Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Life is About Choices - What Lane Would You Choose?

Hey all of you beautiful people! I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you all for reading my blog and supporting me over the years. Having said that, keep in mind what you've heard me say so many times; Life is about choices. What road are you driving up? What direction are you heading in? I'm traveling in the right lane...Won't you join me? Choose L-I-F-E. Choose L-O-V-E.

What I mean is, we all get 24 hours in a day. What you make of it is up to you (God Willing, of course!)

Try to the best of your ability to talk about positive things, places - not people. Stay away from negative people. Smile more. Show some kindness to others. Put on your favorite music and dance more often!

Do yourself a favor. Invite love in. Let it sit a while. You just might be pleasantly surprised to know that Love fits you well! (I know you're smiling - I can feel it!)

Enjoy this day, and know that we all have choices to make in life. Choose life! Choose love....

Oakland Bay Bridge, en route to San Francisco, CA.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

R.I.P. Madiba - Nelson Mandela - Thank You

President of the United States, Barack Obama at the right hand of President Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GivingTuesday | Special Needs Network Inc. (SNN)

What would you do if you knew that your child's been diagnosed with Autism? You would pray for the best and search around for a support group, a team of people who could add practical ways to provide the best support for your child. You would probably reach out to other "brave parents of children with autism who have refused to give up."  - Meet Areva Martin Esq., Award-winning Attorney, Author, Speaker,
Television Personality, and Co founder of Special Needs Network. You see, when she learned that her son, Marty, (at the age of 2) was diagnosed with autism, that is precisely what she did.

Areva Martin, Esq. is a wife, mother, attorney, community activist and her sister's keeper. You see, everyday, the parents, staff and volunteers @Special Needs Network, Inc.(SNN) work to create a world where children with special needs are loved and cared for.

Areva Martin Esq. with JPAC participants 2013
Special Needs Network, Inc.(SNN) Mission:
"To raise public awareness of developmental disabilities and to impact public policy, while providing education and resources to families, children and adults. SNN serves as a link between under-served communities and mainstream developmental disability organizations and governmental institutions, which often fail to address issues specific to these communities. SNN firmly believes that dignity, hope, opportunity are the birthright of all children."

Check out the Special Needs Network Blog! Our Biggest Graduating PAM Class Yet.

Up and Coming Events:
Parent Advocacy Mentor Program (PAM) - Providing especially designed classes (for Free) for parents, caregivers, and professionals who work with special needs children. These classes are provided on a quarterly bases. Childcare, breakfast and all materials are provided. To sign up for the next cycle of classes - contact 213.389.7100 |

Special Needs Network Holiday Toy Drive 2013 - #5000toysSNN plans to distribute more than 5,000 unused toys to special needs children! Please donate a toy! Drop off toys
Special Needs Network, 4401 Crenshaw Blvd., Suite 215, Los Angeles, CA 90043 or call 323.291.7100

"We know our goal of collecting 5,000 toys is ambitious, but we also know so many families depend on our toy drive. Kids with disabilities deserve for the holidays to be just as special as everyone else. It's eye-opening to see just how many children and families would go without if not for the generous donations of so many." Says Areva Martin Esq.

Hats off to Areva Martin, Esq. for being an advocate for children and their parents, providing the proper tools to help them navigate through an otherwise world that seems to allow some to slip through the cracks, without a voice. Thank you for co-sponsoring  SB 946, "a bill that mandates that private insurance carriers cover autism therapies." (information taken from - Activism)

Must read:
The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism or Other Special Needs, by Areva Martin Esq.

Follow Special Needs Network on Twitter: @SpecialNeedsLA
Facebook: Special Needs Network 
#GiveTuesday - Special Needs Network Donations
(Thank you, Areva Martin, Esq., Executive Assistant, Manuel Deran, staff,  The Todd Group, for  your kindness, which means everything.)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Visiting Beverly Hills For The Holidays? Welcome!

There is so much to be grateful, and every single morning that I rise, believe me, I'm thankful to the Great I AM, for getting me up and on my way. I'm hoping that everyone got a chance to spend quality time with family and friends on the Holidays. For some, it's a lonely time of the year, so please be considerate and invite a Senior Citizen over for a meal with the family. Make a plate and bring it to someone who is home and not able to get out.

Villa Blanca of Beverly Hills, CA
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills(BRAVO Network)
For those of you who are visiting Beverly Hills for the Holidays from around the globe, do yourself a favor. Stop in to Villa Blanca, and step into a little slice of Heaven, Honey Child. First of all, the Staff is amazing - and beautiful!

I say pop on by, to celebrate an occasion, or just you and your BFF can step into the world of
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and have yourself some appetizers,a nice hot tea, a latte,
and dessert!

You will love the atmosphere.

