December 01, 2022

By Betti Halsell

Assistant Managing Editor

 

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, local pillars of the community and selected guests were invited to a virtual discussion about the recent murder of 15-year-old Jaheim McMillan. His life was taken by the police force in Gulfport, Mississippi last month.

The victim’s family expressed their journey through this experience, highlighting the lack of justice for their loved one. They join noted economist, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, in illuminating the demand for a cultural shift around police interaction with the Black community.

Reports state that police answered a 911 call on Oct. 6, concerning “multiple people in a vehicle brandishing firearms,” according to CNN. When police arrived, the group of people allegedly attempted to flee from the area, an officer fired at the presumed armed suspect, who they claim pointed the weapon in their direction. The suspect was identified as McMillan.

McMillan was shot in the head and later died after being taken off life support, according to a news release that the previous listed source obtained from civil rights attorney, Ben Crump. Crump is lobbying for the release of the footage of the incident.

The purpose of the meeting was to uplift McMillan’s story and make sure his name is recognized. KBLA media personality, Danny Morrison, moderated the meeting along with Black Lives Matter co-founder of Los Angeles chapter, Melina Abdullah. Discussion members included KBLA media personality, Dominque DiPrima, Baba Akili, and many others joined McMillan’s aunt, Natasha Boyd.

There is both written and physical protests heading directly to the city council in Gulfport. During the meeting, there was a call to boycott Family Dollar; the victim’s family has felt as though Family Dollar drew a line in the sand and sided with the police—McMillan family expressed that there was a lack of support from the Family Dollar store that they often visited and had rapport with. 

Category: News

December 01, 2022

By Angela Birdsong

CBM Contributing Writer

 

About 200 protesters gathered on Nov. 24 at wholesale cash and carry food service supplier Restaurant Depot/Jetro in Culver City to demand justice for Passion Schoolfield, a single Black mother who was fired for expressing an opinion about Ye, the rapper also known as Kanye West.

According to Schoolfield, she was speaking with a customer in her cashier’s line about celebrities they like and was overheard by another customer when she said, “I like Ye.  He keeps it real.” 

Then, she says, a customer, a White male, got out of the check-out line, got in her face, and questioned her, “You like Ye?”  After repeating this several times, he walked off and spoke with a manager. Moments later, she was suspended and the next day she was fired.

 

“This protest was a community effort to get justice for Passion, and what this focuses on is what we believe was anti-Black aggression against her for a basically ridiculous firing because she said she liked Kanye West. We really wanted to get that message out that there’s a line that was crossed,” stated Ludlow Cleary, II., Schoolfield’s attorney.

Schoolfield did not speak during the press conference. However, she told California Black Media that retail has been her career since she was 18, and while working at Restaurant Depot, she loved the customers and the people. 

The protest was called by the newly-formed, faith-based Grassroots Community Coalition Against Anti-Blackness (GCCAA).  For now, they are demanding compensation for stress caused to Schoolfield and her children, particularly her two autistic sons, “Blackness Sensitivity” training - not diversity training -- they emphasized and revising the company’s employment policy.

“Black Jobs Matter and no one will be able to get in here to buy (nothing) from Jetro Restaurant Depot until my sister gets justice, until Passion gets her job back.  She has the right to her job to take care of her family,” stated Nation of Islam Western Region Representative Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad (formerly known as Tony Muhammad).  

“She poses no threat to anybody.  We in the Nation of Islam believe that a nation can rise no higher than its woman and that when you attack a woman, you attack a nation,” he stated.

Muhammad, who is also the student minister of Muhammad Mosque #27, issued the GCCAA’s 48-hour demand for a response during the press conference and protest.

“This is a Rosa Parks moment.  We’re living in a cancel culture, but it looks like that cancel culture is directed at Black people with consciousness,” he stated.  “And any of us who desire to stand up and be conscious and support one another, there seems to be a system in place that’s telling us we can’t do that,” he said.

Ralph Vasquez, manager of the Restaurant Depot Store, gave no comment when asked about Schoolfield’s termination and the protest. No response has been received yet from Restaurant Depot’s corporate and West Coast regional offices.

“There are people in our world that have done worse things than Kanye, that get voted into office, and people never lose their job for supporting them,” said Ryan Sims, pastor of Revelation Church of God in Christ.

As a father, Sims said, no one would want their child, wife, aunt, mother, or even their cousin, to go through what Schoolfield has endured. As a community, big brothers and sisters, they are standing with her, he said.

“If someone in our community likes someone in our community, it’s not a violation.  It’s not against humanity.  It’s not against the law.  It’s simply self-love, and if that’s a crime, then lock us all up,” continued Pastor Sims.

Schoolfield is that kind and engaging worker behind the counter that’s attentive to their customers, said Anthony “Shep” Crawford, senior pastor of the Experience Christian Ministries Church. 

“And in that conversation, someone overhears it, gets offended, tries to bully her … and once she answers the questions, he asks her again.  I do not like that.  We do not like that, but she stood her ground,” he stated.

