All posts by Contributing Writers

The Black Panther Experience

Crystal Toussant

Contributing Writer

For years people have been anticipating the sequel to Black Panther, but it became even more important with the devastating loss of Chadwick Boseman, the original Black Panther.  When he unexpectantly died of Colon Cancer the world was devastated.  Everyone wondered how Marvel would move on without Boseman who was adored around the world.

Black Panther Wakanda Forever had sold out dozens of theaters before it even premiered garnering an impressive 180 million opening weekend. ″‘Wakanda Forever’ is living up to expectations as not just an important tentpole blockbuster for Disney and movie theaters, but also a memorial to Chadwick Boseman that fans are sharing and experiencing together,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at

Movie Goers all over the world were having themed Wakanda Forever parties.  Houston is no different. The Wakanda Forever Red-Carpet 3D Experience was a great success on opening night.  Chandra Whittaker led the planning for this awesome event.  They boosted a Live DJ, delicious finger foods, 360 Photo booths, Door Prizes, VIP Swag Bags, Step and Repeat which recognized the event sponsors, and Holographic Special Edition Posters and t-shirts for VIPs only.  This plush event was held at Regal Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Serenx  & RPX Theater at 3839 Wesleyan St. Houston, TX 77027.

Wakanda Forever did not disappoint with a theater full of festively dressed descendants of Africa who were proud to journey to the land of Wakanda again.  The movie was even better and more detailed than Black Panther.    The 3-D experience only intensified the experience.  I know this is another instant classic that many of us will watch countless times.

The Myron Anderson Listening Back Foundation Hosts Second Annual scholarship fundraiser on October 12th (FREE Admission)

Myron Anderson
Myron Anderson

(Houston)….It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year and a half since Houston lost one of its most popular radio personalities. Myron Anderson―
host of Listening Back with Myron on KTSU-FM Radio for over 30 years―passed away suddenly from a stroke in February 2013. The Texas Southern University Distinguished Alumni graduate was only 63.

Since Myron’s death last year, his widow Beth is determined to keep his legacy alive. On Sunday, October 12, 2014, from 5-9 pm (three days before Myron would have turned 65), the Myron Anderson Listening Back Foundation will host its Second Annual Scholarship Fundraiser. Friends and fans are invited to come out and “party with a purpose” at one of Myron’s favorite night clubs, The Red Rooster, 4937 Martin Luther King Blvd. & OST.

Admission to the fundraiser is FREE but everyone is encouraged to make a generous donation toward the Scholarship Fund which benefits a graduating senior from Myron’s alma mater Evan E. Worthing High School. The evening will include great food, door prizes, dancing to the oldies (including Myron’s favorite Temptations), as well as a few surprises.

The highlight of the event will be the unveiling of a new framed wall photograph of Myron which will be presented to KTSU-FM Radio in Myron’s memory on his birthday October 15.
For more information, contact Beth Anderson at 832-850-0447.

Coalition of National Civil and Human Rights Organizations ApplaudJustice Department’s Announcement of Racial Bias in Law Enforcement Study and Civil Rights Investigation of Ferguson Police Department Coalition Continues to Urge National Reforms and Recommendations to Address Police Abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 23, 2014 – A coalition of national civil and human rights organizations and leaders concerned about police abuse commends last week’s announcement by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. launching the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. The initiative will enlist a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five U.S. cities and will focus on training to reduce bias and ensure fairness in law enforcement. The group also applauds the federal investigation by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department following the August 9, 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, by a Darren Wilson, a white police officer. The weeks following Mr. Brown’s death have seen protests, unrest and further police-related incidents in the area, underscoring a deep schism between the police and the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.

Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine and Public Policy Director Tanya Clay House, originally convened 14 national civil and human rights organizations and leaders to issue a Unified Statement of Action to Promote Reform and Stop Police Abuse on August 18, 2014. Two of the coalition’s recommendations have come to fruition: an independent and comprehensive investigation by the DOJ of Michael Brown’s shooting death and the use of body-worn cameras by Ferguson police officers. The group continues to call for the use of police officer body-worn cameras nationally and commends the White House’s recent announcement of testing of body-worn cameras by the U.S. Border Patrol. Notably, five additional groups, including the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and more than 340 independent signatories, have joined the open letter which was sent to the White House and the DOJ.

