Musicians, Singers Inspire Relaxation, Joy For Music Lovers During COVID-19

Although music events have been cancelled around the globe, due to COVID-19, artists have found ways to still uplift their audiences, near and far. When Governor Larry Hogan informed Marylanders that our state was officially on lockdown, due to a stay-at-home order, an independent musician from Anne Arundel County chose to indulge in creative optimism. Ron Ward, Jr., Minister of Music at Asbury Town Neck United Methodist Church, located in Severna Park, Maryland, viewed the current times as a perfect opportunity to share his musical gifts inside and outside of the sanctuary.

In this unprecedented period of social distancing and the requirement for churches to worship with less than ten members, Ward shares his creative gifts online by playing the piano and preparing worship songs for fellow participants on Sundays, during the COVID-19 crisis. When Ward is not leading Rev. James Bishop, Sr.’s congregation through musical praise, the independent artist transfers his musical gifts to another space. Ward’s new album—which is entitled “Ron Ward Jr. And Friends”— is a project celebrating musicians and singers he plays with during his musical journeys.

“I did seven covers, and three original tunes that I wrote myself,” Ward said, referring to his latest project, which was released on March 24, 2020. “I like to try to make music to make everybody feel good, so everybody, no matter what age, from your elderly, to your middle-age (person), to your young adult, even down to your teens. Anybody who puts this album on can say, ‘Oh, I remember that song,’ and I gave them a rendition of it that is still relevant now, and I just put my Ron Ward, Jr. spin on it.”

The piano, flutes, saxophone, strings and violins combine with vocals to deliver classic R&B tunes ranging from Stevie Wonder to Beyoncé. Ward has a reputation of making high-quality music that his fans expect to enjoy. Once again, Ward does not seem to disappoint, while taking listeners beyond the walls of their homes, while quarantine is in full effect. Ward mentioned that he is dispelling the myth the pandemic rules out the possibility of successfully launching a project or product at this time. For Ward, digital copies of his album have been popular, although hard copies can be ordered from him.

“With the album (“Ron Ward Jr. and Friends”), for that one hour that you’re listening to the album, you’re going to go somewhere,” Ward said. “You’re going to sit back and just relax, and just enjoy, and take your mind off of things, if you choose to listen to the whole album.”

While staying at home due to COVID-19, many people have grown weary of overeating or binge-watching bad news updates, so more of the world may pause more often to savor music. Ward’s fifth solo album has been well-received. Sales were strong, even in the first week. Ward’s U.S. fans typically begin listening to his projects before others join the musical wave in places such as Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand.

“It’s just an interesting ride to be an independent artist right now. You have control over your career,” Ward said. “I just try to make some feel good music for anybody to listen to.”

Ward’s wife, Dor’Ray Ward, also feels good when she hears her spouse’s work. She has been juggling working from home with caring for a one-year-old and a 16-year-old, with her husband’s assistance. She supports her husband’s passion but the busy mother also feels that Ward’s eclectic music appeals to other mothers like her. The song “Joy” was dedicated to the couple’s daughter, Rylee.

“You have your slow music for when you’re cooking or helping the kids with homework, you have your up-tempo for when you’re cleaning or in the car, and then you have the music that you can relax and sing to,” Dor’Ray said. “Since I’ve been married to Ron, his music has touched me in so many ways. No matter what mood I may be in, I can always count on his songs to bring me joy.”

The Wards have been married for nearly two years. For a couple who has struck a harmonious musical chord, the pandemic serves as a reminder to find bits of love sprinkled with joy, even in challenging times.

“Seeing Ron create and implement music, and then seeing that come to fruition, is amazing. I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished in his music career,” Dor’Ray said. “I haven’t listened to one song that I can honestly say that I don’t like. His music fits whatever mood I may be in. Whether I want to dance, sing, or go to church he provides it all.”

Ward’s album is available via Apple Music; iTunes; Google Play Music; CD Baby and various streaming services online. Find Ron Ward, Jr. on Facebook to purchase a hard copy.

The 2017 American Black Film Festival announces “ALL EYEZ ON ME” as closing night film selection


New York, New York, (March 29, 2017) – The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced today that the biographical drama film, All Eyez On Me, from director Benny Boom, will close the festival on Saturday, June 17th. The closing night film is presented by Lionsgate, Codeblack Films and Morgan Creek Productions.

