Dontae Winslow returns to Baltimore with Justin Timberlake

— Summer is heating up in the city and serving Baltimoreans as much fun, entertainment and music as the city can handle. From local to internationally recognized artists, the city is getting its fair share of festivities and seasonal fun.

On Monday, July 14, 2014, Baltimore welcomed Justin Timberlake to the 1st Mariner Arena as part of his “20/20

Experience World Tour.” What many city residents may not know is that one of Baltimore’s very own sons and renowned trumpeter Dontae Winslow shared the big stage with Timberlake as one of his touring band members. Winslow has been touring with Timberlake on his current tour.

Winslow is also touring personally with his own group “The Winslow Dynasty” to promote his latest album, “Enter The Dynasty.” Winslow was back in Baltimore in June with The Winslow Dynasty to perform in a concert as part of an intimate concert series entitled “Ear Candy.” The group will be performing along the East Coast, including shows in Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.

Dontae and his wife Mashica and their son, Jedi, make up the group— “The Winslow Dynasty.” Their current music project features jazz pianist, Chick Corea and Baltimore drum legend, Roy Hargrove.

Influenced by Ashford and Simpson, the Baltimore natives describe their sound as eclectic with tones of classical, jazz, rock and gospel.

The Winslows are certainly hometown favorites. Dontae and Mashica both studied under the tutelage of Dr. Nathan Carter— Mashica, a graduate of Morgan State University and the University of Maryland; and Dontae, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. The two met in high school while attending The Baltimore School for the Arts and later became teachers in The Baltimore City Public School System.

However, their talent and what they consider their divine purpose, eventually led them to national and international performances with acclaimed artists such as Snoop Dogg, Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, more recently Justin Timberlake.

As independent artists the husband-wife team decided to create their own company and brand, LifeMUSIC, which allows them to not only create music but also impact the next generation of musicians.

The couple returned to Baltimore and established the mentoring and training program, “Music Motivating Minds.” The program provides Baltimore students, K-12, with master classes, lectures, concerts and various methods of training to groom the next generation of musically trained leaders.

Professionally trained at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Dontae Winslow said, “It is important that we give back to our city the way our great mentors gave to us.”

Their return to the East Coast serves as a summer tour to promote their newest self-titled album, “Dontae Winslow & The Winslow Dynasty.”

The very talented group says they wanted to also return to their hometown to share love and hope with their friends, family and fans.

“We want people in our city to have faith as they love hard and dream big.”

For more information about The Winslow Dynasty and tour dates, visit:

Priceless Gown Project creates priceless moments

— On Saturday, March 22, 2014, The Priceless Gown Project celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor, by creating more priceless moments for hundreds of local junior and senior high school girls.

“The Priceless Gown Project was created in an effort to help young women attend their prom who otherwise would not be able to finance the experience on their own,” said founder Becky Davis. Davis started the annual event after she experienced firsthand the challenge she faced with helping a teen she was mentoring prepare for prom. Davis turned this regional-wide problem into a successful effort that is now led by President Leslie Collier and Vice President Catonya Lester.

This year over 200 young ladies benefited from The Priceless Gown Project and received many exciting gifts in addition to prom dresses. The attendees had the opportunity to select from hundreds of formal dresses many of which had never been worn. The event offered the ladies complimentary makeup demonstrations by the Glam Gurus, an etiquette chat and training with Retta Timmons of Style & Grace Coaching, personal shopping assistance, and a host of entertainment provided by 92Q Jams and other invited guests.

“It has been very exciting, the day is really fun and means a lot that so many girls are being helped to find a great prom dress,” said Imani Robinson, 17, of Baltimore County.

Many individuals and organizations volunteered their time to make the day a wonderful experience. Amanda Ross, Miss Maryland United States 2014 and DeJanee Fennell, Miss Black Maryland USA were among the pageant queens from surrounding counties who participated in the festivities and served as personal shopping assistants to the young ladies.

It is not too late to be a part of this amazing effort. If you are in need of a prom dress or you have a formal dress that you would like to donate, email: The drop off location for donations is Crystal’s Bridal & Tuxedo 2 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231.

