RSS

Category Archives: Education

10 Foods To Boost Male Health

Healthy eating is essential for both men and women. Whereas a woman may turn to consuming a salad, the average African American male would more likely scarf down a burger and fries combo, minus the bacon topping as his way of promoting nutritious eating.  Traditionally, an African diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables.  The native African people generally have a lower risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Today however, the African American diet is much different and tends to include deep fried, fatty and fast foods.

According to Marcellus A. Walker and Kenneth B. Singleton, in their book, “Natural Health for African Americans,” that the typical African American diet can lead to inflammation, poor blood sugar control, cancer and heart disease. There are healthy foods included in the African American diet and eating more of these and less of the unhealthy ones will have benefits for you.  Both men and women generally require the same basic nutrients for optimal health, but there are some nutrients which boost men’s health in particular.

Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, notes that any food that is good for the cardiovascular system is also good for erectile function in men.

“Nutrients that are good for the heart improve circulation to all parts of the body, and these same nutrients provide a layer of protection against cancer and other chronic diseases,” says Gerbstadt, a Florida-based doctor and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Key nutrients are also critical for maintaining immune function, preventing bone loss, muscle loss, and oxidative damage from the environment.  Having a healthy lifestyle, which consists of not smoking and engaging in regular physical activity is pertinent to ones health.

According to WebMD Column Expert, Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, here are The Top 10 Foods that Boost Men’s Health:

 

Food for Men No. 1: Oysters

“Research shows that adequate zinc may protect against cellular damage that leads to prostate cancer,” says Grotto. “Sexual functioning of the male reproductive system, including increased sperm counts, is also enhanced with zinc.”

Take caution when considering eating uncooked oysters. An infection called Vibrio vulnificus is associated with the consumption of raw oysters. People with liver disease, heavy alcohol use, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic renal failure are at increased risk.

You can also get your daily recommended dose of 11 milligrams a day by eating other shellfish, lean beef, lean pork, or legumes.

Food for Men No. 2: Bananas

Bananas are a great portable source of quick energy and are rich in potassium, which is needed to regulate nerves, heartbeat and, especially, blood pressure. Diets rich in potassium and magnesium (which is also found in bananas) can reduce the risk of stroke.

As a super source of vitamin B-6, bananas can also aid your immune system, help form red blood cells, ensure a well-functioning nervous system, and assist protein metabolism. So enjoy a banana each day, at breakfast on your whole grain-cereal or before your workout at the gym.

Not a banana fan? Orange juice, milk, tomato products, and beans are other good sources of dietary potassium.

Food for Men No. 3: Fatty Fish

These polyunsaturated fats are the preferred form of fats in your diet for many reasons. They can benefit the heart, circulation, and immune system and reduce the risk for prostate cancer, among other things.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are potent anti-inflammatory foods that can help lower triglyceride [blood fat] levels, reduce aches and pains in athletes, and offer relief with certain kinds of arthritis,” says Bauer. 

Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring) are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that everyone eat fish twice weekly.

You can also get omega-3s in plant-based foods, like flaxseed, walnuts, soy, canola oil, and fortified products such as eggs. But there are other good reasons to eat fish. 

“Fatty fish are also a good source of vitamin D, a nutrient that tends to be deficient in our diets and [which] in adequate supply can help prevent cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and bone disease,” says Bauer.

Food for Men No. 4: Broccoli

While virtually all vegetables deserve a place on the super foods list, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are helpful in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. It’s loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and a phytochemical called sulphoraphane, which may have anticancer (prostate and colon) properties. 

A recent Harvard study found that participants who had five servings a week of cruciferious vegetables were half as likely as others to develop bladder cancer, a cancer that affects two to three times as many men as women. This super-nutritious green vegetable may also help lower levels of homocycteine, an amino acid associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Don’t care for broccoli? Go for other cruciferous choices like cabbage, bok choy, shredded broccoli slaw, cabbage, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts. 

And did you ever wonder where the term “cruciferous” originates? “It is not because they are crunchy vegetables, but when the buds from this group of vegetables sprouts, their leaves form a cross like a crucifix,”says Denver dietitian Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD.

