Robin James

Recent Articles

First annual Baraza conference ‘a huge success’

Event launches movement to improve Black women’s health and wellness
 

Part 2 — see part one in the current print edition of the MSR

By Robin James

Contributing Writer

The October 6 Baraza Conference presentation by Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., was titled “Claiming Your Right to Wellness: Sisters in Recovery from Life” and addressed powerful issues such as trauma, grief and loss as they relate to both personal and professional relationships, and offered the audience exercises to improve wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Akinsanya is a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of the African American Child Wellness Institute. One of the things she discussed during her talk was cognitive reframing, such as when one thinks of a glass as half full or half empty. So, when you do reframing, what you do is look at a situation from another side. Dr. Akinsanya asked the audience to think of one negative thing you say about yourself that keeps you locked down. Continue Reading →

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Businesswoman specializes in customized strategies

 

By Robin James

Contributing Writer

 

For organizations that want to make a meaningful impact in the marketplace, equip a workforce with new skills, and get better at offering ideas that transcend genres and categories, it isn’t easy. Millennium Consulting Group’s president Yvonne Cheek is up for initiating a dialogue on the subject. At a glance, she is a strategic change consultant. Along with her colleagues at Millennium Consulting Group in Minneapolis, Cheek helps her clientele broaden and shape their ways of thinking about designing, launching and reaping the benefits of new initiatives. The North Carolina native taught at both elementary and junior high schools in Greensboro, N.C., and has taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Puget Sound, where she served as the chair of music education, in Tacoma, Washington. Continue Reading →

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New music from late legends Wes Montgomery, Charles Mingus

 

There are two essential and noteworthy albums to look out for by two artists at their musical peak, which include the late-greats guitarist Wes Montgomery and bassist Charles Mingus. Both men are still very much revered for their signature sound and undeniable ability to connect with diverse audiences all over the world. Resonance Records’ critically acclaimed Wes Montgomery album, Echoes of Indiana Avenue, is significant because it’s the first full album of unheard Montgomery music in over 25 years. The collection of previous unreleased music by the influential 1960s jazz guitarist features nine newly discovered pre-1960 tracks that showcase Montgomery’s evolving solo talents. Montgomery died in 1968. Continue Reading →

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Event opens health dialogue to Black Twin Cities women

 
Baraza creates balance, focusing on mind, body and spirit
 

By Robin James

Contributing Writer

 

An exciting, one-of-a-kind event designed specifically for African American women is set to take place in the Twin Cities; it’s Baraza: A Black Woman’s Health Gathering! happening Saturday, October 6 from 7:45 am to 4 pm at Saint Paul College in St. Paul. Baraza, presented by the African American Leadership Forum’s Health & Wellness work group, is its first major event and aims to get women empowered to commit to a healthy life. The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) is a movement of African American leaders that understands, values, and leverages “the power of the collective.”

The AALF, which was established in 2009, is committed to bringing about positive change in the Twin Cities African American community and is engaged in deliberative dialogue and collective action to address the most critical issues affecting the economic, social, educational, and healthy well-being of all African American individuals and families in the Twin Cities community. Continue Reading →

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Five-year-old and father create writing team

 
Life lessons become basis for children’s book series
 

By Robin James

Contributing Writer

 

In the wide world of children’s literature, there’s a gifted young author who has already written two books and he lives in our own backyard. His name is Landen Sanders; he is five years old and lives in Edina with his mother, DeGalynn Wade Sanders, and father, Lance Sanders, a food scientist and patent attorney. Together, father and son published a beautifully written and illustrated book series, Duckie Goosie Tales, that’s accessible to kids from two to five years old, but will appeal to children of all ages. Landen’s grandmother Lynn Wade illustrates the stories told by Landen. To read more about this story, pick up a copy of the MSR newspaper:

http://www.spokesman-recorder.com/msr-print-edition-pick-up-locations/

 

Or become an MSR subscriber:

http://www.spokesman-recorder.com/subscribe/

Continue Reading →

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True artists shine in concert: Esperanza Spalding, Cassandra Wilson, Marcus Miller

True artists know how to captivate an audience. Inspiration from their musical mentors may have something to do with it. Bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding is an artist who knows how to captivate an audience. Just ask Prince. He is very supportive of her work. She’s coming to the State Theatre on September 30. Spalding’s latest Heads Up International album is Radio Music Society. Continue Reading →

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Marcus Miller: Music a reflection of revolution, a link to the past

 

We are pleased to present part-two of our interview with world-class bassist Marcus Miller. He performed with his band at the Dakota on Sept 11-12. His new album is Renaissance on Concord Records.  

MSR: As it’s been referenced in the press material, you feel a change is coming, a changing of the guard, a revolution of sorts — can you explain what that means in your opinion? MM: I think people just talk about music by itself, but music never really exists by itself: Music is just a reflection of what’s going on in the world. Continue Reading →

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Hot headliners hit the Selby Ave. music festival

 

It is with great pride and pleasure to announce, it’s time to kick back and enjoy one of the best free music festivals in the upper Midwest. I’m talking about the 2012 Selby Ave. JazzFest happening on Saturday, September 8, 11 am — 8 pm, at Selby Avenue and Milton in St. Paul. The festival is presented by Golden Thyme Coffee Cafe and is now in its 11th year. Continue Reading →

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Ben Williams: Rising star bassist mixes classic and new sounds

 

 

Bandleader and bassist, Ben Williams is on his way to the Dakota on Sept 4 and 5 with the Pat Metheny Unity Band. He’s also well on his way to carving out a beautiful career. He won the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for double bass and is currently a Concord Records recording artist. His first album as a bandleader is State of Art, released in June 2011. Below is a phone interview with Williams (BW). Continue Reading →

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‘The Wheatley’ reinvents itself as needs evolve

 
Director Milon talks about what holds communities together
 

By Robin James

Contributing Writer

 
The Phyllis Wheatley Community Center (PWCC), also affectionately known as “The Wheatley,” is widely known and respected as a source of strength and pride for children, youth, families and elders in North Minneapolis. The center’s namesake is a slave who won her freedom and emerged as the first African American to publish a book of poetry. In the past, PWCC was once a settlement house where famous Black artists and musicians found shelter after discrimination kept them from local hotel establishments. Marian Anderson, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ethel Waters, and Paul Robeson among others stayed at the settlement house from the time it first opened its doors back in 1924. In the present, it still serves as a gathering place, particularly for those interested in educational and social supportive services. Continue Reading →

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