Grammy winner and Academy Award nominee Will Smith is expected to return to his hometown this weekend along with his talented son Jaden.
The famous father and son are scheduled to be presenters at Charlie Mack’s “I Will Be Great” Leaders Luncheon Awards Ceremony & Red Carpet, a marquee event at the Annual Charlie Mack’s Party for Peace Celebrity Weekend, taking place July 20–22.
Being held at Yesha Fellowship Hall, 2308 Snyder Ave. on July 20, the luncheon will be hosted by “Extra” correspondent A.J. Calloway and will honor Philadelphia’s Top Inner City Youth, ages 10-21.
The star-studded weekend will also feature appearances by Columbus Short of the hit ABC drama, “Scandal,” Regina Hall of the popular feature film “Think Like a Man” and Camden native Tasha Smith, star of the TBS sitcom “For Better or Worse” and Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married.” Event highlights include:
Saturday, July 21
- Youth Study Center – an inspiring visit and conversation with “adjudicated” youth
(hosted by Charlie Mack)
- Healthy Hoops Asthma Clinic & Education (You must register to attend.)
- Annual Charlie Mack Fashion Show
- White Party
Sunday, July 22
- Charlie Mack’s 2nd Annual Talented Teen 2012 Auditions
- Charlie Mack’s Love the Kids Luncheon
(hosted by Jurnee Smollet, Rev. Run, Nia Long and Tony Rock)
- Charlie Mack’s 2nd Annual Talented Teens 2012 Finale
(hosted by Faizon Love and Meagan Good)
Judges: Tyrese, Elise Neal, Q Parker from “112” and JukeBox, producer of Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair”
- Charlie Mack’s “Laugh4Peace” Comedy Show
(hosted by Buck Wild)
Performers: Alex Thomas, Chris Spencer, Melanie Comarcho, Sam Larkins and Lil Rel.
Motivated by the violence that surrounded him in his community, Alston established the Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Celebrity Weekend on July 7, 1990, with a celebrity basketball game. He has worked tirelessly to rid Philadelphia of the violence that plagues its neighborhoods, and uses the highly anticipated event as a means to that end. For additional information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.charliemackscelebrityweekend.com.
Although his brothers have a bigger slice of the media spotlight, Danny Simmons has forged his path as a multidisciplinary artist to be reckoned with. Simmons, a renowned painter of abstract-expressionist oil works, owns the Rush Arts Gallery in Manhattan and Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn. He is also the oldest of the Simmons brothers, each of the whom has had his day in the spot light. Russell is head of Def Jam Records; rapper (now preacher) Joseph is Run of the iconic rap group Run DMC. Danny has chosen art as his creative outlet and achieved a similar feat with the spoken word movement as originator of the Peabody and Tony award-winning Def Poetry Jam. He will be in Philadelphia on Tuesday and Wednesday to talk about art and poetry at two special events at Vivant Art Collection and the African American Museum.
After a health crisis waylaid him, Danny Simmons found himself drawn back to the power of poetry. “I’ve never stopped writing,” he explained. “I’ve never stopped being a poet. I guess what really sparked me writing poetry again was I really couldn’t paint for a while. I’d gotten really, really sick: I came back from Jamaica with salmonella and I was in the hospital for three months. It did a lot of strange things. I have a hip replacement, and the bacteria destroyed my hip replacement, so I really couldn’t stand and paint — and I paint while standing. I paint quite often, so not being able to paint pushed me to do something. I can’t just sit there with all of these things going on inside me without expressing it. Poetry was my first love, so I just went back to my first love.”
Thus, the visual artist has reclaimed his inner poet and published a fascinating (and quite sexy) book of prose entitled “Deep in Your Best Reflection – Poems in 160 Characters” (dannysimmonspoetry.com, $20). The little black book is the latest for the author, who has also published “I Dreamed My People Were Calling But I Couldn’t Find My Way Home,” a volume of poetry and paintings, and “Three Days As The Crow Flies,” a novel about the NYC arts scene in the turbulent 1980s.
“For me, it’s a more thoughtful process than painting,” says Simmons. “Painting is a more intuitive process, and a channeling experience for me. With poetry, really it’s really more of a soul-searching and emotional process, where painting for me is more of a spiritual thing because I really connect with the spirit when I’m painting, but I connect with myself more when I'm writing poetry.”
The headline events featuring Danny Simmons will span two days, starting with a conversation on “The Role of an Artist, Collector, and Institution in the Urban Art Community,” on May 22 at 6 p.m. hosted by Vivant Art Collection. The goal of the conversation is to explore the dynamic contributing roles of the art world and the impact in the urban art community. On May 23 at 6 p.m., the African American Museum in Philadelphia will host a book reading and signing of “Deep in Your Best Reflection-Poems in 160 Characters,” featuring a special performance by members of the poetry collective, Spoken Soul 215. Both days will include a tour of Philadelphia’s famous arts institutions, including the city’s Mural Arts Program, the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts.
Joseph Simmons, known as hip-hop legend Rev. Run, partnered with Novo Nordisk to stress the importance of detecting diabetes early on.
Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result in defects in the body’s ability to produce or use insulin.
Rev. Run has been working with Novo Nordisk’s “Ask.Screen.Know” campaign for about a year. “Ask.Screen.Know” is a national campaign dedicated to increasing awareness of the benefits of diabetes screening and early detection. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 90 years of leadership in diabetes care.
Rev. Run will share his message of early detection following Bright Hope Baptist Church’s 10:15 a.m. service on April 21.
He has gone from being fearful of getting screened for diabetes to encouraging others learn whether or not they have it. Rev. Run was concerned that he might have diabetes because he had the risk factors. His father had diabetes.
“I was afraid to be screened but I did it,” he said.
“I was going to my doctor for my regular checkups but I didn’t know about getting screened for diabetes.”
After being screened, Rev. Run learned that he didn’t have diabetes, however he was spurred to make some lifestyle changes and lose weight.
“I tell people what you don’t know, you can’t fix. That’s been a part of my life – telling people to confront things,” said Rev. Run, who is an ordained Pentecostal minister.
“I tell people not to be afraid. Some people don’t want to go to the doctor because they don’t want to know. I just tell people to go forth and do it while you’re afraid and do it for the ones you love.”
In addition to visiting various churches, Rev. Run spreads his message via social media through the use of Twitter.
Rev. Run co-founded Run D.M.C., as a lead vocalist along with Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and the late DJ Jason “Jam-Master Jay” Mizell.
During his presentation at Bright Hope, Rev. Run will address his move from rap to ministry and the importance of getting screened for diabetes.
He will be joined by Jeanette Jordan, diabetes educator who will speak about risk factors for diabetes and guide the audience through a risk assessment test.
Rev. Run’s awareness push comes at a time when African Americans are disproportionally affected by diabetes. The American Diabetes Association notes that almost five million African Americans aged 20 and older have the disease. Diabetes affects an estimated 25 million people in the United States.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease, include being 45 years or older, lack of physical exercise, being overweight, having high blood pressure and diabetes in the family. Type 2 diabetes is more common in certain ethnic groups including African Americans, Hispanic, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and American Indians and Alaska Indians.
Diabetes can lead to various health complications including blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke and amputations.
For information about the campaign visit askscreenknow.com.