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Thurgood Marshall College Fund Launch Youth Empowerment Initiative In South Africa

Celebrities, leaders and multi-talented professionals came together to participate in the week-long program iLEAD – South Africa, held inJohannesburg,South Africa, from June 10th-17th. Some of the celebrities who attended included Kenny Lattimore, MC Lyte, Lammon Rucker and Lil Mama, just to name several. This empowerment initiative was presented by The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) who has represented nearly 300,000 students attending its organization.  

During the event, TMCF collaborated with Valiant Innovative Creations, a leading edge company that prides itself in being inventive, ingenious and imaginative in its approach to business. “We are excited to collaborate with partners in other countries to open doors for exchange between TMCF member-schools and students from all over the world – engaging them in the opportunities offered by TMCF and the nation’s public HBCUs,” says TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. 

The iLEAD – South Africa is the newest component of the TMCF Payne Global Initiative, named after TMCF Founder, Dr. N. Joyce Payne. It was designed to empower young people through a series of panel discussions and events. Some of the components emphasized in hopes of inspiring our next generation of global leaders were Inspiration, Leadership, Education, Aspiration, and Determination. “As an entertainer and entrepreneur, I have spent my life finding ways to motivate the next generation,” says hip hop legend and businesswoman MC Lyte. 

The event was open to the public. Over 1,000 students, as well as teachers and parents participated in the forums and panel discussions. “As an entertainer who has been very fortunate, it is important that I give back to inspire the youth in South Africa as they prepare to make critical life choices. I hope other celebrities will step up and support initiatives like this,” says the international singer Kenny Lattimore.

Sponsors and partners of the event included Valiant Innovative Creations, FedEx, Motlholotlholo Consulting, SABC 1, Stratica Group, Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, and The Black Gents of Hollywood. In the future TMCF is looking to expand the program into other countries together with the United States. During the commemoration of Youth Month in South Africa, iLEAD – South Africa will be an annual program.

For more information about Thurgood Marshall College Fund please visit


14th Annual Children Uniting Nations 2013 Viewing Dinner and After Party

Article & comments written by Marva Jones/Photos: Kevin Jones

Children Uniting Nations 2013 Awards Celebration and Viewing Dinner was a night to remember, as stars and significant individuals packed the Harry Warner estate in Hollywood. Daphna Ziman, founder of Children Uniting Nations, opened the evening stating why she holds this event. She explained that she has worked closely with Hilary Clinton to help at risk children. 78.8% of children are from the welfare system. The Children Uniting Nations helps them to graduate from school and gain life skills.

The award recipients included NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas for the Lifetime Humanitarian Award, Roderick Sherwood for the Corporate Excellence Award, and Marvin Markowitz for the Distinguished Service Award. President Bill Clinton via satellite spoke highly of the event and how deserving Isiah Thomas was of receiving this award (Awesome for him to take the time to speak on Isiah’s behalf). Larenz Tate presented Isiah with his award. The event was followed by performances such as Dennis Quaid & The Sharks, Miki Howard, Kenny Lattimore and Blush.

Daphna Ziman comments on the night of the Oscars as she says "Without dreams you cannot win an Oscar. You have to be able to read and write to win an Oscar.  And the press are the gatekeepers of our causes."

Here are some of the comments from some of the attendees of the CUN Awards hosted on Sunday, February 23, 2013:

-April Sutton (First BET reporter, and currently the Goodwill Ambassador of Kenya) - "This is one of the more elaborate humanitarian events.” Anytime children who are in need she makes time to support.

-Ammaya Calhoun (Upcoming singer/actress) - “I lend support to events to help children.”  Ammay has worked with Michelle Obama in Atlanta in 2011 on the "Let's Move" campaign.

-Finola Hughes (Soap opera star) - "I love to watch the Oscars and participate in charitable events, too." Finola supports charities that benefit children, particularly adoption. She has two adopted children of her own and will be hosting an event in May to benefit abused children.

-Suelyn Mederios (Brazilian cover model) - “I participate in charities that benefit children.” Suelyn has a clothing line called Bomb. It is Brazilian inspired sexy grown lounge wear and evening gowns.

-Ariane Bellamar (Actress and Model) - “I love to support charity events that benefit children.” Ariane is involved in an organization, called Peace Over Violence that helps victims of domestic abuse.