All Eyez On Me tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices, before his untimely death at the age of 25. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing.

The film stars Kat Graham (Vampire Diaries, Addicted), Lauren Cohan (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Hill Harper (CSI: NY, Covert Affairs), Jamal Woolard (Notorious), Danai Gurira (Black Panther, The Walking Dead), Jamie Hector (The Wire, Paid in Full), Cory Hardrict (American Sniper, Destined) and Demetrius Shipp Jr. (#unlock’d) as Tupac Shakur. The producers are LT Hutton, Wayne Morris, David Robinson, and James G. Robinson.


Hashtag: #AllEyezOnMe

IG/Twitter: @AllEyezMovie


“Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films has committed a lot of resources to bringing Black stories to the screen and Jeff Clanagan, President of Codeblack Films, has been a long-time supporter of the festival. It’s an honor to screen the highly-anticipated story of iconic rapper and poet Tupac Shakur as this year’s closing film, and to support its director ABFF Alum, Benny Boom,” says Jeff Friday, ABFF Ventures CEO.

To purchase passes, tickets for events, panels and screenings at the American Black Film Festival, log on to

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to ABFF’s multiple social media platforms:

Twitter @ABFF

Facebook American Black Film Festival

Instagram @AmericanBlackFilmFestival

YouTube American Black Film Festival

Hashtags #ABFF2017 #WeAreABFF


Sponsors for the American Black Film Festival are HBO® (Founding and Presenting Sponsor); Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (Host and Presenting Sponsor); TV One, Cadillac (Presenting Sponsor); Comcast NBCUniversal, Prudential, McDonald’s, Turner (Premier Sponsors); and American Airlines, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Verizon (Official Sponsors); Planned Parenthood of America and OWN (Supporting Sponsors); Walter Kaitz Foundation (Industry Partner).

MY SOUL RADIO welcomes Sheryl Underwood

Yes! This is the same Sheryl Underwood, the comedian and one of the hosts of “The Talk,” on CBS.

Sheryl Underwood Radio is an all access pass to entertaining and enlightening conversations about relationships, entertainment, sports and hot topics. The show debuts with interviews with celebrities Marques Houston, Ron Isley, T-Pain and K Michelle. Show officials say more exciting interviews are to come.

“There are a couple of reasons why we are so excited to have Sheryl Underwood as part of our family. She embraces change and technology—[and] the way we listen to radio is changing. In a couple of years, the Internet will be available in [our] cars. Being Internet based, to be able to get someone of her caliber on our station is a huge win for us, as we position ourselves to be your radio station of choice— actually your Soul Station of choice.

The other reason Mrs. Underwood is important to us, is this: She is a credible black female voice in a male dominated industry. We support her movement 100 percent,” said station owner, Corey Bivens. Sheryl Underwood Radio has a dedicated phone line, 855-Sheryl-1, giving people all over the country the opportunity to interact with the show. The dedicated line is part of a multi-faceted strategy, which will allow listeners to engage with the show.

Sheryl Underwood is a huge supporter of HBCUs, which ties in with the objectives of MY SOUL RADIO ( and its other media publication Indie Soul Magazine ( in promoting Historical Black College News and Sports. She received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. Sheryl Underwood Radio will feature yours truly, Sheryl Underwood, Harry Southerland, James Kelley and executive producer Vic Frost. The show will air weekday mornings on MY SOUL RADIO from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Tune In app and The MY SOUL RADIO app are available from the Google Play Store. Follow on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook: MY SOUL RADIO. Contact:

Follow Sheryl Underwood: Facebook: Shery l Underwood Radio, Twitter: @UnderwoodRadio, and Instagram: @sherylunderwoodradio

Writer Krystal M. Harris to Pen New Graphic Novel/Comic Book Series Featuring Five Black Female Martial Arts Warriors

Nationwide — Between acting, heading a production company, and changing her 4-month old’s diapers, Krystal M. Harris has added a new talent to her career other than writing film scripts… writing comics/graphic novels.

Harris, who will next be seen opposite Algee Smith in the highly anticipated, “New Edition Story” biopic on BET, has been tapped to pen the female action/drama graphic novel, The Venomous Five. Set in the 19th century, The Venomous Five is a story of five former slave girls who surpass adversity to become the pride of Japan and the world’s fiercest martial arts warrior heroines.

