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“GLAM ODYSSEY” In Moreno Valley

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By Victoria Taylor

Fashion Fair model strikes a pose.
With the hard work and effort it took Linda Wright the president and the board of directors of the Moreno Valley Black Chamber of Commerce, the fabulous Fashion Show is known for traveling all over the world was caught Thursday evening April 10, 2008 at the Moreno Valley Conference Center tearing up the runway with the most stunning garment made by the world renowned designers: Steve Harvey, Carolina Herrera, Marc Bouwer. Antonio Wingfield, b. Michael, American, and Gianni Calignano, and Oppio, French.  The residence of Moreno Valley came in their finest attire to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the world's largest traveling fashion show. The event was designed with Moreno Valley in mind.  The show didn't start until 8:30 p.m. however the VIP guest started arriving as early as 6 p.m. for the VIP reception.

A saxophonist was present, playing beautiful smooth jazz tunes and high notes as the background music. The atmosphere was calm and exciting, but nothing could prepare the guests for a phenomenal show that was awaiting. Ebony's commentator Jada Collins wowed us with her introduction and knowledge of the designers and their amazing garments. If you've never been to Ebony Fashion Fair you were about to get schooled. From the past to the presents, outfits that dated back to the 50's, 60's and the 80's were worn with style and so much class. Those signature styles have not been forgotten but have been recreated to fit any shape, from or fashion. The music, and the excitement from the models was electrifying. The 13 models kept the audience entertained, with their wonderful skits and dance routines.  Ooh's, Ahh's, and applauses was the reaction the models were getting from the audience. The beautiful bright colors, patterns, prints, styles, stitching, and sparkles, dazzled up the runway. One couldn't mention Ebony Fashion Fair without mentioning the marvelous fashion pioneer, Mrs. Eunice W. Johnson, producer-director of Ebony Fashion Fair. Dating back to the year of 1956 when Fashion Fair first started, "Mrs. Jessie Covington Dent, wife of Dr. Albert W. Dent, former president emeritus of Dillard University in New Orleans, approached Mr. John H. Johnson, publisher, chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co., to sponsor a mini-fashion show fund-raiser for the Women's Auxiliary of Flint-Goodrich Hospital in New Orleans. The first show was such a success that "Mr. Johnson, in consultation with Mrs. Johnson and Freda C. DeKnight, home service director, then decided to take it on a cross-country tour to benefit other worthy charities."  We are so glad they did. "Ten cities were selected in 1958 by Mr. and Mrs. Johnson to host the first Ebony Fashion Fair. With the theme "Ebony Fashion Fair Around The Clock," the show featured four female models with DeKnight serving as commentator. Ticket prices ranged from $3.50 to $12. The prices remained that way from 1958 through 1966, with more than 50 percent of the earnings allocated for scholarships. Ebony Fashion Fair continues to lead the way in showing Black America the latest in high fashion. The Ebony Fashion Fair has not only premiered creations by the world's biggest designers, but also made big stars out of some of its models." What Ebony Fashion Fair sought out to do 50 years ago is still reaping the benefits.

Victoria Taylor, Lea Petersen, Samuel M. Deans and Anna Wenger.

Plaques were presented during intermission to the valued sponsors of the MVBCC. Amongst those awarded was Ms. Lea Petersen of The Gas Company. Ms. Petersen is the Economic Development Chair for the MVBCC and she's also well loved by the Moreno Valley Community. "The Ebony Fashion show is an outstanding first class fun event that was brought to Moreno Valley by a lot of hard work of the President, Board of Directors and volunteers of the Moreno Valley Black Chamber Community Foundation.  It is always a pleasure to be able to sponsor an outstanding event like this and at the same time be able to support the Educational Services and Scholarship program run by the Chamber.  Could it get any better - the latest fashions, food and fun in support of a great cause for the community? I have already marked my calendar for next year's show," stated Ms. Petersen. 

Models on the runway.
Moreno Valley is grateful to have the wonderful Moreno Valley Black Chamber of Commerce Ms. Linda Wright, the President/Founder, and the Board of Directors Jerry Green, the Chair, Jacqui Miller, the Secretary, and Dorothy Miles, the Treasurer and all the many sponsors, and volunteers. They worked countless hours to get Ebony Fashion Fair here in Moreno Valley. The MVBCC have been serving Moreno Valley since 2004 and this year they have big events on their agenda.  Their Community Foundation is getting ready to launch its first ever Youth Work Force Development starting April 19th for the youth ages16-24. This foundation will help prepare help them find a job, prepare them for work, it will also teach them as to how they should conduct themselves as citizens of Moreno Valley. Another event on the horizon is the Business Expo dated May16th.

For more details about these exciting events or to become a member please call the MVBCC at (951) 697-7772.  This was truly a night to remember that should be added to the Moreno Valley archives. Happy 50th Anniversary Ebony Fashion Fair. This was truly a Glam Odyssey in Moreno Valley.

Youth Action Partnership Park Clean Up

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Last Saturday, San Bernardino's Seccombe Lake Park was alive with the sounds of Mariachi, rap and jazz as the Youth Action Project (YAP) hosted its first Unity Festival in honor of Cesar Chavez Day.

Multicultural food and craft vendors provided flavor and color while local businesses and community partners provided resource information to the more than 300 attendees.  The "Kids Corner" included games and prizes, a clown and face painting to the delight of the younger set. Showing their support of the event and YAP were 1st Ward Council member Ester Estrada; 5th District Supervisor Josie Gonzales and Fontana Mayor Pro Tem Aquanetta Warren who all welcomed the crowd.

National Day of Service

 The Youth Action Project "Event Team" has been hard at work planning this event for months, distributing flyers, securing sponsors, entertainers and vendors.  However, the most critical part of getting this event from "concept" to "presentation" was the park clean up YAP organized on March 28, the Friday prior to the event.

More than 60 volunteers turned out to assist YAP with the park clean up, including some of the homeless who call Seccombe Lake Park home.  "Many of our YAP members live in and around down town San Bernardino and visit the park from time to time," said Joseph Williams, CEO of YAP.  "They think the park is beautiful, but not always safe."  During one of their member planning meetings, the members decided they wanted to host the event at the lake in honor of Cesar Chavez, so the one-day event became a two-day event.  During the clean up on Friday, YAP provided refreshments for all the volunteers.  YAP members plan to adopt the park and will conduct a clean-up activity there once a month.

Established in 1998, The Youth Action Project is a nonprofit organization that offers youth development, career preparation programs and community-based workshops to the youth of the Inland Empire.  Partially funded through the California Volunteers through AmeriCorps., YAP committed to hosting two "National Days of Service", with the intent of engaging the citizens of San Bernardino in volunteer activities.  Volunteerism is a wonderful way to strengthen the community while teaching valuable skills and life lessons.  The Youth Action Project is committed to empowering communities one youth at a time.  For additional information on YAP, visit their website at www.youthactionproject.org  or, call their downtown San Bernardino offices at (909) 885-6880.

Social Lites Announce Winners of Annual Sir Knight of The Beautillion

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Social Lite's Chairwoman, Ms. Tracy Thomas is proud to announce the award winners of the 41tst annual Sir Knight of the Beautillion.  The theme she selected for the 2007/08 candidacy "Generation ‘Y' Why Not Us" was eloquently articulated during the presentation given by Keynote speaker, Erick Witherspoon, Principal of Preston Elementary School in Rialto who recalled his days as a Knight.

Joseph Richard
The numerous monetary awards were presented based on academic achievement as well as the ability to overcome obstacles during the course of the Beautillion Program. The Alumni award went to Willie Patterson, the Perseverance Award to Derrick Jones, the President's award to Joseph Richard, the Social Lite's Award to Reginald Jackson Jr., and the Mr. Congeniality Award went to Christensen Sanders.  

Richard Blacksher, a senior at Arroyo Valley High School was dubbed Sir Knight of the   2008 Beautillion. Richard earned a trip to Cabo San Lucus, a Sony Laptop Computer, and an electric Gipson Guitar. The first runner up, Rahman Bell a senior at Middle College High School earned a Toshiba Laptop Computer. Bell was also awarded the Academic Achievement Award. 


“Donda West Law” is Introduced

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Following the death of  Kanye West's mother, a bill proposed by Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto) on behalf of a Colton family  member would require medical clearance for elective cosmetic surgery


The Colton, California niece of Donda West, the mother of Kanye West,  who died following cosmetic surgery, has sought out 62nd District State Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter  (D-Rialto)  to introduce legislation calling for a requirement that any person, prior to undergoing elective cosmetic surgery,  have a medical clearance from a licensed physician.

Yolanda Anderson of Colton, niece of the late Donda West and cousin to Kanye West, visits with Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter during her March 19 Open House in Rialto, which was attended by 200 people. On behalf of Anderson and Kanye West's family, Assembly Member Carter has introduced Assembly Bill 2968, called the Donda West Law, which would require that any person, prior to undergoing elective cosmetic surgery, have a medical clearance from a licensed physician.

The proposed  legislation, which is called the "Donda West Law", is now Assembly Bill  2968.  Yolanda Anderson, who has lived in Colton since 1984, has said that after her aunt died on November 10, 2007,        "We felt this is something we wanted to do to make sure her death wouldn't be in vain.  We don't want to let it happen to other families. We've spoken to Kanye and he's very enthusiastic about it."

 The 58-year-old West is reported to have suffered complications that led to her death following an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and breast reduction, which was performed by a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. She apparently had not heeded medical advice from a different plastic surgeon to get a clearance due to a pre-existing medical condition. The Los Angeles County coroner's report, as of  Jan. 10, 2008, said that West died of "coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty...but the final manner of death could not be determined."

When her niece, Anderson, a property manager, decided to pursue her idea for a law, her husband John, a basketball coach at Wilmer Amina Carter High School in Rialto, suggested that they contact the legislator, for whom the high school is named. When Yolanda Anderson contacted Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter's Rialto office in late November, Carter felt that she should enter her idea in her districtwide contest called, "It Ought to Be a Law." The winner of the contest, which ended November 30, 2007  would see his or her idea introduced as a bill in the 2008 legislative session and then have the opportunity to participate in the legislative process.

The "Donda West Law"  was selected from all the fine entries, Carter said.

"I received many thoughtful legislative ideas, but the proposal from the Andersons is timely and definitely needed in order to better protect our citizens from unnecessary bodily trauma that could result from elective cosmetic surgery, if they are not physically fit to undergo surgery," Carter said. "This is not directed at the many good plastic surgeons out there who require that their patients have a medical clearance before they perform elective cosmetic surgery. But it's not a requirement by law, and this will address those who may not require the clearance."

Darcell: Smooth Lyrics and Sound that Soothe the Soul

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By Jose Corea

If music lovers ever needed to find music that inspires feelings of being loved and valued, then they have found it in singer/songwriter, Darcell. For two years, this artist has been singing his way through the streets of Los Angeles. A native from Texas, he has been  selling records without any support from label. and persevering through rejection, even spending nine months living out of his car. Now his turn has come with the release of his debut CD set to be released May 2008.

Darcell's music is inspired by the smooth, sensitive and urban sounds of Babyface and Stevie Wonder, and the soulfully passionate messages of Marvin Gaye. However, his biggest inspiration is the woman that taught him how to play the piano and subsequently sparked his first interest in being a musician, his grandmother. For the self taught guitarist, music definitely runs in Darcell's blood. His grandmother sang and played piano, and as a child Darcell sang as part of his family's gospel ensemble, "The Sunlights".Image

Despite all the trials Darcell has faced to come this far, he describes the music in this album as having a lighthearted tone; he focuses on creating soothing melodies and positive lyrics, the experience of listening to one of his songs is like being gently relaxed onto a comfortable couch and whispered "you are loved. "I want to make people feel beautiful and valued, when they listen to this album my desire is for them to be relaxed and forget about all the worries they have for 45 minutes," says Darcell. He describes the messages in his lyrics not as bringing attention to the problems that many people face in their lives, instead singing messages that inspire people to be better by giving solutions to problems."

The first single, Let's Make Love (Angela's Melody), is now available at myspace.com/darcelltheartist. It is a simple and mellow song. It's just Darcell, his guitar, and his lyrics. One man, one instrument, one message. The simplicity of his sound is complimented by his melodious and breathy voice; his clean lyrics are a request for love and have a tone of admiration and appreciation to his beloved. Darcell expresses this feel throughout the continuity of his album.

"My record is like a pie, every piece of the pie is going to taste just as good as the first," states Darcell. He continues: "the songs take you on a journey, unfolding as the song unfolds."

Darcell's album is due for release May 21. If anyone is in search of music with relaxing melodies and optimistically soothing lyrics, then pick up Darcell's upcoming CD and be inspired to take a rest from daily stress and enjoy a little peace. Like the title of his single, Darcell (need a word besides trying to -- exudes, wants, drips, can't think of anything right now) desires to "make love" for his listeners, making them feel loved and appreciated.

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