Local Woman, Mary Mawell, to Receive 2014 Drum Award


The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity honors individuals who best exemplify the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s commitment to scholastic achievement, social justice, community service, civic affairs and business.  This year’s award is being given in the category of social justice, and Mary Maxwell will be the recipient.  The Social Justice award is given to a person or group whose commitment to social justice for minorities, women, handicapped and others is unquestioned.

Ms. Maxwell is this year’s “champion of equal rights.”  

The award will be presented at the fraternity’s upcoming annual Dr. Martin Luther King Commemorative Luncheon on Friday, January 17, 2014, in downtown Orlando at the Ballroom at Church Street Station.  The event starts at 11:30am and will end by 1:30pm.

Congratulations, Ms. Maxwell.

NAACP Honors Members


The Orange County Branch NAACP Membership Committee and Branch President. Kran Riley hosted a reception honoring Gold and Life Members on Saturday, December 14, 2013.  The reception also acknowledged branch members for their continuous support, time, dedication and commitment.  During the reception, the committee highlighted the branch’s accomplishments for the year as well as shared information regarding the upcoming activities.

The branch encourages and welcomes existing members to become subscribing life members and also welcomes new members.   The Orange County NAACP monthly meetings are held AT 7:00 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the NAACP office 2512 West Colonial Drive Orlando Florida 32804, telephone number 407 649-3020.   The Branch thanks and appreciates the local community and look forward to  continued partnership and support.


Dear Sandy B:
This past summer I attended the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. I am still wondering about what was going on with Beyonce’s performance. It was something weird and not at all like the Beyonce that I went to see and have admired for so long. This weird performance went on for about thirty minutes, then she started performing like I had expected.
Do you have any idea of what all that weirdness was about in the beginning of her performance?
Winter Park
Dear Yvette:
I happened to be at the same show that you were at. My mouth stayed wide open as all I could think was “what in the “H” is this mess that is goin’ on”.  When the weird music started and then the weird photos of strange people popped up on the screen, I thought maybe a horror show was about to take place. Beyonce “took the cake” when she came out looking like “little black riding hood” in that black hooded cape. I ain’t about to rap about something I ain’t got no knowledge about. However, the word on the street is that Beyonce and Jay Z are now involved in some kind of secret organization/religion for the rich and powerful known as ILLUMINATI. Their money is large, but I hope there are not confused about the kind of loot that folks have around the world in this group; what they have is pennies compared. Check it out on Google.
Dear Sandy B:
I have friends that jump from church to church, and every year they actually join a new church. They have joined six churches in ten years. They always find fault with the minister, mainly, among other things. They actually get on me for staying at the church that I have attended all of my life even though I am not always happy with some of the things that that go on. Please comment.
Dear Marsha: I suggest that you do what makes you happy. Some folks ain’t  gonna never be happy, and quittin’  and complaining is what they do. I wonder how involved that got in those six churches. I’ve learned that every church has something that you may not like; If it meets your needs most of the time, consider yourself lucky.
Grandma’s Gem: Your ego may not always be your friend.

Local NAACP representatives join March on Washington


Orange County Branch NAACP members journeyed by bus to Washington, D.C. and back over the weekend together with other nearby Florida Branches and groups. They joined the tens of thousands in the national march of August 24th and its related 50th years ‘I Have a Dream’ observances. The Orange County members said it was a privilege and pleasure to join in the pilgrimage “To Realize The Dream.” The national endeavor was referred to as including a combination of homage to a generation that endured civil abuse and disenfranchisement and now more recently to facilitate today’s overdue and unfinished business of justice and equality for all, remembering Dr. King and the recent Trayvon Martin case.

The Orlando attendees motored in the early a.m. from their hotel in nearby Virginia to the Smithsonian/Mall area to meet at the noticeably well organized and well behaved gathering and proceeded on to the Memorial speech area. After which they joined the grand March for its culmination at the recently erected Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue.

One member stated being too young to attend the original March celebrated 50 years ago, but that he did get to join the previous bus trip in 1983 from Orlando to Washington for the 20th celebration. He further stated how very empowering this time to notice the intergenerational bus passengers mixture: of school children aged from elementary, middle and high school; senior citizens; young and middle-aged adults and everyone. He also relished in the active inference and possibilities of this mixture to produce a healthy continuation and viable future for the American inclusion for minorities and people of color.

Another attendee also expressed exhilaration at seeing both so many people 18 years and younger and among the vast dynamic and peaceful mixture of all ages, races, ethnicity, social classes, creed faiths and personal persuasions. She also referenced the pleasure and welcomed camaraderie all along when standing as well as seated on the grounds and sharing the events. All enjoined experiencing with the apparent welcomed awe at the many enlightening and inspiring speakers presented who well informed everyone of the status today and the true intention and meaning of the occasion.

At the finish of the day the group assembled and shortly left for its return to Orlando with proudly deserved memories of their participation in a historic and rare occasion of present day civil rights and civil justice. Yet, they expressed the shared thoughts of returning home and seeing if they can help in activating their community’s and America’s future of equality for all. The attendees appeared very glad that they took the time for the trip that they reported as pleasantly intense, enjoyable, and unforgettable and has raised appreciative thought of both today and the memorable August, 1963 date.

Voters’ League 55th Annual Convention Huge Success

Orange County hosts Florida Voters' League 55th Annual Convention
Orange County hosts Florida Voters’ League 55th Annual Convention

The Florida Voters’ League 55th Annual Convention was held in Orlando this month June 28-30 at the Rosen Centre Hotel on International Drive.  The Florida Voters’ League is the state’s premier black voter advocacy organization, that for more than 55 years has engaged in registering and educating voters about the need to get to the polls.   This year’s convention was hosted by the Orange County branch, headed by Rev. Kevin Seraaj, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Orlando.

Motown: The Musical Finds Young Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Berry Gordy – Bryan Terrell Clark cast as Marvin Gaye



BRYAN TERRELL CLARK will play Marvin Gaye, joining BRANDON VICTOR DIXON and VALISIA LE KAE as Berry Gordy and Diana Rossand an Ensemble Cast of 40



Producers Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Berry Gordy are proud to announce additional Broadway casting for the world premiere of MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL, based on the life of iconic Motown founder Berry Gordy.

Following a nationwide casting search for a young super-talent with an Olympic high tenor singing voice, exceptional dance ability and the range to play multiple roles, Motown founder Berry Gordy has discovered not one, but two, aspiring young men to portray his boyhood counterpart and the roles of young stars Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.  Raymond Luke Jr. and Jibreel Mawry will both make their Broadway debut charting the rise of three entertainment icons.

Bryan Terrell Clark will also make his Broadway debut portraying another groundbreaking Motown artist Marvin Gaye. Clark is a co-writer on Mary J. Blige’s new album “Irreversible,” and has performed with such music royalty as Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle.

As previously announced, Tony Award® nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple) and Valisia LeKae (The Book of Mormon) will star in the leading roles of Berry Gordy and Diana Ross and Charl Brown (Jersey Boys) will play Smokey Robinson, leading an ensemble cast of 40  featuring Timothy J. AlexMichael ArnoldNicholas ChristopherRebecca E. CovingtonAriana DeBoseAndrea DoraPreston W. Dugger III,Wilkie FergusonDionne FigginsMarva Hicks, Tiffany Janene HowardSasha HutchingsJawan M. JacksonLauren Lim JacksonMorgan JamesJohn JellisonCrystal JoyJamie LaVerdiereGrasan KingsberryMarielys MolinaSydney MortonMaurice MurphyJarran MuseJesse NagerMilton Craig NealyN’KengeDominic NolfiSaycon SengblohRyan ShawJamal StoryEric LaJuan SummersEphraim Sykes,Julius Thomas IIIDaniel J. Watts and Donald Webber, Jr.

Preview performances begin March 11 and open on Broadway on April 14, 2013 at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46 Street).

Directed by Charles Randolph-WrightMOTOWNTHE MUSICAL will feature a book by Berry Gordy and music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalogue.

MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever. This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy’s incredible journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and so many more.

Featuring all the classics you love, MOTOWN: THE MUSICALtells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. The music that shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat finally comes to Broadway in the season’s most anticipated world-premiere event.

The creative team features choreography by Patricia Wilcox (Blues in the Night) andWarren Adams (Toy Story), scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical, Annie), costume design by Tony Award®nominee ESosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, “Project Runway”), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz(OnceSister Act), sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenski (Rock of AgesThe Scottsboro Boys), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Jekyll and Hyde).

MOTOWN : THE MUSICAL will feature arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), who will supervise the 18 piece orchestra and reproduce the classic “Sound of Young America” for the Broadway stage, with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Bryan Crook(“Smash”), dance arrangements by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and music direction by Joseph Joubert (Nice Work If You Can Get It).


 RAYMOND LUKE JR. (Young Berry GordyMichael Jackson,Stevie Wonder). Broadway debut. Raymond has been singing since he was 3 years old after being taught by his grandmother. In the summer of 2011, he attended Beverly Hills Acting School FABA (For Actors by Actors) President Alex Fieldman. He graduated earlier this year and has completed two commercials for Toys”R”Us and Volkswagen in association with ESPN. Stage credits include the Tammi Mac Minute Mixer hosted by Vanessa Bell Calloway and Tammi Mac, and he has also  sung the National Anthem for the Penny Marshall Celebrity Softball game. Film: Bad Father, directed and produced by Jerry Jackson, and is currently shooting the filmFailure is Not an Option, written by Lavell Grisom. He is also a band member of the new group “3 plus 1.”

JIBREEL MAWRY (Young Berry Gordy, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder). Broadway debut. Jibreel is from the heart of Detroit, Michigan – home of Motown!  Jibreel is a vocal artist who is deeply inspired by Michael Jackson and his message to heal the world, and has captured audiences with his heart-felt performances and humble spirit. Jibreel has been an advocate and peer mentor for the “Artist in Action: Stand up Against Bullying” initiative. He performed in the concert/rally for the campaign at Wayne State University singing Michael Jacksons “Beat It.” Television: Co-host for “YE TV.” Publications: YE 313 Magazine. Training: acting/commercial /modeling World Talent, “Acting on Instinct”

BRYAN TERRELL CLARK (Marvin Gaye). After graduating from Yale School of Drama, he moved to California to begin a career as actor, singer/songwriter and host. He has starred opposite Laurence Fisburne and Angela Bassett in the film Fences and appeared in television shows such as “CSI New York,” “The Unit” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” He is a co-writer on Mary J. Blige’s current album release “Irreversible,” on My Life II. Musically he has performed with such artists as Ne-Yo, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Ciara, Yolanda Adams and Maxwell. He is a featured vocalist on Michael Buble’s new release “Crazy Love” and is currently in the studio recording his solo album. He is the host of “Bryan Terrell Clark’s Tribute” which has featured such artists as Stevie Wonder, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Rahsaan Patterson and Kenny Latimore. Baltimore, Maryland native.

 MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL will play the following performance schedule during preview performances:

March 11 – March 24: Mon – Sat at 8pm; Sat at 2pm; Dark Sun (no Wed matinee)

March 25 – April 7: Mon – Sat at 8pm; Wed and Sat at 2pm; Dark Sun

April 8 – April 14: Tues – Sat at 8pm; Wed and Sat at 2pm; Sun at 6:30pm (Opening Night); Dark Mon

Beginning April 15: Tues at 7pm; Wed – Sat at 8pm; Wed and Sat at 2pm; Sun at 3pm; Dark Mon.

Tickets are  available by calling Ticketmaster at 877-250-2929 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.






Black History Committee Gears-Up for 2014 Celebration, Jan 28

The Black History Committee of Orange County Is gearing up for an early kick-off to the 2014 annual Black History Month observation starting January 28th.  The public celebration continues throughout the month of February and culminates with the yearly festive Celebration Gala on March 1st.  

Gen. Ward honored at 100 Black Men of America’s national conference


NEW YORK — The 100 Black Men of America organization honored Gen. William E. Ward with a lifetime leadership award and an honorary membership at its 23rd Annual Conference in New York City, June 13, 2009. Ward is the only active-duty, four-star African-American general, and he is only the fifth African American to achieve this rank.

Ward is the first commander of the U.S. Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany. U.S. Africa Command is one of six geographic commands within the Department of Defense unified command structure. It is responsible for the U.S. military operations and military relations with virtually the entire continent of Africa. For his valor and service in the U.S. Army, he holds the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s badge and many more.

“I am honored to receive this award,” Ward said. “When I think of the members of this organization, I think about my father, who taught me that every individual has value and worth. That is what 100 Black Men teaches its members and youth. We all should teach these lessons and help today’s youth realize their dreams.”

The 100 Black Men said this award was given to Ward for his accomplishments as a multinational leader and for his courage and valor.

“We are very pleased to present this leadership award and honorary membership to General Ward,” said Albert Dotson, chairman of the 100 Black Men of America. “With this award, we are acknowledging his outstanding service to our country, the example he sets for everyone. He embodies the 100 slogan, ‘What they see, is what they’ll be.’ He is exactly what we hope our youth will grow to be — individuals who exhibit honor, courage, and selfless service.”

The U.S. Army is an official sponsor of the 100 Black Men of America’s annual conference. Army leadership will speak at various workshops and events, and they will educate attendees about the Army’s education and career opportunities. The Army has a national partnership with 100 Black Men of America that involves local Army representatives working with local 100 chapters to support education and mentoring programs in select cities around the country.