Colin Kaepernick (1987 -) Professional Football Player, Athlete, & Activist

“I refuse to take shortcuts,” powerful words spoken famous NFL Quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick. As a high profile quarterback, Colin played six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He became well known for protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling and refusing to stand during the National Anthem. Colin’s strong position against systematic racism, garnered widespread media attention and sparked a nationwide movement particularly among other sports figures standing a stand and speaking out against systematic wrongs.

Colin Rand Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 3, 1987. At the age of four, he moved with his family to California. From an early age, he possessed a great interest in sports and showed exceptional athleticism. He began playing youth football at 8 years old. His strong arm quickly elevated him to the quarterback position. He also became an elite high school pitcher, one capable of throwing a fastball at 94 miles per hour.

Yet, football remained Colin’s first love. In the fourth grade, he wrote a letter predicting that he would be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. “I hope I go to a good college in football then go to the pros and play on the Niners or the Packers, even if they aren’t good in seven years,” he wrote.

While attending the University of Nevada where he played college football, he was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Offensive Player of the Year twice. During the same timeframe, he was recognized as the only player in NCCA Division I FBS history to amass 10,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards in a career. As fate would have it, Colin was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He led the team to Super Bowl XLVII less than two years later.

Colin opened the 2013 season on a strong note with excellent stats. Passing for 412 yards and three touchdowns he proved himself to be invincible. The 49ers went on to notch a 12-4 record and earned their spot in the playoffs. Although the season ended with a close loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game, Colin continued to have many standout moments.

In late August 2016, before a preseason game he made a decision to kneel in lieu of standing during the national anthem as a form of protest against police brutality and racial injustice. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” he said afterward in an interview. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.” He added that he would continue to sit during the national anthem until seeing “significant change” for minorities. This form of protest expanded with other players and became a major political topic,

The following year, Colin remained a man without a team as the 2017 NFL season began. On October 15, 2017, he filed a grievance against NFL owners for colluding to keep him out of the league. Two years later, the lawsuit ended in a confidential settlement. Colin is currently a free agent.

Shifting his focus from sports to literature, in 2019 he founded Kaepernick Publishing which aims to elevate a new generation of writers with diverse views and voices. Having debuted his first book “Different” three years prior, he established his initial literary imprint. On July 15, 2021, Colin signed a multi-book deal with Scholastic, the largest international children’s book publisher. The first book to be released is “I Color Myself Different. “ This book was inspired by a significant childhood memory of when Colin first documented that he was different from his adopted white family. Illustrations are designed by Eric Wilkerson. The coming book is scheduled to be released on April 5, 2022


Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY Award -2013

NFL Honors – Greatness on the Road -2013

Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award -2017

Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award -2017

Ambassador of Conscience Award -2018


“I refuse to take shortcuts.”

“If you work hard and perform well, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 20 or 40. People are going to follow, and you can go in there and run the show.”

“I’ll never take the easy way out.”

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed.”

“I don’t want people to think you have to look a certain way or be a certain mold to be able to be a quarterback.”

“I’m going to speak the truth when I’m asked about it.”

“I don’t watch too much TV when it comes to sports or news or things like that.”

“We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equally, aren’t given equal opportunities. Police brutality is a huge thing that needs to be addressed. There are a lot of issues that need to be talked about, need to be brought to life, and we need to fix those.”

“I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put their selves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country, and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee, so I have the utmost respect for them, and I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.”

“People can talk all they want; that doesn’t affect how I go about my business.”

“I’m here to play football.”

“My dad, being a businessman, constantly talked to me about carrying myself in a certain way and treating people with respect. And I think that’s something that’s carried over throughout my life. It’s how I deal with certain situations.”

“Mental health, for me, is doing everything I can to help this team win. Sitting around not doing anything isn’t something I’ve been too big on since I was young.”

“I have great respect for the religion. I know a lot of people that are Muslim and are phenomenal people.”

“Most people don’t want to change. They’re comfortable and set in their ways. But in order to change, you have to be able to agitate people at times. And I think that’s something that’s very necessary for us to improve as a country.”

“A lot of them have families to feed, and I think it’s a tragic situation where players aren’t comfortable speaking what’s on their mind or what’s right because they’re afraid of consequences that come along with it. That’s not an ideal environment for anybody.”

“People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up as far as, you know, giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody.”

“This stand wasn’t because I feel like I’m being put down in any kind of way. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice: people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard and affect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that, and I’m going to do that for people that can’t.”

“I don’t believe in pressure. The pressure is not being prepared for what you want to do.”

“I do want to be a representative of the African community, and I want to hold myself and dress myself in a way that reflects that. I want black kids to see me and think, ‘Okay, he’s carrying himself as a black man, and that’s how a black man should carry himself.’”

“To me, tattoos are a way of people being able to express themselves and have other people look at them and get a little insight into who they are, without ever even saying a word to them.”

“I have a very high expectation for everything I do. And when I go out and compete, I expect myself to make every play.”

“Whether football’s here or not, I will be fine. I go out, I play to win.”

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

“I don’t play for job security.”

“To me, I’ve played full seasons and had success. Mentally, I’ve been through it before. I’m not incapable of going through this.”

“When I’m actually getting off the bus, I still have my gospel playing. That’s the way-to-the-game kind of music.”

“I have great teammates around me who make plays.”

“I never weighed myself when I was at my lightest because I didn’t want to know.”

“Feelings aren’t going to help me win a game.”

“Training, that’s my specialty.”


Author: Jasmine Mallory

ReCreate Model: Terrell Sanders

Photographer: Jasmine Mallory

Queen Afua (1953 – ) Best-Selling Author, Holistic Healer, Herbalist, Lecturer & Khamitic (Kemetic) Priestess

“The healing of a nation begins with oneself,” profound words spoken by the honorable high priestess and wellness health coach Queen Afua. Queen Afua is an internationally renowned holistic health expert, best selling author, natural healer, holistic wellness entrepreneur, herbalist and a highly sought after holistic health practitioner dedicated to the healing of women’s bodies and women’s souls. Her practices are rooted in Afrocentric spirituality deriving from Ancient Kemet. She is the author of 7 bestselling books, which includes “Sacred Woman” being the most well-read text. Other books include, “Heal Thyself”, “Overcoming An Angry Vagina”, “The City Of Wellness” and “Man Heal Thyself.”

Born on August 22, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York, Queen Afua’s name given at birth was Helen Robinson. From the age of 7 to 17, Queen Afua was sickly. She struggled with  asthma, allergies, PMS issues, high fever, eczema, arthritis, and other chronic illnesses. In her quest to get better, she was invited by a friend to attend a healing retreat, led by Dick Gregory. After fasting for one day her body changed for the better. It was at this time Queen Afua became an early advocate for wellness, promoting healthy organic vegan lifestyles and holistic approaches for achieving wellness. She took bold steps to begin treating her chronic asthma, arthritis with natural alternative methods. In doing so, she discovered her life calling.

