Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CONTACT Toni Beckham PR, et Cetera, Inc.
209-832-8020 / 408-499-3664c


"Cured – The Power of Forgiveness"

Carl Ray tells the incredible story of how his father, one of the most successful African Americans in Choctaw County, Alabama, was murdered after Carl refused to say "Sir" to a white man. In 1984 Carl came to forgive his father’s murderer. He attributes the act of forgiving to have been his own lifesaver. Forgiveness released Carl Ray from his self-imposed prison. His story has been told in The New York Times and on PBS and in countless public forums where Ray has performed his captivating one-man play.
Nationwide—Author and San Jose, California resident, Carl Ray has long been sharing his riveting account of witnessing his father's murder and the circus of a trial that followed. Lawyers for the defendant appealed to the Alabama courts to banish young Carl from the state until he had learned how to talk to white people. Life was not to be the same for Carl Ray; that is until he learned "The Power of Forgiveness." Ray shares his riveting life story in his new autobiography Cured - The Power of Forgiveness. Not only does he impart a detailed account of this horrific experience, but also shares tales of his divergent life as a Black boy growing up in the segregated South of the 1950’s, and as a Tuskegee University student, an electrical engineer, a stand-up comic, an educator, and activist.
Cured - The Power of Forgiveness gives us a peek into the soul of an individual who overcame several challenges during his life. Born two months premature into a segregated society and contracting Polio at the age of four is the backdrop from which this book begins. "Cured is healing through forgiveness," said Carl. "Unfortunately, millions of people suffer from depression, anger, self-hatred and other mental issues, not knowing that the cure lies within the power of forgiveness." He continued, "The greatest day of my life was the day I forgave the man who killed my father. The assumption that forgiveness is relegated to the religious community couldn’t be farther from the truth. An atheist must forgive those who harmed him before he can be free from his past pain."
"Forgiveness is often taught but seldom practiced. If people understood the benefits of forgiveness there would be less need for psychiatrists, therapists, and medication," says Carl Ray.

Mr. Ray is currently a motivational/inspirational speaker residing in San Jose, California with his wife Brenda.

To learn more about Carl Ray and his new book, visit Ray may be reached directly at | 408-206-1768.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Now that the Oscars Are Over, Will People Please Stop Talking about "The Help?"

I am so very happy for Octavia Spencer. I think that Viola Davis is a wonderful actress. That said, "The Help," in my opinion, was, at best, a made for television movie.

I know quite a bit about the segregated south during the '60s. Don't ask me how because I don't want to give away my age.

That said, I do not believe that a book written by an African American woman about the life of a maid in the State of Alabama during that period (the early 1960s), would have been anything close to what we got with the big screen adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's book. The book was fiction. Pure and simple. I confess - I saw the movie twice - didn't read the book.

The movie, while it had its enjoyable moments, was unrealistic- no "colored" maid would have put her neck and life on the line to pour her heart out to a white journalist when Emmett Till had been murdered in Mississippi just a few years earlier for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

I do appreciate the work that both Ms. Spencer and Ms. Davis did in the movie. They are both exceptional at their craft. They played the roles that were hired to play. And they played them well. They deserve the highest praise. But it was not real life.


I remain disgusted by the fact that we were portrayed as thieves (did she really have to steal that ring?), battered women (Minnie had a sharp tongue but was abused at home) and Abilene was spoke in broken English ("You "is" kind").

And the pie - the infamous chocolate pie - what a low blow.

I do hope that this opens up more roles for not only Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis, but other black actors.

However, I won't hold my breath.

And now that the big night is behind us, can we get some roles in Hollywood other than maids, prostitutes and drug dealers?

Peace and Blessings,


Monday, February 20, 2012


The Legacy Of FUNK Lives On...

