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July 31, 2014


By Steve Furay

Special to the NNPA to The Michigan Citizen



James “J Dilla” Yancey, the late Detroit music producer whose stardom has grown globally since his passing in 2006, is headed toward enshrinement in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Dilla’s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, announced the news at the ninth annual “D.C. Loves Dilla” event on July 17.


The legendary hip hop musician will be represented in the museum by his MPC beat machine and his custom Moog synthesizer.


“It’s a beginning,” said Yancey on stage during the Howard Theater tribute concert that featured N’Dea Davenport, Maimouna Youssef and Pharoahe Monch, “and (there’s) so much more to come now that I’ve been practicing what I’ve been preaching to you guys: That when you’re given something special, it’s made to like, love, share. Love is not made to put in your pocket or your home, it’s for sharing. And gifts are made for sharing. So we’re going to share the equipment.”


Yancey introduced the audience to Timothy Anne Burnside of the Smithsonian Museum, who worked with the longtime Conant Gardens, Detroit resident to secure the contribution of the equipment.


“On behalf of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and from the bottom of my heart, we want to thank you for sharing your son’ legacy with us and for trusting us to share it with the world,” said Burnside.


She stated the two items donated “will be used to tell not just Dilla’s story and not just the story of hip hop, but through it will be a story of creativity, of innovation, of perseverance and of dedication.”


The Smithsonian Museum’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has a tentative opening schedule of late 2015 to early 2016. As part of the Smithsonian Institute, the museum will be a part of the world’s largest art, culture and research complex.


“This museum is the final jewel in the crown in the Smithsonian Museum on the (National) Mall,” said Burnside. “This museum will celebrate African American history and culture through every possible lens, through every experience, through history, through politics, through music, through art, through dance, through fashion, spoken word — you name it, it will be there.


“And I’m here to announce today, that also there, when you walk though those doors will be Dilla.”


J Dilla was long considered a master of hip hop production in Detroit, working with many Detroit hip hop artists from an early age, including Slum Village, Phat Kat, 5 Elementz and others. From his basement studio in his mother’s house in Conant Gardens, he would go on to work with Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Pete Rock and A Tribe Called Quest, before finally leaving for Los Angeles.


The donated equipment includes the Akai MPC 3000, a popular sample and beat sequencing machine for music producers, and a Moog “Minimoog Voyager” synthesizer, custom made by the brand’s creator Dr. Robert Moog, a prize of his collection received late in his career while J Dilla struggled with his health.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 31, 2014


Aries March 21 – April 19

Although homey affairs may claim part of your time and attention, the main focus is on leisure, pleasure, and enjoying yourself. You'll be in your element if you're the entrepreneurial type. However, a conflict or challenge could require a creative solution. As Mercury moves into Leo on Thursday it adds even more energy to your zone of romance and entertainment. This could be a time of energetic activity if you proceed with caution and don't give in to risk taking or recklessness.


Taurus April 20 – May 20

With a focus on domestic matters and family affairs your home is your castle this week and for some time to come. Mercury's entrance into Leo may encourage planning and organization associated with home-based projects or perhaps a spot of remodeling. However, it helps to confer with a partner before you go ahead. Differences of opinion could mean you clash on essential issues. Home entertaining could be positively delightful, especially this week when you may have more than one good reason to celebrate.


Gemini May 21 – June 21

You may need intense focus to push past obstacles and overcome challenges. Narrowing your focus and concentrating on one goal might be the best way to make good progress. There's a very vital and lively energy showing up in your communication sector. If you're dissatisfied with your job, you might be tempted to look for something else, in which case this could be a great time to apply for jobs or schedule interviews. Be sure to promote yourself on your CV!


Cancer June 22 – July 22

Things seem to be looking up as Mercury joins Jupiter in your financial zone. If previous months have been disappointing, this week and the months ahead may begin to make up for it. Use this opportunity to promote your goods and services, send out CVs, and make use of all your skills. With Mars now zipping through Scorpio, it's likely that creative efforts may have an intensely passionate streak that could earn you a lot of money if promoted in the right circles.


Leo July 23 – August 22

Mercury bops into your sign this week, adding even more emphasis to self-expression, the sharing of ideas, and pursuing personal goals. You may be on fire with plans that you've been mulling over for some time. In fact, your enthusiasm could reach new heights when your entrepreneurial abilities and fabulous business sense go to work for you to reap rich financial rewards. But life at home could be a drain on your energy. The presence of Mars here could be the catalyst that helps overcome any challenges.


