Online Edition Scheduled for August 21-30, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA, (June 11, 2020) – ABFF Ventures LLC., today announced that the 24th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will take place online August 21-30, 2020 at abff.com. The ABFF Online Edition will continue the tradition of the live festival, featuring the best of independent black cinema, studio premieres, conversations and panels, business of entertainment seminars, along with virtual networking events.

The ABFF will also use its platform for social change in response to the scourge of racial injustice in our country, as well as educate and support its community in an effort to help in its recovery from the coronavirus. This year’s festival theme is “Community First!”

“While we will surely miss being with our ABFF community in Miami Beach this year and connecting in person, what truly binds us together is our shared commitment to ensure inclusion in Hollywood and sustaining a place of inspiration for diverse storytellers. We will persevere through this year and end up a stronger community on the other side of this crisis.” said ABFF Ventures CEO, Jeff Friday.

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) was conceived in 1997 as a vehicle to strengthen the Black entertainment community and provide a platform for emerging artists. It has become one of the leading film festivals in the world and a place of inspiration and community for many. The destination festival, which has typically attracted 7,000 to 10,000 attendees to Miami Beach, will open its virtual doors to a global audience, offering most of its programming free of charge.

Previously announced, Iconic Grammy Award® winning and Academy Award® nominated singer, songwriter, actress, producer and philanthropist Mary J. Blige serves as this years’ ambassador.

Sponsors to date include Warner Media, HBO® (Founding), Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (Presenting Sponsors); Comcast NBCUniversal, Amazon Studios (Premier Sponsors); Motion Picture Association (MPA), Sony Pictures Entertainment, Jeff Friday Media, UMC – Urban Movie Channel, Verizon Media (Official Sponsors); Accenture (Supporting Sponsor); Blackfilm.com (Media Partner).


For more information on ABFF and up-to-date news, go to http://www.abff.com and follow @ABFF on Twitter and @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram and Facebook.

Join in on the conversation by using #ABFF20 and #WeAreABFF.
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ABOUT ABFF:

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to recognizing black talent and showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Dedicated to the belief that diverse artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to strengthen the black entertainment community by fostering resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration.

After 24 years, the festival has become a cornerstone of diversity in Hollywood, providing a platform for emerging black artists — many of who have become today’s most successful actors, producers, writers, directors and stand-up comedians, including Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Will Packer (“Girls Trip”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Kevin Hart (“Night School”), Omari Hardwick (“Power”) and Steven Caple Jr. (“Creed II”). The ABFF is the preeminent pipeline for black artists in front of and behind the camera, and has significantly expanded the range of talent working in the entertainment Industry.

As “the nation’s largest gathering of black film and television enthusiasts” the ABFF attracts a broad audience of celebrity talent, emerging artists, upscale consumers and industry stakeholders. Approximately 7,000 to 10,000 people travel to Miami Beach each year for the five-day event. The festival opens with the premiere of an upcoming Hollywood release followed by a full schedule of intriguing independent film screenings, master classes, panels, celebrity talks, live entertainment, and a variety of networking and hospitality events.

ABOUT ABFF VENTURES:

ABFF Ventures LLC (ABFFV) is a multifaceted entertainment company specializing in the production of live events and branded content. Its mission is to entertain and inspire communities of color while promoting diversity in Hollywood. Headquartered in Los Angeles, ABFFV was formed to stimulate business growth through expansion into other events and services. Its tent-pole properties are the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), cited by MovieMaker magazine as “One of the Coolest Festivals in the World;” and “ABFF Honors,” an annual awards gala saluting the top stars of film and television. In creating ABFF Ventures, CEO Jeff Friday channeled his passion for film and television, as well as his discomfort with the underrepresentation of people of color in Hollywood, into an organization with the ultimate goal of advocating for diversity within the entertainment industry. Through his vision and perseverance, ABFF Ventures has become a highly respected enterprise, generating goodwill throughout the Hollywood and corporate communities.

Yvette McWhorter, a cannabis industry worker, can usually be found journaling or jotting down ideas for original books, movies, plays or songs.

Writing a book has always been on her bucket list. With her current manuscript “Steppin In The Key of Love” on the horizon, Yvette is that much closer to making her dream come true.
Her love for theater began with a third grade class trip to the Schubert Theater to see “Pinocchio.” Many years later, in response to the crack cocaine epidemic, she wrote her first play “Inner City Blues.”

Music has always been her first love. Ed “Get Down” Crosby and Pierre “Playerre’ Evans were the first producers to appreciate and record her sultry alto vocals.

When not engaged in thinking of ways to tell stories about things people haven’t already heard, you can find her relaxing at home with her dog Fancy, or doing karaoke.

GO BANG! Magazine: As a multi-talented artist who writes plays, books, films, and can sing, you are highly gifted. Which of your talents did you discover first and how did it reveal itself to you?

Yvette McWhorter: I would have to say it was singing. So, I must have been about ten years old when “Sweet Thing” by Chaka Khan was released. My friends and I were on the porch listening to the radio and as soon as I heard that guitar intro, I went into full Chaka Khan mode. I was doing my little Chaka dance and everything. When I started singing, I shocked myself. I knew I LIKED to sing but I didn’t realize I COULD sing until that moment.

GO BANG! Magazine: The theater bug bit you early in your youth, while you were in third grade. That sparked a fire in you that burned deep inside of you for years. You were inspired to write the play “Inner City Blues.” Please tell our readers about your play, its message, and if you still are planning to showcase it again.

Yvette McWhorter: I started writing “Inner City Blues” during the crack cocaine epidemic. That was a really painful time for black people and I wanted to express my pain the best way I knew how. As you can tell by the title, Marvin Gaye was my inspiration, specifically, the “What’s Going On” album. That album just felt like the soundtrack for everything that was happening during that time. Mothers were losing their sons to gang-violence. We were being vilified in the media nightly. The music industry was producing videos and song lyrics that reflected and sometimes glorified it all. The message that I wanted to convey was no matter how bad things were, black people had seen worse and we still managed to survive.

As far as future plans to showcase it, I never say never. It would definitely have to be revised. One of the changes I would make would be to change the dialogue to narration and let the Alvin Ailey Dancers tell the story through music and choreography, if that makes sense.

GO BANG! Magazine: Vocally, you have a distinctive tone. Over the years, you have hit the studio and laid your soprano voice on the tracks of two producers. Please tell us about those songs, the experience, and if “YUMMY” plans to hit the studio again anytime soon.

Yvette McWhorter: Well, first off, I couldn’t hit a soprano note if my life depended on it. LMAO. I sang alto in acapella choir in high school. Anyway, a very good friend of mine, Ed “Get down” Crosby, was the first person to see potential in me as an artist. Ed was one of the original members of the” Hot Mix 5” on Chicago radio station WGCI. He was very talented. I was flattered when he told me that he thought I was good enough to make it to the top. I believed it too. The problem was that the studio scared the hell out of me. We ended up recording two songs that could’ve been great, had I just let my creativity flow. We both knew neither of the songs were a true representation of my abilities.

A few years later I was introduced to Mr. Pierre “Playerre” Evans. If I remember correctly, Pierre you were looking for backup singers, right? The original singer for your song “Mind Groove” had been sick and couldn’t make it to rehearsal for a few weeks.  The song “Mind Groove” was meant to be a duet, but you were doing both parts at rehearsal. Then one day you asked me to sing her part. I’d been listening to the song so much that it felt natural and the nervousness I always feel when I sing new material was barely there.

When you let me listen to the other young lady doing the song, it sounded great and she had a beautiful voice. But I thought the lyrics called for a more potent voice and a “stand your ground” kind of attitude.  I was older and had been through some stuff. Soooo…..l brought ALL THAT to the song. You and I had great chemistry and your confidence encouraged me to find some of my own and I thank you for that.

I don’t know if I want to record again, but I’d love to sing with a cover band.

GO BANG! Magazine: As a screenwriter, you write scripts for television and film. Do you have any written scripts or scripts in development that you can speak of at this time?

Yvette McWhorter: I have ideas that I am trying to develop that can be adapted to stage or screen. However, I find the direction that the movie industry seems to be moving in very interesting. Coronavirus has forced block buster movies off the big screen and onto cable networks. Netflix and Amazon Prime have been really stepping up their game with original content. So, there are opportunities for new film makers with new ideas.

GO BANG! Magazine: Currently, you’re finishing up your first book entitled “Steppin’ In The Key Of Love.” Please describe to our readers the process of writing a book, what your book is about, and when it will become available for our readers to buy.

Yvette McWhorter: Whew! Where do I start? Well, for me the process was probably unconventional. My initial goal was to find an original backdrop and then weave a story around it. My mother is one of what I call the pioneers of “Steppin.” The stories and pictures she’s shared with me inspired me to write a book to pay homage to all steppers. I like a good love story. So, I decided to write a story about a spoiled, strong willed woman who’d grown bored with her loving but predictable spouse. She sets out to find the excitement she craves on the dance floor.

After a VERY rough draft I sent my work to an editor. I knew it wasn’t ready, but I wanted her to point me in the right direction by showing me what I had done wrong. She started by telling me that my idea was very original, but it needed a lot more work. During the time I was working on a second draft, a friend tagged me in a Facebook post with a link to a Sun-Times article and she said, “this reminded me of you when I saw it.” When I went to the link I was horrified. It was an article about a new show that was premiering, and it was about Steppin. I knew this wasn’t a case of “same idea, different people” before I even saw the show.

The producers that were being interviewed didn’t even bother to use their own words to answer the questions about the show. They used thinly veiled quotes directly from my work. I can’t prove it, but to quote Erykah Badu “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.” In other words, I know my work when I see it. Once I saw the show, I laughed because basically they created a different set of circumstances for their lead characters by doing the opposite of everything I did. In my version my couple was married with no children and having marital issues. Their couple was married with children and started out happy. Get It? But, character personalities, occupations, physical descriptions, and Chicago geographical locations that were specific to my story were all included.

I was livid but, in a way, having my work stolen was a huge compliment. I knew it had potential no matter how much work it needed. Having it stolen and produced by a network just proved me right. I have no desire to finish the book after what has happened. The thing about being creative though is you have a million ideas where that one came from. I would however like to see “Steppin’ In the Key of Love” done RIGHT, as a limited series.

GO BANG! Magazine: Of your talents that we have spoken of, which is your favorite and why?

Yvette McWhorter: Music speaks to my spirit more than any other form of artistic language. Singing allows me to express my emotions, no matter what they are. It engages all of my senses because I am fully indulged. If I am singing about a man’s cologne, I smell it. If I am singing about a broken heart, I feel it.

On the other hand, writing allows me to create a world that I control. It takes me away from reality completely or lets me manipulate it in fun or sometimes insane ways. I lose track of time when I’m writing because I am totally immersed in that world at that time. So, both singing and writing are my favorite, at different times.

GO BANG! Magazine: What inspires or motivates you to create?

Yvette McWhorter: A lot of what I write is inspired by bits and pieces of real-life events or people, sprinkled with fantasy. Much of it is something I myself may have experienced or how I believe I would respond to something if it happened to me. Then other times I could be sitting there doing something totally unrelated to writing, and my little Gemini brain will say “hey, wouldn’t this be a good idea for a book or movie?” LOL. Welcome to my world.

GO BANG! Magazine: If you were given the opportunity for one of your dreams to come true, what would that dream be?

Yvette McWhorter: When I worked for the Department of Corrections, I wrote plays for the inmates to perform. There are so many talented people behind bars that I was never at a loss to find someone to fill the roles. And very well I might add. They were grateful to be a part of something positive, but I was granted the reward of seeing my work come to life. One day, I would like to see something I have written “green lighted” and produced with my name on the credits.

