Who better to kick start the West Coast Expo than the master of motivation, Les Brown, who wrote in his book “Live Your Dreams:” “I am intrigued by the concept of selling people on their own greatness …”
If that is the case, those fortunate enough to hear him at the Expo, Friday from 8-10 a.m., could very well find themselves at that elusive intersection in history where opportunity, perfect timing and preparation collide.
He also has a workshop Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., and will broadcast his KFWB 980 program live at the Expo from 2-4 p.m. Friday.
Brown is his own best advertisement for the seemingly impossible rise from the bottom of the barrel to the dizzying heights of success.
He and his twin brother were born in an abandoned building and given away when they were just weeks old. They were raised by a single woman in Liberty City, a low-income section of Miami. In school, he was written off as “educable mentally retarded,” and put in special education classes.
But there was a spark in Brown that poverty, hardship and the shame of being called dumb could not quench.
Even as a kid, Brown learned to stick close to people who could mentor him, like LeRoy Washington, a speech and drama instructor at Booker T. Washington High in Miami. While in high school, he “used to fantasize being on-stage speaking to thousands of people,” he told Rachel L. Jones of the Detroit Free Press, “and I used to write on pieces of paper, ‘I am the world’s greatest orator.’”
Although, as a special education student he was not eligible to attend Washington’s classes, the instructor instilled in him a belief in himself. Once when Brown told the instructor that he couldn’t perform a task because he was educable mentally retarded, Washington snapped back: “Do not ever say that again. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”
After graduation, Brown pursued a career in broadcasting, but instead was hired to perform odd jobs around the radio station. But when a disc jockey got drunk on the air, opportunity, perfect timing and preparation came crashing together.
No other disc jockey was available to step in, so Brown was allowed to take the soaked deejay’s place. Not long afterward he became a full-time deejay. Later still, the most popular deejay.
Already well on his way to becoming the great orator he once dreamed of becoming, Brown decided to become a motivational speaker. It wasn’t overnight but it wasn’t long before he had achieved that goal, eventually commanding $25,000 an hour to speak for Fortune 500 companies.
In 1989, Brown received the National Speakers Association’s highest award, the Council of Peers Award of Excellence, the first African American to be so honored, and was inducted into the association’s hall of fame. He is also the recipient of the Golden Gavel, the highest award from Toastmasters International, and has been ranked among the top five speakers in the world, along with Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, Robert Schuller, Paul Harvey and Lee Ioacocca.
At one point, Brown had his own national television talk show. (He currently has a talk show from 2 to 4 p.m. on KFWB News Talk 980.)
And yes, Brown did speak before 80,000 people in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
He has written three other books beside “Live Your Dreams”–“It’s Not Over Until You Win,” “Up Thoughts for Down Times” and “Fight for Your Dream”–and he’s sold millions of motivational tapes.
Brown estimates he has earned more than $60 million in his lifetime. All this from a young man who was considered “educable mentally retarded,” had trouble reading and never attended college.
But his desire has always been to pass on the knowledge he has gained. To that end, he and Dr. Julie vanPutten are offering an eight-week coaching series entitled “The Mindset Behind the Money.” Contact them at (888) 777-0383 or go to www.MindsetBehindTheMoney.com for more information.
Dom Kennedy–still independent–takes rap to West Coast Expo
His new CD is doing fine
By Stanley O. Williford
Well, Dom’s done it.
Broke the top 100 as an independent rapper on his own OPM label. Furthermore, according to his management, his new album “From the Westside With Love 2,” peaked at No. 2 on iTunes and was No. 10 overall.
We featured Dom Kennedy on our June 23 cover, and the issue was immediately snatched up. In fact, except for the few copies we must maintain in our company files, the June 23 issue could not be found anywhere in our circulation area. (Kennedy will perform a mini concert at the West Coast Expo on Saturday at 1 p.m.)
In that issue, we noted that Kennedy was one of the top West Coast rappers, and the word was that he was scheduled to blow up any time soon. We also noted that some fans were privately concerned that fame would change both him and the issues he rapped about.
But Kennedy indicated that he preferred to keep doing what he had always done–remain independent. So far he has been true to his word.
“I’m kinda getting away from trying to work with different people because it doesn’t really work too well for me,” Kennedy told us then. “I’m one of those people who utilizes what I have, and that’s usually one of my friends and somebody close that’s willing to work. Those are the people that I bind with.
“I don’t need to work with like a high-priced producer, spending up all my budget, you know, just to make some record. I can make a better song with my friends, if people just leave us alone and put us in the studio.
“I’m an independent artist. OPM company. That’s my company. That’s what I’m pursuing. Independence. I’ll get a distribution deal, I’m sure, soon, but my company will forever be the OPM company–Other People’s Money.”
Prior to the release of “From the Westside With Love 2,” the 26-year-old rapper from Leimert Park only did mixtape projects that were downloaded free on datpiff.com or other mixtape sites. Not so with his latest.
Kennedy has big hopes for the current CD. In the June issue, he told Our Weekly that the CD was “a lot more thought out.”
“I’m approaching it like from a Grammy Award-winning standpoint,” he said. “You know, like creating a real piece of music that will be here long after I’m gone. The latest project will not be a mixtape.”
“I’m a lot more confident since ’25th Hour’ (his first mixtape), first and foremost,” said Kennedy. “I made that tape moreso to have fun and prove to myself that we could put something together and see what happens. I didn’t really know too much about the Internet and the way things work. I didn’t really have any aspirations outside of my friends, but today it’s more of a responsibility. It’s not a job because its fun. I wouldn’t rather do anything else, but I take it more as a responsibility in terms of trying to be the best and pushing myself and being accurate in what I say, being accountable for what I say.
“Back then it was a lot different than now. Now I have my own studio. Back then my cousin made a lot of those beats so he’d give them to me. I’d just sit in my room and practice the songs over and over until I knew them by memory, or pretty much close to memory, and even knew what parts I wanted to double, ad-lib, things like that, so when I got to the place to record I wasn’t wasting any time. That was how that process worked back then. It was a lot different.
“The thing I mastered on this project the most is first instinct. That’s when you become a real artist; it’s when you trust your first instinct, and get out of your own way. It’s easy to sit there and second-guess and question and redo this and redo that, but then what is the point of your natural thought, you know, the thing that jumped into your heart first? A lot of times, you know, you neglect that. You don’t trust it and you don’t believe that, but that’s what you have to learn to tap into, you know, your free spirit.
“Ultimately, that’s why it’s soul music. Soul is not just somebody singing. Soul was just meant to say that’s what was in their true spirit. Ultimately, people can tell when that’s true and when it’s not true.”
Business pavilion–a sure thing for entrepreneurs
A wealth of information for attendees
By Juliana Norwood
OW Staff Writer
The West Coast Expo (WCE) business pavilion will focus on a subject of interest to both entrepreneurs and consumers–the science of marketing of goods and services. Key seminars will focus on business operational literacy and personal finance literacy.
The pavilion will also collaborate with local colleges, chambers of commerce economists, and industry professionals to deliver a wealth of data and information on financial fitness.
Financial fitness has proven to be a key component of healthy living and obtaining and maintaining quality access to healthcare and retirement planning. Therefore, WCE has invited several key industry professionals to lecture and disseminate data to better inform those in attendance. Attendees will have access to a wide array of financial experts, services and products, paving the path for a lifetime of solid financial fitness.
In addition, entrepreneurs will have workshops on key leading indicators and the best practices to help them thrive in business.
“Lights, Camera, Runway,” the West Coast Expo’s premiere fashion event and gifting suite, celebrating media personalities, their lifestyles and the paparazzi, will also be part of the pavilion. In addition to immediate and exclusive access to media personalities, celebrities, political leaders and sponsors, participants will have an opportunity to extend their brand reach via the web, newspaper photo ops, promotional video’s and social media. WCE estimates more than one million mixed-media impressions. This event is targeted to professionals, the social elite and entertainment enthusiasts. The host and participants are recognized among the most influential celebrities and style icons in the fashion and media industries.
Attendees of the West Coast Expo can also expect a Junior Business Camp. The camp is part of the Urban Media Foundation’s Youth Entrepreneurship Project. Conducted every summer, it incorporates a variety of educational techniques, including classroom instructions, interactive activities, building-a-business lab, a business assessment and consultation center, and a field trip to the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
Classes will be offered to students ages 14 to 17 and are designed to guide each participant into becoming the owner of a small business. Students will learn practical business skills such as team-building, leadership development, financial management, professional communication and business etiquette.
West Coast Expo touts technology for business and consumers
Pavilion features what’s new and hot
By Gregg Reese
OW Staff Writer
Technology is here to stay, and when you look around at the breadth of the reach of this phenomenon it is astounding. That is why founders of the upcoming West Coast Expo (WCE) being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and business partners Natalie Cole and David Miller included this as an aspect of the three-day event.
Their goal is to bring a diverse, multicultural component to local commerce, ideally encompassing the surrounding western states in years to come, and, of course, bringing in a cash return for participating businesses.
Miller, Our Weekly’s chief operating officer is optimistic and upbeat about the potential for growth in the inaugural year of this, his latest enterprise. Since the highly lauded “information age” is now several decades old, he promotes communications as the hot commodity for consumers and small entrepreneurs seeking to establish a foothold in this tenuous economy. Miller sums up his economic assessment by declaring that “the smartest way of doing business is to stay on top of technology.”
West Coast Expo director Myra Wallace echoes this sentiment and expresses her own hope for what Expo guests will take out of the venue. “We see the technology pavilion as a place where we can take the fear and intimidation out of the mind of the consumer, and replace it with easy, user-friendly options,” she says.
Acknowledging the shift in ethnic diversity, the wireless business industry seeks to make its promotions more attractive to the multicultural populace, which makes up an estimated 35 percent of its market. As the associate director of that marketing team, Verizon’s Christina Gonzalez revealed her company’s plan to offer services tailored to these specific groups at WCE.
To highlight the speed of their latest 4G technology, the Verizon exhibit will feature demonstrations of an assortment of tablets and 4G (fourth generation technology) handsets along with live 4G streaming.
One of the most visible components of their consumer promotion is their FiOS bundled home communications service. As the first major American carrier to offer residential access to fiber optics networks, Verizon offers customers Quad-play-wired voice, data, and wireless services. Quad-play incorporates the Internet, telephone, and television service within one bundle.
FiOS also offers its Flexview technology for home entertainment. This is Verizon’s version of video on demand that enables a viewer to enjoy their video purchases on televisions, personal computers, or other hand-held devices within their home environment.
Meanwhile AT&T, which is another WCE sponsor, has demonstrated its commitment to improved consumer support via its $18 billion improvement on its network infrastructure in 2010, and a pledge to equal that amount during the current fiscal year. Specifically included in this upgrade are 1,465 targeted areas in the Los Angeles metropolitan area alone.
Angela Gibson, director of AT&T External Affairs, sums up their corporate policy.
“AT&T’s continued commitment and investment into our communications infrastructure is an immense benefit to small businesses and residents,” she says. “The network upgrades will make a positive impact in the day-to-day activities of small businesses and residents as they communicate with customers, associates, contractors and family and friends.”
Expo visitors are encouraged to keep an open mind, and take advantage of all the exhibits including features not necessarily on their immediate agenda, since as Miller emphasizes “what works today may not necessarily work tomorrow.”
Don’t be fooled going green requires careful research
Some products are harmful
By Jennifer Thompson
OW Staff Writer
The West Coast Expo, coming to the Los Angeles Convention Center Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will feature a Sustainability/Green Pavilion that will address the importance of adopting a green approach to both businesses and everyday lifestyles. The pavilion will showcase sustainable products and services that demonstrate green technology applicability and information for both commercial and residential usage.
Highlights of the pavilion include seminars and workshops such as The Green Marketplace, Reducing Our Carbon Footprint, Water Conservation, Green Life Pavilion’s seminars, and many more. Each workshop and seminar will feature eco-friendly products, ways to improve the quality of water, ways to conserve/upgrade energy, and most of all “best practices” for sustainability.
In the process of sustaining and reserving our environment, the idea of “going green” has expanded people’s interest in recycling and conserving resources by adopting an earth-friendly approach to living.
Ever sat back and wondered whether the popular plastic bottles from which everyone drinks, or the plastic bags everyone uses to carry groceries are good for your health? Most people tend to believe that all bottled water is pristine and healthy. Not so, says environmentalists who tend to dislike plastic bottles. It would be better for both the water-drinker and the environment to use special environmentally safe bottles.
Considering that water is normally the healthiest drink, chemicals used in most plastic water bottles consist of hydrocarbon molecules and other substances which are added to give color and flexibility. However these chemicals are not good for humans. According to a 2009 study by German scientists, polyethylene terephthalate water bottles contain trace amounts of chemicals that can mimic hormones when ingested.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is an inexpensive and lightweight plastic that is “harmful to human health,” according to lead researcher Martin Wagner, an ecotoxicologist at Goethe University in Frankfurt.
Plastic bottles aren’t the only products that contain chemicals and offer major health concerns.
The nonprofit Center for Environmental Health (CEH) found that about 10 percent of the reusable plastic bags tested in 2010 contained lead. Local grocery stores have begun banning plastic bags and many now recommend that customers use their own reusable shopping bag.
Plastic grocery bags have the possibility being harmful to the groceries in the bags and can lead to food poisoning. According to the magazine Earthtalk, plastic reusable shopping bags are petroleum-derived and may contain other contaminants, including lead, especially if they feature designs or patterns.
While reusable plastic bags are being sold at retail stores as an alternative to throw-away bags and may be a step closer to helping restore our environment compared to disposable plastic and paper bags, they too may contain harmful contaminants. Some reusable plastic bags contain lead above 100 parts per million, and have been pulled from the store shelves.
To ensure you’re not at risk, cloth reusable bags are highly recommended because they are free from lead and other potential hazardous substances. Cloth bags could last for more than a year, but should be washed frequently to prevent contaminants and bacteria.
Good health is no joke, and the Expo is serious about it
Information, support and resources
By OW STAFF
Did you know the West Coast Expo could be good for your health? For example, Vincent Anthony, M.D., a kidney and hypertension specialist with the Kidney Care Institute (KCI), will offer free screenings.
He will conduct kidney, blood sugar and hypertension checks, among others. No kidneying.
Established in 2005, KCI has been treating and educating patients ever since on ways to prevent the spread of kidney disease.
Anthony emphasizes that overall health comes from a well-maintained kidney.
“We are here to educate people and treat patients,” he said. “One of the focuses we have is lower cost of healthcare, not only for the patient by providing quality, but also for the payer sources (insurance companies). “One in nine people have kidney disease. A large part of the population does not understand the effects on the whole body, because it’s not talked about. We are going into the community, because it’s an epidemic that is extremely quiet.”
“Those with kidney disease are two times as likely to die from [the disease] than those who don’t [have it],” he continued.
The doctor wants his patients and community to understand that eating well and being aware of viable healthcare options can prolong life and expand living qualities.
This fall, Anthony will launch a health show called “Lifeline with Dr. Anthony” on the Hosanna Broadcasting Network. He’ll discuss overall health and wellness, including ways to prevent disease, live a healthy lifestyle and answer some of those embarrassing questions some would rather keep secret. He’ll also focus heavily on men’s health.
Anthony and his crew of doctors and nurses will be on site at the expo to answer questions, recommend treatment and provide information about sleep disorders, which may lead to hypertension and other diseases.
Kidney wellness isn’t the only topic for discussion. Cancer, the second leading cause of death in America, is an issue that won’t go unexplored at the Expo.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) will be delivering free information and brochures to curious passersby; volunteers will also be readily available to answer any questions people have.
The nonprofit organization also provides a wealth of information and support groups for just about everyone going through treatment, including supportive family members.
“We have a program called ‘Look Good, Feel Better.’ If patients are diagnosed with cancer and they are going through treatment and they are losing their hair, it can be tough especially for women who often go through vanity issues,” Martel said. “Licensed cosmetologists provide seminars in hospitals and patients come and get wigs and makeup that are donated by high-end cosmetic companies.”
Martel also pointed out that the organization can help with free transportation services for patients who are unable to get to and from treatment. More information is available at cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.
Other exhibitors and sponsors include Great Beginnings for Black Babies and The Children Collective Agency.
Jerk crew evolves into full-fledged musicians
The Ranger$ set to perform
By OW Staff
Southern California has a long history of feeding the music industry talent that eventually hits the big time, from Dexter Gordon to Snoop Dogg.
The Ranger$ are the latest group seeking to follow in the footsteps of these pioneers, and the trio actually inadvertently began that quest in 2009 in the parking lot of a Taco Bell restaurant.
At that point, Julian Goins and three friends just wanted to battle other Jerk dance crews around the region in friendly competition.
But the young men did not count on catching the imaginations and attention of some 800,000 fans. That phenomenon prompted the group to expand its repertoire from simply dancing to include singing, writing music and rapping.
It also facilitated the group involving into a trio rather than a fivesome. Today the Ranger$, originally called the Go-Go Power Rangers, consist of Day Day, 16; Julian, 17, and Langston, 16.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, the trio credit Michael Jackson and Chris Brown as the inspiration for their singing and dancing.
Added to their own individual talents–Julian possesses the art of creativity with words and music production, while Day Day and Langston love to entertain through acting and rapping–the trio are rapidly making a name for themselves that transcends their title as a leading Southern California Jerk dance crew.
The Ranger$ are among the entertainers performing at 4 p.m. on Friday during the West Coast Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Their appearance follows the Black Brown Clergy Roundtable.
Let the church say amen. Because that will be the best way to describe the soul-stirring musical performances planned for the West Coast Expo Gospel Connexion Sunday from 3-5 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The event will take place on the main stage and will highlight performances by Verizon’s “How Sweet the Sound” 2011 winners, Voices of Destiny. Additionally, Michael Stampley, the GOGIC Mass Choir, City of Refuge-Psalms Choir, saxophonist Mark Allen Felton, Gospel Rapper Jim Gittum, and other local choirs are set to perform.
The Gospel Connexion will air on Hosanna Broadcasting Network (HBN -TV) probably in late August.