Fall 2014


    • THE CRYSTAL NEWS
    •  Fall, 2014 
      Volume XXI Issue IV            
      Circulation... Plenty! 
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  • Happy Fall!!! 

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    This season, Pledge to: Think of Ways to Support Education!   Share the Harvest of Your Garden!  Watch Over the Children in Your Neighborhood to Make Sure They Get to School and Back Safely! Volunteer to Help Someone with Homework! Take a Class Online! Appreciate the Last of the Summer Breezes, the Start of the Autumn Wind, The Beauty of Falling Leaves and the Hug of Cozy Sweaters! Register to Vote and Encourage Others to Do So!  Reach Out to An Old Friend or Relative! Volunteer and / or Donate to a Shelter! Safely!  Catch a Loved One Who is Falling! Love and Forgive! Be a Part of the Solution! 
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  • This issue of The Crystal News is fondly dedicated to Earl CallowayRuby DeeMaya Angelou, Meshach TaylorRobin Williams and Ronald O. Davis.  My brother Vince tells me that the spirit of those who make their transition is absorbed by those who loved them.  Throughout this issue, read of my memories of these great people and how I wish to absorb their spirits....
  • PictureOn November 4th (or before if you can): Cast your vote for the governor, judges, initiatives, etc. of your choice by making your mark at the chosen places on the ballot you were given at your polling place or by mail.  After November 4th (or before if you can):, Cast your votes by spending your dollars with the companies, businesses and individuals that support you and your neighborhood and treat you with respect, who support the candidates that do likewise and whom you wish to remain viable;  Cast your votes by withholding your dollars from the companies, businesses and individuals who take your patronage and loyalty for granted, who do not provide respectful service, who support the candidates who do not have your best interest at heart, who do not hire the youth in your neighborhood, who do not support the programs and events that are important to you.  How will your neighborhood look by the next election?  It's up to you.  Make your votes count!  See more at my new page, Black Friday!
  • Picture Dr. Earl Calloway, a journalist, humanitarian, lyric tenor, champion of youth, patron of the arts and legendary entertainment columnist for the Chicago Daily Defender Newspaper, first interviewed me after I became the 1985 Miss Black Illinois.  As he did for countless others, Mr. Calloway encouraged my every artistic effort, saw the best in my performances, and gave me sage advice.  I am grateful that I was able to see him not long ago, to hug him, thank him, and to send him flowers while he lived... Going forward, I will strive to see more of the good in people and their works, to encourage more young people...



  • Windy City Works - Such fun I had this summer and fall at the Bud Billikin Parade; at the CHARM Partners Luncheon; the Black Harvest Film Festival; at the African Festival of Arts; at Trinity Church's garden; celebrating Mone Davis and Chicago's own Jackie Robinson Little League Baseball Team; at the Back-toSchool with the HistoryMakers at Community of St. Sabina and Paul Robeson High School; at the lovely lake where I had a glorious, private birthday meditation, courtesy of some Divine mist; at the Mayor Harold Washington Legacy Committee's inaugural Voter's Registration Walk and Rally and of course the CHARM Masquerade Benefit Party!  So good to be able to see my beloved family and Chicago friends, and to hang again with media favorites like WL Lillard, Art "Chat Daddy" Sims, Ty Wansley, Munir Muhammad, and of course Harold Lee Rush! Picture

  •  One of the high school talent show impressions that made this bashful writer temporarily cool, was the one I did of Robin Williams' indelible character, Mork.  One of the most memorable moments of my life was many years later after an event honoring Richard Pryor, another of my great heros.  I was trying to get close enough to Pryor to say hello, but so was everyone else in the crowded hall.  As fate would have it, Robin WIlliams, who I loved but didn't know personally, turned to me and asked, "Do you want to meet Richard?"  My heart stopped as I nodded yes.  For reasons beyond me, Williams ushered me forward, allowing me to tell Richard Pryor how much he meant to me.  Last year, I auditioned for Robin Williams' last television show.  I was so nervous at the thought of working with him that I completely blew the audition (yeah, that still happens).  Going forward, I hope to be more generous of heart, and to tell more people how much I love them.   