GO BANG! Magazine: What should our readers be on the lookout for from you in the near future?

Yvette McWhorter: Right now, I write when the mood strikes me. As I mentioned, I’m still trying to get a producer in Chicago interested in doing “Steppin In the Key of Love”. I still think it’s a great idea, even if I have to change the storyline. Chicago deserves a story about what WE created to be told from our perspective.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Yvette McWhorter: Covid-19 has given meaning to the phrase “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it.” I have taken this time to think about how to move forward in our new world. I’m thinking about how to seize opportunities that will be available. I want to live the best of my life for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, that may mean letting go of people, places and things that haven’t served me well in the past. It means holding myself accountable for not being where I want to be. I quarantined alone so it’s a good thing I like my own company. So, all things considered, I am well.

GO BANG! Magazine:  JOIN US IN WISHING YVETTE McWHORTER A HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (6/1)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Link to “MIND GROOVE” Song:  https://www.reverbnation.com/playerre




Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram

Ron, the oldest of six, was born in Chicago and raised by his mother, a single parent, in many communities on the near north side, and finally Cabrini Green. He started as a Vista worker but would become a community activist & staff person with community based organizations such as The Intelli-Gents, a member of the North Central Community Committee, Chicago Federation of Community Committees, Near North Community Committee.

He grew up with music and famous people around him like Major Lance, Curtis Mayfield, Five Stairsteps, Chi-Lites, Admirations, and the Epsilons. His mother grew up with actress Mary Alice, Major Lance, and Chaka Khan’s mother. They are childhood friends to this day.
From humble beginnings and against all odds, he succeeded. He credits his success to his mother’s work ethic, his own “can do” attitude, and his unshakable determination to beat the odds.

He attended Northwestern University and Columbia College Chicago. His street smarts and people skills have uniquely equipped him to deal with issues in the corporate boardrooms, as well as ANY room you put him in.

Ron Simmons is an Olympian from the Olympics in Atlanta of 1996. His career in powerlifting would result in him becoming the World Champion Powerlifter in 1994, the 3rd Strongest Man in the World, winning 2 gold medals and receiving many other awards.

Ron has been called the Martin Luther King Jr. of Cabrini Green housing projects and a Cabrini Green Legend by legends like Mickey Miles and Miko Jones.

Simmons began his career in the late 70’s promoting club events. In 1976 he formed his company Starship Enterprise and went on to promote some amazing events. During the 1980’s, Simmons and childhood partners ruled the upscale club and event scene. His promotions drew enormous crowds, as well as some A-List recording artists and DJ’s. His unique promotional flair and charisma helped bring the glamour back to the black events. His promotions of artists like The Dells, Heaven & Earth, and Brighter Side of Darkness would fill the party room with people from everywhere. One of the biggest events that he promoted was at the Playboy Towers in Chicago.

Ron has received awards and recognitions over the years. The Community Service Award presented to Ron Simmons by The Chicago Federation of Community Committees and a Certificate of Appreciation presented to Ron Simmons, as an expression of appreciation for his outstanding contribution on behalf of the State of Illinois.

Ron started writing 21 years ago when he had time. He’d write a little here and a little there. Over the years, by writing concepts for music videos and learning from industry screenwriters, he made up his mind to start writing about his community. He felt that the media always reported bad things about his community, but it was so far from the truth. Self-taught, he learned many things from professionals, which put him in a place where his hard work would result in his new reality. Being a retired Social Worker has allowed him to work on his projects day and night.

As a promoter of music events, an artist manager, producer, and artists booking agent, Ron Simmons has been the man behind the scenes of some of the most celebrated names in the music industry for over 40 years. In the 80’s, he added an Entertainment arm to his company, Lynx Productions.

Lynx Productions managed, produced and promoted many artists and shows. He rubbed shoulders with a lot of well-known industry people and companies. He almost landed a record deal with the legendary producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and worked with labels such as Motown Records, LaFace Records, A&M Records, Warner Brother Records, Smash Records, and SBK Records. He also had the pleasure of working with such artists as Mavis Staples, The Dells, Art Porter Jr, Louil Silas, Chaka Khan, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Barry White, Gavin Christopher, Steve Silk Hurley, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Kirk Yano, Magnum Force, Brighter Side of Darkness, RJ’s Latest Arrival, Ghalib Ghallab, One 2 One, Sneak Preview, Julia Huff, Stan Stubbs, Bobby C, Anita Pettis, 3D Richard Davenport, Spike Rebel, William L. Johnson, Otis Clay, Sarah Green, Marshall Titus, Aaron Isaiah, Princess, Frank Collazo, Matizo, Lendell, Jeniqua, and the list goes on.

Ron also produced music videos and with George Tillman Jr. and Bob Teitel. Their credits include “Soul Food”, “Men of Honor”, “Barbershop”, “Roll Bounce”, “Notorious” and “The Longest Ride” to name a few.

GO BANG! Magazine: You have an extensive career in the Entertainment Industry. Unfortunately, no one would expect someone with your humble beginnings to reach the heights of success that you have. What made you different?

Ron Simmons: I THINK IT ALL STARTED WITH MY MOTHER. WE USED TO SIT IN THE FRONT ROOM AND LISTEN TO ALL KINDS OF MUSIC. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN THAT IT COULD TAKE YOU TO DIFFERENT PLACES AND MAKE YOU FEEL DIFFERENT THINGS. ALSO THERE WERE PEOPLE THAT MY MOTHER GREW UP WITH, OR THEIR CHILDREN, WHO BECAME FAMOUS LATER IN LIFE, LIKE MARY ALICE, RAMSEY LEWIS AND CHAKA KHAN’S MOTHER SANDRA COLEMAN.
AS TIME WENT ON, ANOTHER FRIEND OF MY MOTHER’S WAS MAJOR LANCE WHO LIVED WITH US FOR A SHORT TIME AT 220 W. ELM STREET. BEFORE WE MOVED INTO CABRINI GREEN HOUSING PROJECTS, WE ALWAYS LIVED ABOUT TWO OR THREE BLOCKS FROM THE HOUSING PROJECTSM, BUT IN THE OUTER AREAS.

THIS WOULD BE MY FIRST TIME MEETING MAJOR LANCE AND LATER I WOULD MEET CURTIS MAYFIELD FROM KNOWING MAJOR. I WOULD GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO HANGOUT WITH THEM A FEW TIMES AT THE OLD REGAL THEATER. I THINK THAT IS WHEN I REALLY GOT THE MUSIC BUG.

I ALSO WOULD HEAR ABOUT MY COUSIN’S “THE FIVE STAIRSTEPS” DOING THINGS, DOING SHOWS AND WORKING WITH CURTIS MAYFIELD. ALL OF THESE THINGS HAD ME ON FIRE.

BEING AROUND THEM YOU HEARD MUSIC ALL THE TIME. SO, IT WAS ALL OF THAT AND JUST BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE DURING SOME AMAZING TIMES WHEN THESE ARTISTS AND OTHERS FROM THE NEAR NORTH SIDE WAS ON THE RISE TO BECOMING SUPERSTARS.

I DON’T SEE MYSELF AS DIFFERENT, BUT A YOUNG BOY WHO WAS SOAKING IT ALL UP BECAUSE HE LOVED MUSIC. NOT KNOWING THAT IT WOULD INFLUENCE SOME OF HIS DIRECTION IN THIS FIELD.

GO BANG! Magazine: Growing up in Cabrini Green would be a horrible nightmare and terrifying to many of our readers, especially based on the media coverage it receives. Tell us about growing up in the notorious housing project.

Ron Simmons: MY FAMILY MOVED INTO CABRINI GREEN IN THE MID 60’S AND WE MOVED OUT IN 1985. THIS WAS THE FIRST FOR OUR FAMILY BECAUSE WE ALWAYS LIVED IN APARTMENT BUILDINGS.
IT WAS NEW TO US, BEING SURROUNDED BY SO MANY PEOPLE AND KIDS ALL AT ONCE. BUT, AS TIME WENT ON, IT BECAME THIS WONDERFUL PLACE OF COMMUNITY, FAMILY AND FUN. WE GOT TO KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE AND FAMILIES AS TIME WENT ON. THERE WERE CHILDREN EVERYWHERE. MUSIC WAS ALWAYS HEARD COMING OUT OF SOMEONE’S WINDOW OR FRONT SCREEN DOOR. WE DIDN’T LOCK OUR DOORS BACK THEN UNTIL IT WAS TIME TO GO TO BED. A BAND THAT WOULD SIT OUTSIDE, FOUR DOORS DOWN FROM WHERE WE LIVED, IN THE ROWHOUSES, WAS REALLY GOOD. OTHER SINGERS FROM DIFFERENT HIGHRISES IN CABRINI WOULD COME DOWN TO SING WITH THE BAND. THESE WERE SOME OF THE GOOD TIMES.

I THINK THE MEDIA AND THE POWERS THAT BE CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU DURING THOSE TIMES. IN THE BEGINNING, MOSTLY WHITES LIVED THERE IN THE ROWHOUSES WAY BEFORE THE HIGHRISES WERE BUILT. THERE WERE SOME BLACKS, BUT DURING THAT TIME YOU COULD ONLY MOVE IN THERE IF THE FATHER WAS IN THE MILITARY. BUT AS TIME WENT ON, THAT WOULD CHANGE AND AS MORE BLACKS MOVED IN, MORE WHITES THAT COULD AFFORD TO MOVE OUT DID.

DURING THESE TIMES, THERE WEREN’T THINGS LIKE GANGS, DRUGS OR KILLINGS GOING ON, BUT YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THIS PLACE WOULD BECOME MORE OF A BLACK COMMUNITY THAN THE WHITE ONE IT USE TO BE. IT WAS CLOSE TO THE GOLD COAST AND DOWNTOWN. SO, IT WAS AN AREA KNOWN FOR THE RICH, SO IT WAS A CONCERN FOR THEM.

BAD THINGS STARTED TO HAPPEN IN CABRINI GREEN AFTER THE RIOTS IN 1968. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. GOT KILLED AND RICHARD DALEY SR WAS THE MAYOR OF CHICAGO. DIFFERENT PARTS OF CHICAGO IN BLACK AREAS WOULD GET BURNED DOWN AND PEOPLE HAD NO PLACE TO LIVE. BY THIS TIME, YOU HAD HIGHRISES THAT HAD BEEN BUILT CALLED “THE REDS” AND “THE WHITES.”

MAYOR DALEY WAS GETTING COMPLAINTS FROM WHITE COMMUNITIES STATING THEY DIDN’T WANT THOSE BLACKS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. SO DALEY MOVED SOME OF THOSE BLACKS, FROM THE SOUTHSIDE AND WESTSIDE, INTO CABRINI GREEN. WITH THEM CAME GANGS, DRUGS AND KILLINGS. FOR THOSE WHO ALREADY LIVED THERE, WHO WERE NOT ABOUT THAT KIND OF LIFE, THEY FOUND THEMSELVES PROTECTING THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES.

I HAD FIGHTS THERE THAT I WON. THE NEXT WEEK, YOU AND THE PERSON YOU FOUGHT WERE FRIENDS AGAIN. IT WAS OVER. I WOULD HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH GANG MEMBERS AT DIFFERENT TIMES. THEY WOULD TRY TO BE TOUGH OR TRY TO BULLY YOU, BUT I NEVER BACKED DOWN FROM THEM. YOU HAVE TO BRING SOME ASS TO TRY TO GET THIS ONE. I WASN’T AFRAID OF THEM AND THEY KNEW IT. THE ONLY PERSON I WAS AFRAID OF WAS MY MOTHER, AND SHE DIDN’T PLAY. I PROTECTED MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS FROM ALL THAT CRAZY NONSENSE.

