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Open house beckons children and parents to Kamp KSI

kampksi 600Inside Kairos Services, double doors opened, and children ran excitedly to a large table set up with green and gold pawns. Rather than video games and iPads, these children are excited about chess, just one of the disciplines taught during Kamp KSI.

Kairos, a nonprofit that works to help people become self-sufficient through employment, hosted an open house for the camp, which is in its second year. The camp for children ages 6-12 teaches an array of disciplines to foster critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. Herbert Lester, executive director, says the goal is to prepare children to be globally competent, which will help them secure jobs and become model citizens.

"The United States has fallen in academics compared to other countries. Our children must learn skills and competencies to compete with students from across the globe," Lester says. "Kamp KSI equips our campers to think critically, problem solve creatively and work collaboratively through fun activities that children enjoy."

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‘Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache’

VanishingPearl 600On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig owned and operated by British Petroleum (BP), exploded, spilling over 50 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico before it was finally capped weeks later. In June, President Obama announced that the company had set aside $20 billion in cash designated to help those deleteriously affected by the ecological disaster.

Kenneth Feinberg's law firm, which had previously handled the distribution of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, was retained at a rate of $850,000/month to handle the BP one also. Although the TV commercials running in the company's highly-saturated PR campaign would have you believe that it was contrite and committed to undoing any damage, truth be told, that carefully-cultivated corporate image bore little relation to how it was actually treating many of the victims seeking restitution.

Take, for example, Pointe a la Hache, an African-American enclave located in Plaquemines Parish, La. For generations, the men of that Gulf shore village of less than 300 had supported their families by plying their trade as oyster fishermen. However, the BP spill put the brothers out of business and by 2012 the tiny African-American community had effectively been turned into a ghost town.

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Memphis grad at home at the ‘front of house’

AmandaDavis 600(PRWEB) – Amanda Davis, a 2010 graduate of SAE Institute Atlanta's Audio Technology Program, will be the front of house engineer for the U.K. concerts of Grammy-nominated vocalist Janelle Monae, which will take place in May '14 in Birmingham, London, and Manchester.

"My touring schedule with Janelle will fill up around 150 days this year, and I'm excited to be a part of her concerts in England," says Amanda. "She's really popular there, and she was nominated for a Brit Award as Best International Female Solo Artist, so I'm sure that the turnout will be huge and the shows will be a fantastic experience."

A native of Memphis, Davis loved all genres of music growing up and was especially drawn to classical. As a student at Memphis' Central High School, she performed with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra chorus, toured Europe with the Sounds of America Chorus and Band, and won the "Outstanding Vocal Student" award from the Memphis City Schools system.

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Here comes Ja'Dae Nicole!

JaDaeNicole 600(Fre$h Fruit is Kelvin Cowans' periodic look at upcoming and rising talent from Memphis and the surrounding areas.)

After a long wait for her to hit the stage and by the time she actually graced the microphone, hands were waving in unison as the crowd ushered in the first verse of Ja'Dae Nicole's song.

Writers, promoters, artists and fans showed up to support Nicole and the release of her second mixtape, "Improv 2." Their wait for the 2011 Kirby High School graduate and now Atlanta-living, did-you-hear-that-note singing artist was warranted.

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20 Years after ‘Illmatic,’ Nas says American gun culture needs a remix

Nas 600During the 20th-anniversary celebration of "Illmatic," Nas has been described as the hip-hop generation's Angela Davis. Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson declared that Nas' debut album should be studied alongside Toni Morrison and Ernest Hemingway, and in recognition of his 20-year career, Harvard University established the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship at the prestigious W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. Despite being only 39 minutes long and a commercial dud by 1994 standards, "Illmatic" even received a symphonic remix by the National Symphonic Orchestra.

Not bad for a kid from New York City's Queensbridge housing projects who dropped out of the eighth grade.

Nas is a thought-provoking artist, and he said something during a recent appearance on HBO's "Real Time" With Bill Maher that's worth further examination: When asked whether daily life in impoverished communities has improved during the 20 years since he began exploring the issue in "Illmatic," he responded, "Hell no. Things have changed, but not for the better ... the influx of guns is worse than it was in 1994."

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