  • PictureOn October 5, 2014, Anthony J. Davis, 5th Ward Alderman and Chairman of the Finance Committee, announced his candidacy for Mayor of Country Club Hills. “Since a struggling economy, large number of foreclosures and a high rate of joblessness have taken a toll on our community, ” say Alderman Davis, “it is more important than ever for the residents of Country Club Hills to have the assurance that their elected officials are working hard to find innovative solutions and are held accountable for decisions made and actions taken that directly impact our community’s future and quality of life.” A family man, successful business owner and resident of Country Club Hills for more than twenty years,  Alderman Davis has served on the City Council since 2011. “While serving as 5th Ward Alderman,” he asserts, “I have kept my promise to always put people first and plan to continue doing so as Mayor of this wonderful community.”

    Alderman Davis’ vision for the city includes eliminating wasteful spending, reducing long-term debt, and increasing transparency and accountability in City Hall.  “...I am confident I can move Country Club Hills forward into a brighter future; a future that reflects strong community, family values and leadership the residents of Country Club Hills can be proud of.” Alderman Davis has already begun walking the campaign trail, sharing his vision for making Country Club Hills “one of the premiere cities in the south suburb,” and asking for the support and votes of his community in the April 7, 2015, consolidated election. Please support Anthony J. Davis for Mayor of Country Club Hills
     - http://electanthonyjdavis.com/
The National Afrikan Amerikan Family Reunion Association (NAAFRA) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to link all families who engage in “reunion celebrations” as their annual expressions of uniting their families, honoring themselves, and bringing together various organizational movements, businesses, causes and other functions under an important “alliance umbrella.”  This can be done without sacrificing individual missions, purposes or visions, and completely free of interference. Our collective strength will be used to:
 * Create jobs
 *  Improve educational opportunities
 *  Maximize the ability to grow wealth
 *  Develop programs that enhance health protection
 *  Establish Saturday schooling for all needy family members
 *  Offer major opposition to the “fratricide” that is occurring throughout Black America.

By mobilizing all available resources and creating a franchising infrastructure for creating jobs and self-ownership throughout our families, and therefore bringing about the improvement of this society, we do what we have always done when a newborn comes into the family: we assume an obligation to teach and help that new arrival.  In our minds and by our actions, we must return to this place of “each one reach one,” to this place of “family” and our God to find the challenge, and to BE THE CHANGE we seek.

WHERE THE ACTION IS: Formerly "T'Keyah Fights City Hall"  which was formerly the "Do Something" and sometimes the "T'Keyah's Two Cents" columns of this newsletter, this is what the action should be...

Color of Change says, "The FCC is on the verge of making a decision that would destroy the Internet as we know it, by giving corporations unprecedented control over what we say and do online.The big Internet service providers — phone and cable companies like Verizon and Time Warner Cable — want to kill net neutrality, the principle that keeps the Internet diverse and open, and gives Black people and businesses an equal chance online. If they succeed, corporations will dominate the Internet by paying to prioritize their content online, and the voices of everyday people could be drowned out or blocked entirely.

The FCC may let them do it, unless enough of us speak out and demand they regulate Internet service as a public utility (the only true way to protect net neutrality).1 The FCC is accepting comments until this Monday, and today, hundreds of thousands of people across the country will take action to defend Internet freedom.
Join us in demanding that the FCC protect net neutrality by regulating Internet service as a public utility.
"  Please join me in signing Color of Change's petition to tell the FCC to protect net neutrality: Click Here!  This is where the action is...