I CAN STILL STAY THAT FROM THE MID 60’S TO THE EARLY 80’S, IT WAS A NICE PLACE TO LIVE. YES, SOME BAD THINGS DID HAPPEN THERE, BUT BAD THINGS HAPPEN EVERYWHERE. THE DIFFERENCE WITH CABRINI GREEN WAS IT WAS A PLACE THAT WHITES WANTED BECAUSE OF ITS LOCATION. 70 ACRES OF PRIME REAL ESTATE!

THINGS REALLY STARTED TO GO BAD WHEN RESIDENTS BASIC SERVICES SLOWLY STOP COMING OR STOPPED. THIS WAS PART OF THEIR PLAN TO MAKE FAMILIES MOVE OUT THAT COULD. MAKE THIS PLACE UNLIVABLE SO THAT WHEN THE TIME CAME TO TAKE THEM DOWN, WHO WOULD SAY ANYTHING? THEY WERE UNLIVABLE AND THE MAYOR, THE POWERS THAT BE, CHA, THE GOVERNMENT AND THE POLITICIANS KNEW JUST WHAT THEY WERE DOING. THEY HAD A PLAN FOR THE AREA THAT WOULD BRING IN BILLIONS DOWN THE LINE. THIS WAS PRIME REAL ESTATE.

CABRINI GREEN HOUSING PROJECTS HAD SOME STRONG PEOPLE AND GROUPS. THEY WERE STARTING TO NOT TRUST THE SYSTEMS IN PLACE BECAUSE OF SO MANY BROKEN PROMISES. THEY DID WANT THAT AT ALL, SO FOR THEM IT WAS TO TAKE PUBLIC HOUSING DOWN ON ALL LEVELS. THE PEOPLE LOST THERE AND ACROSS THE CITY. THERE WAS NO REAL PLAN TO RELOCATE FAMILIES. THEY JUST THREW THE FAMILIES OUT INTO THE STREET WITH A 90 DAY SECTION 8 VOUCHER TO FIND HOUSING. IF YOU DIDN’T FIND HOUSING WITHIN THE 90 DAYS, YOU COULDN’T GO BACK TO CHA. YOU WERE ON YOUR OWN. SOME PEOPLE FOUND HOUSING AND SOME MOVED TO OTHER STATES. STILL OTHERS MOVED IN WITH FAMILY MEMBERS AND THOUSANDS ENDED UP DISPLACED. I BELIEVE THESE WERE CRIMES ON HUMANITY.

RON SIMMONS WAS A MEMBER OF THE INTELLI-GENTS, INC. ORGANIZATION:

The Intelli-Gents provided a myriad of services to the community of Cabrini Green. They were probably best known for their Truancy Follow-up-Program, Big Brother-Big Sister Program, and Tutoring After school and weekend Programs.
The Summer Basketball Tournaments, Cultural Enrichment program and through the Illinois Commission on Delinquency Prevention Program becoming advocates for youths that were adjudicated through the Cook County Juvenile Court System.
The Intelli-Gents also provided jobs, food & clothing assistance to area residents & finally provided assistance to the Cabrini Green Alternative High School the first of its kind in the nation. The Intelli-Gents was a driving force that keep a lot of things in order and saved a lot of young people’s lives as well as adults. The Intelli-Gents office was located at 515 W. Oak Street were there from 1976 to 1985.

IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I WOULD, WITH A FEW CHANGES IN ORGANIZING..

GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to being a business man and community activist, you’re also a self-taught musician and singer. Please tell our readers about that chapter in your life.

Ron Simmons: IT ALL GOES BACK TO SEEING THE BANDS PERFORM ON THE STREET AND GETTING GUITAR LESSON FROM A MEMBER OF ONE OF THE BANDS. HIS NAME IS KENNY MITCHELL. I ALSO TAUGHT MYSELF TO SING AND PLAY THE PIANO BY EAR.

IN HIGH SCHOOL, I WENT TO THE MUSIC ROOM DURING BREAK TO PRACTICE EVERYDAY. I KNEW I WAS GETTING GOOD BECAUSE EVERY TIME PEOPLE WOULD HEAR ME SING AND PLAY, THE MUSIC ROOM WOULD FILL UP. SO, WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS READY TO COMPETE AGAINST OTHER ARTISTS I THOUGHT WAS REAL GOOD, I ENTERED TALENT SHOWS AT SCHOOL. I WON 1ST AND 2ND PLACE. I CONTINUED TO PLAY AND PRACTICE. I COULD PLAY JUST ABOUT ANYTHING BY EAR, BUT IT WAS JUST NOT ENOUGH FOR ME. ONCE I LEARNED SOMETHING, I WENT ON TO THE NEXT THING. BELIEVE THIS, I COULD HAVE BECAME BIG WITH MY SINGING AND PLAYING, BUT IT JUST WASN’T ME.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve always been the type of person that would be involved in community service. Why do you feel the need to help your community?

Ron Simmons: I STARTED AT AN EARLY AGE, 15 OR 16. I THINK IT COMES FROM MY GREAT-GRANDMA AND MY MOTHER. I SAW THEM ALWAYS HELPING OTHERS AND THOSE SAME PEOPLE HELPED ME. SO I GUESS IT’S ME PAYING IT FORWARD. IT JUST FEELS SO GOOD WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE HELPED SOMEONE.
I HAVE BEEN THIS OUTSPOKEN PERSON FOR A LONG TIME, SPEAKING FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T SPEAK OR KNOW HOW TO SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. I’M WILLING TO STAND ALONE, IF NO ONE IS WILLING TO STAND WITH ME. I’D RATHER DIE ON MY FEET, THAN DIE ON MY KNEES.

I’M STILL AN ACTIVIST TO THIS DAY. FOUR YEARS AGO, I HELPED TO SAVE LOW-INCOME HOUSING IN A DOWNTOWN BUILDING. I SAT AT THE TABLE WITH THE OWNER. I EXPLAINED TO HIM HOW THEY USED GOVERNMENT LOANS TO BUILD THE BUILDING, WITH SOME LOW INCOME HOUSING UNITS IN IT, AND THIS OWNER HAD PAID BACK THE LOANS AND WANTED TO THROW ALL THE FAMILIES OUT OF THE BUILDING. I TOLD HIM THIS IS NOT RIGHT, NOR IS IT FAIR TO THE FAMILIES THAT HELPED YOU ALL BUILD THIS BUILDING. SO WE WON 15 MORE YEARS.

I CAN BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY WITH A SMILE. I LIVE, I LAUGH AND I CRY TOO. BUT I NEVER GIVE UP BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL AND THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. I AM FIRE – EXCITING TO WATCH, BUT DANGEROUS TO MESS WITH. I CAN’T BE TAMED. I HAVE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IN MY HEART THAT MAKES ME FIGHT FEARLESSLY FOR MY LOVED ONES AND FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IN.

LIFE TEACHES YOU HOW TO LIVE IT IF YOU ARE WILLING TO LIVE LONG ENOUGH.

GO BANG! Magazine: Being a business man with your own production company, Lynx Productions, you’ve managed to work with heavy hitters in the Entertainment game. Of all the “Ballers” you’ve worked with over the years, which ones were the most exciting, surprising, and memorable? Explain why for each of your choices.

Ron Simmons:
(1) THE LESSONS LEARNED AT AN EARLY AGE FROM MAJOR LANCE AND CURTIS MAYFIELD
(2) GAVIN CHRISTOPHER – OUR TIMES RUNNING TOGETHER BACK IN THE 80’S, HANGING OUT AT THE RECORDING STUDIOS, THROWING IDEAS AT EACH OTHER. GAVIN WROTE HIT SONGS FOR CHAKA KHAN.

(3) HEAVEN & EARTH – ONE OF THE BIGGEST LIVE SHOWS WE PROMOTED WITH THEM AT PLAYBOY TOWERS THAT THEY EVER HAD.

(4) MICHAEL JORDAN – I MET MICHAEL JORDAN IN 1986 OR 1987, I DRESSED UP LIKE I WAS PART OF THE STAFF. I HAD NAVY BLUE PANTS AND A RED PULLOVER SHIRT. A LADY FRIEND OF MINES NEPHEW, WHO WAS ABOUT FIVE OR SIX YEARS OLD, HAD ON ALL THE BULLS CLOTHES FROM HEAD TO TOE. WE WERE ON THE BACK SIDE OF THE PARKING LOT WHERE MICHAEL WOULD PARK AND CAME THROUGH THE DOOR. WE WERE THE ONLY ONES THERE AND MICHAEL WALKS IN AND I STEP UP TO HIM INTRODUCE MYSELF AND WE SHOOK HANDS. I ASKED HIM IF HE WOULD TAKE A PICTURE WITH MY LITTLE GUY AND HE SAID SURE.

(5) JIMMY JAM & TERRY LEWIS – WE MANAGED A GROUP NAMED “SNEAK PREVIEW.” WE ALMOST GOT SIGNED WITH JIMMY AND TERRY, BUT GOT BEATEN OUT BY THE GROUP “MINT CONDITION.”

(6) CHAKA KHAN – OUR FIRST BIG STAR! GETTING HER BOOKED FOR THE “TASTE OF CHICAGO”

(7) JOSEPH SIKORA (AKA TOMMY FROM POWER)

AND

(8) 50 CENT – I HAVE BEEN FRIENDS WITH HIM SINCE 2014. JOSEPH IS FROM CHICAGO/SKOKIE AND HE IS THE ONE THAT INTRODUCED ME TO 50 CENT. 50 CENT WAS IN CHICAGO SO THE MEETING HAD BEEN SET UP. WHEN I GOT THERE, 50 CENT WAS SURROUNDED BY A LOT OF PEOPLE AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WAS THERE TO SEE HIM. I TOLD 50 CENT’S ASSSTANT THAT I COULD WAIT. HE SAID NO, I’M GOING TO GO GET 50 CENT. YOU WAIT AND SIT HERE. THE ASSISTANT WENT AND GOT 50 CENT. WE WERE INTRODUCED TO EACH OTHER AND TALKED FOR A WHILE.

AFTER 50 CENT LEFT, SOME PEOPLE WALKED UP TO ME AND SAID YOU MUST BE SOMEBODY REAL IMPORTANT. THEY STOPPED EVERYTHING AND BROUGHT 50 CENT TO YOU. IT WAS SURPRISING. I’M JUST A REGULAR GUY TRYING TO MAKE SOME THINGS HAPPEN, WHO KNOW SOME PEOPLE. THEIR ARE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN ME AND WHAT I’M TRYING TO DO. I’M JUST TRULY GRATEFUL.

(9) ALL OF THE OTHER ARTISTS WE BOOKED AND MANAGED.

WE JUST LIVED MUSIC AND MADE THINGS HAPPEN BEHIND THE SCENES. THIS WAS MY GREATEST GIFT. BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER AND MAKING THINGS HAPPEN.

GO BANG! Magazine: Currently, you’re in the process of completing an original feature film entitled “Cabrini Green: The Soul Story Of Stories!” It’s a brilliantly, thrilling and dramatic untold story of survival and truth. What inspired you to pursue this gigantic mission?

