Are you or a loved one mixing alcohol with diet-related behaviors? It May Be Drunkorexia

Lindsey Hall recalled her “drinking” days as a college student at the University of Arkansas. “I feel there are two different types of drinking you witness when you are in college,” said Hall. “I had an eating disorder, and tried to restrict my eating not to gain weight. In my case, it showed itself in drinking calories instead of eating them. I also drank alcohol to dull my hunger. Then there are those who choose not to eat to get drunk faster.”

Lindsay Hall struggled with Drunkorexia as a college student.

Courtesy Photo

Lindsay Hall struggled with Drunkorexia as a college student.

What Lindsey described has been labeled as ‘Drunkorexia.’ While not a medical term, Drunkorexia is defined as mixing alcohol abuse with unhealthy, diet-related behaviors such as self-imposed starvation or calorie restriction, excessive exercising and/or binging and purging.

Dr. Kim Anderson is the Clinical Director at the Eating Recovery Center Baltimore, Maryland, which provides comprehensive eating disorder treatment programs for adults, children, and adolescents in the mid-Atlantic region. “Under-age drinking is very common for college students, young adults and high school kids,” said Dr. Anderson. “One of my patients said, ‘I don’t have money and I have to choose between eating and drinking.’ The patient went on to say, ‘I am going to drink because I don’t want to waste calories.’

“Some have anxiety and want to drink. Others want to be accepted. Some want to be in shape and are trying to figure out a way to party and not gain weight. Some find this behavior to be socially acceptable.”

A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Anderson has focused her career on treatment for individuals with eating disorders.

“Drunkorexia is drinking a lot and doing something to compensate for the calories,” she said. “There is not a lot of research on this, but research shows males tend to do this more. One may say, ‘If I don’t eat, I can get drunk off three beers as opposed to six.’”

Dr. Anderson has been treating patients with eating disorders in the Baltimore area for over 25 years.

“In the 1980s, I was a college student,” she said. “Bulimia was just coined in 1979, and I was hearing about girls in the dorms throwing up. They did it in the open together. It was not the secretive stuff we think about. It was something looked at as being normative.”

With kids heading to college, Dr. Anderson is encouraging parents to talk to their children.

“We want people to learn there are severe risks involved with drinking and not eating,” she said. “If you are not eating all day, the effects are enhanced for alcohol poisoning which can include death.

“As soon as you start drinking too much you are at risk for those problems. You might think it’s no big deal, but that behavior needs an assessment.”

Hall said she sought treatment through The Renfrew Center, the nation’s first residential eating disorder facility.

“I struggled with my eating disorder for eight years,” said Hall. “I never liked being drunk, but I drank to avoid dinner time eating. I went for treatment when I was 24. I started talking about using alcohol in order not to eat. They said it fell under alcohol abuse because I depended on alcohol not to eat. I had to change my relationship with alcohol.”

Now 31, Hall is a freelance writer for Eating Recovery Center, and also has a blog called, “I Haven’t Shaved In 6 Weeks.” She said the blog’s purpose includes serving as a resource for those wanting to know what going into an eating disorder facility is like beforehand. ‘I vowed to share the nitty gritty, including the fact that I couldn’t shave for 6 weeks due to the fear that patients will self- harm if given a razor,’ Hall writes on her blog. ‘(Would’ve been nice to have known that prior, I grumbled – handing my razor to the nurse.)’ “Treatment does not promise you will come out and be a different person,” said Hall who was in recovery for six weeks. “It gives you the tools. I was at an unmanageable point of my life. What treatment gave me were the tools to start trusting myself and to start moving on with my life.” Hall has discussed her Drunkorexia journey on the “Today Show,” and has been featured in numerous publications including Cosmopolitan. A native of Texas, she resides in Colorado. She says she has 17,000 followers on Instagram, and posts messages every day.

“This generation has a way of binge drinking especially in terms of how they eat,” said Hall. “I want people to take a step back and ask themselves, ‘Is my relationship with alcohol healthy?’ Many think that just because they don’t drink alcohol every day, they are not abusing it. However, eating disorders show up in many different ways. It shows up in various aspects of your life and people need to look at the various aspects it affects.”

You can follow Hall on Instagram @lindseyhallwrites.

For more information about Eating Recovery Center Baltimore, Maryland visit https://www.eatingrecoverycente centers/baltimore.

PNC Bank to Hold 10th Annual Women in Business Week Virtual Event Aims To Engage Female Financial Decision Makers

Are you ready for a wealth of information about managing your finances, education about women’s suffrage, an opportunity to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, a primer on the growing esports industry, along with fitness activities and yoga —all for free?

Well grab your laptop, tablet or other device and register for PNC’s Bank’s Women in Business Week. The annual event will take place Sept. 14 – 18, 2020, and will provide female financial decision makers – from business owners and executives to women who may be managing their finances for the first time – with an opportunity to glean valuable insights for themselves, their families and businesses

The virtual event will feature a dynamic lineup of inspirational speakers including Ellen Latham, founder of Orangetheory Fitness, and Shellye Archambeau, author of “Unapologetically Ambitious.”

