Lloyd Wilks’ tenure as Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto starts in January

Newly appointed Jamaican Consul General to Toronto, Canada, Mr. Lloyd Wilks, assumes office in January 2015.

Newly appointed Jamaican Consul General to Toronto, Canada, Mr. Lloyd Wilks, assumes office in January 2015.

Kingston, JA: Mr. Lloyd Wilks, Jamaica’s new Consul General to Toronto, Canada, officially begins his tenure in January 2015. Mr. Wilks, a career diplomat with over 25 years of experience in the Jamaican Foreign Service, will be replacing Mr. George Ramocan, whose tour of duty ended on November 30, 2014. The announcement was made by Senator the Hon. Arnold J. Nicholson, Q.C., Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, on December 24, 2014.

Mr. Wilks is currently the Director of the Diaspora and Consular Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and has been actively involved in Jamaica’s citizen diplomacy for several years. He has played a central role in the organization and execution of the last two Biennial Diaspora Conferences and has helped to coordinate the launch and operation of the Mapping Jamaica’s Diaspora Project.

Mr. Lloyd WIlks, Jamaica's Consul General to Toronto, Canada.

Mr. Lloyd WIlks, Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Canada.

During his career he has also worked in the areas of protocol, foreign trade and international economic affairs, and has served overseas in various capacities at the Jamaican Consulate General, Toronto; Jamaican High Commission, London and the Jamaican Embassy, Havana.

Mr. Wilks holds an MSc in International Business from the South Bank University in London; an MA in Diplomacy and International Relations from the University of Westminster, London; and a BSc in Geography and the Social Sciences from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. A former Major League footballer for the Bull Bay Football Club, Mr. Wilks enjoys farming, horseback riding, swimming and chess.–OnPointPress.net.

Former CNN, BET, anchor T.J. Holmes finds sweet spot at ABC News

tj holmes

Award-winning news anchor T.J. Holmes is now co-anchor of America This Morning and World News Now on ABC News.

By Carmen Glover

Former CNN and BET Anchor T.J. Holmes was named co-anchor of America This Morning and World News Now on ABC, the station announced last week.

Holmes, who has appeared on MSNBC and TV One to fill-in for various anchors since his show, “Don’t Sleep” was cancelled on BET, has appeared on Good Morning America consistently in recent months.

“I’m thrilled to announce that T.J. Holmes is officially joining America This Morning and World News Now as co-anchor. In addition to his anchor duties he will also report across all broadcast and digital platforms,” World News wrote on its site. “T.J. has impressed us all for the past few months with his vibrant storytelling, engaging style and quick wit. An award-winning journalist , he has reported from around the world on some of the most important stories of our day.”

tjand wife

T.J Holmes and his wife, attorney Marilee Fiebig, enjoy a special moment.

According to the post, “When not in front of the camera, you can find T.J treating his wife and daughter to some of his mom’s famous southern cooking.”

Holmes was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2012 for “Don’t Sleep” and his work at CNN earned the network two Peabody Awards. Holmes, who was born in Arkansas, married his wife, attorney Marilee Fiebig, who was born in Zaire, in 2010.

Holmes participated as a panelist at the Circle of Sisters forum at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City in October 2013, where he was a hit with the audience. He has participated in conventions for the largest association for Black Journalists, National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), of which he is a member. Congratulations T.J.-OnPointPress.net.

“Selma,” “Annie,” and “Top Five” provide great holiday options at the movies

selma

David Oyelowo, (center) portrays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  in his tortured, relentless fight for equal rights under the American constitution. King’s non-violent civil rights movement promoted marches, sit-ins and acts of civil disobedience, strategies that have resurfaced in today’s society to publicize the scourge of white police officers killing unarmed Black men and boys with impunity only to escape punishment from grand juries which refuse to indict them for their crimes.

By Carmen Glover

Three diverse movies offer a treat for movie patrons this Christmas season: “Selma,” “Annie” and “Top Five,” which each tackle a different subject that is ripe for debate. “Selma” opened on Christmas Day in limited release and will open nationwide on January 9, 2015.

Oprah Winfrey appears in "Selma" which she produced; David Oyelowo stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ava DuVernay, co- writer and director of the film, which has received four award nominations so far.

Oprah Winfrey appears in “Selma” which she produced; David Oyelowo stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ava DuVernay, co- writer and director of the film, which has received four award nominations so far.

The movie is directed by Ava DuVernay, who co-writes the movie with Paul Webb. “Selma is produced by Oprah Winfrey and stars David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Carmen Ejogo as his wife Coretta and features other seasoned actors such as Tim Roth and Lorraine Toussaint.