Ron Simmons: PART OF MY FAMILY ROOTS ARE HERE ON THIS NEAR NORTH AND BEFORE IS WAS EVER CALLED CABRINI GREEN, MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER CAME HERE FROM YAZOO, MISSISSIPPI WHERE SHE RAISED 16 CHILDREN. SHE NEVER WORKED A JOB, BUT OWNED THREE ROOMING HOUSES IN THE AREA, PLAYED POLICY, RAN MOONSHINE, AND WAS ON PUBLIC ASSISTANCE.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, I LOVED WHERE I GREW UP AT AND I LOVE THE PEOPLE. I WITNESS, I SAW, I HEARD AND I LIVED IT, SO WHO BETTER TELL YOUR STORY/STORIES THAN SOMEONE WHO LIVED THERE. THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY STORIES WRITTEN IN BOOKS AND DOCUMENTARIES BY PEOPLE WHO NEVER LIVED THERE OR LIVED THE LIFE PERIOD.
I HAVE TRAVELED AROUND THE WORLD TO OTHER PLACES AND OTHER COUNTRIES. IN SOME OF MY CONVERSATIONS, WHEN THEY FIND OUT I’M FROM CHICAGO, THEY WOULD ASK ME DO YOU KNOW MICHAEL JORDAN AND DO I KNOW THIS BAD PLACE CALLED CABRINI GREEN. MY ANSWER WOULD BE YES! THIS WAS MY OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THEM THAT I LIVE THERE NOW AND IT WAS NOT THIS HELL-OF-A-PLACE THAT THE MEDIA WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE IT TO BE.
THERE ARE MANY REASONS WHY I PURSUE THIS MISSION OF GETTING THIS DONE. IT’S OUR LEGACY AND I WANT THE TRUTH TO LIVE ON FOREVER.

I ALSO REMEMBER WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE, BACK IN THE LATE 70’S, AT COLUMBA COLLEGE. IT WAS A GROUP OF US STUDENTS ON THE SEVENTH FLOOR LOUNGE, AT A ROUND TABLE. WE WERE JUST TALKING. NO ONE KNEW WHERE I LIVED OR CAME FROM. I DON’T REMEMBER HOW THE SUBJECT CABRINI GREEN CAME UP, BUT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT THE AREA LIKE THEY REALLY KNEW IT AND THAT THE THINGS THEY WERE SAYING WERE TRUE.

I ALWAYS SPEAK UP ABOUT WHERE I GREW UP AT BECAUSE MOST OF THE INFORMATION TOLD IS NOT TRUE…IT’S MEDIA DRIVEN. SO, I SAID TO THEM, “HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT INFORMATION IS TRUE?” MOST OF THEM SAID THEY SAW REPORTS ON THE NEWS AND HAD READ THINGS IN THE NEWSPAPERS. I ASKED THEM, “DO YOU HAVE FAMILY THAT LIVES THERE? DO YOU KNOW ANYONE THAT LIVES THERE?” ALL OF THEM SAID, “NO!” SO I ASKED THEM AGAIN, “ARE YOU SURE?” THEY SAID, “NO!” THEN I SAID, “I LIVE THERE NOW AND MOST OF THE THINGS YOU SAID ARE NOT TRUE.” THE LOOKS ON THEIR FACES WERE PRICELESS.
SO, THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR ME TAKING THIS ON AND IT MUST BE DONE SO WE CAN TELL OUR OWN STORIES, RATHER THAN ALLOWING THEM TO MAKE US OUT AS SOMETHING WE ARE NOT… BAD PEOPLE.

YOU DON’T HEAR ABOUT ALL THE GREAT PEOPLE WHO GREW UP OR LIVED THERE, JUST THE BAD THINGS.
People who lived and grew up in Cabrini Green:
Ramsey Lewis, Jerry Butler, Chaka Khan, Marvin Yancy, Curtis Mayfield, Major Lance, Mary Alice (Actress), Jackie Taylor (Founder of The Black Ensemble Theater/Actress), Rick Stone (Actor/Artist), Retired Tony Watson (Rear Admiral of US Nuclear Submarine), Ripple, The Epsilons, The Master Plan, Andre Walker (Oprah’s Hairstylist), Eric Monte (Screenwriter for Good Times, Cooley High, What’s Happening, Sanford & Son) Joel Hall (Founder of The Joel Hall Dancers), Terry Callier (Songwriter/Artist), The Admirations, Gregory Hollimon (Actor), Shabba-Doo (Break Dancer/Actor), Robert Squirrel Lester (member of the Chi-Lites), NBA Pigeon Johnson, Al Carter-Bey (of the Al Carter Youth Foundation/Activist), The Intelli-Gents, Ron Simmons (1996 Olympics/Activist), Hubert Welch (President of the Intelli-Gents/Activist), William Gates (Hoop Dreams), Alexander Nelson (Vice President of the Intelli-Gents/Activist), Nate Jones (1996 Olympics), Mr. Elzy (Activist), John Thompson, Mr. Hubert Wilson (Band Director), Elax Taylor (Activist), Marion Stamps (Activist), Mrs. Childs (Founder of Talent Shows in Cabrini Green), Mrs. Ruth (Activist), Mrs. Jones (Activist), Mrs. Nash (Activist), Mrs. Davis (Activist), and the list goes on…

TONY WATSON MY CHILDHOOD FRIEND FROM THE CABRINI GREEN ROWHOUSES SHOULD BE IN THE HISTORY BOOKS. HE WAS THE FIRST BLACK REAR ADMIRAL COMMANDER OF AN U.S. NAVY NUCLEAR SUBMARINE
CHICAGO INFAMOUS HOUSING PROJECTS IN THE WORLD (THEY SAY)

FEATURE FILM CABRINI GREEN – “The Soul Story of Stories”
Story by Ron Simmons – ALL IN THE MAKINGS
MUSIC BY LEGENDARY ONAJE ALLAN GUMBS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNJuRxkDguw
The music soundtrack will be from famous recording artists from Chicago, the music will be a big component of the film.

THE CABRINI GREEN SOUNDTRACK IS GOING TO BE FROM SOME OF THESE AMAZING ARTISTS:

The music soundtrack will be a big component of the film. These are the artists that we will be looking at for the film soundtrack “Cabrini Green” that are from Chicago: Curtis Mayfield, Chaka Khan, Ramsey Lewis, The Admirations, Rufus, The Chi-Lites, The Five Stairsteps, The Artistics, Patti Drew, Quincy Jones, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, Donny Hathaway, Gene Ammons, Windy City, Smoke City, Terry Callier, Jackie Wilson, Garland Green, Gavin Christopher, The Staple Singers, Walter Jackson, Magnum Force, Heaven and Earth, The Epsalons, Mike Logan & Byron J Woods, Marshall Titus, The Dells, Ruby Andrews, Dinah Washington, Gene Chandler, Minnie Riperton, The Emotions, Miki Howard, Ripple, Bobby Hutton, Patrick Howell Marlow, Tyrone Davis, Lou Rawls, The Center Stage, The Steelers, The Players, Brighter Side of Darkness, Denise LaSalle, The Master Plan, Son of Slums, 21st Century, The Lost Generation, The Notations, Earth Wind & Fire, Johnnie Taylor, Ko Ko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Otis Clay, Chicago, Charles Earland, Barbara Acklin, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, and MzLeeLee!!

SITCOM, MOVIES, A MOVIE SERIES WHERE CABRINI GREEN HOUSING PROJECTS USED AS A BACKDROP WERE ALL SHOT IN CABRINI GREEN:

“GOOD TIMES”, “COOLEY HIGH”, “CANDYMAN”, “HEAVEN IS A PLAYGROUND”, “WHITE BOYZ”, “HARDBALL”, “THE GREEN LANTERN”, “DOWN IN THE DELTA”, “BOSS SERIES” DOCUMENTARY-70 ACRES IN CHICAGO, BOOKS WRITTEN, CANDYMAN 2020 AND COMING SOON… A FEATURE FILM ABOUT CABRINI GREEN – “THE SOUL STORY OF STORIES” IN DEVELOPMENT NOW, BY RON SIMMONS, WHO GREW UP IN CABRINI GREEN.

GO BANG! Magazine: Film making is very expensive and funding can be extremely hard to obtain. How is your funding campaign going and what can our readers do to help you achieve your funding goal?

Ron Simmons: ABOUT SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS AGO, HOLLYWOOD CONTACTED AND OFFERED ME SOME BIG MONEY FOR MY CABRINI GREEN SCRIPT. I DECLINED BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN ME OUT OF THE PROJECT. I DIDN’T WANT THAT BECAUSE THEY WOULD HAVE CHANGED THE SCRIPT TO MAKE BLACKS LOOK BAD. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY. IT’S ABOUT OUR LIVES AND THEY NEED TO BE TOLD THE RIGHT WAY.

I INVESTED BIG MONEY INTO THE PROJECT IN THE BEGINNING AND I CONTINUE TO INVEST WHAT I CAN, WHEN I CAN. BUT, I HAVE BEEN GETTING ONGOING HELP FROM MY SUPPORTERS, WHEN THEY CAN. BUT MUCH IS STILL NEEDED AND I KNOW IT WILL HAPPEN, AS LONG AS I STAY FOCUSED.
I GOT A CALL FROM MY AGENT ON 5/11/2020. HE JUST GOT TWO MOVIES PICKED UP AND NOW MY MOVIE “CABRINI GREEN” HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO NET FLIX, SO STAY TUNED.
HERE IS THE LINK FOR THE ONGOING FUNDING CAMPAIGN FOR THE FEATURE FILM PROJECT:

PLEASE DONATE HERE: https://www.gofundme.com/f/cabrini-green-project?

GO BANG! Magazine: Besides film making and producing your upcoming blockbuster film, are you working on anything else that our readers should be aware of?

Ron Simmons: YES, TWO OTHER SCRIPTS, “BLACK LIKE ME – A TRUE STORY” AND “THE ARTIST.” I’M ALSO RAISING FUNDING FOR THE PROJECTS.

GO BANG! Magazine: On a personal note, how do you cope with the fact that you were once a world record power lifter and then had to grapple living with a physically debilitating issue? Please explain your health condition and your inspiring story of how you overcame it to be the powerful man you are today.

Ron Simmons: I HAVE BEEN FACED WITH MANY OBSTACLES ALL OF MY LIFE. SOMETHING MY MOTHER SAID TO ME GROWING UP IS THAT, “YOU MAY NOT WIN EVERY FIGHT, BUT FIGHT BACK SO THEY WILL KNOW THAT YOU WILL NOT GIVE UP.” ALL OF THE THINGS I HAVE DONE IN MY LIFE HAVE BEEN A GREAT OPPORTUNITY AND A GIFT. I’M TRULY GRATEFUL I DIDN’T PASS THEM UP.

IN REFERENCE TO MY HEALTH, I CAUGHT POLIO WHEN I WAS YOUNG. I HAD 14 OPERATIONS, BUT I NEVER LET THAT STOP ME. I HAVE DONE MORE THINGS IN MY LIFE THAN AN ABLE-BODIED PERSON HAS. I’M GOOD, BUT I DEAL WITH PAIN EVERYDAY ON DIFFERENT LEVELS, FROM ALL THE YEARS OF TRAINING. LIFE IS GOOD FOR THE MOST PART. I NEVER LIKE LOSING THAT IS WHY I WORK SO HARD, SO THAT WHEN I’M LOSING, I’M STILL WINNING.

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE I HAVE TO THANK FOR A LOT OF MY SUCCESS INCLUDING:

MY TRAINING PARTNERS OVER THE YEARS IVAN MEJIAS, BOBBY REED, AND CURTIS SMITH

MY FRIEND, TRAINER AND MENTOR SERGIO OLIVA SR

MY TRAINER MARTA COLLAZO

MY TRAINER ALLEN GOLDSTEIN

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE ME. I KNOW MORE THAN I SAY, I THINK MORE THAN I SPEAK AND I NOTICE MORE THAN YOU REALIZE.

GO BANG! Magazine: Another personal story that you have is that you grew up with Eric Monte, the creator of Good Times, The Jefferson’s, What’s Happening, and Cooley High. You even know his REAL name as a matter of fact, but that’s not important right now. What is important is describing to our readers what it was like to grow up with a person that would eventually become the writer of iconic, black, cultural, ground-breaking television shows and a movie that’s a staple in every black person’s life.

Ron Simmons: KENNETH WILLIAMS AKA ERIC MONTE
IT WAS COOL GROWING UP AROUND ERIC. HE WAS ALWAYS ON THE RUN DOING THINGS, WRITING IN HIS NOTEBOOK, TALKING ABOUT STORIES AND BECOMING FAMOUS. AS LITTLE KIDS YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT GOING OUTSIDE TO PLAY GAMES AND HAVING FUN WITH OTHERS. ERIC WAS DIFFERENT THAT WAY. BUT COOL TO BE AROUND AT DIFFERENT TIMES.

I REMEMBER WHEN HE CAME BACK HOME TO MAKE THE MOVIE “COOLEY HIGH.” IT WAS A BIG BUZZ IN THE COMMUNITY AND THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN CABRINI WAS GETTING AN OPPORTUNITY TO AUDITION FOR THE FILM. I SAW ERIC ONE DAY IN CABRINI. WE STOPPED AND TALKED. HE TOLD ME WHAT HE WAS DOING AND TOLD ME TO COME DOWN TO ONE OF THE AUDITIONS. I HAD JUST GOT MARRIED AND MY HEAD SPACE WAS SOME PLACE ELSE. I NEVER WENT TO ANY OF THE AUDITIONS AND THE NEXT THING I HEARD ABOUT ERIC WAS THE MOVIE COMING OUT. WE STAYED IN TOUCH FROM TIME TO TIME. I WAS TRULY HAPPY FOR HIM. I THINK WE ALL WERE TRYING TO MAKE OUR MARK ON LIFE.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Ron Simmons: FOR ME IT’S JUST TRYING TO STAY HEALTHY, SAFE AND MAKING SURE MY MOTHER WHO IS 86 YEARS OLD STAY HEALTHY AND SAFE TOO. THIS IS A SILENT KILLER THAT WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. I DO BELIEVE THE “POWERS THAT BE” DO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON. I BELIEVE OUR GOVERNMENTS HAVE FAILED THE PEOPLE. I BELIEVE MORE CAN AND SHOULD BE DONE FOR THE PEOPLE. THEY ARE THE ONES THAT ARE GOING TO LOSE THE MOST. YOU HAVE BOTH PARTIES FIGHTING OVER NONSENSE, WHILE PEOPLE ARE DYING EVERYDAY. YOU HAVE A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T CARE ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE DYING. IT HAS BEEN SAID WE HAVE BEEN OVERPOPULATED FOR A VERY LONG TIME NOW.

You can follow Ron Simmons with the following links:
THE RON SIMMONS BRANDS
LYNX PRODUCTIONS MUSIC & FILM
https://celestialproductions.webs.com/
CABRINI GREEN, LLC
CABRINI GREEN FEATURE FILM
CABLE TV SERIES
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNJuRxkDguw
HALL & SIMMONS ACCOUNTING CONSULTING
https://www.facebook.com/groups/760237797364036/

CABRINI GREEN ONGOING FUNDING CAMPAIGN FOR THE FEATURE FILM PROJECT
https://www.gofundme.com/f/cabrini-green-project?
CHECK HERE FOR ANY UPDATES ON THE FEATURE FILM CABRINI GREEN
https://www.facebook.com/Cabrini-Green-the-Soul-Story-of-Stories-933404816698472/
RON SIMMONS SPORTS HISTORY
https://www.facebook.com/Ron-Simmons-Bodybuilder-Powerlifter-1528806824032197/

CHICAGO INFAMOUS HOUSING PROJECTS IN THE WORLD

Feature Film CABRINI GREEN – The Soul Story of Stories
by Ron Simmons – 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNJuRxkDguw





Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram

He has the look, he has the sound, and he has the moves!!! From the wardrobe to the stage show, one thing is certain: No one personifies Michael Jackson like Tej’ai Sullivan.

He began his professional career at the early age of two years old. He got his start performing at family functions and birthday parties, then later performing and consistently winning talent shows at Chicago’s New Regal Theater as front man for his tribute group “Imitation 5ive” throughout his childhood.

Born with a very close resemblance to Michael, it was always clear what his destiny was meant to be. Paying homage to the “King of Pop” for most of his life, Tej’ai got his first big break touring internationally through Europe/United States/ Middle East with “The Ultimate Thriller” starring as their Michael from 2009 until 2012 working with principle Jackson dancer and choreographer Mic Thompson. From there, he went on to star in “Forever Michael” touring the United Kingdom and becoming a fan favorite among the top tributes in the Michael Jackson community.

Tej’ai has also performed at Taste of Dolton Festival (2009), Remembering Black History (2010), An Evening in Memory of Michael Jackson (2011 and 2013) and MJ Honors (2013).
In 2014, Tej’ai put together a show entitled “Return of the King” and has been pushing it to become one of the most exciting tribute concerts around. In addition, he has gone on to tour a second time in Germany (2016-2017) with shows such as “Michael the True Story” and “Michael Jackson: The Tribute,” as well as a return to the Middle East for “A Tribute to the Troops” where he was presented three medals of honor for his performances.

Now in 2020, you can catch him on stage with two brand new shows, “Michael Jackson Legend” and “Imitation 5ive: A Jackson Tribute,” as well as starring in a not yet titled film dedicated to the King of Pop.

You can be sure that he will soon become a household name with both of these stage shows and a budding new acting career blossoming. Keep watching because his best is still yet to come!!!

GO BANG! Magazine: Tell our readers when you first started singing and dancing like Michael Jackson?

Tej’ai Sullivan: My name is Tej’ai Sullivan. I am a professional tribute artist/representative for Michael Jackson. I have toured all over the world performing and touring my live show tribute to the “King of Pop.” I was born and raised right here in Chicago. I started out at the age of two years old performing at all of my cousins’ birthday parties. Then, one day when I was five years old, my grandmother came home on her break to find me singing my heart out. She asked my mother if that was really my voice singing to the songs. My mom told her yeah and from that very day she took me to the New Regal Theater and from there it’s history. I started winning talent shows consistently and then later being blessed to tour to places such as England/Middle East/Germany/Italy/Russia/Hungary/Belarus/Ireland/Scotland and more.

GO BANG! Magazine: Have you received any dance or singing training or is your talent natural?

Tej’ai Sullivan: No special training in either. I have been naturally singing and dancing since the age of two, by just really watching or listening, and then just doing it.

GO BANG! Magazine: What is it about Michael Jackson that inspires you to impersonate him?

Tej’ai Sullivan: Since birth, Michael has always been a part of my DNA. I like to say that it chose me, I didn’t choose it. Michael has always been the blueprint and I was always the outcome. Growing up, I thought Michael Jackson was very magical and had super powers. So as a kid seeing things like that, it can grab onto you.

GO BANG! Magazine: How has performing as MJ affected your life?

Tej’ai Sullivan: It’s always brought me joy knowing I provide a great valued show that all ages can enjoy and talk about. Nothing like that feeling! People really enjoy my shows.

GO BANG! Magazine: Being a singer and dancer, do you plan to ever performing as yourself or impersonating Michael Jackson is your final goal?

Tej’ai Sullivan: I don’t define myself as an impersonator. I call it as a profession being a tribute artist. When I take off the makeup, I am no longer the Michael Jackson character, I am simply myself. An impersonator to me doesn’t turn it off, they continue on as that character.

GO BANG! Magazine: Impersonating a celebrity can have its downside. People don’t know who YOU are. They only know the character that you play. How do you plan to separate you “the artist” from the “Michael Jackson” role you play, when you pursue a career as Tej’ai?

Tej’ai Sullivan: There’s always been a separation from me as an artist from me the tribute artist. Michael Jackson is only one of my talents. I have been blessed to do things such as videography/photography/screenwriting/directing/acting/singing/songwriting/producer. I call myself a “Jack of All Trades.” I never limit my abilities

GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to singing and dancing, you are also interested in an acting career. Your debut role is in the upcoming film “Roseland”, a comedy written by Billy Ray Valentine. Tell our readers about how you got started in acting and what your role is in the movie.

Tej’ai Sullivan: Well, as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an actor. I have done theater plays in school, with such roles as Tony (“West Side Story”) and “Aladdin.” But landing a role for “Roseland” was simply a blessing from the higher power. Me and Mr. Valentine saw my potential and gave me my first shot in a feature film as P-Nut. P-Nut is a guy in the neighborhood who’s down with the homies but has ambitions to be an entertainer. He has aspirations to be a famous Michael Jackson and Prince performer, but he daydreams and fantasizes a lot about it. It has been so much fun playing this character and it’s going to be so funny. The cast and crew are amazing.

GO BANG! Magazine: Michael Jackson is beloved all over the world. But, not everyone loves Michael Jackson. Some people continue to believe that he was a child molester, even though all criminal charges were dropped. What is your opinion on that topic and have any fans given you negative responses for impersonating MJ?

Tej’ai Sullivan: I’ve never really had to defend this with anyone because everyone who has ever come in contact with me knows that Michael is innocent and that’s that. I haven’t had any negativity come my way about Michael or my tribute to him. From start to finish, my show is a must see, something that brings people together, and we all party

GO BANG! Magazine: Is there anything that you would like to inform our readers about concerning upcoming projects, performances or movies?

Tej’ai Sullivan: After we wrap from “Roseland,” I am very excited for a few movie projects, as well as my new Jackson’s tribute group “Imitation 5ive.” We have a show under the same name “Imitation 5ive: A Jackson Tribute”, and a Michael Jackson fan film and concert of the same name. Then there’s “Michael Jackson: Legend”, “Power Ranger’s Jurassic Legacy” and a romance comedy called “Do For Love” which will all come out in 2021. I will join forces with Billy Ray Valentine and James Lett III, so please look out for those.

I am also working on an album of my own original music called ”The Heir” and think it’s going to be something to take you back to when music was music and had soul. Music that tells stories

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Tej’ai Sullivan: I’m handling it accordingly. I’m being safe, but I am not letting it stop me. I am taking on new challenges, especially with my shows. Now with the virtual concert experience being put into effect, this pandemic only gave me time to get my ideas out of my head and to bring them all to life during this down time.

You can follow Tej’ai on ALL social media platforms and log on to the website:

Facebook: @theycallmemichaeljackson

IG: @beingtejaisullivan

Website: http://TMJtributeshow.com

LIVE performance link: https://youtu.be/WJL4vToNIco



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram

A native of Chicago’s very own Englewood neighborhood, James Lett III, actor/producer has appeared in 14 independent movies, film and web series combined. You may have seen him in “Magic the Movie”, directed by Billy Ray Valentine, In “To Kill a Rapper” and “Disconnected”, James’ ability to transform and tap in to his character is amazing. He has been recognized by the A Taste of Theater Festival as one of Chicago’s fastest rising talents.  


GO BANG! Magazine: How long have you been acting?

James Lett III: Well, actually four years and a couple months. It seems like yesterday.

