Friday, February 14, 2014

Mr. Anthony Graves By Quanda R. Graves

I have always wondered how these mom/pop stores and barbershops in the community stayed abreast with the ever changing and fluctuation of the economy. And when I received the chance to interview Mr. Anthony Graves, I found my answer. The answer is when you care enough about your community you will make things happen.

Mr. Anthony Graves has always known since day one that he wanted to be a barber. He says “It is always something I wanted to do, because I love to create, I love people, children and the community.” He remembers when he was growing up he loved going to the barbershop and said that his barber had a big influence on him.

The place where Mr. Graves’s barbershop resides now was once a barbershop before but was really on it’s last leg of being closed down for good until the opportunity was presented to him to take it over. And that’s exactly what he did; he merged his shop with the old shop named Modernistic and re-birthed the business entirely.

I asked how was he able to turn around a business that was no longer thriving? He explained that the shop needed a resurge of new energy, new customers and then a change-up on the inside and because of that; the person who wanted to get rid of the shop and leave for good, was now encouraged to stay as Mr. Graves provided her with hope and a new inspiration of how things should be, (And she is now like his grandmother). I love that! I asked Mr. Graves what does he think the barbershop does for the community?

 He responded: “it’s a place of information for kids, family, single parents. A lot of times for single parents that have sons they are pleased that their son’s have a place to be. I’m really in tune with their kids. I provide them advice, guidance as well as jobs and I’ve helped raise a lot of kids and it’s a rewarding experience. It’s great that I can help young boys grow to become prominent young men.” Mr. Graves says, that he was suited to be a barber and that a barber is a corner stone of any community. The fellow’s get together and talk on a level we’re all familiar with like sports, politics, 
advice and opinions of many things. And yes just in case you were wonderingMr. Graves has children too! (Smile)

And I know while reading this story what you’re wondering; his last name is Graves, so is there is any relation? Well, we have found that we both have family in the south and we’re going to look into it. So this is to be continued… (We think we may be lost cousins. We’ll see!). You can find Mr. Graves shop located at 1760 West El Segundo Boulevard, Gardena, California 90249 and the name of it is Modernistic/Barber Anthony G. 

Mr. Anthony Graves is a Master Mason (Executive Lodge 69) and is the Vice President of the Executive Men’s Club that provide scholarships for students of a certain G.P.A requirement as well as sponsor many charities. They will be providing a Halloween Haunted House for children of the neighborhood at 5904 South Broadway, Los Angeles, California 90003. He is also an Usher at West Los Angeles Church and has been for three years. Thank you Mr. Graves for being a strong pillar in our community and not minding the responsibility it takes to be a wonderful influence on our today’s youth. California Crusaders Newspaper Salutes you! Keep up the good work. We've got our eye on you! 
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Tehmina Sunny By Quanda R. Graves

Have you ever met someone that no matter what they put their hands on they are just naturally good at it? Well, that’s Tehmina! Born in London she was exposed to the arts very early, she received a scholarship for playing the violin, viola and piano. Tehmina is also a songwriter and vocalist and though she had a very promising and bright future with it all—can you believe she put it all on hold to pursuit her education? Wow!

And pursuit her education she did, she received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors. She attended the University of Leeds in England where her major was Business Information Systems and minor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science and she is fluent in English, Gujarati and Hindi. (You can’t say that’s not commendable). I asked Tehmina “What is it you think makes you so good at everything?” and she sites that it is the Virgo in her with laughter.

Tehmina is rising very fast in both Television and Film and she’s only just embarked upon this industry four years ago. She has already been on some of television’s biggest hit TV shows, such as NCIS, Californication, Heroes and Undercovers and if you think that’s it, that’s what you get for thinking. LOL! Tehmina will always be one step ahead because she has just completed the movie “Elevator” which just came out. She will also be in a movie called “Singularity” starring Neve Campbell and Josh Hartnett 2012 and last and not at all least she is currently working on “Argo” which is Ben Affleck’s anticipated awaited production in collaboration with George Clooney and directed by Ben Affleck.

When talking to Tehmina I asked her how was she able to balance her schedule and she says she has a great team that helps. She currently resides in California and she says she loves it here; she calls it home! If you would like to know more about the beautiful and crazily talented Tehmina Sunny then please visit

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Places to see -- in D.C. by Quanda R. Graves

Traveling is so much fun! The great thing I love about it is going to another state and finding out about the great places to eat, the happening cherishmetns to explore and enjoy. So with all of that being said, I’m going to share with you some of those wonderful treasures I heard about, visited, as well as tell you about the ones I didn’t get a chance to make it to when I was in Washington D.C. Without further ado, places below...