Food for Men No. 5: Brazil Nuts

These large nuts from Brazil are packed with magnesium and selenium, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and cancer and protect prostate health. (Bauer, however, notes that the studies showing reduction in cancer have been primarily in people whose diets were deficient in selenium, not in those who were already getting enough.)

Selenium also helps lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol and reduces the incidence of blood clots and heart disease.

Grotto recommends adults get 55 micrograms of selenium daily from Brazil nuts, dry-roasted nuts, turkey, tuna, or shellfish. Indeed, you can get your daily dose of selenium in just one Brazil nut. In fact, Bauer cautions limiting yourself to no more than two Brazil nuts per day because “they are so loaded and concentrated with selenium that you don’t want to overdose.”

Food for Men No. 6: Whole Grains

Most men get enough carbs in their diets, but they tend to be the wrong kind, experts say. 

“A diet rich in whole grains provides fiber, vitamins, minerals – all the co-factors for heart health, building muscles, and keeping waistlines small,” says Gerbstadt.

She suggests trying whole grain pasta or quinoa, a trendy, not-so-whole-grain-tasting grain that’s rich in lutein for prostate health.

Oatmeal and barley are rich in soluble fiber, full of B vitamins that can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and are also good for the prostate. Suzanne Farrell, RD, owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver, recommends getting 10-25 grams of soluble fiber a day from oatmeal or other sources of soluble fiber such as apples, pears, and beans.

When buying grain products, look for those whose labels say they have at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.

To avoid digestive problems, increase your fiber intake gradually, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Food for Men No. 7: Plant Stanols

Stanols are naturally occurring substances in fruits and vegetables that have been shown to lower mildly elevated blood cholesterol levels. Manufacturers are now adding concentrated versions of them to products like margarine, yogurt, orange juice, and granola bars.

“Men should regularly include a total of 2 grams of plant stanols, taken in two doses with meals, to help inhibit absorption of cholesterol in the intestine,” says Farrell.

Plant stanols are added to a variety of products including orange juice, margarine, dark chocolate, granola bars, cheese, bread, soy products, and more. Plant stanols can safely be used with cholesterol-lowering medication.

Food for Men No 8: Soybeans

Soy is rich in isoflavones, which protect prostate health and have been shown to lower prostate cancer risk, says Gerbstadt. The latest research continues to strengthen the fact that isoflavones found in soy foods are beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer in men.

And according to one study, “eating 25 grams or about 1 ounce of soy protein a day can help decrease cholesterol,” Farrell says.

The FDA has approved a health claim for food labels that says having 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Try to eat a few servings a day of soy products, such as soy nuts, soy milk, soy cheese, veggie burgers, tofu, or edamame.

Food for Men No 9: Berries or Cherries

The violet, blue, and red colors in all kinds of berries and cherries are responsible for the healthy properties of these fruits. These little jewels are chock-full of the health-protecting flavonoid, anthocyanin.   

“Berries contain over 4,000 different compounds that have antioxidant properties beyond vitamin C, so make sure you include these delicious and low-calorie fruits to help meet your 5+ servings of fruits each day,” says Gerbstadt.

Adding berries to the diet may even help slow the decline in brain function that can occur with aging.

“Large studies show the more produce you eat the better, but specifically berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and cherries) can enhance brain function and keep your brain healthy,” says Bauer.

Food for Men No 10: Red-Orange Vegetables

Vitamin C and beta-carotene are antioxidants that help preserve healthy skin cells and prevent oxidation from the sun. 

“Vitamin C is involved in collagen production,” says Bauer. “Beta-carotene converts to the active form of vitamin A, which helps to repair epithelial or skin cells.”

She recommends getting these nutrients from red bell peppers (just one has 300% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C), carrots, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes.

But for that matter, just about any vegetable should be on the list of top foods for men (and women). Dark, leafy greens and any nutrient-rich vegetable can help reduce the risk of enlarged prostates, according to a recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Men whose diets are high in nutrients found in vegetables — like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and potassium – were found to be less likely to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate.

 

Written by: Lexine Emille

Source: http://men.webmd.com/features/food-men-10-foods-boost-male-health?page=4

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2012 in BLACK Cuisine, Culture, Education, Health

 

President Obama Makes History Again!

Viva Obama!