Laura Gamble, Regional President of PNC Bank, Greater Maryland.

Courtesy Photo

Laura Gamble, Regional President of PNC Bank, Greater Maryland.

Laura Gamble is Regional President of PNC Bank, Greater Maryland.

“This is our tenth Women in Business Week,” said Gamble. “In the prior nine years, it was different because we were not in a pandemic. We usually have the event in May. However, this year, we postponed it. That provided us with a great opportunity to expand it as well. Essentially, we will have a great speaker and presentation each day of the event.”

Attendees will hear from experts, entrepreneurs, and authors, and have an opportunity to meet PNC senior leaders who are playing a critical role in driving diversity, inclusion and gender and racial equity across the bank.

While the event seeks to connect with and better support its female customers and other female financial decision makers, Gamble stressed the events are open to everyone, including but not limited to PNC customers.

“We always like to highlight our customers who are women and tailor programs we find useful, informative and fun,” said Gamble. “It’s really just a way to engage our customers who are women, and those who are not yet our customers, but are interested in this outreach. We want people to see PNC is serious about doing business with women. That’s what we hope people can get from this. Males are also welcome.”

Sherry Curry, PNC Bank Harborside branch manager, teaching a class to entrepreneurs entitled ‘Cash Flow’.

Courtesy Photo

Sherry Curry, PNC Bank Harborside branch manager, teaching a class to entrepreneurs entitled ‘Cash Flow’.

The event is among many of PNC Bank’s Women’s Business Development efforts, aimed at providing women with timely, interesting and informative programs, enabling them to build on the banking relationships that are essential to financial wellness.

PNC is a sponsor of ATHENAPowerLink® Baltimore, a yearlong mentorship program headquartered at Towson University, designed to assist women entrepreneurs with their business. The bank is also a sponsor of Mind Your Business, a Times Community Services/The Baltimore Times event aimed at empowering current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Other efforts include PNC Bank’s Women Business Advocates (WBAs) Program.

“The Women Business Advocates Program has been in effect at PNC for 10 years now,” said Gamble. “It is a process by which anyone at PNC can take our training and get a Women Business Advocate’s certificate. It helps employees know how to best communicate with business financial decision makers and teaches them how they don’t want to engage with someone.”

Gamble said women control $22 million in wealth in the U.S., a number she said is expected to jump 30 percent in the next four years.

“Women own 13 million businesses,” said Gamble. “That number is also expected to jump. The Women Business Advocates Program is such a terrific business opportunity because women are so much more in control of money than they were in previous decades. Yet, many don’t invest as frequently as men do or don’t have a financial role model. This program presents an opportunity for PNC to differentiate ourselves with women.”

She added, “We refer to them as our female financial decision makers. You can be a household Chief Financial Officer or a a CEO of a big company. Whether a woman operates her household’s finances or a company’s, PNC has products and services to make banking easier and better for women.”

Gamble has over 25 years in banking and finance. As Regional President of PNC Bank, Greater Maryland, Gamble is the senior banking executive in the region accountable for the growth of PNC’s core businesses in Greater Maryland and the Women’s Business Development program across the franchise.

She is encouraging everyone to take advantage of PNC’s Women in Business Week for a rich, but free experience, and to learn more about PNC Bank.

“It’s all free,” said Gamble. “All they have to do is register to participate. Those who are interested in participating need to register as soon as they can. If a person is interested in participating, but isn’t available, they have access to replays of the event. But they have to register. Women in Business Week will offer something for women at all stages of their financial journeys.”

For schedules, speakers, and other information about Women in Business Week or to register, visit: or

September is National Recovery Month LTC To Hold Virtual Fundraiser September 25

National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery.

Since its inception in 1999, Light of Truth Center, Inc. (LTC), a residential therapeutic treatment program for women, has held its major fundraising activity during National Recovery Month. However, COVID-19 threatened to bring LTC’s 21-year record of having their annual fundraiser to a halt. But as they say in entertainment, “the show must go on.” For LTC, their annual event is going on – just virtually.

On Friday, September 25, 2020, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., LTC will hold “Surrender to Love.” The event will feature entertainment, speakers, a live 50/50 Raffle Wheel, and Silent Auction.

The door to recovery. Light of Truth (LTC) Founder Vaile Leonard pictured in front of one of the organization’s locations.

Ursula V. Battle

The door to recovery. Light of Truth (LTC) Founder Vaile Leonard pictured in front of one of the organization’s locations.

“Over the years, we have grown into a beautiful annual fundraiser,” said the Rev. Vaile Leonard, founder of Light of Truth Center, Inc. “We did not want to lose that momentum. People look forward to our annual fundraiser.”

She added, “We thought about canceling it due to COVID-19, but made the decision to have a virtual fundraiser. We also did not want to miss having the event during National Recovery Month.” Rev. Leonard said the event will feature six different entertainers from various genres including Spiritual, Jazz, Folk, and New Age. She also said Vicki Stewart will share her experience at LTC, which operates four recovery houses and a training center.

