George Floyd by Antoine Mitchell

An artist’s angst: Using fan art for honor and release

Louisiana artist Antoine GHOST Mitchell chose art alchemy and fan art to process George Floyd’s murder and erupting protests. This feature is Pensiri: A Talk with Antione Mitchell

Painting protests and pandemic: From canvas to masks

It’s not folk art, but Tedism. It is the unique style of art and storytelling by Ted Ellis. For nearly 30 years, Ellis’ art unfolds and celebrates the traditional values of Black culture and lifestyle. He has beautifully captured that lifestyle on large canvas and prints. In the energy of this year’s drastic lifestyle changes for … Continue reading

Louisiana Poet Laureate John Warner Smith awarded national fellowship

Louisiana Poet Laureate and Southern University professor John Warner Smith has been awarded the prestigious Academy of American Poets’ Laureate Fellowship, given to honor poets of literary merit serving in civic positions around the country. Smith joins 23 other poets around the country who received a Laureate Fellowship. He received $50,000 as part of the award to produce … Continue reading

When it’s time to ‘see someone,’ online therapy could be the best choice

From her virtual private practice in Baton Rouge, Shameka Mitchell Williams helps people who are overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted. Her focus is singular: help them recover from pernicious experiences and toxic relationships.

Shreveport native wins Pulitzer Prize

Shreveport native Jericho Brown ((born Nelson Demery III)has won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his collection “The Tradition,” which the Pulitzer board deemed “a collection of masterful lyrics that combine delicacy with historical urgency in their loving evocation of bodies vulnerable to hostility and violence.” His poetry has been featured in The Bennington Review, Buzzfeed, … Continue reading

Eight Southern University leaders join health equity task force

Southern University System will have eight representatives on Governor John Bel Edwards Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. The task force, which will meet for the first time on Friday, April 24, will focus on research and actions to improve health outcomes and equity for the state’s residents in response to COVID-19. The group’s progress … Continue reading

Baton Rouge native develops antiviral drug with potential to fight coronavirus

Baton Rouge native Darnisha Harrison, founder and CEO of Ennaid Therapeutics, is advancing the development of an antiviral drug that may potentially fight coronavirus cases, and which would be more easily administered to those afflicted by the disease. Harrison’s Georgia-based pharmaceutical company filed a patent for a therapeutic called ENU200 that could treat as much as 80 percent of … Continue reading

1,095 days and counting: One doctor’s frustration unfolds into Instagram excellence

By all accounts, every day of February is laced with creative lessons on Black history. From teachers decorating their classroom doors with fantastical imagery to daily posts of famous quotes and musical introductions by Black artists, the month is full of presentations of Black success. But few -—if any—- have matched the diligence of Rani … Continue reading

ON-AIR: Broadcasters and hosts covering COVID Louisiana

According to the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, there are more than 300 broadcast journalists in the state. From them, Jozef Syndicate staff selected four journalists and two news talkshow hosts who are using their platforms to keep listeners engaged and updated especially during the coronavirus pandemic. These shows are eye-openers and help Louisianians feel as … Continue reading

Training Junior Cosmetologists

Dana Hayes, a native of Port Allen, was inspired to start and create Junior Cosmetology because of her mother, Ora Lee Breax Williams, who was a hairstylist. Now, at 40-years-old, Hayes has taken that interest and passion into a classroom where she teaches young girls how to care for, protect, and have pride in their natural, healthy hair. … Continue reading

pencils as prison bars

School to prison pipeline can be dismantled says juvenile judge

The statistics are clear. During the 2018-2019 school year, nearly 95% of East Baton Rouge Parish Schools students suspended out-of-school were Black as was 89.4% of students with in-school suspensions. The overwhelming majority of them are males. In a school district with a 78.1% Black student population, 92.7% of the students referred to law enforcement from … Continue reading

Robert Dafford painting Julian White

Muralist immortalizes architect Julian T. White, LSU’s first Black professor

When Julian T. White joined LSU’s faculty in 1971 to teach architecture, he paved a way for people of all backgrounds to have equal opportunity. The mural in the collets atrium honors the legacy of the first Black professor at Louisiana State University.