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I first met actor / activist / family man Meshach Taylor at a theater conference many years ago.  I was happily surprised to learn that re was also an alum of FAMU and had spent enough time working in Chicago for me to claim him as a homey as well.  He was the kind of person that you simply loved on sight: a fast friend, a big brother, a champion and a hero.  After the ceremony honoring my scholarship at FAMU, I told him that he should have a scholarship in his name there as well, and that I would work with him on fundraisers for it.  He happily agreed to work with me on our first fundraiser.  When I asked more about the kind of scholarship he wanted to have, he quickly corrected me to say that the impending benefit would be for my scholarship, not his...  We were never able to make that benefit happen, but I now plan to establish a well deserved scholarship in his name at FAMU, so that the students that follow will always know of the rattler who was so more more than an actor; who lived and worked lovingly and with purp
ose and whose heart had room for the whole world...
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    I'm So Glad I'm From FAMU! 
Recently, I visited my beloved Alma Mater, Florida A&M University to participate in the memorial service for my college Theater professor, mentor and friend, Dr. Ronald O. Davis.  Having last seen him at the College of Social Sciences Arts & Humanities Reunion this spring, it was difficult to believe that he was gone.  At the reunion, Dr. Davis was exuberant, having recently produced a successful jazz themed fundraiser for his FAMU scholarship, he was bursting with plans and ideas for me, for the himself, for us together and as always, for FAMU...  During the trip, I had the opportunity to see a dress rehearsal of The Essential Theatre production of Gem of the Ocean, deftly directed by Theater Department Head Professor Luther Wells, who is dynamically following in Dr. Davis' strong and caring footsteps.  I am so proud of my former classmate and of the whole team (including Carey RobinsonKimberly HardinMarcia DuncanEdith Carney and Humanities Department Chair Dr. Valencia Matthews, that works tirelessly to keep Dr. Davis, who created the Essential Theater's vision alive!  I was pleased to see Keith Tucker, the now sole survivor of the two man team that ran Theater Department while I was on the hill.   I spoke with many Theater students and got to spend a bit of time with all three of the Keymah Scholars. Brilliant writer and director James Webb, the first recipient of my scholarship some years ago, is now and until the stage calls him back to world travel,  a Theater professor at FAM. Charmaine Shaw and Timothy Orange, the current Scholars, are already making me proud with their dedication to the craft! I urge every college graduate to support your Alma Mater not just with your money, but with your time, your talent and your input as well.  I strongly encourage all FAMU alumni to support our school, our new president, our local and national alumni organizations, the individual school(s) from which you graduated, and of course, The T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh Endowed Theater Scholarship at Florida A&M University! If you are not a member of an alumni association, join one today! 
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Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University is fortunate to partner with the Black Television News Channel (national cable network).  BTNC will soon begin construction of its state-of-the-art facilities in our School of Journalism & Graphic Communication and began its  programming development. BTNC represents a unique, multidisciplinary opportunity for FAMU Schools, Colleges and for alumni.  But, we need your assistance.

We're asking for your help in communicating with the Federal Communications Commissioners to ensure that all available viewers receive this important programming that will be professionally produced and presented to a national audience.Please open the attached PDF, which has a link to the BTNC-FAMU online petition.  Click the link "Sign The Petition."  Type in your information and the click submit.  
Thank you for helping FAMU and BTNC create history!
What more can I say about the one and only Dr. Ronald O. 

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Davis other than that he is one of the reasons that I love my school so much. that I have been so successful in my career, that there even exists a scholarship in my name at Florida A&M University.  I will look of him in around every corner each time I'm in Tucker Hall.  I doubtlessly sit beside him in the seat he usually occupied in the back of Charles Winterwood Theater.  I  will work to complete the endowment of the Ronald O. Davis Theater Scholarship, and I will strive to do more to teach those coming after me, and I will continue to strive to make him proud of me...
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PictureNovember 29 at 4PM, the African Diaspora International Film Festival hosts the New York premier of Ariel Armstrong's short, Lost Angels starring Leslie Kunz, Konima Parkinson-Jones, Sorina Sambora, Konia Parkinson-Jones, Jeff Staron and T'Keyah Crystal Keymah as Hadassah. part of AFRICAN AMERICAN SHORTS - When a young woman is called by God to the “City of Angels,” Los Angeles, she is tested and encounters other “lost angels” who are broken, disheartened, and teetering at the edge of hopelessness.Can she, while helping others, face and overcome her own fears? Directed by Ariel Armstrong, 18 minutes, 2012, USA, drama, English.  
TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, THE CHAPEL525 W. 120TH ST, Room 263-Macy,  New York, 10027

