Dwight Hobbes

Recent Articles

Life coach teaches grow-as-you-go leadership skills

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Highly charismatic motivational speaker and leadership trainer Mary Jo Winston, PhD, is perfectly suited to her line of work. Inspirational? The very air seems to come alive around her. She certainly, completely commanded everyone’s attention at the Royal Red Hat Sabathanettes induction ceremony in April with an engaging smile, ready humor and confident, conversational style. Winston compelled with the same energetic warmth in a telephone interview for the MSR. Indeed, she approaches her livelihood with down-to-earth professionalism. Continue Reading →

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Linda’s letter gets on Keith’s last nerve

Lesli’s ordering-in suggestion sounded good. Keith didn’t feel like cooking, and there should be a law against letting Lesli anywhere near pots or pans around a working stove. He grabbed a menu and picked up the phone. Her usual was French toast and sausage. His was grits and eggs. They both were going to have more strong coffee and plenty of it. Soon as he hung up from ordering, he got busy refilling the coffeemaker. That done, he called, “I’ll be in.” And sat, Butch immediately running up his leg, landing on his shoulder, nestling his muzzle into Keith’s neck and purring like a little motorboat. Sundance was taking a break, curled up in a corner fast asleep. Continue Reading →

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Hope for hip hop: Local students make The Next Move

High School for the Recording Arts gives academia an undercurrent of artistry

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Visiting the High School for Recording Arts (HSRA) isn’t for the faint of heart. Your senses are bombarded as soon as you set foot in the door by adolescent energy pretty much rampant. Teenagers wind through corridors, racing up and down stairwells at full throttle and generally at the top of their considerably healthy lungs. Call it contained, if not quite fully controlled chaos. All of which makes it a perfect place to focus this force toward a profoundly productive end: academia cum artistry. Continue Reading →

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Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 — May 28, 2014

How does one pay adequate tribute to the legacy of Maya Angelou, the beloved historic icon and cultural treasure who passed away on May 28? Her enduring presence as an enlightening, empowering beacon to which the hearts and minds of Black women faithfully were drawn, after all, marked her as an individual of inestimable consequence whose like we quite probably will never see again. Dr. Angelou, nee Marguerite Annie Johnson, advanced from an auspicious literary debut, publishing her first autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings with the aid of James Baldwin, who would become a lifelong friend, to a titanic career that spanned more than a half century. Her accomplishments included, in far from a complete listing, a film rendition of the book starring Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee; six more autobiographies; acting turns in The Richard Pryor Special?, Poetic Justice with Janet Jackson, and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion; as well as stints directing (Down In The Delta, starring Alfre Woodward, featuring Al Freeman, Jr), producing (Sister, Sister with Rosalind Cash, Diahann Carroll and Paul Winfield), and scoring film soundtracks (For Love of Ivy, starring Sidney Poitier). She is best known for her vast volume of poetry, most notably “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she recited at President Bill Clinton’s 1994 inauguration. Continue Reading →

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N. Judge King May 13, 1936 — May 26, 2014

N. Judge King, Ph.D., indeed a man for all seasons, succumbed to lung cancer on May 26 following a life and career of 78 years as an educator, entrepreneur, activist, scientist, altruist and more, including building and piloting airplanes. Most of all he prevailed as a humanist with solid sense of commitment to community. On an intimately personal note, Dr. Reatha Clark King, faithfully devoted, beloved wife of 52 years, also reflects, “We had a long, long wonderful marriage and he was a special husband. Judge took pride in…family and in advising younger men how to keep their family together. Continue Reading →

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Keith’s cousin calls from the pen

Keith stood at the living room window, sipping coffee, staring out at a drizzling, early-morning rain, catching hell from Lesli. She was in the kitchen, barely wearing a short, silk housecoat that clung to her curves and, at the moment, was half-open, held together by a loosely tied belt.

“Would you for once and for all,” she railed, “do something about those two demons?! They are making life absolutely miserable for my little guy.”

She’d been rummaging in the cupboard, unable to come up with a single thing she felt like eating. It’d become kind of an ongoing argument. She kept trying to protect and defend Bruno, which was understandable, because Butch and Sundance messed with the poor guy pretty much every single chance they got. What, Keith wondered, did she think kittens were going to do to a full-grown cat? Leave him in peace? Before she’d moved in, the little beasts never even gave him a break. Being a natural-born pain in the butt comes with a kitten’s job description. And there is nothing, this side of a ball of twine, they’d rather target for unbridled, biting, clawing and kicking fun than a full-grown cat, especially one as big, slow and dull-witted as Bruno. Keith took another sip. “Love of my life, you want me to talk to them?”

“This is not the time, love of my life, to be a smart-ass.” The look on her face said that all he had to do was say one word and he would not be getting any affection tonight. He smiled. “No, no, I’m perfectly serious. I’ll have a word with them right now.” To prove the point, he hollered, “Hey!”

Both kittens stopped dead in their tracks and looked at him for all of about maybe 10 seconds. Then went right back to chasing her cat all around the place. Keith shrugged. Continue Reading →

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Womack the wise man of romance

Give it up to Bobby Womack, wise as an owl when it comes to romance. When dealing with a woman, nothing beats common sense. In accord with that Old Chinese Proverb, ”Every woman that look good to you, brotha, — don’t matter how fine the gal might be — ain’t necessarily good for you.” Brotha Bobby, a.k.a The Preacher, if his word ain’t all the way gospel, his verse sure gets close. Look. How you gon’ argue with ”I’m Through Trying to Prove my Love to You,” when the man soulfully intones, ”God, if He see that you don’t want something that’s good for you/He take it away and give it to somebody else”? Continue Reading →

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Spoken word performer aims high

She hopes to transform young lives nationally and internationally

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Julia Sewell’s website (www.sewellspeaks.com) announces her as “a world-renowned public speaker and performer. With over 10 years of experience, [she] brings innovation to the stage and classroom.”

Among a long list of luminaries who attest to her acumen, author Paulo Coelho states, “Julia is more then an amazing person. I met her and it really catapulted my life in a new direction. Her dedication to young people and their power to change the world is beyond expectation and belief. “She is inspiring and motivating. Continue Reading →

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Lesli settles in

Lesli looked around and sighed at Keith’s overrun living room that was, she realized, now her overrun living room. What wouldn’t fit, Lesli had either left for Gwen or put in storage downstairs at Keith’s. Still, she had a lot of stuff to put away. “I’m taking a break,” she declared. Getting up from the carpet, she stretched and got a cold can of Heineken from the fridge. “So,” she asked, spotting Linda’s letter, which Keith still hadn’t opened and had no idea when he’d get around to it, “who’s the fan mail from? Nice handwriting. She pretty?”

Here we go, Keith rued and, before he knew it, blurted, “Yeah, Les. As ten sunsets. She’s also baby cousin, will y’?! Probably up in trouble. Otherwise, don’t never hear from the brat. That okay? Damn!”

He stuffed the envelope in his back pocket, gave Lesli an ugly look, and realized marrying this woman was not going to be an easy undertaking. Nonetheless, he was in love with her and, accordingly, going to take bad with the good. He made himself calm down. “Ain’t we just get done talking about this very thing?”

She tried to dissemble: “Oh, come on. I’m just kidding.” He practically stared a  hole in both her eyes. Continue Reading →

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Lesli and Keith set up house

He woke to Lesli turning her key in the door. Loaded down with suitcases. He watched her struggle to get in the apartment, keep the door propped open, and put her bags down all at the same time. She kicked a suitcase out of the way, the door closed, and she leaned against it, catching her breath. And shot him a look. “Oh, no thank you, sweetie. I don’t need any help. I’m fine.”

“Well, I know you good-lookin’, girl. No need to brag.”

“Go to hell.” With which sat on one of the bags, raking her fingernails through her hair, scratching the back of her neck. Then, nodded at the felines. The kittens were knocked out. Bruno lay staring into space.  Keith could’ve sworn the poor guy was shell-shocked. “So, how are they getting along?” she asked. “Oh, famously,” he lied with a smile. “They’re gonna be best buddies.”

“Good. I’ll unpack later. Meanwhile, come put these in the bedroom and fix me a drink.”

“You get one or the other. Either manual labor or bartender services.”

“Fine, smartass. Grab the bags.” Which he did, while she made a beeline for the liquor cabinet. He came back in from toting her suitcases to a scowling Lesli. “What’s this?” she demanded. “No rum? Just this poison of yours?”

He shrugged. “Call the store and have ’em send some over.”

“The hell with it.” She settled for an ice-cold can of beer, came back from the kitchen, rummaged in his DVD library and commandeered the remote, putting on 42. He and Lesli loved that flick about Jackie Robinson. Continue Reading →

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