January 19, 2023
By Devyn Bakewell
Assistant Managing Editor
Sisters and DreamGirls Co-Founders, Sharie Wilson and Tonya Thompson, are on a mission to debunk the stereotypes that Black people often face in regard to their hair.
Wilson and Thompson are stylists and healthy hair experts who both have decade-long reputations of having “magic-growing hands,” helping Black people grow their own hair through DreamGirls’ Healthy Hair Program and 5-Step Healthy Hair Care System product line.
DreamGirls is a women-owned, family-owned, and Black-owned salon and haircare line set with the focus on negating the myths that Black women and men cannot have long, healthy hair.
The journey started with Tonya Thompson, who loved hair at a young age.
“I used to do hair for all my friends at school—I used to braid hair, flat iron their hair, play around with relaxers, and just doing anything you could think of.”
While in college, Thompson brought her sister Sharie into the mix. Tonya is five years older than Sharie, who started getting into the business when she was in high school. Never having the intention of doing hair, she’d continued it throughout college and even after as a way to make extra money.
“[Because] of the stereotypes and how people thought of hairstylist, I just never went into that field,” admitted Thompson.
The two went on with life—Sharie went onto college and got a job in corporate America, while Tonya worked in education—however remained doing hair on the side. With time, the sisters realized that doing hair was bringing them more money than they’re day jobs. The rest became history.
“I’d work a nine to five, and then come home and do hair form six to ten,” said Sharie Wilson. “And I realized I was making more money between six and then, so I deiced to walk away from corporate and dived right into doing hair.”
DreamGirls originally started as a hair line.
“We were one of the few in Sacramento and a very few if the people in LA that started selling hair,” Wilson told the Sentinel. The two opened a shop on Crenshaw and Manchester, and while selling hair, decided it would be a good idea to have someone there to install the hair.
“That’s how the salons ended up coming about,” continued Wilson. “Then we had our first salon in LA, and then I branched out and opened a salon in Sacramento. We’ve had salons in both locations ever since.”
The sisters have made it their expertise and their passion to help black women and men’s hair reach it’s greatest potential in both length and strength. Through their DreamGirls Healthy Hair Program, clients wear the protective style of a weave while the natural hair underneath the extensions is cared for and monitored by DreamGirls stylists.
Every three months, the weave is taken down, DreamGirls stylists treat the natural hair with the 5-Step Healthy Hair Care System product line, and then weave is reinstalled. After the course of the recommended time frame on the program, one will take out the weave permanently to reveal healthy, full, and long natural hair.
With doing hair, the DreamGirls founders wanted to make sure they were making a difference.
They also wanted to make sure they didn’t treat their business venture like a hustle, but as a true career path.
“People normally treat the hairstylist world as a hustle, uneducated default type of position that you get into,” explained Thompson. “[However] we took and changed it into a real profession, and that’s what we’re trying to do with all stylist. We’re trying to create DreamGirls Certified Stylist, and show people that this is a real profession.”
Thompson continued, “This is the best thing I could have done because it’s a whole new world! It allows me to make a difference in the community, make a difference in our own people in general, talk with a lot of people…”
Currently, DreamGirls has a cosmetology school, and is looking into many more ways hairstylist can turn this craft into a profession with benefits, insurance, and so much more.
The DreamGirls product line was released during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and helped provide hair solutions to anyone at home who could no longer visit their salons. Over $1 million of products was sold within the first six months, and customers were blown away by the results. The Healthy Hair Care System became a trending online sensation because of the results customers were seeing.
Since then, the product line has expanded into curl and styling products as well as accessories. DreamGirls even carefully chooses the names of their products to chance the narrative around Black hair by leaving out words like “unruly” and “hard-to-manage, and instead uses words like “revival” and TLC” in the product names.
“Words have power,” enthused Wilson, “and we want our clients to speak life into their hair and we want our products to speak life into their hair as well. We want people to walk in confidence. We want to show Black women that if you choose to wear your hair straight, that’s fine. If you choose to wear it curly, that’s fine. Whatever way you want to wear your hair, you can, as long as it’s healthy.”
Wilson continued, “As long as your hair is healthy, it can grow as long as you want it to with no cut off. As long as you want it to grow, it can grow.”
DreamGirls products are sold exclusively online at www.dghair.com or in person at the Culver City Salon. For information on Sharie Wilson and Tonya Thompson check out their social media (@dreamgirlshair).
January 19, 2023
City News Service
Attorneys for Black Lives Matter demonstrators confronted at gunpoint by the late husband of former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey in 2020 can have a second deposition of the county's former top prosecutor under certain limitations, a judge has ruled.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Theresa M. Traber heard arguments from both sides on January 13th, then took the case under submission and ruled January 17th. She said the deposition should take place within a week and last a maximum of two hours. Lacey's spouse, David Lacey, died Sept. 5.