Virgo August 23 – September 22

The week ahead could be one of successful activity along with a renewed level of energy. You can do very well if you can keep track of what you're doing without being tempted into risky moves. Paying attention to your intuition and even your dreams may provide helpful guidance along the way. The focus on your spiritual sector makes this a positive time for all kinds of practices, such as meditation, yoga, or anything else that soothes the spirit and calms the mind.


Libra September 23 – October 22

The accent on socializing is very pronounced, making this one of the best times of the year to connect with others, network, or date. As Mercury zips into Leo there will be even more reasons to accept invitations, attend events, and keep your social calendar fairly full. On another note, you could be pouring your energy into fixing your finances, which has to be a good thing. Career matters are also in focus, although you might need to make one or two compromises if you want to get ahead.


Scorpio October 23 – November 21

You can't hide from the spotlight, although you might not exactly enjoy being there in the first place. Mercury's presence in Leo as of Thursday encourages you to focus on self-promotion. If you're hoping to get a new job, explore a different career path, or improve your business success, it's vital to do so. This month in particular offers many opportunities to impress the right people. Mars in your sign suggests keeping your plans to yourself until it makes sense to unveil them.


Sagittarius November 22 – December 21

Can you resist the call of the wild? With a happy accent on expanding your horizons and entering new territory, the adventure may have only begun. This week you might want to commit to travel plans, or at least to exploring various options open to you. You may also need time out to reflect more deeply on personal issues. Giving yourself the opportunity for deep healing and cathartic release could encourage a powerful inner transformation. The ability to let go may be essential in all of this.


Capricorn December 22 – January 19

Mars encourages you to mix and mingle with influential people, so your social life seems to be positively upbeat right now. An accent on business success might encourage you to move in entrepreneurial circles, which is all to your good. This may be one of the best times of the year for upsizing your business plan and aiming for the stars. The only mistake you can make is thinking too small. If you're hoping to make a certain sum of money, add a few extra zeros on the end for good measure.


Aquarius January 20 – February 18

You may be in relationship heaven right now, especially if you're getting attention from all the right people. As folks continue to promote you behind your back, you may find job opportunities rolling in, and contracts, social invitations, dates, and much more. Naturally it won't happen at once, but by now you could be getting an inkling of what's to come. Along with this, your determination to succeed in your career is all to your credit. This is the time when you can aim high and have every chance of getting there.


Pisces February 19 – March 20

Lifestyle issues continue to be in focus, and this includes your job, health, and everyday routines and habits. The cosmos is currently encouraging you to think big - the bigger the better. The next important point is to make a plan to accomplish your dreams. If you can break a key goal into things you can do on a daily basis, there's no reason why you can't achieve it in style. At the same time, you may crave passion and change of the kind that can transform you on a deep inner level.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 24, 2014


By E. Willa Simpson


In this insightful new book “On My Brother’s Shoulders: An African American Anthology and Tribute to People of Color,” E. Willa Simpson takes readers on a journey through the African American experience in the United States as retold in poetic terms.  This literary work pays tribute to countless African American leaders who sacrificed their basic freedoms and in many cases even their lives for the longevity of the “human race.”  Through Simpson’s scholarly, thought provoking analysis of the movement and unique critical dialogue as reflected through firsthand interviews with key civil rights leaders including Angela Davis, Michael Eric Dyson, Mamie Till Mobley and Howard Bingham (producer of motion picture film Ali); Simpson’s work promises to leave readers pondering just how deeply African Americans were affected by their shackled enslavement, the psychological impact of lynchings and tumultuous history in the United States.  Simpson senses the worth involved in honoring the lives of those who contributed unselfishly to the struggle for justice and equality.


“On My Brother’s Shoulders” is a significant contribution to African American history as it provides a first hand account of the aftermath of the Emmett Till Lynching of 1955 as retold through Emmett Till’s beloved mother; longtime educator and civil rights advocate Mamie Till Mobley.  Simpson states, “This literary work pays tribute to those who came before us and laid down their lives so that future generations would be able to have better and continue to sing a triumphant song.”  Simpson's book presents a timeless journey through the early civil rights movement as portrayed through the skillful retelling of the brutal lynching of Emmett Till a fourteen year old youth who was accused of having wolf whistled at a white woman.  Through Simpson's thoughtful examination of the ideology behind lynching noted filmmaker, historian and poet; E. Willa Simpson pays tribute to countless African Ameri­can leaders including Angela Davis, Michael Eric Dyson, Medgar Evers, Ida B. Wells, Mamie Till Mobley  and more.  “I am hoping that this book will begin the process of opening up critical dialogue in the African American community as it relates to the many social injustices pervasive during the civil rights movement and thereafter, combined with the impact of post-traumatic slave disorder and brutal assassination of our leaders.  We can only begin the process of healing once we begin to examine the ideologies and social structures that contributed to the racial persecution of Blacks in the United States, openly acknowledge these injustices and seek out specific solutions to existing issues that are still prevalent in the African American community today,”… E. Willa Simpson. 


