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“If It Looks Like a Duck, Swims Like a Duck, And Quacks Like A Duck, Then It Probably Is a Duck…..!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

The quote implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics. Follow me I’m going somewhere with this.  It is sometimes used to counter abstruse, or even valid, arguments that something is not what it appears to be. Oh, help me Jesus! Ah…

Too many of us that claim we know we’ve been changed still come into church with the same old crippled walk, the same old dry praise, the same old mope, frown, and hung head. When you act like you know you’ve been changed, your posture will change. You’ll come into the house of God with your head held high, no matter what you’re facing, and every time you experience God making a change in your life you’ll have a new shout, new run, new holler. Acts 3: 1-3: 10 tell us that, “We gotta act like we know we’ve been changed!

When you act like you know you’ve been changed, you don’t have to wait for other people to do for you what you can do for yourself. Before the lame man experienced a change, he had to rely on others to carry him where he needed to go. When he got his change though he automatically was able to push himself to a place of praise and worship in God. When you really know you’ve been changed, you don’t have to wait for nobody else to push you to a mindset of praise and worship in God! You don’t have to wait for the preacher, ministers, choir, praise team, or musicians, to push and provoke you to praise, you’ll come in busting the door down with praise because you know you’ve been changed!

When you act like you know you’ve been changed, you don’t allow your location or those around you to control whether you act like you know or not. Notice that the man didn’t wait until he got beyond the vale to praise and worship God, but he started doing it at the temple gate! Too many of us that say we know we’ve been changed only act like it in the house of God if that. When you know you’ve been changed you don’t have to wait until you get into the house of God to give Him praise, but you’ll bust loose with praise anywhere! When you know you’ve been changed, you ain’t worried about whose around you, who’s watching you, or who’s talking about you, you just give God glory. Amen!

In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul says to the Corinthian church, “Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves (emphasis added).” If there is no evidence of salvation in your life now, you need to face the fact that you may not be a Christian. You need to examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith. How does one do that? Compare your life with the standard Christ presents in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:7) One word summarizes His standard: Righteousness.

Remember, the scribes and Pharisees went to the Temple regularly, paid tithes, fasted, and prayed constantly. But Christ wasn’t impressed with their religious performance. God expects a transformation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” In Matthew 5:13-14 Christ referred to believers as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” A Christian’s life- style will be easily distinguishable from the worlds. Is it evident to those around you that your life is different? Evidence of salvation is always present in a true believer. Meeting Jesus opens up a whole new world to a person. You have a new nature in your heart – a new influence in your life – new confidence and outlook on life… you laugh at impossibilities. There is a new sense of happiness, usefulness, honor, safety.

Here is the Lord’s challenge – “Let me take you, remold you, change you.” I tell you, “It doesn’t take much of a man to be a Christian, but it takes all of him there is.” “If It Looks Like a Duck, Swims Like a Duck, and Quacks Like a Duck, Then It Probably Is a Duck.

Hip–Hop Icon Charli Baltimore Speaks on Motherhood, New Label and New Projects

From left to right: India, Charli Baltimore, and Siaani. Photo credit: Sheron Barber/Synergy 7

From left to right: India, Charli Baltimore, and Siaani. Photo credit: Sheron Barber/Synergy 7

Interview by Naomi K. Bonman

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Who remembers the record label Murder Inc.? If that rings a bell to you then the song “Down A** Chick” featuring Ja Rule and Charli Baltimore should sound familiar. Besides the two mentioned artists above, Murder Inc. also consisted of Ashanti, Irv Gotti (manager), and Vita. The label was established in 1990 and due to certain circumstances; the label fell under in 2007. However, since then each member from the crew have went their separate ways and succeeded as individuals.

Philadelphia native Charli Baltimore has made quite a few accomplishments since her Murder Inc. days. She is now one of the executives of B.M.B. Entertainment (Breaking Major Barriers) where she released her mixtape Hard 2 Kill and brought in several artists who are on the brink of their careers. They consist of Cash Paid, Midwest Rico, and Lody Lucci.

One of the major current projects that BMB Entertainment’s artists will be embarking on is a unique branding tour with the goal of raising the label’s and each individual artist’s profile by gaining 30 million impressions in 30 days. The 2014 Impressions Tour kicked off at the House of Blues in Los Angeles on Wednesday, September 24 and is set to enter 13 to 15 major markets. Baltimore will bless the tour in a few select cities over the next four weeks. To learn more visit www.impressiontour.com or visit @impressiontour on Instagram and Twitter. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.

Being an artist on a major record label (Murder Inc.) has helped shape Baltimore’s management position with her current music family.

 “As an artist you understand other artists [much] better,” Baltimore say’s. “When you’re on a major record deal, [normally] the people that are running it haven’t been an artist, so it’s hard for them to understand music in that perspective. I now have a better insight of how to handle BMB.”

In addition to her implementation with B.M.B., the Philly rapper has had an astonishing year with her nomination for a 2014 BET Award for Best Female Hip Hop Artist. She was also an honoree at the 3rd Annual Female Hip Hop Awards. These two major award nominations and honors, after being away from the spotlight for awhile, is a major accomplishment for Miss Baltimore. It goes to show how hard work, dedication, and perseverance pay off.

With her recent achievements, Charli is in the works of a new album entitled, ETHOS. She explained how the creation process is different from what she is used to with past projects. Usually she is accustomed to sitting down for a few months and fully dedicating her time to writing and recording a record. This time around she has been able to find a new way of becoming inspired to write—being on the road.

Speaking of projects, Baltimore recently wrapped up a photo shoot with her daughter India and Siaani in downtown Los Angeles. The shoot was produced by Trea Davenport and photographed by Sheron Barber of Synergy 7. One of the reasons why she was out of the spotlight for awhile was to focus on them to ensure the success of their futures. Her oldest daughter, India, started modeling as a minor and needed a parent on-site until the age of 18. Now that both of her daughters are very successful in their careers, they applaud their mother for being an inspiration and for paving the way for them.

 “Perseverance for sure, [My mom] has taught me to never give up,” India states.

Siaani adds, “[She has] taught me to focus on myself, and not to rely on anybody to take care of everything for me, and to just go and do it myself which motivates me to do better.”

Not only has Miss Baltimore been an inspiration to her girls, but she also inspires other artists to strive in their careers. Yes this music industry business can get rough, but Charli advises you to, “Stay true to yourself and your music because you’re always going to have somebody that believes in the truth and that can relate to what you’re saying.”

In the coming months there is definitely much more in store for both Charli and her daughters. To keep up with Charli please follow her on Instagram and Twitter @CharliBaltimore. India can be followed on Instagram at @IndiaChristin and Siaani can be followed on Instagram as well at @SiaaniLove. To book Charli, please contact Trea Davenport at treadaypr@gmail.com.

“The Audacity of Some People”

By Sion S. Habtemariam

Sion S. Habtemariam

By Sion S. Habtemariam

(written on November 16, 2012)

The re-election of President Barack Obama in November caught the attention of many Americans. Among these Americans are teens who use social networking sites as an opportunity to voice their opinions. Although tweets and status updates are unlimited; facts, in many cases are hard to find.

Some teens joke about being able to stay on food stamps now that Obama was re-elected without realizing they are playing into a crippling stereotype. Many teens influenced by parents, forms of media like FOX News, uninformed teachers,  and the judgments of other teens have come to a consensus that all Obama supporters are receiving government assistance and are unemployed. Some go to the extreme to over generalize that all the Democrat party stands for is to give government hand outs to people who choose to not work. These views are not only incorrect but display the ignorance plaguing America.

Many teens are not aware of the facts behind much of America’s past. The system of welfare existed well before the Obama administration and he is not to blame for those who may take advantage of the assistance. In 1935 the Social Security Act was enacted. Most Americans were unemployed or underemployed and it was nearly impossible for people to support their families. Sound familiar?