The new graphic novel will bring on several black female illustrators in addition to Harris penning the graphic novel, and will feature illustrations lead by artist/illustrator and mother Julie Anderson. Women of color rarely get opportunities to champion this type of genre. The next wave of “Black Girl Magic” is not just showing how spectacular women are, it’s normalizing it.

“When I heard the concept I was immediately excited, using our rich history as black people and turning the pain we endured as slaves into a driving force to rise up in power was something that really got my wheels turning. Plus, black female martial arts and fantasy lore… what could get better than that?” said Harris

Michael Daniels, creator of The Venomous Five, sought out Harris because he had read her work and knew she would be the perfect person to bring this story to life. He was also adamant that telling this particular story of women’s empowerment would be impossible without bringing in strong female voices. According to Daniels, “The traditional way of men telling women’s stories are over. I’m glad The Venomous Five can be a part of the new wave of consciousness in story-telling.”

For more information and news on The Venomous Five, please call Michael Daniels at (323) 401-6973, email or visit

(Interested major publishing companies are welcome to inquire.)

Tony Rock host TV ONE’S outrageous new game show “THE GAME OF DATING,” premiering Tuesday, JAN. 31

SILVER SPRING, MD – DEC. 8, 2016 – TV One redefines the dating and game show genres this January with the debut of The Game of Dating. Hosted by popular comedian Tony Rock, the network’s primetime game show will offer viewers provocative, sexy and hysterical new takes on classic dating show scenarios. The one-hour series premieres on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

“The Game of Dating is a hilarious, jam-packed series filled with comedy, huge reveals and excellent play along,” said Brad Siegel, President of TV One. “With expert comic timing, Tony Rock entertainingly navigates the audience and our contestants through two dates – each one as unpredictable and funny as the last. It’s the only game show where dating pays off!”

The Game of Dating begins each hour-long episode with three teams of friends and/or family who watch real dates in a “hidden camera” style from the comfort of their homes. Throughout the show, the teams, as well as Rock, will offer their funny and uncensored commentary. The couples could be on an awkward first date, enjoying a new relationship, or they could be an existing couple with history just trying to keep the magic going. The competing teams watch the dates and do their best to figure out the daters’ stories and next moves in order to score cash.

As the two different dates progress, the teams – who are as diverse as the daters, including sorority sisters, bakers, barbers, hair stylists, multi-generational families, comedians, basketball moms and even a group of seniors – will participate in gameplay with multiple questions about the dates like: “How long has this couple been dating?”; “Who will pay the check?”; or “Will she ask him up to her apartment when he drops her off after a dinner date?” Each correct answer earns the teams increasing amounts of cash and the team with the most money at the end of the episode wins the $10,000 grand prize.

The Game of Dating’s first season debuts with nine episodes premiering every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT and includes hilarious highlights like:

• Lashell and Jeff have been dating on and off for three years, and Lashell is eager to know what their future holds. The two embark on a scavenger hunt – following clues that take them to the heart of Hollywood, where this date takes a turn that will change their lives forever.

• Mychal and Ashlynn meet up on a gorgeous Los Angeles beach and bond over Tantric Yoga on the sand, which involves some up-close and personal maneuvers for these blind daters! On the way to an exquisite beachfront meal, the two find the ocean far too cold for a swim, but the freezing water doesn’t seem to affect the heat between these two singles.

• Things get hot and heavy when Princess and Patrick take a pole-dancing class together. As they learn to slither up and down the pole our elderly contestants debate how the young people date in today’s world. But don’t let the age fool you, as these seniors have wild imaginations to go along with their uncensored banter.

“Every couple has a story and the most fun part for any bystander is figuring out ‘what’s their deal’,” said Rock. “We’re pulling back the curtain and taking an uncensored look at how couples relate. The commentary might not always be pretty, but it will definitely be funny.”

Comedian, actor, producer, writer, CEO – all are hats worn by Tony Rock. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., into a family with eight siblings, Rock was born laughing. Whether hosting Russell Simmons’ “All Def Comedy Live” and the revamped talent competition “Apollo Live,” starring in acclaimed films like “C’mon Man” and “The Redemption of a Dog,” making cameo appearances in box office hits like “Think Like a Man” or co-headlining multiple, nationwide comedy tours, Rock has proven he can step outside of his famous older brother’s shadow and forge his own impressive entertainment career. Outside of Hollywood, Rock works tirelessly as the founder of the MyROCK Diabetes Foundation, a charity established in honor of his late father, Julius. More information is also available on his website at

For more information about The Game of Dating, viewers can join the conversation by visiting the network’s companion website at TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hash tag #GAMEOFDATING and catch clips and promos on TV One’s YouTube Channel. Viewers can also engage with Tony Rock on Twitter (@TonyRock) Instagram (@Tony_Rock) and Facebook (@TonyRockComedy).

