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Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

Boxing champion, Rock Blackwell, is iconic in both the ring and the community

rock blackwell

By Naomi K. Bonman 

In the world of sports becoming the greatest is more than just being good at a particular sport. Being great goes beyond the skill set that one has and goes deeper within the athlete’s personality traits. Baltimore native and Trea Day Management and Publicity client, Rock Blackwell, is one of those greats. He demonstrates prominence not only in the ring, but within the community.  He is able to remain humble and above all determined when it comes to reaching any goal that he has set. In a recent interview with the boxing champ, he discussed his inspiration for boxing at an early age, his experience in being trained by boxing legends, and his upcoming fight in Minnesota in December where he will defend his WBU America Title.

ROCK COMMUNITY WORK2

Photo Credit: Mike Jon Photography

Since the age of seven, Rock Blackwell knew that he wanted to be a boxing champion. Once he realized that he never gave up on that goal and set out to accomplish it. “I was determined to get it done,” he states. “It was one of those things that I couldn’t walk away from or else my life would feel meaningless if I didn’t pursue it. I kept the faith and stay determined.”

And that determination led him to a few great accomplishments before he went professional. He earned an incredible 156-28 record including becoming the winner of the South Atlantic Championship.

“It was exciting!” Blackwell explained. “It was more so confirmation that I could do this because [at times we’re always questioning ourselves of whether or not we can do something]. Winning that championship motivated me to do more, keep pushing, and work harder.”

Hard work and persistence is what continued to push the rising champ to new heights. As a professional boxer, he joined the International Boxing League (IBL) where he outclassed all challengers on his way to a 15-0 record. By him excelling within the IBL, he was rewarded be being able to travel and box overseas. Although nervous at first, by him being an American boxing in different countries, he quickly adapted after experiencing the support and love shown to him. Blackwell’s favorite place that he has traveled to was Scotland.

“When I went to Scotland that was awesome,” he said. “They showed me a lot of love. Everyone embraced me and made me feel like a Scottish man. It was a very great experience.”

In addition to the countless voyages that the Baltimore native was able to endure, he was also granted the special opportunity to hone his fighting skills while in the IBL from training legends Roger Mayweather, Floyd Mayweather Sr., and Freddy Roach. Each of these individuals taught Blackwell something different. Freddy Roach, who is an offensive coach, taught Blackwell how to sharpen his skills in the ring offensively. On the defensive end, the Mayweather’s showed him how to become better defensively where he worked on his footwork, head movements, and other defensive moves.

“Just to be able to sit and learn boxing from them was amazing!” Blackwell said.

From his numerous accomplishments, trips around the world, and lessons from the legends, Blackwell stated that those things alone does not make him a great. Yes they may make him a good boxer, but he states that, “Personally, I think that being great is what you do for others. It is being a servant to the community.”

rock-blackwell-HTLB

Photo Credit: Mike Jon Photography

During his time away from the ring, Blackwell loves going out in the community and reaching out and feeding the hungry. He recently joined the #HTLB (Hashtag Lunch Bag) movement where he is part of a community of people that pack and distribute 1,000 lunches to the homeless community. While he does his civic duties in the city, he offers nourishment to the body and mind while interacting with the less fortunate. His humble rise to super stardom keeps him forever grounded and devoted to helping others out.

Next up for the rising champ is prepping for a big fight in Minnesota on December 10 where he will defend his WBU America Title. He will be going up against JJ Flint.

While he is preparing for his upcoming fight, he has his iPod loaded with his favorite music to motivate him as he is training to before the big day.

“I’m a music junkie,” he states. “I listen to a mixture of everything from Hip Hop to R&B. My favorite artist is Drake. I think he is amazing and I can relate to his music. But overall, I just love music.”