The coalition is also encouraged by Attorney General Holder’s emphasis on the need for diversity across police departments and his description of the proactive steps that the DOJ has taken to engage the St. Louis County Police Department during his remarks regarding the civil rights investigation. Yet while the investigation of Mr. Brown’s death, as well as the racial bias study and its associated results are significant steps forward, the groups continue to call upon the DOJ, FBI, and police departments across the country to comprehensively address the ongoing killing of unarmed African American and Latino youth and adults by police and civilians alike that may have been motivated by racial bias, and to effect universal and long-term systemic reform to end police killings and the use of excessive force. In addition, the group continues to urge release of the federal racial profiling guidance, improved community policing, federal oversight of the distribution of federal weaponry and Congressional hearings on the use of excessive and deadly force by police.

The coalition, which remains in conversation with the White House, the DOJ, Ferguson and St. Louis County officials, and community groups and leaders, will continue to closely monitor related police-involved shootings and brutality nationwide. Likewise, the group will remain a vital part of ongoing reforms, recommendations and actions.
“As the federal investigation of the Ferguson Police Department continues, revealing the actual practices by the police department, including patterns of racially disproportionate policing, and as the Department of Justice’s study of racial bias in law enforcement gets underway, the Lawyers’ Committee remains hopeful that the application of the rule of law will yield a just and fair result for Michael Brown and his family and former and pending police lawsuits and internal investigations nationwide. Also, the Ferguson tragedy heightens national awareness of the criticality of voting. It is your right and your duty to make your voice heard by exercising the fundamental right to vote to effect change in your community and in the nation.”
-Barbara R. Arnwine, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

“Attorney General Eric Holder’s plan to investigate racial bias among law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, is a bold first step towards justice for thousands of victims of racial profiling throughout the country. The NAACP Missouri State Conference has been a leader on this front, filing five complaints with the Department of Justice, with regards to cases in St. Louis County. We applaud Attorney General Holder for his leadership in investigating the police interactions that resulted in the death of Michael Brown and that of others across the country. ”
-Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP

“The A. Philip Randolph Institute supports the recommended strategy of reform to ensure that the problem of police abuse is addressed at the highest level. We applaud the swift action of President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. and the Department of Justice for taking a strong stance against violence and for speaking in favor of restructuring the current landscape to encourage diversity within law enforcement so that the true healing of our communities can move forward.”
-Clayola Brown, President, A. Philip Randolph Institute
“The Department of Justice should be commended for responding swiftly to the tragedy in Ferguson and for taking steps to address racial bias in policing, which undermines effective law enforcement and leads to the victimization of entire communities. The need for sensible reforms is urgent and we urge the administration and Congress to respond accordingly.”
-Wade Henderson, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

“The National Bar Association applauds the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s civil pattern or practice investigation into allegations of unlawful policing by the City of Ferguson. Such an investigation was needed and long overdue. African American communities, such as Ferguson, have routinely been subjected to Investigatory Stops without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Stops resulting in unconstitutional detentions and searches. Accordingly, The National Bar Association encourages the DOJ to launch similar investigations in the 25 cities that it has sent Open Records Request. More important, the Association demands Congress to enactment of federal legislation: 1) making it mandatory for police officers to wear body monitors and any violation of this requirement would result in automatic suspension and/or termination; 2) developing and implementing an Early Warning System be to identify officers who are prone to emotional instability or behavior problems; 3) reviewing the use of Deadly Force policies; and 4) mandatory reporting of incidents by race.”
-Pamela Meanes, President, The National Bar Association

“We are encouraged by the Attorney General’s plan to investigate racial bias in law enforcement in select U.S. cities and hope to see such actions replicated nationally. The Department of Justice must use all of its power to implement systemic policing reforms so that the federal government is able to monitor discrimination and use of excessive and deadly force by local police agencies. These investigations are an important first step to help avoid the all too familiar deadly consequences of these unchecked systems.”
-Laura W. Murphy, Director, Washington Legislative Office, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Does Alameel, Democratic Party want the Black vote?

