Photos courtesy of


One of our own…Chicago’s own…House’s own…Craig Loftis, pioneering DJ, music producer, club owner and one of Frankie Knuckles’ proteges, needs our help. His club, “The Lodge”, one of Chicago’s only southside clubs dedicated to House music, culture and the community, was recently closed by the City of Chicago due to minor licensing violations and structural issues.

He has set up a GO FUND ME account asking the community to help save The Lodge. CLICK HERE

For those that may not be familiar, Craig Loftis has been a DJ in the Chicago music scene since 1979. He realized that music was his true gift from God and he decided to take it further. He attended Columbia College Chicago, where he received a degree in Arts and Entertainment Management and Sound Engineering. In the early years, he redesigned the sound system for Frankie Knuckles’ legendary “Power Plant” and became Knuckles’ personal sound engineer, opening DJ and General Manager for the next four years. In 2000, Loftis started a new promotion company, Loftwerk Productions, working with Loleatta Holloway, Ava Cherry, Sharon Pass, Darryl Pandy, Byron Stingley, Rochelle Flemming, Georgy Porgy and Martha Wash, to name a few.

Craig says, “The Lodge is in need of your help and support. The Lodge is located at 5108 S. Prairie Avenue in Chicago. It’s a Black-owned-and-operated private dance club. The Lodge is a place that welcomes all regardless of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It’s also a great place to hear HOUSE MUSIC in the city that it was born in… CHICAGO! 

The Lodge

Just recently, the global House community united to save the historic building in Chicago that housed Frankie Knuckles’ “The Warehouse”, which resulted in getting it designated as a national historic landmark. Let’s come together again to save The Lodge, a possible future national historic landmark!!!

GO BANG! Magazine is asking all lovers and supporters of House music and the House culture across the world, to unite and save a historic and important structure in the legacy of House, The Lodge!

Please dig deep and donate whatever you can.  We have a goal of reaching $50,000.


At the time of this writing, The Lodge’s GO FUND ME has reached a little over $2300



Loftwerk Production is the name of the production company that hosts and manages the The Lodge guest memberships events @ The Great Lakes Elks Lodge #43 5108 S. Prairie ,Chicago Il. 60615. The sole purpose of the group is to promote and preserve the rich legacy of Chicago House Music . All like minded individuals are welcome to join. Being a member of Loftwerk Productions (THE LODGE) in no way makes you a member of Great Lakes Elks Lodge #43 . What it does do, is allows you to enter the event hall as a guest of Craig Loftis, member of Great Lakes Elks Lodge #43. THE LODGE IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.. you must be invited by a member of Great Lakes or a guest member of THE LODGE.

Lastly, Craig requests, “To everyone who has donated and that plan to donate, please send me a SHORT VIDEO SNIPPET of what “The Lodge” means to you. Please end it with ‘25 to stay alive’…Support The Lodge.’ You can drop it in my inbox or email it to . Thank you!”





Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for,,,, and, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.




On Sunday, August 13, 2023, Chicago native and former Soul Train Dancer Brandy Sanders brought her fabulously fun “Disco Ball” to the town where the dance began, CHICAGO! It was held at the posh South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shore Dr., from 4pm – 11pm. In the words of the late great Don Cornelius,, “You can bet that it was a stone cold gas!”


Since 2008, “Brandy’s Disco Ball” has celebrated the culture and the spirit of the 70s Disco era through music and fashion. So, this event paid tribute to the legendary entertainers of the era. Each year, the Los Angeles legendary Soul Train Dancers are the honorary guests. But this year, Brandy honored and recognize the original Soul Train Dancers from Chicago, along with many other Chicago born entertainers and celebrities.

Maurice Christian (center) and 2 other members of “The Puppets” receiving their honoree certificates.






























It was a night of fun and an exciting evening of live entertainment, “Best Dressed” Contests, Dance Contests, Games, Raffles, Vendors, the Soul Train Scramble Board and of course, The World Famous “Soul Train Line!!”


Special featured musical guest performers were Remj (a Michael Jackson Tribute Entertainer)


Nu Skool Sings Old School star Mesiyah and Gospel Soul Recording Artist “Lady Leah.” Special celebrity guest and Chicago born actress Cynda Willliams, from “Mo’ Better Blues” and Oprah Winfrey’s “The Wedding” was also in attendance, donning her funky and fabulous 70’s outfit. While the distinguished special guest was the SEIU African American Caucus.










One of the highlights of the event was Brandy’s award presentation to the honorees, which included Chicago original Soul Train Dancers Mable Buckner, Albert Adams, The Puppets (Maurice Christian, Anthony Fairchild, Melvin Shumpert, Willie Fultz, Carlton Knight, Yolanda Cooper, Wayne Ward and the late David Crockett), Captain Sky, Poppin Chuck, Robin Roberts Mister, the late Diane Roberts Mister and Stefon Patterson.





Albert Adams performed a fantastic dance routine and The Puppets put on a spectacular dance performance as well.