“The virtual event is something new, and we were trying to find things to do to make it exceptional and exciting,” said Rev. Leonard. “The 50/50 Raffle Wheel is one of them. When a person donates, the wheel will spin and show their name. The 50/50 will be through Cash App, and a person can donate as many times as they would like. The wheel is pretty cool. We really had to get creative.” She added, “We will also show pictures throughout the night from past annual fundraisers, and will close out the evening with a virtual line dance.” LTC provides residential therapeutic treatment for women recovering from addictions. The homes have been credited with helping dozens of women overcome drug addiction. Rev. Leonard said this year’s fundraiser is vital to keeping the heartbeat of the organization going strong. The fundraising goal is $10,000.“Due to COVID-19, we could not have the events we normally would have,” she said. “They include an annual fundraiser given by LTC Center board president Ginny Robertson. Ginny’s fundraiser takes us through half the year. In addition, many funders have been inundated with requests.”She continued, “We need to raise funds. Because of COVID-19, we had to shut down admissions for a while, and that drastically cut our income. Not having admissions, coupled with not having fundraisers really cut us back. We want to catch-up and put ourselves back on board.”

Rev. Leonard said that while times have changed amidst COVID-19, the need for addiction services have not. “Before the pandemic, we were in an epidemic in terms of overdoses,” she said. “That has not subsided. The recovery community was just at the peak of getting people’s attention, and then COVID hit. It has basically been pushed to the side. Folks overdosing is not what people are talking about, but people are dying daily.”

She added, “One of the challenging things for us was sustained recovery in isolation. COVID really had a serious impact. Especially on young folk. They use multiple items to get high such as spray cans and cleaning products. They were in isolation, stuck at home with no support, and had everything they needed at their disposal to get high. Even for our ladies at LTC, a month in, they were getting antsy. We had to find things for them to do. They had Game Night, and we got a van to take them shopping. We had to find innovative things to keep them spiritually and emotionally safe.”

Rev. Leonard is encouraging everyone to support LTC’s virtual fundraiser. “I invite people to come to an extraordinary experience of music, love and surrender,” she said. LTC is a love-based organization. For me, I don’t care what the challenge is. The answer for me is always love. I am inviting the community to surrender to love. All they have to do is show up.”

To virtually attend the event, join via Zoom at: 439497666?pwd=a1ZQUGxi WWw2NS9NcGdXK2U2Ny9 4Zz09. The Meeting ID is 864 3949 7666, while the Passcode is 742099.

LTC is also looking for volunteers. For more information call (443) 393- 2109.

Vaile Leonard Chosen As 2020 New Thought Walden Awards Honoree

The Rev. Vaile Leonard’s life is the one that read’s like a story book. For years, she battled a heroin addiction. After decades of addiction, she overcame her habit to found what many consider one of the most successful recovery centers in the country –Light of Truth Center, Inc. (LTC). The residential therapeutic treatment program has been credited with helping dozens of women overcome drug addiction. Her story now includes another remarkable chapter. She is a 2020 New Thought Walden Awards Honoree.

The prestigious award honors those who use empowering spiritual ideas and philosophies to change lives and make the planet a better place. Nominations were received from the public, and each was considered carefully by a selection committee comprised of representatives from partner organizations.

Rev. Leonard was among 20 honorees chosen in six categories: New Thought Wisdom, Interfaith and Intercultural Understanding, Social and Environ- mental Activism, Creative Arts and Entertainment, Next Generation (under 40), and Mind/Body Connection and Healing. Rev. Leonard was selected for the Social and Environmental Activism category.

“My mind could not grasp how it happened,” said Rev. Leonard. “I thought someone was pulling my leg. It’s just been an incredible experience. It’s an honor, and I am really humbled by it.”

Each honoree is being profiled in the September/October 2020 issue of Unity Magazine and listed in the September 2020 issue of Science of Mind magazine. Honorees are also being featured in a podcast series on Unity Online Radio (

“The honorees include both well- known individuals and relatively unsung heroes alike, each of whom has made a valuable contribution to furthering the ideas at the core of New Thought,” says Unity Magazine ® editor Katy Koontz, a member of the selection committee. “Our goal with the Waldens is not only to honor these fine people and spotlight their notable accomplishments but also to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

The New Thought Walden Awards partner organizations include Unity, Centers for Spiritual Living, Association for Global New Thought, Agape International Spiritual Center, Divine Science Federation International, Universal Foundation for Better Living, and Affiliated New Thought Network.

Unity World Headquarters at Unity Village, Missouri, publishes Unity Magazine and Daily Word ®, while the Unity prayer ministry, Silent Unity offers support 24/7 (receiving nearly 1.4 million prayer requests annually). Unity was founded in 1889 and helps people of all faiths apply positive spiritual principles in their daily lives. Unity Worldwide Ministries supports Unity ministries, their leaders and congregants around the world.

Rev. Leonard said the Walden Award shines a national spotlight on LTC. “Folk never hear about us,” said Leonard. “This awards gives us the opportunity to be exposed to a larger community. The hope is that someone will hear something that moves them to support the work that we do.”

LTC has recovery houses on Wheeler Avenue, Lafayette Avenue, N. Patterson Park Avenue, and Payson Street, and also operates a training center. Women living in the homes work on a self- improvement plan while living as a family unit to support their own and each other’s recovery process.