An Intimate Evening With Multi-Gold/Multi-Platinum Recording Artists

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 • 8pm
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 • 8pm
Thursday, February 23, 2012 • 8pm
$35 • Limited VIP $40

The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko • 222 Mason Street • San Francisco, CA 94102 • Office: 415.394.1189 • Fax: 415.781.0306

Monday, February 13, 2012

We Will Always Love You - Rest In Peace, Whitney

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Should CNN Have Suspended Roland Martin? Is He A Homophobe?

Unless you've been under a rock, you've probably heard about CNN Contributor and TV One's Roland Martin's suspension from CNN earlier this week for offensive tweets made during the Super Bowl.

I have to honestly say that I was one of the people following Roland on Twitter on Super Bowl Sunday. I'm pretty sure I saw at least one of the allegedly offensive tweets. However, since I was somewhat dozing at the time, I don't recall being offended. That's not to say the tweets were or were not offensive, just to say that I tend to take Roland Martin for what he is - an intelligent, well-informed, shoot from the hip commentator and yes someone who often leaps before he looks.

That said, I don't think he is a homophobe, advocates violence or that he meant any of his tweets in the literal sense. Here's what he said:

If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl

Ladies, if your man don’t like sports, send his azz back to the factory. He came to you defective! #rolandsrules

I’m sorry. I’m not down with seeing dudes walking around with bags on their shoulders that resemble women’s handbags. #helltothenaw

Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass

This is just one more example of how social media can really come back to bite you in the rear. Especially when you're in the public eye and most especially during an election year. Add to the mix, you're on Team Obama.

The moral of the story: Be careful on the twitters-phere because free speech isn't always free.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Miss Don Cornelius

Before there was Barack Obama, there was Don Cornelius.

I find myself sadder today, one day after hearing the news of his passing, than I was when I initially heard the report.

Mr. Cornelius, 75, died on February 1, 2012, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I think it’s just set in for me today because when I first heard I really wasn’t surprised that he’d taken his own life. In fact, over the last few years, I had heard more about Don Cornelius’s personal life than I ever did in the entire time he hosted Soul Train.

While always upbeat and courteous to his guests and the dancers, he maintained a certain “coolness,” that while I wouldn’t describe it as cold, I wouldn’t describe him as one who allowed outsiders into Don’s world. He was somewhat mysterious. And I loved that about him. Actually, it was sort of sexy.

I overheard a lady on the train yesterday talking on the phone about how it was a shame that he tarnished such a great legacy by dying the way he did. I don’t see it that way, at all. If anything, it seems that Mr. Cornelius was a man who liked to be in control of his own destiny, though none of us are truly in control.

But to the extent he could control his fate, he did. I suspect he probably was suffering from the effects of aging (although he always appeared young in spirit), poor health and a nasty divorce. This combination can take a toll on a 75 year old man.

For me, nothing could tarnish his legacy or take away from the appeal of his sultry voice. He opened the door for so many artists when no one else did. He also gave African Americans a sense of pride about their appearance (the dancers always rocked the newest fashions). He helped to promote Ultra Sheen, Afro Sheen and Essence Magazine. And I can’t help but think he made a lot of white folks envious. Can you imagine how much they wanted to be black when watching “Soul Train?”

I’m sorry that he’s gone, but I’m happy that he left, privately, and before the tabloids could publish photos of a sick, weary and unrecognizable Don Cornelius.

I wish you “Love, Peace and Soul.”*

*Don Cornelius’s trademark signoff on “Soul Train”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Don Cornelius, the creator of TV's "Soul Train," has died at the age of 75.

A press information officer at the Los Angeles Police Department told CBS Radio News that police responded to a call of a shooting at Cornelius' home in Los Angeles. There is no suspicion of foul play.

TMZ reports that Cornelius died of an apparent suicide. Law enforcement sources told the website that he died of a gunshot wound to the head that officials believe was self-inflicted.

"Soul Train" debuted on television in 1971 and ran until 2006. Cornelius produced the show and was its host from 1971-1993.