Over the next 2 decades she immersed herself in the art of learning to use food and nature as healing elements becoming a certified colon therapist, fasting specialist, Hatha yoga instructor, and lay midwife. Through sacred practices, she became a Khamitic (Kemetic/Egyptian) priestess, and an initiate of the Shrine of Ptah and Chief Priestess of Purification in the temple of Nebt-Het, and ancient African Order.

Queen Afua has lectured globally and served as an expert consultant to numerous institutions and publications including Long Island University Medical Center, NASA, NYC Downstate Medical Center, and Omega Institute. Her work has impacted millions of people around the globe since the early 1970’s with a client base that ranges across the United States, Africa, London, Australia , Canada , and the Virgin Islands. Her signature products, programs, and trainings are highly revered by naturopath colleagues and medical doctors alike being at the forefront of wellness and self-care.

She is the founder and spiritual guide of Global Sacred Woman Village. She also serves as the codirector with her husband, Hru Ankh Ra Semahj, of the Smai Tawi Heal Thyself/Know Thyself Afrakan Wellness and Kultural Center. Among her many clients are Erykah Badu, Vanessa Williams, Lauren London, India Arie, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Common, and Stevie Wonder, among others.

“I share sacred tools to live in the 21st century,” stated Queen Afua, who has published essays and articles in Essence Magazine, Black Elegance, the Amsterdam  News and Caribbean Times.  She has shared her message of health and longevity at NASA, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and to audiences around the globe.

During the course of her career, Queen Afua has guided women and men on a holistic transformation journey through her global institute City of Wellness. This wellness institution is comprised of a set of schools with a curriculum to instruct individuals and train leaders in principles for achieving personal and global optimal wellness. The multifaceted curriculum addresses all facets of health and wellbeing, including self care, relationships, physical activity, family history, career, and spirituality. With over 75 master teachers, students can expect to learn the latest advances in the areas of health, wellness, self realization, coaching, and business.

Today, Queen Afua’s  mission is to holistically create vibrant, healthy families, communities and cities globally.  Through her “healthcare is self care” 21 and 84 Day lifestyle teachings, her vision is to raise up a healer in every home and turn every home into a Wellness Center.  Thereby, restoring  humanity to body, mind and spiritual radiance.


“You have to plan and cultivate good health. You have to commit to good health. You have to live good health because it comes from the inside out.”

“The price for freedom may be high, but the price that we pay for being imprisoned and cut off from the very root of our being is even higher.”

“The healing of a nation begins with oneself.”

“The condition of women’s wombs also directly reflects the condition of women’s minds, spirits, and actions. The womb is a storehouse of all our emotions.”

“The basic Khamitic (Kemetic) diet consisted of beans, lentils, peas, barley, millet, nuts, fruits (such as dates, melons, and pomegranates), vegetables (such as onions, cabbage, and peppers), and healing herbs such as gotu kola, nettle, aloe, garlic, and parsley.”

“We must remove the stress, heal ourselves and return to a place of peace.”

” When you choose life, you must have the courage to sacrifice your old, worn-out, ineffective self. ”

“You possess the innate power to create transformation and change—personally, communally, and globally.”

“When a woman’s womb is in a healthy state, her life is a reflection of this balance.”

” Sacred Woman consciousness is the ultimate answer to planetary healing.”

Most Popular Books:

Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit

Heal Thyself: For Health and Longevity

Circles of Wellness: A Guide to Planting, Cultivating and Harvesting Wellness

The City of Wellness: Restoring Your Health Through the Seven Kitchens of Consciousness

Planet Heal: What would you do to heal planet Earth?


Queen Afua

Author: Jasmine Mallory

Recreate Model: Nallah Muhammad

Photographer: Jasmine Mallory

Artis E. Hinson (1944 – ) Herbalist, Natural Healer, Master Astrologer, Author, Living Legend & Owner of Body Ecology Life Sciences Attunement Center

“Let the electric energy of life, flow through thee, in miraculous attunement to thy almighty creator, thy higher self” -a powerful declaration by living foods chef, scientist, alchemist, master astrologer, natural healer and living legend Artis Hinson, who is the owner of Body Ecology Life Sciences Attunement Center and the author of “Dogma To Light.”

Artis is a raw vegan, consuming only living (whole) foods for over 45 years. His love of humanity and world travels and expansive study of world religions and cultures, excited his desire to effect change, by promoting life in a world of “dead nutrition “. Artis began studying the impersonal aspect of energy after he was introduced to the ancient sciences of life, numerology, and astrology. Utilizing his mastery of astrology, he combines the sciences of life to effect greater healing in his clients on many energetic levels of their being with live water, live foods and live herbal remedies.

Born on October 29, 1944 in High Point, NC, Artis grow up in the small town until the age of 10 before moving to the city of Greensboro. He found himself often questioning the stories of the Bible he had been taught at that time, would eventually spark the path leading up to his life’s purpose. He excelled in public schools and graduated with honors while serving as Vice Chairman of the Greensboro Chapter of C.O.R.E.

In 1965, he graduated from Howard University in Washington, DC. It was his personal quest which led to the vision and the creation and evolution of what would become his highly successful business, Body Ecology. His trips to Central America, Europe, Asia, and Africa during the late 60’s and early 70’s in addition to visits to Germany and Italy in the late 90’s fueled his fire. During his world travels he studied diets, ancient healing remedies, family structures , personal balance, herbs, healing clays, essential oils, and religious practices. Also even visited the cave system monastery in Elephanta.

In 1975, Body Ecology was officially established in Washington DC, promoting internal wellness through practice. As a raw vegan, life foodist- eating only whole foods and instructing classes for meal preparation to encourage healthier families for ascension from lower frequencies. The Body Ecology stores were mobile as well as stationary.

In 1985, he relocated the business to downtown Greensboro where it continued to flourish, bringing healing balance to thousands of people. Unfortunately the store caught fire and burned down, causing Artis to relocate and rebuild.

As a master astologer with over 40 years of experience, he has used his expertise to help individuals discover the their purpose and personal power. He has also applied his unique gift towards developing several astrology and numerology apps, which are downloadable. His latest app is entitled “Whyquhirpz,”  which helps individuals reveal their unique power days for success in business, travel and love.

Today, Artis continues to confidently serve humanity, with the power of natures design. He instructs life food preparation, self discovery and wholistic wellness seminars for many individuals and organizations. He is well known as a pillar of the higher conscious for the communities he has served. Daily he enjoys his yoga, meditation and work of healing. At age 76, he looks forward to many more years and continuing his journey of rejuvenation at his, 200 acre Spa Therapy Center in southern Virginia.