The New Thought Walden Award is among a long list of honors Rev. Leonard has received. She is also a recipient of The Positive People Awards, an honor given to individuals who work to improve their quality of life and that of their community.

For more information about Rev. Leonard and The New Thought Walden Awards, visit

Booths of Hope Local Couple Helps NW Residents Impacted by Explosion

Baltimore City Public School teacher Ruwaydah Amin heard the news about the gas explosion that happened Monday, August 10, 2020, along Labyrinth Road and Reisterstown Road near Brookhill Road in Northwest Balti- more. She knew she wanted to help. Amin found a way to provide that help through Minister Rodney Booth and his wife Carlene.

On the day of the deadly explosion, which killed two people, seriously in- jured seven others, and leveled three homes, the Booths set-up a collection and donation area on Applebee’s park- ing lot. The restaurant is located on Reisterstown Road.

“I came yesterday [Monday] with my son,” said Amin. “We came to bring water. I wanted to help, and stayed to volunteer. I was here for about seven hours yesterday and came right back here today [Tuesday]. I have been here since 9 a.m.”

She added, “I am helping the Booths with organization of the donations, and separating things so that its easier for people to get what they need. I love giv- ing back. I also love seeing people com- ing in droves and bringing things. They are bringing whatever they can to give to people. It’s really amazing to see Bal- timore come together.”

Stacked cases of water, and boxes which held toilet paper, paper towels, pam- pers, hand sanitizer, masks, canned goods, and other items lined the parking lot.

The items were distributed to individuals impacted by the explosion, which reportedly displaced approximately 250 people.

Carlene Booth is owner of First Lady Trash Removal and Home Improvement.

“All of the items were donated,” said Booth. “People from all over donated. Good- will came and picked up the clothes we collected. There were so many clothes, they filled the tractor-trailer. We plan to be out here a few more days, and if we need to add on addi- tional days, we will. We are still in the middle of a pandemic and people need things. We are here to help those in need.”

The devastating blast killed Morgan State University sopho- more Joseph Graham. The university said in a statement on Tuesday, “It is with a heavy heart that we regretfully share the unfortunate news of the un- timely passing of a valued member of our Morgan family. MSU student, Joseph Graham, a rising sophomore pursuing an electrical engineering degree from the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering, was among the casualties of the widely reported gas explosion that took place in northwest Baltimore on Aug. 10.

“As a community, we mourn the tragic loss of life as a result of this calamitous event and offer our deepest sympathies to the Gra- ham family. We ask that you keep them and their extended family and friends in prayer.”

At Baltimore Times press time, the identity of a woman who was also killed in the blast had not yet been released. The exact cause of the explosion is still unknown and is being investigated.

Booth said she was driving to a customer’s home minutes after the incident and could not get through the area.

“I saw how the firefighters were running around and felt they needed some water,” she recalled. “I contacted some markets to see if I could buy some skids of water. One of the companies donated a skid of water. Once we brought the water, others started bringing donations. We put it out on Facebook and other social media. It grew from there.”

Rodney Booth of Faith, Hope, Love Outreach Ministry, Inc., also owns Rodney Booth Trash Removal.

“We are here to serve the peo- ple and do God’s will,” said Minister Booth. “God pricked the hearts of me and my wife. We talked about it. We publicized our collection and distribution efforts on Facebook and people started coming out. It shows Baltimore is a great city. People talk so negative about the city, but everyone pulled together. whites, Jews, Chinese, Puerto Ricans, African Ameri- cans, Caucasians all came to- gether to help these families.”

Minister Booth said hundreds have stopped by for the donations. Volunteers helped them carry water, toilet paper and other items.

“Our overall goal is to show the love of God,” he said. “We are just the hands of God. God is using us as instruments. We were able to reach the families that needed to be reached, and give to the families that needed to have. People are also pray- ing. Praying is especially important. We are hoping to show the relationship of God with people. If we can show we have a relationship with God by using us, our overall goal is accomplished.”

Minister Booth looked around at all the items that encircled him.

“God said in His Word, I will supply all of your needs accord- ing to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. He is providing for everybody’s needs. Hygiene items, toothpaste water – it’s all here. Everything you need is inside the House of the Lord. This is the Lord’s hands. If anybody wants to know what love and the Lord’s Hands look like, it’s right here. People all coming together as one to help humanity.”

People receiving water, toilet paper, and other items during the effort.

Courtesy photo

People receiving water, toilet paper, and other items during the effort.