Restaurants: Meze is a Mediterranean restaurant with great food and the best Mojitos ever. Ben’s Chili Bowl, known for the “Half Smoke Sandwich” and as I add “DELICIOUS Chili Cheese Fries.” A historical landmark which is also where president Barack Obama had lunch a week before his inauguration. The Restaurant and Bar Next Door has the same owner as Ben’s Chili Bowl and is more of the club scene with great ambiance, wonderful food and it’s open late night seven days a week. The Bus Boys and Poets is a place I hear with amazing food and wonderful poetry, the best of both worlds, especially for me.

Museums: National Women of Arts Museum has lovely sculptors outside of its establishment that are audaciously beautiful and too vibrant to not stop and look at. And next, the Newseum, they have every newspaper from every country and state. They have a display of all the newspapers in which they change the front pages everyday. I think that is amazing.

Now for a list of all other places to inquire about; Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lincoln Memorial, The Capital, The White House and it’s gift shop and last but not least the Thomas Jefferson Library. And for those who just love clubbing then be sure to go to the 9:30 Club. Below you will find the following links to the places above:

Well, until next time; happy traveling.

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Ben's Chili Bowl By Quanda R. Graves

When visiting another state are you the type of person to look for more than just a good time? I am. I really enjoy having fun but I love to be taught, learn new things, explore historical landmarks and become very intrigued with the educational journey about it behind them. And while in D.C. I was told about this one particular place that was to arouse my taste buds as well as my intellect. The name, Ben’s Famous Chili Bowl!

My friend Myeesha and I went in, the line was long, the inside filled with laughter, music and the wonderful aroma of food. People in line seemed confident in what they wanted, stepped up and placed their order. So, I did too! I didn’t know what to get so I decided to get one of my favorite dishes; chili cheese fries. I’m just going to say DELICIOUS! So after eating I interviewed the inherited owner of the place, Sage Ali. Sage Ali is the eldest son of three and Ben Ali the original owner, father. This is the place that Bill Cosby put on the map, this is the place where all the stars have come to visit anywhere from Mary J. Blige, Bano, Dr. Dre, Russell Crowe and many more (you’d be surprised). This is the place where our president “Barack Obama” ate lunch a week before his inauguration. This is the place where in 1999 the alley adjacent to Ben’s was named Ben Ali Way, and in 2001 inducted into the D.C. Hall of Fame and in 2008 received the key to the city. The accolades list goes on and on.

Ben’s Chili Bowl was created by Ben Ali and his wife Virginia in the year of 1958 and today it is still going strong; it has had its ups and downs but my goodness the fruits of their labor has really flourished. Ben’s Chili Bowl has put all four children through college; it’s a community-based enterprise that everyone calls home. Ben’s Chili Bowl had given many jobs from then til now, continuously empowering their community. To my understanding Bill Cosby proposed to his wife there and that was fifty-two years ago.

 Sadly Mr. Ben Ali passed away on October 7th of 2009 but what I can say that’s great is not only did his legacy live in the place, Ben’s Chili Bowl but also, within his family and the community he lived it. Ben’s Chili Bowl has everything to offer and I’m happy that I was able to embark upon such a place. If you want to know more about Ben’s Chili Bowl, order his “DELICIOUS” Chili, please visit

Don’t forget to checkout Until T.V. at to see my interview with Sage Ali. Enjoy!!

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Andy & Chaz Bugger off to America! By Quanda R. Graves

Let me start off a little different. I had an absolute blast when I got a chance to interview three handsome, fun and great smelling guys that were the two cast members and writer of the new web “British Comedy Series” entitled Andy & Chaz Bugger off to America! The series is about two brothers that are BIG time criminals but are not at all, very good at it!

One brother becomes conflicted (thinking about changing his ways for the good) while the other is having much fun being a bad guy and is destined to make sure his brother’s confliction is kicked. The writer of this fresh new web series is Richard Keith and the two characters are, Andy played by Craig Roberts and Chaz played by Darren Darnborough whom you can also find in “Divine White’s Introduction to Hollywood.”