Selma cast wear "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts to the movie's premiere. Those were the words uttered 11 times by African-American father, husband and grandfather Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York on July 17 when he was choked to death by NYPD detective Daniel Panteleo, whom the grand jury failed to indict, resulting in ongoing protests for justice.

Selma cast wear “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts to the movie’s premiere. Those were the words uttered 11 times by African-American father, husband and grandfather Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York on July 17 when he was choked to death by NYPD detective Daniel Pantaleo, whom the grand jury failed to indict, resulting in ongoing protests for justice.

“Selma” is the first big screen film that tells the story of the non-violent civil rights leader. “Selma” delves into the civil rights movement King spearheaded that featured marches and protests in the quest for voting rights, equality under the law and the right to live in dignity and be treated with respect. True to form, the King estate, run by his children, refused to grant use of his speeches for the film. Nevertheless, the creative forces behind the film produced a stellar, timely and riveting film, which was nominated for several industry awards so far.

annie

Academy-Award winner Jamie Foxx embraces an ebullient Quevenzhane Wallis, who has transformed the role of “Annie” to one that is relatable to  a broader racial group.

“Annie,” which was released in theaters a week ago, stars Quevenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx in a modern retelling of a musical classic that has always been a hit with families that have small children. “Annie” tells the tale of children in the foster care system, their interactions with those who are charged with their care and their quest for survival. Wallis, who burst on the movie scene in “Beast of the Southern Wild,” which earned her an Oscar nomination, shares great chemistry with Foxx and the duo combine to expand “Annie’s” scope from one which emphasized a mostly white cast to one where African-Americans take the lead roles and deliver convincingly.

top five

Chris Rock, seen with Rosario Dawson in a scene from “Top Five” which Rock wrote and directed. The movie is filled with appearances by comedians that span a wide spectrum.

“Top Five” tells the story of Andre Allen (Chris Rock), a comedian who is busy promoting his first serious film while simultaneously coordinating his upcoming wedding to his reality star fiancée, portrayed  by Gabrielle Union. Rosario Dawson plays a hard-nosed reporter who hangs out with Rock in an attempt to get information for a more personal, real-life article for her newspaper.

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 06:  Leslie Jones attends the premiere of "Top Five" at the Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 6, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Ernesto Di Stefano Photography/WireImage)

TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 06: Leslie Jones attends the premiere of “Top Five” at the Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 6, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Ernesto Di Stefano Photography/WireImage)

Throughout the film, a bevy of comedians such as Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and scene stealer Leslie Jones discuss their top five hip hop artists, with hilarious results that include insults hurled all around, episodes of poor judgment and payback that is bound to keep patrons talking and laughing for days.–OnPointPress.net. 

Merry Christmas to our readers and supporters, get help if you’re in despair

christmas

Christmas is celebrated on the Christian calendar as the time of Jesus’ birth, a time of peace, hope, joy and thankfulness to believers across the globe. For Christians, it is a time to rejoice in Christ’s birth and the blessings that his life have bestowed on those who believe in his teachings.

In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, we send you five of our favorite Christmas songs: “Silent Night” by the Temptations; “Every Christmas” by Luther Vandross; “Someday at Christmas” by Stevie Wonder; “This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway and the irrepressible Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” We hope these songs will brighten up your day.

But Christmas sometimes represents a period of inordinate stress, sadness, loneliness and despair for people who have suffered loss, lack appropriate support systems or grapple with challenges such as mental illness that render it difficult for them to experience joy.

As you gather with your loved ones this Christmas, remember to send loving thoughts and prayers to those who are suffering. If you or someone you know experience feelings of depression or suicidal ideation, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you live in New York, call 1-800-LIFENET and get help–OnPointPress.net.

Hip-Hop’s Top Five, inspired by Chris Rock’s movie of the same name

Where do the biggest stars land on this top 5 list? (l - r) Nas, Lil Kim, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z

Where do the biggest stars land on this top 5 list? (l – r) Nas, Lil Kim, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z

By Charles Glover, Jr.

After seeing Chris Rock’s movie “Top Five” it seems fitting to compose my own list of hip-hop artists. There are five different categories of top five lists: solo artist, rap duos, rap groups, rap factions, and record labels. This is a list of my top 5 for each category. What’s yours?:

(l - r clockwise) Ice Cube, KRS-One, MC Lyte, and Rakim, are some of the best hip-hop artists of all time but there is only room for 5 on the list.

(l – r clockwise) Ice Cube, KRS-One, MC Lyte, and Rakim, are some of the best hip-hop artists of all time but there is only room for 5 on the list.