George E. Mitchell dead at age 65 Park Heights Community loses a GIANT

Christopher Crockett, a longtime Park Heights resident, has lived in the community for over 50 years. He talked about the legendary work of a man who dedicated his life to helping people in the area. That man’s name is George E. Mitchell.“George was really dedicated to uplifting the community,” said Crockett. “He wanted to see us get on our feet. He led by example by opening up different avenues for black men and black women. But his primary focal point were the kids. He was passionate about them.”Mitchell died on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at the age of 65. His passing reportedly was the result of complications from surgery. A public viewing will take place Saturday, August 1, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at

March Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave. A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, August 2, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Langston Hughes Community, Business, and Resource Center, 5011 Arbutus Avenue. The service will be held outside on the field. Social distancing and masks are required.Mitchell served as president and CEO of the Langston Hughes Community, Business and Resource Center, which houses three libraries, a computer lab, and other resources to help children in the Park Heights community. He also served as president of Neighborhoods United, a unified group of Neighborhood Associations, which act as one body with definitive objectives for the achievement of physical, social, financial and health improvements in Park Heights. Crockett is Outreach Coordinator for Neighborhood United. He also serves as president of the SDKG

(Springhill, Derby Manor, Keyworth and Greenspring) Neighborhood Association. “I think George’s legacy is the way he lived,” said Crockett. “He cared about feeding people and the children. His love for the black community was outstanding. He was a worker for the rights of black people. If itwas right, he would fight for it.” Crockett said Mitchell’s mother Earles R. Mitchell, was also a fierce community advocate. “I have known George for a long time, but met his mother first,” said Crockett, “His mother also had strong roots in the community, and fought for what was right. “You could not buy George. You could not offer him money and think he would go against what he believed.

Because of George, the whole community is better because of what he stood for.” Pamela Curtis is the founder of Pushing the Vision Outreach Inc. a multicultural organization that caters to underserved communities. She also serves as Community Outreach Coordinator for Park Heights Renaissance, Inc. and is the president of the Park Circle Community Association. Curtis called Mitchell, ‘Uncle George.’“He always said this is our community and responsibility,” recalled Curtis. “Our seniors, our men, our youth, our responsibility. The way he promoted generational wealth was by first addressing our brokenness. He was all for diversity, but felt that before we connected with other people, we first needed to repair our brokenness. He fed hundreds, offered free Spanish classes, and gave away free furniture. He taught us about community relationships. The way that he gave was so amazing.” Mitchell was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He was a 2019 Baltimore Times “Positive People Award” honoree. The awards are given to individuals who work to uplift and celebrate the human spirit and the power within all people to improve their quality of life and that of their community. Curtis, who was also honored, shared fond memories of her and Mitchell at the event, which was held November 13, 2019 at Horseshoe Casino. “We were each other’s cheerleader,” she said through tears. “When his name was called to receive his award, I yelled out ‘Go Uncle George!’ And when my name was called, he yelled out for me.” She added, “He was big on Black Media, and was honored to be honored by The Baltimore Times.

He often spoke about The Baltimore Times, and encouraged businesses to have the paper in their stores and on their stands.” Curtis said Mitchell will be greatly missed. “If he told you a story of hardship, it was not to be negative,” said Curtis. “He told stories of triumph. I am honored to have had the privilege to grow because of him. He put in a lot of work to help others. This is a tremendous loss.”Mitchell was born October 14, 1954 in Florence,South Carolina. After staying in Florence until a little after his first birthday, his mother moved to Baltimore,Maryland. He graduated from Lexington Terrace Elementary, Pimlico Jr. High, and Mergenthaler VocationalTechnical High School, respectively.He entered Morgan State University (formerly College) in 1972, and became a two-time MEAC wrestling champion, a member of the Morgan State Universityootball team and a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity in which he was elected as the Associate EasternReginal Director. He graduated from Morgan in 1976.Mitchell is survived by sons George E. Mitchell Jr.,and Travis Mitchell, daughter, Nicole Neale, and granddaughter Sidney Rogers.

Voices of Carmen A Youthful New Twist on an Old Opera Classic

An award-winning actress/director/choreographer has brought a youthful, modern-day flavor to a century-and-a-half old opera classic. CJay Philip, Artistic Director of Dance & Bmore, a multidisciplinary Baltimore based ensemble, is the creator of “Voices of Carmen” (VOC), a musical adaptation of the opera Carmen.

Set in a high school, the VOC musical brings a contemporary spin to this iconic story that’s filled with fresh, yet familiar renditions of George Bizet’s compositions, as well as a dozen original Pop, Hip Hop and R&B songs, written and arranged by Philip, and her husband Winston Philip.

A virtual performance of excerpts through the Enoch Pratt Library premiered July 20, 2020, and an out- door “Carmen Concert” will take place July 30, 2020 at Eager Park

“I’m very excited to continue this program for our young people who had so much of their lives cancelled this year already,” said Philip. “Despite the state of the world, we felt that the show must go on and have been figuring out how to produce a virtual/video production that I think will be groundbreaking for a musical.”

Carmen is an opera by Georges Bizet based on an 1845 novella by French dramatist Prosper Mérimée. The title character, a wild Spanish gypsy, is unscrupulous in matters of the law and of he heart. Carmen is an enduring story of passion, lust, jealousy, obsession, and revenge.

“Twelve years ago, I wrote this adaptation of Carmen,” said Philip. “I wrote the script and we had a summer program in the hills of Switzerland. We had lines wrapped around the block to see the show. I wanted to do the show in the U.S. All I needed answered was the ‘when?’ and ‘why’? My husband and I moved to Baltimore in 2010. As soon as I met the young people in Baltimore, I was like ‘OMG, these young folks are really talented.’ That answered the ‘when?’ and ‘why?’ In 2018, I formed the Carmen Youth Council.