Texas Publishers Association

Has the African-American community become so loyal to the Democratic Party that politicians the likes of David Alameel and the Texas candidate for the Governor’s office feel they no longer need to work to earn our vote? It’s a fact since 1932 with the election of Roosevelt, the Democratic Party has consistently garnered more than half of the Black vote. Understandably so, considering who the Republicans have had to offer in the past years and with the emergence of the Tea Party in recent years, the overall party is ever so hostile towards Blacks, people of color, women and every other demographic excluding wealthy white males. But that’s no excuse for the continued gross and negligent oversight of the Democratic Party as a whole and its many candidates respecting the need to earn the Black vote.

Perhaps this is why Alameel and the current Texas Democratic candidate for the Governor’s Office have yet to answer the call of the Black press to sit and address the Black agenda. They have been happy to sit down and speak to FOX News about issues of importance to the Latino community. They have even made it their business to address local issues affecting the LGBT community in order to receive support.

Alameel even seemed elated to speak with CBS KENS5 News about his plans, if elected to bring back American jobs from Japan and China. He sounded jubilant to talk to Jay St. John and Sergio Mora on AM Radio about his travels “all over the state of Texas” and how much “fun” he has been having.

We know where both candidates stand on immigration reform. We know where they both stand on the economy. We know they are working very hard to gain the support and votes of the Latino community. But why are they deliberately ignoring the Black vote? Is the Black vote not equally as important? Do we not have issues that are pressing? Why are we continually being disregarded when we have a number of media outlets that can ensure the Black communities throughout Texas receive the proper information regarding the platforms of each Democratic candidate who claim to represent ALL of Texas.

Maybe these two Democratic candidates have been ill advised regarding the importance of addressing the Black community collectively and continually. Maybe these two candidates believe that Black people will not mobilize collectively to demand a platform that addresses Black unemployment, police brutality, voter suppression laws and the host of issues plaguing the Black community.

Considering it was in the heart of the Black community, Oak Cliff (a Dallas Community), where Alameel got his humble beginnings one would think courting the Black vote would be atop Alameel’s campaign agenda. However, if he thinks aligning with certain politicians of color is enough to win our support, he has made a gross miscalculation. Black leaders sometimes are well intentioned in their efforts, howeer it would be wise for them to pay attention to their constituents in their districts. Texas Black Publishers are now requesting a meeting to address and stress the need for Alameel, and other Democratic candidates meet with the Black Press of Texas. It’s time to stop being inaccessible to the concerns and questions being asked by the Black Press. It’s time to stop being unresponsive to the Black community. We are tired of the symptomatic negligence both candidates and the Democratic Party have continued to display for the Black communities around the Lone Star State.

Do not make the mistake of thinking a select group of Black elected officials speak for the Black community at large and definitely not the Black press. If David Alameel and the candidate for the Governor’s Office want our continued support, our endorsements and our vote, then they will have to earn it just as any other viable candidate would. Do not expect us to toe the Party line. These candidates cannot assume that just because their opponents do not like the agendas of our current presidential administration that the Black vote is in the bag. It is no longer a matter of the lesser of two evils.

We look forward to sitting down in the near future.

Brown family releases preliminary autopsy findings

By Sandra Jordan Of The St. Louis American


Initial findings of a second autopsy performed on unarmed teenager Michael Brown confirm there were six shots fired, including two to his head, a chest wound and shots to his right arm and hand. The family commissioned the independent autopsy.

Attorneys for Brown’s family, along with a famed medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and forensics pathologist Shawn Parcells provided details this morning during a press conference at Greater St. Mark’s Missionary Baptist Church in Ferguson.

New information they released today sheds more light on the direction two of two of those bullets.

“It shows a back-to-front for both of those, and it supports what the witnesses said about him trying to surrender to the officer,” Attorney Daryl Parks said. “And his head was in a downward position – it had to be, for what had happened.