To learn more about the services of Artis Hinson and Body Ecology, please contact him at 336-273-7406 or visit



ReCreated Photograph: Jasmine Y. Mallory

Bill Withers (1938 – 2020) Singer, Songwriter & Guitarist

“I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you,” poetic words spoken by the legendary icon Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a host of soulful songs in the 1970’s that have stood the test of time, including “Lean On Me” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” His songs are often used on the big screen and covered by multiple artists ranging from Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Dianna Ross, to Barbara Streisand and many others. The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in 1985, wrote some of the most memorable and extraordinary songs of our lifetime.

Born on July 4, 1938, in the small town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, Bill was the youngest of six children. He was raised in nearby Beckley, in coal mining country where his father, William Withers was a miner and his mother Mattie (Galloway) Withers was a maid. His father died when Bill was only 13 years old.  

After graduating from high school, Bill enlisted in the U.S, Navy. He saw it as his ticket out of coal mining and the Jim Crow South where he experienced racism at an early age. He served for nine years in the Navy, during which time he became interested in singing and writing songs.

In 1967, he moved to Los Angeles and self-financed his demos while working as an assembler for several different companies, including Douglas Aircraft Corporation, IBM and Ford. He went around performing in clubs at night. He refused to resign from his job because he believed the music business was a fickle industry. Ironically, he was laid off from his factory job a few months before “Just as I Am” came out. After the album’s release, he recalled, he received two letters on the same day. One was from his workplace asking him to return to work. The other was from “The Tonight Show,” where he appeared in November 1971. “Ain’t No Sunshine” became a major hit off that album unexpectedly.

After leaving the Sussex label and joining Columbia Records, Bill often found himself clashing with label executives who called him difficult due to creative differences. Bill felt they were trying to change him into someone he was not. In 1985, after the release of “Watching You Watching Me” he was done with the music business. It was much later when he performed at the inaugurations of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

On March 30, 2020, he died from heart complications in Los Angeles, at age 81.


  • Ain’t No Sunshine (1971, song)
  • Grandma’s Hands (1971, song)
  • Just as I Am (1971, album)
  • Use Me (1972, song)
  • Lean on Me (1972, song)
  • Still Bill (1972, album)
  • +Justments (1974, album)
  • Making Music (1975, album)
  • Naked & Warm (1976, album)
  • Lovely Day (1977. song)
  • Menagerie (1977, album)
  • Bout Love (1978, album)
  • Just the Two of Us (1981, song)
  • Watching You Watching Me (1985, album)


  • Three Grammy Awards
  • Rock In Roll Hall of Fame
  • Grammy Hall of Fame
  • ASCAP Rhythm & Soul – Heritage Award
  • Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • West Virginia Music Hall of Fame
  • Rhythm & Blues Foundation – Pioneer Award
  • Honorary Doctorate, West Virginia University
  • Middleburg
  • Rock In Roll Hall of Fame
  • Grammy Hall of Fame
  • ASCAP Rhythm & Soul – Heritage Award
  • Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • West Virginia Music Hall of Fame
  • Rhythm & Blues Foundation – Pioneer Award
  • Two  NAACP Image Awards
  • Honorary Doctorate, West Virginia University
  • Honorary Doctorate, Middleburg College


  • I write and sing about whatever I am able to understand and feel.
  • And, I’ll paint your pretty picture with a song. 
  • I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.
  • When you have a talent you know it when you’re five years old– it’s just getting around to it.



Recreate Model: Jermaine Monroe aka MainMan

Recreate Photographer: Jasmine Y. Mallory

Zora Neale Hurston (1891 – 1960) Author, Playwright Poet & Filmaker

“I do not weep at the world I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife,” profound words spoken by the lengendary author, poet, playwright and filmaker, Zora Neale Hurston. Her literary works often portrayed the racial struggles in the early-1900s rooted in the deep south. In addition, she was a pioneer researcher on the subject Hoodoo. She is best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, which was published in 1937. She also wrote more than 50 short stories, plays, and essays.

Born on Jan. 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, to John Hurston and Lucy Ann Hurston. She was the fifth of eight children. She moved with her family to Eatonville, Florida, when she was still a toddler.

Eatonville was one of the first all-black incorporated cities in the U.S. which was established in 1887 after being settled by former slaves almost two decades post Civil War. Growing up in Eatonville allowed Zora to see the evidence of black excellence all around her. She could look to town hall meetings and see black men leading, including her father, formulating the laws that governed Eatonville. She could look to the Sunday Schools of the town’s two churches and see black women, including her mother, directing the Christian curriculum. She could look to the village store and see black men and women passing worlds through their mouths in the form of engaging stories.

In 1917, she moved to Baltimore. During this time she was 26 years old and still hadn’t finished high school. Needing to present herself as a teenager to qualify for free public school, she embellished her age, passing as a 16 year old. She attended Morgan Academy in Baltimore, completing the high school requirements.

In 1925, she arrived in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance. She soon became one of the writers at its center. Her short story “Spunk” was selected for The New Negro, a landmark anthology of fiction, poetry, and essays focusing on African and African-American art and literature. In 1926, she joined a group of young black writers including Langston Hughes, and Wallace Thurman, calling themselves the Niggerati. Together they produced a literary magazine called Fire!!, that featured many of the young artists and writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

In 1935, Zora graduated from Barnard College and published several short stories and articles, as well as a novel (Jonah’s Gourd Vine) and a well-received collection of black Southern folklore (Mules and Men). But the late 1930s and early ’40s marked the real zenith of her career. She published her masterwork, Their Eyes Were Watching God, in 1937; Tell My Horse, her study of Caribbean Voodoo practices, in 1938; and another masterful novel, Moses, Man of the Mountain, in 1939. When her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, was published in 1942, Zora finally received the well-earned acclaim that had long eluded her. That year, she was profiled in Who’s Who in AmericaCurrent Biography and Twentieth Century Authors. She went on to publish another novel, Seraph on the Suwanee, in 1948.

She died on January 28, 1960, in the St. Lucie County Welfare Home of “hypertensive heart disease’ and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Garden of Heavenly Rest, Fort Pierce. However, in 1973 Alice Walker discovered and marked Zora’s grave.