-Isiah and Lynn Thomas - “I consider this one of the best awards of recognition.”  Isiah and his lovely wife became involved in organizations that support education and youth against violence. Currently, he is working with the city of Chicago's Park District to construct basketball courts.  He credits his wife for being his backbone as he says, "I could not do any of this without her support." Mrs. Lynn Thomas is a lovely woman. They were both very gracious. And our Mrs. Thomas exudes a strong and quiet confidence. It is displayed in her posture and eyes.

-Sandra Vidal (Actress) - “I support this great cause.” Sandra helps with "Best Buddies," an organization that helps those with mental disabilities. They pursue bike rides to raise funds and awareness. 

-Daphne Wayans (VH1, Hollywood Access) - “I’m good friends with founder Daphna Ziman and lends support whenever I’m asked to.” Daphne also supports Will & Jada Smith's "Keep a Child Alive" and Alicia Keyes "New Village Learning Academy".

-Rolanda Watts (Announcer of the Judge Joe Brown Show) - “I like to come out to support good causes, and this event is definitely one of the good ones." Rolanda also host’s her own radio show on Sunday's,

-Abraham McDonald (Musician, Ambassador of Children Uniting Nations) - “I have been a part of CUN for 3 years, which is dear to my heart as it helps youths that would otherwise not be given an opportunity to reach their potential.” Abraham also supports The Dreamland Foundation for the unsung heroes. 

-Matt Nolan (Actor) - “I love supporting charitable organizations that help young people.” Matt’s most recent role was in the Academy Award winning film Argo. He has been a part of World Vision for over 20 years. It is an organization that works to help solve world hunger and diseases, such as Malaria. He and his wife spent their honeymoon in Ethiopia.

-Wenwa Oranga (Ambassador of Kenya) - “I am very happy to support children organizations.”

-Beverly Todd (Actress) - “I am a dear friend of Dapna Zima and have been participating with CUN since its inception. It has helped hundreds and hundreds of children" Ms. Todd's current project is an exciting documentary on the life of Mary Wilson of the Supremes.

Children Uniting Nations is a proactive Non-profit 501c(3) organization that focuses on advocacy/awareness and provides academic and community based programs for at-risk and foster youth. For more information visit

Read more articles/interviews relating to the 2013 CUN celebration:
Daphna Ziman
Roderick Sherwood
Isiah Thomas


McDonald's All-American Basketball Games

All around the USA, the best of the best high school boys and girls students were chosen to be a McDonald’s All-American. Live at the Jones Convocation Center, located at the Chicago State University, these competitive  All-Americans  participated in the Powerade Jam Fest skills competition, three point shootout and dunk contest. Judges of the competition included Ernie banks, Ramonski Luv, Kenny McReynolds, Greg Olsen, Jim Rose, Lovie Smith and Andy Carpenter, who is wheelchair bound and was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of three years old. The Ronald McDonald’s Charities has greatly impacted Andy.  Some of the past dunk contest winners include NBA players such as Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin, and WNBA player Candace Parker. (Read Full Page Interview)

-Written by Tocarra Eldridge


Black Ice: All Male Fashion Show

This year Blake Martin will produce the Black Ice: All Male Fashion Show. Revisited from an idea provoked several years ago, along with the support of Tyra Banks adds another level of support. “Everyone seemed to love it! I’m basically giving the crowd what they’re asking for,” says the innovative Blake Martin. This year’s fashion show will present Brian White as host. Guests include super model Brian Neih, Ajaye Brewington, along with fashion icon Rashon Carraway, just to name a few.

Blake Martin started off as a back-up dancer for B2K, Rihanna and other popular artist. Over the time, his professional dancing career transitioned into the fashion world.  With further details, he comments in regards to his fashion shows, “Over the years my shows have transitioned to celebrity infused fashion shows. I do 4 or 5 shows a year.”

Now back with a sequel, the wait is over as friends, families and newcomers can expect another exciting show. “They can experience great fashion, interesting models and shocking moments. All my shows come with an element of surprise,” excitingly says the future fashion show producer guru. 

