It all started with posts on Facebook. Then it started to grow when the class of 2008 and 2009 planned their reunion for Middle College High School. The Middle College High School class of 2010 is planning a reunion set for summer 2020.
Trevor Nolan, the committee chair along with LaTrice Otis, Earnest Shinault, Theo Jones, and Dominique Chalmbers are coordinating this event.
Nolan said the reunion will feature several events including a networking and mingle, a class family field day, a class night out, church day, and a banquet dinner with scholarships awarded to future Middle College graduates.
One goal of this reunion according to Nolan is for the class to bond together. Plus the proceeds from this reunion will go to a scholarship fund for Middle College Students.
Nolan and the committee also have a few ideas in the works including a 3 on 3 basketball game and a local and national comic comedy show.
The class reunion currently is planned for summer 2020. No other details about the reunion have been revealed.
Faria Walker was the guest speaker at Myron Mays Book Club this month. She talked about relationships with her father and how it motivated her to write the book.
As the host Myron Mays was interviewing her, he introduced a special guest to the book club. Walker’s father appeared at the book club. Walker and her father have not seen each other since her childhood and some of her adult life. Walker and her father grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father came down from Cincinnati to support her. Walker discussed how people should still have a relationship with their parents despite hardships and drama.
Walker wanted to forgive and form a relationship with her father after 20 years. In her book, she talked about how the child should forgive and honor their parents whether right or wrong. She also wanted to write a children’s book about this. Her book is based on a bible verse in the New Testament.
As the book club discussion ended, her father talked about how hard it was for him to leave Walker. He wanted that relationship with her. After 20 years from childhood and adult they are finally reunited.
The book club closed the crowd asked questions about Walker’s relationship with her father. There were some questions about single parenthood with the mother. One crowd member asked about single parent fathers.
Walkers book Grass That Withers Will Grow has been released. The price of the book is $13 on amazon.com.
The Memphis Association of Black Journalists sponsored a workout event on May 12. It was called Trap Yoga. Gene Williams a yoga instructor in Memphis lead the class as the members and guests worked out to hip hop music.
The event served three purposes.
May is Mental Health awareness month where MABJ in its previous meeting discussed about the rigors of life in media and how it affects their health. The event was to promote good mental and physical health.
The second purpose of the event was to raise money for the MABJ Scholarship Fund. The fund was to honor Bernal E. Smith II. A well-known Memphis journalist who died in 2017 from natural causes.
The trap yoga event featured some exercises including poses, cardio, and core strengthening. The workout also incorporated flexibility and joint health. The workout took place at 525 N. Main Street at the Old Greyhound Station in Memphis.
Gene Williams originally named the workout Zen Yoga Flow. He named the workout Trap Yoga due to the intensity and the hip hop music. There was a warmup and an intermission. Then there was the intense workout and the cool down. More than 50 people attended the workout and MABJ raised more than $200 for the event.
The 2nd Annual Local Memphis Music Festival was held at Downtown Elementary on May 12, 2018. There were several local music acts including Personal Praise, AG Hustle and touring country rock musician Anna Benson.
Personal Praise kicked off the event with two of their gospel hits “The Call” and “Keep on Reaching”. The group’s purpose behind the music is to uplift teens. Both Tez and Yana are still in high school.
“Im a junior and I attend Middle College High school (Yana), and I am a graduating senior at Central High School (Tez),” said both members of Personal Praise.
The group released their first national album but this wasn’t the first time they performed together.
“We have been singing together for almost seven to eight years. but since we are brother and sister we grew up our whole lives singing together,” said Yana from Personal Praise.
When Radio Memphis invited the group for an interview they were instantly booked for the show by the organizer of Radio Memphis.
AG Hustle performed a few songs about his struggle and how he continues to work for him and his son.
“I been doing music since I was 16. My cousin involved me into it. It was never my work it was his work.”
He has worked on many mix tapes. However, he said his best music is a work in progress.
“The best song I worked on is on my album. It’s called ‘Diary of a Winner’. It’s basically telling my story or how I got started with music.”