There are many forms of welfare; about 83% of money for social programs goes to social security and Medicaid (programs that every citizen is eligible for). Many do not know what the negative impact of the getting rid of welfare would be. Those who are angry that their family pays for all “poor” Americans through the money they receive through their small businesses would soon see the sad truth that not only would completely ending welfare hurt the people directly involved, but also their business.

People also choose to forget that the burdens of middle class paying for taxes are because many richer Americans pay lower taxes. Does it make sense that 21% of millionaires face a lower tax rate than the three million individuals making between $50,000 and $100,000? The system of welfare does need regulation. But in general Conservatives are opposed to regulation as seen in the Bush administration. Imposing rules like Bill Clinton did in his administration which gave states funding for the poor, but made it necessary to help citizens move from welfare to the workplace. Enforcing this, as well as making it mandatory for all recipients to bring proof of looking for a job through applications or by other means, may help. But times like these when even college educated Americans are out of work it may take a long time for this to happen. Also a program requiring drug testing prior to receiving government assistance should also be put in place.

Americans like to believe that our system of government and the truth behind the American Dream are what differentiate us from the most of the world. But there is another aspect to what makes us unique. We have policies put in place that allows us to have lower poverty rates and allow us to actually have a middle class.

Many teens have also expressed their opinion that this generation is going to be derailed by Obama’s administration. Ask these same students about Obama’s views on funding for education and you may receive blank stares. There are those who have actually been more instrumental in the sculpting of their views and may have more to say. For many high school students their next step in education is college. Most families cannot afford tuition and most of us do not have the option to just ask our parents for money as suggested by Willard Mitt Romney. The Obama administration has repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid through the support of Pell grants. His administration has also supported funding for elementary and secondary schools. This makes it even more astonishing that some teachers who are misinforming students are actually being protected under Obama’s measures.  Americans who supported Proposition 30 have faith in the next generation. This proposition stops school cuts and college tuition hikes. So students who believe that because of Obama they will not be able attend college anymore, I’m glad to inform you that you are mistaken. The Democratic Party, including President Obama, will not be to blame for this generation’s derailment. Instead it will be the students who do not exercise effort, those who use class as a time to socialize and apply make up in class instead of taking advantage of their resources who cheat themselves.

Aside from the politics, those who oppose Obama often have degrading things to say about something he could not control, his race. From the moment Barack Obama announced he would run for president, to his inauguration, and ultimately his reelection America reached a monumental point in its history. Obama becoming President made many believe that America had finally achieved the progression from racism of slavery and Jim Crow Laws. As a nation we have made strides from an oppressive nation but the battle on racism is ongoing. It’s 2012 and some people still have a hard time believing that the son of an African father and white American mother may have something to offer to America.

Students use Instagram as a canvas to display their racially charged attacks on the President of the United States. Students posted pictures with captions full of poor language that included the “N” word. On election night, various postings that discussed dissatisfaction of our two-term President would not have be complete without a regressive picture of a homemade billboard from Hanson, Massachusetts. The billboard stirred up much controversy in Massachusetts but as many as 46 Instagram users agreed with its message that “Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing its IDIOT OBAMA One Big a** Mistake America Vote Mitt Romney for 2012!”  If your beliefs do not coincide with those of our President that is fine, being able to openly disapprove of our government is a unique right many countries lack. Before taking to social media sites to express your anger fuelled opinions ask yourself a few questions. Do my statements over generalize an entire group of people? Are they my own thoughts? Do my statements lack facts and express hatred?

As you express your disdain for America’s current president I challenge you to leave behind your comfortable world and see a world with children less fortunate than you. And above all I challenge you to leave behind the mindset that makes it acceptable to judge someone’s abilities and strengths by their cultural background.

 


About the author

Sion worked at the Registrar of Voters in San Bernardino on election night in 2012 during her senior year in high school after being chosen among some of her peers in her AP Government class. She is currently a sophomore at University of California, Irvine where she is studying Public Health and Neurology with an emphasis on Pediatrics Neurology.