South Florida HBCU Picnic Recap

 By, Ascellia Arenas

The South Florida HBCU Picnic was all that and then some. Over 300 people gathered at Rolling Oaks Park located in Miami Gardens Florida. The one and only HBCU  in South Florida, Florida Memorial College, was represented today along with other HBCUs, as well. What a pleasant sight to see! With the current state of events happening in the United States of America is very important to uplift, support, and encourage organizations, schools, businesses, and charity events in an effort to strengthen our community. Everyone was dancing, singing, and having a really wonderful time. 

Rah Jah could not wait for this event. He got up early and prepared his cookies to be sold at this event. He received rave reviews and is looking forward to the next opportunity where he can experience economic empowerment for himself.

 It is so important that we support each other and continue to thrive as a community of educated college graduates with the expertise, patience, and generosity to reach back into our community and help our children succeed,  as well. Enjoy the picture gallery posted below, comment, repost, and enjoy. We are SOOOO looking forward to next years event. 

©2016 Cellibration Publishing

Bullard is running for Florida State Senator seat #40
  
we are too cute 😁
  
hey ladies😘
  
Me & Bernard
  
Me and Mr. Johnson
  
Faheem “The Dream” kicking it with Rah Jah
  
Me and Kim Gaines
  
Proud Mama! Rah Jah Cookie Co represented very well.
  
FAMU girls hustle harder
  
Rah Jah & Commissioner Johnson
  
catching some rays
  
Me snapping a pic with Jana
  
  
Rah Jah and Jonathan Gaines
  
Me & Miami Dade Chapter of The FAMU Alumni Association President , Denetra Collins
  
Rah Jah and Ulysses Howard (Mayoral Candidate)
  
  
blushing or blind???

    

    

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

Who Raised You?

By, Ascellia Arenas

My response to the Race Wars of Summer16

 

melanin colored
 
I’ve been having these courageous conversations about color, all of my life. Whether it was explaining how to pronounce my name or giving a history lesson about the “browning of America”, or the impact on colorism as a direct result of the triangular trade with respect to slavery. Color has ALWAYS been an issue. The need to clarify and justify one’s worth as it relates to the shade of one’s skin is sad but, so real. 

The insults, “you think you white”: “you Cuban so you ain’t really black”: “you are dark skinned Latina, not really black”: “you speak Spanish like you learned it at school, so you aren’t really Latina”: all of these insults are born from negative feelings derived from color issues. 

Stop lying when you say, ” I don’t see color,” or “he’s cool for, a white boy,” or “she’s pretty, for a black girl.” We see color, we have been programmed to have reaction responses to the tone and shades of our skin, to the texture of our hair. I’m a chameleon, there’s so many cultures and heritages flowing through me that I can fit in no matter where I go. That’s #flavor, I am mojo criollo and I like it. 

It’s time to realize that by 2025 we will ALL have some shade of brown flowing through our bloodlines because nobody is “pure” anymore. David Banner, hip hop artist turned activist, explains to us that the pressure we are experiencing right now, as it relates to white supremacists is that THEY know change is eminent and they are deathly afraid of losing traction, or becoming obsolete. Self preservation is a natural instinct. White supremacists will do whatever it takes to remain at the top of the food chain. How do they accomplish that? They accomplish that by teaching us that there is something wrong with being dark…even worse than that is being BLACK 🌍

Watch this clip to learn more: 

This film illustrates the impact that skin color has on human life.
 
©2016 Cellibration Publishing

Alton Sterling : Father of 5 Killed By Police on Video

By, Ascellia Arenas

7/6/16 

Early Tuesday morning, Alton Sterling, 37 years old, father of five, was fatally shot outside a convenience store in Louisiana. The disturbing incident was captured on cellphone video. Reportedly, The Baton Rouge Police Department released a statement that: “uniformed officers responded to a call early Tuesday about a black male in a red shirt who was selling CDs and had reportedly threatened the caller with a gun.” Also, BRPD adds , [that] Officers “made contact” with Sterling in the parking lot of the Triple S Food Mart. There was an altercation. Police said, “Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene,” and the two officers have been placed on administration leave “per standard procedure,” BRPD added, and that the investigation will continue. The East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. William Clark reports, “Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back.” The coroner would not immediately confirm if Sterling was shot 7 times. The president of the NAACP, Cornell Brooks, says, “[the] video of the incident hard to watch — but “far harder” to ignore.” State Representative, Ted James, calls the incident, “murder”. Black Lives Matter members and outraged citizens have taken to the streets in protest.

