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‘MED Night: A Soul Celebration’

temptation 600Regional One Health held its annual fundraising gala at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday night (April 5th) to raise money and awareness for the former Regional Medical Center at Memphis (the MED).

The premiere event, dubbed "MED Night: A Soul Celebration," benefits The MED Foundation and featured, as always, an all-star cast of soulful musicians and entertainers who'd topped the charts in their heyday and remain today as influential as they were during the days of vinyl records.

The sold-out event attracted a gala audience of men and women who listened intently and moved their bodies to the melodious music of the New Ballet Ensemble and the captivating performances by Shirley Alton Reeves, once the lead singer of The Shirelles, Dennis Edwards and The Temptations Revue, and Kool & The Gang.

 

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The business of natural hair

CarleeMcCullough-160Madam C.J. Walker, Johnson Products, Pro-line and SoftSheen are all companies that have benefited greatly by providing products for black hair. These entities lead the way for other firms to profit from the industry as well. Corporations such as L'Oreal and Pantene seized the opportunity to expand their business into the market by leveraging their financial strength and distribution network. Many of the smaller black-owned companies were acquired by the major corporations and positioned as divisions.

In last week's column detailing HINO (Hair Industry Night Out), state Rep. Antonio Parkinson pointed observed that there is a natural movement going on outside of hair care; more and more people want to be closer to nature and anything that has to do with lifestyle or healthcare. As women increasingly move toward embracing their natural hair and leave behind damaging processing and/or chemicals, styles are ranging from natural curls to locks and pressing/flat iron to afros.

Feeling liberated, many women now wonder why they waited so long to embrace their natural hair. Along with this movement come myriad business opportunities.

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National Civil Rights Museum’s grand day stirs smiles, laughter and tears

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Mulberry Street was overflowing with hundreds of people as they gathered to witness the Breaking of the Chains grand reopening ceremony of the newly renovated National Civil Rights Museum on Saturday.

Reflecting myriad differences and a common appreciation for the significance of the event, they stood shoulder to shoulder on the day after the 46th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination at the Lorraine Hotel. They already had been stirred by the Freedom Forward Parade that began at the Cook Convention Center and proceeded along Second Street to the museum than incorporates the old hotel.

Audible laughter could be heard as journalist, actor, director and producer, Tavis Smiley, jokingly said twice that he wanted the ceremony to move as swiftly as possible, so as to not prolong seeing the inside of the newly renovated center.

 

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An attention span beyond Flight 370

Julianne-malveaux-160If you missed the news about the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370 over the Indian Ocean, you must have been buried in sand. For three weeks, we have been bombarded with theories – was it terrorism? Pilot error? Something else? Now the story has evolved. Were pieces of the plane found? Is everyone dead? How do the families of the presumed dead feel? (This is a really stupid question. How does the clueless reporter asking such a question think the people feel?)

CNN may well have been called MPN – the Missing Plane Network. An evening of watching covered the same angle with a different host and guests. Some of the focus was certainly understandable, but other networks managed to find news of things going on that did not involve Flight 370. Still, the prevalent and relentless emphasis on the missing plane was excessive.

Couldn't some of the airtime granted Flight 370 have been used for equally critical matter? There were 239 people on that plane, and there were more than 300 killed in 2013. I'm not suggesting an equivalency in the two types of tragedies, but I am suggesting that the media might focus more on gun violence, its sources and possible solutions to end senseless violence. Of course, that might anger the National Rifle Association whose specious slogan – guns don't kill, people do – ignores the harm done by the proliferation of guns in our nation.

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CDC locks out black providers

hiv90 600On March 19th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $115 million over five years to 21 organizations to provide technical assistance (TA) and capacity building to health departments, AIDS service organizations (ASOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) implementing high-impact prevention and improving outcomes in the care continuum for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Not one of the new CDC grantees is a black organization. The effect of this decision is that black organizations have been locked out of leading technical assistance and capacity building in this country for the next five years.

It is obvious why this should be an issue of concern for black people, for the overall public and for anyone who is sincerely interested in ending the AIDS epidemic in America. Let's look at the numbers: There are about 1.2 million Americans living with HIV today. Nearly 50 percent of them are black. Of women living with HIV in the U.S., nearly 64 percent are black; among gay and bisexual men, the rate is 32 percent.

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