President Obama has made history again, this time he is the first president to get re-elected during a tough economic time with a high rate of unemployment. Some political experts felt like the state of the economy alone made him an easily beatable candidate. The Republican Party found out that he was not as easy to beat as they thought. At 11:18 on November 6th, 2012, Barack H. Obama was officially declared the winner of the presidential election. The people of the United States granted this historically significant president a second term in the White House. People waited with bated breath for almost two hours to hear the president deliver what would be the final acceptance speech of his political career. The beleaguered president took the stage with his family and one could almost see the relief they had for the end of a hard fought campaign. The votes had long since been counted and the winner declared but President Obama, like the rest of us waited patiently for Mitt Romney to finally give his concession speech. The tradition is that the loser calls the winner to congratulate him first, after which he gives his speech where he will concede the election to the winner, then the winner makes an acceptance speech. Every news organization sat on the edge of their seats as the Romney campaign was “still analyzing the numbers” even though expert analysis had already declared that he lost the election. After what seemed like many hours, but in actuality was just one hour, Mitt Romney delivered his concession speech just after midnight.

We always pay a lot of attention to the top of the ticket, but there were also some other democratic victories and important referendums that night. Victories in the Senate allow the Democrats to retain control of the governing body, while Republicans retain control of the house. Dozens of state-wide ballot questions were posed to voters, and the result of the votes cast can have a resounding effect, even across state lines. Maine and Maryland have added themselves to the list of states that now allow same sex marriage. The struggle for the LBGTQ community to achieve marriage equality has made several more strides toward success. And in an unprecedented move, Colorado and Washington state voters have passed referendums legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The drug is still banned under federal law however. In Massachusetts, voters approved a law to allow marijuana for medicinal purposes, adding itself to the list of 17 other states that allow the use of medicinal marijuana.

After the euphoria of the re-election wears off, there is a lot of work to do. Before he is even sworn in to office for his second term, Obama has to deal with the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, which Republicans want to extend for the wealthiest Americans and Obama wants these tax cuts to only remain for those making less than $250,000 a year. Right after he does that, he has to meet with Congress about increasing the debt ceiling once more, something that proved perilous when he tried to confront it in 2011.

In his acceptance speech, Obama vowed that in his second term, he would continue to listen to people who do not always agree with him and to work together with Republicans and Democrats alike for the good of this nation. He said that he is “more determined and more inspired than ever” about the work that needs to get done for the country.

Written By: Kika Ramsay

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 
Comments Off on President Obama Makes History Again!

Posted by on November 7, 2012 in BLACK Events, BLACK History, Businesses, Professionals, & Organizations, Culture, Education, Politics

 

BLACK Cuisine: Restaurant Secrets Putting Your Health at Risk

When you’re dining out, the last thing on your mind is the safety of your food. But after learning these industry secrets, it might become the first thing you consider. Learn what you can do to ensure that your dining experience is just as safe as it is delicious.

 

Secret: You’re More at Risk for Food Poisoning After 8 p.m.

Although it can feel sophisticated to dine out later, the closer you get to closing time, the more likely you are to get a compromised meal because the ingredients were prepped hours before, giving bacteria plenty of time to multiply. Additionally, the kitchen may not be in ideal condition as your meal is prepared. The fryers have accumulated the build-up of an entire night’s service, plus the oil isn’t fresh anymore. Instead of making your food crispy, the grease just soaks into your food. Plus, the kitchen is in cleanup mode, so your dish could be being prepared next to a station that’s getting cleaned, risking contamination from the spray solution.

Solution:
If you’re going to dine late, try to order something that’s grilled, broiled or boiled. You want to get something that’s cooked (as opposed to something served raw, like salad) so there’s a greater chance of killing off any dangerous bacteria.

Secret: Menus Can Be Dirtier Than Toilet Seats

Menus are rarely properly cleaned, and every person who comes through a restaurant touches them. A recent test by The Dr. Oz Show uncovered 7 out of 7 sample menus from restaurants in the New York City area were covered in bacteria, including fecal bacteria like E.coli and pneumonia-causing streptococcus.

Solution:
Grip the menu by the top corners instead of holding it by the bottom. Most people hold the menu by the lower half, so you’ll be minimizing your exposure to bacteria.