”She added, “I gathered around the Youth Council, and in February we started doing workshops. I asked them if they thought the story of Carmen was too far-fetched. They said it was happening everyday at school. The production was an opportunity to look at the emotional health of our youth.

” The piece examines escalating conflict among young people, and hopes to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue and improved emotional health and aware- ness, while providing resources for conflict resolution. VOC has 34 young people, 26 cast members and eight crew members mentored by a staff of eight adults.

“There are 19 zip codes and 20 schools represented,” said Philip. “Before the shutdown happened due to COVID-19, we wanted youth to have a voice inside this musical. We give them a lot of leadership. I am so blown away by our young people. They are so creative. I am so excited.”

In addition to rehearsals, every Wednesday special guests present workshops in job training and professional development for the cast and crew. There are also workshops on three social emotional components that build on each other – Emotional Intelligence (reading, video, and written reflection); Restorative Practices workshop led by Restorative Response Baltimore; and a teen workshop on Intimate Partner Abuse by the House of Ruth.

CJay Philip, Artistic Director of Dance & Bmore, is the creator of Voices of Carmen

Courtesy Photo

CJay Philip, Artistic Director of Dance & Bmore, is the creator of Voices of Carmen

“VOC premiered in Baltimore in July of 2019,” said Philip. “Looking at 2020, we had every expectation to do this live. We partnered with the House of Ruth working with young people. I wanted to do something for people who feel they are at the edge. The theme for our show is ‘Crossroads.’ You can make a decision that can change the trajectory of your life.” Philip, who has performed in several Broadway productions, has directed and choreographed hundreds of musical and performance events around the world including “The Who’s Tommy,” and the Emmy Award–winning NBC broadcast of the “McDonalds Gospel Fest.” She teaches Interdisciplinary Collaboration at Baltimore School for the Arts, and Musical Theater at Baltimore Centerstage. “Carmen is fiery, but substantive,” she said, noting the production was submitted and chosen by several theater festivals. “One of the other important things about this show, is that it can be duplicated. Schools don’t have to cancel their musical. They can still be fully engaged.”

According to Philip, VOC is being made available for production at schools and regional theaters across the country. Included in the production package are best practices for collaboration between students and faculty: safe space guidelines, collaborative language, and youth leadership roles developed by the Carmen Youth Council.

On July 30, 2020 at 6:30 p.m., an out door “Carmen Concert” will be held in Eager Park, located on N. Wolfe Street. The event is free, but attendees are asked to register through Eventbrite at

On August 13-14, 2020 at 8 p.m., VOC will hold a drive-in “Carmen Concert” performance in partnership with Motor House on W. North Ave. On August 27, 2020, a movie musical live-stream of VOC will premier at 7 p.m. on Voices of Carmen YouTube Channel, followed by a VIP virtual After Party withthe cast.

” The Show Must go on” Camp Hippodrome Holds Performance Via Zoom

Spectators had the opportunity to “Zoom” in to watch this year’s Camp Hippodrome participants as they performed a choreographed dance routine to a “Hairspray” medley. The live performance took place Thursday, July 9, 2020 from the homes of the campers, and epitomized the old showbiz saying, ‘the show must go on.’

Sponsored in part by JP Morgan Chase and the PNC Charitable Trust, Camp Hippodrome offers two, one-week programs every summer. The camp’s second week culminated with the memorable dance routine, which the campers performed via the software platform Zoom.

Leading up to the ‘Grand Finale’ of this year’s Camp Hippodrome, middle school students in Baltimore City and Baltimore County logged into Zoom for musical workshops, choreography training, and career sessions for campers to learn more about future career opportunities in theatre.

Camp Hippodrome is a free program that provides students with the opportunity to receive professional instruction during the summer at the Hippodrome Theatre.

Following the performance, Jeremiah Sutton, Constance Tittle, and Bailey Cordell, talked about participating in this year’s Camp Hippodrome, which could not be held at The Hippodrome due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Me and the other kids all have one thing in common, and that is that we all wanted to come to camp,” said Jeremiah, who attends Sudbrook Magnet Middle School.

Jeremiah also talked about “Hairspray,” the Broadway musical based on John Waters’ 1988 film of the same name.

“The message of Hairspray is really good,” said Jeremiah. “People will realize how long ago it was written, and see in real life it is happening right now.”

Constance attends Ridgely Middle School.

“Ever since I was little, I have wanted to sing and reach out to people and connect with people,” said Constance, who is participating in the camp for the third time. “Virtual camp was more than I expected. This is better than being there for me. This virtual camp is just so amazing, and I just thank God for Wi-Fi.”

This year marked Bailey’s first time participating in Camp Hippodrome.

“I have always liked to perform,” said Bailey who attends Pine Grove Middle School. “It’s a great way to connect with people, a great way to communicate through art, and a great way to get your feelings and thoughts across without being super bland.”