Life is too short not to enjoy the different spots that Beverly Hills has to offer. Lisa Vanderpump and Executive Chef Francis Dimitrius know how to make it happen!  For those who celebrate, enjoy the Holidays!


Photography by Mathew Mitchell
Villa Blanca of Beverly Hills | 9601 Brighton Avenue, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 310.614.4427 |

Monday, November 18, 2013

Let's Practice Kindness - Shall We?

 I remember when I was a little girl, my grandmother would say, "You can get more with honey then you do with vinegar." My grandfather would say, "If you treat people with kindness, they might not remember where they met you, but they will remember how you treated them."

Those words of wisdom have truly been like a beacon of light in my world. I thank God for my grandparents, who have since laid down with my ancestors.
I'm so grateful for the quality time that they spent with me and my siblings, and the consistent love that they showered us with on a daily bases. I can still feel their love, and it warms my heart, and puts a smile on my face. Love. It's so healing.

When I feel like I've go so much on my plate, and not enough time in which to get everything done, in a timely manner, I put on some American Jazz guitarist, Wes Montgomery - A Day in the Life. Oh yes. And then I tune into my all time favorite, "Bumpin' On Sunset" - I listen to those rare grooves, and get things done. Try it. You might just enjoy Wes Montgomery as much as I do.
Love & light,

Monday, November 4, 2013

MoAD San Francisco, Wrap-up! Mayor Willie Brown, Wilkes Bashford, Mo√ęt Hennessy USA ~ What Does MoADSF Mean to You?

San Francisco is truly an amazing City.
Just think, the city is 59 miles in
circumference, and is so so rich in culture.

Former Mayor of SF, The Honorable Willie Brown, Pam Moore,
Fashion Icon Wilkes Bashford
There is nothing like a community of people that unite, stepping up to support an outstanding cultural expression in the heart of the downtown community, at the lovely,
Historic Palace Hotel, and I mean  in full force -  to support
the Museum of the African Diaspora San Francisco as they celebrate their 8th Anniversary. The Theme?
The World's Canvas. Moet Hennessy USA, a major sponsor, spoke of the history and their legacy of supporting African-American Arts and Culture. Hats of to
Moet Hennessy USA.

Honorees, Danny Glover & Alfre Woodard
(Drew Altizer Photography)
This year's Honorees were: Alfre Woodard
 (12 Years A Slave),
Danny Glover,(Louverture Films), and
Dr. Sandra Hernandez (The San Francisco Foundation).

Being a Native San Franciscan, it was truly a remarkable evening, running into old friends, and making new ones....

In my humble opinion, the heart of the matter was truly what the Museum of the African Diaspora meant to each of us personally. Of course I couldn't ask everyone, but I was able to ask a few of the 450+people attending the Gala Event  -

What does MoADsf mean to you?
Sandi Bethune - "My Heritage."

Italina Kirknis - "It represents History/Art/Education."

Mayor Willie Brown brought it home for so many, when he had a vision for a Museum that would be "inclusive" of all ethnic back grounds, highlighting the contributions made by people who are the descendants of Africa in America.Mayor Brown also spoke of his appreciation for the support of Moet Hennessy USA,

An excellent MC, Pam Moore, KRON 4 News,  looked absolutely fabulous! I swear, she hasn't aged a day since I moved to Southern, CA, 18 years ago!

What does MoADsf mean to you, Pam? She shared her thoughts with all of us, stating,
"When I'm driving  through the city, and I drive down Mission Street, and I see the collage of the face of the little girl that represents MoADsf, it makes me smile, knowing what's been accomplished  w/ MoADsf."

There were three women eloquently dressed in traditional African garments. Small wonder! They were from Ghana! What does MoADsf mean to you three Ladies?
Mabel, Gladys & Vivienne -
 "It speaks to our survival and represents the wonderful progress that has been made throughout the Diaspora."
Denise Bradley-Tyson, the first Executive Director of MoADsf, -  "MoADsf literally, Something connected to the African Diaspora."
Kimberly BrandonBrenda Wright, Deborah Santana,
Fashion Icon, Wilkes Bashford
(Drew Altizer Photography)
Philanthropist Joy Venturini Bianchi
(Drew Altizer Photography)

It was really good seeing Joy Venturini Bianchi on the Red Carpet @MoADsf Gala Event! Not only is Joy Venturini Bianchi a strong supporter of the Arts and Culture in San Francisco, she was also in Beverly Hills, the same week, supporting the grand opening of the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts as well. 

Tommie Moon, Renel Brooks-Moon, Danny Glover, Wilkes Bashford, Eliane Cavallerio
(Drew Altizer Photography
Renel Brooks-Moon, what does MoADsf mean to you?
MoADsf moves me deeply. It represents generations of struggle and achievements, despite the adversity that we've gone through for years." Thank you, Renel. Very #powerful #words.