I asked Richard how this series came about and he explained that they all were apart of an improve group and they once did an improve show about two brothers and that was all he had. But from that little bit, he liked what he’d seen and started to develop the story and go from there. I asked Craig and Darren if they liked playing their characters and they both said they enjoy their characters very much. I also asked if they could relate to their characters in some way (Because they play criminals). And they shared with me their short stories of no comparisons; Craig once got in trouble (arrested) for “clothes line nicking” when he was eleven and Darren got in trouble for “scrumping.” I know, I know, what’s scrumping? It’s when you steal an apple off a tree. LOL! But that is the stint of their short-lived bad boy careers. (Smile). 

I asked them all, Richard, Darren and Craig what they expect to get or hope to see from this show and they explained that they are having a great time doing it and in fact they already have a TV series developed as well as film and they are just looking for someone to come along who really likes it, with great resources so that they can do this on a bigger scale. If you want to know more about the new British web series Andy & Chaz Bugger off to America, please visit their website at

 If you would like to check out my interview with them please go to Until TV at I want to leave you with something they taught me, the word “Bugger” means quick.  Until…

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Judi Shekoni By Quanda R. Graves

I had thee most amazing and wonderful phone interview with a daring young lady by the name of Judi Shekoni on June 20, 2011 around 9:am. And I gotta’ say that she is by far thee most impressive young lady that I’ve ever spoken to. Now, Why do I call her daring? It’s because of how she chooses to live life, the things that she jumps into and what would we would call a challenge is what we would most definitely would be fearful of; and to be honest some of us would never do. 

But before I get into all of that, let’s go back for a moment.

Judi Shekoni was born in Britain and is a mixture of African, Spanish and British descent and is a very successful film and television actress. Judi has been at this profession for years and has her hand in many things, so it was only appropriate for me to ask her what is her inspiration.

She responded there is no one person that she can credit. She explains that she reads a lot and there are people that she respects such as Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins, Oprah and Will smith (Extra emphasizes on Will Smith).And as we continued the conversation we talked about her latest role in arise, which is Zafrina a vampire with special skills that teaches Bella how to fight in the final installment of the Twilight Franchise.

Now I’m going to revisit the daring (part). When I was reading about her I found that she had sky dived and did some shark fishing. Huh? So I asked, did you really do that? She responded, yes. I was on a show called Celebrity Fear Factor and she literally trained herself to have no fear and those were just some of the things she had to do.

Like for example she was put in the trunk of a car and someone pushed it into the river and while she waits holding her breath to be released/freed, someone has to go and find the key. Wow! Daring right? And what’s so impressive is that while she was doing all of this you wouldn’t have ever known that she suffered from seeing-eye problems. Which let her to her most recent decision to have eye surgery at Dr. Khanna’s institution in Westlake Village, California. She was so excited to, because she couldn’t believe that for her whole life of having the vision of 3.5 without glasses she had the opportunity to be there for only 20 minutes worth of tests, then the next week went in for a 10 minute painless procedure and now have 20/20 vision.

Judi believes in tackling barriers; confronting them with no fear, head on. I told her she has truly inspired me. She explained it was something she heard Madonna say, which was “I’m going to suck life dry” and why not. Wow! Now, when Judi isn’t doing all of that, she is maintaining her company “Make It America" which helps entertainers pursue their dreams in America, and she is also a published author of two books. 

Judi as well just created and set up a seminar of  two days of acting LA workshops, starting on the 9th of July. More information can be found at I asked Judi what was next on her to do list and surprisingly she said “Just to become a better person, more wise, more knowledgeable, pass it on and because I love acting, I want to strive for longevity.”

I was blown away and then when I thought it couldn’t get better this is her quote:
“Don’t follow the path but create your own and leave a trail.” Words to live by! 

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Natasha Alam By Quanda R. Graves (Until)

I had the pleasure of speaking with Natasha Alam; not quite sure who she is? Well, if one of your shows include watching the HBO’s smash hit TV show True Blood (in which it should be) then you’ve seen Natasha playing the role of the sexy siren pole dancer known by the name of Yvetta. I asked Natasha how she came to get the role and she explained that she had been auditioning for many different roles of True Blood every since its inception. However nothing seem to pan out. She then heard of this role and proceeded to audition again though her luck had not been good in the past and low and behold she got the role! And it’s been expanding surprisingly ever since. I told her that is a true testament of the words “Never give up.”

