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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.

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‘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.

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Justice coming for others? Keep the faith

It was in the early morning hours on October 18, 2015, when Corey Jones’ vehicle stalled along an I-95 exit ramp in Palm Beach Gardens (PBG). As we know today, he was killed at the hands of the now-former PBG police officer, Nouman Raja. When we in the community heard of Corey’s tragic death, our outrage became an organized protest called “A Rally For Transparency,” which included peaceful town hall meetings, a holiday season protest at the Gardens Mall and a “sit in” with a row of cars long the involved exit ramp.

I attended every calm, peaceful event. Lying underneath them all: faith.

Prophet Bryce, the author, show earlier this year at a church rally with Corey Jones’ maternal aunt, Sheila Banks, left, and Vicki McNeill, mother of Tonoris Williams, who was killed by a sheriff’s deputy in 2014.

After the protests, Raja was charged. Then our rallies became more about keeping Corey’s name in the public eye as we saw hashtags and headlines pile up about police shootings of young black men across this country. Including here in Palm Beach County: about six months before Corey’s death, there was research done which found that, over the previous 15 years, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) tallied 45 fatal shootings—plus 38 more cases where deputies only shot, but didn’t kill, civilians. More than a third of those civilians were black—yet there had not been a law enforcement officer convicted of a shooting statewide in more than three decades. Until now: Raja was found guilty last week Thursday of
manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder and will be sentenced April 26. He remains in custody.

The Rev. Al Sharpton with the author, who acts as
the central Florida regional director of Rev. Sharpton’s National Action Network. They were at Corey Jones’ funeral in 2015.

But for me, Corey’s horrific death was profound in one very significant way: his family had such unwavering faith, trust and belief in God that somehow justice would prevail. They carried themselves with such grace, dignity, integrity and decorum that, in my eyes, they set a standard not only here locally, but across the country and, frankly, in black America as well. Yet it amazes me that not once did I see the significance of Corey’s story of justice air on any national mainstream media—from CNN to MSNBC to The Today Show to Good Morning America. Nothing compared to the coverage of justice gone wrong.

This was an example of justice served that the entire world needed to see. But it hasn’t. The question is: why?

I was in the courtroom last week when the verdict was announced. I could feel the tension sweep through the room. I was confident of Raja’s guilt, but not nearly as sure about the system that has failed blacks in America time and time again! When the Clerk started reading the verdict sheet—‘we the jury find Nouman Raja…’—my heart literally dropped, waiting for the last word. GUILTY. Tears rushed down my face and, without making a sound in the courtroom, I joined everyone else and we walked out of court, into the hallway and rejoiced that justice was finally served after nearly four years.

The guilty former police officer being led out of court Thursday. In handcuffs.
(Photo credit: WPTV Channel 5)

This was an absolutely great victory against police brutality, yes, but it’s not the end because Lady Liberty still has the blindfold over her eyes. What about those names and faces that came before Corey Jones?

That’s why we have to keep fighting. Fighting for justice for those nameless, faceless individuals who are seeking, but may never get, this type of justice. What kind of justice is that? The kind that is due. We have to keep the faith. Just like the Corey Jones family. 

Prophet Bryce is the youth minister at Anointed House of Prayer Ministries in West Palm Beach and the central Florida regional director of the National Action Network, founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton. Last year, he earned the Trailblazer Award from the Trayvon Martin Foundation for his work in community uplift and social justice; read the press release here. To contact Prophet Bryce, call 561-755-1110 or email prophetbryce@gmail.com.

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A Taste of Ethiopia

On a recent visit to my native home of West Palm Beach, I reconnected with a friend I  knew where I grew up, former New Yorker Stewart Bosley, who has since relocated here and is the owner/operator of Urban Growers Community Farm in West Palm Beach.

He introduced me to his favorite restaurant in town.

“The Queen of Sheeba,” Mr. Bosley said. “It’s Ethiopian and the food is great.” Afterwards he also introduced me to the chef, Lojo Washington, a native Ethiopian, and her co-owner-husband William Washington. He is a longtime area accountant and pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm Beach.  

Queen of Sheeba is in the heart of the historic Northwest neighborhood, located at 716 North Sapodilla Avenue. 

Lojo Washington, native of Ethiopia and owner of Queen of Sheeba.
Shown: the outdoor eating area.

Mrs. Washington, above, originally opened in 2006 as a soul food takeout spot that served everything from neck bones to black-eyed peas, chicken and fried fish.

“The community watched me build the restaurant up and were very supportive,” she said. “Now we’re like a family.”

As part of the soul food takeout, Mrs. Washington started a young people’s book club in the neighborhood. “I would like to do that again in the future,” said the soft-spoken Mrs. Washington with a smile.

Her husband is from Louisiana, where his mother, Mildred Washington, still resides. Her cooking inspired her daughter-in-law to open a restaurant using her recipes.

In 2014, Washington transformed the takeout into a sit-down Ethiopian restaurant, Queen of Sheeba. “I changed,” she explained, “because I was more familiar with my native food.” 

Plant life hovers over the outdoor patio sheltering customers from the sun. The interior, lined with antique furniture, is a treasure trove of memorabilia.

Author Ron Scott stands in front of the ‘treasure trove of memorabilia’ at the restaurant.

The portions of food are more than enough—combinations of vegetables with fish, chicken or beef. The imported African tea and beer can’t be beat. And forget about the fork: Just use the injera bread to scoop everything up. Perfect.

