August 8 – August 21, 2013


To Be Young, Black and Obese

monique big and small“This is a great idea! I refuse to let my child be obese and this is a workout we can do together,” a mother gleefully said after she had just finished a Z Go Go Fitness workout I co-conducted in Temple Hills, Maryland.  As she passed by all the Go Go instructors on her way out of the room, she was happy that she could exercise with her daughter and vowed to return with her for the next class.

As the obesity rate in the United States continues to rise, health experts, fitness experts and educators are looking more closely at how to address this issue among the youth.  The problem has gained national coverage by First Lady Michelle Obama’s program “Let’s Move” that specifically encourages school age-children, male and female, to become more physically active.

Well, I agree with the new Mo’nique,
“let’s be healthy." 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African-American women have the highest rates of obesity compared to other groups in the U.S.  Comedian Mo’nique, one of the nation’s most famous “obese” women, told Oprah in a 2009 interview that some of her fans criticized her because of her weight loss.  Critical fans recalled her status as a proud big girl and were disappointed with her decision to alter her “big girls rock” image.  Mo’nique’s response:  “I've always said there is nothing wrong with being big and beautiful, but let's be healthy,” she said.

But what does this criticism say about how Blacks view obesity?  Is it a badge of honor to be “big and beautiful”?  Is there pressure within the Black community to maintain a curvy look?

As a personal trainer, I cannot say how many times I have heard women say, “I want to tone up, but, I don’t want to lose my booty or breasts.” Well, I agree with the new Mo’nique, “let’s be healthy.”

Sadly Black parents, women in particular, often limit their kids’ physical activity, which is a part of a healthy lifestyle, for safety reasons.  When talking with my mom about this subject, she shares with me stories of her and my dad growing up in the same DC neighborhood in the 1960s and how they would run relay races in the street for hours and return home only when the street lights came on.  But today, how many have heard parents say, “It’s too dangerous for my kids to go outside and play?”

Aesthetics is another reason Black people, females in particular, often limit their daily exercise. I have recommended water aerobics as a fitness option on numerous occasions to clients. The first question I get from most Black women is, “Will my hair get wet?”  Probably not since most water aerobics participants wear a swimming cap and the water only comes up to their chest.

These scenarios leaves us with a child who can’t go outside to play and whose parent (one of the child’s role models)  is afraid to get into a pool in fear of what will happen to her hair! Coupled with these issues, the child is also getting media messages that supersized is a good deal and big is beautiful.  It is therefore no wonder that the stage has been set for obesity to increase in the Black community.

However, we can make small changes to the set.  The mom who brought her child to the Z Go Go fitness class is setting an excellent example for her daughter about the importance of exercising on a regular basis.  New and many older recreation centers offer fitness opportunities for parents and their children at the same time - - helping parents who want to reset the stage and tackle obesity - - one pound at a time.

March on Washington – Updates
Two Marches Planned

 march on washington 2013

Interactive DC Crime Map /
Racial Disparities Report

dc police racial disparities report 

Get up-to-date information on homicides, arrests and firearm recoveries in your Washington, DC neighborhood. Use the Metropolitan Police Department site to create your report.

According to the Washington Lawyers’ Committee Report on Racial Disparities in Arrest in the Nation’s Capital, “there are about as many African Americans aged 18 or older (47.6%) as there are adult whites (42%) living in this city, but eight of 10 adults arrested for crime in Washington are African American.”

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Desmond Tutu Likens Gay Struggle to Anti-Apartheid Movement

 demond tutu speaks and gay rights

While the Pope gained much attention for saying “Who, am I to judge,” in reference to a question on judging gay priest on July 29, three days earlier former Anglican archbishop of South Africa Desmond Tutu  was even bolder.  “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven,” declared Tutu on July 26 at a news conference that launched a United Nations campaign to promote homosexual rights.

“No, I would say sorry — I mean, I would much rather go to the other place,” he said. Tutu added for emphasis, “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”

The former anti-apartheid leader went even further. “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid,” he said. “For me, it is at the same level.”

