THE CRYSTAL NEWS Summer/Fall, 2017 Volume XXIV Issue II


 Summer/Fall, 2017

Volume XXIV Issue II

Circulation... Plenty! 

Happy Summer / Fall!!!

This season, Pledge to: Tend to Your Garden! Enjoy Your Family and Friends! Get Outside and Take a Break from Electronics! Check on Elders to Make Sure They are Cool and Looked After! Support Local Farmers Markets! Join a Group or Movement Set on Improving Your Community!  Volunteer to at a Community Garden! Be Thankful for Everything in Your Life! Volunteer with a Youth Program! Teach a Young Person to Garden! Appreciate the Color Display of Falling Leaves! Learn Something New! Laugh with Someone!  Pray for Peace! Work for Justice! Be a Part of the Solution! Love and Forgive!   *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     
Greetings Faithful Crystal News Readers!  Thank you for all of the good reviews of my last issue! My gratitude once again to Team T'Keyah for helping me get this one completed.   Have a safe summer and a leafy fall! TCK

This issue of The Crystal News is dedicated to all of the 2017 graduates! Special cheers go out to elementary school graduates: my niece Kaela Washington, and St. Sabina Academy's class of 2017; to high school graduates: my niece Aliyah Burchette, and Angelo LeRoi; to college graduates: August LeRoi and the Florida A&M University class of 2017; and to Angelo and August's mom, my dear friend Adrienne LeRoi, who completed her Masters in Psychology!  I'm so proud of you all!!!
September is National Preparedness Month so get prepared or stay prepared. Make sure your emergency bag is up to date and at the ready, instead way in the back of the closet holding expired emergency food and clothes that are too small or too big. Make sure you passport is up to date.  If you don't have one... get one quick while you still can.  Get or stay in shape so that you are physically able to help others in an emergency. Make sure the batteries for your flashlight are good (and not rotting in the canister).  Keep an inventory of your valuables and ensure anything that you can not replace.   Have working fire extinguishers, smoke and gas detectors, and a fire escape ladder near a second story window.  If you live on in an apartment, check your fire escape stairs. Let your landlord know if there is an obstruction or other problem.Write an emergency plan that includes phone numbers to household members, loved ones not in the household, work / school addresses and numbers, nearest medical facilities; and a designated place to meet if your home must be evacuated. Share your emergency plan with everyone in the household and have emergency drills once a year or more.  Keep emergency information in your wallet or purse. Wear an allergy or health concern medical bracelet if needed. Discuss end of life healthcare options with loved ones. Write or update your will.  

   Get Prepared! Stay Prepared!

Actress T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh to Serve as Artist-in-Residence at FAMU

This fall, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) theatre students will have the unique opportunity to train with one of the institution’s most accomplished alumni in Hollywood.  T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, internationally acclaimed and award-winning performer, director, writer and producer, will become FAMU’s first W.K. Kellogg Foundation Artist-in-Residence as an instructor in the theatre program at the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (CSSAH). Keymáh, who is the namesake of an endowed theater scholarship at FAMU, views her acceptance of the position as an opportunity to pay it forward. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre from FAMU in 1984 and an honorary doctorate from FAMU in 2011, Keymáh said, “I intend to bring my experience as a series regular on six on-camera shows to the classroom… what I learned on and off the set.” Valencia Matthews, Ph.D., CSSAH dean, remarked, “The fact that she has consistently come back and had a presence with our students over the years is significant because they see that she is somebody who is committed and dedicated to making sure the program continues to grow and move forward in a very positive way.”   In addition to teaching an acting for the camera class, Keymáh will also conduct three industry workshops and direct Pearl Cleage's  play, The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years, which opens the FAMU Essential Theatre's 2017-2018 season. Grant dollars have previously supported the eminent scholar program and is also responsible for attracted top-notch theatre faculty and staff such as Matthews, Luther Wells and Carey Robinson.

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Keymáh Returns to Television... Sort of   - Veteran television actress T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh may make her long awaited return to the small screen in Paul Reiser's new comedy, There's Johnny. The show is a behind-the-scenes look at The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In it, Keymáh plays Roz, Carson's no-nonsense personal secretary who is the under-celebrated backbone of his operation. Set in the early seventies, the show offers a hilariously charming new spin on the wheels that turned to make Johnny the most successful late night talk show host of all time.   The single camera comedy also stars Tony DanzaIan NelsonJane LevyNate SmithAndrew SchulzDaniel StraussDavid HoffmanRoger Bart, and Camrus Johnson. Reiser and David Steven Simon co-created and co-exec produce.  David Gordon Green directs and produces.  Carl Craig also produces.
Best known for her starring roles on Disney’s That’s So Raven, CBS’s Cosby, and Fox’s In Living Color, Keymáh rose to fame after she auditioned for the iconic sketch comedy show with her signature piece “Black World.”  She is the only female to have performed on all five seasons of In Living Color.  Keymáh took a long hiatus but came back to the industry recently. After a long hiatus, the versatile performer recently came back to the industry full time.  She appeared last year in a celebrity cameo, playing the quirky Tech Terry in SyFy’s Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakensalongside Tommy Davidson, and as Beverly, in the Candice Cain's college romantic comedy feature film, What Happened Last Night? There's Johnny is Keymáh's sixth on-camera television series.  It was set to debut on NBC's digital platform, Seeso, in August of this year, but the short lived entity closed, leaving There's Johnny, and other Seeso original programming searching for a new home. Stay tuned.

My Kind of People!

In the debut of this TCN feature, I shine a spotlight on two people that I have admired deeply  since the first day I met them, Barbara Bagneris (Bon-ner-reese) and Dr. Donald Evans.   I first saw Barbara Bagneris at a large assembly valiantly speaking truth to power in a such a fearless way that it made me nervous for her, while at the same time giving me courage. She is a dynamo doer, who is as active, dedicated and faithful to her community of worship, Christ of Redeemer A.M.E. Church, as she is within our sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, where she has been an engaged and steadfast worker since she was initiated forty years ago. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.  Barbara is recognized as a leader in her career as well. A member of the finance community for more than 37 years, she has worked as a financial analyst, managing multi-million dollar contract budgets for leading aerospace companies. In 2014,  California Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her to the nine-member OC Fair Board of Directors and last year she was elected their Board Chair. What strikes me most about Barbara Bagneris though, is that when she sees something right, she celebrates it, and when she see something wrong, she methodically figures out what needs to be done, and then she calmly and efficiently, ...does it.   

I first met Dr. Donald Ray Evans, Sr. at a radio station almost twenty years ago. I was listening to the broadcast waiting for my turn to go in the booth and be interviewed.  Dr. Evans and the late great Brother Nathaniel Perkins-Ali, were speaking about the National Association of Brothers and Sisters In & Out (NABSIO), an organization they co-founded to create a path of self improvement through education for incarcerated people. I signed up to worked with them that day. Dr. Evans earned degrees in Africana Studies and Sociology. A 26-year Air Force man and 21-year postal carrier (Retired) he also earned an Honorary Doctorate in Theology from Stephens Bible College.  Evans is a Life Member of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice and a recipient of their Medgar Evers Humanitarian Award. At 89-years young, he is a vigilant organizer, founding the National Afrikan American Family Reunion Association (NAAFRA), and leading organizing efforts in Mississippi and other places.  When I think about Dr. Evans, I remember something he said to me many years ago, "Sister T'Keyah, when I wake up in the morning, I ask myself, 'What can I do for my people today?' Judging by her actions, Barbara Bagneris must ask herself the same question. Barbara Bagneris and Dr. Donald Evans, Sr.  are my kind of people, and people you should know!! 