Record Label:

Since the early 1980’s, hip-hop has a range of record labels dedicated to mainly to the genre. There are so many labels that narrowing the list to just 5 is very difficult but here we go:

5) Cash Money – This label makes the list because of its impact financially and cross-over appeal of main stars from the subsidiary, Young Money record label. Notable stars from the label include Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Drake.
4) Rocafella – This label makes the list mainly because of Jay-Z. The label was also able to eventually add other stars that made hits for years. Notable stars included Jay-Z, Kanye West, Cam’ron, Beanie Sigel, and DJ Clue.
3) Bad Boy – They helped usher in a resurgence of east coast popular hip-hop music. Charismatic owner/producer Sean “Puffy” Combs, was able to assemble a talented cast that made plenty of chart toppers. Label stars included The Notorious B.I.G., The L.O.X., Ma$e, and Craig Mack.
2) Death Row – The emergence of this label as a top company in such a short time of existence is to be celebrated. Led by Suge Knight and Dr. Dre, they were major influences in spreading west coast flavor in hip-hop. Notable stars included Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg (now Lion), Tha Dogg Pound, and Tupac Shakur.
1) Def Jam – The preeminent hip-hop record label for many years, Def Jam has found a way to stand the test of time. Founded in 1983, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin started a tradition of finding and signing some of the best artists of the genre. Notable stars include, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, EPMD, Ludacris, DMX, Method Man, and Ja Rule.

Rick Rubin (l) and Russell Simmons (r) were instrumental in the early growth of hip-hop at Def Jam.

Rick Rubin (l) and Russell Simmons (r) were instrumental in the early growth of hip-hop at Def Jam.

Hip-Hop Groups/Factions: For the purpose of this article, hip-hop factions refer to groups of artists who worked together regularly but didn’t  record together often as a group. Examples would be the Juice Crew, Hit Squad, the Boot Camp Clik, Native Tongues, and the Dungeon Family. Groups have 3 or more members. Groups that narrowly missed the cut were Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Boogie Down Productions, and Slaughterhouse.

5) N.W.A. – Their influence during the transformative years of hip-hop is undeniable. Group members included DJ Yella, Eazy-E, MC Ren, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube.
4) Public Enemy – Known for their music about black empowerment, this group made it clear that there was more to them then their music. Group members featured Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X, Sister Souljah, Professor Griff and DJ Lord.
3) Ruff Ryders – This group had a string of hits in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Not only did the group work together often, but they often collaborated with other top rap acts at the time. Featured members included producer Swizz Beats, DMX, Eve, Drag-On, and the L.O.X..
2) The Fugees – This group featured a talented trio made music with the diversity of R&B at times and hard-core hip-hop at others. Group members were Wyclef, Pras, and Lauryn Hill.
1) Wu-Tang Clan – A large group with each member having a distinctive rap style, Wu-Tang quickly rose to success with hit songs right out of the gate. Though the group has grown to have many members, the original group consisted of 9 members: RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, and Method Man.

The surviving Wu-Tang Clan members (l - r) RZA, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Method Man, GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Raekwon the Chef

The surviving Wu-Tang Clan members (l – r) RZA, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Method Man, GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Raekwon the Chef

Rap Duos: For this article, rap duos are two rappers, not a dj and a rapper. The synergy that exists between a rap duo makes their music stand out. Examples are Black Star, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Tha Dogg Pound, Salt N Pepa, and Kid N Play.

5) Mobb Deep – Havoc and Prodigy make this list slightly ahead of Black Star because they were just young teenagers when their hit “Shook Ones” came out and they continued making hits for quite some time afterwards.
4) EPMD – Erick Sermon and Parish Smith made dollars and hits. They sampled music a great deal and now they are the sampled often as well.
3) Method Man & Redman – What started as a mere collaboration on “How High” turned into a true partnership with albums, a movie, and a television show.
2) Run-DMC – True pioneers in the rap game, Run and DMC opened doors for hip-hop fans with big hits in the 80’s and also starred in the movie Krush Groove as well.
1) Outkast – Andre 3000 and Big Boi rose to hip-hop stardom as unique hit makers with complementary rap styles. They also appeared in a movie together, Idlewild, and have had success as solo stars as well.

Big Boi (l) and Andre 3000 (r) form Outkast, top rap Duo on this list.

Big Boi (l) and Andre 3000 (r) form Outkast, top rap Duo on this list.

Female Solo Artist: Women’s contribution to hip-hop should not be understated, the ladies of hip-hop have had to be creative to carve their niche in the male dominated hip-hip world. Some ladies that narrowly missed the list are MC Lyte, Rah Digga, Left Eye, and Roxanne Shante.

