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Hip Hop Legend Money ‘B’ Kicks Off Music Program at PAL Charter Academy High School

PAL CENTERSAN BERNARDINO, CA- In an effort to offer a comprehensive educational program that meets both the interest and needs of its students, PAL Charter Academy is becoming a trailblazer for innovation. On Monday, May 16, PAL hosted Hip Hop legend, Money B, in its first ever of this caliber music assembly. The students participating in the music education class as an elective requirement for graduation worked together to create this phenomenal opportunity. Under the leadership of their teacher and motivation founder, Mr. Robert Bryant, this class successfully blended education and innovation creating an amazing opportunity for the students and staff.

The enthusiasm surrounding this innovative program offering is preparing PAL students for the tangible exploration of music related careers, including but not limited to marketing, journalism, management, and production. PAL Center CEO Dwaine Radden said, “Our music program at the PAL Academy is just the beginning of incredible advances for these students their linked learning environments provide relevance to education through innovative life applications.”

PAL Charter Academy is a free public school available to all students 9th to 12th grade. The independent study model allows flexibility to support most barriers to High School completion. PAL offers the benefit of A-G approved courses, small class sizes, a full athletic program, and much more. They are now enrolling for summer & fall sessions. Please contact the school at (909) 887-7002 for more information.

“The Fellas” Dedicate the Last Man Mob of the School Year to the Memory of the Late Ratibu Jacocks

Submitted on Behalf of Terrance Stone

TheFellasIn honor of William Henry Jacocks, a longtime Rialto resident and active community member who with his wife, former Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter, founded the Inland Area Kwanzaa Group, “The Fellas” dedicated their last Man Mob of the year to his memory. The Man Mob is a group of men from the local Inland Empire community who are interested in engaging and supporting the students at our schools.  Some are fathers, entrepreneurs, educators, college alumni, community and civic leaders, business owners, fraternity members, ministry groups, retirees, and current college students.  The me, show up to local schools, give hi-fives, tell the students to have a good day, encourage them to study hard, and let them know that they are supported by their community.  The goals are twofold: encourage and motivate students to succeed, and show them examples of positive, professional men of color.TheFellas5

The Man Mob is not just for students—it is for parents, teachers, school administrators and staff as well.  Indeed, before we visit a school we try to identify a teacher who has positively impacted children the most.  Once we get a consensus, we try and give that teacher a gift (e.g., certificate, hat, thank you card) to recognize their hard work, diligence and commitment to our students.  We work with superintendents, principals, district administrators, and school board members to plan and coordinate our meetings.  We invite them and let them know that we are coming to have a fun, safe, and joyful experience.

Lesford Duncan, a Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator for the San Bernardino County Children’s Network, was the first to propose the Man Mob idea in the fall of 2015.  Mr. Duncan saw a post on social media wherein a well-dressed group of African American fathers in Atlanta were hi-fiving elementary students who were entering the school building.  He suggested that the Fellas coordinate something similar here in the San Bernardino area.  It was then that several members of The Fellas (Jonathan Buffong, Terrance Stone, Hardy Brown, Ed Brantley, Keith Hosea, Joseph Williams, Alex Avila, Mars Serna, and Dr. Wil Greer, Charles Brown) organized the first Man Mob, which took place on August 17th, 2015, at Del Vallejo Middle School in San Bernardino.

The experience was so positive that they decided to do it again at more schools.  Since then, The Fellasgroup has held a Man Mob during every month of the 2016-2017 school year, and we are TheFellas3inspired by the rise of additional groups.  Mars Serna and the Emerging Men of Fontana, Frank Kelley and the PACK Coalition Man Mob of the High Desert, and Corey Jackson of Moreno Valley have all held fantastic events, and fully represent the Man Mob spirit.  We are hopeful that the ongoing encouragement, across cities and schools, will have a ripple effect on children’s confidence, school engagement, and achievement.

The success of the initial Man Mob led to requests from a number of school leaders and teachers to come out and visit their school.  We knew early on that we would need a strategy for choosing schools that could most benefit from a Man Mob.  We also wanted to get organized, and make best use of our busy participants’ time and energy.  To do this, The Fellas came together and looked at school data from across the Inland Empire.  They identified schools with some of the greatest numbers of low-income and African American students, had several discussions, and added a sample of the schools to our 2015-2016 calendar.  Though the Fellas  have tried to stay true to our initial selections, we added some schools and a university along the way to be as responsive to demand as our time would allow. “The Fellas wanted to give tribute to the late Ratibu Jacocks, because we knew that this is something that he would proud of, matter fact, he would probably be the first person in front of the line giving a hi five!” Jonathan Buffong. Another program that is honoring the namesake of Ratibu is the Ratibu Shadidi Literacy Program. Dr. Wil Greer, Assistant Professor Educational Leadership & Technology at CSUSB has designed this opportunity to help African American boys in grades K-5 read at or above grade level. Please contact wgreer@csusb.edu for morning information.

World Mourns Passing of Prince

PrinceBy Avis Thomas Lester, Urban News Service

‘Rest in purple,’ millions wish as pop master dies at 57.

As the world mourns the passing of the falsetto-voiced Prince – known for his sexual lyrics, sensual performances and steely determination to control his work  – the music industry is reeling over the loss of a peerless talent.

Prince Rogers Nelson died Thursday at his Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis where he was found unresponsive in an elevator. He was 57.

Local authorities announced Friday that an autopsy had been performed and a cause of death would be forthcoming. Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said there were no signs of trauma at the scene and the case will remain “an open investigation” until autopsy results are returned. Authorities do not believe Prince took his own life.

News of his death stunned fans, inside and outside the music industry.

Prince was “one of a kind, the greatest musician ever,” Washington radio personality Donnie Simpson, a personal friend of the performer.

Stevie Wonder tearfully called him “incredible.”

The praise over the airwaves and on social media was effusive.

“Boys 4 Life…Ain’t nobody bad like Prince!” tweeted Morris Day, head of the Time, a Minneapolis-born funk group whose members worked with Prince and upstaged the star in his own celebrated 1984 movie “Purple Rain.”

“I have no words. The king is gone,” tweeted R&B singer Lalah Hathaway.

“Our GRAMMY family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Prince. Today, we remember and celebrate him as one of the most uniquely gifted artists of all time. Never one to conform, he redefined and forever changed our musical landscape,” posted Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Prince’s death comes a little over two months after the passing of one of his protégés, Vanity, lead singer of the 1980s glam group Vanity 6. Vanity, whose real name was Denise K. Matthews, died Feb. 15 of renal failure; she was also 57. A few hours after her death, Prince remembered Matthews with a special rendition of his popular song “Little Red Corvette” while on tour in Australia, according to news reports.

His passing is the latest among several influential musicians in recent months. Rock legend David Bowie died Jan. 10 after battling cancer. And Earth, Wind & Fire founder and front man Maurice White died on Feb. 4 at age 74 of Parkinson’s disease.

Washington radio personality DJ Flexx said the deaths of Prince, White and Bowie will have a permanent impact on the music industry.  “We are losing innovators. We are losing trendsetters. We are losing leaders,” he said. “We are talking about people who changed the game, were responsible for trends that made people want to be like them. Who are we going to look to now to continue to lead?”

The son of a pianist father and a vocalist mother, Prince showed musical talent early in life. He taught himself to play the piano at age 7 and added guitar and drums to his repertoire by the time he reached high school.

According to statistics from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Prince has sold 20.5 million records.

Grammy-winning producers Terry Lewis and James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, who worked with Prince as musicians in the Time, told Simpson in an interview that Prince was already a talented musician when they met him in middle school in Minneapolis.

“He was gifted, just totally gifted,” Lewis said. “We’ll always be celebrating his life because we’ll be celebrating that music forever.”

Harris said that Prince, Lewis and he took a piano class in middle school that was beneath their skill level. While the teacher was attempting to teach them children’s ditties, they were playing sophisticated music.

“I just remember he could play waves around me, man,” Harris said. “I thought I was good, but I was like, ‘Damn, this dude is ridiculous.’ He was on a whole different level, man.”

Lewis, a bass player, said Prince’s attempts to help his classmates could prove painful.  “He could pick up the bass and give you fits,” he said. “And … he could do that same thing to any person who stepped on the stage because he was a student of music … We used to say, ‘He is music.’ ”

Harris said Prince auditioned for a high-school program playing a complicated guitar solo from Chicago’s “Make Me Smile” album. During a break, Harris heard someone in the music room playing a drum solo so well that he thought it was the teacher.  “I come out and it is Prince on the drums. I didn’t even want to get back behind the drums after that,” he said.

He said Prince’s work ethic was  unparalleled. “Prince would rehearse us for four hours. He’d go rehearse his band for four hours. And then he’d go work in the studio all night. Then, the next morning he’d come to our rehearsal with a cassette in his hand and he’d put the cassette in and all of a sudden “1999” would play. And I don’t mean a demo of ‘1999’ –  I mean ‘1999’. ‘Little Red Corvette’ would play. We’d be like, ‘Damn, when did you do that?’ He would say, ‘Like, last night.’ ”

While many entertainers of his day had faded away, Prince was never far from the spotlight. After a string of hits in the 1980s and 1990s, people around the world welcomed the new millennium partying to his dance anthem “1999”. His 2007 Super Bowl half-time performance, delivered in a driving rain, is considered by many to be the best such performance yet.

He stayed relevant even as he worked to stay out of the spotlight. His penchant for privacy, as well as his colorful outfits and trademark high-heeled boots earned a reputation for being eccentric.

“He wore high heels and makeup and I still thought he was the sexiest man alive,” said Dorina Roberts, who was listening to Prince songs on her iPhone at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument in Washington, on Friday. “I loved his music and I loved him.”

Prince was also an activist. He traveled to Baltimore in May, 2015, in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, who died after allegedly suffering an injury while in police custody, and the unrest that resulted. His “Rally 4 Peace” concert sold out. He sang a song he wrote called “Baltimore.” He donated the proceeds to charitable causes in the city.

Robert Scott Adams, student services director at the Omega Studios in Rockville, Maryland, where Prince once worked, said he first heard Prince’s music in 1979 while working as a student deejay at Clark Atlanta University and at rock station WKLF 96.

“I heard the first single from his first album, Prince, called ‘Soft and Wet,’ ” Adams said. “That was back in the day when you would read the album cover. First, I noticed that he had produced it himself and that was a really big deal to produce your own music back then. Then, I saw that he played all of the instruments on the album. It said he played 27 instruments and he was only, like, 17 years old. That was the start, pretty much from then on, I’m a fan.”

Adams, who said he frequently encountered musicians as a deejay, said he found himself speechless when he met Prince while working for a record company in 1983.

“I feel a presence behind me and I turn around and it is Prince and I freeze and I turn into a child,” Adams said, laughing. “I mumble something like, ‘Wow, you’re Prince!’ He said, ‘Yes, I am.’ I wanted to ask him my questions, but I froze. He waited some more, then he just walked away.”

As he signed off from his Washington radio show Thursday, Donnie Simpson said he believes there may be more of Prince’s music to come.

“It’s hard to believe [his] life is over, but I thank God that he left us with so much music, man. You know how much stuff he released. Just imagine how much is in his vault, thousands of songs, man, guaranteed.”

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