Saturday, December 30

Saying Goodbye to James Brown

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It was standing room only at the James Brown Arena, in Augusta Georgia, as entertainers, activists, and everyday people gathered to celebrate the home coming of the legend James Brown. Reverands Al Sharpton, and Jessie Jackson, Michael Jackson, (MC) Hammer, and Chuck D, were among those who attended.

The event started with a video presentation Brown's performances, followed by several musical tributes, and a eulogy from Rev. Sharpton.

Brown was a legend, and there's a reason why he will always be the "Godfather of Soul." His music spanned generations, and he left numerous hits which inspired, uplifted, and gave us a reason to be "black and proud."

Funeral program (PDF)

Click below to see what Rap artist Chuck D said about Brown's legacy.

YouTube version
Download Video (wmv)

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Friday, December 29

USF Game Day - Episode 3

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Congratulations to the University of South Florida Bulls. The team defeated the ECU Pirates in the first ever Bowl.

If you couldn't make it, check out the video below.

YouTube version
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Thursday, December 28

USF Walk Through - Episode 2

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The USF Bulls visit Birmingham's Legion Field for a pre-game walk through, and Jim Leavitt talks about his expectations before the Bowl.

Watch below.

YouTube version
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RIP Gordon Davis

I've just learned that a former co-worker of mine has passed. I worked only briefly with Gordon Davis back in 1998. He was the overnight photographer, when I worked as a freelance assignment editor at WJLA-TV. It was my first official TV job out of college.

Listening to police scanners for breaking news, and answering viewer calls in the middle of the night was hardly glamorous. Working on the desk meant that I would also have to assign Davis to cover fires, crimes, and accidents. I think I only spoke to him face-to-face once or twice, but we spoke often by phone throughout the morning shift. He was always patient, and helpful, even though I was very green, and inexperienced.

Watch the tribute to Davis here.

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Check Deez


Viewfinder Blues - The life of a news photographer
Live Crash - From TV station KSBW-TV Louisville KY
GlendaleDailyPlanet - Citizen produced news

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Wednesday, December 27

USF Bowl - Episode 1

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YouTube version
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Monday, December 25

R.I.P James Brown

From CNN
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I was planning to take the day off from posting, but news happens when it happens. Please take a moment to remember a man who left an undeniable stamp on music. The Godfather of Soul, James Brown passed on Christmas day after being hospitalized for pneumonia. From hip-hop, to funk, and disco, Brown's music influenced countless musicians. His dance moves were imitated by a young Michael Jackson, and his music was sampled by countless rap artists in the 1990's. Brown was socially conscious, revolutionary, and plain ole funky. Brown was born in Barnwell, South Carolina in 1933. He was 73.

My favorite song by him is, "The Big Payback." The funny thing is, I think I heard it sampled in a rap song first. Special thanks to Rhymes with Snitch, for posting the news.

Take a moment of silence for the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and watch his 1960's hit, "I Feel Good," below.

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Friday, December 22

Who is Santa?

Just in time for the holidays, a timely video from your neighborhood urban reporter. Before you watch the clip, please reflect on the spirit of the season. This is a time to be with family, and a time to be generous. I didn't do much celebrating growing up, because my family was involved in a religon that didn't observe Christmas. We found ways to compensate, but now that I'm older I've grown to realize the importance not in the day, but the spirit of the holiday.

Everyone have a great, safe one. Spread a little love, joy, and peace to the world because we need it.

The young man in this clip breaks down the science of Santa.

NOTE: MyUrbanReport will take a few days off. I haven't decided whether it will resume after Christmas or New Years so have a happy one if you don't hear from me.

YouTube version

Thursday, December 21

The Latest on Reparations

From Donna Lamb
I haven't seen any mainstream media coverage on the latest developments surrounding reparations, but it looks like the Portland Independent Media Center is on top of the story.

On December 13th, the US Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld fraud claims brought by African Americans against 15 major US banks, insurers, and transportation companies that concealed their slave trading histories from consumers - knowing all the while that their customers would want this information. In his 17-page opinion, Judge Richard Posner said that a seller of goods who hides his company's slave trading history because he's afraid of losing customers is "guilty of fraud."

