Happy Independence Day, America!

Independence-Day

The OnPointPress.net family would like to extend Independence Day greetings to all of our USA-based readers and supporters. After all the tragedy of the past month, it is refreshing to take some time to enjoy a long weekend of fun and family.

For our non-American readers, we urge you to celebrate your independence from any relationship, situation or issue that has held you back over the years. Move forward with confidence that a new way of doing things, a new beginning in your decision-making and thought process, offers the opportunity for new, better and exciting results.

Happy Independence Day and July Fourth Weekend America!–OnPointPress.net.

 

Jamaican educator-advocate elected to UN’s anti-racial committee, CERD

Educator

Jamaican educator-advocate Verene A. Shepherd, OD, FCCS, BA, MPhil, PhD, was elected to the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Kingston, JA, June 30, 2015: Professor Verene A. Shepherd, OD, FCCS, BA, MPhil (UWI), PhD (Cantab), highly respected Jamaican academic, author, historian, and human rights advocate, was elected to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Thursday, June 25, 2015. She will serve a four-year term from 2016 to 2020. Dr. Shepherd’s election took place during the 26th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which was held in New York.

The  Jamaican Flag.

The Jamaican Flag.

“Her victory is a tribute to her longstanding engagement in efforts to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance over the globe,“ said Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson, QC, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. “The international community was impressed with her work as a member and chair, 2011 to 2014, of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent where she was involved in helping to craft the program for the International Year for People of African Descent and the Program of Activities for the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015-2024.”

Dr. Shepherd will be the first national of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to serve on the CERD. She was elected along with candidates from Burkina Faso, China-Colombia, Guatemala, Mauritania, Russia, Spain and the United States of America. Coming on the heels of Jamaica’s recent successful bids to the International Court of Justice, The UN International Civil Service Commission, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Minister Nicholson noted that  Dr.Shepherd would join a long list of Jamaican nationals who have distinguished themselves in the international arena..–OnPointPress.net.

Maxi Priest headlines VP Record’s 35th anniversary concert, 6/27, in Central Park

L-R Maxi Priest, Gyptian, Bunji Garlin, Faye Lyons.

L-R Maxi Priest, Gyptian, Bunji Garlin, Faye Lyons will perform at Central Park’s Summerstage today, June 27, 2015.

By Tiffany Mea

VP Records has teamed up with SummerStage to celebrate the label’s 35th year in business. From VP’s artist roster, reggae stars Maxi Priest and Gyptian as well as soca royalty Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons will take the stage in NYC’s Central Park for this momentous occasion. DJs Bobby Konders and Jabba of Massive B will also provide sounds throughout the day. The free concert kicks off on Saturday, June 27,  from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This year marks the 35th anniversary when VP Records’ founders Vincent and his wife Patricia Chin moved their headquarters from Kingston, Jamaica, to Jamaica, New York,  transforming their operations into the largest Caribbean music company worldwide. There will also be a special VP Records 35th anniversary pop-up exhibit entitled A Reggae Music Journey, which designed by acclaimed artist Michael Thompson. The display will be located outside of the event for all the patrons to enjoy.

Maxi Priest.

Maxi Priest.

“VP Records is proud to bring this all-star lineup into the heart of Manhattan. We’re all looking forward to celebrating the 35th anniversary with an historic day of reggae and soca music in the park,” said VP Records Senior Director of Marketing Brian Greenspoon. VP Records co-founder Patricia Chin said: “SummerStage’s 30th Anniversary and VP Records’ 35th Anniversary are significant milestones that we are honored to acknowledge together at the prestigious Central Park venue.”

After 35 years, Miss Pat, as her staff affectionately refers to her, is still very much involved with the day-to-day operations of VP Records.

Following several partnerships with VP Records, The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) joins the label again as an official sponsor for the event. They will give away travel and merchandise on site. JTB’s Business Development Manager Kris DaCosta says, “the VP Records and SummerStage collaboration is a great fit for us. Reggae music is a huge part of Jamaica’s storied history and this event gives us a great opportunity to share with New Yorkers the good vibes to be had on Island.”