The funny thing is two years prior to the role she took a pole dancing class do to a friend asking her to try it and though she of course had to be refreshed for her now current role, it indeed came in handy for what she wanted to do. And ladies you know I had to ask if she recommended the exotic exercise regimen right? And what do you know? She does. She says that it’s motivating and inspiring.
Natasha and I also talked about the wonderful event happening on August 27th called “Rock the Mansion” party. This party will be nothing but great fun with an eighty’s theme (80’s) with Natasha as a celebrity judge and the beautiful thing about this party is not only will it be held at the Hugh Hefners Playboy Mansion, it is also aimed to help the charity called My Life My Power, which is to help children and adults who have in some way suffered from the horrible action of being bullied.

Besides that, whats next for Natasha is a movie that is right now in pre-production called The Dead
Sea (a horror movie), which will probably be out sometime next year.   I had a wonderful chat with Natasha and toward to the end of our conversation I asked Natasha when she is not busy what is her pass time? She replied “Hiking. I love it. It’s my time alone, it’s like my reset button.”

If you would like to know more about Natasha Alam please visit and for more information about the “Rock the Mansion” party please visit Please, as my last words for this piece, please help with anything you can do to stop bullying. For it is truly mentally and physically damaging and if there is anything we can do to help, we should. You never know how much of a positive impact we can have on someone’s life by helping a person out of a bind and making their environment a little better. 


Emhrys Cooper by Quanda R. Graves

A while ago I was invited to the Beverly Hills Film Festival to catch the opening night film screening of Walk a Mile in My Pradas with Emhrys Cooper. I later got a chance to interview him and it was indeed a very pleasant conversation as he felt the same. When I first met Emhrys, we were waiting to see the movie and while waiting he wanted me to know that he was nothing like the character he played in the movie. At the time I had no idea what he was talking about.  So when I saw the movie, I then saw the character he played which was a gay boyfriend. I got it! LOL! 

However “Walk a Mile in My Pradas” is a good movie with a message teaching others not to judge people by their sexual orientation and also about accepting people for who they are. In which I appreciate. Now, below is the conversation that took place:

Quanda: It is understood that you definitely have a lot of love for the theatre and you’ve been no stranger to TV and movies. Which do you prefer?

Emhrys: I actually like them all because I get bored very quickly. It’s like children trying to choose. But I love the stage.

Quanda: You have three movies coming out later this year. Silver Case, I want to get married and Walk a Mile in My Prada’s being first. How big of a challenge was it to play the character you played in Walk a Mile in My Pradas?

Emhrys: It was fun to play. It’s good for an actor to step outside the box. It’s a little scary because of course you don’t want to be stamped as one character for your career. But it had a good message so it was fine.

Quanda: I watched the movie last night and I really liked it. I really believed your character and when I met you, you explained that you are nothing like the character you played in that movie. How are you able to do that?

Emhrys: I have a great acting coach Margie Haber. She actually trained Halle Berry. She taught me to channel living life as that character. And this was an indie move so we didn’t have a lot of time. Basically two takes and you’re done. I’m very aware of what I do.

Quanda: Seems as though people really take to you with your natural charm that you’ve given to the roles you’ve taken. Like the rave reviews you received for your character Mr. Sloan in the play “As you like.” How does it make you feel the way you’re being received?

Emhrys: It’s the nicest thing in the world, because rejection came first. I’ve come close to millions of roles and didn’t get them. So this, this just makes it all worthwhile.

Quanda: I know you have a love for theatre and just acting period. So my question would be do you care at all about the awards, all of the accolades that came with it?

Emhrys: I know it sounds a bit cliché to say “I’m not in it for the accolades” but honestly it’s the least important. This takes a lot of hard work and determination. My main goal is to make a difference, inspire through entertainment. Affect people for the better.

Quanda: What’s next on Emhrys list of things to do?

Emhrys: I’m trying to figure that out. (Laughter) I have a lead in a movie musical and I’m working on a movie called Isolation (it’s a thriller and I play an evil character). I’m also working on a Lifetime movie that I can’t talk too much about. And they are bringing back my theatre character Mr. Sloan for the play “As you Like” for a longer run this time.  (Excitement)

Quanda: Where can people find the movie “Walk a Mile in My Pradas?”