Her mistreatment is about a corrupt system, not a rogue manager, he said, pointing to the store’s entrance.  “We will not have it.  We will not stand for it.  You have here, present today, Muslims, Christians, Baptists, Church of God in Christ, community mothers…even law enforcement, here to stand,” said Crawford.

Many who turned out to support Schoolfield felt she was unjustly fired. Some offered donations for the young mother of three who is now unemployed and may be unable to apply for unemployment benefits.

“We’re standing here for Passion because what took place here at Restaurant Depot is unjust,” stated Reverend K.W. Tulloss, president of the Baptist Minister’s Conference of Los Angeles and member of the National Action Network.  “What Jetro did was wrong!  And we want to make this wrong a right,” he said.

The GCCAA has set up a GoFundMe page, which so far has raised $2,000 to help Schoolfield pay rent and feed her children. 

They intend to interrupt the economy of Restaurant Depot/Jetro, said Bishop Craig Worsham, founder and senior pastor of the Agape Church of Los Angeles.

He challenged all present at the protest to stand united in that cause until Restaurant Depot comes to the table with a reasonable resolution.  

“There are African American-owned restaurants, catering companies, churches that dump hundreds of thousands up to millions of dollars into this establishment, so if you are anti-Black Passion, then you are anti-Black our dollars,” stated Worsham.

Other organizations present were Asians with Attitude and Second Call Gang Intervention and Prevention. She has a right to express her opinion about a public figure, they said.  

 You can follow this movement on Instagram @_gccaa and #WeStandWithPassion.

Category: News

November 24, 2022

By Devyn Bakewell

Assistant Managing Editor

 

A&R and Producer Pusha Rod is a Los Angeles Native dedicated to shifting the culture.  Known as a former A&R of Urban Music at Interscope Records, the young executive got into the industry by being what he calls a “professional homie”, giving his advice to artists about their music and then working to get their music in the hands and ears of the people.

About a year ago, the Producer left Urban Music at Interscope to start his own recording studio, Creative Soundz Recording, where he hosts a number of very notable recording artist and does A&R work independently. He even recently produced his best friend and Rapper YG’s newest hit album “I GOT ISSUES” .

In an interview with the L.A. Watts Times, Pusha Rod took some time to discuss the path of his career, and how it led to the opening of his own business.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started in the music industry. I just thought I was being a good friend,” Pusha Rod told LAS. “At one point in time, a few of us were all trying to figure out this music stuff, so we were all staying with YG. I had just dropped out of college, and we were all just living at his house.”

Rapper YG is a close friend of Push Rod. Rod shared that, while living with the rapper, he’d already came out with his first project. He’d sit in the back of the studio while YG was recording, not doing too much, until one day they started asking his opinions on the music.

 

“Then that switch happened when someone asked me why I didn’t like the music. I said what I thought and gave my honest opinion, and they’d be like ‘you know what? I feel you. I was feeling the same way.’ And it went from that to starting to ask other questions.”

Pusha Rod assisted Sycamore (the A&R on YG’s album “My Krazy Life”) in finding producers and artist to work on that album, and he was the one who told him the work he was doing was A&R.

“I just thought I was doing what real friends do. I’ve never been a Yes Man in my life, so I just thought I was doing good by my friends…So then, I started trying to play in {A&R] a little more, build my relationships a little more, and then Joiewas actually President of A&R at Def Jam at the time, but he ended up going to Interscope and moving to LA. He told Sycamore he needed someone on the ground, who’s connected with everybody, who could get in contact with the biggest artists to the smallest producers to writers. Sycamore was like that’s Pusha Rod. He’s that guy in LA”

He continued, “I met with Joie and then the rest was history.”

Pusha Rod worked at Interscope for about eight years before he decided to venture out into his own business. He shared that he “learned a lot.”

“I’m very grateful for the time I spent there, but I always at some point felt I was missing something.” He said, “ I wanted to figure out what that next step was in my career, and I have a lot of relationships with a lot of artist that’re signed at different labels across the board, who I give advice to, who call me and might need help getting a feature, so I asked myself what’s something involving music that I can do, but also doesn’t have any specific holes or ties to anybody.”

This led to the start of Creative Soundz Recordings.

“I knew if I opened up a studio, anybody could come. I could go into anybody’s session and talk with anybody for hours. When I left Interscope, I was like ‘alright this was a great chapter of my life, but what’s the level up? I’m not gonna leave Interscope and go be a senior director at a different label. Like that mean’s my life is staying consistent.’”

The recording studio, located on Melrose, was originally the home of Buzzfeed Studios in the early 2000s and 90s, and was already a “landmark” in entertainment. Pusha Rod made it a point to give it a different light.

“I’ve traveled to hundreds of studios, and one thing that I have learned over the years is that a lot of studios that we use as Hip Hop artist aren’t necessarily Hip Hop studios. Studios are made for like pop and rock, and the sound is literally built to build a different type of music.”

Pusha Rod shared that “even the structures of the rooms” aren’t made for Hip Hop music. He also shared that, in some studios, artists are forced to used equipment that’s almost thirty or forty years old.