Do you want to talk about fabulous? Wilkes Bashford is truly a gentleman, charming, and very very stylish. Speaking of stylish, look at the photos of so many well dressed people.
San Franciscans do know how to dress for the occasion, Darling....
I promise, you, if you wish to revamp your style, please make an appointment with
 Sheree Chambers @Wilkes Bashford , this Lady sets the fashion trends....

Nicki Naylor, Alain Pinel Realtors & Sheree Chambers, Wilkes Bashford
- These 2 Ladies were so delightful to talk to about fashion and Travel!
(Drew Altizer Photography)

Sherri McMullen, McMullen Boutique &
 Lisa Blackwell - Fabulous!
(Drew Altizer Photography)
Carolyn Tyler, ABC7, Gary Love looked wonderful on the Red Carpet.
Carolyn interviewed Danny Glover  - for more details, go to
(Drew Altizer Photography)
Derrick Muhammad,Supervisor of  District 5, London Breed
It was really good to see Supervisor London Breed again!

Ledisi singing,"Higher Than This."
(Drew Altizer Photography)

Deborah Santana, Dr. Sandra Hernandez and Viviana Paredes truly were enjoying the evening. Mayor Willie Brown introduced Dr. Hernandez, who gave a very down to earth, compelling acceptance speech!
Deborah Santana made it a point to speak to everyone. 
Deborah Santana, Dr. Sandra Hernandez
 and Viviana  Paredes
(Drew Altizer Photography)

MoADsf not only educates those who walk through the doors physically, but also provides an educational platform via multi-media, so that everyone around the globe can visit MoADSF with the tap of an iPad, or a click of a mouse. Support the Arts. Support 
Remember, WE are only as strong as our weakest link. 
With love & light, Carla

Special Thanks to
 Michael DeFlorimonte, Michael D.Communications
and Cathy Adams, CDA Consulting Group.
Thank you Shiree Dyson, Curator of Public Programs MoADsf,
for always being a consummate professional
Gwen McKee, Office Manager for providing the best first impression of MoADsf
Kitsaun King, Moadsf, for taking a moment out of your busy schedule - at a moment's notice, to assist me. You are very kind.
Big thank you to the entire Staff @MoADsf
Photographs: Drew Altizer Photography
                 San Francisco Magazine - Drew Altizer Photography
Ledisi's vocal range is so beautiful, and she got the audience up on their feet and singing the lyrics to the songs that only Ledisi can bring to life, "Pieces off Me",
 "Higher Than This", and "Alright" and something from her new joint, "I Blame You" - GO Get it on itunes now!
 Keep on doing your thing, 

Friday, October 11, 2013

MoADSF 8th Annual Gala Event, Honorees: Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard, Dr. Sandra Sanchez

Museum of the African Diaspora MoADSF- 8th Annual Gala Event, Oct 12, 2013 @ The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, CA. This year's theme? "MoAD: The World's Canvas" More to come....C

For tickets and information:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Black Fashion Week - Paris, France 2013

Paris, France 2013
Check it out: @ ADAMA Paris Fashion Events

Paris, France - Flasback2012

Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Holy Names University Commencement Speaker, Dr. Menbere Aklilu - Honored in Little Ethiopia (LA, CA) 2013 - YES!

"There are 2 women that inspire me. First of all, my son (Christian)  introduced me to her -
Dr. Menbere Aklilu  Commencement Speaker @ Holy Names University 2013
Dr. Maya Angelou. Her books helped me to heal. Her books helped me to understand what happened to me. We have a big connection. I talk to her every single day. Every single day. When I think of her, I say,
'I am proud to be a woman.'
 Dr. Angelou says,'You may not cannot control all the evils that happen to you. But you can decided not to be reduced by them.' And another thing she said,
'Nothing will work unless you do.'
I remember that."
Dr. Maya Angelou  is one of
Dr. Aklilu's Inspirations 
Dr. Aklilu's second (First in her heart) woman that motives her?
The woman that gave birth to her, who was taken away from her, when she was a child, in Ethiopia.

That just cut me like a knife when
I heard her say that her Mother was murdered right before her eyes. Even after experiencing that kind of trauma, Dr. Aklilu keep pushing on. On to Italy, then on to The United States of America.

Power in Words
"My Mother. Even though she wasn't there for my teenager trouble. Even though she wasn't there for my High School graduation. She wasn't there when I was abused verbally physically, sexually. She wasn't the wasn't there to protect me to dry my tears. Even though she wasn't there when I brought my son in this world, to hold him.  But she is always with me. Always. She's behind me to give me power. She's in front of me to pull me to go further. Every decision I made, every recited every step I take, she is always with me." I feel the power in your words, Dr. Aklilu. Amen?
Dr. Menbere Aklilu receiving an Honorary PhD from Holy Names University
May 2013.
So today, the love, the respect, the affection, the smile you give me remain in my heart forever. But the degree you give me, I want to dedicate to my Mother. Please allow me."

"I moved from Ethiopia to Italy. Things did not go very well. I got involved in an abusive relationship."
After realizing that things were not going to get better, and at the time, Dr. Aklilu was 9 months pregnant with her son, she went to God's house, and was sitting in a pew, crying her heart out. Then something happened. It was truly a blessing. Dr. Aklilu says,
"Father Gasparini walked into the church. 'Why are you crying?' I told him that I was homeless and 9 months pregnant."  He said, "Let me give it to the Lord, and I'll come back to you." " The next day, he came back. He said, 'Menbere, I found a place for you. It's Mother Theresa's Women's Shelter.' I said, "Thank you."
I gave birth to my son at the shelter. His name is Christian."

One morning, Sister Superior Sister Matilde, said, "Menbere you have to be here tomorrow, because Mother Theresa is coming to the shelter." I said, "Okay". The next day, when Mother Theresa arrived,
 "I was in the corner holding my baby and crying. Mother Theresa said, "Why you are crying? Give me that baby." She held him. "She said, Why you are crying?"
I said, "Mother, this it's not what I want. It's not my dream. I have a dream. I have passion. I a have fire inside me. I don't want this one."
Mother Theresa said, "Well. Have Faith. Both of you - you are God's Child. God will never abandon you. HE will take you on the right path." I got a job and started living a normal life.

"Then I decided that I must move to America. I hear it's a wonderful country. It's an opportunity land.
 I had to go. I had to take risks." Her son Christian was very upset over the idea of moving to America, leaving his church, his friends, his country. I told him, "There is a voice inside of me. I have to listen that voice. Otherwise that voice start screaming at me. I have to go. " It was 1995 when Dr. Aklilu and Christian stepped foot on American soil, making it their home.

Willing to Work
After arriving in America, she says, "I got a job paying $7.00 per hour. I asked,
"What's my job?" I was told to be a Hostess. No problem. I am an actress, I can do this. But I felt that they were paying me way too much money for what I was doing.
So I started cleaning and making sure things were in order. She got promoted. Today Dr. Aklilu owns
Salute Restaurant in the Richmond Marina Bay

"When you do a good job. People see you. People remember you."

Giving Back to the Community in Which we Serve -

Dr. Aklilu's Three Lessons For Which She Lives By:

Always Do The Right Thing
Dr. Aklilu at her Italian restaurant, Salute e Vita Ristorante,Richmond , CA Marina Bay
1) "No matter what it is you have to say and you have to do the right thing. The right thing comes back to you. It doesn't matter. Even if they don't agree, always do the right thing."

Are We Entitled to Success?
2) "Success. No one is entitled to be successful. You earn it. You earned your degree today. Success - it doesn't make you happy. When you are happy, you become successful. To be happy, you have to be in the community and you have to give back. You have to remember from where you came."

Dr. Aklilu said, "I took my son back to the shelter where he was born in Rome, Italy. The shelter looks the exact same as it did when I was there. Mother Superior is there. Mother Superior said to my son, "You have to give back. What you got, you got from the world. You have to give back to the world. You have to give back. You have to come back to the shelter, you have to give back."  Christian said to Mother Superior,
"This will be my first job."

Don't Settle For Less
3) "Don't settle. Do not settle for less. Keep looking until you find what you like.
I am an actress. I greet people and talk to people and share my story, and I am happy."

Dr. Aklilu's Two Gifts to Holy Names University Graduate Students Class of 2013:
"Always remember, when you have difficult times, you must say, 'Nothing is impossible.'"

"I give you all Gift Certificates to my restaurant for all of you! You can come and celebrate your graduation! Bring your parents, neighbor, boyfriend, girlfriend. Your job is, pick up the phone and say,
 "I am 2013 Holy Names Graduate Student" - and I will open the door for you, you will have the best seat in the house! Thank you. Graci! Caio!"

Dr. Aklilu's Words to Live By
"The past has no power over this present moment. Because life is now. Life is this moment. You have to give back. Tell the past thank you. Tell the past, " I got the lesson, thank you."  Then tell the future I am ready." Dr. Aklilu, those are true words of wisdom. Thank you. May you continue to be blessed 1,000 fold.
WE Salute you, Lady.

Dr. Aklilu is a Mother, humanitarian, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and things globally.
Salute Marina Bay Restaurant, features Italian Cuisine and is located @ 1900 Esplanade, Dr. Richmond, CA 94804| 510.215.0803

The Southern California Community is celebrating Dr. Aklilu's philanthropic endeavors in the Los Angeles Area as well - in Little Ethiopia @ their 12th Annual Cultural Street Festival (celebrated September 8, 2013). Los Angeles City Council President, Herb J. Wesson Jr., Dr. Menbere Aklilu, and the Mayor of Los Anglees, the Honorable Eric Garcetti presented Dr. Aklilu with an honor.
(L to R.) LA City Council President, Herb J. Wesson Jr. Dr. Aklilu ,
 Mayor of Los Angeles, CA The Honorable Eric Garcetti

Special Thank You to:
Liz Carlin, Deputy-West, and Albert Edmund Lord III,  Deputy-South East, Office of Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. Council District Ten  for consistently rolling up their sleeves and  zealously working shoulder to shoulder with the LA Community.

Love & Light,

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wayne Schoenfeld - Philanthropist | Renaissance Man & Rotaplast International - Game Changers

Wayne Schoenfeld is the man behind the lens, with insight and wisdom beyond his years. Wayne has the ability to use his 
"third eye" to enlighten us.
Join Wayne Schoenfeld  & Rotaplast International as they take us on a journey around the globe, changing up the game by
making a difference in
over 10,000 children's lives.
Hit the re-set button and get with
New Democracy Productions 
Why? To effect positive change in this world.

Wayne Schoenfeld 
Visionary, Philanthropist,Humanitarian
Renaissance Man
In 1992, some game-changers decided to make a difference - starting with the
Man in the Mirror, establishing 

Rotaplast International,  a 501(c)(3),
non-profit organization out of San Francisco, CA, co-founded by 
Angelo Capozzi,MD and PDG Peter C. Lagarias.
Dr. Angelo Capozzi holding a babe born
w/ a cleft lip (pre-surgery)
Dr. Capozzi has 49 years of experience as a Plastic Surgeon. PDG Peter C. Lagarias , Philanthropist, are being of like minds, envision eliminating the incidence of untreated cleft lips and palates in children worldwide by the year 2025. Rotaplast International is the vehicle that will allow Dr. Capozzi and his wonderful team of health care professionals/volunteers to make their goal a reality.

Randy Floyd, a patient transporter,
w/ baby in tote to surgery
 Where to next?

Rotaplast International and New Democracy Productions are heading to Monrovia, Liberia in September 2013 to surgically repair cleft lip and palates. So far, they've  helped to put smiles on children's faces in Vietnam, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Romania, China, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Brazil and now Monrovia, Liberia
Join us on August 31, 2013  - 6:30pm - 10:00pm
 +Wayne Schoenfeld  @WSSLA @EarthWE Bergamot Station  @Rotaplast International

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

March on Washington - 1963 - 2013 - 50 Years

I remember my Aunt Bertha's (Caldwell - Sims - Rankins) reflection on the 1963 March on Washington.
Aunt Bertha said that she marched because our very human rights to exist in a country that we helped to build was under siege. Aunt Bertha said that a black man, woman and child should be treated as human beings, first class citizens in "Our Country 'tis of thee - sweet land of Liberty", and if we don't stand up for something, we will fall for anything. Aunt Bertha is 89 years old and still recalls their travels from Chicago, Il, to Washington DC.

Clarence B. Jones, writer - in- residence at Stanford University's Martin Luther King Jr. Institute, breaks it down when he says, "It was a stressful day." " I got a call - an urgent call - from Harry Belafonte, because we were getting enormous pressure from the parents of these kids to get them out of jail," Jones recalls.
The Rockefeller family wanted to help, so Jones had to fly to New York, go to a bank vault and sign a promissory note in exchange for $100,000 in cash. That meant, Jones explains, " when the creditor calls you and say[s], 'Pay me,' you pay that person."

So when he was helping King draft talking points for his speech, Jones suggested that event would make a powerful analogy.
"You know, coming here to like we are coming to our nation's capitol and ask[ing] to be repaid, or ask[ing] to be paid in full, on a promissory note," Jones says. "Well, there has to be sufficient funds in the vaults of justice in this country."

Indeed, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr used that image of a bounced check to assert that America had failed to live up to its promise. "It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned."  Dr.King Jr. stated from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. "Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'"

Food for thought: In 2013, the question is, what does Equal Rights, Fair Employment and First Class Citizenship mean to you? Who qualifies for these inalienable rights in the USA? Every American Citizen qualifies, right? ~ Your thoughts please...

Truly with Love & light,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

LA Premiere of Lee Daniels 'The Butler' Starring an All Star Cast ~ 8.12.2013

Ms.Oprah was on the Red Carpet  at the Regal LA LIVE Stadium
this evening, in downtown Los Angeles - doing the Darn Thing!
GO Oprah!
Oprah Winfrey on the Red Carpet in Los Angeles, CA
(Photography by Richard Darryl Nichols)
Lee Daniels has an excellent film coming out in a theater near you on August 16, 2013- entitled, "The Butler" Written by Danny Strong and Wil Haywood., a period film based on the book, based on the life of
Mr. Eugene Allen.
Wil Haywood put to pen the book,
"A Butler Well Served by This Election".
It is astonishing that Mr.Eugene Allen - a man/husband/father - worked in the White House as a Butler for 34 years, achieving the highest level of
 Maitre d', serving 8 Presidents:
President Lyndon Johnson, President Richard Nixon,
President Gerald Ford, President Jimmy Carter,
President Ronald Reagan,
President George H. W. Bush,
President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush,
and the highlight? President Barack H. Obama.
 "That's the man, he said, as he watched
 President Barack H. Obama being sworn into office in 2008. "Whew, I'm telling you, it's something to see. Seeing him standing there, it's been worth it all."
Yes. Mr.Eugene Allen, who lived to be a "Mighty One" - 90 years of age, laid down with our ancestors in 2010. I salute you, and the men like you, Mr. Eugene Allen, who paved the way for our generation. Rest in Peace.

The film has an all star cast:
Forest Whitaker
Oprah Winfrey
Mariah Carey
John Cusack
Jame Fonda
Cuba Gooding,JR.
Terrence Howard
Lenny Kravitz
James Marsden
David Oyelowo
Vanessa Redgrave
Alan Rickman
Liev Schreiber
Robin Williams
Clarence Williams III
Hats off to The Weinstein Company

My opinion? - And you already know I have one ~
This is truly a "Must See" film that shows how America, "The Beautiful",
 is comprised of people who have True Grit. We've got some issues to work out amongst( yes, I'm using my Grandfather's word)  ourselves, but through and through, we'll work 'em out.

Go ON with it, Lee Daniels!
Love & light, Carla

The Official Trailer for The Weinstein Company - Lee Daniels 'The Butler'

The Official Trailer for The Weinstein Company - Lee Daniels 'The Butler' 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

A father and his children showing love
Family. There is nothing more important, or more valuable then Family. Today is Father's Day, and I would like to thank all of the men out there in this world, that take the time to love/ provide / protect / and instill  wisdom and knowledge into the minds and hearts of children. Now, you know how opinionated I am, so here it goes. A father is
Andrea Bocelli Foundation - Showing love through music
a man that not only provides the seed to reproduce the child, but stays committed through the entire process of raising the child to adulthood. Riding the waves of life - ups and downs, twist and turns, but sticking to it, making sure that he has the child's best interest in mind. Now, due to so many unforeseen occurrences, life takes a spin tail turn and for whatever reason, the father is not in the picture anymore. Well, the child still needs a father figure. That's where all of you men who have stepped up to the helm and helped raise the children comes into play. Thank you. Thank you all of the brothers and uncles and cousins  and friends of the family that have stepped in and helped to lead children into safe havens. Keeping their innocence - guarding their innocence. May God continue to bless and protect you.

Love & light,

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I'll Always Love My Mama

Every time that I hear that song by the Intruders, " I'll Always Love My Mama", it puts a smile on my face, and takes me way back. I remember as a little child, watching them sing that song on "Soul Train", and singing along as best I could. When I think of all the sacrifices that my Mother made for us, it makes me want to cry, because she made sure that we had everything we ever needed, never thinking of herself.

Mother and I in Cairo, Egypt, The Pyramids of Giza
Yes, today is Mother's Day, and I am wishing my Mother, as well as yours, a very Happy Mother's Day.
Thank you, Mother, for raising my brother, sister and I with integrity. For even having enough love in your heart to raise other people's children as well. Al, Sissy and I appreciate what you've done for us, and thank Jehovah God for you. (Grandmother, Malisa Caldwell Evans,(R.I.P.) laid down with our ancestors in 1984. Today, she would've been 100 years old. I'll always treasure her as well. I miss you, Sweetie!)

Since tomorrow is not promised, we must treasure each day that you have with your Mother, your family, your friends. #Try love.

Love & light,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Living Life Out Loud with Carolyn and Janice Wilbourn @ Dawn Sutherland's Estate - May 4th & 5th (Saturday & Sunday) ~ Los Angeles, CA

Caroline and Janice Wilbourn 
are Fashion Designers of Wilbourn Sisters Designs, Inc
Carolyn and Janice Wilbourn come from a strong legacy of women who use their God given talents, taught to them by their Mother, affectionately known as 
"Queen Mother "Elizabeth". 

Queen Mother "Elizabeth", of Jackson, Tennessee, encouraged her daughters (7 women) to follow in her footsteps, and learn to sew, creating their own sense of style, market and sell their designs, thus becoming entrepreneurs at a very young age. These women were taught that if they can visualize it, they can create it and the sky is the limit! 
Wilbourn Sisters Designs, Inc,
Model, DeNatalie Phillips 

Having traveled extensively, Carolyn and Janice have lived in Paris, France for many years (a decade, to be exact), designing with beautiful fabrics, texture and magnificent colors for women of all nationalities, shapes and sizes. After-all, the globe is their home. 

The Wilbourn Sisters Designs, Inc.continue to design some of the most beautiful Diva Wrap Dresses, and
Diva Wrap Blouses that you'll feel Royal in - why?
Because 50 years of Mother Queen "Elizabeth" and her gifted, talented daughters sew love into every garment, instilling knowledge, wisdom and a spirit of 
"I am beautiful!" in the garments wrapped around you!

Walk on, Diva, swaying those hips and moving in time, feeling every bit of fabulous in your own Wilbourn Sisters Designs Inc.
Janice Wilbourn - Woods, Co-President, Wilbourn Sisters Designs Inc.,
Southern Californians

Dawn Sutherland,
VP & Controller, Xerox Corporation
Dawn Sutherland welcomes Designers Carolyn and Janice Wilbourn to her lovely home in Los Angeles, CA
Dawn Sutherland is having an
Ultimate 2 Day Fashion Experience
May 4th & 5th (Saturday & Sunday)

Get prepared to shop and Support Black Businesses, Artists and the Arts
Proceeds will benefit BALA a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation

Some of Dawn's Private Art Collection will be on 
Sale as she prepares to move on to her Next Chapter!!!

In Memory of two dynamic women who made their
transition 4/24 and 4/25
Antronette (Toni) Yancey, MD, MPH and Donna Lee Andrews R.I.P.

Love & light, Carla

You can purchase your Wilbourn Sister Designs at Macy's Greenbriar Mall, SW Atlanta, GA,
or By Appointment: | 770. 634.3494 or 770.634.3496
For information regarding the 3 day event, and BALA, please contact Moza Mjasiri Cooper 323.291.2024

Thursday, April 25, 2013

West Coast Urban Ballroom Gents - Third Annual Black & White Ball "Harlem Nights Revisited"

This Saturday, April 27, 2013, The West Coast Urban Ballroom Gents are having their Third Annual Black & White Ball and this year's theme is "Harlem Nights Revisited." Meet the Gentlemen of the West Coast Urban Ballroom Gent: James "Rocky" Hubbert, Gent: Charles Dean, Gent: Reggie Lewis, Gent: Roger Franklin, Gent: Eric Weaver, Gent: Curtis White, Gent: Victor Brown, Gent: Roy Dennis, Gent: Sam Elijah.

The "West Coast Urban Ball Room Gents", Inglewood, CA
ABCs "Dancing With The Stars" seems to get that much more fun and exciting each Season. Oh, but this Season - 16?  Off the charts! Did you watch it? There's so many fabulous routines, and Andrea Bocelli, and Stevie Wonder were on the show, and it was awesome! Now, what I suggest one do is to put on your tux, have your Lady dress up in her fabulous ballroom gown, put some curls in some bouncy hair, get those lovely to die for heels on, purchase a ticket to the "West Coast Urban Ballroom Gents"
Black & White Ball, Harlem Nights Revisited, and hit the floor, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire Style!

Harlem Nights Revisited - Black & White Ball 4.27.2013
You've got to know that there is truly a certain style and class that goes along with what it is that the
"West Coast Urban Ballroom Gents" bring to the dance floor. There's going to be a fabulous evening, dancing the night away!

You can reach Roy Dennis on Twitter @Ballroomroy or FaceBook Roy Dennis, and West Coast Urban Ballroom Gents.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - A Legacy

I got up first thing this morning and made note of all of the things that I am grateful for:
 1. Waking up this morning 2. Having my health and strength
3. Knowing the true God Jehovah 4. Knowing thy-Self 5. Staying conscious 6. Having a great support system i.e. family and friends
7. Being capable of loving 8. Helping others
9. Being able to laugh, sing and dance and love!
10. Knowing what is real and what isn't.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Stood for something. He rocked the world with his greater since of mutual respect for all of humanity. He lived his life, making conscious choices, working towards "the greater good" of mankind. He preached the importance of judging one by the "content of their character" - not their skin type. That is deep.

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and those that marched with you, and those that existed before you,  that paved the way so that I can try and make this place a better space for the generations that follow...

I got up this morning,  April 4, got all dressed up and listened to some Stevie Wonder and had a glow and an inner smile in my heart. Reflecting on a day, not so long ago, that my friend Debbie came by my office and we went to lunch - Italian food. Debbie is conscious of the ugliness that has plagued this nation for generations, racism, a disease that has caused the demise of so many people. So, my friend Debbie, brought me a flower, to celebrate MLK's B-Day. We, as friends, are living the  MLK Jr. Dream. She and I smiled and reflected on the fact that not so long ago, 30 years ago or so, we could not have shared the same table. Why? Because she is a blond hair blue eyed white
(Anglo-Saxon descent) American, and I am an black (West African descent) American.
Today it was not even an issue as we entered the restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA.,  and sat down to
"break bread". Now, that's progress!

Today, due to the many sacrifices of so many black, white, red, yellow and brown Americans -
we can sit down to a meal and not get arrested. We can live together as neighbors and not harm one another. You see, as fellow human beings, we have more in common then we have differences.
Let's think about how we can come together and let go of the hatred that is being stirred up like embers from a flame that burns in a low undertone here in the USA, and just when it looks like the flames have died, someone waves the flames, hoping to re-ignite the fire. Enough.
Let's reflect on the life one man, that died in the name of progress, so that you and I can live and work, shoulder to shoulder, helping one another, not trying to destroy each other.

Let's have more respect for one another, be patient with one another, feed one another kindness - shall we?

Love & light, C
(updated/edited/from a 2/ 09, 2/12 post | no intentional copyright infringement.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

UNCF - Mayor's Masked Ball - Los Angeles, 2013

The invitation to the Mayor's Masked Ball 2013
It was April 25, 1944, when  Frederick D. Patterson (President of Tuskegee University) and
Mary McLeod Bethune, UNCF envisions a nation where all Americans have equal access to a college education that prepares them for rich intellectual lives, competitive and fulfilling careers, engaged citizenship and service to or nation."
"Last evening, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, in conjunction with UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball, held at
 Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City.
The Whispers were in the house - and had everyone on their feet dancing! Loretta Devine, Obba Babbatunde, Anna Maria Horsford were just a few celebrities having a blast at the ball!
Chris Schauble, Co-Anchor, KTLA 5 Morning News announcer, and Vera Jimenez, Meteorologist, Reporter, KTLA 5 News and Master of Ceremony, Jim Hill,
 Sports Anchor, CBS 2/ KCAL 9  were outstanding!

The Honorable Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mayor, City of Los Angeles,
and Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF welcomed everyone so warmly.
Honorable Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mayor of  Los Angeles, CA.
The Invocation was done by Rev. Zelda Kennedy, Senior Associate, Pastoral Care and
Spiritual Growth All Saints Church.
Chris Schauble, Anchor, KTLA 5
Sandra Phillips, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel,Toyota Motor Sales
Jim Hill, Sports, Anchor, CBS2/KCAL 9
Sandra Phillips, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. was so lively and entertaining.

Lisa D. Cagnolatti, Vice President, Business Customer Division of Southern California Edison was very hospitable, with the largest mask I've ever seen! She had the entire audience rolling!

Carl A. Balton, President, Union Bank
Hats off to Carl A. Balton, President,
Union Bank Foundation, for sincerely working so diligently in the community, making sure that the richness of our culture is preserved, as well as supporting HBCUs.

 Earvin "Magic" Johnson  - and Sheryl P. Underwood were the Honorees.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Honoree
Sheryl P. Underwood, Honoree
Did I tell you that the full-time Husband, Father, MBA All Star, Entrepreneur and Joseph (the Biblical character that forgave his brothers and took care of his family during a famine. How? His brothers sold him into slavery and he worked his behind off, and was eventually rewarded by being entrusted with all of all of the Pharaoh's store houses of food stuffs, during feast and famine) in the community,  Earvin "Magic" Johnson and his lovely wife, Cookie, are life/purpose driven and provide so much help within the urban communities across the United States in more ways then one can imagine.

This remarkable man (I'm talking "Magic" Johnson, ya'll), along with the late Jerry Buss (R.I.P. Jerry Buss), from day one, have made things happen in the Los Angeles area. Magic Johnson says, "For me, it always goes back to something I learned in basketball. There's winning and there's losing, and in life you have to know they both will happen. But what's never been acceptable to me is quitting." Yes, Magic Johnson, you consistently show by example that you are not a quitter. Thank you, Magic Johnson, for showing our children first hand, how to work hard, gain success and reach back and uplift others. You are your brother's keeper, and we love you for that.

Dawn Sutherland, VP Finance, Controller USCO,
Sheryl P.Underwood is truly a brilliant woman. Her comedic timing is impeccable. Sheryl, a co-host of the show, "The Talk", on CBS International President of her beloved Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., makes it a goal to help people as often as possible. She humbly accepted her award, and spoke to the audience from her heart, stressing the importance of making sure that we continue to support our youth, ensuring that they have better opportunities. Keep letting your light shine, Sheryl!

XEROX Corporation actively supports the community and was one of the sponsors for the event.
Dawn Sutherland, VP Finance, Controller, USCO Southern California / Las Vegas Operations looked absolutely fabulous! Yes, Dawn Sutherland does fabulous quite well, wearing a gown designed by Carolyn Wilbourn, of
Wilbourn Exclusives, out of Atlanta, GA.

Dawn Sutherland is committed to making sure that our youth succeed, getting all the necessary tools needed to grasp and obtain higher education.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., Founding sponsor is an awesome corporation. See how they continue to fly!


(photo of listing of sponsors - Richard Nichols, All other photos are taken from each person's website - and UNCF)