The Game of Dating is produced for TV One by A. Smith & Co. Entertainment (a division of A. Smith & Co. Productions) with Frank Sinton, Arthur Smith and Christmas Rini as executive producers and Brian Veskosky serving as showrunner. For TV One, Jubba Seyyid serves as executive-in-charge of production and senior director of original programming and production; Donyell McCullough is senior director of casting and talent relations; Robyn Greene Arrington is vice president, original programming and production; and D’Angela Proctor is head of original programming and production.

BLACK AUTHOR/THINKER reveals the truth about 18 controversial subjects in her new book, “PSST: PLEASE SOMEBODY SPEAK THE TRUTH”

Nationwide ( — Dr. Karen Sloan-Brown says, “Stop the Lies! The 2016 Presidential election was built on a foundation of lies. Hillary Clinton was the victim of so many. Donald Trump became the victor through the use of so many.” And her newly released book entitled Psst: Please Somebody Speak The Truth aims to start the process of separating the facts from fiction. She emphasizes that it’s ‘time out’ for politicians telling the people what they are going to do for the country. They are simply representatives. It’s high time they do what the people want done. In her opinion, the country is now caught up in a “Ball of Confusion.”

“Psst: Please Somebody Speak The Truth discusses the truths and mistruths of eighteen controversial subjects that U.S. citizens should carefully explore: democracy, capitalism, voting rights, income inequality, greed, entitlement programs, outsourcing, wages and inflation, gun control, the criminal justice system, global warming, affirmative action, education costs, paying college athletes, Iraq and ISIS, War, and the Barack Obama Presidency. She addresses the critical need for this country to define and clarify its understanding and beliefs on a number of fundamental issues to make educated choices, “This nation can’t continue to cast its votes based on name recognition.”

William Faulkner, a great American writer once said: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world… would do this, it would change the earth.”

Sloan-Brown cautions that the U.S. is in a precarious position because its leadership is no longer trustworthy. Most have gained their elevated positions of leadership through the power of persuasion, deftly convincing the people they have all the answers. She says the new president-elect, Donald Trump, is a master of this game. He and a host of politicians compellingly communicate all the things some folk yearn to hear, some of it honest, most of it downright deceitful. Her book seeks to navigate through the power-seeking voices that have become increasingly brazen, distorting the facts, misrepresenting truths, and threatening to undermine hundreds of years of progressive gains for their personal and privileged interests.

About the Author

Dr. Karen Sloan-Brown, is the author of several books, the non-fiction A Reflection: What a Difference a Day Makes, What About 100 Years?, Educating the Nation on a Shrinking Budget, and six novels, including The Fortunes of Blues and Blessing, Searching for Everland, and A New Season: The Fortunes of Blues and Blessings – Book Two. She is currently the Research Lab Coordinator of the Molecular Biology Core Facility at Meharry Medical College. She lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, Tennessee. For more details, visit her web site at

Indie Soul: Ro Brooks hosts celebrity birthday bash

On Sunday, June 19, 2016 at 8 p.m. at the Oxygen Ultra Lounge, Baltimore’s very own Ro Brooks who plays Michael on the television show “The Haves And The Have Nots,” will host a celebrity birthday bash at Oxygen Ultra Lounge located at 10 South Calvert Street in Baltimore. Ro will be presented with a mayoral citation from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at the event.

Although Brooks is excited about the party, he is more excited to be home so that he can visit the schools in the area.

“I am from Baltimore. It’s my city and I love my city. I want to be able to come home and give back. I want people to see that you can make it and become anything you want to be but you have to put in the work,” Brooks said.

Speaking of work, Brooks has been doing just that. In between acting Brooks wrote the book, “How to Go from Extra to Actor.”

“I wanted to pass on information to help others break into show business. I have been very fortunate and I just wanted to pass on knowledge to others, Brooks said.

Brooks has also taken up the challenge in the fight against HIV by helping to bring awareness through the “Doing It” campaign with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is very personal for me. My sister passed away from HIV. So to be able to help others, through education is very important to me, Brooks said. “When you are a celebrity you can get more things done, so I am using my celebrity to make a difference.”