Gyptian

Gyptian

SummerStage is also celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. SummerStage is a program of City Parks Foundation that presents performances of outstanding artistic quality, free of charge, to serve the diverse communities of New York City. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, they have extended the season from May to October, and added more than 20 free shows in Central Park and 15 neighborhood parks across the city.

Maxi Priest and Gyptian performed their latest singles and Patricia Chin appeared on FOX 5 Good Day NY morning show to preview the event on June 26. Patricia Chin also received the Lifetime Achievement Award on June 25 at the 2015 American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) Libera Awards. She is the first female recipient to be presented with this honor.

With over 15 million albums sold worldwide, multiple Grammy nominations and Top 10 Billboard hits (including the No. 1 smash “Close To You”) – the most successful solo act in British reggae history, Maxi Priest, continues to hit the road throughout 2015 in support of his first studio album in almost a decade, Easy To Love (VP Records). Easy To Love is a fine representation of pop, reggae and R&B blended together in one set. The title track was a No. 1 hit on reggae charts last summer, evidence that Maxi Priest has a gift for staying fresh.

Fay Ann Lyons

Fay Ann Lyons

“Hearts Across The World” is a song for our times and pleas for people of all races to love one another. The soulful “Without A Woman” features Jamaican legend Beres Hammond and even echoes the themes and intensity of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World.” Maxi continues to tug on women’s heartstrings with irresistible tributes of enduring affection on “Loving You Is Easy,” “Holiday” and his rendition of John Mayer’s “Gravity.
Jamaican reggae singer Gyptian broke into the reggae scene in 2005 with his string of hits like “Serious Times” “Beautiful Lady” and “Mama, Don’t Cry.” He hit international stardom in 2010 with his critically acclaimed album Hold You and its RIAA certified Gold title track (produced by Ricky Blaze), which featured a Nicki Minaj remix, and earned him a 2010 MOBO and Soul Train award.

Gyptian just released his new single “All On Me” and his latest fourth studio album Sex, Love and Reggae, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Album chart, is a marked departure from his previous releases and unveils another layer of his artistry. The musically diverse set takes the listener from dancehall to soca to global pop and R&B sounds and features an eclectic mix of production from Jamaica – including Shane C. Brown. Justus Arison and Stanley “Rellee” Hayden, Russian and Linton “TJ” White – and is co-executive produced by Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis (Miguel, Mary J. Blige, Lupe Fiasco, the Fugees).

Bunji Garlin

Bunji Garlin

Born Ian Alvarez, the Trinidadian ragga soca star Bunji Garlin is known for blending of soca with dancehall. Hailed recently by Rolling Stone as “America’s first soca star,” Garlin has clearly taken his native country’s genre to new heights. His single “Differentology (Ready For The Road),” which was remixed by Major Lazer & Busta Rhymes, was a massive hit in North America more than a year after its release in the Caribbean.

In 2013, the single received a Soul Train Award win, was featured on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, won NYC’s HOT 97 FM’s Battle of The Beats competition and was chosen by NPR as one of the year’s favorite anthems as well as MTV Iggy’s Song of the Year. Garlin introduced soca to more mainstream music circuits by performing at last year’s SXSW, CMJ Music Festival, FADER Fort, Mad Decent Boat Party and alongside Jillionaire and Major Lazer during their 2014 tour stint.

Fay Ann Lyons is already a superstar in her native country of Trinidad and across the Caribbean. During Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival season’s annual competitions, Fay Ann has set the record as the only female artist to score the Carnival Road March title three times, taking the crown in 2003, 2008 and 2009. In 2009, she also won International Soca Monarch in Groovy, People’s Choice and Power category and is the first soca artist ever to win that soca ‘triplet’ of titles.

In addition to these feats, she has taken home 17 awards between the COTT (Copyright Organization of Trinidad and Tobago), NACC (National Action Cultural Committee Trinidad and Tobago) and SAO (Soca Awards Organization). The Point Fortin native has soca in her DNA. Her father Superblue, a soca legend who has won the Carnival Road March title nine times and Trinidad Soca Monarch competition seven times, was instrumental in honing Fay Ann’s skills as a songwriter and performer. She became a front-liner for the band Invazion led by Naya George and today is an official member of the Asylum band (previously known as “Censation”), founded by her husband and soca royalty Bunji Garlin. Fay Ann continues to tour worldwide and is recording her first solo full-length album on VP Records.