“Those type of facts are clear and we believe that given those type of facts that this officer, officer should have been arrested.”

Parcells described the shots.

“We’ve got one to the top of the head, the apex … one that entered just above the right eyebrow … one that entered the top part of the right arm … a superficial graze wound to the middle part of the right arm … a wound that entered the medial aspect of the right arm and we’ve got a deep graze wound that produced a laceration to the palm of the right hand,” Parcells said. Additional wounds are possible bullet re-entry and exit wounds, he added, and he said their findings have to be conferred with the first autopsy.

Parcells made another critical point that he wanted everyone to be clear on about the wound to the medial aspect of the right arm.

“The question asked to us was, could that wound occur from him walking away, and then he turned around. It is consistent with that,” Parcells said. “However, understand too that while the shot could have come from the back…the arm is a very mobile part of your body, so it also could have occurred when he was putting his hands up… it could have happened if he put his arms across in a defensive manner. We don’t know.”

Dr. Baden stressed the results were preliminary, and he needed to review x-rays taken before the first autopsy as well as the victim’s clothing.

This second autopsy confirmed that Brown was shot from a distance since there was no gunpowder residue present on the body. Additionally, Brown’s body showed no signs of a struggle, Baden said, other than facial abrasions when he fell forward onto the street.

He added that the third autopsy, this one by federal authorities, is expected in the next day or two.

“It verifies witness accounts were true,” said Benjamin L. Crump, attorney for the family.

Unarmed teen Michael Brown killed by Ferguson Police

53e7056bf3bf0_imageContribution from the St. Louis American

Tensions were high in North County Saturday afternoon after reports of the shooting death of an unarmed teen in Ferguson at the hands of police.

Hundreds gathered outside the Canfield Green Apartments well into the night to protest the death of the young man who was later identified as Michael Brown.

He was reportedly scheduled to begin college classes Monday.

The outrage initially spread through social media, prompted by an image of a man holding up a cardboard sign that read “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”

The image was shared through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – accompanied by several reports by citizens who were on the scene.

A spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department confirmed to the Associated Press that it was a Ferguson police officer who shot the man, but did not identify the officer and did not immediately give a reason for the shooting.

The crowd eventually dispersed and police scheduled a news conference for Sunday morning.

“We are hurt to hear that yet another teenaged boy has been slaughtered by law enforcement especially in light of the recent death of Eric Garner in New York who was killed for selling cigarettes,” St. Louis County NAACP President Esther Haywood said in a statement. “We plan to do everything within our power to ensure that the Ferguson Police Department as well as the St. Louis County Police Department releases all details pertinent to the shooting.”

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told that St. Louis County Police have taken over the investigation and the officer involved in the shooting has been put on paid administrative leave.

State Senator Rodney Ellis remembers Mickey Leland

Mickey Leland
Mickey Leland

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the untimely passing of Congressman Mickey Leland. While leading a relief mission to a refugee camp in Ethiopia, his plane went down in remote mountains, killing him, his staff, and a group of international leaders.

Mickey was my boss, my mentor, and my dear friend. He died as he lived, trying to end world hunger and serving as a voice for the voiceless. His story is worthy of celebration and remembrance, as the values he embraced still live on a quarter of a century later.

First elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972, Mickey was unlike anyone who had ever served in that body previously. Picture an African American with an afro, platform shoes, leather shoulder bag, and bright dashiki walking around the Texas Capitol. He caused quite a stir.

By the time he got elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 – replacing Barbara Jordan – he had traded in the dashiki for a business suit, but that did not change what he fought for. He used his position in Washington to shine the spotlight on the plight of the powerless in this world.

Mickey had a motto, quoted from the Talmud: “If you save one life, you save the world.” He put that motto in practice, fighting to bridge the differences in our society, expand diversity, and end world hunger.

One of the first things he did in Congress was create a program that has sent hundreds of students from his congressional district to Israel during the summer of their junior year of high school, helping to broaden their perspective of the world.

