On October 20th, 2017 Morehouse College presented the HBCU Power Awards in Atlanta, Ga during its homecoming weekend. Hundreds of guests gathered at Martin Luther King Jr International Chapel in Atlanta to celebrate eight individuals who have made significant achievements in their respective fields: actress Jada Pinkett Smith, Coltrane Curtis (founder, Team Epiphany), Kyle Hagler (president, Next Management), Nzinga Shaw (Chief Diversity Officer, Atlanta Hawks), Keinon Johnson (VP, Urban Promotions, Interscope Records), Phylicia Fant (SVP, Publicity, Warner Bros Records), Beverly Anderson (EVP, Cards & Retail Services, Wells Fargo) and Rob Rumley (Chair, Atlanta Housing Authority).
Produced by Morehouse alums Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins (c/o ’96), Jash’d Kambui Belcher (c/o ’99) and Roderick Hardamon (c/o ’98), the HBCU Power Awards was full of exceptional moments: an opening “Swag Surfin'” performance by the Morehouse Glee Club and Horns section; co-host Deon Cole keeping the audience laughing; the crowd singing along to “Focus” during R&B singer H.E.R’s performance; an impromptu stroll in the aisles from an Omega Psi Phi frat; the music by DJ Trauma; Coltrane Curtis’ emotional tribute to his late father; and Jada Pinkett Smith’s moving words on the dynamics of power and the responsibility we all have to manage it wisely.
Special guests included producer Will Packer, supermodel Jessica White, actor Michael Jai White, style expert Tai Beauchamp, Atlanta Hawks Foundation EVP David Lee, creative consultant and entrepreneur Taiye Samuel, radio/tv personality Gary “With The Tea” Hayes, singer Dondria Nicole, rapper Silento, author Zane and many more.
Photography provided by Marcus Ingram of MIE Images
On Saturday October 14th, the 50 Shades of Pink Foundation, founded by award-winning OBGYN and tv personality Dr. Jackie Walters, presented its 5th Annual Fashion Show Fundraiser in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Atlanta, Ga. Atlanta City Hall was immaculately transformed into a pink wonderland of chic decor and “Great Gatsby” glamour, as over 200 guests – dressed in 1920s flapper-style attire – filled the Atrium to celebrate the breast cancer survivors and supporters featured on the runway.
The event began with a heartfelt poem by Hank Stewart followed by welcome remarks from Atlanta Municipal Court Judge and honorary event chair Terrinee Gundy and 50 Shades of Pink Foundation executive director Gary Andrews. Andrews then introduced the evening’s host — actor/author/philanthropist Hill Harper, who shared his story of being diagnosed with cancer several years ago.
The fashion show opener was a lively tap dance routine by Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies, after which, dozens of beautiful models strutted the runway in designs by Linda Bezuidenhout and Bramer Leon Couture. The sight of the models – many of whom were recent cancer “warriors” – was inspiring and illustrated the foundation’s mission of catering to the emotional well-being of breast cancer patients and their families.
After the fashion presentation, Hill Harper and Dr. Jackie led an auction to find individual donors to sponsor the 50 Shades of Pink’s signature Gift Basket Program, which provides women with critical items needed to look good and feel good during treatment. The auction resulted in funding for over 100 women to receive baskets.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed closed the program with a surprise check for $20,000 to the foundation to further their efforts to bring comfort and care to breast cancer survivors. Special guests in attendance were Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, “Married to Medicine” stars Dr. Heavenly Kimes, Mariah Huq,Curtis Berry and many more.
Sponsors of the 50 Shades of Pink Fundraiser were Ford Motor Company, The Cochran Firm, Coca-Cola, Jack Daniels, All N One Security Services and JMW Entertainment.
Special thanks to event executive producer Eboni Cummings,S.T.E.P.S. Events and the City of Atlanta.
Unapologetic with her periodically controversial sound bites, yet still adored by millions of fans, Issa Rae is a force to be reckoned with. She has carved a lane on a highway that everyone thought was full. Beginning her public debut as a YouTube personality and turning that brainchild into an HBO hit comedy is nothing short of astonishing. At 31, the actress, writer, director and (now) Cover Girl is opening the minds of young girls everywhere to all of the possibilities at the crossroads of hard-work and determination. Thus, below are just a few reasons why Jo-Issa “Issa” Rae Diop is stealing the hearts of her fans and winning in 2017.