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4 Love ProductionsHAIR'itage The Play, The Journey of Sistahs Wtih Their Hair is a story about six ‘Sistahs’ who share the journey of their hair and how it impacts them throughout their lives in many different ways. Playgoers leave in awe – empowered. Some even share tears of joy, as they can relate to the storyline from a personal perspective.  HAIR'itage creates a sounding board to address the layers of issues and insecurities that many women have about their hair, and how their hair can or has defined them.
The Complex Theatre
6476 Santa Monica Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Sundays thru December 21, 2014 at 3:00 PM  - Extended twice.  CHeck the website for future dates!  
hairitagetheplay.com 
   CHARM BOARD NEEDS YOU! CHARM Outreach & Mentoring Services is a 501c3 women's organization created to assist women of all ages build self-esteem; to empower, encourage, and inspire them to passionately pursue the highest purpose for their lives. If you are looking to support an organization that is making a profoundly positive difference in the lives of women and girls in the Chicagoland area (and expanding soon), consider joining our small but mighty Board of Directors. We meet once a month by phone, serve on committees, raise funds and participate in at least one of our main events per year. Interested? Check out http://mycharm.org/ or email Administrator@Mycharm.org. Challenge Yourself. Honor Yourself. Arm Yourself With Knowledge. Restore What Was Broken. Motivate Others. 
  • The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel is Open!L to R: Melvin Ishmael Johnson as  Lenard Lennox Jones, Rhonda Stubbins White as Maybelle Smith, Vanja Renee as Vera Cunningham, Ashlee Olivia as Gloria Ann Pedigrew, Kyle Connor McDuffie as Pee Wee aka Stanley Harrison, Jah Shams as Paul Robeson, Jason Mimms as John Kinloch, Dwain A. Perry as Lucius Lomax, Sammie Wayne IV as Chester Himes, Doug Jewell as Dr. John Somerville, Tiffany Coty as Lena Horne, Petal d'Avril Walker as Almena Davis Lomax, Julio Hanson as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Cydney Wayne Davis as Charlotta Bass, Elizabeth June as Ethel Waters, Vanoy Burnough as Minnie Lomax
The Robey Theatre Company In Association with the Los Angeles Theatre Center PRESENTS: The World Premiere of  THE MAGNIFICENT DUNBAR HOTEL Written by Levy Lee Simon, Directed by Ben Guillory
Los Angeles 1930-60’s Dangerous times for people of color... 
Looking for shelter? Welcome to The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel

Show Dates:  
November 22 – December 21, 2014
www.robeytheatrecompany.org
info@robeytheatrecompany.org

WHERE THE ACTION IS: Florida's Got Me More Than Upset!

WARNING:  This article is of a horrific and disturbing act:  Change.org writes, "On June 23, 2012 Darren Rainey, a 50-year-old mentally ill state prison inmate in Miami-Dade County, died after guards responded to his defecating in his cell by locking him into a 180-degree shower for two hours—at which point his skin was separating from his body. Local police, and the state, failed to properly investigate. The case was only brought to light in recent months by The Miami Herald. After two years, no one has been held criminally accountable, or even charged.  Darren was serving a two-year sentence for drug possession and housed in a psychiatric unit. After his death, guards forced another prisoner, Mark Joiner, to clean up the shower where Darren died, including chunks of skin. "He was crying, please stop, please stop, Joiner said. And they just said "Enjoy your shower, and left." Only the U.S. Department of Justice can properly investigate this terrible crime, and a broader culture of abuse in Florida’s prisons that has led to other unnecessary deaths, and which falls especially hard on the mentally ill."
Update: "
Oct 8, 2014 — Friends, Stop Prison Abuse Now recently met with Miami State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and pressed our case that justice should be done for Darren Rainey. More that two years have passed since his death, yet the Miami-Dade police and local Medical Examiner have yet to release their findings on his death and, needless to say, no one has in any way be held directly responsible. Nor have the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or Department of Corrections even finished their investigations.  We are continuing to advocate to the federal Department of Justice for an investigation. We're not giving up, and your support has given us hope that we can achieve accountability for the killing of Darren Rainey, and prevent such crimes in the future. Thank you again for your help." To join me in signing the petition to ask the Department of Justice to address this horrific act , Click Here!  This is where the action is...
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Nia Imani Academy of Excellence (NIA)

101 Catalpa Drive, #104, LaPlata, MD.
301-392-1848 - 
ourniaacademy.com 
niaimaniacademyofexcellence@gmail.com

A PreK-6 School With A Purpose (Nia) And A Mission Built On Faith (Imani). 
teaching ministry of Nia Imani Christian Center - Senior Pastor, Amina Fola-Rose
Donate   
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The search for great natural hair care products continues:  For the next few months, as I continue to work on the next edition Natural Woman / Natural Hair, I'll be looking for more products to love and to share.  Have a wonderful natural hair product you want me to try?  Send samples to me at  T'Keyah Crystal Keymah, Inc. 10061 Riverside Dr. #714, Toluca Lake, CA 91602. No mineral oil based products please. 