“The court directs plaintiff's counsel to focus on the substance of the discovery it seeks from Ms. Lacey and forego any reliance on blown-up photographs of her now deceased husband or other aggressive techniques that may interfere with the truth-seeking process and subject Ms. Lacey to unnecessary stress as she continues to grieve her loss,'' according to the minute order prepared by the judge's clerk.
Traber ordered Lacey to answer specific questions, including any plans she and David Lacey may have devised together or advice and aid he requested about how he would confront the protesters, whether to use a firearm in doing so and what to do after the confrontation.
The BLM lawyers maintained Lacey, on the direction of her attorney, wrongfully refused to answer some questions based on the spousal communication privilege during her first deposition. They contended that a crime-fraud exception to the privilege applies if a communication was made, in whole or in part, to enable or aid anyone to commit or plan to commit a crime or a fraud.
Lacey's lawyers stated in their court papers that none of the deposition questions objected to by Lacey's attorneys pertained to statements Lacey allegedly made to enable or aid her spouse in committing or planning to commit a crime.
“Rather, the questions posed to Mrs. Lacey concerned confidential spousal communications about topics such as whether Mr. Lacey expressed concerns for his safety or remorse for his conduct, firearm and firearm safety unrelated to the incident and conduct or statements after the incident had already occurred,'' Lacey's attorneys stated in their court papers.
During her deposition, Lacey explained she was upstairs and out of the sight line of her front door during the entire incident, Lacey's attorneys stated in their court papers.
“In response to numerous questions, she confirmed that she had no knowledge of or involvement in the interaction on her porch between her husband and the protesters,'' Lacey's attorneys stated in their court papers.
Lacey's lawyers further noted in their court papers that the plaintiffs do not allege that Lacey came to the front door or that she was present during the interaction.
“Rather, plaintiffs allege ... that Mrs. Lacey aided and abetted Mr. Lacey's decision to cock, load and then point the handgun directly at plaintiffs'' and that both Lacey's negligently failed to look at their Ring app, where they would have seen that the visitors were “simply unarmed peaceful protesters,'' Lacey's lawyers stated in their court papers.
The suit also alleges false imprisonment by the 65-year-old Lacey. The confrontation occurred when members of the group showed up at the couple's Granada Hills residence the morning of March 2, 2020.
Melina Abdullah, Dahlia Ferlito and Justin Marks brought the complaint the Laceys in October 2020, claiming they suffered emotional distress from the incident. Their lawyers maintain in their court papers that the Laceys were aware the demonstrators were there to confront her and not her husband.
Jackie Lacey also knew, or should have known, that confronting uninvited guests at her front door with a loaded firearm was unlawful, the BLM lawyers state in their court papers.
“Surely neither Mr. Lacey or Mrs. Lacey believe that have a right to confront and threaten those uninvited visitors with a loaded firearm,'' the BLM lawyers state in their court papers. “And in doing so, it is reasonable that Mr. and Mrs. Lacey communicated about who would confront the protesters, how they would be confronted and what they would do after the confrontation.
“All of those communications are relevant, unprivileged and necessary to show Mrs. Lacey's compliance and whether she aided and abetted her husband in the assault of plaintiffs.''
For several years, protesters, including members of Black Lives Matter, gathered sometimes in the hundreds outside the Hall of Justice, where Lacey's office was located, every Wednesday to protest against Lacey, she says, adding they came with signs, noise-amplifiers and drums and chanted slogans such as, “Bye, Jackie'' and “Jackie Lacey Must Go.''
Abdullah is a professor and former chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at Cal State Los Angeles and a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter. She and other BLM demonstrators went to the Laceys' home seeking to confront her for allegedly refusing to meet with them to discuss issues of community concern.
Lacey was criticized by Abdullah and other activists for declining to prosecute some law enforcement officers involved in fatal on-duty shootings during her two terms in office.
David Lacey opened the door after the plaintiffs rang the bell and video images show him pointing a gun and saying he would shoot if the visitors did not get off his porch.
The encounter occurred a day before Lacey -- the first woman and first Black prosecutor to hold the top post since the office was created in 1850 -- was forced into a runoff with former San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascón, who ultimately was elected.
January 19, 2023
By Stacy M. Brown
That’s enough of racism and bigotry, says Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.
The Democratic representative from Texas has introduced House Resolution 61, which would amend Title 18 of the United States Code to broaden the definition of hate crimes, with the goal of preventing and prosecuting hate crimes motivated by white supremacy and conspiracy to commit such crimes.
