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This site was created by Nicholl McGuire, Inspirational Speaker and Author. Feel free to comment, share links and subscribe. If you have a business or would like to guest post feel free to contact. Check out topics on this blog and select what interests you. They are found at the bottom of this page. Peace and Love.

Friday

African American Fans, Michael Jackson & The Future

I don't know about you but I was stunned when I heard that the King of Pop was deceased and what was really strange was that only days before I kept seeing him in a vision looking scary. I also reflected, before his passing mind you, on the time when Eddie Murphy said he called him up and how Michael spoke to other comedians about talking about him on stage.

No one gave Mike a break, let's just be real for a moment. I know that people tend to get a little absent-minded when it comes to how they treat a person once they have died. The truth is people were ridiculing this man for the way he looked, accusing him of wanting to be white, spreading stories about him molesting children, gossiping about him being broke and on and on.

But now that he is passed, people are heartbroken. They stand in front of cameras filled up with tears, holding signs, and hustling t-shirts. Where was all the love when a brotha needed it? Oh that's right there was none and his more recent albums reflected many African Americans and others lack of support.

I had love for this phenomenal entertainer, but I admit I didn't understand him. And I became more confused about him when I saw that documentary years ago when he was shopping at stores trying to prove to the world he wasn't broke. I would have rather seen him at that time take a group of strangers and buy them whatever they wanted then buy his self, but I digress.

Anyway, my issue is with fake people. People who suddenly have all this love for you when you die. I always said I was worth more dead than alive and looking at the way people are buying up Michael Jackson memorabilia even in a down economy, it will be evident when it is all said and done that he will have more than enough money as a dead man.

So what does the future hold now that the legendary singer is no longer with us? I tell you even more wannabes will surface. Producers, writers, dancers, managers, you name it will put pressure on entertainers "to act more Michael" or "dress more Michael." People are making phone calls now looking for their next great pop icon.

Sadly, they won't find him because there will never be another Michael Jackson, God made sure of it.

So What Happens to Michael Jackson's Children Since They Have No Legal Mother?

Now that one of the best entertainer's in history, Michael Jackson, has passed and left his children behind, who is responsible for them more specifically who gets custody? Well this is a hot subject in the media because Michael Jackson used surrogate mothers to obtain his three children.

Debbie Rowe, his former nurse and ex-wife, waived all rights to her children during a court proceeding which was uncovered by TMZ, Rowe is asked specifically about understanding what it meant to give up her parental rights. And in one telling question she is asked, “have you ever considered the possibility if Michael should die, what would happen to the children?” Her answer was, “I'm sure he has a wonderful person in mind to take care of them.”

"Michael's mother Katherine wants the kids," said Stacey Brown, co- author of "Michael Jackson Behind the Mask" and an old family friend, according to the ABC News website. "But Michael always said he wants Grace, the nanny, to have them if something happened to him."

Grace, is Grace Rwaramba, 42, who has worked for Jackson for nearly two decades, starting as an office assistant who handled insurance for his employees.

Over time, observers say Rwaramba has taken an increasingly central role in lives of Jackson and his children. The two were rumored to be considering marriage in 2006. In 2008 she testified in Jackson's defense during a breach-of-contract trial brought by a Middle Eastern sheik against the singer.

The saga continues only time will tell.

Michael Jackson Finally Finds Rest

According to media reports, Michael Joseph Jackson, known for being the “King of Pop,” died Thursday, June 25, 2009 as reported by the Los Angeles coroner’s office. Jackson was 50 and would have celebrated his 51st birthday on August 29th.

Jackson, under cardiac arrest, was taken by paramedics to UCLA Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. (5:26 EST), reported Lt. Fred Corral of the coroner’s office as seen on CNN.

Brian Oxman, spokesman for the Jackson family, told CNN that three Jackson siblings —Randy, Jermaine and La Toya — were at the hospital. He said Jackson’s father, Joe Jackson, was on his way from Las Vegas.

“Everyone is rather speechless,” Oxman said to CNN. “I cried with them and I am just stunned. The atmosphere here is so very sad.”

At the medical center, every entrance to the emergency room was blocked by security guards. Even hospital staffers were not permitted to enter. A few people stood inside the waiting area, some of them crying as described by reporters at the scene.

Some of Jackson’s music was being played, Oxman shared with CNN. The sounds of “Thriller” and “Beat It” bounced off the walls.

“It is one of the most unbelievable, surreal scenes I have ever experienced,” Oxman told CNN reporters. A large crowd was gathering outside the hospital, according to video footage.

In 2001 Jackson released the Invincible album which was poor-selling. Then in 2002 Jackson welcomed a third child. Prince Michael Jackson II, known as Blanket, was delivered by an unknown surrogate mother. The singer attracted controversy again after he dangled the baby from the balcony of a Berlin hotel.

In 2003, Jackson was in the media for molestation charges in a case involving a cancer-stricken boy invited to the singer's ranch. There were nine counts against Jackson-- seven of child molestation and two of administering an intoxicating agent for the purpose of a committing a felony.

In 2006 Jackson was in the media regarding his Neverland Ranch. California officials had fined Jackson nearly $170,000 and ordered employees at the pop star's ranch to stop working, after finding that employees had not been paid since December and the ranch's workers' compensation coverage had been allowed to lapse.

Only months prior to his death, it was announced in February 2009 that the star would be making a stage comeback for a 50-date residency at London’s 02 Arena.

Jackson was reported to have pulled in $75 million from the dates, to aid his dire financial situation, following the foreclosure of his ranch to service a loan Jackson owed on the property. Experts feared the star wouldn’t be well enough to perform at the shows after reports leaked he was suffering from skin cancer. In May 2009, the superstar cancelled the first week of the tour, insisting he needed more time to prepare.

With years of being in the media spotlight for the good, bad and ugly, Jackson can finally have some peace in death.

Reverend Al Sharpton described Jackson as a “trailblazer” at a press conference held outside the Apollo Theater the same day of his passing. He reflected on a conversation he had with Jackson discussing how critics negatively treated the world renowned musician in the media, Sharpton reminded Jackson of his fans who still admired him.

Jackson debuted on the professional music scene at the age of 11 as a member of The Jackson 5 and began a solo career in 1971 while still a member of the group. Referred to as the "King of Pop" in subsequent years, his 1982 Thriller is the world's best-selling record of all time and four other solo studio albums are also among the world's best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995).

Jackson was the son of Joseph Walter "Joe" and Katherine Esther (née Scruse),he was the seventh of nine children. His siblings are Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy and Janet.

Resources
http://www.cnn.com
http://www.wikipedia.org
http://www.tiscali.co.uk

Monday

Many African Americans Have their Priorities in the Wrong Places

Moving back to my childhood neighborhood has been an eye-opening experience. I see plenty of African Americans renting homes that use to be owned by Caucasians. Many of these homes that were freshly painted and surrounded with green manicured lawns are now overrun with weeds and the houses are literally ready to crumble! The awnings that are suspended to the front of the homes that once kept the owners dry from the wind, rain, and falling snow are tattered and ready to drop to the ground. Safety railings are rusted and almost uprooted out of the dirt. Rock walls are collapsing. Windows are either broken, boarded up, posted with newspaper, or have unsightly looking fabric or dirty, bent blinds. Wooden fences are rotting, and sidewalks and driveways are badly worn.

What happened? “African Americans can’t take care of nothing,” some older blacks have said of their own race. “It’s so sad to think that this was a place that used to be so nice!” It seems not only did my childhood neighborhood go downhill since our people took over, but those in my family said the same thing about their childhood surroundings. “We use to have all sorts of businesses, clubs, and bars in our neighborhood – it was nice!” But not anymore, the pain of racism, drugs, violence, war, and other calamities have came into these communities by those “who never had nothing nice” as my grandmother once told me, “…and don’t want you to have anything nice either!”

