BY DR. TIFFANY TYLER
December marks a special time: the halfway point in the school calendar. It is a great time to reflect — and I encourage everyone in Las Vegas to consider all we have accomplished as a community and to check in on our intentions.
We can be proud to have elected new leadership at several levels of our education system — including a new superintendent and community college president. Moreover, we made the bold statement of voting in record numbers, which is a strong indication of engagement that can be followed by action.
As we approach the halfway point of the school calendar, we can see tangible examples of our community’s commitment to ensuring school safety, improving education outcomes and working across systems for the betterment of children and families. Tangible examples of this commitment include the Clark County School Justice Partnership, the Harbor, and a new level of transparency in school reporting.
With the advent of the Clark County School Justice Partnership, the Clark County School District, the Department of Juvenile Justice Services and others are working to end the “school to prison pipeline” in our community. Last month, the Department of Juvenile Justice Services celebrated the second anniversary of the Harbor — a youth assessment center that has provided free wraparound services to approximately 5,000 youth and families since its inception. Even more remarkably, the work has occurred with youth recidivism rate of less than 5%.
These efforts demonstrate that social transformation is possible when we link arms as a community to respond to big challenges. In this vein, I ask us to consider what more can be accomplished in the wake of several youth-involved shootings. Accordingly, let’s check in our intentions and ask whether we are realizing our vision for students and our community.
If we are not realizing that vision, may the new year begin with a fervent commitment to doing so. As we package gifts and place them under trees for the holiday season, let’s remember and commit to all the intangibles we can give to our students and our community — including gifts like hope, peace, love, compassion and empathy. And as we open those gifts, may we also commit to opening things like communication, access, and most importantly, our hearts.
BY DR. ELLEN BROWN
By now, your power has been accomplished. The elections are over and the majority won across the country.
I have heard some say, “My vote would not have made a difference — they are gonna do what they want anyway.” Well, at this point, it does not matter, because we all did what we wanted to do.
Anyway, I voted — that’s what I wanted to do. Others who did not vote had their reasons. One friend told me she didn’t want to vote because they are all crooks! Another didn’t want to vote because he is registered in Chicago, not out here. And the most original reason for doing what she wanted was, “I only get one day off a week and I need my rest!” (In the future, let’s be sure to share the joy and ease of voting absentee.)
Paying attention to issues and elected officials during their current terms helps prepare us for the next election. As I prepared my sample ballot, many thoughts went through my head, including, “How do I know who the right person is?” I found myself evaluating candidates based on personal preferences and beliefs when I was not as familiar with them as I should have been.
Candidates work hard to present themselves to us based on their professional and personal accomplishments and beliefs, but often a voter’s decision comes down to basics — party affiliation, race, gender, surname, endorsements, and personal experiences with the system in which the candidate is seeking a spot.
Voting is about doing what we want to do anyway. Up for choice were individuals and proposed amendments to our Constitution — and whichever and whatever won now possesses the real power.
What do we do now? We make them accountable for their actions. Write letters, send cards, go to meetings and hearings, show up in court, let them know your opinions and thoughts on the issues. For those you opposed, make them work for the office they won because in the end they are “public servants.”
And when the next election comes, why not listen even more closely to the issues, the candidates, the news to influence your voting decisions. Without the people, there is no power. Next time, what will be your “I’m gonna do what I want to do”?
Ellen writes on political topics that encourage interest, discussion and action. Have a comment, question or idea? Contact Dr. Brown at email@example.com
Media attention on the topic may have diminished over the last decade or more, but the reality is that the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS remains high within black communities.
Blacks currently account for about 49% of the people diagnosed with the virus, despite comprising only 14% of the U.S. population. And because women are at a particularly high risk of contracting this disease, it’s extremely important for them to have sex health conversations with their partners — as uncomfortable as the topic may be.
Women engaging in sexual activity while dating should plan for their sexual future, just as they would for every other aspect — careers, marriage, children — of their lives.
In reality, the best time for this dialogue is at the beginning of a relationship — before any sexual activity ever occurs. Women often make the mistake of having one of the most important conversations well after there is an emotional attachment and when it is easier to compromise on their beliefs.