  • There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
  • Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
  • I do not weep at the world I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
  • Research is formalized curiosity.
  • It is poking and prying with a purpose.
  • I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots.
  • Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands.
  • An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.
  • No matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you.
  • Gods always behave like the people who make them.
  • Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.
  • I did not just fall


  • “Journey’s End” (Negro World, 1922), poetry
  • “Night” (Negro World, 1922), poetry
  • “Passion” (Negro World, 1922), poetry
  • Color Struck (Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life, 1925), play
  • Muttsy (Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life) 1926, short story
  • “Sweat” (1926), short story
  • “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” (1928), essay
  • “Hoodoo in America” (1931) in The Journal of American Folklore
  • “The Gilded Six-Bits” (1933), short story
  • “The Fiery Chariot” (1933)
  • Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934), novel
  • “The Fire and the Cloud” (the Challenge, 1934)
  • Mules and Men (1935), non-fiction
  • In 1935 and 1936, Zora Neale Hurston shot documentary footage as part of her fieldwork in Florida and Haiti. Included are rare ethnographic evidence of the Hoodoo and Vodou religion in the U.S. and Haiti.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), novel
  • Tell My Horse (1938), non-fiction
  • Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939, novel)
  • “Cock Robin, Beale Street” (Southern Literary Messenger, 1941)
  • Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), autobiography
  •  “Story in Harlem Slang” (American Mercury, 1942)
  • “The ‘Pet Negro’ Syndrome” (American Mercury, 1943)
  • Seraph on the Suwanee (1948), novel
  • “What White Publishers Won’t Print” (Negro Digest, 1950)


  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Howard University
  • The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Musical
  • Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts
  • Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Nonfiction a



Recreate Model: Quintana Smith

Recreate Photographer: Jasmine Y. Mallory

Chadwick Boseman (1976 – 2020) Actor, Director, Writer, Producer & Playwright

“As an African-American actor, a lot of our stories haven’t been told,” words by the great actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for his role as T’Challa in Marvel’s mega hit movie “Black Panther.” He also played groundbreaking figures like James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall, becoming one of the most sought-after leading men in film.

Born on Novemeber 29, 1976 in Anderson, South Carolina, Chadwick was the youngest of three sons born to Carolyn and Leroy Boseman. In high school, he was a skillful basketball player. He later turned to acting after a friend and teammate was shot and killed. He enrolled at Howard University with the dream of becoming a director.

While taking an acting class with award-winning actress and director Phylicia Rashad, Chadwick was accepted to the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England. Ms Rashad helped finance his education with assistance from a friend and colleague Denzel Washington.

Chadwick sought to use his celebrity to advance a greater, moral cause. During this summer’s wave of protests against systemic racism and police brutality, he expressed support for the Black Lives Matter Movement and joined other Black entertainers and executives. Onscreen and off, he was fueled by a commitment to leave nothing on the table.

On August 28, 2020, Chadwick died after a four year battle of colon cancer.


  • The Express: The Ernie Davis Story (2008, film)
  • 42: Jackie Robinson (2013, film)
  • Get on Up: James Brown (2014, film)
  • Marshall (2017, film)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2017, film)
  • Black Panther (2018, film)
  • 21 Bridges (2019, film)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019, film)
  • Da 5 Bloods (2020, film)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020. film)
  • All My Children (2003, television)
  • Law & Order (2004, television)
  • Cold Case (2008, television)
  • Lincoln Heights (2008, television)
  • Persons Unknown (2010, television)
  • Fringe (2011, television)
  • Saturday Night Live (2018, television)
  • Crossroads (1993, playwright)
  • Rhyme Deferred (1997, co-writer)
  • Hieroglyphic Graffiti (2002, playwright)
  • Deep Azure (2005, playwright)


  • NAACP Image Award Recipients (including 6 nominations)
  • Boston Society of Film Critics Award Winner
  • New York Film Critics Circle Award Winner
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winner
  • People’s Choice Award Winner
  • Honorary Degree Recipient (2018), Howard University




ReCreate Model: Josiah Guidry

ReCreate Photographer: Jasmine Mallory

Lena Horne (1917 – 2010) Singer, Dancer, Actress, and Civil Rights Activist

“You have to be taught to be second class, you’re not born that way,” a profound statement by the ultra-talented singer, actress, activist Lena Horne. Lena Horne is known as one of the most famous black entertainers of the twentieth century, who broke new ground for black performers when she signed a long-term contract with MGM (a major Hollywood studio) and who went on to achieve international fame as a singer. Her stunning beauty, innate elegance, and stellar stage charisma made her a worldwide superstar, having performed in concert halls, on television, in movies, nightclubs and on the radio. She became one of the first African Americans to cross the music-business color divide, sharing stages with Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Count Basie, Billy Eckstine, and many other legends of American music during her long and varied career.

Lena Horne was also known for her work with civil rights groups and refused to play roles that stereotyped African American women. As an anti-racist activist, she refused to appear before racially segregated US Army audiences in World War II, while touring Army camps for the U.S.O. Lena was outspoken in her criticism of the way black soldiers were treated. Her progressive political beliefs, led her to be blacklisted in the 1950s. Nearly 30 years later, her career re-emerged as she appeared in “The Wiz” (1978) and conquered Broadway with a one-woman show, “The Lady and Her Music” in 1981. In 2010, Lena Horne passed away on Mothers Day at the age of 92.

Birthdate: June 30, 1917

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

Death: May 9, 2010

Place of Death: Manhattan, New York


  • Panama Hattie (1942, film)
  • Cabin in the Sky  (1943, film)
  • Stormy Weather (1943, film)
  • Broadway Rhythm (1944, film)
  • Words and Music (1948, film)
  • The Wiz (1978, film)
  • “Stormy Weather” (1943, song)
  • “One For My Baby, and One More For The Road” (1945, song)
  • “Deed I Do” (1948, song)
  • “Love Me Or Leave Me” (1955, song)
  • Moanin’ Low (1942, album)
  • Classics in Blue (1947, album)
  • Lena Horne Sings (1953, album)
  • It’s Love (1955, album)
  • Jamaica (1957, album)
  • Stormy Weather (1957, album)
  • I Feel So Smoochie (1958, album)


3 Grammy Awards and 5 Nominations

2 Emmy Awards

NAACP Image Award Recipient

Kennedy Center Honoree

Honorary Doctorate- Howard University

Star on the Walk of Fame

Tony Award Winner

AAFCA Legacy Award

ACE Award Nominee


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Janelle Monáe (1985 – ) Singer, Songwriter, Actress, Model, Rapper & Producer

“I feel like Harriet Tubman, except I am trying to free people through underground music, to free themselves creatively and inspirationally” a profound declaration made by the singer, songwriter, Covergirl Model,  and self-proclaimed Arch Android, Janelle Monáe.  She is the CEO of her own music label, in which her music garnered her eight Grammy Award nominations.  In addition, her film career has catapulted into ultra success, having landed major roles in four Oscar-nominated movies, to include Moonlight (2016) which won 3 Oscars and Hidden Figures (2016).  As an artist, she has un-sheepishly used her platform to highlight social issue such as police brutality.

Born Janelle Monáe Robinson, on Decemeber 1, 1985 to working class parents in Kansas City, Kansas.  Her mother, Janet, worked as a janitor and a hotel housekeeper.  Her father, Michael Robinson Summers,  worked as a truck driver. Janelle’s parents separated when she was a toddler.  However, her mother later re-married and gave birth to her younger sister, Kimmy.