A Louisiana girl with California wine

Dawna Jones, Ph.D., remembers having an amazing childhood in Opelousas with her parents, Randolph and Priscilla Darjean, and three siblings. But one distinct memory may have unintentionally guided the 43-year-old plant pathologist into the winemaking business. “My mother dabbled in making various fruit wines when I was very young, but I do not remember assisting in the process aside … Continue reading

Kristen Downing’s art — fueled by social, political climate — will exhibit at SU

Kristen Downing uses her art in the way protesters use their voice, leaders use their influence, and nations use their power.

Students, teachers use self-efficacy to master learning, show the world ‘we are intelligent’

Education scholars like Erin Wheeler Ph.D., executive director of College Beyond, and Calvin Mackie Ph.D. of STEM NOLA have said a student’s “belief” is critical for their success. This belief, which is called “self-efficacy,” is the belief in one’s ability to complete a chosen, specific task. Because this belief “fuels students,” it is part of the education model at T.M. Landry College Prep in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Separate, unequal, and dismal: Urban League rekindles leaders’ commitments to improve public schools 

The Urban League of Louisiana released an equity report examining the quality of Baton Rouge public schools and identifying gaps in outcomes, access, and excellence. Calling the findings “dismal” and “concerning,” several education stakeholders were present at the McKinley Alumni Center for a press conference and panel discussion to present data from the Advancing Educational … Continue reading

Minister addresses controversy around latest R&B release ‘Emoji’

We really have to unlearn what we have been trained to believe is Ministry. We’ve been taught that ministry is Worship music only…. My God is not in a box and if God is really going to reach this generation then Chance the Rapper is just as important as Tye Tribbett. Kanye West is just as anointed as Kirk Franklin. 

BJT Ledet’s ‘The Christians’ features 1960s Louisiana love story

With much anticipation,B.J.T Ledet,a Baton Rouge educator, has released the first a new adult, religious romance trilogy: The Christians. The Christians, book one, follows the life and love of Mary Jean Woods, a young, Christian woman in 1960 South Louisiana as she maneuvers through self-discovery, unrighteousness, and betrayal in hopes to find a true spiritual identity. … Continue reading

Baton Rouge, LA Teens Create Watch to Help Caregivers Locate Patients Living with Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease – i.Invest Competition

Originally posted on PRSBizNews:
Co-founders Tyshawn Howard and Brea Miles, both 18, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Tyshawn Howard and Brea Miles, both 18, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their tech start-up, Never Alz Alone, is dedicated to the caregivers and family members of…

Toni Morrison, Baton Rouge’s bench and ‘seeing myself’

Toni Morrison’s work impacted the lives of many people, including my own. As a Black student at predominately White university, it was hard for me to see myself on the required texts by Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton. It wasn’t until I took a course called, “Toni Morrison and Others,” that I saw myself.

Hundreds honor slain civil rights icon, museum founder remembered for living a life of purpose

Hundreds of people including Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, other elected officials, community leaders, and even residents who barely knew Sadie Roberts-Joseph filled the pews at Living Faith Christian Center to say goodbye to a woman who was remembered for living a life of purpose. “What she has done … Continue reading

When Grandpa leaves land, he leaves legacy. Pensiri: A Talk with Nicolette ‘FarmHer Missy’ Gordon

A young pioneer in Internet radio, Nicolette “Missy” Gordon started MissyRadio.com in 2011, trending through an online business model that had only surfaced on the national scene.  The path made sense for a 20-something broadcast journalist who’d been “on the air” with Citadel Broadcasting’s WEMX-FM Max 94.1 for years. From there, she went on the … Continue reading

‘Not Charity, Lord, but a Chance’

The poem, “Not Charity, Lord, But a Chance,” is a petition for fair opportunities in America. Its message is timely and symbolic for this middle-schooler whose business has won two pitch competition within three months. “Blacks demanded a fair chance and were brilliant and excellent in what they did,” she said.

She begat this. Oh, really?

She begat this. Oh, really? For people outside of this entertainment, hip hop spectrum, the fact of Hill’s domination may be far-reaching until they read “She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Joan Morgan.