Secret: If the Music Is Loud, You’re Going to Overeat

The louder the tunes, the more energy you’ll feel—meaning you’ll eat and leave quicker, resulting in a higher profit for the restaurant. The problem is that because you’re eating so quickly, you don’t have time to realize you’re full. Often, this results in over-ordering and overeating.

Solution:
Don’t give your full order up front; instead, order each course separately. When you control the experience, you’ll eat slower and eat less.

Secret: Always Pack the Leftovers Yourself

When you give your half-finished dinner to your server to have it boxed up, remember, there’s no special “leftover boxing-up station.” Your plate is left in the kitchen next to dirty dishes and garbage. Your roll could land on the floor and then could be put back on your plate. Additionally, you have no idea how your food will get into your leftover container; it could be with someone’s bare hands that have just wiped down a table.

Solution:
Always ask for the to-go container yourself and pack your leftovers at the table.

Courtesy of www.oprah.com

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

“If I Had A Father”- The Importance Of Fathers in Children’s Lives

If I Had A Father

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

A new school year has started and the process of education is important once again in this nations schools. The educational system of this country is at a cross roads between continuing to be re-actional to the changes in society or proactive to saving youth from lives of poverty, unemployment and the media expectations of youth dropping out of school and becoming a part of a criminal justice system. What can be done to change the direction potential educational failures and societal rebellion of youth?

If I Had A Father; represents a dynamic of the involvement of fathers in children lives. This is not a specific cultural challenge it is a national goal to have fathers involved in their children’s education. History and society judges fathers by the behavior of their children, the choices children make in life and the outcomes. A father posses historical significance and importance in the shaping and molding of young minds, guiding emotions and influencing generational success, struggles, failures and even death. What could be worse than a physical death? The emotional death of children that a father does not care, does not understand and witnessing a father disrespect the mother that brought them into the world. Fathers must establish a foundation for a relationship with their children- An understanding with fathers for interaction that grows from love, discipline, consistent involvement and respect.

Fatherhood does not automatically mean that a man is going to be a responsible parent. A man has to want to be a responsible father, there is more to child rearing than creating a child, impregnating a woman or being a sperm donor.

“…parents must keep reminding their children about how important they are.”

-Archie Talley

Educational Needs

Fathers set the foundation for excellence, raise the expectations that children are smart, intelligent and worth educating. Teach children that success is not always making big sums of money, driving fancy cars or wearing expensive clothes. Success also means obtaining a quality education to provide for self and one day family. Education is the key to continued self growth and reliability on skills/talents and not dependent on the government to provide. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Fathers guard your children away from negativity and ignorance and guided them to knowledge of their individual talents, skills and abilities. Malcolm X stated as it applies to the 21st century, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Fathers remember your children will not stay children forever so fathers/daddies must help prepare their children for the Boardrooms, Courtrooms, Classrooms, Conference rooms, Presidential rooms, Mayoral rooms, Senatorial rooms and Surgical rooms of this country and world. In these economic turbulent times stated by Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, “The best economic stimulus package is a diploma,” fathers make a difference in the direction their children will take in school.

If I had A Father has become both an excuse and reason for failure for children. The lack of a father is more of a death sentence for fathers that are not involved because their children will execute them from their lives emotionally, psychologically and socially. A father that does not value his children is a man that creates damnation on his family history and heritage. Children are incarcerated mentally, jailed socially and emotionally blaming their life circumstances on “If I Had A Father.” The darkest depths of loneliness in a child’s heart because their father was not there for them. Having experienced this myself, the only way I survived this emotional death, this potential inner self destruction was to build myself up to try and be a good father for my children. Even though divorced, I did not divorce my children; I did not divorce my responsibilities to my son and daughter I did not commit fathercide to my children by leaving them.

Fathers Impact of Involvement

Fathers, Daddies, Stepfathers need to be involved in their children’s lives, spending more time with children will help keep children from dropping out of school, engaging in multiple sex partners and experimenting with drugs. Research from the University of Maryland (2000) indicates that, “children who have fathers or father figures in their lives learn better, have higher self-esteem and show fewer signs of depression”.