Janelle was raised in a thriving community within Kansas City called Quindaro, a town enriched in historical roots. It was established by Native Americans on the lands of the Wyandot Tribe, which was forced to move to Kansas Territory in 1844 on the heel of the Trail of Tears.  The land was sold to abolitionists just prior to the Civil War, and became a refuge for black Americans escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad. After the Civil War, Quindaro evolved into a strong African American community, laying the foundation that would build and support one of America’s first all-black colleges and medical centers, such as Western University and Douglas Hospital.

Janelle’s family lineage is rooted in relentless matriarchy.  Her maternal grandmother owned several homes in a row that housed cousins, aunts, and uncles.  “My grandmother had 11 children and although we didn’t have a whole lot of money, what we did have was a lot of love. My grandmother was the matriarch. If you didn’t have a place to stay, if you needed food, if you were just coming out of jail or rehab, you went to her. Watching her in our family and our wider community was what inspired me and still does,” a statement from the Grammy-nominated singer.

Janelle was also very close to her paternal great-grandmother and spent a significant amount of time at her house.  Her great-grandmother was the main connection to her dad and his family, as he went in and out of prison.  Janelle’s relationship with her father was rocky until he became sober.

Her family members were musicians and performers.  At a very early age, Janelle had dreamed of being a singer and a performer.  She was bought up in the Baptist Church where her talent was reared and nurtured.   Her church would host talent shows for Juneteenth, where she covered “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” three years in a row and won each time. There was a time when she was escorted out of church for insisting on singing Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” in the middle of the service.  Yet, this incident did not deter her from her religious devotions or attendance.

As a teenager, she was enrolled in a young playwrights’ program, the Coterie Theater’s Young Playwrights’ Round Table, where she began writing musicals. One musical that she composed was inspired by  Stevie Wonder’s album Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants”.  She achieved this around the age of 12.

She attended F. L. Schlagle High School.  Shortly after graduation, she moved to New York City to study musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.  She was the only black woman in her class.  Although she had an enjoyable experience, she feared that she might lose her edge and “sound, or look or feel like anybody else,” according to the androgynous performer. 

After a year and a half, Janelle dropped out of the academy and relocated to Atlanta, enrolling in Perimeter College at Georgia State University. She began writing her own music and performing around the campus. In 2003, she self-released a demo album titled The Audition, which she sold out of the trunk of her car.

It was during this period Janelle became acquainted with songwriters and producers Chuck Lightning and Nate Wonder. The three would eventually form the Wondaland Arts Society.

While juggling her musical ambitions, she worked at Office Depot and was eventually fired for using one of the company’s computers to respond to a fan’s e-mail.  That specific incident inspired the song “Lettin’ Go”  which caught the attention of Big Boi, a member of the Atlanta-based, hip-hop group Outkast.  Janelle was a feature on Outkast’s album Idlewild.  This opportunity led to her meeting Sean Combs and being signed to Bad Boy Record Label in 2006.

The rest is “virtual” history.  Her music, acting, and modeling careers have skyrocketed and she has become a popular mainstream entertainer. She currently resides in  Atlanta, where she enjoys practicing yoga and making music.



“Black history is part of American history, and it should be treated as such.”

“I will not be a slave to my image, nor will I be a slave to anyone else’s interpretations of me,”

“I love the mystery behind things.”

“I feel like Harriet Tubman, except I am trying to free people through underground music, to free themselves creatively and inspirationally.”

“I’m a believer that the more I’m giving, the happier I am, and the more beautiful my exterior will be.”

“I always think about the next generation and creating a different blueprint for them. That’s my goal: to let them know there’s another way.”

“Perfection is the enemy of greatness”

“Don’t get high off praises, and don’t get too low on critiques.”

“You are only as beautiful as the many beautiful things you do for others without expectation.”

“Even if it makes others comfortable, I will LOVE who I am”

“I take goldenseal, Echinacea and cod liver oil when flying to boost my immune system.”


Awards & Nominations:

 Grammy Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2009 “Many Moons” Best Urban/Alternative Performance Nominated
2011 The ArchAndroid Best Contemporary R&B Album Nominated
“Tightrope” Best Urban/Alternative Performance Nominated
Some Nights[10] Album of the Year (as a featured artist) Nominated
“We Are Young” Record of the Year Nominated
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominated
2019 Dirty Computer Album of the Year Nominated
“Pynk” Best Music Video Nominated

 MTV Video Music Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2010 “Tightrope” Best Choreography Nominated
2012 “We Are Young” (with Fun) Best Pop Video Nominated
2013 “Q.U.E.E.N.” Best Art Direction Won
2018 “Pynk” Best Video with a Message Nominated
“Make Me Feel” Best Art Direction Nominated
Best Editing Nominated

  NAACP Image Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2014 Janelle Monáe Outstanding Female Artist Nominated
“Q.U.E.E.N.” Outstanding Music Video Won
Outstanding Song Nominated
The Electric Lady Outstanding Album Nominated
2019 Janelle Monáe Outstanding Female Artist Nominated
Dirty Computer Outstanding Album Nominated

  Screen Actors Guild Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2017 Hidden Figures Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
Moonlight Nominated


Rolling Stone:



Black Doctor:,the%20music%20video%2C%20as%20well.

Kansas City Public Library:

Black Past:


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Nikki Giovanni (1943 – ) Poet, Writer, Speaker, Activist, & Educator

“Writing is what I do to justify the air I breathe,”  a lucid statement from the exceptionally clever and widely read poet, speaker, author, and educator known as Nikki Giovanni.  This living legend first rose to prominence in the 1970s, after the self-publication of her book debut, Black Feeling, Black Talk.  Hailed as the “Princess of Black Poetry,”  Nikki provided a voice for the black experience. She has been named “Women of the Year” by Ebony Magazine, Mademoiselle Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal . She is a five-time bestselling author, whose resume of 27 books continues to shape conversations among diverse audiences.  In essence, Nikki Giovanni holds a wide range of honors and awards which include The Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award, seven NAACP Image Awards and twenty-seven honorary degrees.

Born on June 7, 1943 to Knoxville College graduates Gus and Yolanda Giovanni at Old Knoxille General Hospital, she was the younger of two daughters in a close-knit family. Her name at birth was Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr, however,  during the first three years of her life, her older sister (Gary Ann Giovanni) began calling her “Nikki.”

During Nikki’s childhood, the family would make frequent visits to their grandparents’ home in Knoxville.  It was during this period she gained an intense appreciation for black culture and heritage from her grandmother. This early exposure to the power of spoken language influenced Nikki’s career as a poet and engendered her sophisticated use of vernacular speech.