I don't care what you say, this country has yet to heal from the wounds. While some think reparations is about a monetary payment, it's a complex issue that has global implications. Don't think we aren't living with the direct effects of this country's injust past. Though people are now "free," there are social, economic, and psychological chains that have yet to be be broken.

Wednesday, December 20

Urban Reporters Television

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If you're just finding this VBlog thanks for tuning into my frequency.

People have been asking me about the show I'm working on for Black Family Channel. It's called UR TV, which stands for Urban Reporters Television. The idea of the show is to promote and encourage citizen journalism. If you haven't heard about citizen journalism, it's when non professionals engage in the reporting, and sharing of information. It's happening through blogs, and video sites like, and YouTube. I didn't know know too much about citizen journalism a few months ago, but I'm learning more each day.

The whole concept with UR TV is: We're looking for people in the community to produce, shoot, edit stories, and include a little personal perspective on the story...kinda like I do. So far, the submissions are slowly coming in. We're developing the pilot, and working on the first four episodes. This is a great opportunity for people to tell stories that mainstream media isn't.

We only need 20 airable stories to get the show going. If you care about your community, know something about video production, or have a camcorder that's collecting dust. Find a story, shoot it (interview people), edit it, and share it. It's that simple. Keep tuning in.

Check Deez
If you want to learn more about citizen journalism

Special props to Leonard Witt (, for lacing up my shoes.

Check out the pilot below.

BFC's Myspace

get YouTube embed code here
Download video (wmv)

Tuesday, December 19

Dreamgirls Interview

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The movie Dreamgirls is coming to theaters Christmas day. It stars Beyonce, Jaime Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and rising stars Jennifer Hudson, and Keith Robinson. Robinson is a singer/actor who plays "C.C." In the movie, his music career comes between his relationship with his sister Effie (Jennifer Hudson). I never saw the Broadway musical, but Dreamgirls will make you cheer.

I recently sat down with Robinson to talk about the movie.
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Click below for interview.

click here for YouTube version

Monday, December 18

Media Reform

The National Conference for Media Reform will be held in Memphis TN, the week of January 8th. Journalist and author Bill Moyers, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Amy Goodman from Democracy Now, and Hip-Hop Activist Davy D are among those attending. It's not too late to register.

Check Deez

Here are some cool videoblogs I've run across in my online travels.
TodayIfeelLike - The daily adventures of Larry D. (This is one of the brothas who inspired me).
People2PeopleTV - Citizen journalism at its best.
Flush TV - For all your plumbing needs.

All Basketball Players Don't Fight

What happened to good sportsmanship in professional sports? Players are fighting, spitting, and stomping on each other - and for what? These cats are making millions, and they're acting like thugged out school yard bullies. While the media focuses on the violence, and inappropriate conduct, I'll shift your attention to what the grown athletes are doing to give back.

Former Atlanta Hawk Mike Glenn, has a foundation that helps deaf athletes. He's hosting a two-day celebration that's raising money for his camp, and honoring Black althletes. On Sunday, he hosted a fundraiser that brought together some great ex-players. James "Red" Moore (Negro League Player/Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame), Ralph Sampson (Houston Rockets), Michael Douglas (Harlem Globetrotters), Wyomia Tyus (Olympian), and many others.

The two-day event continues with an exibit, that honors an un-legendary boxer named Tom Molineaux. Molineaux fought his way out of slavery with his fists. It's a brutal tale, but he battled other slaves to entertain the masters. He eventually won his freedom, and went on to become a boxing champion.

Press Release(.pdf) article

So take a look, because some athletes are working on good things.

Friday, December 15

Kash is King Training

On Saturday, Atlanta youth will get some life lessons through the game of chess. Orrin Hudson started Be Someone Inc., to teach kids how their decisions affect their lives. He's a former Alabama state trooper, who's teaching the game to kids across the country. He's hosting an event at the Redman-Trotti Library in Lithonia, GA. The class starts at 10:30 and will be followed by a book signing.


From PJNet
If you're interested in learning about the online media revolution, or how to make money from blogging, how to create a podcast, or a video blog, you may want to attend the Connect Because You Can conference. It will be at Kennesaw State of February 10th, 2007.

