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Author Archives: WSS News

What Do With Lue Artist Review and Entertainment Happenings

 Nikia Chaney

Nikia Chaney

By Lue Dowdy, SANBERNARDINO, CA – Artist Review: This week I selected the lovely and talented Nikia Chaney. Nikia was select because of the wonderful work she does in the community and at the colleges highlighting Creative Writing. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this amazing talent recite poetry. I can’t say enough how gifted she is.

Nikia is a wife and a mother of five beautiful children. Nikia is currently an educator, teaching English composition at San Bernardino Valley Community College and a community service leader, organizing and working with several literary organizations here in the Inland Empire.

Receiving two MFAs in Creative Writing, Nikia’s life is filled with literature, teaching, reading to children, and writing. While the subjects of her writing vary, Nikia finds herself writing about the places here in Southern California and the Inland Empire. “I’ve been in San Bernardino/Rialto for over 15 years.  I have been a poet for only a few years.  I have always loved to read.  But when I discovered poetry I couldn’t let go. I also love teaching and working with in the community”- Says Nikia.

Nikia pays respect and homage to the women that have paved the way for her such as, writers, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Inspired by the wonderful women entrepreneurs and community organizers surrounding her, she’s currently working on a few projects.     Nikia is editing an anthology of “call and response” poetry for Black History Month with Orange Monkey Publishing.  The book launch is scheduled for Feb, 2014.

She has two chapbooks published: Sis Fuss (Orange Monkey Publishing, 2013) and ladies, please (Dancing Girl Press, forthcoming). She’s also in the process of partnering with Salt + Spice and organization that creates community events.  They’re planning to open up a small venture called Local Treasures that can feature the artwork of local artists. Please check out her online magazine, shufPoetry, which showcases experimental poetry.  Nikia will be conducting poetry workshops at a local bookstore coming soon. What an amazing woman!

For more on Nikia and her work, visit these links: www.nikiachaney.com,http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0615752373, www.callanthology.com, www.shufpoetry.com, www.saltandspice.wordpress.com,www.orangemonkeypublishing.com, www.inlandiajournal.org,www.localauthorpe.com.

Barbara Morris Stars in “I Wanna Be Loved: The Stories of Dinah Washington” With The John Stephens 18 Piece Orchestra

Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington

LOS ANGELES, CA— LA’s ‘Queen of Jazz & Blues’ Barbara Morrison relives the stories of the legendary Dinah Washington through her music in an excellently staged performance piece written by Michael Cornier and Ms. Morrison herself, and directed by Keenan Zeno. Backed by the excellent John Stephens and his 18 piece orchestra, Barbara Morrison commands the stage embodying the mood and sensibilities of the great Dinah Washington, who died suddenly at the age of 39 in 1963, while married to her seventh husband, NFL Hall of Famer Dick “Night Train” Lane..

“I Wanna Be Loved: The Stories of Dinah Washington” shows why Barbara Morrison is called a living legend “one of the living links to the era of Ella, Billie, and Ms. Dinah W.”  Dinah (born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama) was known as “The Queen of Blues” but her range of hits included R&B and Jazz, and in addition to vocals, Dinah could playthe piano and the vibraphone. She led an exciting life, married seven times, with sons by her second and third husbands, became a star with the Lionel Hampton Band, and had some of the greatest hits of her era “Teach Me Tonight,”  “I Wanna Be Loved,” and two very popular duets with Brooks Benton:  “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)” and “A Rockin’ Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love),” and recorded with Cannonball Adderly.

World renowned across Europe, Asia and Australia, Barbara Morrison’s reputation is immense in the world of jazz singers. With over 20 recordings to her credit, she has performed with the A-List in jazz and blues, such as Gerald Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Etta James, Esther Phillips, David T. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Otis, Kenny Burrell, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Nancy Wilson, Mel Tormé, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, and Keb’ Mo; and has guest-starred with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and Doc Severinsen’s Big Band.

She continues to wow audiences at jazz festivals worldwide, and she performed in San Bernardino when she and bluesman Taj Majal headlined the Juneteenth Jam presented by the Westside Story Newspaper and the Improve Association at Perris Hill Park in 1998. This Michigan native, who has made Los Angeles her home, is s a fighter and a survivor, coming back strong from illness and complications due to diabetes, she is staying busy and is already booked for cruise line performances in 2014.

Miss Barbara Morris continues to impress audiences and critics alike with this uniquely crafted show paying tribute to Dinah Washington, and proving “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes.”  The show will be performed on stage at the Barbara Morrison Performance Art Center on Sunday June 23, 2013. Cover $40, includes champagne and snacks.  Reservations only at 310-462-1439. Tickets sale fast for each performance so hurry to get tickets to the upcoming performance on June 23.  Performances will continue on June 30, as well as July – 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21.

Don’t Miss a chance to see this great lady, a master of jazz performance. The Barbara Morrison Performance Art Center is located at 4305 Degnan Blvd #101, Los Angeles, CA. 90008. Information: 310-462-1439, www.barbaramorrison.com. (L.E. Pezant, ENN)

Player of the Year: ANY OKONKWO, Etiwanda (HS)

Amy Okonkwo of Etiwanda High School has been named to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin's All-Valley Girl's Basketball First Team. Okonkwo is also the player of the year. Thomas Cordova/Staff photographer (Thomas R. Cordova)

Amy Okonkwo of Etiwanda High School has been named to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s All-Valley Girl’s Basketball First Team. Okonkwo is also the player of the year. Thomas Cordova/Staff photographer (Thomas R. Cordova)

What coaches appreciate most in their players is the ablity to rise to the occasion. Etiwanda High School’s Amy Okonkwo did just that every time out.

The 6-foot-1 junior forward scored a season-high 28 points in the Eagles’ 73-72 win over Mater Dei,

then ranked No. 1 in the nation, in the CIF Southern Section semifinal. Included in that point tally was a 3-pointer in overtime that gave her team a 67-64 lead it never relinquished.

She also registered 19 against Corona Santiago in the CIF championship game and 18 against Long Beach Poly in a state playoff loss.

Okonkwo, 16, is the Inland Valley Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

“She rose to the occasion time and time again against the better teams,” Etiwanda coach Anders Anderson says. “She isn’t cocky or

overconfident but she has an air of confidence about her. The other girls know she is going to deliver.”

Okonkwo, who is being recruited by a bevy of Division I schools, many of those Pac 12, averaged 15.7 points and 9.5 rebounds her first year with the Eagles (28-4) after transferring from Baseline League rival Los Osos along with junior

Cherce Harris.

Sometimes moving into a new environment can be difficult but that didn’t prove to be the case, with Okonkwo already having played with most of the Etiwanda players in travel ball or at Day Creek Middle School.

“I really wasn’t that nervous about it because I already knew the girls,” she said. “They accepted me right away and made it easy.”

Anderson says the player’s demeanor was a factor in the smooth transition.

“She didn’t come in here with an attitude or telling us what she had done,” Anderson said. “She just wanted to do her part and help us

win. She fit in from the very start.”

Okonkwo, who plans to major in kinesiology, is preparing for the next level. Anderson says she needs to work on conditioning. Competing in track this spring helps. She is looking for a third straight league title in shot put.

Okonkwo also want to work on her ball-handling skills.

“In college I might have to be a guard,” she said. “I can’t just count on being tall because at that level everyone is pretty big. I want to be able to do whatever they want me to do.”

By Michelle Gardner, Staff Writer

Posted:   04/17/2013 07:00:00 PM PDT