In 1947 at the age of four, she moved with her parents from Knoxville to a predominantly black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio.  In spite of the distance, she remained close to her grandmother. During her formative years, academics presented no problem to her, therefore she swiftly excelled.  By the time she reached high school, both her French and English teachers persuaded her to apply for early college admission.  In 1960, she enrolled in the early entrance program at Fisk University, her grandfather’s Alma Mater.

By early fall, a young, freethinking Nikki matriculated to Fisk University.  Wholly unaware of the staunch conservatism embedded in this small HBCU, nearly at the outset of campus life, she found conflict with the Dean of Women, Ann Cheatam.  The Dean’s ideas about the behavior and attitudes appropriate to a Fisk woman were diametrically opposed to Nikki’s ideas about the intellectual seriousness and political awareness appropriate to a college student. Unfortunately, the perpetual discord lead to Nikki’s expulsion.  On February 1, 1961, Nikki was expelled from Fisk after attending one semester.

After a few years precede by, Nikki decided to visit the University again for possible re-enrollment.  During this time, the former Dean Cheatam had a new replacement Blanche McConnell Cowan, whose personality was opposite of her predecessor’s. Dean Cowan purged the file in which Dean Cheatam gathered on Nikki and encourages her to come back to Fisk. In the fall of 1964, Nikki returned to campus, majoring in history.  With much support from Dean Cowan, Nikki strived academically and became a leader on campus.  She re-established the campus chapter of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee). In addition, she attended writing workshops, and published various essays in Negro Digest on gender questions in the Movement.

In 1967, after graduating with honors from Fisk University , she returned to Cincinnati and established the city’s first Black Arts Festival. During this period, she began writing poems that are included in her first self-published volume, Black Feeling, Black Talk (1968). The following year she moved to New York.

In 1969, she found work as a teacher at Queens College.  As a way to promote her second book Black Judgement, she hosted a highly successful Book-party at Birdland (the New York City jazz club) where she gave her first public reading. The event attracted hundreds of people and made the next day’s publication of The New York Times. As a result of the article, Nikki began receiving widespread attention from the media and multiple invitations to read and speak. In April of the same year, The New York Times featured her in an article entitled “Renaissance in Black Poetry Expresses Anger.” The Amsterdam News named her one of the ten “most admired black women.”

By the mid-1970s, she established herself as one of the leading poetic voices and has become one of America’s most widely read poets. Her autobiography Gemini was a finalist for the National Book Award, and several of her books have received NAACP Image Awards. Oprah Winfrey named her as one of her twenty-five “Living Legends.” She has received about twenty-five honorary degrees, in addition to being named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle MagazineThe Ladies Home Journal and Ebony.  She was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, and has been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry.

Nikki Giovanni is one of the world’s most well-known black poets.  She presently resides in Christiansburg, Virginia. She is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blackburg, Virginia where she English.

Books & Poems:

For a comprehensive list of Nikki Giovanni’s published works, please visit:

Poems: DreamsMothersNikki-RosaEgo TrippingBLK History MonthLegacies


Awards & Honors:

The Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award (first recipient)

Seven NAACP Image Awards

Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album

National Book Award nomination for Gemini

Parents’ Choice Award for The Sun Is So Quiet

The New York Times Best Seller’s List – 3 times

Legends and Legacies Award

The Langston Hughes Award

The Gwendolyn Brooks Award

Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech

Presidential Medal of Honor, Dillard University

Keys to more than two dozen American cities, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and New Orleans

Life Membership & Scroll, The National Council of Negro Women

Named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 Living Legends

Phi Beta Kappa

State Historical markers in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Lincoln Heights, Ohio

The Tennessee Governor’s Award in the Arts

Tennessee Governor’s Award In the Humanities

Virginia Governor’s Award for the Arts

Woman of the Year, Ebony Magazine

Woman of the Year, Ladies Home Journal

Woman of the Year, Mademoiselle Magazine

American Book Award

Caldecott Honor Book Award

Carl Sandburg Literary Award

Moonbeam Children’s Book Award

Tennessee Writer’s Award, The Nashville Banner

The Appalachian Medallion Award

The East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame Award

ALC Lifetime Achievement Award

Art Sanctuary’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Artist-in-Residence. The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Johnson & Wales University

Duncanson Artist in Residence, The Taft Museum

Poet-In-Residence, Walt Whitman Birthplace Association

The Cecil H. and Ida Green Honors Chair, Texas Christian University

The Hill Visiting Professor, University of Minnesota

Sankofa Freedom Award

The Legacy Award, National Alumni Council United Negro College Fund

The Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame

2000 Council of Ideas, The Gihon Foundation

A species of bat named in her honor (Micronycteris giovanniae)

Affrilachian Award

American Library Association’s Black Caucus Award for Non-fiction

Ann Fralin Award

Child Magazine Best Children’s Book of the Year

Cincinnati Bi-Centennial Honoree

Excellence in Leadership Award from Dominion Power

The SHero Award for Lifetime Achievement

United States Senate Certificate of Commendation

Woman of the Year, Cincinnati YWCA

Women of Power Legacy Award



“If you don’t understand yourself you don’t understand anybody else.”

“We love because it’s the only true adventure.”

“Black love is black wealth”

“I come from a long line of storytellers”

“Nothing is easy to the unwilling.”

“I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.”

“Mistakes are a fact of life: It is the response to the error that counts.”
“A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked, don’t want to go without guarantee. But that’s what’s got to happen. You go naked until you die”

“You must be unintimidated by your own thoughts because if you write with someone looking over you shoulder, you’ll never write.”



Nikki Giovanni

Poetry Foundation


Macmillan Publishers


New Haven Register



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Bass Reeves (1838 – 1910) The Real Lone Ranger

Did You Know?

The ‘real’ Lone Ranger was a Black man named Bass Reeves. He was former slave who escaped from slavery and lived among the native American Indians. He was the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River. He worked mostly in Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory. During his long career, he was credited with arresting more than 3,000 felons.

ReCreate Model: Randolph Means

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Lauryn Hill (1975 – ) Award Winning Singer, Rapper, Actress, & Songwriter

“We should always be aspiring to know more, and to better ourselves, and to improve ourselves. To improve ourselves, because that’s how we improve the world around us, by working within us,” profound words spoken by the unparalleled, ultra-talented, matchless beauty Lauryn Hill. A former member of the hip hop trio The Fugees, Lauryn went on to break multiple music records with the release of her solo debut album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”  She is regarded as a musical genius and a triple-threat for being a natural actress, gifted musical artist, and alluring model. In 2020, Lauryn is set to go on tour, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of her debut album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

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Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (1935 – 2016) Scholar, Psychiatrist, Lecturer, & Author

“We’re the only people on this entire planet who have been taught to sing and praise our demeanment. ‘I’m a bitch. I’m a hoe. I’m a gangster. I’m a thug. I’m a dog.’ If you can train people to demean and degrade themselves, you can oppress them forever. You can program them to kill themselves and they won’t even understand what happened,” deafening sentiments from master scholar, behavioral psychiatrist and author Frances Cress Welsing.