Photo courtesy of Darrell Roberts

Also honored were Chicago’s legendary entertainers, including Blues Singer/Songwriter Deitra Farr, entertainment veteran Lee “Mr. Lee” Kirsky, musical group, The Notations (Clifford Curry, Eric Rapier Bryant, Marzette Griffith) and lastly, the Jazz & Blues artist Legendary HolleThee Maxwell, who spoke about her time with Ike Turner and wanted to dispel the talk about Ike being a monster. She stated that he wasn’t like that with her. She also promoted her memoir book titled, “Freebase Ain’t Free.” The book describes Maxwell’s wild ride as Turner’s friend, trusted associate, and closest ally.We cannot forget to mention the special tribute to Chicago House music pioneer, the late Ron Hardy and Chicago Original Soul Train Dancer Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quinones. The tributes ended with a special dedication to Soul Train Founder, Producer & Host Don Cornelius and Chicago Soul Train Host Clinton Ghent.


This event not only celebrated the Chicago Soul Train dancers, but it also celebrated 50 Years of Hip Hop with a special presentation by Chicago Hip Hop Historian Darrell “Artistic” Roberts of the Chicago Hip Hop Heritage Museum, located in Chicago at 4505 S. Indiana Avenue, 773.414.2006. We got a chance to briefly speak with “Artistic” and he is just an incredible individual filled with great spirit, personality and knowledge.

Once the presentations and performances were over, the lights were dimmed, the music was pumped and the world famous Soul Train Line was formed. Everyone in attendance jumped out of their seats and hit the dance floor. From young teenagers to seasoned seniors, they all showed off their moves while going down the Soul Train line. This lasted for hours, as the line grew longer and longer. Then, the line broke up and all of the dancers just took to the floor and jammed, packing it from wall to wall.




Photos courtesy of Darrell Roberts


Brandy Sanders says “It’s always been my dream to bring my show from LA back to Chicago. It’s going to be a full circle moment for me. Grab your bell bottoms, your platform shoes, your miniskirts and your go-go boots. It’s Gonna Be A Ball Y’all!!!”



Brandy promised this to be one of the most epic and historical events to ever hit Chicago….and IT WAS!!!

We leave you with the famous words of the late Don Cornelius, LOVE, PEACE & SOULLLLLLL!!!

Brandy’s Disco Ball 2022

Video courtesy of Brandy Sanders @



Photo courtesy of Brandy Sanders/Facebook

Special shout out and thanks to Desirae L. Benson, my publicist and PR EXTRORDINAIRE


Please follow photographer Isaiah Jamal Evans and Cali Visuals:

IG @_calivisuals

FB @Cali Visuals / @Isaiah Jamal Evans



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for,,,, and, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

With the support of House music fans, Preservation Chicago, the city of Chicago, and Mayor Brandon Johnson, the building that once was the location of The Warehouse received landmark status by the Chicago City Council. City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards approved landmark status for the building during its Tuesday meeting. It was announced Thursday, June 22, 2023.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, “The Warehouse”, a building known as the birthplace of House music, located at 206 S. Jefferson St. in the West Loop, was home to dance parties hosted by legendary Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles, who helped create House music and popularize it around the world.

The road to landmarking The Warehouse started earlier this year when thousands of people signed an online petition calling on the city to “save” the West Loop building. The landmark designation protects the building’s facade and roofline from being altered by the current owner.

The building — today home to a law office — has been at the center of a recent push to recognize Chicago’s contributions to House music, as well as the numerous LGBTQ+, Black and Latino Chicagoans who helped define the genre.

“The Warehouse opened in 1977 with DJ Frankie Knuckles and a state-of-the art sound system per the vision of owner Robert Williams to convert an old industrial building into a vibrant nightclub creating dancefloor freedom for Chicago’s Black gay community,” Preservation Chicago stated. “It was at this club, with the iconic DJ Frankie Knuckles at the helm, that house music was developed. From The Warehouse this new sound spread from Chicago living rooms to the rest of the world,” Max Chavez, the Director of Research and Special Projects with Preservation Chicago, said at Tuesday’s zoning meeting. “This landscape of world music, because of The Warehouse, because of Frankie Knuckles and because of Chicago was changed forever.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:  As a lifetime city of Chicago resident, former DJ, and lover of the House culture, I along with many of my House loving friends who were either pioneers in the creation of House music, patrons of the Warehouse, or simply fans of Frankie Knuckles, made it our mission to put a petition together and UNITE to secure the protection of the place that started it ALL. The entire House community, across planet Earth, came together as a family, to ensure that 206 S. Jefferson would stand forever!

I felt proud to see the House community come together, especially the Chicago House community come together.  LET’S KEEP THAT SPIRIT!!!


Click here to see a previous GO BANG! Magazine tribute to Frankie Knuckles upon his passing.

For more background information on the Warehouse and Frankie Knuckles, follow this link to a “Bassement Sound’s” article.



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for,,,, and In addition, he’s an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

The International African American Museum (IAAM) explores the history, culture, and impact of the African American journey on Charleston, on the nation, and on the world, shining light and sharing stories of the diverse journeys, origin, and achievements of descendants of the African Diaspora. Located in Charleston, S.C., at the historically sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf, IAAM honors the untold stories of the African American journey.

Across 9 galleries and a memorial garden with art, objects, artifacts, and multi-media interaction, IAAM is a champion of authentic, empathetic storytelling of American history. As a result, the museum will stand as one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism as it evolves today. The mission of IAAM is to honor the untold stories of the African American journey at the historically sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf and beyond.