Who's Who Pays Tribute to Women

For the past seventeen years, a networking event in Atlanta has brought out the city's top business, community, and political leaders. It's called, "Who's Who in Black Atlanta," and this years' event celebrated the contributions of women. Mayor Shirley Franklin was honored, as well as more than a dozen others.

The event's founder, publisher Sunny Martin is the C.E.O. of Who's Who Publishing, and each year he releases a book, that highlights the most influential Black Americans. Jessie Jackson, Ambassador Andrew Young, Hank Aaron, and radio personalities Ronda Smith, and Frank Ski were among the attendees. The Mayor did not attend due to the recent death of her mother.

See what people had to say about the event below.

click here for YouTube version

Thursday, December 14

What happened CNN?

From Journal-isms & Under the News
Looks like Time Warner cable had some problems during its broadcast of a CNN special on racism that aired Wendesday night. Some viewers in Texas missed about five minutes of the Paula Zahn program when the signal went to black.

Jeezy's Album Release Party


I was planning to bring you some exclusive coverage of Young Jeezy's album release party, which was last night. I got media credientials through and everything. There was one problem. "The Snowman," was a no show, at least on the red carpet... Or I should say the black carpet cuz that's what color it was. He apparently snuck into the venue for his private concert without speaking to any media. So, it was a waste of time, well almost.

I met a freelance journalist/blogger named L.T. He's a music/entertianment writer, and his blog, is hot. He designed it himself, and he's well connected in the music world. Don't think I'm not going to interview him about his thoughts on the blogging revolution. Stay tuned.

I Learned From The Best

My Urban Report was inspired by a few events that have happpened in my life. I left a stable career in TV news to start a citizen journalism show called UR TV, and through research I learned that blogs are a big part of the citizen journalism movement. As a reporter, it seemed that urban issues are most often covered in the context of crime stories, and we all know that there are other positive things happening that don't get any play. I found some other video podcasts created by brothas (see Black Man in China, and and thought, "I could do that." Since I'm mostly working to aquire citizen journalism video stories, and not reporting everyday, I needed an outlet to inform, and do my thang.

I learned almost everything I know about the news business in Tampa Florida at WTVT-TV, Fox 13 News. I worked there for eight years, and started as a lowly Reporter Trainee in 1998 with no on-air experience. I worked behind the scenes for a little more than a year learning how to shoot, edit, and write. Then one day, I was out with a photographer named Larry Towe. We were covering a captured gator story, and he talked management into letting me report on it.

Even though I was hired as a "Reporter Trainee," the training came from the school of hard knocks. To be honest, I sucked for a good while. I struggled at times to make deadline, which is a big no-no, especially in a big news market like Tampa, and I'm pretty sure I was the laughing stock of the newsroom. I was told I couldn't cut it, that I didn't have what it takes to be a reporter, and I was put on probation. There were a couple of times when I was taken off of stories because the managers didn't have faith in me. I never lost faith in myself however, and in my heart I knew I could do it.

A photographer named Rod Finch knew I could do it too. He came to Fox from one of the competing stations in the market. We hit it off like lost brothers and from the get go he let me know that he wouldn't just watch me struggle. He helped me relax during my live shots. He would count my "ums," and helped me with my delivery. The best thing about it, working with Finch was like hanging out with a homie. No matter what story we were on, we would find a way to make the day pass, and we had fun. Next thing you know, I was covering every story thrown my way. I even filed a reports for CNN, and Fox News Channel.

My shining moment came when the University of Florida Gators beat UCLA for the National Championship. I'm a UF alumnus, and my station sent me to Gainesville to cover the fans. I almost jumped out of my chair when Finch called me saying, "Road trip!!!" Not only did I get to visit my old school, I got to work with my road dog. We worked our asses off, but it was hella fun. I'm sure the video is floating around on YouTube.