Emhrys: They can find it on Facebook;

Thank you Emhrys for a wonderful interview and the compliment on my questions. I’m most appreciative that you noticed and enjoyed the interview. I look forward to many more with you and wish you many blessings on your journey.

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MLK Monument Celebration - Postponed! by Quanda R. Graves

QS Images
As you all know, a lot of us in the media were scheduled to pack our bags, hop on a flight and proceed to head out to Washington D.C. of course with much excitement to cover the highly anticipated Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Celebration Dedication Ceremony. It was something that everyone wanted to be apart of and see. History was being made; however a lot of us in media received the press release from the National Memorial Project Foundation way before heading out, that they postponed the dedication ceremony do to Hurricane Irene

They also further explained that though the ceremony was postponed the MLK Memorial would still be open to the public on specific days and times. 

As we all heard and/or read this news, the influence came, where some canceled their flights while others like myself despite what we heard went anyway. One, because I had no reservations, no feelings of concerns whatsoever (those who are on my FB friends list) can tell you that. Second, a friend of mine and I already paid for everything and even if we would have canceled our flight we wouldn’t have gotten our money back and we were NOT about to let that happen. Besides, deep within there was something in my being telling me we should go anyway. 

So we moved forward with our plans and what do you know? We arrived in Washington D.C. August 26th. Happy to get settled in our room, we then headed out to see the nightlife, have fun and return. Upon returning, once comfortable, we turned on the television and there it was, Hurricane Irene filtering every news channel at 3:30am in the morning, as it was already August 27th. The news explained that the winds and rain were to pick up later that day and that it would be in our best interest to stock up on water, food and sandbags. 

They urged that after all of our errands to stay in, close the blinds and curtains to our windows and expect winds to be about 30 mph while rain might be 1” to 3” inches high around 2pm; and at 6pm winds and rain should increase heavily. So my friend and I went to the Giant Grocery Store, stocked up (because room service was not going to be an option). We headed back for what we thought was going to be a long night and just in time too, as we received a warning from the hotel to stay in, close the windows and order soon cause the kitchen was closing shortly. So her and I talked for a moment and then, we heard the whispers of the wind, the rustle of the trees, the pitter, patter of the rain and spontaneous taps of debris on our window.  Nothing really but a heavy windstorm without the aggressiveness that whole night, though I must admit it, it’s a great sound to sleep by. 

Anyway, the next morning, August 28th we opened the window and saw that it was just a little gloomy outside, though we still decided to get out, because it was going to be our last day in D.C. and we were going to see something. So, I grabbed my purse and all of a sudden, we saw this BIG BURST OF SUN, hit the sky, the clouds were few and the winds were light but very nice weather. So, off to the MLK Memorial we went!

The day was absolutely beautiful, clearly amazing and as we arrived, we walked through the two giant stones that were parted for a walkway, accompanied by waterfalls on both sides as you walk in. Then as you keep walking forward there you see the very big, 30’feet tall Stone of Hope; looked just like Martin Luther King, Jr.  Justice was done. The essence of the man, captured, the artwork, astounding. The sculptor, Master Lei Yixin most definitely earned his. On both sides of the stone read some of Martin Luther King, Jr’s infamous quotes:  “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope” and the other side reads “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.” When we got a chance to finally get over our elatedness we looked around, only to find a north and south wall with a collection, altogether fourteen quotes. It was truly monumental, I only wish he was here to see his “Dream” come true. Where everyone would are somewhat brothers and sisters regardless of skin color or their social status and you can kind of say we’re almost there, but because of that I believe that’s why his turn out was indeed great and fruitful.

Overall, this was a beautiful experience and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see it and I am also glad that we didn’t let what seemed likely to be a disaster for us, stop us. Thank God I went with my intuition. Just think if we hadn’t gone, we would have missed out on something engagingly beautiful. What a blessing to be able to share this with you! I hope that when the time comes again for them to set up and move forward with the ceremony that I will be able to share that with you as well. This was already a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. Wow!
But I ask God to send his love, comfort, strength and protection to all those who were affected by Hurricane Irene. 

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TWIST: A hot new twist on a Dickens classic! By Quanda R. Graves (Until)

 There is a new play in town… The name is, TWIST! TWIST is a new American Musical inspired by the Dickens classic Oliver Twist. Set in New Orleans in 1928. Directed and choreographed by dancer extraordinaire, Debbie Allen.