Its nine distinct galleries will demonstrate how enslaved Africans and free blacks shaped economic, political, and cultural development throughout the nation and beyond, while offering an especially close look at the connection to the South Carolina Lowcountry. These include the Transatlantic Experience, the Atlantic Worlds Gallery, the South Carolina Connections Gallery, the Gullah Geechee Gallery, the American Journeys Gallery, the Carolina Gold Gallery, the
African Roots Gallery, The Theater, and the Special Exhibitions Gallery.

In addition to the galleries, the African Ancestors Memorial Garden sprawls across the museum’s grounds and reflects on the historic significance of Gadsden’s Wharf, one of the many docks in Charleston Harbor at which an estimated 45% of enslaved Africans entered this country. Artistic installations and site objects mark the history and archeology there. This area, which will be free and open to the public, also provides a space for informal and structured gatherings where stories and traditions can once again be shared.

Working to serve and improve equity for Black and African Americans, IAAM is a champion of authentic, empathetic storytelling of American history and is thus one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism as it evolves today.

Opening on June 27 of 2023, IAAM has been in the works since 2000 when former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., voiced a need for the museum in his State of the City address. In 2002, a steering committee was formed to explore the development of the museum, and in 2005, Congressman Jim Clyburn became the museum’s first chair of the Board of Directors. As of early 2022, IAAM had raised close to $100 million dollars toward building construction and the foundation of what will comprise the heart of the museum. Since 2021, Dr. Tonya M. Matthews, president and chief executive officer of IAAM, has guided the extensive efforts leading to the museum’s opening and its ongoing efforts to tell the story of the African American journey.

The African Ancestors Memorial Garden, a collection of gardens and artistic installations that sprawls across the IAAM grounds, will be free and open to the public. It will give visitors the opportunity to honor African ancestors and reflect on the historic significance of Gadsden’s Wharf facing the harbor, where some historians estimate more than 45% of enslaved Africans entered this country. Site objects mark the history and archeology there. This area also allows for
informal and programmed gatherings where stories and traditions can once again be shared.

Technology and Educational Features for Visitors:

• Another centerpiece of the museum, the “Atlantic Worlds Gallery,” will be furnished with North America’s first public installation of the latest Crystal LED display in a 32-
foot wide, 7-foot-high configuration provided by Sony. The immersive audio/visual experience is expected to elicit a powerful emotional response from visitors, as it brings
history to life through technology.

• To help visitors explore, the South Carolina Connections Gallery includes an interactive table digital map (supported by Google) that highlights where history happened throughout the state and the Lowcountry.

• The Theater (supported by BMW) will feature a commissioned film installation, The Ummah Chroma, an award-winning film collective. It will serve as both a visitor orientation to the museum experience and a work of art to be screened and distributed internationally. The film will be a visual and an emotional encapsulation of the spirit, resilience, and power of people of African descent.

The International African American Museum (IAAM) features nine galleries housing 11 core exhibits and one changing exhibit that rotates two to three times annually. The museum also publishes a consistent series of digital exhibits on the Google Arts & Culture platform. The core exhibits include over 150 historical objects, over 30 works of art, nearly 50 films and digital interactives, and numerous analog interactives and didactic tools intended to bring history to life and to actively resist global systemic racism. Below are brief descriptions of each gallery and exhibit.

Transatlantic Experience | Transatlantic Experience Exhibit
The Transatlantic Experience provides visitors with a large-scale immersive media experience. Situated as the entry point to the east wing of IAAM, this experience features eight large video screens, which take visitors on a historical journey through hundreds of years of history, from African cultural roots to the tragedy of the Middle Passage and into local and international diaspora scenes and traditions. The four-minute film offers an introductory experience to the themes, emotions, and historical interpretations that visitors will encounter throughout their museum experience.

The Theater Gallery | Film Exhibit
The Theater Gallery, adjacent to the Transatlantic Experience, features films and videos, which provide broad historical context and further orient the visitor to the overall museum experience through a narrative storytelling format. The original film to be featured in this gallery will be produced and co-conceived by the award-winning film collective The Ummah Chroma.

Gullah Geechee Gallery | Gullah Geechee Exhibit
With a focus on the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, the Gullah Geechee Gallery provides an introduction to Gullah Geechee history and culture. Through the exploration of themes including activism, organization, and cultural practices and preservation, this gallery examines the history of the community as well as contemporary issues facing Gullah Geechee communities. Featuring a full-size bateau (boat), a recreated praise house, and multiple media experiences, the Gullah Geechee Gallery provides insight into the dynamic cultural identity of the Gullah Geechee people and endeavors to define and demystify what it means to be Gullah Geechee.

South Carolina Connections Gallery | South Carolina Connections Exhibit
The South Carolina Connections Gallery focuses on African American and African diasporic history that is within and historically interconnected to South Carolina. Featuring key artifacts and an interactive map table powered by Google, the South Carolina Connections Gallery provides insight into known and lesser-known South Carolinians, as well as relevant places and events from early colonial settlement to the present. This gallery tells stories of resistance and achievement, from the many local, national, and international influential African Americans in South Carolina’s history. Significant artifacts in this gallery include tennis rackets belonging to Althea Gibson, the first African American tennis player to compete at the U.S. National Championships, as well as a Waterford Crystal Award, commemorating her Wimbledon singles and doubles championship wins in 1957.

African Roots Gallery | African Roots & African Routes Exhibits
The African Roots Exhibit explores the diverse empires, cultures, historic figures, knowledge systems, and technologies of West and West Central Africa — the areas of origin connected to Africans forced to the Americas. A central media program highlights the dynamic past, present, and future of these regions, and Africa more broadly, from empires and societies to colonies and modern nations. Key artifacts in this exhibit include an 18th century Islamic astrolabe, as well as masks, currency, and jewelry from different West and West Central African ethnolinguistic groups.

The African Routes: Diaspora in the Atlantic World Exhibit illuminates stories that exemplify the influence and movement of people of African descent throughout the Atlantic World over time, from the Transatlantic slave trade to the 21st century. Layered against a collage of images that illustrate the vast breadth and diversity of the African diaspora in the Atlantic World, stories are organized by themes of intellectual connections, spirituality, and cultural expressions presented through a dynamic media program.

Atlantic Worlds Gallery | Atlantic Worlds Exhibit
The Atlantic Worlds Gallery explores the nuanced historical connections throughout the Black Atlantic World. Focusing on the major themes of resistance, revolution, creolization, immigration, and the Middle Passage, this gallery explores the deep interconnectivity between Africa, the Americas, and Europe. A 30-foot, ultra-high-definition video screen on the South wall of the gallery features an original short film that examines the historical connections between Charleston, Barbados, and Sierra Leone. The floor space of the gallery is filled with both historical and contemporary objects, art, and artifacts from throughout the Black Atlantic World.

Carolina Gold Gallery | Carolina Gold & Memories of the Enslaved Exhibits
By examining the roots of the plantation system, the skills and knowledge of Africans from rice growing regions of Africa, and how enslaved Africans and their descendants created community, kinship, and cultivated resistance, the Carolina Gold Exhibit demonstrates the transformative impact of enslaved people who labored on plantations in South Carolina and helped build the lucrative rice industry. A media program describes the knowledge and labor of enslaved people on the rice plantations, illustrating how enslaved West Africans brought significant knowledge and technological contributions to rice cultivation in the region, while also describing the physical and emotional toll it took on those working in tidal rice-growing regions in South Carolina.

The Memories of the Enslaved Exhibit utilizes quotes and insight of formally enslaved people to examine the brutality of chattel slavery. The lived experiences of these men and women demonstrate the importance of memory, violence, family, and culture. Featuring original artifacts including a jug made by enslaved potter Dave “The Potter” Drake and Ashley’s Sack, this exhibit illustrates how remembrance of enslavement was passed down intergenerationally within African American families. The media program in this gallery encourages visitors to form an emotional connection with formerly enslaved people by hearing their stories, their words, and their voices.

American Journeys Gallery | American Journeys Exhibit
The American Journeys Gallery presents key moments, figures, and movements in African American history that are interconnected with South Carolina, showing how they shaped, and were shaped, by local, national, and international cultures, politics, and economies. This gallery is organized into twelve chronological sections: Carolina in the Atlantic World; the Rise of Plantation Slavery; Revolutions; Expanding the United States; Emancipation to Reconstruction; the Return of the Old Order; Color Lines; Mobility, Migrations, and Military Service; South Carolina’s Freedom Struggle; Global Human Rights; Revolts and Transformations; and Movements. Significant artifacts in the gallery include the “Come and Join Us Brothers” lithograph, published by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments, Cir. 1863; a uniform from Company E, 24th U.S. Infantry Buffalo Soldier regiment formed in 1869; one of two American flags flown over the United States Capitol on April 4, 2018, in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee; along with various items connected to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, both locally and nationally.

Special Exhibitions Gallery
The Special Exhibitions Gallery is a 3000 sq ft. space dedicated to temporary, rotating exhibits. This gallery features a variety of historical, artistic, and immersive exhibits, which expand on the core exhibits. These include traveling shows curated by other institutions, as well as shows originated by IAAM. The first rotating exhibit produced by IAAM will be titled Follow the North Star. Sponsored by Michelin, this exhibit will explore the literal and figurative theme of mobility throughout African American history.

Creative Journeys Exhibit
The Creative Journeys Exhibit consists of artwork, poems, films, and creative materials placed throughout IAAM. These works of art on walls, pedestals, and screens exist in conversation with the historical content of each gallery and provide alternative vantage points for understanding history and the role that creative expression plays in both shaping and reflecting its arc. Existing in sections throughout each gallery, rather than in a dedicated gallery of its own, the Creative Journeys Exhibit features works that are connected visually through color branding, as well as thematically through curatorial text primarily displayed within the American Journeys Gallery.

Digital Exhibits
IAAM utilizes the Google Arts & Culture platform to develop and publish digital exhibits which explore themes and special topics relevant to the museum’s mission. These exhibits feature film, photography, interactive media, and historical interpretation that go beyond the stories and themes explored within the core exhibits in the building. With more stories and historically significant events that could ever fit in a single building, IAAM’s Digital Exhibits platform allows the museum to significantly expand its breadth and reach. In addition to these digital exhibits, the museum’s core collection and physical exhibits will be digitized and made available online.


Tonya M. Matthews, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Dr. Tonya M. Matthews is a thought-leader in institutionalized equity and inclusion frameworks, social entrepreneurship, and the intersectionality of formal and informal education. Her background as both poet and engineer have made her a highly sought-after visioning partner on boards and community building projects, as well as a frequent public speaker and presenter for communities across all ages and venues.

