Archive for September, 2017

“RELEASED” a hit new docu-series to be debuted on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
September 30, 2017

Consulting Producer and Author Shaka Senghor

Yesterday, I had the privilege of being an honorary guest at the dynamic press lunch accompanied by a very deep and necessary roundtable discussion. The group dissussion surrounded multiple branches of incarceration within families and it featured the consulting producer of “Released” Mr. Shaka Senghor. 

“Released” is a new docu-series that adds a journey filled with emotion, a glimpse into the interaction and readjustment back into society after being incarcerated. In episode one we are introduced to Kevin, Jermaine and Kay as their stories are documented post release and they enter the next phase of transitional adjustment back into society; some serving over a decade of time. When one family member goes to prison it takes on a whole new territory for the family through conversation, explanation, financial and emotional hardship. No person is wrong for having the feelings they experience as we are not in that persons shoes to identify the hardship.

Rapper Mysonne joined to weigh in his views on the discussion

If you have not been incarcerated personally you are unaware of the tactics it took to survive inside, post traumatic stress uncuffed and the mentally physche of overwhelming feelings. You may have experienced the same emotions within your life perspective but from the key element of FREEDOM. Not having an outlet or the option to choose what and when you eat, enjoying simple pleasures at your own leisure or even interaction with others if you are in the hole will make you appreciate life in general. The struggle or the restriction is not comparable in either instance even though it does not make one’s feeling less valid because of a void that was not filled.

Shaka Senghor shared his story and why it was important to show this vantage point of being released is imperative. With staggering statistics as: 44% of Black Women have a family member in prison or 10,000 men and women are released every week, 4 to 10 return within 6 months and how the U.S. incarcerates more people than anywhere else in the world is alarming. 1 in 9 African Americans parents are in prison and drugs are along the top tier for the reasoning. 

RELEASED follows individuals who have completed longterm prison sentences during those first crucial 90 dayson the outside.  We’ll meet them as they walk out the  prison doors for the first time, and stay with them for  every step and misstep as they attempt to reconnect withtheir loved ones, establish their independence and beginthe long, hard work of starting over. 

As the docu-series continues to build around Kevin, Jermaine and Kay we will gain insight in how they transition from being restricted inside with no glimpse of society to entering a new world so to speak as it did not stop as they were away. 

  

I think society stigmatizes being released and there has not been an outlet to break the cycle of incarceration which tears families apart. Prison isn’t always the solution and in Kevin’s scenario he already had two strikes and went onto serve 19 years for stealing $160 worth of baby clothes and getting into a scuffle with a security guard. That sentence is harsh in comparison to a sentence of a murderer or not being able to get a job due to his priors and environment in which many opportunities aren’t rendered. Returning to familiar habits becomes the resolution to the common issue of being an outcast when returning to society. There is hope after prison, adversity and anything you consider struggling it all has to deal with your mentality and utilizing what you have access to but some are not as fortunate as others.

Shaka Senghor joined by Chanel Benjamin

Being placed back into society is similar to a baby learning how to walk after the crawling stages. How can you put something in the past that the world constantly remind you of with closed doors and limited opportunities? You literally walk out of one form of imprisonment to another form of restraint. Many are dehumanized in a way that allows people to say that’s unfair and unfortunate and make strides by utilizing our voice for change. The healing for children impacts their quality of life you can not rewind time and the importance of the new docu-series “Released” angles of family interaction, dealing with the outskirts of reality is depicted with raw emotion. The only emotion we are allowed to own is our anger from the notion of what is presented to us and what we see others have or just curiosity to how your life would have been in comparison to what is it. 

Courtesy of 135th Street Agency

Watch: Kevin Getting Stopped at Airport Security

https://owncomm.box.com/s/w5psexj6q1fcijs8qg1hpth5o126bkcd

Watch: Kay Describes How it Felt to Be Released

https://owncomm.box.com/s/cxw2bzq2xxvw0zkfclddo2bg7tl9b6lq

Be sure to watch RELEASED as it debuts on Saturday, September 30 at 10PM ET/PT on OWN. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #ReleasedOWN

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Camp Shock Top
September 28, 2017

Shock Top swag

Safety first

There were no raindrops/we popped off tops/on plenty of Shock Top. Hannn. Chill, chill I will give you that for FREE. Don’t mind me I was a rapper in my past dream. September 21 – September 24 of twenty seventeen is going down in the book of one the most memorable adventurous weekends. Curtsy to Shock Top for teaming up with Camp No Counselors for all of the campers to experience a care-free, fun filled weekend filled with laughter, competition, partying and making new friends while adulting. If you have not been camping as an adult I guarantee you will add it to your bucketlist after viewing how LIT it was. 

Even if you did not go camping as a kid you will enjoy the experience better as an adult. For one you make your own schedule, two you can drink and three there is no curfew. Let me set the scene for the whole weekend imagine temperature in the high 80’s, sunny on the beautiful camp resort in Paradox, NY at South Woods private residence. Stay with me this experience is was a real test to see how long you can disconnect and be within the moment. As there was limit access to phone reception although I did find two spots that gave me access to my luvies back home. However, the more you start to appreciate your surroundings your phone simply becomes a camera and your notifications pile up.

Dear Mama last night at adult camp…

Bunk beds become your place to rest your head and meetup spot with your bunkmates before heading to daily activities. The activities ranged from arts ‘n crafts (I made some splashy futuristic limited edition CHANEL sunnies. They retail at $921.24 LOL), kick/dodgeball, basketball, beach volleyball and archery (so you can live your best life acting out a character from the Walking Dead). The watersports included: Wakeboarding, Slip ‘N Slide, Water Skiing, Tubing and more. Here is where adulting comes in when you see it is time for HAPPY HOUR! From vodka to whiskey whatever your heart desired and not to mention Shock Top beer which was used in the many flip cup games throughout the weekend. 

Pure stomach joy

The real MVPs of the weekend

The variety of the meals were amazing it was pure stomach joy as you knew it was time by the sound of the gong. I commend the staff for making sure every meal topped the previous one. From the breakfast spread of BACON (do I need to express my love for BACON? Nope, cool I just happen to write it twice and in all caps), pancakes, waffles, a fresh fruit bar, mushroom and olive eggs to the breakfast sandwiches accompanied with Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s. Onto the burgers and ribs being thrown on the grill, with the tato salad on the side. What I didn’t get a picture of was the thick scrumptious tender juicy steak my camera retired to take a nap at that point in time.

The night time provided the opportunity to star gaze in the soccer field I was in awe and just appreciated how beautiful the simplicity of time was. I spotted a shooting star, the Big dipper and the Milky Way if the temperature did not drop so much I would’ve probably slept out there. It was so relaxing that my eyes needed to rest from all of the motion during the day. Cheers to me for not wiping out while tubing no matter how many waves were hit. I’m splashy or whatever lol. 

The color war games and apache relay race was a great opportunity to rep your weekend set and my team just happen to be the CHAMPIONS. We pretty much predicted it from the beginning as our chant was “We always come first.” Artistic creativity, athleticism and teamwork was definately put to the test. At one point we were in last place and we clawed back. Who could forget the 70’s Disco and 90’s era costumed themed parties. To relive many trends that are being recycled and even many that were forgotten.

Team flag competition

Beep me 911, or call me on my cellphone. I’ll call you back. 90’s party

Bar camp experience illustrations.

What is camp without sitting by the fire side and eating S’MORES (another all caps you get it no explanation needed 🙂 – The acknowledgment and awarding ‘The Supreme Cream Machine’ team as medals were distributed; as we appropriately came FIRST. The crowning of the standouts for the weekend campers were all well deserved. The talent show started with a tone setting poem that was significantly prevalent and to follow many surprises and showstoppers displayed everything from dancing, karaoke and interactive sing-a-longs.

The Champs are here! Supreme Cream Machine.

Friendship bracelet in the making

Overall, I had a great weekend, met some real talented creatives who are down to Earth people who shared an unforgettable encounter as we bonded, assisted and cheered one another on. Will I go adult camping again? YES, there are 15 other locations to conquer. Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and routine to go adult camping? For more information visit https://www.campnocounselors.com and let the adventures begin. Don’t forget to smile today there is so much to be appreciative of. Until next time peaceeee.

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