So why do so many African Americans move into communities then sit back and allow them to fall apart? No one really knows how to answer this question without blaming someone. A problem solver, optimistic type will visit an African American community dropping off yet another program to get the unruly children, drug dealers, drunks, beggars, prostitutes, and pimps off the street and the neighborhood beautified. This creative thinker recruits a team of like-minded wishful thinkers and tells them to ask others in the neighborhood to help. Mind you, this help comes after many years of negative experiences occurring in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the program doesn’t last for long before there’s a scandal, someone is assaulted or robbed. Then the enthusiasm in the community diminishes and finances are depleted. Meanwhile, the community is listening to the sounds of bass and gun fire at various times of the day and night. With decorations here and there of nice churches, expensive cars; name-brand jackets, overly priced shoes, purses, jewelry, and long rainbow colored hair while homes, yards, and streets are in disarray!

It’s evident that many African Americans are more concerned about the cars they drive, the attire they wear, and the unhealthy food they eat, but rarely take notice of more significant matters such as: the piping in their home that needs to be replaced, the roaches that hide between the crevices in their walls, the paint that seems to be peeling everywhere you look, the windows that need to be replaced from the 1950s, the wiring that is waiting to catch a fire, and various appliances that need attention. From the looks of things, many African Americans simply have their priorities in the wrong places!

Now if we are looking to blame someone or something, blame the slavery mentality that is very much with us! Slaves were more concerned about their master's buildings then their own and their master's fields and roadways. They were proactive when it came to telling master who stole the last piece of chicken or who was caught with master’s wife, and they at times would be willing to die for their masters. However, today’s slave, he or she is still working hard for master in an air-conditioned environment, but when he or she comes home, they may not have a cooling system, let alone enough money to keep the electric bill current. So the next time you go into a black community, that you may have moved out of, keep in mind how it got that way, support your neighborhood’s businesses when you can, and thank God you are favored where you now live!

Written by Nicholl McGuire
http://nichollmcguire.blogspot.com

Friday

Greasy Foods - The Holy Grail Of African American Diet

I do not know about you, but when I was growing up, my mom cooked fried chicken (no, not oven "fried" chicken, we are talking about southern deep fried chicken), macaroni and cheese topped with tons of butter and mounds of cheese, collard greens cooked in chicken fat, hot buttered biscuits and brown gravy for dinner - at least twice a week.

Yes, I know you are salivating right about now. Here is another past time favorite to which I am sure you can relate - deep fried catfish, red beans and rice soaked in oil, candied yams with tons of butter, sugar, and cinnamon and deep fried pork chops.

I can relate. I grew up in a family of 9 where food portions were humongous. I mean we are talking about a 9-year-old whose plate was filled to the edges that was even too much for an adult! Years later, with the same poor dietary habits intact, I ballooned up to 213 pounds!

My Food History Repeated Itself

So there I was 20 years later weighing 185 pounds. I thought I could control it. The smallest I had ever been was 140 pounds. But my weight went up and down my whole life. Finally, I crossed the line where I could not stop eating. I was addicted to fried foods, white flour and sugar, but I did not know that until 3 more years of food agony and an additional weight gain of 18 pounds.

My Health Deteriorated

I come from a long line of strokes, heart attacks, diabetes and high blood pressure. At age 29, severely overweight and a heavy smoker, I was headed down the same path as my ancestors.