Some women are afraid to be more vocal about HIV testing in a relationship out of fear of losing their partner, fear of being perceived as promiscuous, fear of being seen as too headstrong, or fear of being viewed as being accusatory of their mates.
Conversations about HIV testing may be uncomfortable, but they are still very necessary. Remember: put your health first, and your relationship will blossom into what you intend it to be.
For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care Offices at (702)522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.
BY LOUIE OVERSTREET
The easy thing to do in my December column would be to write a fluff piece wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. However, given the sad and alarming state of America today, I can’t do easy.
It’s very disheartening, just in my lifetime, to observe what has happened to America in the last two years — especially when compared with what we experienced and was able to overcome as a nation in the previous 75 plus years. When we look back on that time, many events come to my mind that demonstrate how our country has confronted challenges and emerged on the other side a better nation for the experience.
By winning WWII, America became the unquestioned — however sometimes challenged — leader in the world community of nations. This leadership is true in terms of military and economic dominance. Our desires, even when misguided, were with good intentions to lift up other nations of the world as best evidenced by the Peace Corps.
While remaining a largely segregated society well into the 1950s and 1960s, I remember our communities having thriving businesses and exhibiting a sense of community such that crime was fairly consistent with other communities. Crime became a problem for us when our government decided to treat drug addiction as a crime and not as a health crisis — unlike how opioids use is treated today.
People of all colors championed an era of civil and voting rights beginning in the mid-1950s thru the mid-1970s — including marches, race riots, and ending the Vietnam War. While such protests were primarily directed at our government, we now have a President with malice aforethought who is purposely dividing Americans along economic, cultural, and racial lines.
Our Idiot President should know that it was Honest Abe who noted in an 1858 speech that “a house divided against itself cannot stand”!
Hopefully, in spite of the Idiot’s best efforts, last month’s election results will one day be positively referred to as once upon a time in America.
The phrase “we grow” is often said without intention. It is almost as if life is revolving around you, instead of you evolving around life and circumstance. So many things that occur in the world around you result in turning off senses in order to stay focused — or to just survive. We awaken when the expectations of our desires are manifested.
The desires we hope for are uncontrollable. With luck and belief in a higher power, our hopes turn into realities. But one of the most attainable things — often overlooked — is our power to lead a life of purpose. The purpose to make humanity and ourselves better. Each day, we are all given the opportunity to go in a direction of productive outcomes.
A woke life is one lived with purpose — never docile in thought or meditation. Rather, in positive motion of self and all that can be shared to enhance conditions around you. Your environment gives you the canvas to paint your purposeful life, with all the vibrant colors of your imagination giving life to your dreams.
As we approach the New Year, your evolution to inner gratification can be realized by your motion toward purpose. The deliberate action to make someone happy will feed back into your soul and fuel your progression.
Living a purposeful life starts in your heart with gratitude for what you have been blessed with. Taking those blessings to the next level of personification will attract concepts and ideas that will lead to success.
Peace awaits when you live a life with purpose.
BY CAPUCINE HOLMES
Women have a natural intuition to nurture the world and make things right. As women continue to evolve in their own destiny through the journeys in their lives, they are uniting to use their power in the world. Christia’n Annice is capturing the momentum through her business, the She Got Her OWN Network.
Annice, who is also owner of the Water Bar & Lounge, started the network after she lost her job and was forced to support herself outside the bounds of traditional employment. She wanted something different — and entrepreneurship was the difference. The experience inspired her to help other women to embrace entrepreneurship.
She attended a Billionaires Roundtable at Caesars, where she experienced an up-close-and-personal lesson from Janice Bryant Howroyd, a black woman entrepreneur and CEO of the ACT-1 Group — the largest multi-billion dollar privately held, woman owned workforce solutions company founded in the U.S. Christian embraced Howroyd’s inspiration by excelling into her own. She embraces the power of women in economic development, and sees her lounge as a place where powerful women can network, create and evolve.
The Girlfriends and Champagne Women Empowerment Brunch, held at the Water Bar and Lounge, honored celebrities like actress Elise Neal, hip-hop legend Roxanne Shante and reality star Nia Riley. As these celebrities shared their struggles and triumphs, they inspired women to salute their own successes and always insist on having their own.
BY LAUREN ANDERSON
Human Resources Assistant
City of North Las Vegas
Call Center Specialist
Sutherland Global Services
IT Program Managers
All-In Recruiting & Talent Boutique
Distribution Center Operations Supervisor
The TJX Companies, Inc.
Customer Care Medicare Support (Inbound Call)
Medical Records Analyst
Spring Mountain Universal Health Services
Dispatch Operations Supervisor
Store Manager – LV South Outlets
Varricchio Law Firm
Director of Patient Accounting
University Medical Center Southern Nevada
Director of Commercial Real Estate
Nevada State Bank
To submit your company’s “Direct Connect Job Listing” in Las Vegas Black Image Magazine, contact (702) 615-8216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for job postings is the 18th of each month.
Zena lies in bed — thinking of a turn of events that is wonderful, unexpected, and a little bit scary.
I never knew that a great conversation could lead to the most electrifying kiss that sends waterfalls flowing into the crevasses of my thighs. My thoughts are racing toward a future I have always dreamt of — but the reality of the situation makes me apprehensive.
Oh, my God. I can’t lose my job. Was the kiss at the Taco Take Out a momentary situation to be forgotten in the morning? I will see and give me the courage to face the truth.
That was the best night’s sleep I have had in a long time. I am so glad today is Saturday, because I can’t imagine facing Maximus in the office. We probably need time to think about the kiss we shared and where we want to take this. Or maybe he is not thinking about it at all? Who am I fooling? He has probably done this before with other “fine” sistas who have worked at his firm. I need to wake up and stay woke.
Zena reaches over to get her phone from the nightstand.
Wow, it’s already 11 a.m. I need to get up and get to the gym. I wonder if Maximus has my cell phone number — he didn’t ask for it. But I feel energized.
Traffic is getting so bad. You know it is when it’s a Saturday and I’m still driving. My body is feeling that workout. I will go home and make me a chicken breast and eat a small salad. I wonder if Maximus has a Facebook account.
Oh! I never knew I could look at his page without being added as a friend …
The car behind Zena honks the horn impatiently. Okay, I’m going. People have no patience. Get on my nerve.
Zena rushes into her apartment to finish looking at Maximus’ Facebook page.
Who wants to look at nature on Facebook? Maximus must be the only brother alive who doesn’t put more of his personal business on Facebook. Let me look at his photos. I know there must be a photo of his girlfriend or girls he has dated. I wonder if they look like me. Am I his type?
Bing! Zena’s phone lights up with a friend request.
Oh my God, Maximus must have some magic powers. Can he see me looking at his page? I never know about this Facebook stuff. Let me add my man.
Immediately, a message: “Had a great time last night with great conversation. Best time in a long time. But, never got your number? Maximus.”
Okay, what’s my number? I never call myself. I am so crazy.
Zena messages back: “Yes, I also had a great time. Just got back from gym. (Yes, keeping it tight my brother. Ha-ha). My number is 404-555-1869.
The text comes in an instant: “I’m going to a museum later this afternoon. You want to come? Max.”
Hell yeah I do. But I can’t say that — don’t want to seem thirsty.
“Well, if you are busy, I understand.”
“No, I am not too busy and I can be ready around 4 p.m., if that is good.”
“That will be perfect. Text me your address and I will be there at 4?”
Zena takes a deep breath and thinks about something profound to message, but realizes she is taking too long to respond. She texts, “OK.”
I was all ready to see some art by Picasso, but we arrived at the African Art Museum that I am embarrassed to say I never knew existed. Maximus parks right in front of the museum and I was surprised that no other cars were there. He came around to the passenger side and opened my door and grabbed my hand to help me to my feet. This is a nice place I never knew about it.
Maximus gently takes his hand around my waist and leads Zena to the front door of the museum and then pulls some keys from his pocket to open the door.
“Is this your museum?”
“Well, you could say that. I am one of the investors. I love art — especially art that represents our ancestors.”
When we walk in, all is dark — and then Maximus turns on the lights and the magnificence of the colorful art and finely made sculptures takes my breath away. Maximus takes me on mental exploration journey, and describes the many artifacts in our gaze. The various rugs on the floors represent the different regions of our African motherland.
As we enter another room of the museum through beautiful French doors, I see a table for two set up with wine glasses, white tablecloth, white candles lit, and a bouquet of white roses. I placed my hands around my month in complete awe.
“I wanted to surprise you. No tacos tonight. I fixed one of my favorite dishes—I hope you like it?”
Yes, Lord. He cooks too.
Zena whispers to herself: “This is beautiful. Wow, this is absolutely fabulous.
“I thought we could finish our conversation about the world while enjoying this meal together,” Maximus said. “You are very special, Zena — and I want to get to know all of you. Your thoughts, your likes and your passions. All of it.”
Wake me up. He can’t be real. But we did just that. We ate, drank the most fabulous wine, and continued our conversation about my life and his travels around the world.
It was in Africa where he got the most unique artifacts. And what added to the perfect evening was the majestic Donny Hathaway music playing in our perfect “black” ground. I couldn’t help but notice the large fluffy rug in front of our table. He noticed my glance.
“That’s my favorite Alpaca rug from Peru. It is the softest rug I have ever touched.”
Maximus lays on the rug and reaches his hand out for me to join him. His dark skin looked like the Nile against the white rug that cradled his body. I felt my ancestors sing as our souls joined under the museum ceiling reminiscent of the Ivory Coast.
Black Entertainment Television recently held the Soul Train Music Awards at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Celebrating the best in soul, R&B and hiphop — while highlighting both legends and breakout stars — the show did not disappoint.
A signature moment of this year’s telecast was the Lady of Soul Award presented to R&B songstress Faith Evans. Her husband, “Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta” star Stevie J, served as the presenter. The honor came 23 years after Evans released her self-titled debut album.
Several renowned artists — including Missy Elliott, Al B. Sure and Karen Clark Sheard — sent well-wishes and congratulations to Evans. Legendary singer Anita Baker tweeted: “Congratulations Lady of Soul 2018. Faith Evans is one of the baddest natural sopranos 2 pick up the mic.”
Stevie J reminisced about the New Jersey native, who found her voice in the church. He said that his wife was always destined for success. “She shook the whole industry up, because everybody knew her as a songwriter and background singer,” he said. “When she actually took the forefront, it was over.”
Added Evans: “I never knew I would be a recording artist. I just knew I wanted to make a living with my gift of music.”
After accepting the award, Evans performed a selection of her hit singles, including “You Used to Love Me” and “As Soon As I Get Home.” But one of the greatest moments occurred when Carl Thomas joined the songstress for their “Can’t Believe” duet.
The Soul Train Awards non-stop show that was hosted by “Martin” stars Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold, who delighted the audience with a ‘90s dance musical tribute and uproarious comedy.
Neo-soul artist Ella Mai led the pack as the evening’s most awarded songstress — dominating in three categories, including Best R&B/Soul Female Artist, Song of the Year and the Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award.
Best New Artist: Daniel Caesar
Soul Train Certified Award: Ledisi
Best R&B/Soul Male Artist: Bruno Mars
Best R&B/Soul Female Artist: Ella Mai
Video of the Year: “Finesse (remix),” Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B
Best Gospel/Inspirational Award: Lecrae
Album/Mixtape of the Year: “H.E.R.,” H.E.R.
Rhythm & Bars Award: (formerly Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year): “In My Feelings,” Drake
Song of the Year: “Boo’d Up,” Ella Mai
Ashford & Simpson Songwriter Award: “Boo’d Up” (written by Ella Howell, Dijon McFarlane, Joelle James, and Larrance Dopson
Best Dance Performance: “Level Up,” Ciara
Best Collaboration Performance: “Best Part,” Daniel Caesar feat. H.E.R.