 ©2016 Cellibration Publishing

#altonsterling #blacklivesmatter #stopkillingus ✊🏾

The AFRIKIN Experience

By, Ascellia Arenas

7/3/16

  Saturday night I attended the inaugural event for AFRIKIN, a cultural festival held in Little Haiti, Miami to embrace the artistic, economic, political progression,  and communities from across the diaspora. I was expecting dashikis, incense, oils, cultural food, and the like. To my pleasant surprise I was right! I encountered that plus so much more. The Rockers Movement described AFRIKIN as follows: “Afrikin Fest is an African inspired food and music festival aimed to attract the best chefs, rum connoisseurs, musical and fine artists from around the world to the infamous cultural hub of Miami, Florida. Miami will be completely transformed through fascinating sights, smells, and sounds during this weekend celebration. – See more at: Rockers Movement 
 This first installment was co-hosted by author and activist, Julie Mansfield, a sexual abuse survivor, who champions women’s rights and cultural education surrounding the impact that molestation, rape, and abuse has on women and their families, worldwide. The #charity benefitting from the event is the #nonprofit organization, “Give Me Dignity,” to raise awareness and prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA). Mansfield encouraged the crowd to raise additional funds to end sexual abuse and child molestation.

Dr. Lanalee Sam, Director of Obstetrics and “Docstar”

#Presentations were given by: Dr. Carole Boyce-Davies (Education), Dr. Lanalee Sam (Health), Artiste Philippe Dodard (Art), and Umi Selah (Activism). The cultural #PERFORMANCES by artists such as: Vaughn “Akae Beka” Benjamin,  Tambor feat. DJ Stan Zeff, Kevens (unplugged), Moonchild, Equalizer Sound Selector Iscious, P.E.A.C.E and Anita Will, made the crowd feel the mystic vibration of Mother Africa, speaking a language we all understand, which is #love.
  
Visual #ART by, Philippe Dodard, The Ebohon Collection Benin City, Nigeria, Turgo Bastien, Gregory Vorbe, flashed on the walls as digital projections. Performances in #DANCE by #SASA African Dance Theater

  
#SPOKENWORD #poetry by, Aja Monet, and Give Me Dignity and #POETRY by, Mecca Grimo, and Bongo Bluez.


Community economic empowerment #AWARD was presented to Chef Creole #owner, Wilkinson Ken Sejour.
Economic empowerment was embraced through vendors of #AFRICANEATS by, Native African Cuisine and Lovely Roots Gourmet. I was pleased to meet and have a wonderful conversation with Mohammad Sene who performed #AFRICANDRUMS all evening. Sene is from Senegal and teaches African Drums, here in Miami.


My favorite perfomance of the night had to be the soothing melodies emanating from Rastafarian legend, Vaughn “Akae Beka” Benjamin. His enchanting tone made the crowd sway to and fro as only Benjamin can do. With over 50 recorded albums to his credit, Benjamin did not disappoint.


The evening was filled with positive energy, beautiful people, and good vibrations. The next installment of AFRIKIN will be November 18-20, 2016. Follow Afrikin Fest on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information:
Economic empowerment
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, are both available at amazon.com

©2016 Cellibration Publishing

BMe Community Names 10 Top Leaders in Miami 

By, Ascellia Arenas 

7/1/16

Thursday, June 30th, I was a special guest of, author and President of Affirming Youth, Jonathan Spikes, at the Better Together Celebration Miami, at The historic Lyric Theater, in Miami Florida. Spikes was honored as a community leader that significantly impacts the progress and development of youth and community at large in South Florida. 

  
All 10 of the men honored are pillars of the South Florida community and abroad. They can be found providing community service, working with youth, providing expertise in all areas of education, law, medicine, business, physical fitness, spirituality, and much more. The honorees will receive $10,000 each for their community programs after being named Miami’s first BMe Leaders. The event was energetic, electric, and filled with hope and expectancy of great things to come.  

