African-Americans are failing to vote at the robust levels they did four years ago in several states that could help decide the presidential election, creating a vexing problem for Hillary Clinton as she clings to a deteriorating lead over Donald J. Trump with Election Day just a week away.
As tens of millions of Americans cast ballots in what will be the largest-ever mobilization of early voters in a presidential election, the numbers have started to point toward a slump that many Democrats feared might materialize without the nation’s first black president on the ticket.
July 13, 2013 is the date the verdict was rendered for the murder of Trayvon Martin. It was also the last date of the ICON MANN Summer Luncheon. What had been a perfect sun-drenched Southern California day, filled with blue skies ripe for a BBQ and fellowship, hours later turned into a collective gulf of emotional despair. On this day, more than thirty men, inclusive of Ambassador Michael Lawson, actors Anthony Anderson, Djimon Hounsou, Jesse Williams, Eriq LaSalle, and David Oyelowo, art curator Franklin Sirmans, Pastor Toure Roberts, and executives Charles King, David White, and Michael Strautmanis, dialogued about the journeys and requirements of success. No one could have imagined that a few hours later the connective thread of the day would be a blatant miscarriage of justice rendering all temporarily lost for words, but full of searing emotion.
What has been one of the hardest things about fatherhood? (or one of the hardest moments you've experienced as a father)
I think my hardest moment was when the doctors told me about my oldest Djanai who was diagnosed with hypoplasia of the corpus callosum... in which she has cerebral palsy. That was devastating on the family, but it made us stronger and we learned from our daughter. Although she can’t walk or talk and is in a wheelchair, she is the happiest creature on the planet.
What is your most treasured time spent, or activity with your daughter -the 'just us time' that lives in your heart and mind?
We love flying back to my hometown of St. Louis for our annual father/ daughter trip. Simone has logged a lot of miles in the air and we have a lot of fun playing games, reading, and having conversations. While at home in LA, there’s usually a weekly “dance party” where she shows me her latest dance moves while we make dinner or dessert. Simone loves to help cook, so it’s nice to incorporate some dance and music while waiting for food to bake.
At any given time there are three generations of Walton men gathered, what is your most treasured time spent, the just you guys time that lives in your heart and mind?
Somehow we manage to do our own thing together. The time that we share around the pool (Jake is a fish), my dad grilling jerk chicken (Jake has a growing teen appetite… so get the chicken before he gets out of the pool!) and me on the lounge reading GQ & Vanity Fair. There is a quite unspoken connection that is our bond as Waltons. We are aware of each other’s presence, and the connection that we have as a family is powerful.
What is your best childhood, or young adult memory with your dad?
My favorite happened when we lived, on what was then, Bergstrom Air Force base in Autsin, Tx. I used to love Little Debbie swiss rolls and after finishing my homework everyday I would get one. One day, going through my normal routine, I finished my homework and it was Little Debbie time. I walk over to the cabinet and grab the box and it's empty. Now supposedly, I'm the only one in the house who liked the swiss rolls. So I run into my parents room and ask my dad what happened to it. He says my mom must have eaten it because the night before he saw her with chocolate around her mouth.
Your dad, famed restaurateur Howard Johnson, was a big influence in your life, how did that relationship inform who are as a man, and who you are as a father? (and did it prepare you for fatherhood?)
The people, places, and experiences I was exposed to through my dad, were full of life lessons and cherished memories. However, it’s the time I got to spend with him, and the closeness of our relationship, that I’m most grateful for. Our relationship taught me that there is no substitution for being present as a father emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Your dad was in the military which afforded you a birds-eye view to the world, what is your best childhood, or young adult memory with him?
My best memories of my dad were when we would have family, summer road-trips to Steubenville, Ohio or across country. My favorite time was when he would be driving and I would be in the passenger seat as a young boy. The best times would be during the middle of the night when the world is asleep. Everyone else in the family would be sleeping in the car and it would be pitch black across the plains or traversing through the mountains. We would discuss any and everything about life. The mind, heart and soul resonates most authentically between the hours of dusk and dawn.
Leaders are persistent visionaries who think far in advance of the market, their peers, and society. One of the most fitting descriptions of SEAN ‘DIDDY’ COMBS was Lyor Cohen’s 2001 reference on VH-1’s Behind The Music when he was accessing Combs’ importance to music and culture and said, “Sean, that motherfucker’s necessary.”
We know the stats: 21 seasons in the NBA, 5 championships, 18-time NBA All-Star, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist, 16-times to the ALL-NBA First Team, 12-times to the All-Defensive Team, 4-times All-Star MVP, and the all-time leading scorer in Los Angeles Lakers franchise history. But, do you know KOBE BRYANT?