Massive B was formed over 10 years ago with DJ Bobby Konders’ vision of starting his own sound system. At its start, the voice behind Massive B was none other than Jabba. There have been many additions to Massive B as it continues to grow. New members include Big Dawg, Chudney Shotta, D-Life and X-Man, among others. Massive B has toured all over the globe, playing major festivals and dances, and representing NYC along the way.

Locally, Massive B is a Brooklyn staple, performing annually at the borough’s West Indian Day Parade and weekly at the Buzz Nightclub for ‘Fire Sundays,’ where they spin the hottest reggae, dancehall, hip hop, R&B, and soca music. –OnPointPress.net.

 

2015 NBA Draft will highlight trades, team-building

Karl-Anthony Towns (l) and Jahlil Okafor (r) are expected to be the first 2 players selected in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Karl-Anthony Towns (l) and Jahlil Okafor (r) are expected to be the first 2 players selected in the 2015 NBA Draft.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the first pick in tonight’s 2015 NBA Draft, yet the buzz surrounding the event centers on the potential moves that other lottery teams may make this evening. Draft day trades are usually a part of the action, but this year they threaten to upstage the draft as many of the routinely struggling teams seek to use their picks as leverage instead of building blocks.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak (l) and Knicks General Manager (r) have the daunting task of making draft day a success considering their teams recent history.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak (l) and Knicks General Manager (r) have the daunting task of making draft day a success considering their teams recent history.

The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers have proven that they are incapable of building a contender through the draft and seem intent on parlaying their high draft picks into already proven players. The Philadelphia 76ers have spent the last several seasons rebuilding with invisible blueprints and still seem years away from contending.

The same could be said for the Sacramento Kings and the Timberwolves. This year teams seem more desperate to forego the ideal that draft picks can sturdy the franchise and gamble on players who have shown promise already in the NBA. It is clear a different tactic for improving these teams is necessary as the teams picking early in the draft have been consistently inept.

Former Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell has as much potential as any player in this year's draft.

Former Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell has as much potential as any player in this year’s draft.

This offseason happens to pair a slew of regularly struggling teams with high draft picks and perennial playoff teams looking to drastically improve for next year. The lack of  depth in this year’s draft class also helps drive the trade speculation. Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are the two prospects everyone is sold on with D’Angelo Russell running a close third in terms of expected draft position.

With the level of uncertainty surrounding the draft class, expect at least a dozen trades to occur draft night as teams hope they can position themselves on Thursday night to meet personnel needs in time for the free agency period.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer and a licensed insurance agent at HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. Check out www.HealthMarkets.com/cglover for your insurance questions and concerns.

Finalists announced for NABJ 2015 Professional Chapter of the Year

chapters

Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2015): — The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is proud to announce its three finalists for the 2015 Professional Chapter of the Year Award. This year’s finalists include the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation (PBMF), the Southern New England Association of Black Journalists (SNEABJ), and the Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ). The award recognizes a professional chapter which has gone above and beyond to attract and retain members, design and execute exceptional programming for its members, demonstrated a significant level of involvement at the national level, and engaged their local community, among other criteria.

“We applaud the finalists for chapter of the year, PBMF, SNEABJ, and WABJ,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “These chapters have demonstrated why our chapters are the lifeblood of the organization. By working to engage members on a local level, they extend NABJ’s reach. They support the career development of aspiring journalists as well as seasoned professionals. These chapters also demonstrate an ongoing commitment to their respective communities, promoting inclusivity and diversity, but also engaging folks around issues important to folks locally.”

NABJ logo

PBMF has undergone a complete transformation with new leadership and is currently thriving under the direction of its president, Tory Parrish. PBMF successfully held its longstanding, annual programs, which were the 31st annual Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop for high school students, the 26th annual Robert L. Vann Media Awards and the Soul Café, which is an annual music and arts showcase and scholarship fundraiser. In addition, PBMF’s “Still Feel Like Going On,” a 10-week photography project for teen boys, was more closely aligned under the umbrella of PBMF programs.

