

Working as a pastor in Georgia, Young first became part of the civil rights movement when he organized voter registration drives. He moved to New York City to work with the National Council of Churches in 1957, then returned to Georgia in 1961 to help lead the “citizenship schools” that tutored African Americans in literacy, organizing and leadership skills. Though the schools were a success, Young sometimes had trouble connecting with the rural students in the program.

As the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was running the citizenship school program, Young became a member of the organization and began working closely with King. Within the SCLC, Young coordinated desegregation efforts throughout the South, including the May 3, 1963 march against segregation during which participants were attacked by police dogs. King valued Young’s work, trusting Young to oversee the SCLC when protests meant that King had to spend time behind bars.

In 1964, Young became the SCLC’s executive director. While in this position, he helped draw up the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was with King in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, the day of King’s assassination. Following King’s death, Young became executive vice president of the SCLC.

Political Career

In 1970, Young left the SCLC to make a run for Congress but was defeated at the polls. Two years later, he ran again, and this time was elected to the House of Representatives. Young was the first African American to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction. In his time as a legislator, he supported programs for the poor, educational initiatives and human rights.

During Jimmy Carter’s run for the presidency, Young offered key political support; when Carter was in office, he chose Young to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Young left his seat in Congress to take the position. While ambassador, he advocated for human rights on a global scale, such as sanctions to oppose rule by apartheid in South Africa.

In 1979, Young had to resign his ambassadorship, as he had met in secret with Zehdi Labib Terzi, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s U.N. observer. The resignation did not keep Young from being elected as Atlanta’s mayor in 1981. After two terms as mayor, he failed in his attempt to secure the Democratic nomination to run for governor of Georgia. However, Young was successful in his campaign for Atlanta to host the Olympic Games in 1996.

Legacy

Young wrote about his role in the fight for civil rights in two books: A Way Out of No Way (1994) and An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America (1996). He has also written Walk in My Shoes: Conversations Between a Civil Rights Legend and His Godson on the Journey Ahead (2010). He continues to fight for equality and economic justice with a consulting firm, Good Works International, that supports development initiatives, particularly in Africa and the Caribbean.

As an esteemed civil rights activist, Young has received accolades that include the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Spingarn Medal. Morehouse College named the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership in his honor, and Young has taught at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.