  

  

Learn more about the honorees here: bloggingblackmiami.com
 
Benjamin Evans III, Managing Director of the BMe Community, was an engaging host who kept the large audience of families, supporters, and honorees cheering in the hallowed halls of the historic Lyric Theater . Evans did not skip a beat, each honoree danced on stage to celebrate success. The BMe Better Together Awards also honored Alberto Ibargüen, Javier Alberto Soto, Felecia Hatcher, Dr. Pandwe Gibson, David Lawrence Jr. The event was energetic, electric, and alive. We are looking forward to more from all of the honorees and BMe Community. 
 

Founder and CEO of BMe Community, Trabian Shorters, was inspired by the progressive development of black men and developed an extensive network of all races and genders that is committed to building better communities across the U.S. 

Learn more about Shorters and BMe Community here:

Black men doing good things in the ‘Hood’

America’s Great, Underappreciated Assets

 BMe Community

©2016 Cellibration Publishing

 
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, are both available at amazon.com.

Gun Violence In Miami Gardens Strikes Again

Gun Violence In Miami Gardens Strikes Again
6/6/16

By, A.Arenas  

The city of Miami Gardens is in the news again for yet another tragic gun violence incident. On June 4, 2016, at what promised to be a fun evening, Alexandra Dean, recent NSU graduate was fatally shot down in a drive by shooting at or around about 9pm in the evening. Ms. Dean was described as being a lovely young woman who worked very hard to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in the challenging program offered at Nova Southeastern University. Alexandra Dean was described as being a very good student who had just received her degree at the commencement ceremony in May. Ms. Dean had just spoken with her mother on Friday evening and was dutifully preparing to take her nursing boards examination. Her mother encouraged her to study hard and be well prepared for her test but she was sure she would pass with flying colors because nursing was Dean’s passion. When her mother, Pauline Dean, learned of the tragedy she immediately flew in from Jamaica. Since Saturday evening Dean’s friends and those who pass by the home where the tragedy took place leave teddy bears, cards, and light candles to pay respects to a light blown out too quickly. Raymond Dean, Alexandra’s father, says he hopes once the shooter has been found that they, ” lock him up for the rest of his life.”

Alexandra Dean, 23, was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, she volunteered her time and efforts to community service, she was very well-liked, and strikingly beautiful. Horrifically, Dean was shot in the head at a house party in the 40 block of Northeast 212th Terrace. She was taken to Aventura Hospital, where she died of her injuries, said police. Police are currently investigating this case and are looking for the person or people behind it.

The Miami Gardens Party was promoted on Instagram as being a “Project X” style party themed after the popular movie. Posts on social media attracted over 200 guests who were offered free food, free drinks, and entertainment. The yard was strewn with broken glass, paper cups, flyers for other parties and quite possibly the casings from the bullets that struck Dean down on Saturday night. Dean’s friends and family began posting to social media in search of anyone who has information about the persons who may have been involved with the shooting of Alexandra Dean. Each social media post was followed #RIPAlex, her story soon became a trending topic.
In response to the tragedy the “See Something, Say Something Rally,” was put together by the Miami Gardens Police Department and family members of people who were murdered and or were victims of gun violence. The “See Something, Say Something Rally,” will be held in Miami Gardens on Thursday at 18665 Northwest 37th Avenue. 
Enough is enough: it is time to bring an end to unnecessary gun violence.  
  
#RIPAlex #NSU #BSN #nurse #college #party #service #stoptheviolence #guns #education #prevention #community #women #girls #change #cellibrationpublishing 