Additionally, a new Community Service Subcommittee is one of the most active of PBMF’s committees and subcommittees. Its successful initiatives have included a children’s book drive, PBMF Reads: Project Book Bridge, and a coat drive that was tied to a holiday happy hour, ‘Coats and Cocktails.’

SNEABJ represents working and aspiring journalists in print, broadcast, and online in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Barbara Morse Silva is the president of the chapter. Monthly meetings rotate among media outlets between the three states. This group has made tremendous strides during its first year as a professional NABJ affiliate chapter. They have grown their paid membership both locally and nationally while offering both community-related and journalist benefits through its programming to more than a 200 people.

The chapter also offered its first community forum called “Does Race Matter to the Media?” The forum was held in December at Brown University. The event, which drew in more than a hundred community members, educators, social activists, and journalists from all backgrounds, focused on recent high profile race-related cases including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Donald Sterling, among many others that happened in 2014.

Through hard work and dedication, WABJ has maintained strong membership support, and with attendance numbers that continue to grow. This chapter is very active in holding meetings every month and sponsoring events almost as frequently. Invited guests at its most recent meetings include leaders in the journalism industry, such as network executives and reporters. The chapter is lead by its president, Donna Walker.

In March of 2014, WABJ held one of its Hallmark programs, the Urban Journalism Workshop (UJW). Three journalism students received scholarships totaling near $5,000 for their respective endeavors in print, and broadcast journalism. Last year, WABJ also held their first “Summer SOULcial,” an opportunity for members to meet and network while enjoying some good ol’ picnic fare. At the NABJ convention in Boston, the group sponsored a networking reception where professionals united to discuss the numerous seminars and workshops designed to improve journalists’ skills in the workplace. In the fall, it was the lead organization to support a networking event sponsored by CBS, and WABJ threw its annual holiday party in December, which was also well attended.

Throughout the year, the organization co-sponsored the Diversity Job Fair in Washington, DC. It was one of the largest groups to attend the NBC Diversity mixer held at NBC 4, and it even had a group represent the pre-screening of the award- winning film ‘Selma,’ before its nationwide release. This year’s winner will be named during NABJ’s 40th Annual Convention and Career Fair which takes place August 5 through August 9 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For additional information, ticket sales and registration, please visit us at www.nabj.org.–OnPointPress.net.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, children need your guidance to thrive and excel

Proud Father Ephieum Allen poses with his daughter, jasmine.

Proud father Ephieum Allen poses with his daughter, Jasmine, who is thrilled by his presence.

Being a parent is not easy and being an involved father who works hard to support his family but also devotes quality time to his children is priceless. Many dysfunctions of childhood seep into adult lives and have their roots in the reality that one or both parents failed in the task of being actively involved in the parenting journey with devastating consequences.

Fatherhood should not be tied into the farce of showering children with expensive presents in order to mask the long stretches of absences. Fatherhood, at its core, is the ability men display to envelop their children in unconditional love, acceptance and support. Fatherhood is the spirit that guides, teaches and protects but also allows children to make mistakes, secure in the knowledge that “Dad” will be there to lend an ear, offer advice when it is needed and keep his own counsel when it is not.

Jasmine celebrates her birthday by playing dress-up  with her father, Ephieum Allen

Jasmine celebrates her birthday by playing dress-up with her father, Ephieum Allen

For all the men who step up boldly and embrace the role of being an example to children, whether they fathered them biologically or fill in as a father figure, we at OnPointPress.net salute you! Have a Father’s Day that is filled with the rich blessings that emanate from the smiling faces of your children. Always know that your impact on your children’s nurturing and well-being is boundless.

happy_fathers_day

Happy Father’s Day to every father, everywhere, across the globe but to Black fathers especially since they are often demonized in the media. Your presence is needed in order for children to grow, blossom and thrive. Your example, tutelage and insight are needed as a road map for boys on their journey to manhood. Your counsel, feedback and oversight are instrumental for girls as they navigate the circuitous maze of dating and womanhood. Your influence is irreplaceable so embrace that reality and make the effort to show up for your children. Providing financial support does not hurt either, regardless of the state of your relationship with the children’s mother.

happy father's day2

Happy Father’s Day fathers, you are needed and valued much more than you know!–OnPointPress.net.