So, on the June 19th, Brooks is asking his fellow Baltimoreans to come out and celebrate with him.

You can follow Brooks on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. More information about Ro Brooks is also available at:

Follow Phinesse Demps onTwitter: @pdempsIndieSoul and Facebook: Phinesse Demps

Filmmaker wants to kick Hollywood’s doors open for aspiring actors

First Detroit, then Hollywood, Washington D.C and the world. Before long, if the president of 25th Frame Films has anything to do with it, his company will be charting its own path towards the type of success no others have yet achieved.

Queens, New York native and accomplished producer, director and actor Shiek Mahmud-Bey, like the prizefighter he used to be, has been working diligently behind the scenes to give aspiring actors, producers and directors the tools they need to storm the ramparts of the film industry.

His efforts are seen as important for all actors, regardless of race or gender, but it could mean even more for African-Americans or people of color as Hollywood faces increasing pressure not only to produce great films and bring back the days of appointment television, but as Business writer Drew Harwell noted in December 2015, Hollywood has been ignoring a gold mine.

Although non-Whites make up only 37 percent of the U.S. population, they bought 46 percent of the $1.2 billion in tickets sold in 2015.

Further, movies with predominantly Black casts like “Straight Outta Compton” which was produced with a $28 million budget grossed more than $200 million in box office to become the highest grossing biopic in history.

So, as Hollywood figures out what to do about this intractable problem, Mahmud-Bey isn’t sitting around waiting, with his hands in his lap.

After crafting and hosting a years-long series of innovative workshops held locally and in cities like the Detroit and the Big Apple, he and officials at his production company said they’re stepping up their game by marshalling the skills and talents of the best, accomplished and undiscovered talent around to shoot a series of short movies that they assert will be sure to capture Hollywood’s imagination.

Or, as Mahmud-Bey’s motto notes, he “will find a way, or make one.”

“I’ve decided to step it up a little more. My company is collaborating with directors and writers like Kamal Smith, Janaya Black and Dana Elam – those I’ve worked with in ‘Collaborations Detroit’ and a few actors who attend my Shiek Studio monthly classes – and doing this,” said Mahmud-Bey, president of 25th Frame Films.

Mahmud-Bey previously developed “Game Changerz,” a monthly industry night event where talented residents are able to show off their skills and compete for cash and other prizes. He fashioned his Collaborations Showcase to create opportunities for actors, filmmakers and entertainment professionals to get together and share their talents, ideas and experiences.

“25th Frame Films will submit work to festivals and we’re going to take ‘Collaborations’ to a higher medium,” he explained.

In future productions, Mahmud-Bey plans to explore mental health issues, sexual abuse, relationships and sexual orientation.

“The short series is themed under the topic ‘Life,’” he said.

Led by 25th Frame Films, the short series will be shot and entered into the film festival circuit. Prior to that, they’ll be screened by the Collaborations Group, which Mahmud-Bey calls a dream come true.

“Under the umbrella of 25th Frame Films we are creating the opportunity for these now-trained actors to put their acting chops to work in movies and creating visibility by exposing them through the Collaborations Group. The objective of the “Game Changerz” monthly industry night is for filmmakers to meet more often than the annual Collaborations Showcases, collaborate and continue to create,” he said.

“My team and I are in the process of developing ‘The Village’ and the name says it all. Kamal Smith and I are also in the process of developing a feature film. It’s a political comedy based on the lives of four people and their desire to find happiness, but find themselves forced to actually look at themselves. We’re going to push the envelope on what we as artists should do.”

That team includes Dr. L.A. Barlow, the famed RAC certified forensic psychologist, producer Bettie Williams and makeup artist Lauren Beverly.

Director of Photography Zackary Cornell Cunningham, whom Mahmud-Bey met in Detroit during a “Collaborations” event also is onboard as co-producer with his CC Digital Innovations production company.

“[Cunningham] is about movie making. His standards match mine, meaning we both want to tell great stories with no compromise to production value,” Mahmud-Bey said. “He’s also shooting a documentary about his father, Michael G. Cunningham, and his dialysis journey which is titled, ‘30 to Go.’”

Mahmud-Bey could barely contain his enthusiasm for Smith and the involvement of Smith’s Lynn’s Boys Media LLC production company.