The text of the bill reads as follows: “A person commits a white supremacy inspired hate crime when white supremacist ideology has motivated the planning, development, preparation, or perpetration of actions that constituted a crime or were undertaken in furtherance of activity that, if effectuated, would have constituted a crime.”
With respect to any information or evidence obtained by the Department of Justice of any unlawful action specified in Jackson-Lee’s bill, the DOJ shall have the authority to conduct operations and activities pursuant to such crimes.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) would also be authorized to conduct investigations, intervene, and take any other measures it deems necessary and appropriate to prevent, mitigate, or stop any potentially violent action.
The Department of Justice’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program would keep track of white supremacist-inspired hate crimes and other related actions, and Justice Department officials would have the authority to prosecute those responsible for them.
Jackson Lee has requested that the DOJ report its findings annually to the relevant Congressional committees.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, claimed the legislation “makes a mockery of the First Amendment.”
While Boebert, a right-wing leader, misrepresented the legislation after reading a misleading news article, Jackson Lee schooled her on Twitter.
“First of all, it took me about 32 seconds of reading the article you cited to understand that none of you know what you are talking about,” Jackson Lee scolded.
To be convicted of a hate crime in some jurisdictions, “H.R. 61 simply deals with adding white supremacy to a list of reasons,” the Texas Democrat explained.
“So, when the article states that ‘only white people can be charged with’ this crime, that’s flagrantly false.
“Your argument assumes that only white people can hold white supremacist views and that only certain groups of people can perpetrate violence motivated by white supremacy.
“I would hope now that your argument would not shift to ‘why is white supremacy being added to this law?’ That would be egregious.
“Yes, white supremacy should be added to this law. Why? Because as Director Wray testified, it’s a major domestic terrorist threat.”
January 19, 2023
LAWT News Service
Effective immediately, all Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) customers should use the green bin to dispose of all food scraps and food-soiled paper, along with their existing yard waste. This is due to California Senate Bill 1383, which requires jurisdictions to reduce the disposal of their organic waste from landfills by 75% by 2025.
The Board of Public Works and the LA City Council have approved the necessary contracts with the companies that will process the compostable materials for the City, enabling the program to move forward, at no cost to customers.
"We appreciate the leadership of the City for moving expeditiously to make this new program come to life,” said LASAN Executive Director and General Manager Barbara Romero. “LASAN is committed to diverting food waste from the landfill in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create better air quality throughout Los Angeles. We have been preparing for the launch of OrganicsLA for years and are anxious for this next phase to begin."
During the summer of 2022, LASAN's curbside collection of compostable material was expanded from the initial 2019-2021 pilot program of 18,000 households to 40,000 households.
Now all 750,000 LASAN residential customers are encouraged to compost their food scraps together with yard trimmings, including sticks and leaves, through the City’s curbside composting collection program.
To help residents start collecting food scraps, the City is providing 2-gal kitchen pails. These pails are available for pick-up at participating distribution sites, one pail per household, while supplies last. Residents can start making appointments to pick up their pails through the LASAN's scheduling system at www.lacitysan.org/organics with pail pickup starting on January 23, 2023. For residents who require ADA accessibility, pails can be requested for delivery.
City kitchen pails are not required to participate in the citywide composting program. Any container of choice (e.g., bowl, paper bag, etc.), can be used to collect food scraps and empty them into your curbside composting collection bin.
Items that can go in the green bin include:
• Fruits, vegetables
• Dairy, eggshells
• Stale bread, cereal, grains, rice, pasta, beans
• Old lunch meat, steak and chicken bones, fish bones, shells
• Coffee grounds and used paper coffee filters
• Food soiled paper products (e.g., used paper napkins , soiled pizza boxes)
• Yard trimmings, flowers, and clean untreated wood
The recommended best practice is to place all compostable materials directly into the curbside composting bin. A great tip is to place a used paper napkin or paper towel at the bottom of the kitchen composting pail. The napkin will absorb moisture and help control odor.
Placing food scraps in a kitchen pail will reduce potential odors because it will isolate anything that might smell in one container. Materials that might degrade will no longer be mixed with other garbage under the kitchen sink.
Food scraps from the kitchen pail can then go into the curbside composting cart. Composting food scraps is a good green habit that helps protect the environment in multiple ways.
In addition to the new OrganicsLA program, residents also have the option of composting at home, using an in-sink disposal or taking their organic material to one of the compost hubs at a Farmer's Market. Customers with questions may contact LASAN's 24-hour Customer Care Center at 1-800-773-2489 or visit www.lacitysan.org/organics to schedule an appointment to pick up a pail.