Dr Welsing wrote two controversial books,  “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism,” and “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” in both books examine the root of racism (white supremacy) and its ill effect on non-white people.  Dr. Welsing, whose scholarship scientifically decoded racism (white supremacy) as a reaction to white genetic survival, has almost been a singular pioneer during her early years of spreading this concept. The compilation of her theories, lectures, and written works has undoubtedly influenced and helped to shape today’s discussions about race and racism (white-supremacy).

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Jill Scott (1972 – ) Award winning Singer, Actress, Poet & Songwriter

“You owe it to yourself to live beautifully. And I am,” says the sultry songstress, actress, and model Jill Scott.  This Grammy Award winner, has been on a fast track to music success every since her debut album released in 2000, reaching platinum.  She has earned numerous accolades in music and is has also appeared in collection of films such as Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? and its sequel, Why Did I Get Married Too? as well as Lifetime original movies Sins of the Mother and Flint.

In 2020, the “Living My Life It’s Golden” singer is set to go on tour, celebrating the 20th anniversary since her debut album was released.  The tour is cunningly named after her debut album “Who Is Jill Scott?”.

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Betty Shabazz (1934 – 1997) Nurse, Educator, Civil Rights Advocate, & wife of Malcolm X

“I wish you power that equals your intelligence and your strength. I wish you success that equals your talent and determination. And I wish you faith,” poetic words spoken by nurse, civil rights activist, and famed wife of legendary civil rights leader Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz.

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Sam Cooke (1931 – 1964) Singer, Songwriter, Civil Rights Activist

“It’s been a long time coming. But I know a change is gonna come,” those famous melodic words ascended off the lips of the #1 soul artist of the 1960s Sam Cooke. Commonly referred to as the man who invented soul, Sam is honored in the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, among many other accolades.  This pioneering recording artist helped shape the soul and pop scene with hits like “You Send Me,” “Chain Gang” and “Sad Mood.

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Angela Davis (1944 – ) Political Activist, Author, & Scholar

“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist,” unmitigated words uttered by political activist, master scholar, and author Angela Davis. She is a professor emerita at the University of California, who studied at Sorbonne.  She was known as a radical feminist, a member of the Communist Party USA, and an affiliate of the Black Panther Party, Los Angeles Chapter.  She has authored over ten books on class, feminism, and the U.S. prison system.

Angela Yvonne Davis was born on January 26, 1944 in Birmingham Alabama. Her father, B. Frank Davis, was a service station owner and a former teacher. Her mother, Sallye Bell Davis, was a teacher and a member of the NAACP.  Angela was the eldest of 3 siblings; Ben,  Reginald, and Fania.

Like most black families that lived in the segregated south during the Jim Crow era, the Davis family were not exempt from experiencing the cruel injustices that plagued their territory.  Angela grow up in a segregated, middle class neighborhood, which was nicknamed “Dynamite Hill” for the multiple bombings perpetuated by the Klu Klux Klan.  In fact, Angela had personally known the four girls who were killed in the infamous Birmingham church bombing. She later became involved with her family in civil rights demonstrations.

Angela attended Birmingham public schools until 1959. She spent some time in New York City, where her mother was earning a master’s degree during summer breaks from teaching. During this time,  she attended Elizabeth Irwin High School in New York City for two years.  She excelled as a student and matriculated to Brandeis University in 1965, graduating magna cum laude, with two years of study at the Sorbonne, University of Paris. She later studied philosophy in Germany at the University of Frankfurt for two years, then received an M.A. from the University of California at San Diego in 1968. Her doctoral study took place from 1968 to 1969.

Beginning in 1969, Davis was an acting assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Although both Princeton and Swarthmore had tried to recruit her, she opted for UCLA because of its urban location. She was part of an all-black communist group called the Che-Lumumba Club, and through that group she began to organize public protests.

Later that year, the Board of Regents fired Davis from her $10,000-a-year post because of her membership in the Communist Party.  This decision was urged on by California Governor Ronald Reagan. The judge ruled that the Regents could not fire Davis solely because of her affiliation with the Communist Party, and she resumed her post. The following year, the Regents fired Angela again on June 20, 1970, for the “inflammatory language” she had used in four different speeches.  The American Association of University Professors censured the Board for this action.

Outside of academia, Davis had become a strong supporter of three prison inmates of Soledad Prison known as the Soledad brothers (they were not related). These three men — John W. Cluchette, Fleeta Drumgo and George Lester Jackson — were accused of killing a prison guard after several African-American inmates had been killed in a fight by another guard. It was rumored that she was romantically involved with George Jackson.

During Jackson’s trial in 1970, an escape attempt was made which lead to the shooting deaths of four people killed in the courtroom. This resulted in Angela being charged with three capital felonies, such as kidnapping, including conspiracy to murder. She had purchased the firearms used in the armed courtroom takeover. After spending roughly 18 months in jail, Angela was acquitted in June 1972.

She continued both her academic work and her domestic activism. In 1980, she was the professor of ethnic studies at San Francisco State University. Much of her work focused on the abolition of prisons. That same year, she ran for U.S. vice president on the unsuccessful Communist Party ticket.

In 1991, amid the dissolution of the Soviet Union,  Angela left the party and joined the breakaway Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. Also in 1991, she joined the feminist studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she became department director. In 1997 she co-founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison–industrial complex.

When Angela retired from UCSC in 2008, she was named Professor Emerita. In the years since, she has continued her work for prison abolition, women’s rights, and racial justice. Davis has taught at UCLA and elsewhere as a visiting professor, committed to the importance of “liberating minds as well as liberating society.”

In 2017 Davis was a featured speaker and made honorary co-chair at the Women’s March on Washington after Donald Trump’s inauguration.


“Radical simply means “grasping things at the root.”

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

“Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary’s life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime.”

“The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what’s that? The freedom to starve?”

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.”

“If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night.”

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”

“We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.”

“Sometimes we have to do the work even though we don’t yet see a glimmer on the horizon that it’s actually going to be possible.”

“I try never to take myself for granted as somebody who should be out there speaking. Rather, I’m doing it only because I feel there’s something important that needs to be conveyed.”

“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

“If we do not know how to meaningfully talk about racism, our actions will move in misleading directions.”

“I don’t think we have any alternative other than remaining optimistic. Optimism is an absolute necessity, even if it’s only optimism of the will, as Gramsci said, and pessimism of the intellect.”