Leadership is accomplished by committed example. Since 2006, Steve Harvey, one of the most powerful men in radio and daytime television, has made it his personal mission to replace the misguided traits of manhood in a generation lost of Black male youths with positive roles models. “The only way you can change the direction of African American boys is Black men. We set them on the right course.” A feat he accomplishes annually, for the past 11 years, via the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation. Each summer he hosts a camp for more than 200 young men from around the country to inform them on the principles of manhood, leadership, and life visioning—or dream buildings as he calls it.
If change, philanthropy and transformation had a look, what would it be? In the case of the Saville Row wunderkind Ozwald Boateng OBE it is sleek, tailored form, ambitious determination -unapologetically so. He is a self-made Brit of purpose with a firm identification of his Ghanaian roots, and the opportunities that his success brings to create a legacy of empowerment for his people. Raised with the words of his father, "Every African has an obligation to build a great Africa,' Boateng is engaging Africans and the world to recognize the richness and growth opportunities on the continent. In success his efforts with MADE IN AFRICA, providing support and master plans funding for large scale infrastructure projects across the African continent, will lift more than 200 Million African people out of poverty. Inspiring? YES, so we will let him tell you all about it in the video below.
How many times have you been told to never judge a book by its cover, or never accept things at face value? Years ago I was in Atlanta for the filming of Tyler Perry's film Daddy's Little Girl, starring Idris Elba and Gabriel Union. One evening for dinner we were join by arguably one of the most important music producers in the game, AKON -without who 'little monsters' would have no Lady Gaga. He was kind and noticeably observant of his surroundings. Little did I know that, that introspection was the same mindfulness that in years to come is positively impacting the lives of nearly 600 million people on the continent of Africa and in Latin America. Akon, sat down with MIC.com to speak about his transformational platform AKON LIGHTING AFRICA. We are illuminated and inspired.
The two greatest forces with the human condition that we inhabit are the ability to love, and the ability to forgive. All to often with the noise, and requirements of daily survival we find both difficult to truly embrace, and express. Luckily we have been blessed in the twentieth, and now twenty-first centuries to have references be they Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Dali Llama, Nelson Mandela, and in the irrepressible Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who is ever present in reminding us of our true nature. His contribution to humanity not only helped to bring down the brutal apartheid of South Africa, but his constant vigil and omnipresence is a reminder of our individual capacity to bring hope to a world often time marred in conflict. If you have not read his 'Speak Truth To Power' piece, then let us share...
I love nearly everything about the United Kingdom; its futbul -I root for Arsenal while wearing a City jersey (blasphemy), its melting pot of Metropolitan culture, its avant guarde style, and irreverent dry wit, but most of all what I love about London is its Black Brits -by origin, and hue they convey that Black is not a monolith. How divine is that! Now, I am loving their men, specifically their actors, for being unabashed in their pursuit to do great work independent of origin. Quietly they've become one name stalwarts of 'oh, yeah that will be good;' Idris, Oyelowo, Chiwetel and now Boyega. Something is brewing across the Atlantic and it is taking over roles that Black American actors have long decried avoided them. We asked journalist Amy Elisa Jackson to evaluate the matter for an ICON MANN Exclusive (I.M.E) and this is what she found. Do you agree?
Since the announcement of the 2016 Academy Award nominations, which revealed an absence of racial diversity (with the exception of The Weekend/50 Shades-Earned It, and Asaf Kapadia/What Happened Miss Simone), Hollywood has been all a chatter about the lack of diversity, and it's subsequent need for more inclusion -specifically content that could be awards caliber. ICON MANN even did a panel on it, to which we will feature shortly. So it stands to reason that when an undeniable combination of A-List Actor, and iconic jazz legend subject matter comes together that it would be a no brainer. In the case of Don Cheadle's upcoming feature MILES AHEAD the stars financing stars did not align and he spoke on it -revealing that the side, the hoops, and hurdles of Hollywood. Curious minds wonder if Ethan Hawke's upcoming Chet Baker biopic BORN TO BE BLUE had the same concerns. Zak Cheney-Rice article for Mic.com provides some valueable insights. Enjoy.
Here's a novelty, or so society would like you to think; a Black man loving a Black woman and being devoted to family. Worse than what society falsely depicts, is its justification to do so; Black men who in career success consciously date and marry outside of their race, or Black men in notable positions (cue the rappers and athletes) who seem to have forgotten that it was a Black woman that birthed them, attended their games, and sacrificed for their success. So it was wildly refreshing and welcomed #PraiseReportWorthy when ABC Television news anchor T.J. Holmes penned a tribute to his wife. When I think on some of the healthiest, most loving relationships within my circle of friends I can't help but marvel at that ebony on ebony love! Enjoy the article below written by T.J. Holmes published at The Root. We think you'll love it as much as we do.