Queen of Sheeba is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., then reopens from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. For more information, contact 561-514-0615, QueenofSheba1@gmail.com or click here to visit its website.

Ron Scott covers jazz music for The Amsterdam News in New York City in his weekly column, ‘Jazz Notes.’ Born in West Palm Beach, Mr. Scott was raised and lives in New York and is an award-winning writer, editor and publicity consultant. His byline has also appeared in the New York Times, Vogue magazine and the New York Daily News. To read his bio, click here and to contact him, send an email to rscott4f@aol.com. Oh. And why was he in town, anyway, you might ask? Taking a break after covering the International Havana Jazz Festival in Cuba.

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No wife, no kids, no Corey: ‘his generation stopped’

Sunday, February 3 was the 35th birthday of my nephew, Corey Jones. But there will be no birthday celebration; just heartache. That’s because Corey’s generation has stopped.

It’s been more than three years since that dreadful night of October 18, 2015, and our hearts and minds have questions with no answers.

Corey was in his rightful place, waiting for towing assistance for his car along the side of I-95 in Palm Beach Gardens—help that was delayed. He had been on a phone call for more than 50 minutes with an AT&T roadside assistance representative.

When Corey’s mother passed away in 2006, I knew I needed to step up in my role as his Godmother — and that I did. He spent time with me in Georgia, where I lived; I remember our lunches and dinners. He was always very curious. He found music stores and would spend hours there while I was working. We chatted about life, but not much about his mom; it was too painful for both of us.

My last text to Corey was simple—I typed ‘how are you, I love you’—and sent just a few hours before he was shot and killed. Our last conversation was a week before his horrific death. We talked about his many friends from all around the world, friendships that developed over the last decade as he pursued his music career. He was so happy and full of joy about the life God had allowed him to “build”; he was looking forward to his future, as was I.

We spoke about him one day getting married and I told him that, while I could never replace his mom, I would be honored to sit where she would have sat—and we would honor her too on that special day. Suddenly, he stopped. “Auntie,” he said, “I’ll have time for that later.”

That being said, because of the selfish decision by that police officer, Nouman Raja, on that dreadful night, Corey’s generation stopped. There will be no wedding. No children and no grandchildren. That all ended on that October night nearly four years ago. And as we continue to await his trial, we feel no better. Especially as we pass yet another birthday without justice for Corey.

Sheila Banks is the founder of Live To Serve, Live To Care Inc., a nonprofit focused on family support and community uplift. She grew up in Boynton Beach, attending the family church with her nephew, who played the drums. For more information on the trial, contact shebank95@yahoo.com.

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Batta Ears Boy

Recently, all over my social media news-feeds, parties and events, men have been proclaiming that they don’t want a Batta Ears Gyal, and it’s getting annoying.The term was popularized by Dancehall artiste Govana in his song Bake Bean. The chorus of the song is as follows “Some man a hype wid a bagga waste gal/Gena gena we nuh wife batta ears gal/Boy go ova yasuh wid yuh macka face gal/Gena gena we nuh wife batta ears gal”. The definition of Batta Ears Gyal is a female lacking ambition or self-worth. However, my question to Govana, and all his supporters, what is equatable to being a Batta Ears Gyal as a man? Lazy cannot do, we need something that is equally as offensive. Maybe a Batta Ears Boy?According to The Washington Post, women are dominating men at college. Last year, woman earned 57.4% of all bachelor’s degrees. But that’s not it, Forbes did a study that showed black woman as the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. Since 1997, the number of businesses owned by black woman has grown more than 322%.In a nutshell, woman are bossing up and the figures are here to prove it. So Govana, we don’t husband no Batta Ears Boys.

Jada Brown is the host of the All Access Show, a bi-continental radio show that airs on 97.1 FM in south Florida and in Jamaica. She is also the owner of JB Entertainment, which does marketing.

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A new community center, a new website and an old saying

All three are about one thing: community uplift

When people pull up to 251 W. 11th Street for a Farm Share free food giveaway on October 27, they may think they’re coming to the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy. But they won’t be.
They’ll be coming to the Judge Edward Rodgers Center for Community Development, a newly created service center that plans community social and cultural events, a small-business incubator and a host of holistic partnerships with organizations that are committed to the same thing: community uplift.

The Center is the brainchild of its namesake and the Greek organization to which he’s belonged for more than 70 years: the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. The West Palm Beach-based Delta Delta Lamba chapter’s nonprofit arm, the Alpha Educational Foundation, will oversee the facility.

Besides the Farm Share partnership, the Alphas are also partnering with the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County for a career fair on November 28. It will also be at the Judge Rodgers Center.

And we, here at cocowire, are also on the Judge Rodgers team. He is a supporter of cocowire and, indeed, is to be the only voice of opinion on the site. That’s because he has lots to say, he’s lived through many experiences and he will share it at will. And when he’s done, he adds that old tagline, ‘just so you know.’

But the Judge is also 90 years old. So, as we launch cocowire and the Alphas launch the community center, we realize we have to give him some space. So, the weekly ‘Just So You Know’ opinion pieces will be written by a host of smart, capable and opinionated people who live here and who will talk about what’s happening here—whenever the Judge doesn’t feel like it.

So, that place located at 251 W. 11th Street? It’s about community uplift, just like its namesake. Just so you know.

Marian Dozier is the founder of tysMedia.net and created cocowire.net. To learn more about Judge Rodgers, click here and, about the Alpha Educational Foundation, here. And to learn more about Homestead-based Farm Share, which works to end food deserts statewide, click here.