John Anderson
Vice President of Administration and Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Anderson joined the International African American Museum in 2021 as vice president and COO. In this role, he is responsible for activating the museum’s visitor experiences, building and site operations, organizational administration, and company culture. Prior to joining IAAM, Anderson served as the Michigan Science Center’s vice president of administration and chief operating officer. Prior to that, he held multiple professional positions with the City of Detroit and Detroit Zoological Society.

Dianne Firment
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Firment joined the International African American Museum in 2019 as director of finance and was promoted to CFO in 2021. In this role she is responsible for propelling the financial growth and success of the museum’s operations.

Malika N. Pryor
Chief Learning and Education Officer
Malika N. Pryor, chief learning and engagement officer for the International African American Museum, provides strategic direction for creating and enhancing dynamic programs that explore the Middle Passage, the African diaspora, and the crucial contributions that African Americans have made to our history and to our modern world. As a member of the senior executive team, Pryor works closely with the CEO to establish partnerships and programs that support and sustain the museum’s mission, including exhibitions, school programs, faith-based initiatives and programs, local and national public programs, and the Center for Family History, a one-of-a-kind
research center that focuses on African American genealogy.

For more information, please visit or call 843-872-5352.



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for,,,, and, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Photo courtesy of

Reprinted from email:

Recap video link


Hi Pierre,

Earlier this week, I made a trip home to Chicago to hear firsthand from some of the inspiring young people and leaders who are a part of Obama Foundation programming.

From meeting in a church I first visited as a young man, to joining the MBK Alliance for a timely conversation, check out this recap video of my visit.

On Wednesday, May 10th, I was proud to help the MBK Alliance celebrate four communities that are doing extraordinary work to address the persistent opportunity gaps young boys and men of color face with real, measurable impact.

The cities of Newark, Omaha, Tulsa, and Yonkers, in partnership with organizations on the ground, are making strides to reduce violence, raise graduation rates, and increase school attendance for students of all ages.

With access to education and mentorship in environments free from violence, these young people are getting a fair shot to live up to their fullest potential. This work is urgent and these communities are setting an example for cities across the country.

I also stopped by Lilydale First Baptist Church on the South Side—where my organizing career began—to meet with Pastor Alvin Love, as well as Obama Foundation Scholars ahead of their graduation.

Pastor Love and I shared some advice with these leaders, who are graduating from the University of Chicago and Columbia University, as they prepare to put the knowledge they’ve gained to work in their own communities.

They give me hope for the future. I look forward to seeing what they achieve in the coming years, and I know you probably do, too.

Thanks for being a part of this work.





All photos courtesy of Peter Koutun Photography


Fashion World Grammy’s

“2022 – 2023 Male Model of The Year” Candidate

VOTE: ATOC Guthrie Bonnétt

Voting starts NOW thru April 1st @

Scroll down to:

Male Model of The Year category


Atoc Guthrie Bonnétt



Mr. Guthrie Lamont Bonnétt has such an interesting life. He is an Army veteran that travels for a living and is a personal photographer for many in the Fashion and House music industry.

Born in Chicago, Illinois’ southside neighborhood of Morgan Park, he attended Morgan Park High School. Upon graduation he joined the 82nd Airborne, United States Army. Out of the military, he had to focus on what lifespan he had left.

In 2013, while he attended college, he opened a store called “A Taste Of Chicago. This earned him the nickname (ATOC). He sold Chicago memorabilia in his store i.e., artwork, sports merchandise, candy etc., while he earned two bachelor’s degrees. He earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology and a BS in Social Work.

ATOC still wanted more and decided to attend the Art Institute of Indianapolis, where he earned a third degree. He completed the art school with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Digital Photography. He is not only talented, but also educated and his educational goal became a reality.

He started photographing events for free, then started only taking donations as his professional career started, over 15 years ago. In his first fashion event, he met Sandra Smith-Doghmi, and he began shooting for Red Silk Carpet at The Oscars, New York Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week, Midwest Fashion, Latino Fashion Week, and Amsterdam Fashion Week. ATOC’s photography and modeling career took flight. ATOC’s photography business has been a big asset in his life.

ATOC always enjoyed fashion, but he lacked the confidence to want to model. He enjoyed what he saw through the lens. He started to follow his dream to start modeling, as he began losing weight, about five years ago. He started off at 365 lbs and now he’s comfortable, weighing between 225 – 240 lbs. His lowest weight was 198.7 lbs.

Currently, he’s been turning heads modeling and doing photography during “The Oscars”, “The Soul Train Awards”, “New York Fashion Week”, “LA Fashion Week” and other runway shows. Guthrie’s loving the opportunities he’s been given to model at 52 years young and looks forward to doing more photography and modeling internationally in 2023.

Guthrie says, “I’m humbled to have worked with some amazing designers, artist, celebrities, and photographers. A couple of my personal photographers that I go to when I’m being photographed are Jerome Lynch of Jerome Lynch Photography in Gary, IN and Peter Koutun of Peter Koutun Photography in Chicago, IL.

Shout out to everyone living their dreams because I believe #DreamsAreMeantToBeLived!

GO BANG! Magazine: What is it about photography that attracted you to it?

ATOC: The one thing about photography that attracts me to it is the opportunity it gives me to actively participate in capturing moments and sharing them with others.

GO BANG! Magazine: Over the years, you’ve created quite a name for yourself. What are some of your most memorable photo gigs you’ve had thus far?