Blackwell would love to leave everyone with a few words of encouragement and motivation which is:

“If you want to accomplish something stick with it. If you really focus on it during both the good and bad times and give it your all, you will be victorious and accomplish it. A lot of people get discouraged on the road to success because of certain things that tend to hinder them on the way, but if you just hang in there and don’t give up you will get it done.”

He continues, “You are powerful beyond measure. Whatever your most dominant thought is, is what you will become.”

To keep up with Rock Blackwell, follow him on Instagram @RockBlackwell. For more information or to book Blackwell, please contact Trea Davenport with Trea Day PR at treadaypr@gmail.com or by calling (678) 327-8281.

Young Designer Emerges Into the Fashion Industry

DeOndra Morris

DeOndra Morris

By Naomi K. Bonman

Louisiana native DeOndra Morris is the creative director, visionary, and designer behind the line of handbags under DeOndra Jeree. At 22-years-old, Ms. Morris is closing the gap that she has

One of the DeOndra Jeree handbags

One of the DeOndra Jeree handbags

witnessed within the marketplace by ensuring that her line of bags provides exactly what the average women is looking for, which is practicability, affordability, and a bag that is stylish that can be transitioned from day-to-night and work-to-weekend.

Morris knew that she wanted to be a designer after watching America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway as a little girl. Back then she would say to herself that she was going to be a big designer one day and have her own fashion brand. And she continued to make that dream a reality.

In addition to those shows, the rising designer has kept her grandmother’s words dear to her heart. Her grandmother has inspired her to keep pushing towards success by “keeping God first and she will have great success and that no matter what may come across her path, good or bad, she should always remain focused and humble and to keep her eye on the prize.”

Once she realized what she wanted to do she let go of all fears and moved to the fashion capital of the world after college–New York. Upon arrival in the Big Apple she immediately got her grind and hustle and landed her first internship with Shecky’s, a fashion and beauty company.  From there she went on to intern at the Handbag Designer Awards where she was not only able to attend the awards, but work with the bags as well.

“I learned a lot from working at those two places, but I had also done my research before starting my own fashion line,” Morris said. “I did the business part first, such as getting it incorporated, etc. Then I started the design process.”

DeOndra Jeree is now a full fleshed company that caters to fashion savvy women ages 25 and older. Each hand bag is transitioned to where it can be used from day-to-night and work-to-weekend. As the line continues to grow, Morris would love to have a variety of handbags in different styles and colors and to be picked up in major retailers, such as  Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, and Sak’s Fifth Avenue.

To view more of DeOndra Jeree handbags, please visit www.DeOndraJeree.com.

 

Letter to the Editor: She questions benefits of loyalty to Democrats…

DemocraticLogoBy Audrey Thompson

In 1964  President Johnson, a Democrat,  received 94 percent of the Black vote and since then no Republican presidential candidate has gotten more than 15 percent of the Black vote. Today, in the new Millennium, our vote is the most reliable block of votes for the Democratic Party from local elections to the Presidential elections. We are not new Democrats, but for almost 100 years, not 45 years since the voting rights act was passed and not even since President Barack Obama was first elected, but for almost 100 years, we have been the most reliable block of voters for the Democratic Party. No other group can boast the same.

Yet, all other groups get support, money and their voices heard by the Democrats. For me, I think I have seniority! My people have been their most reliable block of voters for almost a Century. Time vested in this Democratic Party with blood, sweat and tears and nobody else can say the same. It’s so bad, you can count on one hand how many African American’s are on staff for the California Democratic Party, it’s bad, it’s real bad!

We still have the highest unemployment rate, the highest incarceration rate and the highest school suspension rate. In fact, we have the highest of all the bad things and the lowest of all the good things. The Democratic Party does not support our agendas and they don’t support our candidates. If we continue to vote for the Democrats blindly they will never respect us nor give us a thing. This election look closely at the candidate, don’t vote blindly!  Please don’t go for the okeedoke again, stop voting on a promise! As the late comedian Joan Rivers used to say, “Can we talk?”