Fathers affect discipline, academic achievement, and social relationships in a child’s educational environment. “…children who identified a father or father figure scored higher on basic learning skill tests and had a stronger sense of competence and social acceptance compared to children without fathers” (University of Maryland Medical News, 2000). Culturally ALL races are equally affected by the presence and absence of fathers in children’s lives. This is not just a Black, Hispanic or other cultural issue.

JCCI Study and E3 Forums

JCCI (Jacksonville Community Council Inc.) study shows the affects of absence fathers in children’s lives and it’s impact on infant mortality, educational success and poverty levels of children. The statistical evidence that the absence of responsible and mature fathers contributes to continued poverty of children, increase involvement of juveniles in criminal behavior, increased dropout rates among school age youth and infant mortality rates similar to that of third world nations JCCI – http://www.jcci.org/

The recent E3 Business Group Infant Mortality Making It Real and discussions about the fathers responsibility. These dialogues play an important part of the openness and honesty that needs to be displayed. http://www.youtube.com/user/e3businessgroup-Listen to the discussions from community members about fathers.

History and Heritage

Fathers your history, your heritage and your future presence either positive or negative rests within your commitment to be a real father. No one can make you do what you should do as a father. It is a responsibility that is only accountable through the efforts that you make. Fathers, consider if your children can afford for you not to be involved, will their potential be missed, the course of their destinies missed because they were without your guidance and wisdom?

“A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.”

-Edwards, Jonathan

Million Father March

A great quote by Dr. Eugene White, Superintendent over the Indianapolis Public School District stated, ”Fathers, take your children to school on the first day and don’t stop there. Become active in the education of your children all year long.’ Fathers across the country read these words, “All men, regardless of the skin you might be in, but especially Black men, can improve low-performing schools, increase graduations rated, lower jail sentences by getting involved in the education of their children.” If I Had A Father should not come out of the mouths of any child, they should not feel lost, forsaken or alone. Fathers, get involved, get active and get where you belong, with your children.

Written by:

William Jackson, M.Ed.

My Quest To Teach

Educator with Duval County Public Schools and Edward Waters College

 

Kristen V. Carter – Screenwriter, Television Producer & Educator

Kristen V. Carter is a screenwriter, television producer, and educator from Newark, New Jersey. She has produced for a variety of cable’s top programs including MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, OWN’s My Mom is Obsessed, and Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. In addition, Kristen has served as a speech writer for Viacom executives, including BET’s CEO Debra Lee.

Kristen has a deep-rooted passion for entrepreneurship and content creation. In 2007, she founded JazziDreamer Entertainment LLC, a multimedia company specializing in writing, production, and consultation services. Through the company, she wrote, directed, and launched the six-episode web series Sellout, a story of an Ivy League graduate’s transition back to the inner-city after his mother’s death. The series, a first for JazziDreamer Entertainment LLC, garnered over 4,000 views during its 6-episode run. Since that time, Kristen has written three feature length screenplays and continues to develop scripted and non-scripted projects for tv, web, and film.

Kristen has won many awards for her professional and social achievements, including the Goldman Sachs Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking National First Place Prize, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship Award for Most Civic Minded Business, and the New York Women in Communications Scholarship. Most recently, Kristen took part in the 2011 Cosby Screenwriting Fellowship.

Whether it’s through screen or stage, her ultimate goal is to inspire the world through edutainment!

Websitewww.kristenvcarter.com

Q & A with Kristen V. Carter:

BS: What inspired you to create JazziDreamerEntertainment LLC?  How would you describe its success thus far? 

Kristen V. Carter: JazziDreamer Entertainment LLC is a media consultation and production company that I created in 2007, due to the number of independent clients I was gaining outside of my full time position. At the time I created the company, I was a show writer for a cable entertainment news show (BET’s The Black Carpet) and was being approached to write scripted tv pilots, treatments, episodic breakdowns, and press kits on the side. I wanted to start building a brand so the move to create a company was natural for me.

JazziDreamer Entertainment LLC has evolved in just the 5.5 years that it’s been established. Initially, I did a lot of media consulting and managed two recording artists – R&B singer Lance Drummonds and Lyricist/Photographer Blue – but as my writing grew, I realized I needed to solely focus on getting my productions off the ground.

BS: You are quite an accomplished screenwriter, television producer, and educator. Do you enjoy one more than the others?