He also began an internship program to start casting the net for more minority students to get involved in government service – one that I emulated through the Texas Legislative Internship Program. Mickey opened the door to students interested in the system and helped them get their foot in the door for training and experience. His efforts helped change lives, and also – in small ways – helped change the culture and complexion of the professional staff in Congress.

It was also his staff that ended up changing my life. I met Licia Green at an event in DC with Mickey. She later moved to Houston to run his district office, we fell in love and got married, and the rest is history.

But the cause that came to define Mickey was the plight of Africa, particularly the children of the continent. He talked frequently and eloquently about how this issue became his defining cause. On a trip to the Sudan in 1984, he watched a young girl die of starvation right before his eyes. He said he saw her face every day.

He knew something had to be done, and he was in a position to do something about it. He worked hard to expand ties and increase aid to the nations of Africa. He championed anti-hunger efforts and helped expand U.S. aid to Ethiopia during the famine in 1985. He traveled frequently to Ethiopia and across Africa and put into practice his deep belief that we are supposed to help “the least of our brothers.”

I still miss Mickey every day, but the lessons that he taught me will always guide my public service.

He taught me that there are no lost causes or unwinnable fights. He taught me that patience, cooperation, and dedication are the small but vital steps of progress.

He taught me that change comes in constant and consistent action, not in one fell swoop. He taught me that we are responsible not just for ourselves and our families, not just for our friends or neighbors, but for the people and children of the world.

And he taught me that we can all make a difference if we simply choose to get involved and take a stand.

So I am using the anniversary of Mickey’s passing as a moment to rededicate myself to the values that he espoused: courage, compassion, and a commitment to all people. I hope today’s solemn occasion will cause more to follow his lead.

Rodney Ellis


Sun Contributing Writer
Lynelle Bacon

James Brown. He was indeed super-bad in many ways.

“Get On Up” is a biography based on James Brown’s life. The story journeys through James’s childhood and adulthood. Despite having an impoverished childhood, he has a determined disposition that keeps him strong throughout his entire life. Needless to say, James perseveres.

Act I – 1988 in Augusta, Georgia
The biopic begins in 1988 in Augusta, Georgia with James driving to the Man’s World Enterprises Building that he owns. He enters the building and discovers that someone who is attending a seminar at his building has taken a dump in the bathroom. James becomes extremely annoyed because of this and demands to know who had the gall to take a dump in his bathroom. This sh-t is funny. No pun intended. After much torture to the attendees, James removes a shotgun from his truck and in the middle of his rant, forgets why he is so angry. He inadvertently shoots through the roof of his building. A high-speed police chase ensues.

Early Life of James Brown
The film retreats to 1939 when James and his mother, played by the remarkably talented Viola Davis, are frolicking in the backwoods near their cabin. James tells her that he is hungry. She dismisses him due to a lack of food and says to him that his hunger pangs are simply a spirit trying to make him laugh. She then tickles him.
James’s father, played by Lennie James, arrives home after being away for more than a week, and begins quarreling with his mother. James’s mother decides she would be better off without them and commences to leave the house. James’s father initially asks her to take James with her and she turns around in an attempt to retrieve him but is threatened by her husband and leaves without James. She walks away and begins a new life: a single and childless life.

James wonders off to the woods and comes in contact with a man who has been hanged to death. He takes the dead man’s fancy shoes off his feet and safely stores them away.

James father decides to join the army and delivers James to his Aunt Honey’s brothel and tells James to look after himself. Aunt Honey is played by the multi-award winner Octavia Spencer. Aunt Honey nurtures James and tells him that he is going to be rich one day and everybody will know his name.

Act II – The Turning Point in James Brown’s Life
At age 17, while wearing the fancy shoes that he took off the dead man’s feet when he was a young boy, James breaks a window and steals a three-piece suit, maybe to complement his shoes, and is subdued by the police and sentenced to five to 13 years in jail. While serving time in jail, he meets an aspiring gospel singer named Bobby Byrd, played by Nelsan Ellis. Bobby is a member of a gospel band that sings for the prisoners. He is very fond of James’s singing talent and persuades his mother to allow James to live with them as a means of getting out of jail sooner. James joins the gospel band, and this is the turning point in his life. An executive from King Records invites James and Bobby to Cincinnati to cut a record.