“Over the years, while working with the artist I’ve worked with, I’ve seen the things that they ask for, and I took that knowledge and brought it to my own because I feel that there’s not too many Hip Hop studios in Hollywood. There’s a lot of beautiful, amazing studios that Hip Hop artist use, but there aren’t too many studios made for us.”

Born and raised in LA, Pusha Rod shares that making this business opportunity in his hometown feels amazing. He’s assisted in bringing out some of the “dopest artists in the West Coast who’ve pushed the culture over the last decade.” He also voiced that he’s an avid advocate of his city.

“I rep LA everywhere I go,” he enthused. “I’m very proud of being from here, and I’m very proud to help shed light on LA because a lot of things get misconstrued. It’s dope to be able to move the way I move throughout the city and throughout the music industry and interchange some of those relationships.”

He continued, “I introduce dope people to other dope people because a lot of times people come out here and they meet the wrong people, and they get the wrong impression of LA. I’m trying to be the correct impression.”

For those looking to follow in Pusha Rod’s footsteps of working in A&R, his key tip is to “lock in with an artist or producer, and really work to understand them.

Help them make the best music possible based on themselves and what they’re willing to talk about. And be honest because, a lot of times, people get into these positions and feel like they have to say yes. But when you say yes to things that you don’t believe in or don’t love, people start to second guess you. So never second guess yourself or your opinion for a like. People are going to respect you for your honest. Not for falling in the room.”

To keep up to date on Pusha Rod, check out his Instagram (@pusharod). You can also visit Creative Soundz Recordings website: https://creativesoundzrecording.com.

Category: News

November 24, 2022

By Cora Jackson-Fossett

Managing Editor

 

Standing before a multi-ethnic group of supporters, Mayor-elect Karen Bass declared her intentions to tackle the city’s most pressing issues on day one of her tenure.

Bass expressed that commitment at her first press conference since being recognized as the winner of Los Angeles mayoral race on Wednesday, Nov. 16.  Scores of advocates and members of the press were invited to the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Mid-City L.A. to hear about the initial plans of the history-maker, who is the first woman and second African American to lead Los Angeles.

Attired in a bright green power suit, the next chief executive of Los Angeles thanked everyone who backed her campaign, then vowed to assemble a team to immediately address the top concerns of the electorate – namely homelessness, housing affordability and crime.

 

Acknowledging the challenges inherent in tackling those problems, Bass alluded to the approach that her colleague, the late John Lewis, often recommended “when facing a difficult situation.”

 

“He said, ‘If you couldn’t feel like you knew how to solve the problem, then it was your responsibility to make a way out of no way.’ That’s the spirit that drove me to run for mayor and it’s the spirit through which I will govern,” insisted the mayor-elect.

She also commended Rick Caruso, her opponent in the race, saying that she had “great respect for anyone willing to put it all on the line to serve the public.”  Caruso phoned Bass on Nov. 15, to concede and congratulate her on the win, a conversation she described as “great.” 

She added, “I know he will continue his civic participation in the city that we both love.  I look forward to working together with him in the future.”

Also, Bass pledged to be the mayor for everyone, “no matter who you voted for,” she said. “I will be the mayor for you,” promised Bass.  “The crisis we face affects us all and all of us must be part of the solution.” Widely labeled as a coalition-builder, Bass said that she will use those skills to “marshal the resources” to solve the plights facing Los Angeles. 

 

People familiar with the many talents that Bass possesses nodded in agreement as she spoke those words and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who attended the event, outlined his reasons for his belief in her capabilities.

“I’ve watched Karen bring people together that wouldn’t be together otherwise, and I’ve seen her put them in the position to do their best work,” Harris-Dawson said. “I think that’s what the city needs right now. This city has great people, great capacity, but we all got to row in the same direction and we’ve all got to be focused on the same goal. I think Karen has the singular ability to allow us to do that.”

 

Wendy Gladney, who has known and worked with Bass for more than 30 years, voiced similar comments. “I think Karen has the power of the people behind her and support across the board. I think her dreams and plans will come to fruition based on her love of the city, her love of the community and her desire to make a difference. Also, she’s humble and not out for any power trip,” noted Gladney.

Gladney’s daughter, Courtney, who was one of the many young adults cheering Bass’ remarks at the press conference, echoed that reflection. 

“I’ve been supportive of Karen since day one. I’ve known her since I was a little girl when she was out in the community with my mom. As young African American woman, it’s important to see yourself in this position and it’s just a very exciting day to see her win.”

According to Pastor Edward Anderson of McCarty Memorial Christian Church in the West Adams District, “Karen Bass represents the best of Black Los Angeles and the hope of many of our ancestors to have a Black woman mayor who have a vision to eliminate homelessness and gentrification and making sure we have living wage jobs.”

Pastor Najuma Smith-Pollard of Word of Encouragement Church in downtown L.A. referred to Bass’ plans as “the agenda for the people” when explaining why she supported the mayor-elect. “I believe in her agenda, I believe in her vision for Los Angeles,” Smith-Pollard said.  “I believe that Karen Bass has what it takes to collaborate and partner with the people of this city to make a difference.”

Category: News

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