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Dream Comes True for DreamWorks African American Storyboard Artist

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By Lea Michelle Cash

In downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row area, amidst cardboard boxes, camping tents, and boarded up buildings, that were once factories in better days, shining brightly is an art community—a diamond in the ruff. It is absolutely brilliant, beautiful, and priceless. As I toured the facilities, I could feel the tears beginning to swell in my eyes and Joseph Collins, the President & CEO of Inner-City Arts said, “Its okay. We quite often have people on their first visits—react with tears.”

Inner-City Arts is 30,000 square feet (featuring eight buildings) of everything imaginable associated with creativity and art, FREE to inner-city children. The campus is stationed as a fixture, in the poorest section of Los Angeles called home for hundreds of homeless people. Behind Inner-City Arts secure locked gate, there is color, design, and cultural brilliance bursting like spring and summer everywhere. In addition, since public school teachers face inadequate resources to use the arts as educational tools, losing opportunities to connect with students with diverse needs, there is a professional development program to provide arts training educators to develop teaching strategies that integrate the arts into classroom learning—free.

It is an amazing magical place where all art forms including performing arts matter. Inner-City Arts currently serve 10,000 students and their families per year, with the capacity to open its studios to 20,000 students per year. Last year in July 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the campus and made art with 120 elementary school students, painting mandalas, and ceramic figures, then watching a dance performance by the Inner-City Arts Repertory Dance Company. Recently on Saturday, November 3, 2012, Peter Ramsey, visited Inner-City Arts. He visited to encourage and inspire a group of teen artists from animation to puppeteers to graphic designers. Ramsey is the director of DreamWorks soon to be released on Nov 21, Animation 3D film Rise of the Guardians. DreamWorks is a major funding donor to the animation program on the art campus. As an African American, Ramsey spoke of his challenges and dreams to one day become a director. “Whatever it is that you want to do and you would do it for free, that is the road you should take,” said Ramsey. “I love to draw and have been drawing since the age of three. Growing up in the inner city, Crenshaw area, I did not have a role model. So in my career path, I took the up and down path because I knew nothing about making movies—but I loved movies.”

After years of working hard as a self-taught story board artist on films like Boyz in the Hood, Rosewood, Trek 3, Puss in Boots, Being John Malkovich, Men in Black, Independence Day, Godzilla and as an illustrator for Batman Forever, he continues, “I practiced and self-educated myself to story boarding, and discovered I was suited for it. I regret that I left UCLA without proper grounding because its been a string of trials and errors for me—being self taught.”

Ramsey has worked for DreamWorks in the art department for eight years. Finally, three years ago, his dream came true when he was selected to become the director of Rise of the Guardians.

Although there are many individuals of color involved in animation, Ramsey’s promotion made him the first African American to direct a large budget animated film. The film budget was 145 million. Ramsey stated, “This is my dream. I was ready for this. I have learned so much about the process and myself emotionally. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe I accomplished this. This is truly a high point of my life.”

Rise of the Guardians is an epic adventure that tell the story of a group of heroes—each with extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces to save and protect the hopes, beliefs, and imagination of the children in the world.

The award winning Inner-City Arts nonprofit was founded in 1989. The multi –disciplinary arts campus is dedicated to bringing the best creative experience to thousands of inner-city children to improve their chances to lead protective and successful lives by developing creativity improved learning skills and building self-confidence. Although Inner-City Arts works in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District to bring elementary and middle school students to the campus during the school day for instruction, and high school students participate in after school programs, all inner-city youth in Southern California are welcome to attend their programs.

If you are interested in learning more about Inner-City Arts free programs, please call (213) 627-9621.

Carousel of Hope Honors George Clooney

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Raises thousands of dollars to benefit the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes

By Lea Michelle Cash

Every year 1.5 million people are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in America. This includes an alarming rate of 40 children per day diagnosed with diabetes as well. The disease strikes one in every three babies born today. Diabetes has doubled over the last 20 years, and is projected to double yet again by 2030.

Recently the founder, Barbara Davis, of the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (BDC) on the Anschutz Campus at the University of Colorado, held her annual spectacular fundraising affair in Beverly Hills to raise money for the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

Mrs. Davis states, “Every year 4,000,000 people around the globe lose their lives to diabetes and its complications of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. The disease remains the leading cause of amputation and new cases blindness.” Children from around the globe are benefiting from this organization as no child without the ability to pay is ever turned away.

It has been that way for 35 years, and the organization has raised over 80 million dollars for childhood diabetes research and treatment.

The special event titled “The Carousel of Hope” featured carousel horses stationed throughout the Beverly Hilton spacious lobbies. Hundreds of high ticket items like jewelry and vacation getaways were made available for auction to the highest bidder which assists the organization to raise thousands of dollars. Late night, talk show host Jay Leno was the master of ceremonies and auctioneer. The special event honored Academy Award winner, George Clooney for his outstanding global humanitarian efforts. He received the legendary “Brass Ring Award.” Clooney, the son of an anchorman is a strong First Amendment advocate with a deep commitment to humanitarian causes. Shirley MacLaine presented the prestigious award to him.

Over 100 of the biggest stars in Hollywood attended the fundraising event, as they have for 35 years to support Barbara Davis, and to raise funds for children living with the diabetes. David Foster, the ultimate hitmaker was on hand and introduced talented artists like music icon Baby Face and American Idol 2nd runner up, Jessica Sanchez who delivered an amazing performance of Broadway musical Dreamgirls classic, “And I Am Telling You.”

Neil Diamond delivered a stellar performance featuring his legendary hits songs. Diamond’s career has stretch over 50 years, selling 128 million albums worldwide. At the close of his performance, Diamond encouraged Clooney to take the mic and the ballroom exploded into a sing along to “Sweet Caroline.”

The special charity event raised 2.5 million to fight the cause of ending diabetes in children.

Pruning the Ashbury Tree

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Black women succumb to breast cancer at a higher rate than other women, according to Eudora Mitchell president of Quinn Community Outreach Corporation (QCOC), a nonprofit organization that promotes breast cancer awareness and self-breast exams in African American women throughout the Inland Empire.

Richard O. Jones, playwright and QCOC Board Member, recently wrote the play, “Pruning The Ashbury Tree” to save lives and educate women and African American families about early detection and the serious need to discuss breast cancer issues within the family.

The idea was adapted from a national breast cancer study of African American Families called Jewels in Our Genes. The resounding message of the play is that the mere diagnosis of breast cancer is not a death sentence. “Pruning The Ashbury Tree” is about the Ashbury family and their code of silence about the epidemic of breast cancer in the family that spreads from one generation to the next.

The silence is held as long as possible until one member discovers how to prune the family tree of the disease. This godly inspired play is designed to help reduce the morality rate from breast cancer in African American women and to a smaller extent in men as well.

A portion of the proceeds from “Pruning The Ashbury Tree” is donated to Quinn Community Outreach Corporation. The play opens for two shows 1 PM & 6 PM on Saturday, Novmber 10, 2012 at A.K. Quinn AME Church at 25400 Alessandro Blvd. in Moreno Valley, CA. This play will also be performed on Friday, November 16 at 7 PM in the Ballroom of Country Village Senior Apartment at 10250 Country Club Dr. Jurupa Valley, CA (10 minutes east of downtown Riverside).

For more information or tickets for either show go to website www.qcoc.net or call QCOC office (951) 485-3734 or Richard O. Jones (951) 210-9767.

Bravo Media Serves A Double Dose of Drama With 'The Real Housewives Of Atlanta: Hairstylists Tell All'

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Bravo Media packs a punch as it heads down south with a new special “The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Hairstylists Tell All,” premiering Sunday, October 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and “The Real Housewives of Miami” immediately following at 10p.m. ET/PT. As the ladies gear up for the fifth season of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," well-known Atlanta hairstylists and friends of the Housewives, Lawrence and Derek J, take a trip back in time to showcase some of their favorite moments from the Atlanta women. Women tell their hairstylists everything and Lawrence and Derek J are ready to share their colorful insight, present their favorite clips, and spill the "tea" (beans) on the ladies before the November 4 season premiere. For more information, visit www.BravoTV.com and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BravoPR.

Then at 10p.m. ET/PT, in a new episode of “The Real Housewives of Miami,” Lisa's Lingerie Party continues with a shocking confession from Marta that sends Joanna on a rampage, but Joanna's fury is put on pause when Elaine Lancaster confronts one Karent’s friends. As Lisa throws a full-on tantrum, Adriana becomes even more convinced that something needs to be done about Karent. The night spirals out of control as the fighting escalates and the violent aftermath leaves the party in disarray. For more information on “The Real Housewives of Miami,” visit: http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-miami

Mastering the Art of Mentoring to Save a Lost Generation – MENTOR OR DIE

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Profile on Author, Motivational Speaker & Master Mentor Kevin Hall

By Natasha Simone Ferguson

Author Kevin Hall has been working with at-risk youth for over 20 years and is passionate about reaching the lives of today’s youth through mentoring. His latest book ‘Mentor or Die’ gives readers valuable insight from a Master Mentor on how to become a mentor and make a difference in the lives of troubled youth. Hall is a veteran of the United States Marine Corp, and currently works in the judicial system helping at-risk youth. He is also founder and owner of Kool As Nerdz, a pro-education clothing company. A native of South Los Angeles, Hall is a graduate from Long Beach State University and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. In addition, he serves on the board of directors for Brother II Brother mentoring organization.

Mentor or Die: The Ultimate Blueprint to Developing a Mentoring Mindset (now available on Amazon.com) is a powerful new self-help book. Mentor or Die is founded on biblical principles and equips the reader with the necessary tools to teach you the importance of mentoring, and inspire you to make a difference in the life of a struggling child or youth.

What Is a Mentor and Why Does It Matter?

Hall tackles the question of exactly what a mentor is and what a mentor does in the first section of the book. He outlines how adversity affects children and how a strong mentor can help them overcome that hurdle to grow and thrive.

“You can learn how to adopt a mentor mindset, understand the power of education and build mentoring relationships with Mentor or Die,” said Hall. “Mentoring has changed my life, and I want to help people move from sitting on the sidelines wringing their hands to being actively engaged doing good in their communities.”

Hall gives you the skills and understanding you need to provide proper guidance to children and young people struggling with adversity. You can help before they get far down the wrong road.

Learn by Leading Mentoring young people is not an entirely selfless act. It provides real and meaningful benefits to those who choose to become mentors. Your own self-discipline will improve as you develop a new understanding of what it really means and how to apply discipline to your own life with Hall’s five steps to a disciplined mind. Mentor or Die tackles topics that make you think deeply about your own life and beliefs such as being strong without being violent, discovering your own reasons for success and finding strength through God. Becoming a mentor means a positive change in your own life as well as your community.

Hall is currently on a book tour and will be signing books on Sunday, November 4th from 4 to 7 p.m. at Hourglass Art & Wine Gallery at 8200 Haven Ave., Suite 300 in Ranch Cucamonga, Calif. For more information visit www.mentorordie.com.


Come meet and greet Author Kevin Hall at his book signing.
Sunday, November 4th from 4 to 7 p.m.
@ Hourglass Art & Wine Gallery
8200 Haven Ave., Suite 103 in Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

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BVN National News Wire