WHERE THE ACTION IS: My Black Year...

As you have read in earlier issues of  The Crystal NewsMaggie's Anderson's book, "Our Black Year" inspired me to up my own support of Black business, and I decided to find and champion at least one business per month. Spending more time in Chicago I am able to support many of my favorite spots: The original Soul Vegetarian East, 205 E. 75th St. (773) 224-0104 originalsoulvegetarian.com/ which, now independently owned and managed, has expanded its delicious menu, the many other wonderful Black businesses along 75th street including Fletcher's One Stop Records 457 E. 75th St. (773) 874-4484The Wood Shop, 441 E. 75th St773-994-6666 and Brown Sugar Bakery328 E 75th St (773) 224-6262 brownsugarbakerychicago.com/!  I got the outfit that I wore in the Bud Billikin parade from The Goree Shop, 1122 E 47th St, ChicagoIL 60653 (Between S Greenwood Ave and S Woodlawn Ave ) (773) 285-1895 and participated in Afri-Ware's summer books for youth program.  Also CHeck my new page, Black Friday! This is where the action is... 

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    • Robin Walker, Owner
      The Walker Group, LLC
      TWG - 1431 Huntington Drive Calumet City, IL 60409

    • The Walker Group, LLC (TWG) is a Certified Public Account & Consulting firm concentrated primarily in performing audits for not-for-profit organizations, local governments and municipalities
    •  and entities regulated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Our professionals take a risk-based approach to each engagement, insuring performance and operating efficiency. We go beyond traditional fundamentals to add tangible value and elevate the audit to an even more strategic and productive role in today’s corporate governance environment. 
    • *Auditing
       *Accounting
       *Management Consulting
       *Business Information Systems
    • twg@thewalkergrpllc.com rwalker@thewalkergrpllc.com(708) 868-2545 
Thank you to: everyone who attended or supported the CHARM Masquerade Benefit Party in Calumet City; and everyone who has or will donate to my charitable endeavors, NIA Imani AcademyThe T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh Endowed Scholarship at Meharry Medical CollegeThe T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh Endowed Theater Scholarship at Florida A & M University (Under the ‘Please direct my donation to’ drop down menu, choose ‘College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities,’ then, under the ‘Funds’ drop down menu, choose “I Crystal Keymáh Endowed Scholarship (1328)”))CHARM Outreach and Mentoring Services and / or The T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh Fine Arts Room at St. Sabina Academy!  MUAH!  And I mean it!!!!
Kudos to: my cousin Anthony J. Davis for the decision to put people first and run for Mayor of Country Club Hills, IL;  everyone who participated and is participating in the FAMU 10-for-10 fundraising challenge; former Hale House Chairman of the Board, Zachery Carter for a job well done (and Hale House for honoring him; my friend Rev. jeff obafemi carrthe Founding Minister of The Infinity Fellowship - Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living, for continuing to be his wildly innovative, brave and enlightened self; the brother that dropped some powerful knowledge online about the Prison Industrial Complex; my beloved mentor Dr. Donald Evans for going strong at 87 and working to unite Black family through The Naytonal Afrikan Amerikan Family Reunion Associaiton (NAAFRA) Century City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for supporting I Can Fly International;  Long-time Chicago radio personality Richard Steele on his retirement with gratitude; The brother that dropped this knowledge of the Prison Industrial ComplexBerkeley, CA for limiting the use of sodas and other sugary drinks in their city; and my soror Krystle Evans for raising funds for the Lady Panthers at Animo South Los Angeles High School  Go on woman!
The   Crystal   News   respectfully acknowledges the life and transition of: Maya Angelou, Barbara Anglin, Domineque Banks, Earl Calloway, Paul M. Cook, Christine Crable, Ronald O. Davis, Ruby Dee, Ester Fletcher, Roger Hill, Geoffrey Holder, Raymond James, Greg Kendall, Carolyn Lane, Walter Dean Myers, Elizabeth Peña, Freddia Mae Reynolds, Meshach Taylor, and too many beautiful children (lost on the streets of Chicago 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.