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you get involved in acting?

James Lett III: Well, George Byron invited me out to a table reading my first time, for a movie still in the works called “Prayer.” I was selected to be the Alderman Elect over the City of Chicago. I met Director MeMe Wallace there. She called me a while later and was like, “Can you be a preacher in my play “FOREVER?” I’m like “Yup, I can pull this off.”
Her play was in the “A Taste of Theater Festival”, where I actually met you. Mr. Pierre is a fast moving, fast calculating kind of guy that I shadowed for a whole week. I also met Victor Gulley, Kay Abraham, Jerome Benton, Renako Jahi, Harold Dennis, and a bunch of up and coming stars. “A Taste of Theater” made me!

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you get involved with the movie “Magic?”

James Lett III: Man…Magic…Billy Ray Valentine…25 years or more. He’s one of my brothers’ best friends. He was talking about filming “Magic.” I told him when he was ready, to give me a call. He did. He wanted me to play my brother. NOPE. This is not gonna happen. I told Billy Ray, I will call you back. I called up my brother, got the green light, and showed up at his (Billy) house with over 40 of Chicago’s actors and background actors. We were smack dab in his front room. He look like “James, what are you doing?” I’m like, “Your movie.” LOL

GO BANG! Magazine: What about “Magic” attracted you to want to be a part of it?

James Lett III: I know most of the people portrayed. I cast the movie. Most, if not all of the actors picked had attributes or looked almost close to their actual character. My wife was Script Supervisor and acted in it. We became Craft Services, bbq’n on set. I knew this was a hit.

GO BANG! Magazine: How would you describe your character in the film?

James Lett III: I’m portraying my brother. He was involved, got out in the nick of time, and moved on. It’s crazy playing your real life brother.

GO BANG! Magazine: As an actor, what type of roles are you currently interested in?

James Lett III: Anything that will push the envelope and also, top my last performance.

GO BANG! Magazine: Who inspires or motivates you?

James Lett III: My Dad. He came from nothing and made something. He instilled in me solid principles and a steady work ethic. Salute my Dad!

GO BANG! Magazine: You are also an entrepreneur? Tell is more about your business.

James Lett III: Yes… Lett Promotions is a “branding” company. My company specializes in making your brand STAND OUT. We are the best in Movie Promoting, but we promote all entertainment, from shows to concerts.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

James Lett III: I’m pretty much staying out the way. Praying, thinking smart and moving safely. This too shall blow over.

Be on the lookout for another Billy Ray Valentine’s film “Lil Ceaser” where he brings the character Doc M.F. Mays to life.

YOU CAN FOLLOW JAMES ON Facebook @James Lett III
To date, “Magic” has been viewed over 1,400,000 times. You can watch “Magic” on Prime Video using the link::
https://watch.amazon.com/detail?asin=B085JS64T8&territory=US&ref_=share_ios_movie&r=web



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, 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.

Lori Branch is a Chicago native that began her life-long affair with music in 1980 as the DJ for a Chicago-based, social club named Vertigo. Vertigo, founded by Eric Bradshaw, Craig Loftis and Steven Moore hosted dozens of teen parties from 1980-1984 in such iconic locations such as Sauers, the Loft, the Penthouse, Aragon Ballroom and McCormick Place.

As a solo artist, Lori has held residencies in numerous Chicago clubs, played opening sets for several recording artists such as Michelle Ndegeocello, Lauren Hill, Arrested Development, Tribe Called Quest and others. Lori has co-produced music for several independent film projects in addition to writing and producing television and film projects such as Kevin’s Room, 40th:The Story of Roberts Temple and the Rap-it-Up Chicago series.

Seen by many as a pioneer DJ in Chicago’s House music scene, and one of (if not the) first women to grace the decks as a DJ and promoter, Lori is featured in a number of documentaries, magazine articles and television specials. Lori views her love of all music as a “life-affirming, artistic extension of me.”

She currently co-hosts the Vintage House radio program on WNUR 89.3FM Evanston Chicago and WNUR.org and is a board member of The Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation. Lori is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, niece and cousin.

“My family keeps me grounded in truth. My music keeps me moving in all the right directions.”

GO BANG! Magazine: When and how did you first get started as a DJ, and what did you like about it?

DJ Lori Branch: I started DJ’ing in 1980, shortly after graduating from Lindblom High school. I was asked to consider DJ’ing because I was a regular club kid at the Warehouse and my best friend, Jean Pierre Campbell, was an avid music collector. Jean and I would scout the city looking for the records we heard at the Warehouse, and along with our own love of punk, rock and R&B, we amassed a good collection. My high school buddy Eric Bradshaw invited me to attend a party that he and his social group Vertigo, which also included Craig Loftis and Steven Moore, were throwing at a club called the Loft. The Loft, located in Chicago’s south loop, was a popular space rented to youth social clubs. My jaw dropped to the ground when I arrived on the night of his party when I heard the DJs (Wayne Williams and Tony Hatchett) playing songs I heard at the Warehouse and other (predominantly) gay clubs (I was only 17, so I was sneaking into most of these). I told Eric that I wanted to join Vertigo so I could be part of creating this energy and he told me that I would not only join but that Jean, Craig and I would be the group’s DJs. After a widely successful Vertigo party at another popular spot called Sauers, we bought a trunk-full of equipment and I dove headfirst into learning. I caught on quickly with the help of Louie (Jose) Gomez who taught me, Jean and Craig the basics. We spent many nights in my bedroom or in Craig’s basement practicing which was incredibly important because mixing rock, punk, R&B and disco was difficult as music was not time synched, no long intros or breaks and almost all was live instrumentation. It took a lot of practice and I remember so many of those early mixes because when you found something that worked you did it over and over. We did a lot of basement gatherings and then were thrust on stage. I think my first big party was a battle with about 500 kids in attendance. It was crazy.

What I loved about DJ’ing was that for most people in the world, mixing was still a relatively new art form and the idea that you could play for hours with no breaks, create a trance-like state for dancers, sweat your clothes off, smile and laugh all night and be passed out the next day from sheer exhaustion was the best. It also gave me an amazing platform to break out of my shyness, model fashionable clothes and meet tons of cool people, many of whom are like family to me to this day.

GO BANG! Magazine: While pursuing your DJ career, you broke down a lot of barriers that were up against women. You were literally one of the first female DJ/Promoters in Chicago. Please describe to our readers how you felt at the time, when you were trailblazing a path for women DJs/Promoters.

DJ Lori Branch: When you are doing something that others find significant you do not often know at the time that is what is occurring. Such was the case about being a female DJ in a field of males in the early 80s. I was aware of that it was unique but did not really focus on it much. We were just kids trying to have fun and make some money. I would occasionally get, “where’s the DJ?” or “You’re the DJ?!” when setting up my equipment, but I think I was unfazed. I knew that I could play just like anyone else. I won some battles, had great nights and some not great nights – just like any other DJ or promoter. I was lucky to have folks like Wayne Williams, Craig Cannon and Craig Loftis who always pushed me out and encouraged me.

GO BANG! Magazine: In the past, female DJs were more of a novelty, and not taken as serious as their male counterparts. Do you think that image has changed and why or why not?

DJ Lori Branch: Definitely! Women DJs are everywhere, and it is amazing to see the kind of respect women are getting because of their skills.

GO BANG! Magazine: As a resident of Chicago, the home of House music, you are recognized as one of the pioneers. What influence, if any, do you feel you have brought to the House community and how has House influenced you?

DJ Lori Branch: I take my place in this community as a responsibility to show up and model love. I hope that is a positive influence on those who might attend a party, watch or listen to my shows or follow me. I am on a mission to sow peace, presence and humanity. I can be a little catty sometimes to add some spice to the shows, but it is usually done in humor, as I also think we can take ourselves a little too seriously sometimes.

The people in this community, my friends, family, the dancers, the promoters, other DJs, and artist have influenced me in immeasurable ways. When I see women like Nakiya Solkat confidently building her production empire, I am humbled to be in the company. So many in our community work so hard to bring the community together and to attract so many to something we have loved for so long. I also appreciate how there is such strong and growing interest in the origins of house music. I feel lucky to have been there when things kicked off here in Chicago. I have a friend Honey Dijon who is a DJ, producer, fashionista and businesswoman, and who happens to be one of the most influential women DJs in the world. I remember her being one of those kids who looked up to us young adults and I understand why what we did (especially the women) was so important. And now, she is my shero and inspiration. Funny how that works.

GO BANG! Magazine: Over the years, you morphed from being only a DJ. You’ve accomplished great success as a film and television writer and music producer. Please tell our readers how you got started in that, what you like about it, and if you plan to do more writing and producing.

DJ Lori Branch: I dropped off the Chicago DJ scene from about 1985-1991 to finish school and to pursue music production in a more serious way. I graduated from Columbia College in 1988 with a liberal arts degree and a concentration in Arts and Media Management. While at Columbia, I met filmmakers and many creative artists that helped me expand my vision. I lived in New York City and LA where I was moved by the horrifying effects of the crack and AIDS epidemics to do more. When I moved back to Chicago in 1991, I started DJ’ing again but this time I was motivated to address these larger social issues. I also lost several close friends to AIDS which was devastating. These experiences translated into writing and producing shows for cable television, PSAs and movies. I started out with as a producer on CAN TV and hosting the program Hotline 21 which allowed viewers to call in and ask live questions about AIDS. This served as a catalyst for my next project entitled “Rap It Up.” The show incorporated DJ elements, hip hop performances and interviews with community leaders about issues teens where experiencing in this increasingly complex time period. Gun violence, sex and STDs etc. were where we place our focus, but music was a through line. These efforts evolved into more projects like public service announcements and a film series entitled “Kevin’s Room.”

“Kevin’s Room” was conceptualized over a snowy day lunch in the basement of the board of trade building with my friends Jean Pierre, Karina Glover and Janice Layne. The initially one-hour film spurred two sequels from 1999 – 2006. The films were shot entirely in Chicago with professional actors and on a shoe-string budget. The drama centered on Kevin, a gay social worker, who convened a support group for black gay men. Each character was complex and dealing with frequently stigmatized issues in our community, such as living with HIV, being a bisexual man, condom usage (or the lack thereof), religion and monogamy. The movies were broadcast on UPN and WCIU, screened in dozens of film festivals and gained a large following. I worked with Blackcat Productions and Karl Productions on the overall production and I served as the Executive Producer and writer. The films can be seen online.

I love to participate and produce films and documentaries and have done others such as the story of Roberts Temple in Chicago. This film is about my great-grandfather Bishop William Mathew Roberts. He was the first Bishop to bring the Church of God in Christ to Chicago and was a leader in COGIC’s early days. The Church is special because it birthed so many amazing artists, was the first Church in Chicago with a live radio broadcast and is frequently featured in black history as it held the four-day funeral for slain teen Emmett Till. I plan to produce more just need to find the time to do it. And, my next production will be about House Music!

GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to that, you also currently co-host the “Vintage House” radio program on WNUR 89.3FM. Please describe when the show began, what the show is about, and why you feel the show is important.

DJ Lori Branch: We are celebrating the 5th year of the WNUR Vintage House show. The show was created as an outgrowth of activities associated with the Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation. The show was created by my friend Lauren Lowery who is also a Northwestern alum. Lauren had her first show on WNUR in the late 80s when she was a student. Our vision is to capture as many voices of Chicago House music experience as possible. Originally, we were just doing it for the listening audience and to archive the shows, but everything expanded a couple years ago to the FB live format. Facebook live opened the show to thousands more. It has also given me a chance to have a different role in the community as a historian and truth seeker.

I think the show is critically important to present both biased and unbiased accounts of this genre and the culture. We have all seen a lot of documentaries, articles and interviews that each try to capture some part of the story, but they almost always leave out importance people, places, and events. My job as producer and host is to dig deeper and go into the stories that don’t see as much light – and there are so many. As the historian, Lauren also tries to flesh out the timeline of where House Music began, who were the key players, what were the songs, venues, high schools, communities and all of the framing that made it a uniquely Chicago institution. Kevin McFall also hosts the show and he likes to take a more philosophical approach to his interviews by getting underneath the motivations of our guests. Every story is so valuable, and, like a puzzle, we need ALL of the pieces.

GO BANG! Magazine: In order for the House genre to flourish, it must be documented and passed on to future generations. Please explain how being a board member of The Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation achieves this goal.

DJ Lori Branch: The Foundation’s goal is to close the gap between the scholarly exploration of the history of the genre and its’ transformative impact on the world. We also aim to preserve and celebrate the lives and stories of our community. That the Foundation exists is critical and my role is to help figure out how we fit into and support the larger picture of dance music history in Chicago. We hope future generations will know, understand and fully appreciate Chicago’s unique contribution to House Music.

GO BANG! Magazine: In 2015, DJ SolKat established the “Queens of House Picnic.” How does it feel to see the seeds that you planted years ago, currently sprouting and prospering in the House community?

DJ Lori Branch: I am so amazed at the success of the “Queens of House Picnic” and simply love, respect and have deep admiration for DJ Solkat. My whole family (siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins, etc.) now support the event and it is arguably one of Chicago’s best summer events. I love it and look forward to the 2020 picnic. It feels great to see this space grow and to see so many fans supporting women artists. It is something I could have only dreamed about years ago. I know it takes a lot to bring that kind of line up and infrastructure and to make it free for folks is amazing. I hope to bring attention to the fact that this event will need the communities support in many ways, and I pledge to be among those that do so.

GO BANG! Magazine: Are you currently working on any new projects or would you like to mention anything that you’d like our readers to check out?

DJ Lori Branch: I am continuing to work on the Vintage House show and DJ. I post a lot on Soundcloud and will do live shows on Wednesday night around 10pm. I am also working on a production projects with my pal Craig Loftis and make a guest vocal appearance in his latest release Social Distance. It’s really a banger!

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

DJ Lori Branch: This pandemic is so heartbreaking and like everyone else I am trying to keep myself and my family healthy. My wife and I are both working in administrative roles in the health industry so we can work from home. We have an 11-year-old daughter who is also here along with our two cats and one dog. So, the house feels full which is nice. Staying in touch with friends and family has been great to help keep everyone connected and sane. I am also spending a lot of time organizing. My office has never been so neat before. I also have parents in their 90s, so we are doing our best to look after them as well. Mostly, I continue to pray, give to those in need and support everyone as much as possible. I do believe we are in this together and together we will be stronger when we emerge. Importantly, there is no better time to share music with everyone, so I am recording more and really enjoying all of the live streams each week. Let’s just keep the music going and we will all be okay.

GO BANG! Magazine: I’m so proud of you cuzzo!

Tune in to VINTAGE HOUSE on WNUR 89.3 FM or follow on Facebebook @VINTAGE HOUSE on WNUR 89.3 FM



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, 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.

Two guys from the west side of Chicago looking to make their mark on the HORROR genre.

Ira Childs and Lionel L. Chapman also known as The Splatter Brothers, are two filmmakers from Chicago, Illinois who work together as film directors, producers and screenwriters. They are known for directing a wide range of films.

While Ira is a big drama genre person, Lionel enjoys Syfy films. They both feel one genre stands above and alone by itself and that’s the horror genre. They joined forces because they both believe that they can help revive the horror genre.

CONTACT:  SPLATTER BROTHERS on FACEBOOK @Splatter Brothers

 

Go BANG! Magazine:   How did you get involved in writing movies?

Ira Childs:  I got into writing movies when I went to Columbia College Chicago. I initially went to get the necessary tools to become a successful film director. I soon realized after taking a few screenwriting classes that I really enjoyed the writing process.

Lionel Chapman: In 2015, I met Ira Childs and he gave me a few tips/suggestions on what books to read to start the screenwriting process.

GO BANG! Magazine:  As a screenwriter, what types of films are you interested in making?

Ira Childs:  Honestly I’m interested in making all types of films. If I had to boil it down to just one, it would be the horror genre. I used to sneak and watch the 80’s and 90’s horror films with my older brother. I would be petrified, yet I couldn’t stop watching.  So from that point on, I was hooked.

Lionel Chapman:  I’m interested in making every genre of films. So, if I had to pick just one type of film it would be horror films.

GO BANG! Magazine:  For our readers that may not be familiar with the duties of a Screenwriter, Producer and Director, can you please explain what screenwriters and directors do and what you find most interesting about doing it.

Ira Childs:  Well, Screenwriters duties include developing the story, characters, plot and theme.

The Producer is more so the overseer of the filmmaking process. The Producer’s role can be broken down even more, depending on if they are line producer or a creative producer. The Line Producer’s role is limited to the production of the film. The Creative Producer is involved in the film from its beginning until it reaches the market/audience, and even beyond.

A film Director controls a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects, as well as visualizes the script, while guiding the crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director also has the role in choosing the cast, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. The most interesting part for me is watching how an idea that was written onto paper can be interpreted into this whole new world for people to enjoy. It just floors me every single time. 

Lionel Chapman:  A Screenwriter’s responsible for creating the narrative, dialogue and the storyline. Directors are responsible for supervising the actors, camera crew and the other staff members on set. The thing I find the most interesting about screenwriting is letting all the imagination and creative thoughts pour into the pen.

GO BANG! Magazine:  When did you know that filmmaking was what you wanted to do?

Ira Childs: I knew filmmaking was what I wanted to do after watching 1988’s Killer Clowns from Outer Space. Yes, it’s a B movie, but at the same time this film got me hooked. I became so curious as to how these Clowns were doing all these things. The make-up, monster effects and sfx, I knew I wanted to do something just like that when I got older.

Lionel Chapman:  The moment I realized filmmaking is what I wanted to do was when I used to watch old zombie and action films on tv.  I felt in the moment, so to speak. Like I had this feeling come over me that this is what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What in your opinion is the most important quality in a film director?

Ira Childs:  It’s a tie for me between being decisive and being a problem solver. You are constantly making decisions throughout the filmmaking process. From cast wardrobe to actually finding who would be best for the film. So having the ability to make those tough decisions is a skill a director needs. Not everything will go right on your film set, so having the ability to figure things out on the fly will get you a long way.

Lionel Chapman:  For me the most important quality a film director needs is the ability to inspire the actors to give their best performance each and every time.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Imagine this…if you had the opportunity to write your own blockbuster movie.  You could choose the Producer, Director and Actors of your choice.  What would your movie be about, who would you choose to be involved and why?

Ira Childs:  Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington would be my two actors. Jerry Bruckheimer would produce the film and Antonie Fuqua would direct. The film would be about two aging cops who can’t seem to let the badge go. The acting ability between the two actors is unforgettable in every way. I think they would bring so many great ideas to the table to make these characters great in every way. Antonie and Bruckheimer have a phenomenal grip on the action genre that would amp this film to the next level.

Lionel Chapman:  That’s a tough one. Hhhmm … Well the film would be about a father and son patching up their relationship. I would have to choose Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington for the lead roles. They’re true legends, well at least in my eyes, and I believe their acting abilities would show a true representation of what this situation would look like.

GO BANG! Magazine:   Who inspires or motivates you?

Ira Childs:  My mom inspires/motivates me. Seeing her go through her struggles and never giving up on her dreams to become a business owner just amazes me. She’s my biggest cheerleader as well.

Lionel Chapman:  My father was and still is the person who inspires/motivates me to become not only the best filmmaker I can be, but the best man I can be.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What advice would you give to a young person trying to get involved in the film industry?

Ira Childs:  The advice I would give to a young person trying to get into the industry is to read and write as many scripts as you possibly can. Also don’t let the lack of money be the reason you don’t chase after your dreams. You’d be surprised how many no-budget films have started the career of people. It’s like the commercial says, “just do it!”

Lionel Chapman:  The advice I would give to a young person trying to get into the industry is that hands on experience is the best experience. Also keep a composition notebook or notepad with you at all times, your inspiration can come from anywhere.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Are you currently working on any new projects? If so, please describe.

Ira Childs:  Yes, we’re currently working on a few projects. One in particular is a horror/thriller film entitled “FURY.” Fury is about a bereaved mother seeking revenge on the person responsible for her daughter’s murder. This film is currently in post-production.

Lionel Chapman:  Yes, we’re currently working on a few projects. One in particular is a horror/thriller film entitled “FURY.” Fury is about a bereaved mother seeking revenge on the person responsible for her daughter’s murder.

GO BANG! Magazine:  In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard.  How are you dealing with it?

Ira Childs: I make sure I’m keeping my face covered, my hands clean and practicing social distancing. I work from home now, so this change has taken some getting used to, but I’m sure I will get used to it.

Lionel Chapman:  By keeping my face covered, hands clean and staying six feet away from everyone. I’m an essential worker, so I pray every day, not just for myself, but everybody else who is putting their lives on the line each day.

CONTACT:  SPLATTER BROTHERS on FACEBOOK @Splatter Brothers

 

 

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.comNDigo.comChicagoDefender.comEmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, 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.

 

 

 

Lionel Lamont Chapman was born on February 8th, 1981 in Chicago, IL. He grew up on the west side of Chicago and soon after moved to the Logan Square community. His love for film started when he was young watching 80’s horror and action movies. From there, family and friends encouraged him to pursue his dream of becoming a screenwriter. He is determined to bring that 80’s feel of film back to the horror genre.

Go BANG! Magazine: How did you get involved in writing movies?

Lionel Chapman: In 2015, I met Ira Childs and he gave me a few tips/suggestions on what books to read to start the screenwriting process.

GO BANG! Magazine: As a screenwriter, what types of films are you interested in making?

Lionel Chapman: I’m interested in making every genre of films. So, if I had to pick just one type of film it would be horror films.

GO BANG! Magazine: For our readers that may not be familiar with the duties of a Screenwriter, Producer and Director, can you please explain what screenwriters and directors do and what you find most interesting about doing it.

Lionel Chapman: A Screenwriter’s responsible for creating the narrative, dialogue and the storyline. Directors are responsible for supervising the actors, camera crew and the other staff members on set. The thing I find the most interesting about screenwriting is letting all the imagination and creative thoughts pour into the pen.

GO BANG! Magazine: When did you know that film making was what you wanted to do?

Lionel Chapman: The moment I realized film making is what I wanted to do was when I used to watch old zombie and action films on tv. I felt in the moment, so to speak. Like I had this feeling come over me that this is what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life.

GO BANG! Magazine: What in your opinion is the most important quality in a film director?

Lionel Chapman: For me the most important quality a film director needs is the ability to inspire the actors to give their best performance each and every time.

GO BANG! Magazine: Imagine this…if you had the opportunity to write your own blockbuster movie. You could choose the Producer, Director and Actors of your choice. What would your movie be about, who would you choose to be involved and why?

Lionel Chapman: That’s a tough one. Hhhmm … Well the film would be about a father and son patching up their relationship. I would have to choose Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington for the lead roles. They’re true legends, well at least in my eyes, and I believe their acting abilities would show a true representation of what this situation would look like.

GO BANG! Magazine: Who inspires or motivates you?


