WELCOME TO CLASS...

Obama... 1 Year Later



I still can't believe that 1 year ago today, on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, I ACTUALLY witnessed history as Barack Hussein Obama II. was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America.


The experience, in itself, wasn't amazing because of the fact that he became the FIRST African-American President, it was amazing because I pushed myself to physically be a part of that experience, the entire, Inauguration weekend; I refused to have sat back and watch the historic event on television and I swore to myself that I would be in the nation's capitol on that special day.


It all started with Obama's 'whistle-stop' tour in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, on January 17, 2009. My mother and I woke early, ate, and dressed in 3-4 layers of winter clothing, in order to brave the cold for five+ hours. We were ensconced between thousands of other Marylanders that ventured out to see and hear what then President-elect Obama had to say about his future initiatives for the White House.



My participation didn't just stop there... the next day, on January 18, 2009, I -again- piled on my snowsuit to attend the We Are One concert at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. The icy weather and monstrous crowds could not deter me from maneuvering through the people and wedging myself against a fence (which was as close as I could get to the stage- without having a ticket).




But the apex of that weekend was, of course, Inauguration Day... again, I did not have a ticket for the event, but because I knew multiple areas on the National Mall would be open to the public for viewing, I made a decision -the night before Inauguration- to be there! My family had spent that weekend at my uncle's home, and being away from my computer, I had to use my Blackberry to surf the Internet for any available Amtrak tickets. Low-and-behold I found a 1-way ticket from Baltimore to D.C. for $26.00, and a return-trip ticket from D.C. to Baltimore for $40.00- not bad for a last minute deal. Granted there was the much-hyped fear that all bus and train tickets for D.C. were either sold out or non-existent, I was blessed enough to find an empty seat! The only catch was that I had to be in D.C. at 12:00am (last train to D.C.), and the Inauguration wouldn't take place until much later that afternoon. Nonetheless, I packed my sleeping bag, heating packs, bottled water, food, snacks, etc. and trekked south. The train going to D.C. was PACKED, as everyone was en route to support the Inauguration!



On the way there I met a few, new friends, and upon arrival I slept in Union Station until about 4:00am... afterwards I headed towards the National Mall for the grand event; it was pitch-black outside and there was already an enormous crowd forming at the entry barricade. No one was allowed past the gate(s) until after 9:00am, but we all had a BLAST waiting outside. As everyone braved the elements, we sang songs -ballads, battle hymns, show tunes- and huddled together for nearly six and-a-half hours. In the area where my group was sectioned off, I didn't get past security until around 10:30am. All this happened just over a year ago -today- and I still find it hard to believe that I WAS THERE!!! For me, the overall experience was MIND-BLOWING!!!









I've learned that once you make up your mind to do something, you're either going to achieve it or let things get in the way. Moreover, in regards to accomplishments, Obama has urged Congress to address and reform the nations fledgling health care industry, Obama has presented a bill that would strategically align the needs of those Americans who do not/cannot afford proper health care, along with revising those policies that need overhaul such as Medicare/Medicaid. Obama said, "We’ll guarantee health care for anyone who needs it, make it affordable for anyone who wants it, and ensure that the quality of your health care does not depend on the color of your skin."


He openly takes the blame for not clearly explaining health care reform, as most Americans continue to question 'what's in it for me?' Obama vows to protect every American from the worst practices of the medical industry, claiming that he "didn't take on health care because it was good politics," rather he says, "I will not walk away from most Americans... if anyone else has a better plan, let me know!" In addition to health care reform, the First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama, will be spearheading a national movement to attack childhood obesity later this year.


In Obama's first State of the Union Address, he mentioned quite a few things that we should all take into consideration for 2010 going into 2011. He prides himself on not doing what's popular, but doing what's necessary. Obama aims to create tax breaks for companies that create new jobs in America, as well as institute a new tax credit for small businesses that hire new employees or raise wages, which would become a new stimulus for small businesses. In 2000, the US had an economic surplus of $200B, but in 2009, Obama faced a multi-trillion dollar deficit when he became President, he exclaims, "All this was before I walked through the door!" As a counter to the aforementioned, the President has mandated a bi-partisan fiscal commission by Republicans and Democrats, so that we don't pass on deficit to future generations.


In 2011 Obama would like to freeze government spending for three years, on entities that display poor business (read: unethical) practices, and he urges that politicians should do their work openly, by posting all earmark requests online so the American people can see how money is being spent. Obama says that "American elections should be decided by American people," and "not by lobbyists or foreign entities." Lastly, Obama stated, "America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity... prosecuting civil rights violations ...fight laws that keep gays and lesbians out of the military, equal pay loads for women... and continue to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild."


Here are a few of his other quotes:

"I have never been more hopeful about America's future than I am tonight... Despite our hardships, our union is strong..."

"One year later the worst of the storm has passed, but the devastation still remains..."

"I hated it (re: the bank bailout), it was about as popular as a root canal..."

"We do not let fear or division diminish our spirit..."

"How long should America put its future on hold?? China, Germany, India are rebuilding infrastructures..."

"I do not accept 2nd place for the United States of America!"

"We need to encourage American innovation... We need to invest in the skills and the education of our people. Reward success and turn around failing schools..."

"The best anti-poverty program is a world-class education! A high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job."

"No one should go broke because they chose to go to college..."

"Let's try common sense ...a novel concept ...its time to try something new!"

"We've gotta get it right!"

"Spirit of determination and optimism lives on..."

Either one, two, or 20 years from now, these are all great words to live by!

References:
www.ontheissues.org/Barack_Obama.htm, www.nbcuniversal.com

princess diary

Who's that girl?! Or those girls, even?!

Ever wondered who those beautiful people are, that you just keep seeing ALL OVER THE PLACE -this awards show, that film premiere, those fabulous parties- and it always seems like they just popped out of thin air... Well, here STYLE 101: introduces you to a couple of faces that you may -or may not- be familiar with (and we'll keep you posted on those to come).

SHALA MONROQUE
(photo by Lisa Hancock)

One to watch, this socialista is the editor at large for London's Pop magazine, and is romantically linked to American art dealer Larry Gagosian (owner of the Gagosian art galleries located in New York, London, Italy and Greece).


Monroque has been spotted all over the world, lately, and with every pit-stop she's turned out more fabulous than ever!


Via his blog foracertainworld.blogspot.com, Sir André Leon Talley (perhaps the most famous editor at large, for Vogue), has even mused about Monroque, he says, "I welcomed her to a work event once, and she barely said hello --but she looked dreadfully chic, inappropriately dressed in skintight jeans, sky high heels and a shrunken black leather motorcycle jacket. Some lives need no dress code."


And as the iconic style blog jakandjil.com stated in December 2009, "Shala Monroque is chic. nuff' said!" We concur.



MAVIS SPENCER


Another one to watch, this bronze bombshell is a student, model and the daughter of award-winning actress Alfre Woodard.


Most recently, she was responsible for handing out statues and assisting guests on and off stage as Miss Golden Globe for the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association says it chose Spencer because, "she's a lovely, multi-talented and very poised young lady." Indeed she is, and in her spare time Spencer is an equestrienne show jumper, she rides her award-winning horse Winia van't Vennehof.


Spencer was a silver medallist at the 2008 Prix de States (a premier junior competition), she also represented the United States at the 2009 Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney Australia.
(Mavis and her 2009 USA Jumping Team: Kylie Wright, Taylor Land & Jennifer Waxman)

Spencer has also appeared in Teen Vogue and InStyle magazine, and will be attending Columbia University in the fall.


References:
www.google.com, www.foracertainworld.blogspot.com, www.jakandjil.com, www.goldenglobes.org, www.justworldinternational.org, www.youtube.com

Heavy, Heavy

PRECIOUS

Produced by: Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Written by: Geoffrey Fletcher (Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire)
Narrated by: Gabourey Sidibe
Original Music by: Mario Grigorov
Featuring: Mo'Nique, Gabourey Sidibe, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey
Length: 110 minutes
Date of Release: (In limited theaters), November 6, 2009

"Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is....Precious," so reads the tag line of the eponymous film, directed by Lee Daniels.

Precious is based on the award-winning novel Push by Sapphire (Vintage Publishing, 1996.). Ramona Lofton -a poet and short-story author- changed her name to Sapphire because she felt it would look better on a book cover and because it's something associated with a "belligerent black woman." She birthed her first -and only- novel in 1995, and its release incited a bidding war and landed Sapphire a six-figure publishing deal.


The plot of the novel -and film- (set in 1987 Harlem, New York), centers around the character Claireece 'Precious' Jones, a Black teenage mother who is illiterate, overweight and continuously abused -mentally and physically- by her own parents. The Jones family resides in a ghetto-ridden tenement slum and Precious constantly daydreams of a life far away from her real world. She enters into an alternative high school in hopes that it will lead her to a better future for her and her babies, but she's constantly plagued by the travails of her abrasive mother (played by Mo'Nique). Sapphire contests that Precious is not based on a real person, but rather upon the young women she encountered while working as a literacy teacher in Harlem and the Bronx, before she began writing.

In January 2009, after the films release at the Sundance Film Festival, Precious has since gone on to receive worldwide, critical acclaim and has received several prestigious awards including a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild trophy for Mo'Nique (Supporting Actress).


If we can learn anything from Precious and her mixed-up world, it's that we all must see ourselves in a new light, breaking from the negative and focusing on the positive, and as the film's theme song says, we must always see ourselves in color... think Golden!

References:
www.imdb.com, www.wikipedia.org

-------------------------

THE BLIND SIDE

Produced by: Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Written by: John Lee Hancock, Michael Lewis
Narrated by: Sandra Bullock
Original Music by: Carter Burwell
Featuring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron
Length: 128 minutes
Date of Release: (In theaters), November 20, 2009

When it comes down to helping those less fortunate than others, most people allow themselves to be hit on their blind side because they refuse to look at what's going on around them; such isn't the case with the giant-sized film, directed by John Lee Hancock.

Based on a true story, The Blindside chronicles the trials and triumphs of Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron), a professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens. As a young man, Oher was in and out of the foster care system for 17 years, with no immediate family to claim or look after him. He eventually landed in the hands of the Tuohy family, an outgoing and caring bunch, who immediately overlooked the fact that Oher was more than 6ft tall, burly and Black! Oher's saving grace, Mrs. Tuohy (played by Sandra Bullock), instinctively realized that Oher was homeless after she'd seen him interacting with her son at school, she allowed him to spend a night with her family. 'Big Mike' (as Oher's affectionately called in the beginning of the film), reveals that he hasn't seen his mother in years... and so, night after night, after night, after night... he resided with the Tuohy's, until one day they decide to legally adopt him.



Towards the end of the film, Aaron's character conquers his own demons, as he struggles to identify with an all-American White family who has seemingly adopted him just because of his potential football prowess. Although an NCAA ethics committee member tries to paint a different picture of Oher's family, he still winds up staying with them and eventually heads to college at Ole Miss.


The film's feel-good message resonates from scene to scene and shows us how the power of love can unite us all, regardless of race, ethnicity or social status.

References:
www.imdb.com, www.wikipedia.org

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

From our parent company, GET, LLC, and from the entire team at STYLE 101: MAGAZINE, we would like to wish you and yours a very Blessed, Safe & Prosperous NEW YEAR!!!

May 2010 be more challenging and rewarding so that you can experience the growth that God desires for your life :-D

Peace & Blessings,

Avon Dorsey
Editor in Chief