Tag: lifestyle

#FitnessFridays: Lita Lewis

Born in Los Angeles, California, raised in Sydney, Australia, returned to the United States and made Brooklyn, NY home for 10 years before moving back to her birth city of Los Angeles.

She has traveled the world motivating people to pursue their dreams and reach their goals. From her earliest experiences, surrounded by this rich combination of cultures, lifestyles, and body types, Lewis developed a keen sense of what beauty is and what it is not. Working tirelessly to transform and break traditional molds of the “Americanized” fitness image has been the staple of her brand.

With an African American and Samoan ancestry, Lewis developed a deep love and admiration for foreign cultures, ethnicities and a genuine appreciation for diversity in people from all walks of life. Regardless of who you are and where you come from she learned that true wealth is health!

The way Lewis sees it, fitness and health isn’t about being skinny or curvy—it’s about being the best version of yourself. That means honoring your body by leading an active lifestyle, fueling yourself with whole nutritious foods and finding time to rejuvenate your mental and spiritual peace.

The motivational speaker and life coach is all about building strong minds and bodies whilst sharing her positive messaging via social media. Teaching young women to become the best version of themselves, whether skinny or curvy frames, her philosophy is all about accepting, embracing and building strong minds, being healthy for life, finding inner balance and pursuing and accomplishing personal growth- Your best you!

Lewis is also widely known for giving light to fans experiencing breakups, firings,
deaths, and many of life’s other challenges. Even as massive as Lewis’ social media platform has grown, Lewis has greater ambitions than being recognized for her beauty and popularity although she does not shy away from owning her reputation of being the poster child of strength and sensuality. She promotes her dislike for stereotypes, unhealthy fitness gimmicks and most of all, the notion that femininity and sexiness cannot also be tough, bold and durable.

In addition to her accomplishments on the stage, in the gym, and on the web, Lewis is also an incredible public speaker and motivational life coach. She can often be seen on the lecture circuit as a guest speaker. She enjoys the personal reach this platform provides, allowing her to
speak her mind and to share her insights and experiences pertaining to holistic health and benefits of daily exercise.

As vast as the Lita Lewis brand is, authenticity, organic beauty and eminent class are reflected back in all it touches. Her loving and compassionate spirit, coupled with her transformational message of maintaining inner and outer strength and positivity continue to help, inspire and eternally transform all that she touches.

#TuesdayTalkPolitics: Colin Powell

Colin Powell was the first African American appointed as the U.S. Secretary of State and the first, and so far the only, to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Who Was Colin Powell?

Colin Luther Powell is a United States statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-2005), serving under President George W. Bush. He was the first African American appointed to that position. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Early Life & Education

Born Colin Luther Powell on April 5, 1937, in Harlem, New York, Powell was the son of Jamaican immigrants Luther and Maud Powell. He was raised in the South Bronx and educated in the New York City public schools, graduating from Morris High School in 1954 without any definite plans for where he wanted to go in life. It was at City College of New York, where Powell studied geology, that he found his calling — in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). He soon became commander of his unit. This experience set him on a military career and gave him structure and direction in his life.

Graduation and Marriage

After graduation in 1958, Powell was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. While stationed at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Colin Powell met Alma Vivian Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama, and they married in 1962. The couple has three children: son Michael, and daughters Linda and Annemarie.

Early Military Career and Accomplishments

IN 1962, he was one of 16,000 advisers sent to South Vietnam by President John F. Kennedy. In 1963, Powell was wounded by a punji-stick booby trap while patrolling the Vietnamese-Laotian border. During this first tour of duty, he was awarded a Purple Heart and, a year later, a Bronze Star.

While on his second Vietnam tour of duty from 1968 to 1969, the 31-year-old Army major was given the assignment of investigating the My Lai massacre. In this incident, more than 300 civilians were killed by U.S. Army forces. Powell’s report seemed to refute the allegations of wrongdoing and stated, “Relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.” Also during this tour in Vietnam, Powell was injured in a helicopter crash. Despite his injury, he managed to rescue his comrades from the burning helicopter, for which he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal. In all, Powell has received 11 military decorations, including the Legion of Merit.

Accomplishments Under the Reagan and Bush Administrations

Powell earned an MBA at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and won a White House fellowship in 1972. He was assigned to the Office of Management and Budget during the Nixon administration and made a lasting impression on Caspar Weinberger and Frank Carlucci. Both men would consult Powell for advice when they served as secretary of defense and national security adviser, respectively, in the Reagan administration.

Colonel Powell served a tour of duty in Korea in 1973 as a battalion commander and after that, he obtained a staff job at the Pentagon. He attended the National War College in Washington, D.C. from 1975-1976. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1976 and commanded the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. In the Carter administration, Powell was an assistant to the deputy secretary of defense and the secretary of energy. Promoted to major general, he again assisted Frank Carlucci at the Department of Defense during the transition from the Carter to the Reagan administration. He then served as senior military aide to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, helping to coordinate the invasion of Granada and the bombing of Libya.