ATOC: Over the years, some of my more memorable moments as a personal photographer have been covering “The Oscars” and “Oscar” related events with Red Carpet Concierge of Chicago. There’s nothing like covering “The Red Carpet” in Hollywood for “The Oscars.”

GO BANG! Magazine: How would you describe your style of photography?

ATOC: The best way to describe my style of photography is me capturing moments and sharing them with others. It’s more like a personal photographer or a photojournalistic approach to each shooting opportunity. I’ve done it all, from studio work to corporate events, a personal photographer for many artists in the Chicago House music community, to sports, to weddings and divorce parties.

Back then, I had to go get a fake high school ID to get into Mendel (Catholic high school in Chicago) gymnasium House parties back in 1984. I started following “The King of House Music” Farley Jackmaster Funk, and today I’ve had the privilege of photographing his family and their events.

I’m currently shooting House parties for many DJs, Event Planners, and musical artists in the industry from beginning to end, which includes the DJ’ing, the dancing, and the mingling. I’m capable of printing images on the spot and take pride in making myself available to travel more and doing events outside of Chicago.


GO BANG! Magazine: How did you become interested in the fashion area of photography?

ATOC: As far back as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed taking photos of others, as well as being photographed. While in school getting my BA in Digital Photography at The Art Institute of Indianapolis and in Chicago, I started shooting events as an opportunity to start promoting my BRAND as a personal photographer.

I came to Chicago mostly to shoot, due to it not being as many opportunities in central Indiana (Lafayette, In). My first event was a Meet & Greet and Fashion Show that followed. That day, I started asking others there if they had anyone there taking photos of them for their personal use.  Most said no. I then began shooting one event and cover photos for anyone in hope of getting them that night. That’s how I started shooting photography in Chicago for Red Carpet Concierge of Chicago, and that’s how I still roll to this date.

GO BANG! Magazine: Fashion photography is your forte, but you’ve always wanted to be in front of the camera, but lacked the confidence, being overweight. Please explain to our readers what happened and inspired you to lose weight.









ATOC: When I first started losing weight, if I didn’t lose the weight, my health would have continued to decline. I wanted to take the shortcut and have the surgery. But to even qualify to have it, you must show that you can change your lifestyle. I was asked to lose 25 – 50 lbs. I said that if I could start losing the weight on my own, I would continue losing without the surgery. I never had it and I just kept losing it, one pound at a time.

GO BANG! Magazine: At your heaviest, you were up to 365 lbs. You reached an all-time low of 198.7 lbs. Currently you’re between 225 lbs. – 240 lbs. How did you lose the weight and how has your life changed?

ATOC: I changed my portion sizes, cut out the sugars, drunk more water, and ate mostly plant based items. I never missed meals because when you miss meals your body stores fat to prevent starvation. I do moderate exercises three to five times a week. I, like everyone else, go back and forth with weight loss and gain. I just try to not stay too far away from these basics and I’ve kept the weight off.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve had the opportunity to live your dreams of being a model and have graced the runways all over. Currently you’re in a competition presented by WORLD GRAMMY 2022’S BEST IN THE BUSINESS. Your category is “Male Model of The Year.” Please tell our readers about the competition, how they can vote for you and when it ends.

If you haven’t yet voted, here’s how…

A. Go to Fashion World Grammys link:

B. Scroll down to the “Male Model of The Year” category,

C. VOTE: Atoc Guthrie Bonnétt




Thanks For nominating me MALE MODEL OF THE YEAR 2022-23 Meme Braboy and Dee Divine Ceo. @Michelles_House_Of_Designs

GO BANG! Magazine: What would winning this competition mean to you?

ATOC: Winning the Male Model of The Year competition would reinforce my DREAM MODEL, which is:





GO BANG! Magazine: What advice would you give to someone that is overweight but wants to start the weight loss journey?

ATOC: If you come to the conclusion that you need or would like to lose weight, then you’ve already won half the battle. Now, all you must do is BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO THIS, ONE DAY AT A TIME. Just start, don’t stop! If you do get stagnated, just press your RESTART BUTTON, and “P.U.S.H.” (PRAY UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS)

GO BANG! Magazine: What advice would you give to a budding photographer who doesn’t know exactly how to get into the business?

ATOC: If you think PHOTOGRAPHY is for you, find people that inspire you in the industry, do homework, and follow their lead. Practice capturing moments and then “WELCOME TO THE GUILD OF PHOTOGRAPHY!!!”

GO BANG! Magazine: What can our readers, THE BANGERS, expect from ATOC soon?


GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, what do you want your legacy to be?

ATOC: Just know that the LEGACY OF #ATOC will be helping those in need of HIS HELP, without ever charging them a dime. I’VE NEVER CHARGED ANYONE FOR MY SERVICES SINCE DAY 1. I TAKE PRIDE IN MY WORK BEING STRICTLY DONATION BASED!

GO BANG! Magazine: Well, ATOC, I want to thank you for granting me this interview. I also want to inform you that you have now been officially BANGED!!! GO BANG!

Voting starts NOW thru April 1st @

Scroll down to:

Male Model of The Year category


Atoc Guthrie Bonnétt




FACEBOOK: @Atoc Guthrie Bonnett @Guthrie Lamont Bonnétt
INSTAGRAM: @atasteofchicago @atocmagmag1

#Atasteofchicago #PhotosByAtoc



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for,,,, and, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.




I’m sooo excited to be a guest on the “Music & Medicine” podcast with the incredible Moshe Lewis MD. Thank you my brother! Great big shout out to the best Publicist in the world…mines Desirae L. Benson for connecting me. THANKS ARIES QUEEN!

Take a listen and leave comments afterwards. 

SUBSCRIBE TO Music & Medicine’s YOUTUBE page:




Video courtesy of “Music & Medicine” Youtube channel

All photos courtesy of Je’Niece McCullough &’NieceMcCullough

Je’Niece is the only child of the late and legendary comedian Bernie Mac. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.A. in Mental Health Counseling. She worked for several years in social service. In 2005, she left the field and began working for her father as his assistant. They worked closely together until he died in 2008.

After her father’s death, Je’Niece began working as Vice-President of his foundation, The Bernie Mac Foundation. While working for the foundation, she unlocked her hidden gift of speaking. She has been a featured speaker for several events, including The Black Women’s Expo, Heart & Soul Women of Excellence Awards, and Everest College’s 2012 Commencement Program. She has since stepped down as Vice-President of the foundation but continues to speak regularly on issues such as women’s empowerment, Sarcoidosis awareness, and overcoming depression.

Je’Niece has appeared on several news outlets, television shows, and documentaries. She is a published author and has been featured in several publications, including Today’s Black Chicago Woman and Ebony magazine, as well as several collaboration books. She currently writes for

Je’Niece lives in the south suburbs of Chicago with her daughter, Jasmine.


Je’Niece with her mother, father and a bride


GO BANG! Magazine: Where were you born and raised?

Je’Niece McCullough: I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago.

GO BANG! Magazine: How would you describe your childhood and teen years?

Je’Niece McCullough: Hmm…I’m not sure I have a descriptor. It was all I knew. There were good times, not so good times, and just about everything in between. It’s probably easy for me to have difficulty describing my childhood because I was so disconnected from myself as a kid. I was more concerned with making sure the adults around me were ok—which they never seemed to be. I remember everything being a big deal and I was usually left wondering why things were so difficult when it seemed like they could have been much simpler.

GO BANG! Magazine: Do you have a role model, or someone that you look up to or who inspires you? If so, who would that be?

Je’Niece McCullough: I don’t have a role model. My dad was the closest thing I had to one. I looked up to him, and not because of his fame, but because he was a superhero in my eyes, and I desperately wanted his love and approval. I always admired how sure he seemed of himself because that was the complete antithesis of how I was.

Four generations of family

GO BANG! Magazine: As you got older, your father Bernie Mac, began to get famous as the legendary comedian we all know and love? How did his fame affect you and your personal life growing up? What were some of the challenges and advantages?

Je’Niece McCullough: My dad becoming famous was surreal. While he was simply Daddy to me, he was this larger-than-life thing to others. It changed how people saw me. I wasn’t just Je’Niece, but this this extension of my dad. It was like I wasn’t allowed to have an identity separate from him. I literally went from being teased and bullied one school year because I didn’t have enough money to dress well in others’ eyes, to being lauded for being best dressed the next year. Keep in mind, we still didn’t have money and I was wearing the same clothes they were teasing me about. Lol. Then came the hatred just for being me. Suddenly people hated me because I was Bernie Mac’s daughter. It was either I was doing too much, or I wasn’t doing enough. It was weird and truthfully, it still is. The obvious advantages were that I got to witness my dad achieve the success he always dreamed of. That was amazing. And his success provided great perks—no longer having to worry about money, opportunities for travel, meeting famous people. The challenges involved having to work hard to remain grounded in a sea of people who would exalt or punish me in a blink of an eye. And knowing who to trust. So many wanted to be around me, but it was hard to know who was really there for me vs. who was there to have the chance to say they were friends with “Bernie Mac’s daughter.”


GO BANG! Magazine: What are some of your fondest memories that you had with your dad?

Je’Niece McCullough: Some of my fondest memories that I had with my dad are in my early years, long before his fame. I was a Daddy’s girl at that time. He would take me just about everywhere with him—the beach, to the community center where he coached basketball. He would even comb my hair and take me to school in the morning. I loved being with him. He was my everything.

Je’Niece with her parents

GO BANG! Magazine: The public is very aware of your famous father, but not so many know about your mother. Could you tell our readers a little about your mother?

Je’Niece McCullough: My mom is my dad’s high school sweetheart. They actually met when they were like 13-14 years old, but she thought he was ugly and ran away. Lol. They met again in high school and while she didn’t remember him, he remembered her. She always says she still thought he was ugly, but she changed her mind once she talked with him because he was so nice and charming. Once they married, she took care of our family on the domestic front, even after she went to nursing school. She would go to school and work, come home, cook dinner, and clean and make sure we were good. She did that for years—even after my dad began to achieve financial success. I always say she was the yin to my dad’s yang. While my dad was the dreamer, she was the realist. While my dad was like “I’m going to be rich and famous one day,” she was the one who was like, “Yeah ok, but what are we going to do now?” Once she stopped working as a nurse, she took care of my dad’s books.

GO BANG! Magazine: Besides being Bernie Mac’s daughter, you are also your own person doing great things that the readers need to know about. You are a beautiful and intelligent young woman who holds a Psychology degree and worked in Social Service for many years. Why is it important for you to work with the community?