From YouTube To HBO
Just over ten years ago, when YouTube was a relatively empty place for people to post videos for their family and friends to view, no one could conceive the powerhouse it has become. Now, in addition to Justin Beiber, Issa Rae has become a name synonymous with YouTube’s magical ability to launch people into super stardom. Beginning with her “Awkward Black Girl” YouTube series in 2011, just 6 years later, Issa now carries the accolades of Golden Globe nominee, New York Times Bestseller and HBO producer on her curriculum vitae (not that she’ll ever have to use it again).
She’s Becoming a Pop Icon
From her iconic wardrobe on Insecure, to the Spotify playlists inspired by the show’s phenomenal sound tracks, Issa is making a huge impression on American pop culture. Her recent Lemon Pepper Kickback party hosted right here in Atlanta, GA sparked serious envy on social media by fans that were crying to be invited to the next event. A call for turning the star-studded gathering into an annual festival was even requested by some fans. The jury is still out on whether Issa, Donald Glover and her other celeb friends will grace the streets of Atlanta with a another party, but her down-to-earth attitude and relatable shenanigans definitely has her 1.3 million Instagram followers hooked on her unique style and tastes.
The Newest Face of Cover Girl
As if having a hit HBO comedy series wasn’t enough, Issa Rae along with Ayesha Curry have become two of the latest additions to the coveted “Cover Girl” club. After Queen Latifah widened the door for women of color in 2006, the beauty world has clung to the new paradigm and now Issa has become memorialized in its Hall of Fame as well. On her Instagram announcement of the news, Issa wrote “I remember being an awkward black girl in high school, reading the pages of my favorite magazines, casually flipping through @COVERGIRL ads, singing their slogan in my head. Never EVER in my life did I imagine I’d be one. I am SO honored and SO excited for what’s to come.”
Considering all that Issa has accomplished in the relatively few years she has been in the Hollywood limelight, I for one, look forward to all that is to come for her as well. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to wait for the 2018 premiere of Insecure Season 3, keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll soon get more than 8 episodes or longer than 30 minutes. I’d pay good money for either.
The eighth annual One Musicfest took place at the Lakewood Amphitheatre in Atlanta, GA on September 9th 2017. This year’s Musicfest was headlined by a host of platinum selling artists including Ro James, Too $hort, and Jidenna, who performed in the earlier part of day. Jidenna performed his hits “Classic Man” and “Bambi”. Music artist Pastor Troy, 8ball & MJG, Damien Marley and Migos also performed in the middle of the show.
Pastor Troy put on a show for his hometown crowd and 8ball & MJG performed a lot of hits that made them one of the best rap duos in the rap game. Migos represented for Atlanta with hits such as “T-Shirt”, “Bad and Boujee”, “Slippery”, “Fight Night” , “Versace” and more. Migos brought out Jacquees to perform B.E.D. and the crowd went crazy for his brief appearance.
Yasiin Bey known to most people as Mos Def had his farewell concert. Bey definitely put on a great show for the crowd with this being his final performance of his musical career. After many great performances by different artists, Jill Scott closed out the One Musicfest. Scott not only put on a great performance, but makes it a priority to talk to and interact with her fans. The One Musicfest is definitely something to look forward to for next year, and something that all music fans would enjoy.
Grammy award winning gospel music artist, and one half of the Mary Mary gospel group duo, Tina Campbell covers the September/October 2017 Issue of VEU Magazine. She gives us an open, honest interview and look into her life of faith, family, and forgiveness. As our “Good Music” edition, this issue also features interviews with legendary 90’s R&B group BoyZ II Men founding member Marc Nelson, member of the platinum selling group Floetry, Natalie “Floacist” Stewart, and upcoming music artist to watch Casme’ based in New Orleans’, and Kelsey Nykole out of Atlanta, Ga.
As with every VEU Magazine issue, we also give you positive nourishment and education for your mind, and soul with articles such as: 3 Business Apps every business owner should be using, 5 businesses that cost nothing to start, Autumn Fashion Trends by Atlanta fashion blogger Rashad Sherman, Caffeine:The Deadly Culprit, and more. In our VEU Your Awareness section, we speak to Alabama native Ro Monroe about her experience parenting a child with the little known disability, Treacher Collins Syndrome.
VEU Magazine, which was created by fashion designer and entrepreneur Adrena Martin- Tolbert in September of 2015, is a positive lifestyle publication for entrepreneurs and visionaries, with a goal of motivating, inspiring and educating the world one article at a time.