My Aha Moment

There was a voice inside me that said, "Shalisha, you are lost when it comes to food. Get help." I did. I was introduced to a food plan that was abundant, healthy, delicious, and made me lose 90 pounds in 6 months. This was no diet. It was a lifestyle change. So here are the top 5 reasons I think the African American diet is in dire need of an overhaul:

1.The African American diet is extremely high in fat
2.The African American diet is extremely high in sugar
3.The African American diet lacks fruit
4.The African American diet lacks vegetables
5.The African American diet is extremely high in sodium

If you want to start eating healthy and lose weight:

1.Stop deep frying and start broiling
2.Cut out sugar and white flour
3.Include at least 5 servings of vegetables daily
4.Include at least 3 servings of fruit daily
5.Drink plenty of water (8-12 cups)
6.Take the salt shaker off the table

One more thing - dare to be different! Demand that your neighborhood Key Food supermarket carry Fage Fat-Free Greek Yogurt. Demand that your friendly neighborhood Met Food supermarket carry organic fruits and vegetables.

All it takes is one person to lead the way. Be a power of example and show other African Americans in the community that it is not only okay to eat healthy - it is a matter of life and death. By making those 6 small dietary adjustments, you will go a long way to improving your health and losing weight.


Shalisha Alston is an African American weight loss consultant. She lost 90 pounds in 6 months and you can do the same.

Tuesday

Elderly Black Folks & the So-Called Good Ole Days

When the black elderly people speak of the “good ole days” they are smiling and laughing exchanging story after story between one another, but when the conversation changes to present day and someone mentions “the young people” there is an instant attitude. They start casting blame as if young people just suddenly appeared and started wrecking havoc. The older black Americans seem to disconnect themselves from the younger black Americans and will not take any responsibility for the contributions they made in the mass destruction of many African American communities that some of the young blacks are spray painting and hustling in now. They say, “Why should we? Young people don’t care about anything!” Who made them that way? Was it the father who ran off with another man’s wife while cheating on his own wife and eventually settled in a white neighborhood? Was it the mother who tried to keep two jobs while her son was being watched by God knows who? Was it the grandmother who enjoyed drinking more than spending time with her grandchildren? Was it the father who committed crimes and spent the majority of his life in and out of prison, because getting an education ‘wasn’t cool and the white man had his foot on his neck?’ ”

Were these once youthful men and women, who are now elderly, primarily responsible for not teaching their children and grandchildren how to care for and maintain their communities? When these people, who grew up during the “good ole days,” had opportunities to attend trade schools or colleges, did they do it? And if they did, why didn’t they stay true to their own communities rather than trying to integrate with other races in other communities? Why do they not accept responsibility for their lack of influence and education to teach the generation following them?
There is so much ignorance evident in these conversations of “the good ole days.” Take the time to listen to the elderly African American discussions regarding young people today. They complain about “how the parents just aren’t raising them.” They talk as if they have no impact or influence on their grandchildren. For those who can make a difference, they say, “I don’t want to be bothered…I’m too old.” The young people try to reach out and they are greeted with eye rolls, heavy sighs, and sometimes yelling, “Don’t touch my…stay off my…” Too busy worrying over material things rather than the souls of the young people in their families. For other elderly African Americans, they are all too willing to do what they can to help young people. Then of course, there are those who could care less and have nothing to say about any of these societal issues.

It’s because of these elderly black people who obsess with “the good ole days” is why they haven’t done much in the present day. They keep hoping for a train that stopped coming a long time ago. They keep wishing for the day “when we use to and we had to…”and while they’re hoping and praying, the young people are surrounding them like vultures waiting to pick them clean when they pass! For what good is it to be alive if these “good ole days” preachers are doing nothing more than complaining about the present day. They don’t bother teaching, they don’t want to listen, they think they know-it-all (just like the young people they claim they try to talk to), and even worse they hold on to their dollars for frivolous things (and talk about how young people don’t save any money – the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree! Now does it?)

To group every young person and their parents in one category is lazy thinking, ignorant and unfair. Some children grew up being whipped for their actions while others weren’t. In some cases punishment made a difference in their lives and in other cases it didn’t! Yet, try to convince your aging grandparent that your mother or father did the best they could with you. They will converse with you as if you don’t know what you are talking about and will ridicule your parents whether they were good or bad. They will almost brag about how hard they had it and how you don’t know any better. Attempt to challenge them on their ignorant statements and watch an ugly attitude appear on their faces, then they will grow angry, and will provide you with vague information about their past. There is a hidden jealousy amongst these old-timers when they look at their children and their children’s children. Some of these miserable old people can’t stand when you delve deeper into their history. You see, they are still running scared like their mothers and fathers who were born into slavery. They are afraid that if you learn too much about them you will judge them. They know that knowledge is power and they fear that a young person with that kind of power will disrespect them (unfortunately some will.)

Most of these older African Americans mentioned in this article are in their late
70s and older at the time of this writing. Their history is far different than those who will be following their age group. With each passing generation, life can only get better in health, business, lifestyle and more. Most of you who are 40 and younger haven’t experienced or witnessed the kind of racism that your parents or grandparents grew up with. So recent generations could actually have their share of many “good ole days” stories to tell, which would be far more interesting than the five mile walk to school tales.

Hopefully, the slavery mentality, slave diet, black racism, light skin/dark skin thinking, drunkenness, drugs, gambling, and cheating will be buried in record numbers with these “good ole days” thinkers. For we cannot afford to keep this negative, oppressive type of thinking amongst our people!


Written by Nicholl McGuire
http://nichollmcguire.blogspot.com

Wednesday

The Story Of Juneteenth In The South

Throughout the year our nation sets aside time for people to reflect upon our history, and to celebrate the momentous events and influential people who helped shape America into what it is today - the land of the free, and a prosperous world power. February is often acknowledged as Black History Month, while March for women's history. June, however, extends the celebration for African-Americans as Juneteenth is observed.

It may sound like a made-up number, but Juneteenth actually dates as far back at the mid-nineteenth century, and rightfully so. Each year around the United States, Juneteenth celebrations mark the anniversary of the end of slavery in America - the emancipation of all African peoples brought to this growing country for labor and servitude. Normally celebrated on June 19th, Juneteenth festivities around the US - particularly the southern states - may last as long as week or even the whole month. Fourteen states have officially recognized Juneteenth as an official state holiday.

"Juneteenth" gets its name from a combination of the words "June" and "nineteenth," as derived from that historical date in 1865. While the Emancipation Proclamation had been put into effect by President Lincoln two years prior, the Civil War still raged through the country, and the Rebel states which had seceded refused to acknowledge it. It took a bloody defeat by Union troops to secure the freedoms of those of African descent, and on the Juneteenth date in 1865, Union General Gordon Granger personally saw to the release of slaves in Galveston Island in Texas. The knowledge that they were finally free sent the now-former slaves into a frenzy of jubilation, and from this joy was born the first Juneteenth.

Since that time, Juneteenth has grown into an annual commemoration of that day, culminating in activities to be enjoyed by all Americans. One might expect to enjoy a variety of ethnic foods at a Juneteenth festival, along with musical acts, games, and reenactments. Where Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday, celebrations might be sponsored by various cities, while other venues around the United States may hold smaller festivals.

Juneteenth, however, is more than an opportunity to celebrate African-American culture. It is also a time of reflection and remembrance. Area churches and libraries may use this time to offer seminars and films about this dark period in our nation's history, and pay tribute to those who did not live to see the first Juneteenth. Religious services may be held to honor the pioneers who never gave up hope for freedom, and panel discussions may invite all to discuss ways to support African-American fellowship and business. Juneteenth offers the opportunity to connect and strengthen the spirit.

If you are interested in participating in a Juneteenth event in your area, or perhaps organizing one if one has yet to happen, an quick Internet search on "Juneteenth" will lead to a wealth of information on Juneteenth traditions, possible topics for educational seminars, and recipes to serve. As always, remember those you celebrate, and seek to create a positive celebration for future generations.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance travel writer for Stafford County Tourism, where Juneteenth is celebrated in Rappahannock.

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