Anna Benson is a local artist who toured across the south. She even recorded songs with a producer who knew the Minneapolis sensation Prince. She performed country rock songs at the festival.
The festival was held at Downtown Elementary where at least 2500 people where in attendance. The festival continued until 7:00 pm on May 12.
Every time you read or listen the news in Memphis, you see an article or a commentary from Otis Sanford. That’s if viewers watch WREG-TV or read the Commercial Appeal.
Every commentary Sanford has done ends with this statement “and that’s my point of view”. He is known through the Mid South as a journalist, author and commentator. He has written on many issues in Memphis. He also has ties to Memphis politics with his book he published recently from Boss Crump to King Willie. The book talks about the racial divide of Memphis politics and issues. From the days of E.H. Crump and his influence on Memphis mayors ,to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, to the former first African American mayor in the city William Herrington.
Sanford began writing in grade school. His love for reading the news and his journalism class in high school launched his career. In college he was a copy boy at the Memphis Commercial Appeal. He ran errands for the reporters and editors. Then he went to the Clarion Ledger for two years as a reporter. In 1977 he got his first job as a general assignment reporter for the Commercial Appeal.
From there he had many jobs including in Pittsburgh and Detroit. When he came back to Memphis, he was considered a top candidate for editor of the Commercial Appeal. He did not get the position, however he remained at the paper as the open editorial columnist. In 2011, he started the Otis Sanford commentaries at WREG-TV in Memphis. He commented on several issues including political, economical, national and other issues affecting the Memphis community.
Sanford is currently a editorial columnist at the Commercial Appeal, a commentator at WREG-TV Memphis and serves as a Hardin Chair of Excellence professor of journalism at the University of Memphis. He also appears on WREG’s Informed Sources.
The University of Memphis hosted its Graduate School Majors fair on March 21. This was for college seniors or incoming graduate students that haven’t attended the university.
The fair had more than a few hundred students, prospective and current, attended. The fair had 6 colleges and each college had several different majors and concentrations.
Colin Chapell a professor at the University College said his department offers several concentrations and a choose your own major path.
“The University College offers two degree programs,” he said. “We offer the Masters of Professional Studies program which has three specific areas. Plus we have the Liberal Studies program which you can choose the courses you pick for your degree.”
Mary Kyle, the coordinator of the Graduate School Fair said it is important for students to realize a bachelors degree is not enough in some career areas.
Kyle also said that students that want to specialize in their area of choice needs to build their writing skills as well.
She said that the most popular graduate majors were Education, Business, and Science degrees. The most preferred degree was the MBA according to Kyle.
Other majors that were represented included Accounting, Engineering, Film Studies, Journalism, and Architecture.
The graduate school fair lasted from 12-2pm.
A discussion was held at the Clayborn Temple in Memphis yesterday about a certain box office hit. Four Memphis activists answered questions, responded to comments, and debated about the meaning of the Marvel movie Black Panther.
The panelists were King Dre–a Memphis music artist, Tonya Meeks–a local author, Sam O’Bryant–a Senior Equity Director for SchoolSeed Foundation, and Miska Clay Bibbs of the Shelby County School Board. The hosts of the event was Jamie McGriff–a former reporter for WATN-TV and P.A. Bomani–a marketing manager for Easy Moving Services in Memphis.
The Black Panther movie discussion included the origins of the movie in the comic. Bomani said the comic characters were biased because the original comic book came out in the 1940’s. This was the time during racism and how Caucasian male comic book writers viewed other races. Bomani said the character in the movie Jabari of the Jabari tribe was known as ApeMan in the original comic. He also said the main character T’Challa was not the original Black Panther until later in the century.
Many people asked about the relations between the characters in Black Panther and the African Americans struggles in the real world. Bibbs said this is the first lead superhero that was African American that kids can look up too. She also said the movie empowered African Americans because the war cries and the chant Wakanda Forever.
McGriff said the female warriors were amazingly skilled. She said those warriors and the “vibranium” weapons were impactful in the movie.