Ask that Jasmine Shepard, the first Black valedictorian of Cleveland High School in Mississippi be given the honor she deserves: 

Keymáh is the Debut Celebrity Cover of Curls, Twists, Coils & Kinks

For her first celebrity cover, Curls, Twists, Coils & Kinks publisher Angela Turner choose to interview actress, author, and natural hair icon 
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, who has been known for wearing her hair naturally since her In Living Color debut twenty-seven years ago. Long before the current wave of naturalistas come onto the scene, Keymáh stand amidst a sea of perms, press and curls and weaves, rocking the Senegalese twists that few had even seen before.  In this candid, in-depth, exclusive interview,  Keymáh discusses her career, wearing her hair naturally on television, her hair grooming routines, the motivation for her book, Natural Woman / Natural Hair, her commitment to empowering girls and women of color, and more.  Celebrate natural hair with the sister with twisters herself in the May/June issue of Curls, Twists, Coils & Kinks: The Haircare Magazine for Textured Naturals. Copies are still available!!

Music Musings:  Do You Know Your Worth?
I met singer Teri Tobin last year at my niece Sammi McCombs' Embellysh hair salon opening in Arizona.  Well known by the capacity crowd at the opening, Teri was asked to sing.  And sing she did!!  I was an instant fan.  This year, Teri released her long awaited single, I Know My Worth.  It's fantastic.

T'Keyah’s Tools of the Trade Acting Tip of the Month:  Think of a job as your bonus.  The real job is getting the job! You may go on ten or fifty auditions before you land a job. Always remember that your agent, if you have one, only gets ten percent of your check, because no matter how much she or he does, you MUST do at least nine times that to book a job! Do your part. Put in the work! Get the bonus!  

T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh’s Tools of the Trade Workshop & Lecture Series
What Every Actor Needs to Conduct the Business of Acting 

T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh has performed in fifteen films, more fifty stage productions, and as a series regular on six television programs including the internationally popular, “In Living Color,”  “Cosby,” and “That’s So Raven.”  She is also a writer, director and producer.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Theater at Florida A&M University, from whom she has since received many honors including a Doctorate of Humane Letters. After college, she studied in Chicago at The Audition Centre, and Paul Cook's TV Actors' Studio and more recently with The Michael Chekhov Association. To book T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh’s Tools for the Trade Workshop and Lecture Series, What Every Actor Needs to Conduct the Business of Acting, send an email with the desired date(s) of the workshop to booktkeyah

Projects in the Can...  In our last issue, I told you to stay tuned for more info on There's Johnny.  Well, we completed shooting the first season earlier this year.  the show was set to air on NBC's digital platform, Seeso in August, but Seeso is closing.  Kudos to William Leon and the cast and young crew of his sweet, sentimental short,  Attached at the Soul on continuing to amass accolades and awards.  Speaking of awards and accolades, kudos also to actress/producer Teria Birlon and the rest of the cast and crew of her film, Instance. In it, I play Ms. Kaplan, a high school principal concerned about the relationship one of her teachers (Birlon) has with a student (Karim Diané). 
Projects in the Works... As you know, I have written and contributed to a few books.  The editor of one of them, Christopher Cathcart, is working on the second edition of The HBCU Experience Book, and is saving a spot in it for me.  Also, I am currently in talks to do two features later this year.  One is a period piece set in Louisiana, that would allow me to show off my Creole background.  The other is a modern day drama that would reunite me with a director with whom I recently worked. Scheduling is an issue for both because when it rains, it pours, but where there's a will, there's way. There's also a way for There's Johnny to find a network home.  It would certainly be a shame if it doesn't.  To hear how it all works out... Stay Tuned! 


