Posted on

Update: #BahamasStrong

As we’ve all seen, the response to the devastation of The Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian has been dramatic. In a good way. Indeed, all of the efforts to support the island nation, below, are based in just one community, Riviera Beach. Why? Perhaps because, like so many communities in south Florida, Bahamians were among the original residents when the Town of Riviera was founded in 1922 and many of those pioneer families remain there. Read a story here in the New York Times about the Bahamian roots of south Florida and, below, see what’s happening in Riviera Beach, Freeport’s sister city, on behalf of the very similar city on Grand Bahama.

Sisters? Yes: in 2012, then-Mayor Thomas A. Masters led the creation of a ‘sister city’ partnership with Freeport, which is a form of legal or social agreement between two communities in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. It made sense and, since his election in March, new Riviera Beach Mayor Ronnie L. Felder, with the support of City Council, has been working on a formal, retooled re-launch of that agreement. He went to Freeport in July to pitch and, in response, a 10-person Bahamian delegation followed up in August with a trip here.

More relief support efforts are in the works, so come back here for updates. Currently, these projects are in place:

Riviera Beach Mayor Ronnie L. Felder and Johnny Longboats will co-host a Bahamas Relief effort at the longtime island eatery on Tuesday. The event seeks to collect certain items in exchange for…um, something from Johnny Longboats! And, this just in: Stileet will be there! Stileet is widely known as the ‘King of Rake ‘n’ Scrape,’ the music of The Bahamas, who lives in Freeport, Grand Bahama. He and his family were devastated by Hurricane Dorian and, as he talked to Mayor Felder about it, they came up with an idea. Come back here to find out if it comes to fruition! But head to Singer Island tomorrow to hear what Rake ‘n’ Scrape sounds like.

  • At GoomBay Splash. The second annual all-things-Bahamas event, GoomBay Splash, will happen November 9 at Calloway Amphitheatre in Riviera Beach. New this time? A relief effort that says, for every $20 general admission ticket sold, $5 will go to help The Bahamas. It’ll still be fun: the food, culture and people of The Bahamas will be in the house. For ticket information, including the $35 VIP tickets, click here; and to learn more about the event itself, visit its social media page here. Questions? Contact 626-755-3690 or send an email here.
  • At City Hall. Through Mayor Felder and the City Council, the City of Riviera Beach has partnered with city-based Tropical Shipping and the Bahamian government’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to organize and distribute collected goods to the islands. Residents and others can drop off goods anytime at Riviera Beach Fire Rescue’s Station #1, located at City Hall, 600 W. Blue Heron Boulevard. Questions? Call the Mayor’s Office at 561-845-4145 or RBFR at 561-845-4104. Where to go? Just look for the sign, above.
  • And With the Alpha Men–Here and There. There are two Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity chapters in PBC and they are partnering with their brothers in Freeport, Grand Bahama, to set up a direct channel for local donations. The collection site, which opened Saturday, September 7, is at the Judge Edward Rodgers Center for Community Development, 251 W. 11th Street. The Freeport Alphas have partnered with a Miami-based cargo carrier to bring the goods to the island and have created a GoFundMe page here as well. Learn more about the effort by reading a press release here and, here, a document that shows what the Freeport Alphas have put in place. And how you can help.

And remember: come back here for updates! Conversations are happening everyday.

Posted on

My African Experience

My entire life, I have been submerged in African culture by my family and their friends. Even my name–Nyota Ya-Asubuhi–is Swahili and means Star Of the Morning. It all led to my intense interest in the African diaspora, which also saw me create All About Us LLC in 2017, which specializes in selling African designer fashions for every occasion.

Me, at work, doing what I love.

But I never dreamt that I’d be able to travel to the Continent–until I had the opportunity in the summer of 2018 to go to Senegal and The Gambia.

Those trips changed my life. They connected me in a way my name never could. The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Senegal, the first stop, was a sea of the most beautiful people with melanin-rich skin and the widest eyes that grab at your soul. The people are extremely welcoming and friendly; they seem like long-lost family which, in a sense, they are. One fascinating thing I found is that an African person can look you in your face and tell you what tribe you’re from, which gives you a greater sense of belonging. That’s something that I feel is missing here in the United States.

So, in that sense, those two trips have grounded and inspired me because, before going to Africa, I felt like a plant without roots; I felt no real sense of origin, no connectedness. For me, living in the States feels like living at a transfer station–just waiting to move to the next stop.