She added, “It gives us something fun to do. They [Camp Hippodrome] tell us about unions, we meet special guests, we learn about monologues and things we are supposed to do. They help us so much and it is a great experience for anyone who wants to be an actor. Despite being miles away, we still did fun things and managed to create this great environment.”

Olive Waxter is the executive director of The Hippodrome Foundation.

“We have this incredible, most beautiful resource in the state of Maryland,” said Waxter. “It’s a little frustrating—we all have to be safe and follow the rules. But I am proud of them and they have risen to the challenge. I know they would prefer to be here at The Hippodrome.”

When asked if she questioned whether or not Camp Hippodrome would take place this year,

Waxter said: “I really had doubts about a virtual camp. But, I knew we had to do something. I had doubts about if we would be able to establish the relationships, and if the intimacy would be the same. But computers, digital and screens are something the kids understand better than we do.”

She added, “It has been quite a surprise. I was a doubter and I should not have been. It has been a fun experience seeing the kids get better and better with their skills. They are all gutsy. My favorite moment is always the finale. I love to see the kids having fun. That’s what this is all about. This year was kind of emotional.”

Barb Wirsing is the Education Director of The Hippodrome Foundation.

“I usually have my Kleenex,” said Wirsing. “They are just incredibly talented youth. It brings me to tears.”

Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap Beloved Morgan Professor ‘Played a Part’ in Many Lives

When people talk about “Theater” in Baltimore, the name Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap often comes up. Dr. Basfield Dunlap, who served as the Coordinator of Theatre Arts and Associate Professor of Fine and Performing Arts at Morgan State University had directed numerous plays, locally, nationally, and internationally. A lover of August Wilson’s work, those productions include FENCES, and The Piano Lesson.

On June 15, 2020, the beloved director and professor died at the age of 67, of what was described as “suspected heart failure.” A Memorial Service for Dr. Dunlap will take place on July 18, 2020, 11 a.m., at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Avenue. A Celebration of her life is being planned later that day from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. (location to be determined).

Dr. Basfield Dunlap had many shows in her repertoire, which also included “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.” But Dr. Dunlap considered her son and daughter as her “greatest production.”

Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap with son Wesley Dunlap and daughter Stacie Dunlap

Courtesy Photo

Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap with son Wesley Dunlap and daughter Stacie Dunlap

“My mother sacrificed a lot for us to have what she felt her children deserved to have,” said daughter Stacie Dunlap. “And that was to be able to experience anything we wanted to experience, go anywhere we wanted to go, and not think there were any limits to what we wanted to be. I am proud of the woman she was, and the woman I have become.”

She added, “Hearing from her students, I shared my mother with numerous people around the world. It’s overwhelming, but gratifying. That’s what’s helping me to get through this. She’s not gone, because what she left is a legacy of greatness.”

Wesley Dunlap is Dr. Basfield Dunlap’s son.

“My mother was very involved with her teaching and theater,” he said. “It took a lot of her time, but she always put me and my sister first. Both my sister and I have master’s degrees. My mother instilled the importance of education in us. I am grateful for the outpouring of support from her colleagues and students, and thankful to have shared her with so many folks. She looked at the students as if they were her own kids. She drove them to New York for auditions. She cared deeply for her students, and did whatever she could to support them.”

Dr. Basfield Dunlap’s dissertation for a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) was noted as

“ground-breaking research” entitled “The Oral History Project of African American Stage Directors of American Theatre.”  

She was a 2018 Broadway World “Best Director of a Play Regional Award” finalist for her direction of “Red Velvet” at the Baltimore Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore. She was invited by Intercult an initiator and leader of collaborative culture projects based in Stockholm, Sweden to facilitate a workshop on American and Nordic women writers.

“Shirley advised me on everything up to the last conversation I had with her,” said sister Enid Basfield-Holland. “I hear so many students talking about how supportive she was. That’s how she was to me. She was also close to my children. They called her ‘Aunt Mommy.’ She had such insightful dreams for her family. She noticed my son liked to draw a lot when he was little. She was instrumental in him becoming an artist. He is a sophomore at the Parsons School of Design in New York.”

She added, “Shirley didn’t just give nuggets. She gave boulders you could run with to be successful. I will continue to tell her story.”

Cheryl J. Williams is Dr. Basfield Dunlap’s longtime companion.

“We met 33 years ago,” said Williams. “My fondest memories are our travels. We traveled all over the world to places and once took a nine-day road trip. We could have flown, but we wanted to take a historic trip. My life with Shirley was awesome. There is no hurt or pain. I am blessed to have had the time we spent together.”

She added, “I think Shirley’s legacy was giving unconditionally. To know that the best is in each one of us. She had the gift and the talent to pull it out. Her other legacy was for people to create your art regardless of what that art form is, and to bring it forth.”

Carol Pitts met Dr. Basfield Dunlap through One God One Thought Center for Better Living.

“My fondest memory of Shirley was on a cruise to Alaska,” said Pitts. “She was very gracious to my granddaughter who was going away to college. She gave her a gift with some money and told her ‘to never go on a date without your own money. In case something happens, you have your own money to get home.’ She was such a good-spirited person and very humble. She never let her job or titles define who she was. She was just Shirley. A wonderful human being who touched a lot of lives.”