National Security Adviser

In 1987, Powell became national security adviser, a post he held for the duration of the Reagan administration. While there, he coordinated technical and policy advisers during Reagan’s summit meetings with Soviet President Gorbachev and his conferences to topple the pro-Communist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. It was discovered that the administration had arranged for covert and illegal shipments of U.S. weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of hostages. Proceeds from the sale of the weapons would go to support the counter-insurgency movement in Nicaragua, which was aimed at toppling the Sandinistas. Such support had been prohibited by Congress since 1982. Powell was asked to testify before Congress about the incident, but he was not implicated in any wrongdoing.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed General Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The post is the highest military position in the Department of Defense, and Powell was the first African-American officer to receive that distinction. General Powell became a national figure during Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations in Iraq. As chief military strategist, he developed what became known as the “Powell Doctrine,” an approach to military conflicts that advocates using overwhelming force to maximize success and minimize casualties. He continued as chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the first few months of the Clinton administration. He publicly disagreed with the president on the issue of admitting gays into the military, although he eventually agreed to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise.

Iraq Controversy

Powell retired from the Army in 1993. In 1994, he joined Senator Sam Nunn and former President Carter on a last-minute peacekeeping expedition to Haiti, which resulted in the end of military rule and a peaceful return to elected government in that country. In 1995, he published a best-selling autobiography, My American Journey, which chronicles his life and its influences, the ins and outs of military bureaucracy, and what he learned in his life about personal rules and character. From 1997 to 2000, he was chairman of America’s Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering character and competence in young people. Powell and his wife, Alma, now co-chair the organization, which has a presence in more than 500 communities in all 50 states.

Secretary of State

In 2000, President George W. Bush appointed Powell secretary of state, and Powell was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. At that time, this was the highest rank in civilian government ever held by an African-American. During his tenure, Powell came under fire for his role in building the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Initially, Powell had serious misgivings about President Bush’s plan to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Powell believed the policy of containment was sufficient to control the Iraqi regime. He warned Bush that a military invasion would consume the president’s first term and that if an attack were to occur, it should use overwhelming force and have broad international support. This support would be key to the rebuilding of Iraq.

Bush decided to go to war and, in a crucial moment, Powell agreed to support the president. To advance the case for war with the international community, Powell appeared before the U.N. Security Council in February 2003 to present evidence that Iraq had concealed an ongoing weapons development program. Powell’s reputation for integrity helped convince many in Congress and the country that Iraq posed an imminent threat.

For the remainder of Bush’s first term, Powell tried to establish an international coalition to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq. In September 2004, he testified before Congress that the intelligence sources he used in his February presentation to the United Nations were “wrong” and it was unlikely that Saddam had any stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Powell advised the committee of the necessity to reform the intelligence community in order to improve its gathering and analysis. In 2004, after acknowledging it was unlikely that Iraq possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Powell announced his resignation as secretary of state. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was his successor.

General Colin Powell

#MedicMondays: Aaron McDuffie Moore

Born to free African American parents during the Civil War, Aaron McDuffie Moore (1863-1923) was trained to be a school teacher, but after several years teaching high school he entered Leonard Medical School at Shaw University. He graduated in 1888 and became the first black physician in Durham.

In 1898, Moore and other investors founded the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co., and later persuaded the Duke family into backing a hospital for African Americans. When Lincoln Hospital opened in 1901, Moore became its first superintendent. After Mutual’s office moved from Main Street to Parrish Street in 1905 Moore moved his own medical practice there and in 1908 he and others opened the Bull City Drug Co., a pharmacy, on Parrish Street with a second branch, on Fayetteville Street in Hayti.
Moore also founded the first public library for African Americans, as a book collection at White Rock Baptist Church. The collection and its patronage rapidly grew and led to creation of the Stanford L. Warren public library.
Moore’s home was on Fayetteville Street next door to White Rock. It was demolished during Durham Freeway construction in the 1960s.

Wait For It

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:36)

One of the biggest reasons so many of us have hardships, financial problems, relationship problems, and so many other difficult times in our lives is our lack of patience.  The person who feels they have to have things right away instead of waiting patiently for them, soon finds themselves in a financial bind.  Bills aren’t paid, and very soon, that person begins to have other problems related to their lack of patience.  Their health begins to suffer from the stress of bill collectors constantly calling.  Their relationships become strained because of their indebtedness.  All of these issues arise because of a lack of patience.

For each of us, God desires that we do well and prosper.  However, to get to that place of prosperity and peace we must have patience.  God has a great reward in store for us if we remain patient and steadfast in our pursuits.  We need to let patience work its perfect work in our lives.  Our peace and stability depend heavily upon our waiting for what we desire.

Prayer:  Father, as we seek to fulfill the plan and purpose you have for our lives, teach us to wait patiently for those things that we desire.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

#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.”

#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.