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Letter to the Editor: “How Long, Not Long”

Dr. Mildred Henry

Dr. Mildred Henry

From: Dr. Mildred D. Henry, Retiree

This 81-year-old writer asks, “How long will the slaughter of African American males continue?”  In my lifetime, Black males have been tortured, executed, and hung from trees. This writer witnessed our family cotton gin and general store burned to the ground, twice, by racists.  Today, horses have been replaced with cars; and sticks and ropes traded for guns.  In Fruitland Park, Florida, sheets of a notorious hate group were traded for law enforcement uniforms.  On behalf of Dan’te Parker, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Donte Jordan; and others, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I ask How long?” Through the years the south was infamous for racial hatred and abominable acts, however, now barbaric activities against Blacks take place nationwide.

Weekly, in California, Missouri, Alabama, Illinois, Ohio, all across the nation, a Black mother’s son dies at the hands of professed law enforcement personnel who are sworn to protect, not to kill our citizens.  Black men have been shot in the back; shot in the top of the head; choked, and electrocuted to death by law enforcement officers.  How long before these atrocities are stopped?

Dan’te, a hard-working, good natured, father of five children, who loved to sing, left home in Victorville, California riding his son’s mongoose bike because Dante’s bike had a flat tire.  He was exercising to lose weight.  Dante was stopped at approximately 5 PM by a Deputy Sheriff because of a reported attempted break-in at a residence. The resident, reporting the incident, said the suspect left riding a bicycle.  ‘A Black man on a bike’ was stopped by a law enforcement officer, stunned by a Taser “multiple times”, “more than five times”, was dead by 6 PM, and his family never notified.  Why?  How Long?

By 11 PM, when her husband had not returned home, a concerned, alarmed, wife began phone calls only to be informed that her husband was at a medical facility. Accompanied by her father-in-law, the wife went to the facility, was questioned by detectives, and after several hours of waiting, when she asked to see her husband, was informed that her husband’s body had been transported from Victorville, in San Bernardino County, to Riverside County.  The family was never notified.  Reportedly Dante’s six year old son asks every morning, “Why all black men have to die?”  This writer asks, “How Long?”

The eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines genocide as: “The deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”

How long will this seemingly open season on Black males continue? From the cradle, through the prison, to the grave, seems to be the designated channel for too many Black males in our society. Blacks do not own the airplanes and ships that bring drugs to the neighborhood, nor do we manipulate the systems that eliminate jobs.  However, there is always an ample supply of drugs and gangs on the street corners. Seemingly, there are those who destine Black youth to go from the schoolhouse to the courthouse to the jailhouse, so that they have no opportunities to be in their own house.  How long will we tolerate this systematic demise of a people?

The outrage crosses racial, generational, gender, and all barriers. A 90 year old Caucasian female survivor of the Holocaust was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri as she marched for transparency and justice. We send Black males around the world to protect the very hands which needlessly kill them in their own country.  How Long will this continue?

How long will culturally uneducated politicians refuse to listen to those who have “boots on the ground” in the Black communities and culture?

This “open season” and massacre of Black males must end.  How long?  I hope not long because we can wait no longer for accountability and an end to the genocide.

 

“A Part-time, Sunday Angel, Full-time Devil… If the Shoe Fit, Wear It!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Jesus said that you cannot serve both God and the things of man {Luke 16:13). Let us dissect this verse, allowing the chips to fall where they may, and the conviction of God to fall where it will. The picture of the double-minded person. Jesus taught us that no one can serve two masters. In fact, Jesus went so far as to say it is a “love-hate” proposition. In His words, “You can’t play both sides of the fence.” This has been true all through God’s Word. Elijah asked, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” Joshua proclaimed, “Choose you today!” One translation says, “You can’t have it both ways.” James 4:4 (NLT) speaks about double mindedness in terms of adultery, “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God?”  MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

At some point you have to make up your mind. If you keep going back and forth you are doomed to the erratic existence of the double minded! If you don’t make up your mind you will be plagued by doubt and fear. If you don’t make up your mind you will be tossed like a cork on a wave. If you don’t make up your mind God will never trust you! Did you catch that? Were worried about trusting God, but God doesn’t know if He can trust us with the most precious of truths! Why would He put his treasure (his people) into our hands if we won’t commit? Why would He ever trust us with anything?

Listen, we don’t have the option of picking and choosing when our walk is with God. We don’t have the option of serving God today and not serving Him tomorrow. The Word says, “Choose ye this day, whom you will serve.” Just as the Lord issued a call through Joshua, all those centuries ago, for His people to make up their minds as to whom they would serve, so He issues the same call to His people on this day. Hear the call God is giving to you. Oh, I feel like preaching. It’s Time To Make Up Your Mind! And, it is! If you are reading this article, God has granted you another opportunity today to decide who will have your worship, your love and your obedience: God Almighty, or you and all the things that want to capture your minds.

Joshua’s command to the people was three-fold {Joshua 24:1-28} they were commanded to “fear” God; clean up their lives by putting away their other gods; and they were to serve the Lord. This would put them in a position to put God back in the forefront of their lives. This is a command that we need to take heed of today! We need to 1.) Fear the Lord – That is, we need to reverence and honor Him for Who He is. He deserves to be respected and loved by those He has redeemed! 2.) We need to – put away our other gods! All those things in our lives that come ahead of the Lord need to be put away forever! 3.) We need to – serve the Lord with sincerity. We are His possessions and should live as such, {1 Cor. 6:19-20.) The implication for us is that God does not want His people to live lives of hypocrisy! He wants us to be what we claim to be! Joshua challenged the people to choose who they would serve and to get about it! The same choice stands before us today! It’s about time we get off the fence and make up our mind who’s team we are on. We cannot have both God and the world! We cannot have Him and all our distractions. Either He is in first place, or we have a different god! You have been confronted by a challenge.

Joshua set the example and laid down the gauntlet for us by stating his clear intention to serve God. We need some Joshua’s in our day! We need some men and women who will settle it in their hearts that Jesus Christ and His Word and Will, are going to come before everything else in life! We need some who will set the example for others. We have too many who, by their lives, give justification for slackness in life. We need some who have a backbone of steel and who would rather die than let something come ahead of God in their lives. (Ill. Daniel – Dan. 1:8-19; the 3 Hebrews – Dan. 3:1-30; Daniel – Dan. 6:1-28; Ruth – Ruth 1:16-17.)

Don’t you know that, of all spiritual states, lukewarmness is most abhorrent to God, and grieving to the Holy Spirit. ‘[Revelation 3:15-16]. Thus has God declared his utter detestation of this state. You do not need to settle for a lukewarm lifestyle. Repent and trust in the Word of God who’s grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and to live godly and righteous lives. Full time- not sometime. Full time- not half time. Full time – not part time. Full time, because God is full time to us. He loves us full time. He cares for us full time. He provides for us full time. He does this even when we don’t. He made a plan for us that would give us full time help. He sent His Only Begotten Son to die for us so we would be saved full time from the gates of Hell. He gave us full time help when He empowered us with the Holy Ghost that came to comfort and empower. He gave us full time help when He said when you fall down I will help you get back up again. So why would we want to be anything but full time?

One of the most frightening group of verses in the Bible is found in Rev 3:14-19, when Christ is talking to the Church of Laodicea. He is addressing the people of a city known for its wealth. But despite its financial prosperity, it was spiritually impoverished. He says to the people “You are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing. You don’t realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” What’s frightening about this statement is that a lot of people in this world who call themselves Christians are lukewarm. They fall into the category of sometime or part time Christian. Yes you might go to church on Sundays, make an appearance, but the real question is have you given yourself completely to God? If the Lord be God, then serve Him. If He isn’t, then go ahead and serve whatever has your heart. But whatever you do and choose, stop trying to have the best of both worlds! Choose whom this day you will serve!

Celebrity Hair Stylist Shares His Gifts through Beauty and Fitness

Taco and rapper Trina

Taco and rapper Trina

By Naomi K. Bonman

Seattle, Washington native Turner Yarbrough, more commonly known as “Taco”, is on the brink of becoming a well-known celebrity nationwide hair stylist. As a child, Taco spent countless Saturdays in the salon with his mother as she received her weekly style. Though he and his brother hated being dragged there for hours on end, a spark for an interest in hair styling emerged in him.

Upon high school graduation, the charismatic Cancer enrolled in cosmetology courses at Seattle Central Community College and later transferred to Gene Juarez where he received his license in 2001. From there he opened his first salon, Reign Concept Salon, at the tender age of 19 where he was able to establish a loyal clientele.

Throughout the early stages of his career, Yarbrough continued to learn more to perfect his craft. He has received education from well known trainers which include Paul Mitchell, So. Cap, CHI, Unite and many more.

Not only is Taco an inspiration to his hair clients, but he is also an example for those struggling with weight loss. He has lost over 126 pounds and is now a certified personal trainer. In a recent interview with the rising stylist and fitness guru, he discussed his future goals, motivations and most memorable career highlights.

Naomi: What inspired you to get into the hair industry?

Taco: My mother. She used to drag me to the hair salon and I hated it! [laughs] My cousin LaShawn was also a braider when we were growing up and she [subconsciously] kind of helped to push me into this.

Naomi: What makes you stand out from other stylists? What makes you unique?

Taco: My character. I’m just a funny guy. I’m a big personality. I know that there are a lot of hair stylists that have big personalities, nut I’m just different. I love to have fun and to make sure that everyone is okay by catering to the atmosphere. [I like to make sure that] that everything flows cohesively.

I think what also separates me is that I’m just crazy, passionate. I can only separate myself from the things that within myself meaning that I’m not separate from people, but that my own challenge is myself.

Naomi: You mentioned that your personality shines on set. Is there a reality show in the works?

Taco: There are talks of it. We’re actually putting some things together. I think it would be hilarious [laughs]. I’m just Taco, there’s no explanation for it. I’m just a crazy guy who’s always singing and doing something different. If someone is shy, I’m that kind of guy that helps them get out of themselves so that they can have an awesome experience.

Naomi: How did you come with the name Taco? It’s a very interesting and unique nickname?

Taco: My name came from my Grandma, In larger families, you tend to get stuck with various nick names that follow you for life”. [laughs].

Naomi: [laughs] Interesting. So who are some of your top celebrity clients?

Taco: I just wrapped up a photo shoot with Colyesia Chestnut from MTV’S ‘Are You the One?’ My main client that I love so much is Bad Medina, which is Floyd Mayweather’s massage therapist. One of my long time clients is Tori Lucas who just married Jamal Crawford. I just had the opportunity to cut Trina’s hair. She was really sweet, warm and welcoming.

Taco in action

I’ve also done several events such as a Women Standing Tall calendar which featured Shonie O’Neal and the rest of the basketball wives before they were on the show. It was cool to be a part of that before they went big.

Naomi: How did you get your start into doing hair for celebrities?

Taco: I’m a firm believer in what’s for me is for me. It just comes. I’ ve never advertised or put myself in the newspaper. I let my clients spread the word which say’s a lot on what people believe and see in my skills which I’ ve seen as a blessing to have come so far off just recommendations.

Naomi: How do you make the every day, average client feel like a celebrity?

Taco: My salon in Seattle is called Reign Concept Salon where I work with some of the most amazing girls, and there we create an experience. I’m always singing and serenading them (clients). I make them feel like celebrities because with every single client, no matter how tired I am, I’m going to give them that attention. To me, they are celebrities because they patronize me, and they feel a part of the process of me coming to new horizons [in my career].

Naomi: How did you come with the name Reign Concept Salon?

Taco: I am a Christian, and my whole belief system is to always know and to allow God to reign in your life. When I think of reign, I think of God. It’s my reminder to never puff myself up and to always be humble, and that He reigns over all.

Naomi: What has been your most memorable highlight in your hair career thus far?

Taco: I had a woman, just an ordinary woman, that came in and she thought her hair was damaged.  You could tell she had low esteem and that she was going through some things in her life. When I did her hair, I did it with so much love and took my time to not only love on her hair but to love on her. When I finished and turned her around to the mirror, the level of emotion that she expressed made her feel as if she was brand new, and it healed her. For me that was my gift to her. I didn’t make her pay. Sometimes it’s the little things that have the biggest affect on your life.

Naomi: Going into the fitness side of things, what kept you motivated to keep pushing towards your weight loss goal?

Taco: I was always a sort of overweight kid. I battled with a lot of low self-esteem. I definitely covered that up through my personality. It’s been three years since I lost over 126 pounds. I used to be 358 pounds, and was cast for The Biggest Loser twice, but that didn’t come through. They always chose the next person over me.

I have a wife and 5-year-old daughter, and needed to live for them. In this career you have to be healthy. So, I just said ‘ I’m tired. I can’t wait for The Biggest Loser to do it for me. I have to do this’. I just started. My inspiration is myself. I have to conquer me, and I want to do me as a physique body builder one day.

Taco, before and after his weight loss journey

Taco, before and after his weight loss journey

Naomi: Nice! So with body building being a fitness goal, what are some of your others?

Taco: That’s the next fitness goal, to compete as a Physique Body builder. I’ ve been blessed to pick up an international sponsorship with Pro Supps. They are absolutely amazing and they took me on because I started with them in the beginning of my weight loss journey and I was loyal to them. They give me so much love and support and I really appreciate that. I also want to lose another 35 pounds to aid me in my “road to the stage” to compete.

Naomi: What changes did you make in your diet?

Taco: Whew, so many changes! Your diet has to be on point. I learned healthy eating habits from pro body builder Alden Gamet who coached me in losing my first 100 pounds. I went from eating McDonalds three times a day to learning how to prep meals, weigh my food and portion control.

Naomi: What advice do you for those who struggle with weight loss and lose that focus to get to their goal, and that try different regiments that don’t work out for them?

Taco: My advice is to just go. The first step is to just get there. In the beginning you don’t want to do it because your body is used to whatever current routine that it is in. Your mind changes as you begin to change. Also, connect with people that will encourage you and keep nothing but positivity around you. Anything that is new is going to be difficult; the key is to just go. If you do fall back, don’t stay there. Get back up and keep moving.

Naomi: What are your overall personal goals that you want to achieve in life?

Taco: My overall goal is for the world to know me and  to not only be successful, but highly respected and sought after  globally for hair and health.

The sky is the limit for me, and I’m very excited about my publicist. I absolutely love her. Trea Davenport and Trea Day Management are just amazing. I have a lot of support around me, and at the end of the day, I’m just ready to go and welcome success.

To keep up with Taco’s career endeavors, follow him on Instagram @TacoMarche and @TacoReign. For booking inquiries, please contact Trea Davenport at treadaypr@gmail.com or (678) 327-8281