‘May The Work I’ve Done Speak For Me’ Remembering WEAA’s Tyra Phillips Womack

There is an old hymn entitled, “May The Work I’ve Done Speak For Me” The song’s lyrics speaks to the works of a person serving as a testament of the life they lived after they have passed on. This song epitomizes the late Tyra Phillips Womack, a radio announcer on WEAA Gospel Grace Afternoon.

“Tyra’s legacy is as wide as it is deep,” said Derryck Fletcher, Gospel Director for WEAA and host of Gospel Grace Morning Show. “Her legacy is all of the many folks who stand on her shoulders. Tyra always took joy in supporting other people and helping them to fulfill their fullest potential. Her primary legacy is Jerel her son. She gave him life, and she protected his life.”

The beloved 57-year-old who was known on the airwaves as “Tyra Phillips,” died June 10, 2020 after being shot outside her home in the 2400 block of Albion Avenue.

Members of the Gospel Grace family: Derryck Fletcher, Ernestine Jones, Tyra Phillips, Joi Thomas, Jamal McCollum and Mark Waldrum.

Courtesy Photo

Members of the Gospel Grace family: Derryck Fletcher, Ernestine Jones, Tyra Phillips, Joi Thomas, Jamal McCollum and Mark Waldrum.

The Baltimore Police Department released a statement saying, “This was a senseless, tragic murder, as many are, and it appears to have stemmed from a neighbor dispute. Investigators began receiving information almost immediately and have identified a person of interest.”

Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for 56-year-old, Richard Sylvester Green. He was arrested June 16, 2020 in the 8600 block of Philadelphia Road, and has been charged with 1st and 2nd degree murder.

Womack, who was shot several times, reportedly died protecting her son Jerel Womack.

“There is literally a hole in our hearts over this senseless tragedy,” said Fletcher. “Seeing that Tyra made the ultimate sacrifice for Jerel was not surprising for me. She protected her son even until her last breath.”

A public viewing for Womack will be held Friday, June 19, 2020 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Apostolic Faith Church, 27 S. Caroline Street in Baltimore, where she was a long-time member.

A “Celebration of Life” will take place Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 11 a.m. at the same location (family members only). Services will be streamed via Facebook, and YouTube.

“Tyra is literally the sweetest person you could ever meet,” said Fletcher. “I have known Tyra for 23 years. Tyra has had continuous service at the station since 1989. None of us on the team have ever experienced WEAA 88.9 FM without her.”

The Sunday following her death, WEAA dedicated the day’s programming to her memory.

“We all talked about the impact Tyra had on all of us,” said Fletcher. “She was so nurturing, maternal, and caring.”

Ernestine Jones is the host of Gospel Grace at Daybreak.

“Tyra did the Church Announcements for over 30 years,” said Jones, noting that Womack also worked as a mail carrier before becoming an administrative assistant for the U.S. Postal Service.

“When I came on board, she was already there doing church announcements. We would split them up. Tyra would always let me take mine first. She would say, ‘just leave me what’s left.’ She always put others before herself. She was very humble.”

Jones said that she, Womack and Joi Thomas, host of Gospel Grace Afternoon were often referred to as ‘The Church Girls’ and the ‘Divas of Gospel Grace.’

“Tyra had a saying, ‘Therefore, having obtained help from God, I continue unto this day.’” said Jones. “And that was what she did. I have a message Tyra texted to me six hours before her demise. I will never get rid of that text.”

Chanel Crowder said she has been a part of the Gospel Grace family since 1997.

“Tyra was so sweet and loving. She loved God so much and embraced everyone. We are devastated and shocked about what happened. Her faith, family, church, and Gospel Grace family were the things she most enjoyed. Tyra was a special person we will always cherish and remember.”

Heaven 600 AM on-air radio host Lee Michaels shared reflections about Womack.

“She was always a pleasant and warm spirit, whose signature dimpled smile exposed the love of God that was in her heart!” said Michaels.

Frederico Hemphill recalled working with Womack years ago on Video Hair Magazine, a television show that highlighted black hair and fashion. Hemphill said the two first met as students at the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland (BIM).

“I asked Tyra if she would host Video Hair Magazine,” said Hemphill. “We were an independent show with no money. She agreed to do it with no pay. Tyra just lit up the camera. She was a natural.”

He added, “I never met Tyra’s son. I only knew her daughter. But if her son possesses even a fraction of the qualities she possessed, I believe he is going to be a very powerful young man. Because of Tyra’s actions, another black man did not die that day.”

Kim Chase hosts WEAA’s Live and Uncut.

“Tyra was always smiling, pleasant, and agreeable,” said Chase. “She was always understanding, and carried herself as a Christian woman.”

Mark Waldrum is the host of Gospel Grace Instruments of Praise.

“Tyra was organized and dedicated”, said Waldrum. “She was God-fearing, professional and took her craft seriously. She did everything to a tee. She was a wonderfully Godly woman. She was proud of her son, family and church.”

He added, “The way she left us saddens me. I think it highlights we must do something about the violence. We are totally fed-up. Tyra was such an influencer of young people. That’s her legacy.”