Lionel Chapman: My father was and still is the person who inspires/motivates me to become not only the best filmmaker I can be, but the best man I can be.

GO BANG! Magazine: What advice would you give to a young person trying to get involved in the film industry?

Lionel Chapman: The advice I would give to a young person trying to get into the industry is that hands on experience is the best experience. Also keep a composition notebook or notepad with you at all times, your inspiration can come from anywhere.

GO BANG! Magazine: Are you currently working on any new projects? If so, please describe.

Lionel Chapman: Yes, we’re currently working on a few projects. One in particular is a horror/thriller film entitled “FURY.” Fury is about a bereaved mother seeking revenge on the person responsible for her daughter’s murder.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Lionel Chapman: By keeping my face covered, hands clean and staying six feet away from everyone. I’m an essential worker, so I pray every day, not just for myself, but everybody else who is putting their lives on the line each day.

You can follow The Splatter Brothers on ALL social media platforms.

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, 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.

Ira Childs was born and raised in Chicago. Ira’s love for film started at the age of 8. Soon after, his love for film turned to the pursuit of a dream career. Ira attended Columbia College Chicago where he earned a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts. Ira has worked on a few major productions such as “The Lake House,” “Roll Bounce,” “American Inventor,” and “American Idol.” Ira hopes his story telling through the film medium can inspire others to do the same.

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you get involved in writing movies?

Ira Childs: I got into writing movies when I went to Columbia College Chicago. I initially went to get the necessary tools to become a successful film director. I soon realized after taking a few screenwriting classes that I really enjoyed the writing process.

GO BANG! Magazine: As a screenwriter, what types of films are you interested in making?

Ira Childs: Honestly I’m interested in making all types of films. If I had to boil it down to just one, it would be the horror genre. I used to sneak and watch the 80’s and 90’s horror films with my older brother. I would be petrified, yet I couldn’t stop watching. So from that point on, I was hooked.

GO BANG! Magazine: For our readers that may not be familiar with the duties of a Screenwriter, Producer and Director, can you please explain what screenwriters and directors do and what you find most interesting about doing it.

Ira Childs: Well, Screenwriters duties include developing the story, characters, plot and theme.

The Producer is more so the overseer of the filmmaking process. The Producer’s role can be broken down even more, depending on if they are line producer or a creative producer. The Line Producer’s role is limited to the production of the film. The Creative Producer is involved in the film from its beginning until it reaches the market/audience, and even beyond.

A film Director controls a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects, as well as visualizes the script, while guiding the crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director also has the role in choosing the cast, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. The most interesting part for me is watching how an idea that was written onto paper can be interpreted into this whole new world for people to enjoy. It just floors me every single time.

GO BANG! Magazine: When did you know that filmmaking was what you wanted to do?

Ira Childs: I knew filmmaking was what I wanted to do after watching 1988’s Killer Clowns from Outer Space. Yes, it’s a B movie, but at the same time this film got me hooked. I became so curious as to how these Clowns were doing all these things. The make-up, monster effects and sfx, I knew I wanted to do something just like that when I got older.

GO BANG! Magazine: What in your opinion is the most important quality in a film director?

Ira Childs: It’s a tie for me between being decisive and being a problem solver. You are constantly making decisions throughout the filmmaking process. From cast wardrobe to actually finding who would be best for the film. So having the ability to make those tough decisions is a skill a director needs. Not everything will go right on your film set, so having the ability to figure things out on the fly will get you a long way.

GO BANG! Magazine: Imagine this…if you had the opportunity to write your own blockbuster movie. You could choose the Producer, Director and Actors of your choice. What would your movie be about, who would you choose to be involved and why?

Ira Childs: Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington would be my two actors. Jerry Bruckheimer would produce the film and Antonie Fuqua would direct. The film would be about two aging cops who can’t seem to let the badge go. The acting ability between the two actors is unforgettable in every way. I think they would bring so many great ideas to the table to make these characters great in every way. Antonie and Bruckheimer have a phenomenal grip on the action genre that would amp this film to the next level.

GO BANG! Magazine: Who inspires or motivates you?

Ira Childs: My mom inspires/motivates me. Seeing her go through her struggles and never giving up on her dreams to become a business owner just amazes me. She’s my biggest cheerleader as well.

GO BANG! Magazine: What advice would you give to a young person trying to get involved in the film industry?

Ira Childs: The advice I would give to a young person trying to get into the industry is to read and write as many scripts as you possibly can. Also don’t let the lack of money be the reason you don’t chase after your dreams. You’d be surprised how many no-budget films have started the career of people. It’s like the commercial says, “just do it!”

GO BANG! Magazine: Are you currently working on any new projects? If so, please describe.

Ira Childs: Yes, we’re currently working on a few projects. One in particular is a horror/thriller film entitled “FURY.” Fury is about a bereaved mother seeking revenge on the person responsible for her daughter’s murder. This film is currently in post-production.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Ira Childs: I make sure I’m keeping my face covered, my hands clean and practicing social distancing. I work from home now, so this change has taken some getting used to, but I’m sure I will get used to it.

You can follow The Splatter Brothers on ALL social media platforms.



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, 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 25 years in the industry, Damon Williams is a former Subway sandwich shop owner from Chicago, IL who began his comedy career at All Jokes Aside Comedy club. Damon’s previous television appearances include BET’s Comic View dating back to 1994, including his own one-hour special. He’s been featured on BET LIVE, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, The Tom Joyner Sky Show on TV ONE, and HBO’s P Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy.

The Funny Man from Chicago even hosted several episodes of the legendary Showtime
at the Apollo, following seasoned host & TV star Steve Harvey. In 1999 Damon performed for over 300,000 fans as the opening act for the highly successful Kings of Comedy Tour, establishing him as one of the elite comics in the nation.

Internationally Damon is a fan favorite in the Cayman Islands and has made regular appearances in Canada with stops in Vancouver, Montreal, and Edmonton. Damon has even been featured on The Real Deal Comedy Jam, which airs in the UK. Monthly comedy shows for the House of Blues came were the result of one appearance on the Jenny Jones Show. He was contracted to write, perform, and produce over 50 episodes. His material is universal and there’s something for all ages. His popularity has provided him the opportunity to work with some of the biggest stars in the business such as Aretha Franklin, Pattie Labelle, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte, Chris Rock, James Brown, Jamie Foxx, Little Richard, and even President Barack Obama – where he served as host for a campaign brunch.

You’ve also seen Damon recently on tours and shows such as Host of HBO’s Martha’s Vineyard Comedy Fest, The US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, the Cedric the Entertainer Revue, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment, Comics Unleashed, Black Pack Comedy Tour, Laughin’ on the Outside – Cryin’ on the Inside, most Funny Bone & Improv Comedy Clubs nationwide and maintains his monthly showcases in Chicago for Funny First Mondays. He’s caught the acting bug with starring roles in films Not Another Black Movie, lead in Heaven on Seven, and also an appearance on the Bounce TV sitcom Grown Folks. Damon is keeping Chicago on the map as co-owner of Riddle’s Comedy Club where he’s providing a stage for new and veteran comedic talent. With his life motto of “Don’t Stop and Don’t Quit,” Damon previously held the “Funny Chair” seat as co-host on the legendary nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, and is seen consistently on Chicago’s #1 Day Talk Show, Windy City Live.

GO BANG! Magazine: Where did you grow up and spend your childhood?

Damon Williams: I grew up initially in Woodlawn during the TWO movement during the late 60s early 70s. We moved to what’s now Brainerd area, but it was part of Beverly until Black families moved in. They rezoned our block out of Beverly. We moved there in 1973, one the first Black families on the block. My mother lives there still

GO BANG! Magazine: When did you know that you were funny?

Damon Williams: I guess I thought I was before I ever hit the mic. I’d say I knew I was once people laughed at my first real performance at All Jokes Aside, where I got my start. It was Open Mic Wednesday, hosted by Adele Givens. I went from an OpenM ic guy to the host of that Wednesday night when she blew up and left, which was about one year after my first time ever!
GO BANG! Magazine: How did you get started in comedy?

Damon Williams: I got started at All Joked Aside. That was the premium, Black owned comedy establishment in the country. It was an upscale, professional club with A-listers and soon to be legendary comics. It was like going to a Comedy University every weekend. I made great connections being there. Lots of opportunities followed, including my first network cable appearance on Comedy Central’s “Comic Justice” hosted by AJ Jamal. After only six months of open mic and local gigs, Comedy Central came to my home club, All Jokes Aside, to film the show. This show was executive produced by Sinbad and his brother Mark Adkins, with Andre Wiseman. They gave me my first tv shot. I kept rolling from there!

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

Damon Williams: My style of humor has no type I could speak of. I’m a multifaceted performer at this point in my career. I combine spontaneity with prepared material, which derive from life and also my imagination and perspective. I love it when I’m inspired to say or do something off the cuff and the crowd erupts in laughter Especially if its ad lib or a reaction to something in real time. That’s when it’s the best, when the audience knows I couldn’t have had that line or story prepared because I’m doing improve, based on what just happened in the room.

GO BANG! Magazine: What do you think sets you apart from other comedians?

Damon Williams: I think each seasoned comedian has a unique voice, not only vocally but point of view That true voice sometimes take years to find. I’ve found mine, and it’s genuinely me. So that’s what set us apart, our individual way of expression.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve done some acting as well. Are you still pursuing that area of entertainment?

Damon Williams: Yes. I think I have the bug as far as acting is concerned. I’ve had several nice roles on independent projects. Two with Chicago’s own B Cole, a comedian, actor, screenwriter and director. He’s a visionary with a genius comedic mind. He trusted me with the lead in his film Heaven On Seven with Terri J. Vaughan and a slew of Chicago talent. I hope it gets major exposure. It’s a good story that we did a pretty good job of bringing the characters off the page. More to come! I have Gill Talent on my team now they are sending me out for more roles.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’re a business man as well. You have branched out, doing more than just comedy. Tell or readers about other business ventures that you’re involved with.

Damon Williams: I executive produced a stand up series, “Laugh Tonight with Damon Williams” due out soon, and one new streaming network launching soon. I’d say more, but with the uncertainty of the entertainment industry and the world at large, with this wicked crisis we’re facing. I was also a partner in Riddles Comedy Club, but again these things are in limbo until normalcy returns. Hey, I may be starting a new enterprise…selling weed or something, if this damn virus doesn’t cease soon. I’m now researching ways to change or add a new revenue stream and income that doesn’t rely on mass public gathering. That’s the world ahead for a while, beyond this crisis

GO BANG! Magazine: What are you currently working on at this time, that you can tell our readers to be on the lookout for?

Damon Williams: As previously stated “Laugh Tonight with Damon Williams” first season is done with 24 multicultural and international comedians from a wide array of backgrounds. It’s going to be epic when it hits. Additionally, I have a small part in Mark Harris’ latest film entitled White People Money.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Damon Williams: I’m so concerned about not only the current state this “Plandemic” has us in. I called it that because I feel it was somehow introduced by man. There are diabolical forces in charge of the money and the power in this world. I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s not part of some major plan to create fear and control of citizenry, money and resources. I sound like a conspiracy theorist and I might be. I’m taking it seriously, adhering to the guidelines and plotting strategies for these new “what ifs” in life, based on the virus. I’m remaining cautiously optimistic because I believe there will be greater prosperity on the other side of this. People will want to congregate and fellowship, even more, when it’s allowed. What better way than to be laughing at a comedy event!

All things Damon Williams are available on damonwilliamscomedy.com.
IG @Damonwilliamscomedy

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, 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.