Kudos to: Performer and long time HIV/AIDS advocate Bryan C. Joneswho led a group of healthcare activists up the streets and down the legislative halls of D.C. in his ongoing fight for health care for all. The three-time cancer survivor has been HIV positive for more than 30 years. He His advocacy work, has taken him across the country and the world and he has spoken before the U.S. Congress on the issue of healthcare. Jones's one-man show, As I Die Slowly, is a heartwarming, heartbreaking, inspiring musical testimony of survival; to versatile Broadway and television performer Angela Robinson for creating The WhiteRobin Group actors workshops with her husband, gifted actor and theater professor Scott Whitehurst, while continuing to be deviously spectacular as Veronica on Tyler Perry's The Haves and The Have Nots! Actor and Stage Aurora Theatrical Company Founder/Artistic Director, Darryl Rueben Hall, on booking The Last Adam (Directed by Dennis Courtney), and 2000 Nickels: A Vietnam Legacy in NYMF (Directed by Richard Sabellico), and directing his original work Harlem of the South at Amelia Musical Playhouse. His work, Drawn from the Water, was selected by the Apples and Oranges Arts Studios' Theatre Accelerator for the development of new and Broadway musicals. It has received support from the Dramatists Guild Fund, Queens Council on the Arts, and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. After serving for twenty years in Jacksonville, Florida, Stage Aurora will soon begin to operate in New York; Jasmine Jasmine, formerly of Rise PR, who is now an account coordinator for Platform Media Group, doing lifestyle, and restaurants and bars marketing research. While she still takes time to help out a couple of former clients (thanks Jasmine) her main focus is this exciting new venture and she loves it. The rest of Team T'Keyah and I wish her well!; my adorable, spirited and charming little cousin Jade Zeno-Neal on her stellar performance as Gertrude and Jojo in the Bruins on Broadway's production of Seussical Kids at the University of California at Los Angeles.  All of the performers did a great job!;  S. Robert Morgan, Founder and Artistic Director of The Essential Theatre in Washington D.C, on his highly successful production of Jean and Dinah... The Play, written and directed by Tony Hall and starring Penelope SpencerRhoma Spencer and Modupe Onilu;  award winning actress Anna Maria Hosford, on receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at Carribean Haeritage Salute to Hollywood and Excellence Gala;  Teri Williams, President & COO of OneUnited Bank, on her book, I Got Bank: What My Granddad Taught Me About Money, on her extensive community outreach, engagement and empowerment, and on her campaign to promote financial literacy. Go on woman!!! 

The   Crystal   News   respectfully acknowledges the life and transition of: 

Geri Allen, Chuck Berry, Chuck Barris, John Blackwell Jr., Arthur Murray Blythe, Lonnie Brooks, William Christopher, Tato Cifuentes, Kelan Phil Cohran,  Mike Connors, James Henry Cotton, Joseph Fire Crow, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Baba Chuck Davis, Justine Damond, Paula Dell, Jonathan Demme, Patti Deutsch, Nelsan Ellis, Mari Evans, Adebayo Faleti, Miguel Ferrer, Jean-Claude Fignolé, June Foray, Dick Gautier, Cuba Gooding Sr., A. R. Gurney, Barbara Hale, Darryl Hammond, Richard Hatch, Glenne Headly, Aileen Clarke Hernandez, Sir John Vincent Hurt, Alwin Lopez "Al" Jarreau, Linda Hopkins, Margaret Wambui Kenyatta, Martin Landau, Prudence Nobantu Mabele,  Maryam Mirzakhani, Jonathan Moore, Sir Roger Moore, Mary Tyler Moore, Walter "Junie"Morrison, 
June Mack Motin, Charlie Murphy, Joseph Kasaine Ole Nkaissery, June Mack Motin, 
Charlie Murphy, Joseph Kasaine Ole Nkaissery, Lee O'Denat, Felicia “Auntie Fee” Odell, Robert Osborne, Bill Paxton, Prodigy, Don Rickles, Samuel G. Roberson, Jr., Sam Sheppard, Thomas Lee Tate, Joyce Stephanie Isaac Thibodeaux, David Joseph Valentin, Elena Verdugo, Carmen Delgado Votaw, Sir Derek Alton Walcott, Adam West, and Roger Wilkins, and too many other unarmed Black men and women to name, and too many beautiful children (lost on the streets of America and other places) to name... We are blessed to have known their warm heart, bright smiles and good works. We are inspired to follow their brave and noble examples.

                Have You Hugged Someone You Love Today?

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