Music artist Rihanna has definitely gained a reputation for being a humanitarian. In her latest partnership with Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo, the Clara Lionel Foundation, which is named after her grandparents, has created a campaign called 1 Km Action. Through this campaign, they will raise funds that will go towards scholarships to help hundreds of girls attend secondary schools in Malawi.
Qualifying girls will also receive bikes to ensure they have transportation to and from school. Of the approximate 4.6 million students across Malawi, according to the foundation, only 8% of students complete secondary school due to poor transport links
“I’m so happy about the Clara Lionel Foundation’s new partnership with Ofo because it will help so many young people around the world receive a quality education. “It will also help the young girls of Malawi get to school safely, cutting down those very long walks they make to and from school all alone,” Rihanna said.
On Tuesday July 11th, music icon Madonna opened the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at the Queen Central Hospital. in Malawi.
The Hospital, which is named for one of Madonna’s adopted daughters, Mercy James, was funded by the icon’s Raising Malawi charity, which she founded in 2006. The center is also the first of its kind in the African country. Along with Madonna’s two older children, daughter Lourdes and son Rocco, from previous relationships, in 2009 she adopted Mercy James and earlier this year added twins Esther and Stella Mwale to her growing family. Madonna was accompanied by her children, who are originally from Malawi, at the event where she spoke about the importance of opening up the center.
“The Mercy James Center remains not only a world-class intensive care hospital, but also a superior learning environment to train the next generation of Malawian healthcare workers. This is as much about healing as it is about empowerment,” she stated. She also said in an opening statement prior to the opening ceremony that “Malawi has enriched my family more than I could have ever imagined. It’s important for me to make sure all my children from the country maintain a strong connection to their birth nation, and equally important to show them that together, humans have the power to change the world for the better.” We congratulate Madonna on such a huge accomplishment, and doing her part to make a difference in the world.
Although Beyoncé recently gave birth to her new twins, she is still hard at work making a difference for the world around her. In a new partnership campaign with the UNICEF( United Nation Children’s Fund) , the music moguls Bey Good Foundation has started the #BeyGood4BurundiCampaign, which is a new initiate to bring clean water to Burundi. Burundi, which is one of the smallest, poorest nations in Africa, has more than 2 million who people spend more than 30 minutes a day doing something that most Americans take for granted everyday, trying to get clean water for bathing and drinking.
Beyoncé.com stated that with the help of supporters “nearly half a million people will gain access to safe water, as BEYGOOD4BURUNDI and UNICEF will support building water supply systems for healthcare facilities and schools, and the drilling of boreholes, wells and springs to bring safe water to districts.” This partnership will be a continuation of the efforts her family and company Parkwood Entertainment have been making to have an impact on Burundi.
Ivy McGregor, Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at Parkwood Entertainment, who traveled to Burundi earlier this year stated, “In Burundi I saw myself, my sisters and my mother in the strength of the women and young sisters traveling miles to carry water for their families. Today young girls in the ‘Heart of Africa’ are given the gift of hope for a brighter tomorrow through our multi-year partnership with UNICEF and commitment to support safe water access solutions.”
Beyoncé’s new partnership initiative just goes to show that no matter how busy or successful you are in life, you can always make time for the things that are valuable to you the most.
I know the last time we did an interview, I asked you “where do you see yourself in a year?” and your response was “Hopefully as principal character on Broadway or feature film or TV.” Now, just this year you have been cast in the show “Rise” as Robbie (less than a year) and here you are seeing this dream come true. How does that make you feel?
I’m ecstatic. Honestly, I’m still trying to process it. It seems like at any minute now, I’m going to wake up and start crying because it was a dream.
Can you tell me about the character, Robbie, that you’ll be playing on “Rise”?
Absolutely. Robbie is a very stoic type of person. I don’t want to give anything away, but he has a lot on his plate and he absolutely won’t let other people see it.
How are you preparing for this role as Robbie?
Well, he’s a football player. I’m not…anymore (lol). I now go to the gym 5-6 times a week, and I have completely changed my diet. Also, Grace and I have been on a “Friday Night Lights” craze just to kind of get a feel for the style of the show.
I also bought the book “Drama High” and although my character isn’t in it, it gives me a little bit of insight as to how the teachers were.
Has the show started filming?
Yes. We filmed the pilot at the end of March into April. Now that we’re picked up, we have to announce the series, and when it will air, to the press.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in being in the entertainment industry?
Don’t give up. Although I’ve had some success, it has been anything but easy. I’ll say this till the day I die, if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.