Dre said his favorite character in the movie was Erik Killmonger. He did not see Killmonger as the villain but a guy that wanted to help the world using Wakanda’s resources. He said that T’Challa or Killmonger could have changed the world. Dre also almost gave a spoiler when he said Killmonger did not die in the movie.
The discussion ended with the panelists talking about how to empower the Memphis community. As much as 80 people showed up to this event at the Clayborn Temple.
Wendi C. Thomas a former writer at the Memphis Commercial Appeal discussed her work on MLK 50 on March 3. This was during the monthly MABJ meeting held at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. Thomas touched on many topics including her MLK 50 publications for the Civil Rights Museum. She said the museum did not had editorial control over the project. Thomas’ vision of the project showed how Memphis progressed long after the civil rights movement.
Thomas said Memphis has a high poverty rate, high crime rate, limited access to education, and limited to no access to healthy food. She said there is still work to be done in the area. Thomas also said minority children have limited and unequal access to education. According to a study she conducted she said children are poor because of their parents’ poverty.
Thomas also discussed her journey as a Neiman Harvard University Fellow. She was a fellow three years ago and researched many topics including issues in Memphis, issues in government, and issues in media.
Thomas said during her time at the Memphis Commercial Appeal, she would get unusual story requests from her editor. She said some people at the Appeal would get her to write stories that were in the interest of a mainstream audience. Thomas also said she had earn trust with her sources. She said she could find the best source for a story before anyone could get to them.
Her speech ended with some advice to the young journalists. Thomas said you have to look out for your coworkers and sources. She said young journalists should be aware of what is going on with your newsroom leadership.
The MABJ President Montee Lopez discussed some events happening within the NABJ region. He announced that the Region III NABJ conference would be in Atlanta from April 6-8, 2018. Other announcements included the MABJ Mixer, and the “TRAP Yoga” retreat coming in a few weeks. Vice President Jeremy Pierre also announced a MABJ Producer Bootcamp for the college students coming this summer. There is no set date for the bootcamp.
Krishun Lovelace won the Mr. HBCU competition two weeks ago. He is the first Mr. HBCU from LeMoyne Owen College to win the title within the last 10 years. The last Mr. HBCU LeMoyne Owen College who won Mr. HBCU was Jerome Heard in 2008.
Lovelace is in his first month reign as Mr HBCU. His reign will last until the 2018-2019 school year. He currently is a senior at LeMoyne Owen College majoring in business and foreign languages.
He said that Mr. HBCU changed his mindset. He also said that he has become a better man because of the competition. The Mr. HBCU competition included a talent showcase, preliminary round, oratory, question and answer period, and other event surrounding the crowning of the winner.
During the competition according to Lovelace, the HBCU kings had workshops, worked community service, and attended several events leading up to the competition. Lovelace made it to the final eight competitors and won the competition.
He credits his mentor Ms. Ruby Minter for helping him win the competition. He said she pushed him everyday working on his oratory on the phone. Then Lovelace said Minter also made him practice everyday on the oratory and the Q and A section. Lovelace said helped him personally and professionally grow.
According to him, Lovelace also won Mr. Oratory for his speech during the competition. He won outlasting 17 other HBCU kings in the competition.
Lovelace said he is grateful for the competition, the time he put in, Ms. Minter helping him out and the experience of becoming Mr. HBCU.
HBCU (Historically Black colleges and Universities)…
Memphis and MLK 50: From Division to Unity
Memphis and the Mid-South may have its’ problems as far as crime, government issues, and financial instability. However, the city is more than prepared for the MLK 50 event in April. The event is to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death at the Lorraine motel. His death came after the Memphis Sanitation Strike in 1968.
There are many events and celebrations planned in April for Dr. King. Plus, MLK 50 will have a celebration during black history month in February. MLK 50 is expected to be a huge celebration in Memphis with more than several hundred thousand people to come to the bluff city.
The celebration ends with a commemoration at the Civil Rights Museum honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Some events for the MLK 50 include a forum on the state of civil rights for every American, an orchestra honoring the musicians of the movement, a march to the Civil Rights Museum, and other planned events at the University of Memphis.