“Kamal Smith is another brother I’ve teamed up with. He wrote scenes for ‘Collaborations Detroit” about a man intimidated by his wife making more money than him and I loved it,” Mahmud-Bey said. “So, I asked him to elaborate on that scene and write a short based on it. Kamal is also a director and I saw his sitcom, ‘Because We’re Men,’ and I loved it.”

Mahmud-Bey said he’d heard some great things about Smith and had always wanted to meet and possibly work with the man many called a young Tyler Perry-like innovative talent.

“I guess it was divine intervention. So I asked him if he want to direct the short as well. He loved the idea and he jumped on board as a writer, director and producer. He’s also in the process of writing another short mystery drama-comedy based on two sisters and their eating habits,” he said.

Mahmud-Bey has an unenviable body of work. His performances in “The Way Out,” and “Acts of Contrition” received critical acclaim and earned him a “Best Performance” Award in the International Fringe Festivals. He’s also appeared in such theatrical performances as “The Big Trees,” “Over the Edge,” and “Black, No Sugar.”

But the thespian really marked his territory on the silver screen by starring opposite Robert DeNiro, Nicolas Cage, Andy Garcia, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix in such films as “Buffalo Soldier,” “Flawless,” “Night Falls on Manhattan,” “Kiss of Death,” “See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” “Small Vices,” “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” “Mercy Streets,” and “Joe’s Apartment.”

His television credits include a regular role in NBC’s “The Profiler,” “Third Watch,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “Spencer: Small Vices,” and “Saving Grace.”

It’s that experience and prodigious talent that should boost Mahmud-Bey’s latest foray as he pushes to provide a mélange of opportunities for those seeking to be seen and more deeply involved in the industry they love.

Indie Soul: Conscious Canvas

— The Conscious Canvas is an event meant to tap into the art community in Baltimore, thanks to the creative mind of Stephen Wise, owner of SWB, custom menswear in Baltimore City.

Wise says art and fashion have a natural connection.

“Fashion is art. How I design a piece comes from inspiration and from the heart. It’s the same train of thought for artists. I wanted a platform for artists to be able to showcase their work and perhaps get commissioned to do work for others and perhaps sell some art.”

Artist Antonio Moore is an artist who has benefited from such an event. ‘This gives me the chance to have my work seen by folks who might not see my work” he said.

Moore had the opportunity to sell one of his pieces to mayoral candidate Sheila Dixon.

The Conscious Canvas Event is also a great time to mix and mingle and a chance to share great business ideas with others, according to Wise.

“We have some incredible talent in my city! Just like someone gave me chance to show what I can do in fashion, these artists deserve the same kind of outlet to be able to show what they can do” Wise said.

Brookshire Suites, located at 120 E Lombard Street in Baltimore, hosted the showcase. The next Conscious at Canvas event will be held on Thursday, March 24, 2016 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Indie Soul: ‘Caught Up’ by Shannon Holmes

For my hip-hop heads “Caught Up” by Shannon Holmes is for you. His first book “B-More Careful” was written about the streets of Baltimore. Holmes knows a lot about street life, especially after serving five years on drug charges. It was at this point in his life that he chose to turn his life around. Five books later he is back with “Caught Up” another hip-hop thriller published by Akashic Books. So what is “Caught Up” about?

The central character, Dixyn Greene, has it all. She is a hustler’s wife, the mother of a beautiful daughter, and she owns a town house and a nice car. She’s living the life. When the feds arrest her man, Dixyn’s whole world begins to crumble. Things quickly go from bad to worse. The bills begin to mount and her ability to continue to maintain her lavish lifestyle is put to the test.

Strapped for cash, her good intentions lead to bad decisions. Enter Brian Winters, B-Dub, and her one saving grace, or so she initially believes. In Dixyn’s time of need, B-Dub turns out to be no more than an opportunist with his own agenda. Dixyn becomes indebted to him and is forced to do his bidding in order to survive. With B-Dub on her back, she submerges herself into the murky waters of street life and is soon entangled in a web of lust, betrayal, blackmail, and deceit. She ultimately discovers that there are no rules in the game. In the game, loyalty is limited. Trust will get you hurt and love will get you killed.

I read this book in one sitting. It had me open. Now I have Holmes at the top of my list of authors when it comes to street novels. It’s a great way to escape and be entertained for a few hours. The book hits stores August 4, 2015!