Another great aspect of Blake Martin’s fashion shows is that his fashion shows raise money for charity.  He explains briefly while possessing a heart for giving back, “My company [Blake Martin Productions, Inc.] supports after school programs that focus on dance, modeling, singing and acting. What we do is find a company that’s in need of funds and our profits from our shows go to these companies.”

The Black Ice: All Male Fashion Show will debut on October 20, 2012 at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago. Doors open at 6pm and the show begins promptly at 7pm. Sponsors include Hotel Blake Chicago, Sprite, and Aussiebum Underwear Co. Tickets can be purchased at


Verizon's How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration

Come and experience a celebration of a lifetime when Verizon's How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration comes to Chicago or a city near you for its fifth awe-inspiring year. Rejoice with local choirs that are competing to represent their city, receiving a chance to advance to the grand finale in New York City to compete for the title as "Best Gospel Choir in America." This platform gives choirs the opportunity to showcase their love for gospel music in front of fans and gospel greats, competing to win for cash and prizes.

Competitors are judged in front of gospel elites, such as Hezekiah Walker, Fred Hammond, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, CeCe Winans, and VaShawn Mitchell. The returning host for this celebration is Grammy award-winning songwriter, producer, arranger and music producer Donald Lawrence, alongside Grammy award-winning entertainer, producer, author and radio host Yolanda Adams.

Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound was created by Verizon to show its support of the community as well as give back to the community. Verizon Wireless serves over 93 million customers, operating the nation’s largest 4G network and most reliable 3G network in the world. “Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound allows us to connect with our customers and celebrate the impact that local church and choirs and gospel music have on the community,” says Marquett Smith, vice president of corporate communications and community relations, Verizon Wireless.

Last year Salvation and Deliverance Church Choir, the Tarboro, N.C. based choir won the grand prize earning a title as "Best Gospel Choir in America." The prize money went toward their church programs enabling them to help people in the community.

The Chicago show will take place at the United Center on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:30pm. Tickets are on sale ranging from $10.00 and up. For tickets, visit online at or via phone (800)745-3000. For more information on Verizon's How Sweet The Sound visit

Hoping to see you there at this wonderful gospel celebration!

Consciousness Magazine had the opportunity to interview Verizon's How Sweet The Sound hosts and judges. Here is what they had to say about this remarkable event as they travel to various cities around the country. These gospel artists also share valuable information regarding their life and career, in hopes to empower and enlighten our readers and their fans.

Donald Lawrence (Read Interview)
Yolanda Adams (Read Interview)
Fred Hammond (Read Interview)
Erica Campbell (Read Interview)
Hezekiah Walker (Read Interview)
CeCe Winans (Read Interview)
VaShawn Mitchell (Read Interview)


Stop The Violence Teen Jam

The Stop the Violence Teen Jam was another successful event presented by Consciousness Mgazine (Robinson Publishing Incorporation) and Innovative Model Events. The occasion was held at Kankakee High School. Aaron Robinson, publisher and Tocarra Eldridge, event coordinator, collaborated with the idea of this wonderful event intended to make a difference for our youth. The ultimate purpose of the event was to provide a fun, entertaining and positive experience for teens, encouraging them to counteract violence, while continuing to put their education first.

McDonald’s coupons, Coca-Cola products, as well as numerous gifts and prizes were distributed to all the youth, along with a Stop the Violence magazine that included positive articles, emphasizing positive celebrities and literature on counteracting violence. Tamaris Barnett was recognized in the magazine for his high school achievements, along with his accomplishments for RPI.

At the event, national recording producer, DJ Slugo, of Bloc Music provided the audience with music. The event was hosted by Tim Owens, while Shavon Parker, Kent Wade and Officer Calvin were guest speakers. Final Phaze Kankakee and Final Phaze Chicago held an extraordinary performance, as local rapper, DJ, gave the audience something to remember. The audience embraced the V.I. P. area which was provided by Kenny’s Ribs. Marlowe Whitlow, of Flashing Lights, provided photography, capturing a once in a life time memory.

RPI and IME would like to thank all of its proud sponsors and supporters for making the Stop the Violence Teen Jam a success.

Sponsors: Consciousness Magazine, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Applebee’s, JR’s Chicken, Kankakee Community College, Kankakee Visitors Bureau, Brunswick Gala Lanes, Kankakee Daily Journal, Centrue Bank, WKAN, WVLI, Trendz Beauty Supply, Jimmy Holmes Clothing, A Cut Above, Nelly Fashions and many more


Two of Hearts "A Night of Elegance to Remember"

Lotty-Dotti Entertainment and the Terrell Boyz put together one of the most classy and elegant events at the top of the year. In one of the most prestige arenas in Kankakee, Illinois, The Majestic Theatre, doors were open to the community after years of renovation where legendary musicians once performed on stage. Now, several decades later, R&B artist Case, Malone, and Ralph, along with the live band left the exhilarating crowd with something to remember many decades from now. “The performance was great tonight. I was excited about the crowd,” Case says in the dressing room in a genuine manner. While being very down to earth, he talks about his challenges and longevity as an artist. “Some of the challenges are the challenges of a record company picking me up. I’ve been signed to Def Jam, and it’s not so much the music…but more about what kind is created. I wanted to do music that would last for decades instead of making something like a fad. A lot of the music these days is only for the here and now,” says the Grammy nominee, who is most recognized for his wedding song “Happily Ever After.”

Duvale Davis, manager of Lotty-Dotti Entertainment, is known for coordinating event in the community, gaining much respect for his exultant events. “The venue and environment looked great. We catered to couples with this event…to those who won’t normally come out. This event was tailored to them.” Davis becomes thrilled about the mature audience and venue. “If I can’t do this type of event, I won’t do it!” Young and intelligent Latif Terrell, president of Lotty-Dotti Entertainment is enthused about another successful event as he differentiates R&B artist from rappers. “We are trying to show people that we can have events without the rift raft. When you have rappers, you usually have a younger crowd, and it’s hard to keep down the level of energy. The energy is much different. If it’s negative energy, the security will have to calm it down.” Latif who stands humble shows his love and support. “I’m thankful for Consciousness Magazine, Case, Randy Malone, the band, Terrell Boyz, Lotty-Dotti, and the Majestic Theatre for giving me the opportunity and seeing that it was a success…and for everybody who came out to see it was a success.”

The Two of Hearts concert brought out respectful couples from all around the Midwest area. Tickets that were purchased for $100 were well accepted and complimented by catered food and Champagne. Couples and singles who lined the ticket way were escorted to the balcony seats where they had a beautiful view of the purple and reddish lightning of the stage which set the romantic mood. The lower level was very affordable; however neither food nor drinks were catered, but viewers had a magnificent view of the stage to witness the performances.

Malone, performing his music and Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine” left a remarkable impression on the crowd. “I couldn’t come here tonight and do a bunch of records that people didn’t know. It [the show] was incredible. It’s my first time back home performing in 6 years.  It was just a wonderful thing to actually be able to come here, knowing my hard work is paying off. I’m so happy to be here tonight. I feel like great…just to see my mom and dad here!,” says aspiring R&B singer Malone who has worked with professional artist such as Syleena Johnson and CeCe Peniston. As a host for the occasion and having an electrifying performance, he talks about support. “The Midwest region lacks support. We don’t support like we should. It’s a bunch of chiefs and not enough Indians. We’re lacking support from each other. ATL does it…New York does it…we need for it to be understood.” Ralph, the opening act from Chicago felt good performing his new music and received praise from the nice crowd as well.

Many recognizable faces in the community also came out to support the occasion. “[The crowd] has a lot of energy! The Majestic Theatre is a beautiful place. This is history and I’m glad to be in the building!” unimaginatively says local promoter Natone “Midwest” Jordan.  His colleague, Marlowe (Mr. Flashing Lights) responds afterwards, “The atmosphere and surrounding is lovely. The appetizers are great. It’s a much more upscale and classy type feel here.” Roderic Hodges (GOT R.I.C.) was also proud and honored to attend the event. “I feel that it was a historical moment in a historical venue.” And historical indeed it is.

After the event came to a close, crowds of people attended the after-party held at Sully’s where food was also catered and people danced the night away as DJ Swoope provided quality music. Lotty-Dotti Ent. and the Terrell Boyz are looking to bring out many more acts for the community. Stay tuned for more successful and sophisticated events that caters to love and happiness and peace and Joy.

Photos credit by CM and GOT R.I.C.