Nation mourns massacre of black church members by brazen, hateful, white terrorist

 

Charleston mourns

The nation mourns with Charleston after church massacre on Wednesday, June 17 by 21-year-old white terrorist.

Charleston shooting

Charleston  residents console each other and pray after church massacre.

There is a profound sense of shock permeating across the nation as African-American church-goers and casual observers grasp the improbability of the new reality: You are not safe in the Lord’s house, rather, you are a target of home-grown white terrorists who are fueled by bitter hatred that the country had the temerity to elect, and subsequently re-elect, its first African-American president.

Emmanuel AME Church

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME ) Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

And so, in a cowardly act akin the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, where four little African-American girls lost their lives in 1963 at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, white terrorist Dylann Roof unleashed a barrage of bullets on unsuspecting church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night, June 17.  Roof came to the church, asked for the pastor by name, sat through the one-hour Bible study session before rising to his feet and methodically shooting the stunned worshippers, hell-bent on exacting revenge for the prominence of African-Americans.

“You rape our women and are taking over our country,” he allegedly stated, “You have to go.” He reloaded his gun five times, ignoring the pleas of his terrified victims.

Remorseless white terrorist Dylaan Roof is fitted with a bullet-proof vest and escorted to police precinct without being handcuffed.

Remorseless white terrorist 21-year-old Dylann Roof is fitted with a bullet-proof vest and escorted to police precinct without being handcuffed.

“I’m here to kill black people,” he allegedly said, after informing one of the survivors that he spared her so that she could “tell others” what he has done. An angry President Barack Obama did not hold back as he expressed frustration with the spate of gun murders.

“I have to make these announcements too often,” President Obama said, as he revealed that he had “friends” who were killed at the church, referring to the church’s pastor and state senator the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. While for some it is easy to ascribe mental health diagnosis for Roof’s diabolical act of terrorism, he has embraced the tenets of white supremacy and black hatred for years, according to reports.

charleston victims

Charleston  church shooting victims (L-R: Ethel Lance,  Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, DePayne Middleton_Doctor, Clementa Pinckney, Susie Jackson, Myrna Thompson, Daniel Simmons Sr. and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton.

charleston_shooting_victims3

And, like the New York Times described African-American victim Michael Brown when he was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson last summer, Roof “was no angel,” having been arrested at least three times in the past for an assortment of crimes including drug possession and trespassing.

As Conservative politicians hasten to categorize Roof’s action as that of “a lone gunman” they absolve his parents and community from taking action against his well-documented, previously expressed hateful thoughts and actions.

Four black girls were killed when white terrorists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

Four black girls (L-R: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Deinse McNair and Carole Robertson)were killed when white terrorists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

The searching pain, torment and loss of security that comes from terrorism in a place of worship, the bedrock of the African-American society and culture is indescribable. The  sense of anguish is further exacerbated by Roof’s smirk as he walked past the media throng, secure that because of his whiteness, he will be spared death at the hands of police, despite committing a despicable act of terrorism, whereas unarmed African-Americans are routinely brutalized and murdered by police officers merely for existing.

As reports surface that Roof is being held under suicide watch, the attention is shifting to his emotional state rather than his deliberate act of terrorism fueled by his desire to ‘start a race war,’ as his friends disclosed to the media.

Prayer vigil is held at Morris Brown Church in Charleston, SC.

Prayer vigil is held at Morris Brown Church in Charleston, S.C. as mourners grapple with the agony of loss, pain and grief.

If we are not safe in our sanctuaries, our places of worship and praise, then where are we safe? It is no secret that a very large segment of the American community is blinded by racism and rage due to the election and re-election of President Obama, which has fueled increasing acts of brutality and terrorism to assuage their racist views. Roof, despite his various acts of criminality, was given a gun by his father in April as a birthday gift, according to his uncle. This for a high school dropout who has espoused murderous thoughts against a race of people, simply because of the color of their skin.

Our hearts are broken and our mourning will continue for a long time but as difficult as it maybe to believe, we have to cling to the biblical intonation that despite the nights of mourning, “Joy cometh in the morning.”–OnPointPress.net.