Leaving Fox 13 was a hard decision. I went from a scrub to getting a lot of love. I worked hard, and it paid off. Tampa is like a second home for me. I've visited a few times since moving to the "A." During each visit, I've brought my camera with me. Most of my former co-workers know about "My Urban Report," so here's a little tribute to all of my friends on the news grind. Plus I'm sure most of you have never set foot inside a TV station, so check the video below.

click here for YouTube version

Wednesday, December 13


Once a week, community leaders, activists, and politicians gather at an event called NewsmakersLive in Atlanta to discuss issues affecting the community. It's a great place to listen, learn, and network with local and national figures. I learned about Newsmakers when I was searching for someone to interview for a citizen journalism segment for the show I'm working on.

The organizers of the event stream interviews on the Internet site to provide an uncensored conversation that you won't find on television. It's a form of citizen journalism, though the host Maynard Eaton is a veteran broadcast journalist (I'll post my interview with him and the executive producer shortly).

I've been a regular attendee because I've been video taping the event for the last few weeks (none of my shows have been posted yet). One night the light bulb in my head went off to take advantage of the opportunity, and interview people for My Urban Report. I recently met a gentleman named Coz Carson there. He's a former Atlanta radio talk show host, and now works as the Program Director and hosts a syndicated show at NewsTalk 1080 in Miami. The station is owned by Radio One, the nation's largest black owned radio company.

I wanted to know his thoughts on the state of Black America and what can be done to help misguided youth.

Tuesday, December 12

Urban Viewers Like ABC News

From Journal-isms
Richard Prince reports that NBC is first among white viewers but last for blacks.

NBC's Brian Williams "Is First Among Anchors," a New York Times headline reported Monday, citing new "sweeps month" Nielsen ratings — but the "first" ranking does not hold true among African Americans and Latinos.

At evening news time, those viewers continue to prefer ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson," according to ratings breakouts made available to Journal-isms by Nielsen Media Research.

Chicken Vending Machine

From Girl600
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This is a hot mess. A chicken vending machine!!?? Girl 600 says:

Its a setup Black people. Don't use it. Show some restraint. Why is heart disease and every other disease our number one killer? Why? Because of stuff like this. Join me, your leader, in denouncing these finger licking, hot sauce dripping, jive talkin' machines. I encourage you to destroy them whenever you see them.

All I can do is shake my head. Please let me know if you spot one of these foul machines.

A Professor with a New Profession

Education is great, but sometimes it's good to listen to that little voice inside. Kimberly Denise Hearn, Ph.D. is an example of that. She has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, and two masters degrees, but she decided to quit being a professor to become a jewelry designer.

Check out her myspace by clicking here.

You can also see her create by watching below.

click here for YouTube version

Monday, December 11

An Iraqi Urban Report


Leonard Witt writes about an Iraqi citizen journalism site that documents life in the war ravaged country. It's called Alive in Baghdad.

A Visit to the Scene of a Deadly Police Shooting

Right before Thanksgiving, an elderly woman named Kathryn Johnston was shot and killed by Atlanta police in her home. They were serving a "no knock" warrant which means narcotics officers didn't have to knock before they entered. Apparently a drug suspect told officers that drugs were being sold out of the home, and when officers entered, the 88-year-old woman who kept a gun for protection fired and hit one of them. Police returned fire and killed her, but they didn't find any crack inside. The whole situation is suspect because a confidential informant is saying police told him to say that he bought crack from the home, but says he didn't.

On Saturday, I visited the scene to see it for myself. The home is boarded up, but neighbors continue to visit a memorial that's been growing ever since the shooting happened. The New Black Panter Party was out organizing a rally to protest police brutality and everyone has an opinion about what happened. Hopefully the truth will come out in the investigation, but some people doubt it.

NOTE: All if my information is coming from news reports. The media has reported two different ages for Ms. Johnston. First she was reported to be 92, then 88, now it seems she's 92 again.

click here for YouTube version

Saturday, December 9

It's Official


When I created this blog back in August, I had no idea what it would evolve into. It was mainly inspired by my efforts to create a citizen journalism show called UR TV (Urban Reporters Television) which is now being developed by Black Family Channel.