But in Africa, it feels like home–and, of course, it was once our home–even though I had never been there before. I had a spiritual change; I came back with renewed energy and a strong sense of pride. I wanted to achieve, I wanted to work for me. I encourage any person who is a member of the African diaspora to make at least one journey home.

Me, on my trip to the Motherland.

And I can help.

If you think you could be interested in an authentic African experience, join All About Us and our tour guide, New York City-based Access Africa, on our next tour of Ghana, scheduled for June 1-10,  2020. The cost per person is $3,650, which is all-inclusive: air travel, hotel accommodations, site visits, a three-city tour in Ghana, ground travel and one meal per day. Contact me for more information. Come with us. And grow.

Nyota King is a native of West Palm Beach who grew up, in part, in North Carolina. Click here to learn more about what she does, including co-hosting local African diaspora-driven events in West Palm Beach. Read about one of those events here. For more travel information, visit Access Africa’s website here or contact Ms. King at 561-247-0618 or allaboutus561@gmail.com.

Posted on

…that The Weather Channel is owned by a black man?

In 2018, Byron Allen’s company, Entertainment Studios, bought The Weather Channel from its owners–The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast/NBC Universal–for a reported $300 million. The deal did not include the television network’s website and digital app, but, still, Mr. Allen’s Los Angeles-based company is considered one of the largest emerging global media companies in the country. It owns eight broadcast TV channels, well-known movies and does TV and film production. Mr. Allen, a former stand-up comedian and TV producer, has been in the entertainment industry since age 14. By age 27, his show, Kickin’ It with Byron Allen, became one of the longest-running TV series in the country. He founded Entertainment Studios in 1993 and, in 2009, launched eight 24-hour HD TV networks. Today, among the company’s top programs are Emmy-nominated America’s Court with Judge Ross, Beautiful Homes & Great Estates and Pets.TV. Mr. Allen also owns TheGrio, a digital, video-focused news platform for African Americans. So. As Hurricane Dorian continues to make change, check The Weather Channel for all that needs to be know about the storm. In one place. Visit it here and visit Mr. Allen’s company website here.

Posted on

…that one of the actresses on the new ‘All That’ is from WPB?

Gabrielle Green is a 14-year-old performer who studied theatre at Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach (WPB) before her family moved to Los Angeles and she pursued her acting career. The sketch-comedy series originally aired on Nickelodeon from 1994 to 2005, becoming a fixture on the cable network and receiving acclaim for its diverse cast and impact on children’s TV. It  relaunched with a new cast, including Ms. Green, and premiered in June. All That was also Nickelodeon’s longest-running, live-action series with 171 episodes across those 10 seasons. Gabrielle Green has also performed in Speechless and Lying Together and has worked as a brand representative. Watch a short clip of the show below (and that’s her in the picture, with the Afro, on the right).

Posted on

Tomorrow: Another PBC Author!

Everyone has a story to tell, they say, but not everybody tells it. Tiffany Williams—single mother, college graduate, homeowner—has told hers and had it published. And from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, she’s having a book-signing at the Lindsey Davis Center in her hometown of Riviera Beach.

Her story is rich. She grew up in the church, as they say, and as she lived her life and, of course, made her mistakes,  she talks in the book about how God’s presence helped her grow and achieve—despite those mistakes in life.

The book’s title: A Woman Can Flourish, No Matter What: Just Ask God.

“I learned a lot of things in life, but I also learned a lot of things from God,” said Ms. Williams, a longtime employee of the City of Riviera Beach. “It was important to me that I shared my story with other women—and men—so that they know how awesome God is and how, no matter what mistakes you make, he’s got your back. All you have to do is ask.”

She joins more than a dozen other Palm Beach County (PBC)-based authors that we know about who have been published or have self-published their narratives. Some, like high-school English teacher Betty Turso, told someone else’s story. In her case, John Horse: Florida’s First Freedom Fighter, is about a black Seminole leader who grew to become a major force in the tribe’s successful freedom battles.

Others, like Valerie Grimsley, wrote about themselves as well. The very committed director of the Riviera Beach Youth Empowerment Program wrote about “a life that came untangled” in her book, The Repair: Broken But Not Destroyed.

Are you a local author in PBC? Do you know about others? Send us an email to news@cocowire.net so we can keep this list going–and growing! Here is one of our previous authors’ stories.

And, if you’re free tomorrow night, stop by and let Tiffany Williams sign a book for you! Can’t make it? The book is available here on Amazon.com.

Posted on

Update: Pray at City Hall

When community activist Rae Whitely and Apostle Tommy Brown decided to host a prayer-vigil-at-city-halls against gun violence Monday, they included concern about the mass shootings at El Paso and Dayton earlier this month, of course, but their focus was here: the 47 deaths due to guns that occurred in Palm Beach County (PBC) this year alone, between January and the end of June.

Their purpose? Essentially to re-connect church and state.

Heal Our Country—Heal our Neighborhood Prayer Vigil was to be held at city halls in nearly 10 PBC cities, including Riviera Beach, West Palm Beach and the Glades area.

“This has got to stop,” said Mr. Whitely, a resident of Boynton Beach and founder of Black Votes Matter. “The Clergy can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch our neighborhoods deteriorate. We will respond in the spirit of Nehemiah and we will do it with the people making decisions that affect our neighborhoods: city officials.”

Mr. Whitely is also a pastor. He said he and some members of his church, Healing Hands Ministry in Boynton Beach, were at Boynton Beach City Hall, praying, with City Commissioner Ty Penserga, City Manager  Lori LaVerriere, Deputy Fire Chief LaTosha Clemons and other city employees.

The Rev. Dr. J.R. Thicklin, for one, is also on the team. He is president of the PBC Clergy Alliance, and led the prayer Monday at Riviera Beach City Hall. He was joined by City Councilwoman Julia Botel, political activist Maria Cole and Deandre Poole, who has filed to run for Supervisor of Elections. Watch them below.

Interestingly, newly elected Mayor Ronnie L. Felder had hosted weekly prayers at City Hall for months last year as pastor of Riviera Beach-based Transformation Church of the Palm Beaches. He was unable to attend Monday.

“I do think there’s a need sometimes to combine the spiritual with public service, to ensure we have the strength we need to make change,” said Mayor Felder, who is also CEO of JAY Outreach Ministries, a spiritually based recovery program for men located in the city. “The question is how do you do that? A good start to me has always been prayer at city hall.”

Pastor Ronnie L. Felder and members of his Transformation Church of the Palm Beaches pray at Riviera Beach City Hall last year–before he was elected Mayor in April.

Indeed, that’s just part of what Mr. Whitely and Apostle Brown, who leads New Disciples Worship Center in Boynton Beach, intend: to use the power of the church and government, together, to make change. Going forward, they plan to research, implement and push gun violence prevention strategies, partnering with public and private sector agencies in affected communities. Read an article about their motivation and plans here.

“Today was just to sound the alarm,” Mr. Whitely said Monday. “Our approach looks to increase black communities’ capacity to speak for themselves and solve their own problems. This approach has been successful for us in the past, and it is our prayer that it will be successful moving forward.”

For more information, send an email to rae.whitely@gmail.com.

Posted on

‘Say Yes to Mental Success’

  The Allen and Adderly families of West Palm Beach have suffered the
unthinkable, twice, but they’ve risen above the ashes–literally. Yes,
their  home has been in ruins since July 5 when a loved one, Trevonte Tavaris Adderly, 26, who suffers from mental illness, tried to kill his grandmother, Delores Allen, then set her house on fire. With her inside. She lived, but remains in critical condition.

Meanwhile, her husband, Emanuel Allen, needs a place to live until their home is rebuilt.

This is the second unimaginable tragedy this family has suffered. In 1997, when the three Adderly boys were just toddlers–Delores and Emanuel’s grandsons, including Trevonte–they witnessed their father murder their mother. The middle boy, Travon ‘Marq’ Adderly, tried to stop it by jumping on his father’s back, but his mother died in a pool of blood right in front of them.

The youngest of those three boys is Trevonte. It appears he never got over that trauma in 1997 and has suffered mental illness ever since–and, on July 5, committed his own trauma.
     Meanwhile, his brother, Travon, the one who jumped on his dad’s back, continues to show zeal.

He is, indeed, a warrior.

This decorated Navy officer is kicking off his ‘Say Yes to Mental
Success’ campaign in November to fight mental illness.  He is also the founder and CEO of Marq Adderly Watches–visit its website here–which creates and sells product as one of a few black-owned watch makers worldwide. He also recently awarded his first college scholarship in a new program for PBC students.

Travon talks campaign launch.


     He and his family need our prayers, love, support–and financial help, for medical expenses and lodging. To help, click here to donate to their GoFund Me account or visit any TD Bank branch to donate to the Delores and Emanuel Allen Fund.

They have gotten some support. After word got out about Trevone’s crime, Willie Snead, a native of the Glades area who plays with the Baltimore Ravens, donated $1,000. Then, the very next day, team owner Stephen Bisciotti gave $5,000.  Travon was thrilled that men of their stature noticed his family’s double tragedy, but he says he is as just as thankful for $5 gifts.

Images on the family’s GoFundMe page. Visit it here.

This family has impacted me greatly. I’ve learned lessons–about grace, mercy and the ultimate forgiveness, which we’ll explore next
time.  Stay tuned.

Daphne Taylor is a longtime, multi-media reporter who has worked for decades telling stories about world leaders, yes, but also about real people, especially those living in communities of color. She currently writes for a host of publications, including the South Florida Times and the statewide Florida Courier. She told the story of the Adderlys as part of that work; read her published piece here. Read her full bio here and, to contact her directly, send an email to journeynews2@gmal.com.

Posted on

Update: free back-to-school events in PBC

The School District of Palm Beach County (PBC) will start the 2019-20 school year on August 12, so let’s get ready! The good news is there’s lots of options for doing just that: free back-to-school events, free places to get necessary or needed health care options, free places to close out summer and have fun! Plus, remember the statewide Sales Tax Holiday that runs August 2-6 and provides tax exemptions for qualifying items such as certain school supplies, clothing, footwear, computers and accessories. Learn more here.

Here’s a few options, all free, all open to the public, all in PBC. Did you receive our digital newsletter listing? There’s even more, now, below!

  • New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church: From 10 to 3 p.m. on August 3, there will be free bookbags for the first 300 students, plus games, bounce houses, food, guest appearances and more at the Back To School Block Party in West Palm Beach (WPB). To receive the bookbags, students must first pre-register by sending an email here or by calling 561-307-0548.
  • Mt.Calvary Baptist Church. What’s happening? Lots. Over the entire weekend of August 9-11, Stomp Fest will feature a young adults night on Friday and, on Sunday, a special worship service. But, on Saturday, the focus is on back to school. From 1 to 3:30 p.m., there will be free school supplies, games, food and free haircuts and hairdos. Then, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., the partay starts: step-dancing, spoken word performances and other entertainment. Performers include JFK Middle School’s marching band, Mt. Calvary Dance Nation and Soul Movement Ensemble–young, skilled, dancing ladies! All free, all Stomp Fest!
  • T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society. The focus is, of course, on physicals, immunizations and health and dental screenings, but there will also be free school supplies. The Community Health Fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. August 3 at the Boys & Girls Club in Riviera Beach. Click here for more information.
  • Mangonia Park. Via its annual Heritage Festival, the little town sandwiched between Riviera Beach and WPB will provide stuffed book bags to its young residents–plus live music and free food to everyone else, including non-residents. The event will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on August 3 at the Addie L. Greene Park. Who is Addie Greene, you say? Learn more about the public servant and published author here. That’s her in the picture, below, alongside her name.
Madame Namesake: Addie Greene, herself.
  • Pahokee. Sponsored by the city, the annual Putting Children 1st event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on August 10 at Pahokee High School’s gymnasium. For more information, call 561-924-5534.
  • FoundCare. Several hundred young people will be able to get free physicals, immunizations and other health-related services–plus a free back pack with school supplies. The event theme—Celebrating Community Heroes—will feature local firemen, utility workers, nurses, elected officials and “others who help the community.” Free refreshments start at 8 a.m. and the event an hour later through 1 p.m. For more information, call 561-432-5849. It will be held at FoundCare headquarters in WPB. Visit its website here.
  • Free Immunizations. In order to enroll in public or private school, children must be vaccinated according to state and federal law. Thanks to a coalition led by the PBC Health Department, it can be done for free! Just visit the locations throughout the month where the ‘Immunization Van’ will be. The van travels all over; click here for its August calendar. All children ages 2 months through 12th grade must have the list of required vaccines at certain points in their lives, proof is required for new and transfer students and for entry at some grade levels. See requirements and other details here.
  • Headliners Barbershop. Of course: haircuts. Now, those are $5, but the rest of the events–face painting, food, drinks, music, fun–are free. The 10th annual EdgeUcation First back-to-school drive starts at 11 a.m. on August 3 at the barbershop, located at 1523 W . Blue Heron Boulevard in Riviera Beach. Information? Call 561-429-4765.
  • South Bay. One of PBC’s farthest west cities, South Bay’s back-to-school event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on August 3 at Tanner Park. Attendees must be South Bay residents and must pre-register. Call 561-996-6751 for more information. The City is host.
  • Nelson’s Outreach Ministries. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rodgers Center for Community Development, located at 251 W. 11th Street in Riviera Beach.
  • Valley of Love Ministries. Free haircuts for boys, free manicures and braids for girls! That’s at the top of the list of offerings at this ninth annual event, to be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. August 11 in Riviera Beach. Attendees must register by August 8 by calling 561-844-2400.
  • Mental Health Awareness + Back to School. The multi-faceted event is focused on both points: awareness pamphlets and experts, backpacks, games, haircuts, music and more. All free. It will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on August 4 in Riviera Beach. For information: call 561-385-4469 or send an email to sincere2000@outlook.org. The two main sponsors are Riviera Beach City Councilman Douglas A. Lawson and Sincere2000 Foundation, which focuses on mental health and suicide prevention (visit its website here).
  • The R.I.S.E to the Occasion Back to School Bash. Held at Manatee Lagoon, 6000 N. Flagler Drive in WPB, the event starts at 10 a.m. on August 3 and will feature activities for children, photo opportunities with Mia the Manatee, PBC Library System’s Bookmobile, community resources, free food and more. That ‘more’ includes free backpacks filled with school supplies for young residents of zip code 33407, with proof of residency and while supplies last. For more information, call (561) 626-2833  or visit its website here. Manatee Lagoon is an eco-friendly site connected to FPL, which owns the huge power plant next door, and both sit on the Intracoastal Waterway. Why the manatee focus? Check out the website.
  • Community Partners of South Florida. The Back to School Bash will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on August 11 at the nonprofit’s offices in Riviera Beach and will feature the giveaway of drawstring backpacks filled with school supplies. Plus, on a first-come, first-served basis: free haircuts, hairstylings and manicures! More information? Contact 561-841-3500 or sambroise@cp-cto.org.
The scene at Community Partners. Visit its site here.
  • Physician Family Pharmacy. Bookbags, health physicals, food, music, face painting, bounce houses–all happening from 3 to 7 p.m. on August 4 at the pharmacy site, 5869 Lake Worth Road in Greenacres. Everything is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 561-501-1874 for information; its website is here.
  • Grace Episcopal Church. Located at 3600 N. Australian Avenue in WPB, the Back to School Giveaway will be held from 12 to 5 p.m. on August 3 in the church’s huge parking lot: food, school supplies, bounce houses, games. To learn more: 561-602-5442 or 561-356-4413.
  • In His Presence Deliverance Ministries. Same: bookbag giveaway, free school supplies, free food. One difference: a laptop giveaway. Check it out: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 3 at the church, located at 1700 45th Street in WPB.