Invisible Warriors: Photo exhibit reveals the truth behind invisible illnesses

When photographer and writer Leslie D. Rose is told “oh, but, you look good! ” it is not a compliment. For many people living with invisible illnesses, very rarely do they “look sick.” And quite often, there is no celebration in looking like they are disease-free when beneath the surface their bodies are fighting debilitating … Continue reading

‘It made me feel like a failure that I could not protect her’

According to the national Human Trafficking Hotline, 71 cases of human trafficking have been reported in Louisiana since January. One mother of a 13-year-old victim said, “There is a trending behavior of people–especially kids–looking for a certain type of love to fit in that they are being so easily manipulated.

Pensiri: A Talk with Cristian Hardy, co-pastor, Love Alive Church

This feature, ‘Pensiri: A Talk with..,’ is a fascinating spotlight using narrative interviews and quick peeks into the interesting and unique lives of “average” human beings. In this post, Leslie D. Rose talks with Cristian Hardy, pastor of Love Alive Church in Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge’s Chenese Lewis ‘honored’ to host famed international beauty show

Show makes its Louisiana debut, March 30-April 1 Positive-body image advocate Chenese Lewis will be the mistress of ceremonies on the main stage of the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show in New Orleans. Lewis, a Baton Rouge native and resident, is a veteran hostess and MC whose career spans more than a decade nationally. She was … Continue reading

The Square Collection gets first public showing in West Baton Rouge

Graduates of Grambling State University, where they met, Lawrence and Gay Square started collecting art 40 years ago. Today, the couple’s private collection is on display at the West Baton Rouge Museum through March 24. The Square Collection features fine art from some of America’s most distinguished artists including 20 centerpieces which are figurative sculptures by the internationally … Continue reading

Women in state law enforcement leave indelible footprints

There are countless Louisianans who have contributed significantly to our state and nation’s history.  They are the trailblazers and pioneers who have left an indelible imprint that continues to inspire. Among the most well-trained law enforcement officers in the country, Black female Louisiana State Troopers are proudly and courageously paving the way for others to … Continue reading

‘A Lucky Man’ wins Ernest Gaines Award for Literacy Excellence

Jamel Brinkley’s  collection of nine short stories has won the 2018 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Set in Brooklyn and the South Bronx where the writer spent his youth before graduating from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the stories in A Lucky Man explore the charged, complex ties between boys and … Continue reading

‘Ms. Meta’ on frontline, empowering others facing HIV

At 62, Meta Smith-Davis is often celebrated as a hero for her work with HIV/AIDS. The self-described to’ up from the flo’ up, ex-con, drug-addicted, homeless Black woman living with HIV, says, “All I did was clean their mirror so they could see what I saw… All I did was clean the mirror so that they could do the work.” The work, she said, is being able to come to terms with an HIV-positive diagnosis and doing everything necessary to live a whole, healthy life.

Fashions’ ‘Next Big’ designers hail from Baton Rouge

When it comes to fashion destinations Baton Rouge is city that could be at the bottom of the list, but Christopher John Rogers and Oonarissa Brown-Bernard are changing that. Besides dominating the charts this year?  What do Cardi B and Sza have in common? They turn to Rogers for his 80’s glamour meets punk rock … Continue reading

Fact: Eliminating stigmas can reduce the spread of HIV

The fact remains: There are still many stigmas around HIV/AIDS which are critical barriers to preventing the disease from spreading. In a city like Baton Rouge where new HIV diagnoses  register as some of the highest in the nation, prevention is critical to stopping the disease and saving lives, said Tim Young, executive director of … Continue reading

With HIV rates topping the nation, Baton Rouge needs HAART, Open Health, and PreP

In a city with the highest rates of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the nation, is HAART positioned to slow down the spread of the virus that cause AIDS?

Baton Rouge study looks at whether exercise improves memory for older Blacks

Scientists at LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center are recruiting participants for a study on dementia prevention in older Blacks. The project is unique because few studies to date specifically developed behavior change interventions for older Blacks that target preventing dementia, said Robert Newton, Ph.D., who designed the project with Owen Carmichael, Ph.D. “The goal of … Continue reading

Trading Black Histories: Louisiana, California middle schoolers meet by chance while competing in national research contest

SILVER SPRINGS, MD—In life, there are many times when things happen and very few words can convey what’s occurred. That’s exactly what happened when two studentsfrom opposite ends of the United States happened to cross paths while competing in the 2018 National History Day contest held at the University of Maryland, College Park. The young … Continue reading

Baton Rouge native participates in world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise

A 2017 Scotlandville Magnet High School graduate and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC). Seaman Apprentice Crystal Paul is a culinary specialist aboard USS Dewey, currently operating out of San Diego, California. A Navy culinary specialist … Continue reading

First Black to walk in space visits Baton Rouge

On June 26, Dr. Bernard Harris, CEO of the National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI), visited Baton Rouge to kick off NMSI’s Laying the Foundation Teacher training at Woodlawn High School.  With ongoing support from ExxonMobil, the popular training program was recently expanded to an additional 400 teachers across the state, doubling the number of … Continue reading

Black Out Loud Conference celebrates Black visibility Aug 10-12

Local poet, activist and teaching artist Donney Rose will host the inaugural Black Out Loud Conference – a three-day event designed to celebrate Black visibility in the realm of the arts, media and activism – Aug. 10-12 in Baton Rouge, sponsored by the Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge, Design Baton Rouge, … Continue reading

Using faith-based training, Team Family resolves conflicts, creates peaceful, productive environment

Genia Coleman-Lee and Sandra Dee Olison met while serving in ministry together. Their love for people and professional backgrounds led them to want to improve the way people function in the workplace, with family, and in church. That desire birthed their company, Team Family, which provides faith-based training and professional development. Their goal is to … Continue reading

Louisiana legislators look to expand ‘Payday’ lending, harming borrowers

Legislators are voting on a bill to expand predatory lending in Louisiana by allowing payday and car title lenders to issue “installment loans” with annual interest rates of up to 167 percent. Policy analysts with the Louisiana Budget Project said the bill will considerable harm vulnerable borrowers getting loans they can not afford. The bill is scheduled for final passage in the Senate on April, 16, 2018.

Dr. King, Alton Sterling, and the Difficult Days Ahead

This is America 50 years after King’s assassination.  The relative progress made in civil rights since April 4, 1968 is rife with tragic contradiction and complexity.  King likely did not dream that after climbing to the “mountaintop” our first words would not be “free at last” but rather “Black lives matter.” 

Louisiana creatives flourish in light of Black Panther

As the sun rises on the blockbuster Black Panther movie, it illuminates the work of Louisiana Black creatives including an English professor who writes and lectures on Afrofuturism, a comic creator who uses historic air legends to pen a new future, and an artist who embraces the imagery and passion of Afrofantasy in developing the … Continue reading

Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury law: an instrument of mass incarceration

There’s evidence that non-unanimous juries contribute to wrongful convictions, mass incarceration and the marginalization of women and minorities.The impact is tantamount..and it is our collective duty, “with a force that is irresistible,” to crumble into ruin this unjust system. writes Angela Allen-Bell, JD.

Black mothers keep dying after giving birth, researchers blame racism

Black mothers from around the country told terrifying stories about how doctors wouldn’t believe them about health conditions until it was almost too late and even regularly dismissed their pain. In Louisiana, Black women are nearly four times as likely to die within one year of birth as White women. Their stories revealed how Black women are facing these issues regardless of education and income.

Baton Rouge gains its sixth community pharmacist

“My brother and I are here to build and strengthen our hometown community of Baton Rouge. We are here to provide HOPE to the community where we were born and raised,” said Orlando J. Palmer Jr., pharmacist.

Baton Rouge sailor reflects on year of recruiting in America’s Navy

First Class Jalisa Green, a recruiter assigned to Navy Recruiting District San Antonio, shows that not shying away from hard work and responsibility does not go unnoticed. Green, a Louisiana native, longed to travel and see the world beyond her hometown of Baton Rouge.  She believed joining the Navy would give her that opportunity. After enlisting … Continue reading

Henry Turner Jr. Day celebrates a musical, community champion

A few months ago, a middle-aged black man with his gray beard lending a distinguished air to his casual summer attire walked into the deli section of a popular South Baton Rouge grocery store. The server recognized him and said how much she had enjoyed his music at a recent outdoor festival. She then commented … Continue reading