African Development Bank Funds Post-graduate Program

 african development bank

The African Development Bank has approved an African Development Fund grant of $45 million for the multinational Pan African University Project (PAU).  The PAU will establish an academic network among already existing post-graduate and research institutions intended to serve all African countries.  The project aims at advancing Africa’s goal of enhancing its competitiveness and growth through the creation of high quality higher education and research capabilities.

Currently, the best African university ranks just 113th globally. Of the 400 top universities worldwide, only four are in Africa, all of which are in the Republic of South Africa. Also, while Africa accounts for 13.4 per cent of the world’s people, it produces only 1.1 per cent of world scientific knowledge.  Africa has only 35 scientists and engineers per million inhabitants, compared with 168 for Brazil, 2,457 for Europe and 4,103 for the United States.

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kaycee drugs

Things to Do


ken gwiraWashington DC
11th Annual African Festival
Veterans Plaza
8523 Fenton Street
Silver Spring, MD
Sat Aug 10 - Sun Aug 11
1p - 8p, free

Exhibition of Sculpture by
Ken Gwira
Arts Barn
311 Kent Square Rd
Gaithersburg, MD
Reception Tue, Aug 13, 7p-8:30p
(Open till Sep 29)

Ida E. Jones
Book signing
Mary McLeod Bethune in Washington, D.C.:
Activism and Education in Logan Circle
Busboys and Poets
14th & V Streets NW
Wed, Aug 14, 6:30p-8:00p, free

50th Anniversary March on Washington March
Led by Martin Luther King Jr III and Al Sharpton
Lincoln Memorial
Sat, Aug 24, 8a, free

50th Anniversary March on Washington
Led by The Center For the Study of Civil and Human Rights Laws
600 New Jersey Avenue
Wed, Aug 28, 8a, free

Ashe to Amen: African Americans
and Biblical Imagery
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
830 E. Pratt Street
Through Sun, Sep 29 noon-5p, $

Berkeley, CA
Call Mr. Robeson
With UK-based Nigerian-born playwright
and singer Tayo Aluko
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison Street
Sun, Aug 11, 8p, $

Hampton, VA
Third annual African Landing Day Commemoration
Sat, Aug 17 and Tue, Aug 20, $

St. Louis
Missouri Black Expo
Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore
Sat, Aug 9 – Sun, Aug 11, $

Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Grand Cayman,
Ocho Rios, Fort Lauderdale
Thompson Gambia Program Fundraiser
Sun, Sep 29 to Sat, Oct. 5, $
Tina (240-481-8196)
Tony (202) 374-7041

Congress Debates Having
Atheist Chaplains

Congress is set to square off over a push to create military chaplains for people who do not believe in a supreme being.  “I totally disagree with the movement,” says  Derrick Young, who serves as a chaplain and is the pastor at Unity Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida.  “Chaplains are endorsed by a faith group, so who will endorse a nonbeliever?” asked Young, who served in the United States Navy.

Fox News reports that 23 percent of those in the military ranks assert no religious preference and that includes people like Paul Loebe, Military Director American Atheists, Inc. at Camp Pendleton, CA. 

Loebe, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan said,   "Atheist and Humanist Chaplains are an absolute necessity in the US Military. The biggest minority religious group in the military is non-believers and the fact that Congress is actively attempting to exclude them is open discrimination towards the non-believers. “

The Marine continued,  “We need someone to turn to in our times of turmoil, especially when downrange."

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New Whitney Houston Comic Book

 whitney houston comic book

August 9th, on what would have been the superstars 50th birthday, Bluewater Productions releases a comic book about her life in Tribute: Whitney Houston.

The 32-page comic was written by Raphael Moran and drawn by Kirk Feretzanis with a cover by artist Neil Feigeles.

"While doing research on this book, I found it a pleasure to discover what a power force Whitney Houston was," said Feretzanis.

“I was very excited to get the opportunity to illustrate Whitney Houston, one of my personal favorite singers. Hopefully what I've come up with would make her happy. And hopefully the fans, will think I did her justice,”said artist Feigeles.

The Tribute line of comic books tell the stories of the classic entertainers that have passed on including Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Capra, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. 

allen west 
Most Popular Page and Searched Word
on the Website for June, to Date 

Governor O’Malley and the Lifers Parole Bill
(1st Snippets)
Lamman Rucker
(6th consecutive Snippets)


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