5) Foxy Brown – Foxy teamed up with Jay-Z for a few songs and was part of the group The Firm that included Nas. She had the respect of some of the best rappers during their prime.
4) Lil Kim – Lil Kim was a member of Junior Mafia with the Notorious B.I.G. and was able to emerge as one of the top hip-hop artists after the Notorious B.I.G.’s death.
3) Queen Latifah – The Queen had several hits before rapping the intro to her own sitcom, Living Single. Though she would transition to acting and TV host, her music career should not be forgotten.
2) Da Brat – Her lyrical style made her verses stand out on just about every track she collaborated on. Jermaine Dupri was wise enough to find a way to get his So So Def artist on numerous tracks between the few solo albums of her own.
1) Lauryn Hill – Hill’s dual threat nature as a singer and rapper helped her have one of the most successful hip-hop albums with “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”. Her rap skills are highlighted while she was working with her Fugees brethren Pras and Wyclef.

Lauryn Hill earned the top spot because of her rap lyrics, her singing ability is merely a bonus.

Lauryn Hill earned the top spot because of her rap lyrics, her singing ability is merely a bonus.

Male Solo artist: The argument for best male hip-hop artists can and will go on forever. This is a list of my favorite as I realize there’s no making everyone happy. Some artists that narrowly missed the list were Big Pun, Snoop Dogg, Rakim, LL Cool J, Nas, Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z.

(l - r) Snoop Dogg, and Tupac are two of the best to do it but only one made the top 5.

(l – r) Snoop Dogg, and Tupac are two of the best to do it but only one made the top 5.

5) Joe Budden – Budden may not have a great deal of mainstream success, but he has made quite a name for himself on mixtapes and through freestyles.
4) Busta Rhymes – Busta has been in the game since the early 90’s making hit songs. However, his music videos were influential as they broke the typical mold of hip-hop videos.
3) Tupac Shakur – Tupac’s music is wide-reaching and clearly reflected his mood when he was in the studio. In fact, there’s probably a Tupac song for every mood a hip-hop fan is experiencing.
2) DMX – DMX is entertaining to just hear speak but his flow and constant energy make it easy to listen to his music, even the barking.
1) Eminem – What makes Eminem stand out among the best is add to his repertoire as his career continues. Even if you’re listening carefully you have to go back and listen to the songs again just to catch all the metaphors and wordplay prevalent in his music, which earns him top honors on this list.

Eminem tops this list as he has topped many charts throughout his career.

Eminem tops this list as he has topped many charts throughout his career.

I’m sure there will be major disagreements about the lists so please feel free to engage me on social media.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a management/employee training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

While NYC mourns cops’ murders, anti-police brutality protests must continue

Ramos and LIu

NYPD Police Officers Rafael Ramos and WenjianLiu were murdered at point blank range on Saturday afternoon by longtime criminal gang member Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who traveled from Baltimore to commit the crime.

As they sat in their marked patrol car near the Tompkins Houses in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on Saturday afternoon, New York City police officers Rafael Ramos, who is Latino and Wenjian Liu, who is Asian, were shot at point-blank range by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who traveled to New York City after shooting and wounding his girlfriend in Baltimore, where he had led a life of crime. After murdering the officers, Brinsley then committed suicide.

According to posts on his social media page, Brinsley had threatened to kill police officers in revenge for the murders of unarmed African-American males Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. As the facts emerge, they tell an irrefutable tale: Brinsley, a gang member who embraced a life of crime, acted alone and had no affiliation to any of the families whose loved ones were killed by police officers. While the misguided ambush of the police officers must be loudly condemned in every corner of society, Brinsley’s action should not diminish the worthy cause of the #BlackLivesMatter movement which seeks to bring attention to the scourge of police officers across the nation murdering unarmed African-Americans and Latinos. Ensuring the safety of all innocent lives is the responsibility of a civilized society.

Baltimore gang member Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and wounded his girlfriend before traveling to New York City on Saturday where he murdered two police officers as they sat in their patrol car.

Baltimore gang member Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and wounded his girlfriend before traveling to New York City on Saturday where he murdered two police officers as they sat in their patrol car.

At OnPointPress.net, we mourn the brutal and cowardly murders of officers Ramos and Wenjian. At the same time, we will always mourn the deaths of unarmed African-Americans and Latinos at the hands of police officers. In our view, no life is more important that the other, therefore all lives must be valued equally.

In that vein, we mourn the murders of: Amadaou Diallo who was executed by police officers in a hail of 41 bullets in the Bronx; Anthony Baez, who was choked to death in the Bronx by officer Francis Livotti because Baez’ football hit the officer’s patrol car; Patrick Dorismond in Brooklyn, New York;  Sean Bell who was celebrating his bachelor’s party before he was gunned down by a team of police officers in Queens, New York; Eric Garner who had broken up a fight and was merely standing on a corner in Staten Island, New York; Michael Brown, who had broken the law but did not deserve to die for it in Ferguson, Missouri; John Crawford who was shopping at a Walmart in Ohio; Tamir Rice who was playing with a toy gun in a park in Ohio, Trayvon Martin, who was walking home with candies when a thuggish, police-obsessed George Zimmerman objected, Ezell Ford, in Los Angeles, Akai Gurley, who was talking the stairs in Brooklyn, New York due to a malfunctioning elevator, Oscar Grant, who was trying to get home to his daughter in Oakland, California and the many other unarmed African-American and Latino males and females who are routinely brutalized, harassed and murdered by the very police officers who are sworn to protect and serve them.

We mourn all deaths, and we wait with interest for comprehensive, nationwide reforms to be implemented that will strengthen police-community relations, change the tone of police interactions with Blacks and Latinos to demonstrate respect rather than intimidation and racism, and we look forward to the day when Blacks and Latinos can confidently view police officers as agents who are there to protect them, like they protect Whites, and not murder them with impunity, as is often the case. So as we mourn the unfortunate murders of these innocent officers, we urge the anti-police brutality protests to continue spreading the word that “BlackLivesMatter so that the changes that we seek will become a reality–OnPointPress.net.

President Obama’s new stand on Cuba is bold, timely and brilliant

President Barack Obama has campaigned with candidates who valued and respected the impact he brings to their race.

President Barack Obama has shown courage, independence and foresight in normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba and authorizing the release of three Cuban captives in exchange for US captives held in Cuba.

President Obama’s decision on Wednesday, December 17 to normalize relations with Cuba by exchanging prisoners, expanding trade, travel and diplomacy is the right decision at the right time.

“We are making these changes because it’s the right thing to do,” President Obama said in making the announcement. He also said Americans are “cutting loose from the shackles” of policies towards Cuba that have failed.

After more than a year of discreet negotiations which included input from Pope Francis, the two nations agreed to chart a new course towards diplomacy. It is only fitting that  President Obama has shown the foresight and grit to heed the pleas of the Pope and secure the freedom of Alan Gross, who was held captive in Cuba since December 2009, as well as a CIA operative who was held for 20 years, and in exchange return three Cuban captives that the US had in custody.

Alan Gross, expressed his gratitude at being freed.

Alan Gross, expressed his gratitude at being freed, saying he was “blessed” to be a citizen of the USA.

The cold war that has existed between the USA and Cuba began in the 1960s when the USA government tried on several occasions to assassinate former Cuban President Fidel Castro, including the Bay of Pigs debacle. The US government refused to acknowledge Castro as Cuba’s rightful leader because of his militant, revolutionary comportment. Castro surged to power as Cuba’s leader in January 1959 and has outlived all of the US leaders who plotted and tried to ensure his demise.

Immigrants from the Caribbean who are naturalized Americans know first hand how valuable Cubans are in providing the services of their doctors to developing countries so that people who are poor can have excellent medical care. Jamaica, for one, has long enjoyed a proud and rich relationship with Cuba, and when Fidel Castro walked into the funeral for beloved late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, pandemonium erupted with people struggling to contain their excitement.

Cuban President Raul Castro.

Cuban President Raul Castro has been a more low-key President than his brother Fidel.

Raul Castro, who has been running Cuba since his brother Fidel became ill several years ago, expressed his support for the new era in relations between the two nations.

“This decision of President Obama deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people. We have to learn the art of living together with our differences in a different way,” he said.

The decision to open an American embassy on Cuban shores for the first time in decades while opening up trade, travel and talks towards forging a strong relationship between two strong nations shows the courage, independence and brilliance of President Obama, who refuses to be shackled by a divisively destructive Congress who resent his mere existence.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, brother to current President Raul, has been in ill health for years but has reportedly retained his sharp mind.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, brother to current President Raul, has been in ill health for years but has reportedly retained his sharp mind.

When the Ebola scare was eliciting hysteria among Americans, hundreds of Cuban doctors were busily treating West Africans, rendering the selfless, excellent bedside manner for which they are well-known to their neighboring countries. It is time for the American people to shake off the remnants of obsolete thinking and embrace diplomacy as a broad, encompassing and mutually beneficial alliance that fosters the free and easy cultural exchange that is vital to a culturally competent society. President Obama, in taking this first step, again defies his detractors and moves boldly towards practical solutions to seemingly intractable problems.–OnPointPress.net.