The movie goes back in time. James gets the attention of Little Richard, who is performing at a juke joint. Little Richard befriends James and gives him advice on how to make it in the music industry.

Act III – James Brown Goes Back to His Gospel Roots
The movie ends in 1993 when James visits Bobby Byrd, who has long severed ties with James. James invites Bobby and his wife to attend his upcoming concert. Bobby is very hesitant about attending the concert, and James is skeptical of his attendance.

Before going on stage, James reminisces about his life and says, “I paid the cost to be the boss.” James is delighted to discover that Bobby Byrd and his wife are in the audience. James redirects his band and sings the gospel song “Try Me” and it brings Bobby to tears.

Cast Members
While there are many fine actors who could have portrayed James Brown, this role was meant for Chadwick Boseman. He mastered James’s mannerisms. Chadwick is a phenomenal actor who also starred as Jackie Robinson in “42” – another great film. No one should be surprised if Chadwick is holding an Oscar on February 22, 2015.

Some of the other cast members include Tika Sumpter, who plays a professional back-up singer named Yvonne Fair. Though her role is somewhat minor, the super-talented actress puts her heart and soul in it.

The multi-talented Jill Scott stars as James’s second, sexy wife, DeeDee.
Dan Aykroyd, who James refers to as “Pops”, stars as his manager and good friend.
The hilarious Craig Robinson plays Maceo Parker, one of the band members.
I believe James would be very proud to see his life portrayed on the big screen.

The Godfather of Soul’s Style
From the singing, the splits, the spinning of the feet, to dancing with the microphones, there is no doubt that Prince, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger (one of the producers of the movie), and many other artists’ dance moves and singing styles originates from The Godfather of Soul, who was in a class by himself.

The Hardest Working Man in Show Business
It is no wonder why James Brown was dubbed “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business”, as he was a perfectionist and he demanded perfection from everyone in his camp.

A Must-See Movie
“Get On Up” is definitely a must-see movie. It gets five stars. So, Please, Please, Please Get Up Offa That Thing and get to a theater and treat yourselves to the incredible biopic. At two hours and eighteen minutes long, it is well worth the time.

Rest in Peace, Godfather.

First HISD FUTURES class to graduate with college degrees, work certifications

July 31, 2014 – The Houston ISD FUTURES Academy will recognize 84 students who earned an associate’s degree or work certification from Houston Community College at a graduation ceremony as part of the academy’s mission to prepare students for job opportunities in high-demand technical fields. The ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at Houston Community College Southwest, 5601 W. Loop South.

HISD opened five FUTURES academies two years ago, and this is the first graduating class. The graduation will recognize students from the Academy of Manufacturing Engineering Technology at Booker T. Washington High School, the Academy of Engineering Technology at Furr High School, the Academy of Process Technology at Kashmere High School, the Academy of Network & Computer Administration at Scarborough High School, and the Academy of Logistics & Global Supply at Sterling High School.

Over the summer, 59 students in the program earned an associate’s degree in applied science, while 25 students received a Level I Certificate in workforce programs such as technology, computer administration, and engineering. Through a partnership with HCC and most recently, the University of Texas MD Anderson School of Health Professions, students are able to receive college credit, career training, and industry credentials to provide them with options for a promising future after completing high school.

“The students who graduate from the FUTURES Academy will leave this program more skilled and ready to begin a career in a high-demand field or to continue their education at a four-year university,” said FUTURES Academy Assistant Superintendent Michael Love. “Whatever choice they make, they are well-equipped to be successful in the next step of their life.”

Next week, a FUTURES Academy Enrichment Week will be held for rising 10th grade students interested in applying for the academy, which also includes FUTURES academies in pharmacy, health science careers and construction technology at Long Academy, Jones High School, and Westside High School. The students will participate in a session to prepare for college readiness exams and visit Junior Achievement’s Finance Park, an interactive community with business models created to teach students about career readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.