Je’Niece McCullough: Well thank you. I appreciate the kind words. I have always been passionate about doing what I can to help others. When I went to school, I originally went with the goal to go to medical school and become a neurosurgeon. As I progressed in my studies, I realized I didn’t have the heart for that, but I did fall in love with psychology. In studying psychology, I began to understand how much our unconscious minds are running the show. It’s so easy to look at others through a superficial lens. However, we need to go deeper to truly get to the heart of the matter. Most of my time in social services has been spent in the addiction community. I saw how much it is needed because those are the people that get disregarded most often. We all need support, most especially those of us who get written off as the worst.

GO BANG! Magazine: You are also a doula. Please explain what that is and why you do it.

Je’Niece McCullough: I am a birth and labor and postpartum doula. A doula is a professional labor assistant whose role is to provide emotional and physical support to those who are birthing babies and their partners to help them achieve the most healthy and satisfying experience. I became interested in becoming a doula years after I gave birth to my daughter. I hated my birth and postpartum experience and I wanted to do whatever I could to help those around me who became pregnant so that they didn’t have the same regrets and dissatisfaction as me. The more I offered help, the more my desire for knowledge and ways to support grew. I learned that we so often neglect to support birthing individuals as well as we should. We tend to take for granted the birthing process because women have been birthing babies since the dawn of time, but it’s a complicated process—not only physically, but emotionally as well—especially for Black women in this country. It was important to me to do what I can to help.

GO BANG! Magazine: You worked with your father until he passed in 2008 and then began working as Vice-President of The Bernie Mac Foundation. Tell our readers, THE BANGERS, about the foundation’s mission.

Je’Niece McCullough: My father was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in 1986. At that time, there wasn’t much known about the disease, and sadly, in the early 2000s, that had not changed. He started the foundation to bring awareness to Sarcoidosis and to raise funds to aid in research towards a cure.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve moved on from the foundation and started your career as a speaker. What are some of the topics that are important to you that you speak on at your various events?

Je’Niece McCullough: I moved on from the foundation over a decade ago. As important as I believe the foundation is, I learned that running a nonprofit was not my gift. I’ve been speaking for about a decade as well. Topics that are important to me to speak about are mental health, especially overcoming depression, women’s empowerment, and living authentically.

GO BANG! Magazine: You have collaborated with various authors on numerous published books. Please tell our readers more about these books.

Je’Niece McCullough: I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a couple of collaborations with wonderful women. It’s been an honor to be included with these women because they’ve done some wonderful things in their lives. One book is Transition: Create the Life You Desire. It includes 16 phenomenal women telling their stories of how they opted to follow their dreams and take a leap of faith. The other is titled What is a Courageous Woman, presented by the beautiful Telishia Berry. It is just as it’s titled, beautiful courageous women sharing their definition of a courageous woman. I’ve also been featured in Ebony magazine.

GO BANG! Magazine: You also have a blog, “Bernie’s Daughter.” Please tell our readers about your blog and why you started it.

Je’Niece McCullough: I have always loved to write and help others. The blog fuses the two. I share my life experiences in the hopes that others can see themselves and know that they are not alone and that they can glean something that may help them to not give up, to course correct their own lives, and sometimes to even laugh. The title came about because I’ve always struggled with being known as “Bernie Mac’s daughter.” It was my attempt to claim that for myself instead of feeling like it was always being thrust upon me.

Je’Niece with her daughter Jasmine and dad

GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to doing all that you do, you are also a mother to your daughter Jasmine. Tell us about your daughter and what dreams you have for her life in the future.

Je’Niece McCullough: My daughter is the best person in the world! I always say that I got lucky. I got to be raised by one soulmate and then had the privilege to give birth to my other one. She’s a beautiful soul—kind, funny, and quite creative. She has a lot in common with me and her grandfather. As far as my dreams, I learned a long time ago that I am the vessel and guardian of her. That’s a great responsibility, however, it does not grant me the right to dream for her. She came here to live her own life and so I only dream that she lives life authentically, on her own terms, that she knows her worth, that she loves well and is loved in return and that no one (not even I) gets in her way.

GO BANG! Magazine: If you had one chance to spend one day with your dad again, how would you spend it?

Je’Niece McCullough: I used to think it would be something grand. But now? I’d probably just spend the day sitting in his lap like I used to, just talking, and laughing. I’d show him “Black Dynamite” because I still hate he didn’t live to see that movie. I know he’d crack up laughing the entire time. I’d get him his favorite food, and his MGD (Miller Genuine Draft), and watch him marvel at his granddaughter. And I would cherish every moment.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, what do you want your legacy to be?

Je’Niece McCullough: I want my legacy to be that I loved with my whole heart and that I made life a little more joyous and bearable for (if even just a little) for others.

GO BANG! Magazine: Well, Je’Niece, I want to thank you for granting me this interview. I also want to inform you that you have now officially been BANGED!!! GO BANG!


“Bernie’s Daughter” blog link:

You can follow Je’Niece on ALL social media platforms @berniesdaughter


Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for,,,, and, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Courtesy  & Reprint of BET Television:
BET Staff

Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old motorist who died three days after a vicious beating by a group of Memphis police officers is being laid to rest on Wednesday (Feb. 1) in a ceremony that has seemed to become a morbid, and all too frequent ritual in Black America: the funeral of a young Black person who lost their life at the hands of law enforcement.