Kristen V. Carter: I believe all three fields go hand in hand. I am very passionate about storytelling and connecting with people so that I can be a vessel to tell their stories in order to inspire others. Screenwriting is about putting a story on paper; producing is about finding out a person’s story and bringing it to life; education is about teaching those around you while sharing your experience and perspective. I am drawn to education because I believe our children need to know that they can achieve their dreams and see people in their community who are doing what they’d like to do.

BS: Describe some of your most important career accomplishments.

Kristen V. Carter: No one accomplishment is more ‘important’ than the other because they are all stepping stones but a few stand out to me; being accepted to the Cosby Screenwriting Fellowship, being selected for a scholarship by New York Women in Communications, traveling the country as a story producer for an OWN/Discovery Health production, and directing my first short film this past month.

BS: At what age did you begin to have an interest in writing?  What initiated your passion for writing?

Kristen V. Carter: I’ve kept journals and written poems, songs, and short stories all my life so I can’t even recall when I noticed that I loved writing. I’m curious to know what my mother or grandparents would say in regards to when they first noticed.  I began taking my writing more seriously during my junior year of high school, when I signed up for an Expository Writing Course. I realized at that time that I absolutely loved writing and wanted to write a feature film one day.

BS: What are your short-term/long-term goals?

Kristen V. Carter: I am currently editing my first short film entitled First Date, a drama about a woman’s emotional encounter with a ‘familiar stranger.’ My current goal is to complete post-production on the film and begin submitting to film festivals. I also want to complete the next draft of my feature film, and create a production collective which is simply a group of friends dedicated to assisting each other with getting their independent projects completed.

My long-term goals include creating a traveling curriculum where I visit various schools in the country to present interactive workshops on entrepreneurship and activating your goals. I am also actively seeking investors for my production work, so that I can launch a feature film project.

BS: Describe a time when you were faced with a challenging situation and how you handled it.

Kristen V. Carter: In 2009, the recession hit the production world pretty hard and most of the friends and colleagues I knew were sitting at home. That was a huge time of reevaluation for me because that was the very first time I had been faced with real doubt, insecurity and anxiety about my craft. I wasn’t inspired to write at all, and I questioned if I was good enough for my dream several times…finally, it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to get anywhere pouting in my living room. Initially, I was applying to all Writer positions and soon realized that when things shift, you also have to shift. I began applying for non-Production roles everywhere and wound up doing contract work for an international conference. As soon as I stepped outside of the box of ‘Why am I not getting what I want?,’ I started receiving what I wanted. Soon after, I received my first Writer/Associate Producer opportunity, which gave me access to becoming the writer and producer I am today.

BS: What motivates you? How do you motivate others?

Kristen V. Carter: Remembering how much my mom worked and sacrificed in order for me to enroll in every activity I was interested in inspires me.  When I complain about how hard I’m working, I remember that she worked three jobs while finishing school. That shuts me up right there…

My family motivates me. My community motivates me. I’ve had nothing but support as I continue to climb and I am so grateful for that.

How do I motivate others? I don’t know if you can know how you ‘motivate others.’ My gut response is just – by being myself and sharing my truth.  I believe it’s important to tell the entire story, not just the success but the stumbles to success. And even as I write this, there is still so much further to go so I am thankful to have my community on this journey with me.

BS: What are the best and worst aspects of your job?

Kristen V. Carter: The best aspect of my job is that it never feels like a job. I enjoy directing cast and crew, and laughing on set. It’s just fun. The worst aspect of my job is just the long hours. It’s something you get used to though so it comes with the territory.

BS: How would you describe your style of writing and directing?  How do you continue to develop your skills?

Kristen V. Carter: I’m still developing my style of writing and directing, as I consider myself a baby in this game. I love to comment on society with humor. If you can get an audience laughing while sticking some truth in their mouths, I think you’re on to something so I am constantly working on that.

I develop my skills by watching and reading great screenwriters and directors. Learning by observing– (and screwing up and getting back up!) – is the best way to develop skill.

BS: Have you ever been in a Writer’s Group for learning and/or support? Have mentors played a part in your success?