‘Speak Life Tour,’ inspires hope, creativity

— If you happen to bump into a group of vibrant young people who are speaking positive words with conviction, it is possible that you are encountering the “Speak Life Tour.” The group is the product of New Beginnings Youth Development & Coaching Program, a Baltimore based nonprofit organization.

The goal of the movement is to give young people a platform to showcase their talents while making a difference in the lives of others. New Beginnings Youth Development & Coaching Program was founded in 2002 and the “Speak Life Tour” was initiated in November 2013.

On Thursday, January 9, 2014, New Beginnings held its pre-launch event for the “Speak Life Tour” at Terra Café located in Charles Village in North Baltimore. The event drew a crowd of supporters, family and friends. The evening included spoken word, song, poetry, and hip hop that sent a strong message of positivity, education, nonviolence, and self-acceptance.

The “Speak Life Tour” group members include Shernise “Poet Renae” Richardson, Audrey & Leah of Double Impact, Danny “Danny Virgo” Jones, Myea Elleby, Calvin “Eager” Fields, and Keon “Lil Key” Myers. Their message is motivating and inspiring to not only other young people but to their community. Each artist shared a message of hope for their generation, their city, and the world around them. The group ranges in age from 13 to 24.

Catherine Trotter, executive director of New Beginnings said, “The night was epic and is an indicator of how powerful the ‘Speak Life Tour’ is. Each artist performed with heart and spoke words of life. Our goal is to touch 272, 000 youth and to speak life into the lives of our youth during this tour.” The tour kicks off in Washington, D.C. on March 29, said Trotter, who also serves as a mentor for the program.

For more information about the group or to attend one of their upcoming “Speak Life Tour” events, contact Catherine Trotter at 800-425-0757 or visit:

Carmelita Cimone’s acoustic monologue: ‘The Original Me’

— It may be quite possible to say that Baltimore may never be the same. This past Sunday, September 8, 2013, Baltimore’s own Carmelita Cimone took to the stage and musically influenced all who turned out for her acoustic monologue, “The Original Me.”

The evening was a display of quality music, love and community. From the beginning of the show until the end, the crowd was captivated by Cimone’s sultry sounds as she took her audience, song by song, through some of her most intense early career experiences. She shared the highs and lows of her journey and prepared the audience for her newest project, “Introducing Carmelita Cimone.”

The event took place at The Bun, a local Mount Vernon bakery and café. It was the perfect venue for Carmelita Cimone and the essence of her music. At times it felt like Cimone was singing in a living room full of family, yet her melodic style invoked a star quality and that made it clear that she should be heard by millions.

Carmelita Cimone moved the crowd and sang tracks that were written well before her time. Accompanied by background singers, who included her classically trained mother, Paula Scott, she had the crowd of supporters feeling every note.

Her performances included, Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thang,” as well as sounds from The Stylistics, Mary J. Blige, Brandy, Faith Evans, 702, Destiny’s Child and newer hits such as “Party” by Beyonce.

Carmelita Cimone provided her audience with a distinct synopsis of earlier times in her career when she worked with the likes of icons such as Puff Daddy and Jay Z. Her array of tracks detailed the struggle and the beauty of pursuing your dreams. Throughout her entire set, she reassured her listeners that success is attainable. At the opening of her show, Carmelita, performed Cee Lo Green’s song, “Crazy”; dedicating the evening to every person who was passionate enough to chase their dreams.

The show featured live music from opening artists including Jared a young artist from Baltimore and Freedom Imani, from Los Angeles. DJ Lil Mic and host Barnesz/BZ also performed during the show. Later in the evening Carmelita shared the stage with her former girl group, Cache’ bringing the night full circle. Baltimore should be proud to claim Carmelita Cimone as one of its very own. She brings a fresh new look to the soul and talent of emerging artists here in the city.

Baltimore needs more of Carmelita Cimone’s organic, soulful and graceful style. As one of the city’s budding songbirds, she is an artist to watch.

Cassandra Vincent may be contacted at Follow her on Twitter @thecassiebrown or on Facebook at: or visit her website: