Trends, Travel, History and Books

March 16, 2012


Earth Hour 2012 to reach from space to Swaziland 


Source: Cision

As our planet faces critical challenges and our journey towards sustainability slows, Earth Hour is going from space to Swaziland to spread the message that we desperately need to take action for the environment.  For the first time, Earth Hour will extend to the International Space Station, where astronaut and ambassador Andre Kuipers will keep watch over our imperiled planet as the lights switch off on 31 March, sharing photos and live commentary of his experience via the European Space Agency (ESA).

Kuipers said he is thrilled to participate in Earth Hour and take the globally significant movement to a new level, “There is no better way to raise awareness for the future of the most beautiful planet in the universe!”  Earth Hour Co-founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley said everyone from citizens to businesses, school children to world leaders, need to believe they can make a difference, and act.

“The state of our planet affects each and every one of us. Last year Earth Hour reached 1.8 billion people across the planet, this year through digital media we are offering a greater opportunity to connect people with the desire to take much needed action for the environment,” said Ridley.  Earth Hour is also collaborating with YouTube to provide the world’s leading platform for people to empower friends, family, colleagues and organisations to take urgent action in the short term, in order to fulfill long-term environmental goals.

Nathi Mzilenzi, a young boy from Swaziland who organized Earth Hour in his town Shimunye (population 5,633) in 2010 when he was 15 years old, continues to inspire his community to participate in Earth Hour.  This year, the high school student has encouraged Swaziland’s Big Game Parks to issue an “I Will If You Will” challenge to Thembelisha Preparatory School, if they clear the main road of litter three times a year.

On the other side of the world, Italian pianist and composer Christian Calcatelli has undertaken to play an 8-hour live concert over the Internet if 5000 people commit to taking up recycling.  “Switching off for one hour is an awesome way to realize that it’s small actions that can have a great impact on the well-being of our one and only planet,” said Calcatelli.

“You can see how Earth Hour becomes a catalyst for change, you apply the concept beyond the 60 minutes and into various areas of life and it becomes a commitment,” he said.  You can accept and make your own Earth Hour challenges   Global icons the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the vast Coral Triangle are using Earth Hour to highlight the impact climate change has on both coral habitats and the abundant marine life and both have created YouTube videos offering ways people can help sustain the endangered areas.

Famous faces around the world are also speaking out to encourage participation and support for Earth Hour.  Environmental activist and former US vice-president Al Gore, is urging people everywhere to switch off their lights on 31 March in a video message recorded from Antarctica.

Also making the call is legendary Canadian Ice Hockey player, Scott Niedeymayer.  The National Hockey League, the premiere North American professional ice hockey league, has made an Earth Hour pledge to change the way the sport approaches energy consumption.

“When it comes to winning the fight against climate change, it’s clear that we all need to work together,” said Niedermayer who is also a WWF Canada Freshwater ambassador. “By joining Team Earth Hour, we can work together for a sustainable future.”   As an open sourced campaign, Earth Hour uses social media to connect a global community of people inspired to change the world we live in. Follow all of our stories on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Earth Hour has grown from a one-city initiative in 2007, to a 5,251 city, town and municipality strong global movement, last year reaching 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across all seven continents.  Earth Hour 2012 will take place at 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Saturday 31 March

Celebrate Earth Day at Wave Hill


Source:  Cision

Earth Day Nature Journaling

Bronx, NY― Celebrate Mother Nature on a weekend filled with activities that will charm everyone from our youngest guest to the most seasoned garden visitor. Admission to the grounds is free all day Sunday, thanks to the generous support of Target.  Both days, join the Family Art Project for stories honoring our trees, and then create a portrait as your own tribute and fashion a tiny Earth Day charm or pin. Saturday’s highlights include a kid-friendly Earth Day Garden Walk, a Wave Hill History Walk and a guided Gallery Tour of the exhibition in Glyndor Galley—work by eight artists inspired by Wave Hill’s Wild Garden—and a workshop on planting your own alpine trough. Sunday, enjoy a guided Garden & Conservatory Walk showcasing the delights of the early spring gardens, then stay for a Nature Journaling workshop and for Branch Dances at Wave Hill, a performance by award-winning choreographer Merián Soto and her dancers and musician, third in a series celebrating each season at Wave Hill. While you’re here, be sure to stop by The Shop at Wave Hill, where seeds—especially Philadelphia-based D. Landreth Seed Company’s exclusive zinnia assortment—are center stage.  _____________________________________________________________________________________________

What:    Earth Day Weekend at Wave Hill Date:      Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, 2012

Time:     SAT         10AM-1PM          Family Art Project: Who Will Speak for the Trees?/¿Quién hablará por los árboles?

11AM                   Wave Hill History Walk

NOON                   Earth Day Garden Walk (Ideal for ages 6 and up. Light rain or shine.)

2PM                      Garden Workshop: Plant an Alpine Trough  (Fee: $30 Member/$45 Non-member)

2PM                      Gallery Tour SUN

10AM-1PM             Family Art Project: Who Will Speak for the Trees?/¿Quién hablará por los árboles?

12:30PM                Earth Day Nature Journaling (Fee: $10 Member/28 Non-member)

2PM                      Garden & Conservatory Walk

3:30PM                  Performance: Branch Dances at Wave Hill

Fee:        All programs are free with admission—and admission is free on Sunday—except for the Alpine Trough and Nature Journaling workshops. Reservations required.

Target Free Days Target sponsors free Tuesday and Saturday morning admission to Wave Hill, providing public access to the arts in our community.

New Milliyon Album “Live Milliyonic” To Be Released with a New Brand of Christian Rap, Pop, Rock and Soul


Atlanta, GA — Live Milliyonic, the new album from Milliyon and produced by Randy “Big Ran” Hairston (Outkast, Mase, Cam’ron, V.I.C, Canton Jones) and Brandon “Black Knight” Peavy (Lecrae, Flame, Melinda Watts) is set to be released on June 26, 2012.  The album is a true fusion of rap, pop, rock and soul with the authentic sound and feel of southern hip hop. This album sets to defy the status quo tag that in the past has unsuccessfully put Christian hip hop, R&B and pop music in one box.

Milliyon Photo Courtesy:

The first rap single, “A-Milliyon”, available on iTunes and SoundCloud on April 10, is an effective mission statement. Lyrically, “A-Milliyon” is infectious with big bass and 808’s. The song presents the metaphor of living “milliyonic,” an effort to get the message of living for God to millions upon millions.  Milliyon is no stranger to the hip-hop or gospel music scene. In the past he has shared the stage with artists such as Rick Ross, T-Pain, Jazzy Phae, Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary. He was formally introduced to the gospel world while on the “Cajo Family” and “Kingdom Business” tours with gospel artist Canton Jones.

Most recently he was featured on a song entitled “Bended Knee” on Deitrick Haddon’s “Church On The Moon” album, which debuted at #1 on the Gospel Billboard charts. He also wrote the hit song, “Holy Ghost Holiday” on James Fortune’s record “Encore” which debuted at #2 on the Gospel Billboard chart.  On Live Milliyonic, the song “Good Day” pulls from Milliyon’s past challenging experiences and translates those emotions and triumph into an encouraging anthem. “My Everything” is the switch up.   It’s a pop song that bridges the feel of this album all together.

Live Milliyonic is arguably a palate of music that doesn’t sound forced while striving to be authentically appealing to everyone.  “Every song is a reflection of my personal influences in music from Jay-Z and Kanye West to All American Rejects, Canton Jones, Family Force 5 and Leon Timbo,” says Milliyon.  “It’s eclectic like me and truly reflects me, not just as a Rap/Pop artist but as a Christian Culture Artist. What that means is, as a Christian I live in this world but the way I live my life, even if I love hip hop, rock or pop music, it’s different because of my commitment to God.”

Catch Milliyon on the Radio-One, One Love Cruise featuring Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, Tye Tribbet and Marvin Sapp among others, March 18-23rd.

New Writer Picks Up Where E. Lynn Harris Left Off

Source:  Black News.Com

Bookcovers of Terry E. Hill's latest novels Photo Courtesy:

Nationwide — Since author Terry E. Hill’s first novel was released in January 2011 readers have been waiting anxiously for the sequel. Come Sunday Morning has since been acquired by more than 1,000 libraries in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand and has been selected as best book of the month and year by book stores and book clubs across the U.S.  E. Lynn Harris introduced millions of readers to powerful black men grappling with their sexual identities and the women who stood by, and struggled with them. Harris’ untimely death in 2009 left a void in the literary world, and had readers wondering whom, if anyone, could pick up where he left off.

Many are now comparing Hill to Harris in his story content, writing style and storyline transitions. Hill’s first book rapidly turned into a hit with many loyal Harris fans. Although Hill’s books have a “down low” element his core messages run much deeper. They take us to the next level of discussion on topics such as power, infidelity and sexuality.

The books also remind us that what’s done in the dark will ultimately come to the light.  Hill’s subject matter has resonated with many readers because it mirrors several high profile scandals in prominent mega churches and in the military since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Hill denies events in his novels are based on real life situations. Never-the-less readers inevitably are left wondering who the characters in his books are based on.

In Come Sunday Morning, a beautiful pastor’s wife, Samantha Cleaveland, arranges the assassination of her husband Hezekiah T. Cleaveland in the pulpit of their mega church after learning of his homosexual affair. Samantha is installed as pastor of the church, New Testament Cathedral in Los Angeles, and the head of the international television ministry.  The sequel, When Sunday Comes Again, is scheduled for release on June 28, 2012. The story continues with Samantha being challenged by people who suspect she played a role in her husband’s death and Hezekiah’s lover, Danny St. John working to bring Samantha to justice.

Terry E. Hill’s latest novella, When Duty Calls, is featured in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell anthology released this month by national publisher Urban Books. When Duty Calls is the story of Four Star General Orpheus Beauregard Roulette III who finally acts on the homosexual urges he’s been suppressing for years and gets more than he bargained for.

Now he finds himself caught between the crosshairs of his wife, who has her sights on the White House in 2016, and the young man who’s blackmailing him.  “Not only are gays still being forced in the closet in the military but also at the highest levels of politics in this country,” Hill said.  “I wanted to show the effects this modern day version of prejudice has on us as individuals and as a nation.”

“Oh-No” Video Highlights Heartbeat of Occupy Movements


Nationwide — The music industry and activists nationwide are taking note of talented young activist musician Wril’s video that highlights the breadth, depth and heart of Occupy Wall Street and other Oh-No movements across the country.  A mentee of legendary activist Dick Gregory, Wril is active with the Occupy Movement and was arrested alongside Gregory when they staged a protest at British Petroleum’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Musician Wril (left) and legendary activist Dick Gregory (right) Photo Courtesy of

The goal was to focus attention on the plight of the many lives and businesses that were devastated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.  “I have always wanted my music to express who I am as a person, to reflect my strong feelings about injustice and inspire others to take action to better our lives,” says Wril.

“This song and video ‘Oh-No’ embodies the frustrations of many Americans and captures the passion of the Occupy Movement.”  Says legendary activist Dick Gregory: “The gifted young songwriter and vocalist Wril has a spirit of activism and social consciousness that harkens back to those revolutionaries and freedom fighters from the ’60 and ’70s whose brave sacrifices helped bring about the landmark changes of the Civil Rights Movement.”

“With strong and committed activists like Wril acting as drum majors for justice, freedom and equality,” Gregory continues, “the Occupy Movement will achieve all of its lofty goals and mirror the success we enjoyed during the Civil Rights Era.”

Wril was inspired to pen the song “Oh-No” while in jail after being arrested with Gregory as they protested at BP offices to bring attention to BP not compensating poor Gulf Coast residents in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. He was stirred by what he considered the injustices surrounding the BP crisis. “The song embodies the frustrations of the 99% and captures the passion and message of the Occupy Movement, while featuring Dick Gregory and hip-hop artist Truth,” says Wril.

William “Wril” Brown also has won admiration and praise from the legendary duo Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, as well as that of literary icon Maya Angelou, for his song “Forever and Ever I Do,” which he wrote and delivers with exceptional musicality.  Wril’s depth, breadth and scope are dramatized by his versatility as a vocalist, songwriter and musician.  As a musician, he has a love affair with the piano that goes back to his church roots. As a vocalist, Wril boasts a falsetto that falls in love with every note.

The passion that he brings to every tune makes his delivery memorable and captivating. As a songwriter, he digs deep into the core of his soul to capture the emotions of a tune.  The themes that dominate his writing revolve around his love and admiration for women and the sentimentality of family. His respect for women is mirrored in the acronym of his name: Wril stands for Women Really Inspire Love.


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