Kristen V. Carter: In 2011, I was accepted into the Cosby Screenwriting Fellowship, a 16 week program for emerging writers in film and scripted television. My class dynamic was similar to a writer’s group where we would turn in material every week and critique each other’s work. Now that the program has passed, my group still meets every other Tuesday to submit all kinds of material – web content, short film, feature, and tv spec scripts. Writers’ groups are extremely important in order to receive honest feedback from fellow writers who are dedicated to the craft and take writing seriously. 

It takes a village to raise a child, and I am a firm believer in that. I have many mentors who have paved the way and given me invaluable advice through the years. Mentors are huge is this business because it’s imperative to have someone who can vouch for your work ethic and talent. 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

JAMAICA, WEST INDIES – Home of Olympic heroes Usain Bolt & Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price

During the first week of August, a sea of people dressed in black, green and gold occupied an enormous space teeming with electricity and excitement on the grounds of the Jamaica 50 Grand Jubilee Village, formerly the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. The stadium was filled with lively musical celebrations, plays, movie screenings, fashion shows, dancing and was complete with a large screen that displayed the Olympic winning moments of homegrown heroes Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price.  Those winning moments seemed to be the icing on the cake for a country that, despite its hard times, knows how to celebrate when the time comes.  And celebrate they did, in that typical raucous Jamaican fashion when it was confirmed that both the fastest man and the fastest woman in the world both hailed from the tiny Caribbean island.

Jamaica came under British control in 1655 when it was captured from the Spanish. From that time until 1838, the British brought slaves from Africa to work the land which largely consisted of sugar plantations. After slavery ended, Britain invested in infrastructure on the island, but simultaneously had a system of repression of the nation’s Black majority and punished those who tried to buck that establishment. Jamaica started moving toward independence in the 1940s. Britain conceded to giving the colony greater economic and political power to govern themselves. On August 6, 1962, in the same national stadium that hosted the 50th anniversary celebration, the flag of the British Empire was lowered for the final time and replaced by the gold, black and green Jamaican flag that flies today.

As Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence from Great Britain, the celebration is made great through the entity that can be seen as Jamaica’s greatest asset and even its greatest export; its people. Jamaica’s national motto is “Out of many, one people,” which summarizes the diversity of ethnicities in its population which is more extensive than most people realize. There are about 3 million Jamaicans that populate the island and roughly the same amount live in other countries, helping to disperse their unique culture. For almost fifty years, this tiny speck of land in the Caribbean Sea, roughly the same size as the state of Connecticut, is a fixture on the world stage in the fields of music, athletics, academia, and international diplomacy, among others. Jamaica has made these contributions in extraordinary part through the export of its people to the farthest corners of the Earth, in particular to the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America. 

Despite economic hardships, high crime rates, government corruption, these resilient people continue to smile, to work hard, and to make extraordinary contributions to the world. Here’s to the next 50 years.

Written by: Kika Ramsay

 

Tags: , , , ,

Gabby Douglas Wins The All-Around Title

Gabby Douglas

 

Gabby Douglas’ gold medal winning routine will forever be remembered as one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. It is hard to take your eyes off of the sixteen year old’s exciting routine as she executes with such skill. When she is competing, her energy is electric. When she is being interviewed, her glow, her beautiful smile, love of her family, her sport and her faith together make an extraordinary young lady. She’s one of the few African-American gymnasts ever to compete in the Olympic Games and the first black woman to take the all-around individual title.  She has been on the covers of Time and Sports Illustrated and she is still a teenager.  While many her age are enjoying a carefree summer before they return to high school, she is making history.  Her story is inspirational to say the least.

 

Along with the fanfare and the adulation, Gabby has to deal with the other side of being in the public eye.  She has had to endure discussions about her distant relationship with her dad, which is not an uncommon thing for young Black people to deal with except the rest of us who can relate get to deal with it privately. She has not been in contact with him, and has blamed him for the family’s financial problems.  She has also endured criticism over her hair.  Twitter exploded with people making negative comments about her gel-slicked ponytail.  The social media critics have certainly distracted attention from Douglas’ triumph, but they will never be able to take the accomplishment from her.  Despite her critics, she walks away the victor and her hard work will pay off in more ways than one. Experts have said that she is set to make between 5 and 10 million dollars in endorsements after her performance at the 2012 London games.

 Written by: Kika Ramsay

 

Tags: , , , , ,