©2016 Cellibration Publishing

Sybrina Fulton: Woman 

By, Ascellia Arenas

4/30/16

This weekend was packed with wonderful events and activities. It was such a rewarding feeling to be invited and welcomed at these various activities and special events. But, there was one moment in time where everything stood still. While at the Miami -Dade County Chapter of Charmettes Annual Scholarship Breakfast, I had the unique opportunity to speak with a woman whom I admire and have so much compassion for. Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin-who was murdered in 2012 by George Zimmerman, was one of the recipients of the “Woman of The Year Award”. At first, the moment seemed surreal because I watched this woman traverse the stress and anxiety of testifying in a murder trial where her son was the victim. I directed two documentaries about the trial and I documented the first rumblings and initial investigation, rallies, and more. I felt her pain and agony while she held her head high and demanded respect for her child that was ripped away from her. I thought to myself “what can you say to her that can even express how much you respect her, her experience, and her testimony”? I was standing in front of the woman who faced the dragon that killed her son in cold blood. To make matters worse, he was exonerated. This tragedy gave birth to our favorite hashtag #BlackLivesMatter 
I spoke, “Good Morning”.  Then I said, “Congratulations on the honor you are receiving today.” She replied, “thank you,” and then, all of a sudden, she doubled back and tilted her head to the side. She said, “let me see your teeth”. I thought it kind of odd, but of course I obliged. Then she asked me about my braces. Of all things, she could have asked me about, she was most interested in my braces! She wondered if they were retainers, how long I would need to wear them, and so on. Then I saw it, it was in that moment when I gave her an opportunity to actually talk to someone about anything other than her slain child, to ask about how someone else lives, to talk to someone who does not have the experience of moving on with her life without her child, to not have to re-hash that event for the millionth time. After all, we have a lot in common: we are black women from South Florida, we have birthed two black male children, we both attended HBCU’s in Florida, and both of us have deep understanding of real grief that profoundly changes your life forever. She wanted to know about my Invisaligns. She just wanted to talk about something “normal”. I was happy to give her that moment. 

  
Later that day, when she gave her speech, she emphasized how she was thrust in to becoming a Civil Rights Activist; she was just a girl who was born and raised in Miami, went to school in Miami, and had a “normal” existence until that day when everything changed. She explained that Psalms 23 is what gets her through the days, weeks, months, and years. She showed me that God doesn’t call the qualified: God qualifies the called.  You better be ready, too! 

  
 My sons are still here alive and well, healthy and happy, I’m blessed not “lucky”. She is missing one of her two sons, forever. The world has its way with her son, Trayvon.  She did not self-destruct. She holds her head high and walks the walk into her destiny every single day. She’s definitely a remarkable example of a virtuous woman. I’m honored to have made her acquaintance. 

 

C.2016 Cellibration Publishing

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S LAST STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS 

Obama’s Last State of The Union Address 

1/13/16

By, Ascellia M. Arenas
  
I needed to ponder about how I really felt after I listened to President Obama’s final State of the Union Address. I know that I’m going to miss the Obamas. I’m going to miss the entire family. 

  
I think the Obamas showed us how to be a real team/couple: demonstrating unrelenting leadership, consciousness,  awareness, power, success, and commitment  to each other and our country. They are representative of how marriage is a blessing and not a curse. For the first time in a long time we got to see what a man and a woman who care about each other, really looks like. They are not competing with each other, they are complimenting each other-and it WORKS. 
  
The Obamas both successfully completed college and law school. They got married in church in front of family and friends. They conceived two children together. They campaigned together as a unified front. He would not allow anyone (any news correspondent, journalist, media outlet) to disrespect him, nor any member of his family. Michelle Obama exudes the same qualities. 

  
You see, in today’s media we see the ladies man (gigolo, pimp) who objectifies women and uses their bodies for recreation and or for personal gain. We also see the image of a woman but she is merely an illusion of hair, make up, exaggerated body parts, with a foul mouth that can only find negative words to speak about her female friends, her man, and ultimately herself. They get attention! Attention equals money! The more money that these puppets generate for the machine, the stronger the machine becomes. The Obamas broke the machine. They redefined the prototype. The Obamas replaced Heathcliff and Claire Huxtable and became our role models of what successful, empowered, intelligent, and real black love looks like. 

  
 As Obama reflects on his term as president, he credits the experience as being positive in making him a better father.  
 He allows his daughters to stand beside him on the world’s stage uplifting them as young women of virtue, worthy and empowered to lead after he has retreated to a quieter lifestyle. We know he will still be leading just in another form, as a supporter and a advisor to new leadership. 

 

  
Barack Obama bared his soul and told us how he felt to be raised by a single mother.  He forged a bond with all members of his family, he showed that a black man, in America can lead his family and the entire country with strength, sensitivity, and empathy.   
The Obama children,  Malia and Sasha have grown up to be intelligent, well-rounded, beautiful, respectful, empowered, young women who are leaders in their own right. 