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Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) Activist, Black Leader, Minister, & former National Representative for the NOI

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything,” powerful words spoken by the honorable Malcolm X, black leader, activist, and former national representative for the Nation of Islam, a black Muslim organization. Malcolm X, who later went by the name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, was a well spoken, forthright, prominent figure for the black power movement, promoting ideals of black empowerment, self preservation, cooperative economics, human rights, and justice.

Born Malcolm Little in 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm was the son of Earl Little,  a Baptist preacher and member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and Louise Helen Little his Grenadian born mother.  Malcolm was the 7th born of 12 children. Malcolm’s father had three children from a previous marriage, Ella, Earl, and Mary.  He later met and married Malcolm’s mother in Philadelphia, where their first child Wilfred was born.  Then followed Hilda, Philbert, Malcolm, Reginald, Wesley, Yvonne, and Robert. Shortly after Malcolm’s birth, the family moved to Milwaukee.

Continue reading “Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) Activist, Black Leader, Minister, & former National Representative for the NOI”

Assata Shakur (1947 – ) Political Activist, Author, and #1 on America’s Most Wanted Terrorist List

“People are tried and convicted in the newspapers and on television before they ever see a courtroom.” -Assata ShakurSince the 1960’s, Assata Olugbala Shakur has been fighting for the liberation of the racially oppressed. Ironically, it is the same oppression that has caused her to become the first female ever to be added to the FBI’s America’s Most Wanted Terrorist List.  Political activist, former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, and step-aunt to slane hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur,  her story is deeply cloaked in the struggle for systemic change.

Continue reading “Assata Shakur (1947 – ) Political Activist, Author, and #1 on America’s Most Wanted Terrorist List”

Aretha Franklin (1942 – 2018) Singer, Songwriter, Pianist, & Activist

We pay our R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the singer, songwriter, pianist, Civil Rights Activist, Aretha Franklin, who will forever be hailed as the Queen of Soul. She was the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and her magnanimous voice was declared a “Natural Resource” in the State of Michigan. An artist of prodigious versatility, her powerful vocal ranges stemmed from her early gospel roots, although she swiftly moved on to embrace Jazz, Soul, Classical, and R&B. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked her as the greatest singer of all time.

Born Aretha Louise Franklin, on March 25, 1942 in Memphis Tennessee to Clarence LaVaugh Franklin, a Baptist minister and Civil Rights Activist, and Barbara (nee Siggers) Franklin, an accomplished pianist and vocalist, Aretha was the 3rd born of the couples four children. Erma (1938-2002), Cecil (1940-1989),  Carolyn (1944-1988). They also had children from prior relationships. Vaughn (1934  -) and Carl Ellan (1940 -).  At the age of six, she and her family had moved to Detroit.

Continue reading “Aretha Franklin (1942 – 2018) Singer, Songwriter, Pianist, & Activist”

Gil Scott-Heron (1949 – 2011) Poet, Author, Jazz Musician, Songwriter & Composer

“The first revolution is when you change your mind,” a prolific statement by poet, novelist, musician, and songwriter Gil Scott-Heron. Best known for his signature spoken word piece, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Gil has released more than 20 albums and hundreds of compelling compositions that addressed profound social issues as well as the love, happiness and pain of the human condition. He arrived on the international stage simultaneously with various Black Arts Movement poets, including Amiri Baraka, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, and Nikki Giovanni. He shared their conviction that art must be functional and, therefore, as an artist and communal leader, he must embrace his role as a significant political voice inevitably committed to the liberation of black people.

Gil was born on April 1, 1949 in Chicago Illinois to parents Bobbie Scott Heron, a librarian, and Giles (Gil) Heron, a Jamaican professional soccer player. When he was 18 months old, he went to live with his grandmother, Lily Scott, in Jackson, TN. He grew up in Tennessee and in the Bronx, New York.

By age 13, Gil had written his first collection of poems. While attending DeWitt Clinton high school in the Bronx, his precocious writing talent was recognised by an English teacher, and he was recommended for a place at the prestigious Fieldston school.  In 1966, he attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and received an M.S. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

In 1968, he published his first novel, The Vulture, a murder mystery whose central themes included the devastating effects of drugs on urban black life set in the ghetto. Encouraged to begin recording by legendary jazz producer Bob Thiele, who had worked with every major jazz great from Louis Armstrong to John Coltrane, Gil released his debut album, Small Talk at 125th and Lennox (1970), inspired by a volume of poetry of the same name. After recording for Thiele’s Flying Dutchman Records until the mid-’70s. Following a dispute with the label, he moved on to record Winter in America (1974) for Strata East, then moved to Clive Davis’s Arista Records. He was the first artist signed by the newly formed company.

As one of America’s most unique and inspiring voices, Gil’s work has influenced writers, academics and musicians, from indie rockers to hip-hop artists. His work was the template for subsequent African-American music genres, such as hip-hop, neo-soul, and nu-soul. He has been described by music writers as “The Godfather Of Rap”.

On May 27, 2011, Gil Scott-Heron died in a Manhattan hospital.  He was 62.


“A good poet feels what his community feels. Like if you stub your toe, the rest of your body hurts.”
“I am a black man dedicated to expression; expression of the joy and pride of blackness. I consider myself neither poet, composer, or musician. These are merely tools used by sensitive men to carve out a piece of beauty or truth that they hope may lead to peace and salvation.”
“All the dreams you show up in are not your own.”
“Colour is not the issue in America; class is.”
“Man is a complex being: he makes deserts bloom – and lakes die.”
“You have to learn and keep learning.”
“The first revolution is when you change your mind”
“The way you get to know yourself is by the expression on other people’s faces.”
“You should be able to do anything you can afford as an adult.”
“As for money – when I have it, it’s great. When I don’t, I go get some. I’ve been a dishwasher, a gardener, a cleaner.”
“I am honestly not sure how capable I am of love. And I’m not sure why.”
“I learned early on that your audience take the songs in the way they want to rather than the way you might want them too.”
“My songs were always about the tone of voice rather than the words.”


Small Talk at 125th and Lennox (1970. album)
The Vulture (1970, book)
Small Talk at 125th and Lenox (1970, book)
Pieces of a Man (1971, album)
The Nigger Factory (1972, book)
Free Will (1972, album)
Winter in America (1974, album)
The First Minute of a New Day (1975, album)
From South Africa to South Carolina (1975, album)
It’s Your World (1976, album)
The Baron (1977, film)
Bridges (1977, album)
Secrets (1978, album)
1980 (1980, album)
Real Eyes (1980, album)
Reflections (1981, album)
Moving Target (1982, album)
So Far, So Good (1990, book)
Spirits (1994, album)
Now and Then: The Poems of Gil Scott-Heron (2001, book)
I’m New Here (2010, album)
The Last Holiday (2012, book)


Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2012)
Grammy Hall of Fame (2014)



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