This next question is totally off the wall. If you were going on a camping trip, who would you take with you and why?
“The circle” …The circle are my brothers by choice. They have been my best friends since high school and some middle school. I didn’t go on my first camping trip until I was in college and it was with them. I would choose them over anybody any day.
Tell me three fun facts about you.
I’m an actual rapper outside of the TV show. Side note (I rap in the show)
I love playing Xbox a little too much.
I hate bananas…A Lot. They are the worst to me.
If there was one thing you could change in the world, what would that be?
Here’s what I mean by that. Not to get political, but I see, hear and read so much on the internet about our society and how messed up it is, but nobody seems to be listening. What I mean by listening is, listening to the other side and compromising as opposed to “it’s my way or the highway”. Growing up in the south and living in the north, I’ve been exposed to the left and the right side. My conclusion is nobody is listening. Nobody is trying to make things better. Everyone is trying to have things their way, which happens to be “the better way”.
Now, you and your girlfriend, Grace, are filming “The Grace Show” where you do a weekly video, you two are hilarious together. What was the inspiration behind this?
Well, we had talked for months about doing it but we needed the right equipment and the right material etc. She didn’t realize that I could actually edit videos, fairly well. Once she discovered that, she started. She said, “Work studio. NOW!!!!”
Now, I know you two are having fun. Do you write scripts before the video or just wing it?
We honestly just have subjects that we want to talk about and we just talk to each other. That’s how we are off screen too. We just get each other. We know how we work. We’ve just always been a great team.
With you being an actor, dancer, and singer, do you think you as an creative guy has a more powerful inner life and if so , why?
That’s not me trying to sound confident; it’s just that being a creative person requires you to put everything on the table. You have to go to places, emotionally, that people don’t like to go to. We as creative people or “artists” have to be able to say, “Here are my issues, my insecurities, my vulnerability, come and listen to them and try to love me afterward”. To do that, we HAVE to have a powerful inner life.
When you don’t get a part, how do you deal with rejection? Do you see it as that…that you’re rejected?
It depends honestly. In this business, there are certain projects that you audition for where you say, “I’m perfect for this.” and you get super invested and dedicated. Other projects, you read a description and go, “On what planet, do I, a 5′ 8” bi-racial, prepubescent little boy, play Kristoff in Frozen on Broadway?” But you do what you can.
If so, how do you handle rejection?
It’s tough, because for a long time I would put up a facade and say that I was okay, and just “move on”. When you see your friends booking things left and right and you’re working three jobs to pay the rent it can take a toll. I recently stopped focusing so much on, “getting the job” and more about just staying creative. Whether that’s writing music, recording it, learning new songs on the guitar, doing the Grace show, or taking class. Anything I can do to feel like I’m creating, helps me forget about not booking the next gig.
What impact do YOU want to make on the world?
I want to be a mogul for positivity, and a symbol for perseverance. I don’t want to change the world, I just want to be somebody that people look at and say, “That’s a cool dude. He’s always a treat to be around. He’s always a hard worker. I also feel like we would be great friends.”
Independent rapper Nipsey Hussle made history this past weekend on June 17th, with the opening of the worlds first smart store. Friends and fans alike were invited to the star studded grand opening event of his Marathon Store. Hosted by Big Boy of of Big Boy’s Neighborhood on Power 92.3 , this monumental event featured celebrity appearances including his longtime girlfriend Lauren London, Nav, 21 Savage, Russell Westbrook, Vegas Jones and Demarcus Cousins, Jim Jones and more. The new smart store, which houses his Marathon clothing brand, comes equipped with programable technology, which gives customers exclusive access to the rappers music with their purchases. Nipsey also created a downloadable app that gives customers special features for each item they purchase.
In a recent interview with Los Angeles based radio station Power 106, the Mailbox Money rapper discussed the importance of having ownership, and stated one of his biggest accomplishmnets as being the owner of his full music catalog. Having full ownership of his music catalog gives the young music artist and entrepreneur the ablility of creating passive income for himself, with the monthly collection of streaming revenues from all of his work. The entertainmnet field, with all of its many perks and stipulations, can sometimes bring out the worst in celebrities and cause them to “sell their soul” as the common saying goes, but we applaud Nipsey Hussle for always staying true to his roots, and the legacy he wants to leave with his fans. It is important for the younger generation to realize the importance of investing and have ownership of multiple assets, rather than just racking a laundry list of liabilities.