 
We can see that even though the Obamas are busy leading the free world, they still have time to love, to share, to parent, to be devoted to their family without excuse or apology. 

  
Michelle Obama speaks on her own behalf about education and health. Her platform is her own: she does not need to be silent and hiding behind her husband unlike other First Ladies. She is able to speak for herself because she, in and of herself, is a strong representation of feminine strength and elegance. 

  

  
The Obamas won together. They stayed together. They were accused of foolishness together, they fought back together. In reflection over the two terms Barack Obama served as the first American president of African descent, I can say that I am very proud to have supported his leadership, and to have participated in fundraising and increasing voter registration in an effort to help push forward President Obama’s primary initiative: CHANGE. 

  

President Obama did exactly what he said he was going to do and more. I acknowledge that Obama was honest with us, he held his temper in tact when the going got tough and he led us to this place, here in history where we can say, we witnessed good character and integrity in leadership. 

  

What I know for sure is that I have witnessed the evolution of a man who had a dream and it was fulfilled. More than that President Obama showed us who he is, for real, and he is a true champion with a great sense of humor. 

  
Even when they try to convince us that the change Obama influenced and created was negligible, I’m glad we are SMART enough to read, to listen, to understand that they messed around and “left the gate open”. It is going to be hard to go back to the way we used to be before we knew we were free. Thank you Mr. President. 

  
Sources: Associated Press, Huffington Post, CNN, US Magazine, Occupy Democrats, Facebook, Twitter
C.2016 Cellibration Publishing 

David Bowie’s Triumphant Exit: Music Legend Loses Battle With Cancer at Age 69

By, Ascellia M. Arenas

  

 
Super model and beauty industry mogul Iman and music legend David Bowie are pictured here at the height of their wedded bliss in 1992. 

  
Bowie was said to have fallen in love with Iman at first sight. Iman and David’s daughter, born in 2000, is named Alexandria Zahra Jones, paying homage to Iman’s original name, Zahra which means , desert flower. 

  
Always stylish and on the cutting edge of the art world, Iman and David Bowie made an indelible mark with their vision, editorial prowess, and outspokenness about social issues and societal ills such as racism. 

   Bowie is credited with giving new artists an opportunity to record professionally and tour before the world’s stage. 

 Artists like Luther Vandross and Nile Rodgers were integral members of Bowie’s team of traveling artisans who helped him make musical history.   
Iman took to social media last week to participate in some early promotion for Bowie’s final studio album (28th), “Blackstar”, and to pay homage to her late husband. 

    

David Bowie fought an 18 month long secret battle with cancer until his demise on 1/10/16. He was 69 years old. 

   
 Bowie left a haunting yet poignant music video, Lazarus, as a parting gift for his adoring fans world wide. According to Telegraph magazine, “The producer of Blackstar confirms David Bowie had planned his poignant final message, and videos and lyrics show how he approached his death. David Bowie’s final record was a carefully-orchestrated farewell to his fans, his producer has confirmed,” says Hannah Furness, Arts Correspondent. 

  
The video, Lazarus, was released on Bowie’s 69th birthday just two days before his death, opens with the lyrics: “Look up here, I’m in Heaven!” How befitting the artist, to make an elaborate production of his final act here on earth.

 
  
Bowie will surely be missed. Farewell Ziggy Stardust. 

  

Sources: Inquisitr Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Telegraph Magazine, Us Magazine, Instagram, Twitter

C.2016 Cellibration Publishing 

“Cookies For Everyone!” Taraji P. Henson Snags Golden Globe! 

“Cookies For Everyone!” Taraji P. Henson Snags Golden Globe! By Ascellia M. Arenas
  
Our favorite girlfriend next door wins the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Let’s keep it 100, everybody loves cookies and everybody loves down-to-earth mega actress Taraji P. Henson. The Howard University Alum stole our hearts in her early work in the film Baby Boy and then she won us over when we heard her vocal chops as she crooned “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp”, which earned her an Oscar in 2006. We always see Taraji encourage her contemporaries, friends, and colleagues as they pick up shiny golden statues at other award shows: and, for that reason alone she is more than worthy for her win at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards. 

   
In her own words, “I waited for this moment for 20 years!”

  
Congratulations girl, you earned it.
c. 2016 Cellibration Publishing