The play features American Idol’s Tamyra Gray, the book is by William F. Brown and Tina Tippit, lyrics by Tena Clark and music by Tena Clark and Gary GrimTWIST, an orphan in search of home finds family in the most unexpected places.

My husband and I attended the play on June 22nd and I have to say we truly enjoyed it; from the music, to the costumes and to the choreography (Debbie really out did herself). The cast was absolutely grand and exciting!

Favorite 1st scene - Twist sleeping in the funeral home and the ghosts come to visit him. Favorite 2nd scene - Twist falls asleep at the lawyer’s home and the ghost of his father comes to visit with friends.

You have to see it! This play was nothing short of spectacular, dazzling, fun and funny. I recommend this play over and over again. This play is great for your whole family and refreshing for date night. It’s a wonderful experience and who knows, Debbie Allen just might sit in the audience with you. Besides she sat right in front of us! (Smile)

The play is happening at the Pasadena Playhouse from June 14th – July 17th and to purchase tickets please call (626) 356-7529 or visit the website at Also just in case you were wondering a standing ovation was in order. 

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Hakeem Kae-Kazim by Quanda R. Graves

Tall, dark and handsome with the brightest smile you’ve ever seen; actor extraordinaire, Hakeem Kae-Kazim allowed California Crusaders Newspaper (CCN) to sit with him and talk about life, his love of acting and the characters he’s played thus far. Charming and welcoming he was, as we met again for the third time, for Hakeem has been a busy man. 

As I covered the past Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) events of opening night and night of tribute, he was there both times. First he was there to support the premiere movie “35 and Ticking” for Russ Parr, second, he attended the night of tribute as he was a presenter to Tessa Thompson for the rising star award and lastly he had a mini spoof film at PAFF showing, entitled CIS: Las Gidi. 

 Not to mention he had recently casted roles on Criminal Minds, Navy NCIS Los Angeles and the movie, The Fourth Kind as a professor (which he shared that he enjoyed playing that character very much). 

Hakeem, famously known in South Africa came to the states five years ago and hit the ground running with no intentions to stop. Hakeem has been around for a very long time and has definitely mastered his craft in theatre, television, and movies and has won many awards. I guess some would ask if he is done since he has covered so many feats in his career, but that’s not the case because when you speak with Hakeem you’ll understand that acting is what he loves to do and in his words “I love acting. I can’t see myself doing anything else. 

There is nothing better than doing what you love to do.” You can catch Hakeem in the upcoming movie “Black Gold” out later this year.For more information about Hakeem Kae-Kazim please explore
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Amelia Jackson-Gray by Quanda R. Graves

The beautiful Amelia Jackson-Gray, is a quiet storm approaching. If you’re not aware of who she is than just look to HBO’s show, Entourage; where she played Amy, the best friend to the character of Sloan and Vincent’s love interest. Though you wouldn’t have ever guest that she went in for the role of Sloan for the audition. She is lovely, down to earth, friendly and crazily gorgeous and though she takes her goals serious, seems as though she is a very at ease and gentle soul.

Amelia, the elegant, humble, voice over queen and theatre expert, is making her break through into movies as well. She say’s she is taking it one step at a time, just going with the flow by doing what feels right to her which is what has gotten her thus far. Amelia’s body of work is eclectic, fun, very interesting and you can tell that she’s going to be here for a very long time.

The passionate actress believes that acting has been her calling since a very young age. Amelia is dedicated, open and brave as she plays the role of Claire Simpson in her latest movie, “Deep Gold”. A British journalist from National Geographic Photographer; with this role she most definitely prepared herself for challenges as she learned how to use an SLR Camera like the professionals, as well as embark upon a new hobby, scuba diving which is now something she will continue to indulge in because of her wonderful experiences.

“Deep Gold” is in theatres now. If you would like to learn more about Amelia Jackson-Gray please go to and


The Magic Johnson Theatre turns into the New Rave! By Quanda R. Graves

CCN was there at 9:30 am on June 29, 2011 to cover the story of a welcoming change in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Community as we all watched the Ribbon Cut Ceremony of the Grand Opening of the New Rave Motion Picture Theatre. Just in case you weren’t aware the Rave Motion Picture Theatre is the replacement of what used to be The Magic Johnson Theatre

The Rave is a fifteen Theatre show and is very nice on the inside; very contemporary, colorful and has a bright cheery feel to it along with great 3D posters of movies already in theatre’s and coming soon as you walk in. The Rave has the luxury of having a neighbor like legendary dancer Debbie Allen to come and welcome them to the neighborhood and present them with her Dance Academy students to perform a very eclectic dance show.

The Ribbon Cut Ceremony had a great turn out and in attendance there were a few familiar faces, such as Councilmen Bernard Parks, Community Leaders Najee Ali, and would you believe Chris Tucker was there? Yes that’s right! He was actually the only celebrity other than Debbie Allen there to support the community. It was a beautiful sunny morning and we watched them cut the ribbon and as we supplied the applause, it seemed like a very new beginning.

The New Rave also gave away free medium popcorn up through the July 4th weekend. It was great to see something new and improved in the community and we hope it brings about more change. Can’t wait!

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Divine White’s Introduction to Hollywood By Quanda R. Graves (Until)

There is a new comedy series in town and you better watch! That is if you just don’t’ want to laugh. LOL! CCN got chance to catch up with the writer, producer and star of the show, Alison Winters and executive producer James Boyle and all of the cast members at the Bungalow Club for the pre-screening on May 9, 2011 of the latest and newest British comedy web series called “Divine White’s Introduction to Hollywood.”

Divine White’s Introduction to Hollywood is a brand new British comedy web series that is set inside the acting studios of the renowned ‘mystic mentor’ Divine White. They’ve allowed five actors on this unique six-step program to success.

The cast members include the following: Alison Winters, Kelly McNair, Larry Nemecek, Frazer Douglas, Damien Blackshaw, Mary Wells, JR May, Elizabeth Adamczyk, and Darren Darnborough.
When CCN got a chance to meet everyone for interviewing, it was nothing but all smiles and great, yet hilarious fun. Everyone was bright, bubbly, more than a riot, with lovely accents. The cast couldn’t help but be upbeat and in a joyous mood for the web series first aired on April 27th and has already been nominated for the LA Comedy Award for best web series. Congratulations to Alison Winters, James Boyle and the whole cast! After watching it I have to say it’s well deserved. I also just have to say to, what a great looking group of people. (Smile)

If you would like to know more about the show please go visit the website at and to enjoy the interview please go to

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Nonhle Thema “Goes to Hollywood” By Quanda R. Graves

Does the name Nonhle Thema ring any bells to you? Well it should.  Ms. Nonhle Thema is a young lady that has taken the world by storm. Her resume will do more than floor you. She has an array of titles: leading television personality, Model and T.V. Host. 

Nonhle has just recently launched her very own production company ‘Nonhle Thema Productions‘, with her first music video by South Africa’s Liquid Deep ‘Fairytale” and if that isn’t enough; she is the Global Ambassador for the product, Dark & Lovely (recently replacing Kelly Rowland). 

Nonhle is the first African American for Dark & Lovely to represent worldwide and is the first celebrity to endorse their body lotion. Wow! Talk about breaking down barriers.

My first time meeting Ms. Nonhle Thema, was December 9th of 2010 at the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker play given by Debbie Allen. It was my first photography gig. She and her crew were getting set up like everyone else to get ready to encounter the stars. She was bright, friendly, and bubbly even. Five feet tall, dazzling with this zest for life personality and ready to do her job and interview the red carpet celebrities.

After the event was over she and I talked and what a lovely conversation; a friend of mine snapped our picture and that was it. I back then did not know at all whom I was talking to. Then someone
whispered to me, “ You know she is the Global ambassador for Dark & Lovely?” I responded really? My surprise was because of her sweet demeanor and humble attitude, she said nothing, and I believe I became a fan that night. So as time went on and I received the chance to interview her, I must say speaking to her only confirmed why anyone or myself would be a fan. She carries herself with the upmost respect and gives respect to others. You truly feel like someone when you’re in her presence. 
Nonhle Thema has done so much, so what’s in her future you ask? Well, her new reality show called “Nonhle Goes to Hollywood” just aired on February 9th on DSTV South Africa’s VUZU (channel 123) and not only is she Executive Producer of the show but I hear she is the first South African to have a reality show shot in America. 

The show is about her going from South Africa, to America, sharing the whole process of her beginning to where she is today. Continue to keep your eye on Nonhle cause I have a feeling she is not at all by far, done. If you would like to find out more information about Nonhle Thema please go to

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