And for information about the school district and what it provides for its students (lots!), click here to visit its website. Happy School Year!

Posted on

‘Foe Foe Tha Don’

Meet 24-year-old rapper Foe Foe Tha Don, a West Palm Beach native who’s bringing a message to the airwaves. The message? That, no matter what trials and tribulations life brings, never give up. He’s living testimony to that: a two-time convicted felon, Foe Foe Tha Don never gave up. While serving time in prison, he said, he focused on his future, not his past, and worked to perfect his craft. The song featured here, Message, is real and raw; blatantly so.

When asked about his inspiration for the song, his answer was simple. “The song came from stress and letting petty things get to my head,” he said, “like old friends who felt a way because I came home with a different mindset from when I left.” Message voices the struggles, growing pains and hopes of a young talented black man who made some mistakes while living in America—but works to overcome those mistakes. Today, he has a daughter (that’s her in the picture, at top) and a full-time job. With lyrics like “never been the type to wait for a handout” and “I got a daughter now so I move right” and “I was tired of going through the same thing,” his views are eminently relatable. He has released more music on YouTube, including a tune called No Pain; click here to hear it. Wishing you the best, Foe Foe!   

Posted on

…that Cori Gauff is the youngest Wimbledon player ever–and is from PBC?

Fifteen-year-old Cori–also known as Coco (love that!)–reached the second round of the top tennis tournament in the world Monday by beating her idol, Venus Williams. Wimbledon, played annually in London, England, is considered the Grand Slam tournament of the sport. The talented young lady is from Delray Beach and comes from a family of athletes: her father, who acts as her coach, played basketball at Georgia State University while her mother ran track for Florida State University. Both were in the stands, cheering on the daughter who is currently ranked 313 in the world and had also been the #1 junior champion in the world earlier in her career. Did we say she is the youngest player ever to play at Wimbledon?  Today, Coco will compete in the third round of the tournament and, hopefully, she’ll be seen in the finals. Go coco!