As I started researching, I learned how blogs are playing a big role in the citizen journalism movement and there are now numerous sites that feature citizen created content (visit

Anyway, when I named this "My Urban Report," I didn't think to check to see if the url was taken. So I though I'd have to rename it because I figured wasn't available. To my surprise, I was wrong. So now all you have to do is type to find me.

Maybe one day I'll have an official site, but for now, I have to thank Blogger for making it so easy to be a citizen reporter.

Birth of the New School

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In the words of Yoda, "There is another." Growing up, my brother and I used to make beats together, and spit rhymes on the mic. I ended up working as a news reporter, and he now works as a video editor for KNTV (NBC 11), in the SF Bay Area. Is is a coincidence? How could it be. Poppa Charlie Channel is a freelance voice over artist, and his boys are knee deep in the media game.

Take a moment to tune into 16 bars of fire, courtesy my young revolutionary brother Salim, Tha Urban Poet. By the way, he does it all, shoots, edits, and blesses the mic.

click here for Salim's Myspace page

This is a sample of the "Soul Truth."

Friday, December 8

Manny's Birthday

For those of you who are curious, I went to Tampa for a surprise birthday party for a good friend of mine. His girl had never thrown a party for the grown folks, so I figured that was good enough of an excuse for me to head down to the land of sunshine.

It just so happened that Winky Wright, and Jeff Lacey were both figthing the night of the party, and it looks like the "knock out" punch may have gone to the head of one of the guests. My homie and his cousin got into it, when the cousin refused to stop drinking. The cousin told me earlier in the night that he recently caught a DUI, which hinted that he may have issues with the fire water. I had my camera, but I only got the aftermath.

I had a great time seeing all my friends in Tampa. I'll be back.

click here for YouTube version

Thursday, December 7

East Tampa Episode

I've been living on the edge by shooting video while driving, and it's dangerous. My TV friends have been advising me to stop so I've decided to listen... for the most part.

In this episode I visit my old TV station Fox 13 News (WTVT), get some sound advice, then head over to the east side of Tampa to talk to one of my boys about music.

click here for YouTube version

Wednesday, December 6

Swamp Ride - Rep Yo City

I was cruising to my homie's house in East Tampa when I spotted this car. The paint looked like the swamplands of Florida. I asked the driver if I could talk to him about his car, and he gave me the whole rundown of how he turned his Chevy El Camino into a swamp ride. His name is Abe, he's an avid outdoorsman, and I don't think you'll meet a "naan nudda." He's also says he's an ex dope man trying to live right.

click here for YouTube version

Tuesday, December 5

Ybor City (Lost Episode)

This is an example of the magic of TV. I was in Tampa back in September when I shot this podcast, but it could have been yesterday, or last Saturday for all I care. When I produced this segment I wasn't blogging regularly, but now I have a reason to share it.

I take you on a quick tour of Ybor (EE-bor) City. It's a historic area of Tampa that was known as the cigar capital, because of all of the cigar factories that once operated there. Now it's a tourist spot, where folks can dine, shop, and party.

Click here for YouTube version

Monday, December 4

Florida Visit Episode 1

This week, I'll bring you some of the adventures from my recent trip to Florida. I visited some friends, made some new ones, and I even tried to get my camera inside a TV newsroom to talk to the professionals about the business.

Question: How can you travel from Atlanta to Tampa is less than three minutes?
Ans: Watch the video below.

Click here for YouTube

Friday, December 1

Friday Fun

I hope you all have had a great week. Since we all our own personal issues, dilemas, and tests to overcome, I figured I'd try to keep it light on Fridays. Yes, I know I already posted about Big Brother watching us, but that's because I'm taking a trip this weekend and the article hit close to home. I'll be back Monday, unless I get my hands on a computer and can't fight the urge to write.

Be safe, blessed, and do a good deed if you have the chance. It all comes back. And don't forget to smile!

Enjoy this clip. It's just some silliness.

Click here for YouTube

Big Brother is Watching

From The Associated Press
It looks like the government has been secretly keeping a closer eye on travellers than many thought according to the Associated Press.

Without their knowledge, millions of Americans and foreigners crossing U.S. borders in the past four years have been assigned scores generated by U.S. government computers rating the risk that the travelers are terrorists or criminals.

The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years.