This book was written in hopes of getting older generations talking and sharing with younger generations about their experiences during the early civil rights movement and with being Black in America; as well as to create a general interest among youth to study their history beyond the walls of the traditional public school system and academia.  Simpson states “We must change the course of history through the intentional inclusion of our stories in history books as retold by African Americans and further legitimized by the educational system, however in the meantime we must diligently pursue the truth of our experience in this country (including post-traumatic slave disorder) for ourselves.  The lynching of Emmett Louis Till was one of the most talked about lynchings in the history of the United States and a necessary part of our understanding of race relations that should be included in educational texts throughout the country.”  As Angela Davis stated in this anthology of interviews, “The case of Emmett Till marked a moment of “extreme de conscience,” a moment of coming to consciousness in a very intense way about the need to bring about social change.”  And it is this imperative need to re-envision history as portrayed through the eyes of key civil rights leaders that is still relevant to social issues existing today.  “On My Brother’s Shoulders: An African American Anthology and Tribute to People of Color” is available for purchase now at Barnes and Noble,, Books a Million, Kobo Books, and other Major Retailers.  You may follow the author at her website located at                                           


E. Willa Simpson is a longtime advocate for civil rights and justice; formerly residing on the local advisory committee of the “Tavis Smiley” Foundation.  Simpson’s many accomplishments include film and television production, in addition to several publishing credits receiving national acclaim.  Simp­son made her directorial debut with a documentary entitled “The Lynching Tree” featuring political activist Angela Davis; and is currently working on several upcoming literary and theatrical projects. Contact Media Relations (562) 607-9533, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 31, 2014

LAWT News Service


 The historical Watts Summer Festival (WSF) will celebrate its 48th year on Saturday, Aug. 9, at Ted Watkins Park (next to the tennis courts) from noon until 7:30pm. The community is invited to come out and enjoy culture, continuous music, food, and activities including a petting zoo, Children’s Village and more.  Vendors will offer unique items and social service agencies will provide valuable onsite information of services available to residents of all ages.


The venerable event will open with the pouring of libations in memory of those who lost their lives in the 1965 Watts Revolt, by Tulivu Jadi, vice chair of Organization Us and Alma Jackson, WSF board member. Mpinduzi Kuthaza, WSF board member, will give the history of the Watts Festival and recognize the Festival’s honorary co-chair, Congress member Maxine Waters. The “Tommy Jacquette Legacy Torchbearer Award” will also be presented to a deserving young Watts resident.


On Friday, Aug. 1, the documentary film “WattStax: The Living Word” will be screened with discussion at the Watts Senior Center, 1657 E. Century Blvd., Watts. The 1972 all-star concert was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and organized by Memphis’ Stax Records as a fundraiser for the Watts Summer Festival. Lester Jones, WSF Board Member, will moderate. 1 pm – 4pm.


On Saturday, Aug. 2, the Watts Village Forum “Building a Healthy Community” will be held at Beulah Baptist Church, 1454 E. 100th St., Watts.  A panel of local professionals will discuss three elements of building and maintaining a healthy community, focusing on mental, physical and non-violent solutions. Panelists include Dr. Yoshado Lang, Emmada Psychology Center; Dr. Stan Frencher, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital; and Aquil Basheer, A Better L.A. and PCITI (Professional Community Intervention Training Institute). WSF Board Member, Kathy Williamson, will moderate. 11am - 1pm.


For more information, visit and Watts Summer Festival, Inc. on FaceBook.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 24, 2014


Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19


This is a mixed week in which Uranus enters its retrograde phase, possibly bringing out the rebel in you. This, along with the Sun's move into Leo, encourages risk taking and a desire for adventure. However deeper currents show up as Mars moves into Scorpio on Friday. If financial matters have been rather slow to improve, progress can now be made. A strong determination to overcome challenges in this area will encourage you to put 100 percent into solving problems for good.




Taurus Apr 20 – May 20


There's an accent on communication, although a cautious approach might best on Tuesday, when edgy influences could encourage arguments. If you want to stay friends with someone, it's best not to rock the boat. However, Thursday can be excellent for detailed work, planning, and organization. You can make great strides if you put your mind to it. Relationships could become a lot more passionate when Mars jogs into Scorpio on Friday. However, control battles might also be a problem unless you work to keep the peace.




Gemini May 21 - Jun 20


The Sun joins Jupiter in Leo on Tuesday, spotlighting communication and interaction. This can be a great time to showcase your abilities or advertise your goods and services. However, you could also make a lot of money promoting and selling other people's products. The movement of Mars into Scorpio on Friday enlivens your zone of work and health. If you've been feeling under the weather, you might want to consider a short detox as a way to cleanse and refresh your body.




Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22


Finances look set to improve with Jupiter now in your money sector, and this week's move of the Sun into Leo adds emphasis to this area. Opportunities to increase your earnings may become more plentiful, especially if you're willing to work hard to find them. This is a time when the more effort you put in, the more you'll get out. The move of Mars into Scorpio brings passion to your romance sector. If you're a writer or artist, your creations may have a rich, deep intensity.




Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22


With Jupiter now boosting your energy and enlivening your creativity, you're truly in your element. Hang on to your hat, as the next twelve months may be a real roller-coaster ride. You'll be a beacon of warmth and natural charisma as the Sun eases into your sign on Tuesday. Yet home and family matters may be stirred up when Mars moves into Scorpio on Friday, with a focus on transformation in this area. The New Moon in your sign on Saturday is perfect for making a fresh start.




Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22


A powerful focus on your spiritual sector shows up as the Sun joins Jupiter in Leo. You're in a natural phase when exploring your dreams, paying attention to your intuitive impulses, and becoming acquainted with your deeper purpose is very much in the fore. As a result, you may want to take time out to reflect, meditate, and tune in. However, you'll also be diving in deep as Mars moves into your communication sector. With detective-like ferocity, you may leave no stone unturned in your quest for knowledge.




Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22


The "fun meter" is set on high, with a delightful focus on dating, socializing, and romance. You'll be in your element when the Sun joins Jupiter, organizing events, matchmaking, and generally bringing folks together. Thursday could be particularly delightful for romance or even a first date, as a warm and cozy atmosphere encourages intimacy. Financial matters get a lively bump as Mars enters Scorpio on Friday. Perhaps you'll be more determined to sort out debt - and increase your earnings while you're at it.




Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21


The spotlight beckons this week as the Sun joins Jupiter in Leo to make you the star of the show. Now more than ever it's time to prioritize your goals and focus on those that matter most. Success may become even more of a possibility as Mars moves into your sign on Friday. After what may have seemed like months of treading water, you'll be in the thick of the action. Along with this you'll be motivated to overcome challenges and explore new pathways to greater happiness.




Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21


New adventures open up for you as a focus on exploration coincides with a restless need to travel. You might also be motivated to study, perhaps to gain a certification, or try lecturing, teaching, or getting published. Yet deeper currents of energy might draw your attention to inner impulses and feelings or to events that may have caused trauma at one time or another. Mars moves into Scorpio, which indicates the weeks ahead may bring an opportunity for healing and rebirth.




Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19


The current lineup can be helpful if you're an entrepreneur or businessperson with ambition. As the Sun joins Jupiter in Leo and your zone of shared resources, your optimism and willingness to take risks may ratchet up a notch or two. Being practical and down to earth, it helps to make a plan before you get started. Your social life perks up as Mars moves into Scorpio, enlivening relationships with friends and associates and connecting you to people with power and influence.




Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18


You're in a phase when relationships are at an all-time high, especially since Jupiter moved into Leo. This week the Sun moves in, too, spotlighting interactions with others and bringing sunshine, warmth, and energy to business or romantic partnerships. Your social life may get busier and busier, which you might quite enjoy. However, career matters also get a boost as Mars moves into Scorpio on Friday. As it's here for a few months, the energy and determination to overcome challenges may be very pronounced.




Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20


A feeling of vitality and radiance could give you a boost that not only enhances energy levels but also gives you that feel-good factor. With Jupiter and the Sun in Leo it's very possible you'll get a promotion, if not now, then at some point in the future. Romantic opportunities may coincide with intense exchanges, where control battles and a desire for power could unleash sexual desire. You might be trying hard - and failing - to resist someone's advances. Passion may win out in the end.


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture