Matty Rich: New Book and Deep Thoughts

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There is nothing I like more than a conversation with someone I never met. The exchange of ideas and experiences is well worth the time spent. However, nothing could have prepared me for the person I was getting ready to meet. That person would be director of “Straight Outta Brooklyn” and the 1994 classic “The Inkwell” starring Larenz Tate and and Jada Pinkett. He was in town promoting his new book “Bev”. Given the current racial climate, his visit and book couldn’t have been more timely.

As we sat down, he couldn’t be happier about the new book. He was very pleased at the response his book has been receiving . Matty raved about his co-author Andrea Williams and how she helped bring “Bev” to life. I saw the serious return in his face as he began to go in depth about “Bev”. At that moment I was all ears as he explained the story.

img_20160924_221300903.jpg                ” I read about Beverly Luther through a book by her sister Meridith Kopald. I found the story of a white social worker heading the call of Martin Luther King to help in the civil rights movement fascinating. I was drawn by her different perspective. I sought out Meridith and spoke at length about her sister. It was then, she gave me the go ahead to write the book.”. Matty noted that Beverly’s family has been very supportive and attended the first book signing in L.A.. Matty’s films “Straight Outta Brooklyn” and “The Inkwell are about family and “Bev” touches on that as well . During the Story, Bev challenges racism in her own family as well as lives with a Black family while in Mississippi. This he believes is the most important part!

As our conversation turned to the current racial climate, The significance of this book became clear. As Beverly spends time between the two families, she quickly learns the difference of two different Americas. Matty believes that our current racial problems in his own words “Cannot just be an African-American issue, it has to be an American issue. Only then, can we move forward.”. I believe he is right. Matty told me that even-though this book was originally pitched as a film, He is undecided on whether or not to go ahead and make the film. I hope he does. In the mean time, I will read this book.

Beverly Luther’s life experiences may shed light on how we can learn to have the conversations in our homes, challenge racism among those we love the most, and find that common bond that supersedes skin color and embraces our humanity.  Matty said to me “America has still nor properly faced civil rights.That’s why racism is still hanging around” He is correct but with books like “Bev” and people like ourselves, maybe we can get on the right track. Thank you for stopping by Matty Rich! Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

P.S. Coming Soon: “Bev” The Reveiw!

Born A Girl

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Bishop Corletta Vaughn is no stranger to this blog. I have covered her extensively during the airing of “Preachers of Detroit” and also “Women Who Soar” her coaching and mentoring seminar for women. On April 9, 2016 she unveiled her latest game changer, Herself! In a brand new documentary “Born A Girl”, Bishop Vaughn reveals her struggle to become a world renown Preacher. Little did we know, her first struggle was being allowed to preach in the first place. Simply because she was a girl.

Being a preacher’s child often carries with it a natural knack for the word of God. So preaching her first sermon at the age of 4 in her mother’s salon should have been no surprise and was the first indicator that she will follow in her father’s footsteps. This would be no problem if she was born a boy. For in the Baptist church as well as other churches, women preachers were and still are strictly forbidden.  “Born A Girl” Takes you on a journey with Bishop Vaughn as she recalls the trials and triumphs that built the woman of God that she is. Everything from that fateful night her father Henry Lewis stood up for his daughter’s call on her life to preach to the murder of her brother in Memphis,TN. Nothing was easy. In this documentary, she exemplifies hard work and not taking no for an answer.

This is why she wanted this opportunity to tell her story. Because women are often told “No”.  Young girls with dreams of mighty things are told they can’t just because they are girls. Bishop Corletta Vaughn is seeking to destroy those barriers. You could tell by the faces of the guests in attendance, her message was getting across. So much so that once the credits rolled, a standing ovation was mandatory. Her mission, accomplished! Her documentary is arguably one of the most inspiring films any young girl can watch.

As a man watching this film, I felt even more compelled than ever to ensure that all women have equal opportunity succeed in this world. For man’s world would not exist without a woman’s contributions. In her documentary, Bishop Vaughn quoted an old African proverb “If you teach a man, you help a man. But if you teach a woman, you help a village”. This documentary will go a long way to doing just that. Because the first thing our young women need to learn is that being born a girl is the first step to becoming someone great! Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

UPDATE: I was so moved by the movie and the efforts of the Corletta J Vaughn Foundation, that I have decided Hollaifyouhearme.com will partner up. The tab at the top of the screen that says ” Support The Corletta J Vaughn Foundation ” will be there for you and anyone else to donate to their efforts to help women and girls! I will be pitching in and I hope you will also!

The Packard: An Answered Prayer For Prosperity

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My favorite Bible verse of all time is Ecclesiastes 3:1. It reads “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.(King James Version)”.  For a neighborhood on the eastside of Detroit, that time is now.  The old Packard car plant which lay dormant for years is about to receive new life from across the seas. European billionaire Fernando Palazuelo purchased the old 3,500,000 square foot complex with hopes of bringing new business and jobs to an area in desperate need of a boost.

A town hall was held at Holy Ghost Cathedral in the next block down from the old building under the leadership of Bishop Corletta Vaughn. A rainy Thursday evening would bring the new owner of the Packard building together with his new neighbors for the first time. Cameras from the new reality series “Preachers of Detroit” were rolling to show the world this event. “It’s an exciting night” Bishop Vaughn opens with a smile. That excitement was shared by all in attendance. A small church with a Bishop who’s personality is as large as life itself, filled to capacity to hear a big announcement that will change the face of the eastside of Detroit forever. All walks of life came to hear what was coming. The plant closed in 1958 and once employed 40,000 people. This was the first ray of hope in the area in 56yrs. Everyone that came through the door was grateful decades of apathy on East Grand Blvd was coming to an end.

Fernando Palazuelo had great success in Peru refurbishing buildings and making them suitable for business. Mr. Palazuelo presented a power point of his accomplishments in Lima, Peru. His first set of slides highlighted his success with buildings in Peru as old as the Packard. His methods were to preserve as much of the original buildings as possible while at the same time give them an artistic facelift. His passion for art is prevalent in the buildings featured in the slides. Palazuelo’s company Arte Express will now focus on the old Packard plant. In fact, they have established Arte Express Detroit LLC to symbolize their commitment to Detroit. This will be no small feat. The total time for the renovation is expected to take 7-15yrs with 1500yrds of debris already cleared.

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A Q&A followed. The Dais Included, Fernando Palazuelo, Kari Smith Packard Project Manager, and City Council President Brenda Jones; moderated by Bishop Corletta Vaughn.  Anyone in attendance had the opportunity to express any concerns or to ask questions any questions they wished pertaining to the city or the Packard Plant development and indeed they did! One after another, residents approached the microphone to express what was on their minds and hearts. Some just wanted to thank him for his investment in the community. A few asked about jobs and opportunities for skilled trades. One business owner was concerned about the lack of adequate lighting in the area. Another was concerned about the effect of the construction on her business which borders the old Packard Plant. The most heartfelt concerns came from the firefighters who manned the fire station in the next block. The words they shared shook everyone in attendance. As the veteran first responder stepped forward, all eyes were fixed upon him as one of the most important members of the community. Then he spoke. He acknowledged Bishop Vaughn and her husband Pastor Gilbert Vaughn as having supported them in the community since the beginning of the church over 20yrs ago. Especially, during the loss of one their fellow fireman killed in the line of duty. He also welcomed Mr. Palazuelo to the area and pledged the support of the station but there was a problem. The fireman informed all in attendance that the station will soon close due to budget cuts. They were told the news by their superiors at their last meeting. The station itself is one of oldest in the city. It was built back when horses pulled the water pumps. The original hayloft used to feed the horses is still there. Also due to budget cuts, the station is not equipped to handle full scale fires and their current rig is scaled down to handle small fires and rescues only.

Everyone was taken aback by this news. City Council President Brenda Jones used her phone to seek the truth of the Fireman’s claim and was notified via text that the station was not being closed. The Fireman was unmoved by the text. He knew what he was told and the conditions in which he worked, upheld his beliefs. Bishop Vaughn was very concerned as was Mr. Palazuelo. The people in the seats sat stunned. The neighborhood as a whole wanted to know what was going on with their fire station and as a community, felt a little less safe. This would be the first time in a long while this community spoke as one. The Firemen who protected this community now had the strength of the community on their side.

Once the meeting was adjourned, Bishop Vaughn and Mr. Palazuelo greeted all who stayed after. Those who brought resumes, got a chance to give them to Mr. Palazuelo personally. After all, these are his neighbors and he spoke to each person as such. I sat at my table and smiled. I couldn’t stop smiling. Detroit’s revitalization was happening in one of the most unlikeliest of locations. So unlikely that none of Detroit’s major news outlets made it to the event. Of course, they got the story of the first announcements but they didn’t get this. They didn’t witness the faces of excitement I saw. They didn’t sit in the presence of this abundance of hope. I witnessed one of the most decimated communities in Detroit find their way again. It was like witnessing a whole neighborhood wake from a brutal coma. It can easily be said that while I sat in the back of this church, I witnessed a neighborhood blessed like no other. Holla if you hear me.

-K Greene

ENOUGH!!!

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Being born in the 70’s gave you the distinction of being born just after some of the worst times in American history… The Civil Rights Movement.  Now there was still a fair amount of racial tension but the blood shed and riots of previous years took their toll on everyone. The die hard racists agreed to disagree and a desire for peace was nourished by all races.  It is now 48yrs later and the growing number murdered African Americans at the hands of whites has relit the fuse. Blood in the streets and justice denied based upon the color of your skin.

Lately, My Facebook feed has been flooded with video and stories of unarmed young black men shot or choked to death. Many of these stories never made it to national news. There have been 5 this past month. Michael Brown- Ferguson, MO,  Eric Garner-Staten Island, NY , Ezell Ford – LA, Dante Parker -Victoville,CA , and John Crawford in Ohio.  It appears that our justice system has become bored with the whole innocent till proven guilty process when it comes to African American males. The process is now straight to judgment. Or “Legal Lynching” as I call it.  It doesn’t happen to any other race. The police have already made their minds up when it comes to African Americans. One video went viral recently of white cop straddling and punching a black woman on the side of the freeway. The message appears quite clear. Racism 2.0 is full effect and threatens to reopen old wounds of the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s.

I was hoping and praying that when LeBron James left the Miami Heat to re-sign with Cleveland Cavaliers, he would cite Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws as a reason he left.  I would have been so proud to see him giving a press conference and explaining how the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis affected his decision.  I could just see him sitting at the podium and telling the whole room how uncomfortable he was raising his sons in a state where any white man could shoot and kill his boys and get away with it.  Jordan Davis’s killer, Michael Dunn only got convicted of attempted murder for each of the 3 boys that were with Davis in the truck Dunn shot up. Dunn won’t serve a day for Davis’s murder.  George Zimmerman as we all know was acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s murder even with overwhelming evidence against him. Who could blame LeBron? Could you live in a state under those conditions and you had the power to leave? The Miami Heat as well as the City of Miami are expected to suffer significant financial loses not to mention potential championships.  LeBron had a golden opportunity to strike a huge blow for the African American community. Hitting a city or state in the wallet is the only way to make them listen. The best basketball player in the world could have led the way.

I am hoping our more affluent and successful African Americans take the lead. Their money and influence could go a long way to help bring us together as a people to combat these tragic events. We need our Lawyers and politicians to lead us politically and legally. They can voice our displeasure throughout our government. Yet I feel as if I am asking too much. Many of our more successful African Americans have chosen to remain silent and not take a stand. It seems like that they don’t want to risk endorsements or contracts by being too political and taking a stand. Many of our African American lawyers and politicians are too absorbed in themselves or their political party to set anything in motion. So it’s left up to the rest of us. The working poor, The hopeless, disenfranchised, victimized, and angry rest of us. We are therefore left with our only option … Riot.  That’s the only time the media seems or wants to listen. Our parents felt the same way in Detroit in 1968. They faced the dogs and water hoses to make things better for our community. It appears that 48ys later, Ferguson, MO has become ground zero for another phase of the Civil Rights Movement. If it has truly come to that, then I must prepare myself. The strange fruit that once hung from trees in the south now grow on the streets and sidewalks of our cities. Planted by seeds of injustice and fertilized by racism.  If I must face the dogs and water hoses to end this vicious harvest, then so be it. The next generations of African Americans are at stake. Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

UPDATE: Michael Dunn was convicted of First Degree Murder in the Death of Jordan Davis September 30, 2014. The fight against injustice rages on.

Ceasar Torreano’s Venue Shout Outs!!!!

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I have a deep love for Detroit Poetry. Our poets go hard like no other! Experiencing Detroit poetry live is a must!! That’s why I have asked good friend and powerful poet in his own right, Ceasar Torreano to give Holla If You Hear Me the weekly rundown of venues where you can experience Detroit Poetry live! Don’t forget to pick up his latest book of romance poetry entitled “The Caking Chronicles”!

Here are my venue shoutouts for the whole week in the Detroit area.

MONDAY Neo Minds, No Words Bared Open Mic @ Coffee Shop, Arts & Entertainment from 8pm to 11pm Location: 1464 Gratiot, Downtown Detroit, Michigan 48207

Boundless Expressions Open Mic @ The Phoenix Cafe from 9pm to 2am Location: 24918 John R Rd, Hazel Park, MI

TUESDAY

5 E Gallery The Foundation Open Mic from 8:00pm to 2:00am Location: Cass, off of Forest, Detroit, MI

LIV open mic poetry from 9pm to 1am Location: 641 Beaubien St, down the street from Greektown Casino, Detroit,

WEDNESDAY

1917 American Bistro Open Mic from 8pm to 12am Location: Livernois right off Outer drive, between 7, & 8 mile.

Open Mic Jam with DJ L.Boog from 9pm to 1am Monthly series

THURSDAY They Say’s open mic with host Katrina Storm from 7pm to 11pm Location: 267 Jos Campau off of East Jefferson

Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe with host Caesar Torreano from 9pm to 12am Location: 12511 Woodward, off of Glendale 1/4 mile from Davidson, Highland Park, MI

FRIDAY Rhyme and Reason open mic from 9pm to 12am every second & fourth Friday bi weekly series Location: 9226 Kerchval, Detroit, Every

Spotlight Open Mic at Manilla Bay Cafe from 9pm to 12am Every first & third Friday bi weekly series Location: 4731 Grandriver, off Warren, Detroit, MI

SATURDAY

Peaceful Poetic Places from 6::30pm to 10pm, every 2nd Saturday

Allure & Soul at Club Ambiance Ultra Lounge from 8pm to 10pm Location: Shelby, off Congress, Downtown, Detroit

SUNDAY Spirit Spit @ Spirit of Hope starting @ 5pm, Monthly series, Location: 1519 Martin Luther King Jr.Blvd, Detroit, Michigan

There you have it and Thanks Ceasar!! Check Ceasar out at Namdi’s Thursday nights and pick up his book “The Caking Chronicles” ASAP! Holla if you hear us and DETROIT POETRY!!!

– K. Greene ft. Ceasar Torreano

Poetry and Purpose

There are people in Detroit that very seldom get the recognition they deserve.  Crime and Kwame Kilpatrick seem to dominate the news these days and there is no room for good people.  I want to change that.  Today I want to tell you about someone who does a lot of good in the city of Detroit not to mention extremely talented! That person is Ber-henda Williams.

Ber-henda is known throughout the city as one of our top poets.  She has several books to her credit and dazzles audiences by performing in both English and Spanish.  Ber-henda also hosts a reality show titled “B in the City”.   Her most notable achievement is founding the The Power of Girlhood girls mentoring program.  In this program, Ber-henda uses poetry to inspire girls in the areas of self-esteem, education, and setting goals.  Most importantly, she also stresses an important relationship with God.  No matter where she performs or who she speaks to, her faith is always at the fore front.

“I want to change how people view poetry, ” said Williams. “Some say it’s a dead art form, but not in Detroit. It’s poetry that’s relatable, to help answer questions about God, Faith and Life.

This Thursday September 13 at Artist Villiage, you get to see that firsthand. There will be a special performance of  “One Night With The Honey B and Friends” hosted by Khary Kimani Turner.  Ber-henda will be unleashing poetry, inspiration, and praise along with her friends: Walter(HAZMAT)Howard, Rosemarie Wilson (One Single Rose), and Nathan “Drizzle” Johnson.  I am also hearing whispers of a surprise guest or two.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door (See the link below).  The best thing about the prices, is the fact that a portion of the proceeds go to Power of Girlhood  girls mentoring program!  The show is from 6pm-9pm so that makes it the perfect afterwork event.  Artist Village is located at 17340 Lahser Rd Detroit,MI 48219 near Grand River.  I advise everyone to check this out!!!  This is Hollaifyouhearme.com approved!

-K. Greene

For Tickets and info:

 www.onenightwiththehoneyb.eventbrite.com

Kwame Kilpatrick: Part 2

I have to admit when Kwame opened the question and answer session by saying “Let’s get it on!”, I expected a Q & A of epic proportions.  Kwame was offering himself for every journalist in the room to feast on.  I could see the look in the eyes of my fellow journalists.  They were hungry and their pens were at the ready.  What did we get?  Slim pickings.  Kwame did not waver.  He answered each question comfortably and completely.  His answers did not bear anymore information that wasn’t already known.  The only time he seemed slightly rattled is when he was asked questions concerning his mom, former State Representative Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick.  This was understandable.  He explained it to all in the room.  ” The two worst days of my life.” as the former mayor recalls, “The first was explaining the affair to my kids and the second was laying in a prison cell knowing that my mom lost the election because of me”.

The remorse on his face was apparent.  He said it was at that point when he realized what his actions cost the city.  His mother had done so much for the city of Detroit and now that champion for the city is out of office.  He said at that time, “I cried like a baby”.  It finally got to him.  The disappointment the citizens of Detroit felt in his actions, he now felt in himself. It was that moment that opened his eyes.  He began to realize what he had and how much damage his decisions had done.

Kwame spends his time speaking around the country.  Even speaking at T.D. Jake’s “ManPower” conference.  Kwame maintain that he wants to help young men avoid the path he took.  He feels that he didn’t deal with his inner demons before he got into office and they got the better of him.  Kwame maintains that this cost him more than anything, Not youth or inexperience.  To this day, Kwame maintains that he cannot be forgiven here in Detroit.  It doesn’t matter  how much he claims that he has changed.  Kwame said  “I don’t believe I can get a fair trial here in Detroit.” when asked about his up coming Federal  trial .  “I would be better off if they hung me from the giant fist downtown” Kwame jokes.

I think he might be right in a way,  This was made evident but the number of journalist that turned out.  People still place the blame at his feet.  As leader of this city, he failed.   In the court of Public Opinion, he has been found guilty.  His word is no longer above reproach and his name vilified in Detroit history,   That’s where we should leave him.  If there was one thing that I can take from him, that would be that we have to let him go mentally as a city.  Kwame was absolutely right about that,  Until we do that, we will never move forward and identify the real problems of our city,  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene