Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Poetry Month!!!
Returning Soon
In the Process of
Being A Bride
Wedding Day
107 days & Counting
Bridal Clipart of a Happy African American Wedding Couple, the Groom ...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Master Photographer: Spotlight April 2014

What is in a name? R. Dione (pronounced like Sanders or Warwick) Foto is named after its principal, Rhonisha Dione Franklin. I take great pride in being my father's "namesake" and his initials R.D.F. Having been a professional photographer/videographer himself for many years, the name just seemed a perfect fit!

In 2007 I picked up my first Nikon digital SLR camera and I've found it hard to put down ever since #MyCameraIsMyNecklace! I'm definitely a "Nik Chick"!
Keep Smiling!
R. Dione

phone: 301.272.4250 email:

Monday, March 31, 2014

Senior Executive Editor's Ink: Flamming Belles

Flaming Belles,Isis Spokenpen
(Inspired by Metro Atlantic Bennett College A.A.
2014 White Breakfast Theme)

I am she and she is me…. Young…Tender….Sassy & Fearless …..Older……. ….Courageous….. Gracious and Seasoned!!

We are Women on Fire…Hunger to Be!! Yeah a Different World from where we came from; every Thursday night the scandal of the 90’s we Northern Girls knew we were missing something.

Fredrick Douglas said education was a passport, Malcom X’s bio said get that Passport but just don’t let it become a Green Card, Carter G. Woodson said it first in the Mis-education of Negro (Read) that in Freshwomen Orientation. Martin Luther King Jr. well our mommies like Coretta’s momma want us to obtain a Degree and possibly get a Husband.

Little did she know the information age would over power the industry age! Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and AOL will all tell us -we got Mail.

For all Dressed in White a different kind of wedding day would be that Long Walk from the President House to Chapel.

The journey to a Different World would now become the Search for Our Mother’s Garden. As we signed our name in the Bennett Book of Life becoming-Forever-Stamped into the Secret Lives of Belles.

Didn’t know like Debbie Allen once said if you want Fame you must know it COST and Greensboro North Kakielacie is where Belles started paying.

Fire requires the joining together in order to create a lasting flame! Herstory like Labor pains 1873 to Present makes it plain…. like a Queen Bee/Mother Bennett was always giving Birth. And we; her new classes of Daughter’s were expect to do her Proud…for “Iron sharpens Iron”.

The Flame was lit we were little Women on Fire. Like Jeremiah for some of us the FIRE was shut up in our bones. Pregnant in our souls… convert out of mental immaturity … becoming the individual fine cut diamonds…. because only diamonds cut Glass. Womanist not Feminist will cut through the ceiling of Gender Apartheid while leaving the family in order…intake!!

Sisterhood was on the top of the menu….experiencing it in mutable ways. Beside every good man is a Great Woman. And beside every Good Woman are Great Sister Friends!! “As a weed We will be never I never me but We and that’s the ways it is going to be”.

We were Women on Fire and the Flames grew HOTTER and HOTTTER!! Academic Cultural Enrichment (church yawl) happens every Tuesday and Thursday. Internships, Volunteerism and ABC…. 1…2..3 is what WE BREATH.

Gassing up led to Snacks across the street with Mr. Guz and CPR (Health or Gym) class was led by Mr. Macduff these were our Bennett community Fathers who kept it real sometimes raw with us because Fire is both Comforting and Dangerous.

Mother Bennett taught us our lessons earning some both a degree and an impartation and other of us received a double portion of Faith. Knowing that we must stand on our own two feet when the Thunder calls…for us…once a Belle always a Belle!! “And we do it Well”

Generation X standing at the Door of Destiny not accepting No for answer; defining our legacy we pass a small portion of our flame to the next generation. As well trained Olympia’s we know our Belle little sisters ….Generation Y…..will do Even Greater works then we Have DONE!!

The Baby Boomers and the Cloud of Witness required our belles to RING even louder. The Flame is carried further by the Wind in the Wings of the Belles of Liberty!!

Bennett Belles are Women on Fire in the Board room, School House, Church Temples and the House we call Home domestically keeping the Cold out and the Heat in!!

Heat likes to Rise yawl!! No wonder why Belles were never allowed to walk on the Grass… for every step a Belle takes is lit with the Heat that rises to a contagious degree!! Fear we were taught –natural- but must be press threw. Presentation was important but –Beauty- alone wasn’t Enough.

Thus, whether it be a Morehouse Gentleman or Aggie Manly Man none could avoid the phenomenal-ness of a Belles warmth.

I am a Bennett Belle a Magnolia Tree –planted- firmly in My Mother’s Garden!! With Global Branches supplying logs for Heat daily into some Young Women’s Life giving out of the Oasis, I was baptized in!!



WE Make!!!!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Master Female Administrator Spotlight: March 2014

Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall became the 17th president of Bennett College on July 1, 2013. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina on the campus of Fayetteville State University, where her father was on the faculty. A 1980 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Fuse-Hall earned a Bachelor of Science degree in administration of criminal justice. In 1983, she earned her Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law, Newark, New Jersey.

Dr. Fuse-Hall also studied at Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Institute of Educational Management.
Although she began her career in law, Dr. Fuse-Hall soon gravitated to higher education. She comes from a family of educators. Her mother and five aunts were teachers. She is married to Dr. Jarvis Hall, a political science professor at North Carolina Central University, and her daughter, Ifetoya Hall, who is a 2013 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a teacher with Teach for America, working in Texas.

Dr. Fuse-Hall started her legal career as a judicial law clerk with the Honorable William H. Walls, Essex County Superior Court in Newark, and then as a staff attorney in the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in New York City.

Her first position in higher education was at St. Lawrence University, where she was assistant director for minority affairs. Most recently, she served as chief of staff to the president at Florida A&M University and interim executive director of Title III Programs. She has served as executive assistant to the chancellor at North Carolina Central University and corporate secretary to the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina system, comprising 17 campuses.
While at Florida A&M University, Dr. Fuse-Hall managed $10 million dollars in special programs to enhance institutional strengths and student outcomes. She is especially proud of a grant that she drafted with several colleagues that was funded for an additional $10 million over five years. At North Carolina Central University, she worked on two special initiatives that brought nearly $44 million to the University. One was the Biomanufacuturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise or “BRITE” Center for Excellence. This was a research institute that brought together the biotech industry, governmental officials, community colleges and a major research university to secure $19.1 million in capital funds to build the institute and an additional $7 million in annual operating funds from the state legislature. The second project resulted from a public-private partnership that built a 408-bed residence hall on the newly created West Campus of the University.

Dr. Fuse-Hall also has worked as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill.

In 2004, Dr. Fuse-Hall traveled to Southeast Asia on an Eisenhower Fellowship. She was in the charter class of BRIDGES, a UNC Academic Leadership Program, and was a participant in Leadership America, a national leadership development program, both in 1993. She serves on numerous boards and advisory panels, and her professional affiliations include the Association of Black Women in Higher Education. Dr. Fuse-Hall is a member of the Links, Inc. an international, not-for-profit corporation with a membership of 12,000 professional women of color devoted to voluntary public service. She is a frequent presenter and public speaker.

Office of the President, Global Learning Center
Phone:336-517-2225 and 336-517-2226
Fax: 336-370-8688

Friday, February 21, 2014

Senior Exective Editor's Ink: Labor of Love

Labor of Love

Isis Spokenpen


To laugh like Sarah laugh,

To be a visionary like Esther,

To be a devote like Zipproah,

To be served like Songs of Solman,

To build the Kingdom of God like Ruth

To be well balanced a Prophet to the Nations and a Wife to a Man… like Deborah,

To be chosen and protected like Mary the Mother of Jesus,

God So Loved

Not willing to Disrespect,

Not willing to be Dishonor,

Not investing in Disbelief,

Not taking my Hand off the Plow,

Not taking the Past into the HERE and NOW,

Not going to dig up the baggage HE has placed into the SEA of Forgetfulness



Knowing the Heart,

Knowing the Soul,

Knowing the Mind,

Knowing the Why to Your What,

Knowing the What to My Why,

Knowing the Weapons of our Warfare are Mighty,

Knowing that God’s Timing is Always on Time,


Understanding our Diversity,

Understanding the Call,

Understanding my Lane,

Understanding my Gifts,

Understanding your Role,

Understanding the Season,

Understanding the Realm,


Wisdom to hear from Above,

Wisdom to have more Courage,

Wisdom to practice what it took me a Decade to Learn,

Wisdom to let every Joint supply,

Wisdom to be Open to Life after Death,

Wisdom to know Age is but a Number by which one can USE to count their many blessing.


Beyond Childhood Husband,

Beyond Girlhood Infatuations,

Beyond Society Stigmas,

Beyond Timetable Tick tock,

Beyond Gender Victimization,

Beyond Displacement of Gap Fillers,

Beyond Foreshadowing & Reacting,

On to the Other Side 


Accountable for Entrance,

Accountable for Investment,

Accountable for Time,

Accountable for Destiny,

Accountable for Legacy,

Accountable for Self,

Accountable for Love Language,

Accountable for Building Repair,


Mother over the Night,

Sisterly obedience to the Day,

Daughter of Christian Faith

Redeemed by the high price of Mercy,

Keeper of Hope’s Star Power

Reaper of Grace; what your Entitle too is not always what your Call too and what your Call too, is not always what your Entitle too,

Overcomer of False Classifications,

Convicted by God’s Plan,

Receiver of God’s Promises,

Passenger in God’s Provision,

A Slave to God’s Forgiveness 

Benefactor of His Passion

Mmmm……Yes……Jesus…..loves me!!!

Ohh,,,yes… Yes……Jesus…..loves me!!! For the Bible tells me So!!

I’m pressing Upper Ward

Always Guide Me, Lord I Pray…. I know  Undeserving and Stubborn in Will….But  You…never fell to Love me still

Yes….Jesus…loved me!! For the Bible tells me So!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Master Citizen Poet Spotlight: Februray 2014


Amiri Baraka

Citizen Poet, Professor, 

Father & Husband

Early life (1934–65)[edit]

Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey, where he attended Barringer High School. His father, Coyt Leverette Jones, worked as a postal supervisor and lift operator. His mother, Anna Lois (née Russ), was a social worker.[9]
He won a scholarship to Rutgers University in 1951, but a continuing sense of cultural dislocation prompted him to transfer in 1952 to Howard University, which he left without obtaining a degree. His major fields of study were philosophy and religion. Baraka subsequently studied at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research without obtaining a degree.
In 1954, he joined the US Air Force as a gunner, reaching the rank of sergeant. However, his commanding officer received an anonymous letter accusing Baraka of being a communist, which led to the discovery of Soviet writings, his reassignment to gardening duty and subsequently a dishonorable discharge for violation of his oath of duty.[10]
The same year, he moved to Greenwich Village working initially in a warehouse for music records. His interest in jazz began during this period. At the same time he came into contact with avant-garde Beat Generation, Black Mountain poets and New York School poets. In 1958 he married Hettie Cohen, with whom he had two daughters, Kellie Jones (b. 1959) and Lisa Jones (b.1961). He and Hettie founded Totem Press, which published such Beat icons as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.[11] They also jointly founded a quarterly literary magazine Yugen, which ran for eight issues (1958–62).[12] Baraka also worked as editor and critic for the literary and arts journal Kulchur (1960–65). With Diane di Prima he edited the first twenty-five issues (1961–63) of their little magazine The Floating Bear.[13] In the autumn of 1961 he co-founded the New York Poets Theatre with di Prima, choreographers Fred Herko and James Waring, and actor Alan S. Marlowe. He had an extramarital affair with Diane di Prima for several years; their daughter, Dominique di Prima, was born in June 1962.
Baraka visited Cuba in July 1960 with a Fair Play for Cuba Committee delegation and reported his impressions in his essay "Cuba libre".[14] In 1961 Baraka co-authored a Declaration of Conscience in support of Fidel Castro's regime.[15] Baraka also was a member of the Umbra Poets Workshop of emerging Black Nationalist writers (Ishmael Reed, and Lorenzo Thomas among others) on the Lower East Side (1962–65). In 1961 a first book of poems, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, was published. Baraka's article "The Myth of a 'Negro Literature'" (1962) stated that "a Negro literature, to be a legitimate product of the Negro experience in America, must get at that experience in exactly the terms America has proposed for it in its most ruthless identity." He also states in the same work that as an element of American culture, the Negro was entirely misunderstood by Americans. The reason for this misunderstanding and for the lack of black literature of merit was according to Jones:
In most cases the Negroes who found themselves in a position to pursue some art, especially the art of literature, have been members of the Negro middle class, a group that has always gone out of its way to cultivate any mediocrity, as long as that mediocrity was guaranteed to prove to America, and recently to the world at large, that they were not really who they were, i.e., Negroes.
As long as the black writer was obsessed with being an accepted, middle class, Baraka wrote, he would never be able to speak his mind, and that would always lead to failure. Baraka felt that America only made room for only white obfuscators, not black ones.[16]
In 1963 Baraka (under the name Jones) published Blues People: Negro Music in White America, his account of the significance of blues and jazz in African-American culture. When the work was re-issued in 1999, Baraka wrote in the Introduction that he wished to show: "The music was the score, the actually expressed creative orchestration, reflection of Afro-American life.... That the music was explaining the history as the history was explaining the music. And that both were expressions of and reflections of the people."[17] Baraka argued that though the slaves had brought their musical traditions from Africa, the blues were an expression of what black people became in America: "The way I have come to think about it, blues could not exist if the African captives had not become American captives."[18]
Baraka (under the name Jones) authored an acclaimed, controversial play Dutchman, in which a white woman accosts a black man on the New York subway. The play premiered in 1964 and received the Obie Award for Best American Play in the same year.[19] A film of the play, directed by Anthony Harvey, was released in 1967.[20] The play has been revived several times, including a 2013 production staged in the Russian and Turkish Bathhouse in the East Village, Manhattan.[21]
After the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, Baraka left his wife and their two children and moved to Harlem. Now a "black cultural nationalist," he broke away from the predominantly white Beats and became very critical of the pacifist and integrationist Civil Rights movement. His revolutionary poetry now became more controversial.[22] A poem such as “Black Art” (1965), according to academic Werner Sollors from Harvard University, expressed his need to commit the violence required to “establish a Black World.”[23] "Black Art" quickly became the major poetic manifesto of the Black Arts Literary Movement and in it, Jones declaimed "we want poems that kill," which coincided with the rise of armed self-defense and slogans such as "Arm yourself or harm yourself" that promoted confrontation with the white power structure.[5] Rather than use poetry as an escapist mechanism, Baraka saw poetry as a weapon of action.[24] His poetry demanded violence against those he felt were responsible for an unjust society.


In 1966, Baraka married his second wife, Sylvia Robinson, who later adopted the name Amina Baraka.[25] In 1967, he lectured at San Francisco State University. The year after, he was arrested in Newark for having allegedly carried an illegal weapon and resisting arrest during the 1967 Newark riots, and was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison. Shortly afterward an appeals court reversed the sentence based on his defense by attorney, Raymond A. Brown.[26] Not long after the 1967 riots, Baraka generated controversy when he went on the radio with a Newark police captain and Anthony Imperiale, a Politician and private business owner, and the three of them blamed the riots on "white-led, so-called radical groups" and "Communists and the Trotskyite persons."[27] That same year his second book of jazz criticism, Black Music, came out, a collection of previously published music journalism, including the seminal Apple Cores columns from Down Beat magazine.
In 1967, Baraka (still Leroi Jones) visited Maulana Karenga in Los Angeles and became an advocate of his philosophy of Kawaida, a multifaceted, categorized activist philosophy that produced the "Nguzo Saba," Kwanzaa, and an emphasis on African names.[5] It was at this time that he adopted the name Imamu Amear Baraka.[1] Imamu is a Swahili title for "spiritual leader", derived from the Arabic word Imam (إمام). According to Shaw, he dropped the honorific Imamu and eventually changed Amear (which means "Prince") to Amiri.[1] Baraka means "blessing, in the sense of divine favor."[1] In 1970 he strongly supported Kenneth A. Gibson's candidacy for mayor of Newark; Gibson was elected the city's first Afro-American Mayor. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Baraka courted controversy by penning some strongly anti-Jewish poems and articles, similar to the stance at that time of the Nation of Islam.[citation needed]
Baraka's separation from the Black Arts Movement began because he saw certain black writers – capitulationists, as he called them – countering the Black Arts Movement that he created. He believed that the groundbreakers in the Black Arts Movement were doing something that was new, needed, useful, and black, and those who did not want to see a promotion of black expression were "appointed" to the scene to damage the movement.[16] Around 1974, Baraka distanced himself from Black nationalism and became a Marxist and a supporter of third-world liberation movements. In 1979 he became a lecturer in Stony Brook University's Africana Studies Department.[citation needed] The same year, after altercations with his wife, he was sentenced to a short period of compulsory community service. Around this time he began writing his autobiography. In 1980 he denounced his former anti-semitic utterances, declaring himself an anti-zionist.[citation needed]


Baraka addressing the Malcolm X Festival from the Black Dot Stage in San Antonio Park, Oakland, California while performing with Marcel Diallo and his Electric Church Band
During the 1982–83 academic year, Baraka was a visiting professor at Columbia University, where he taught a course entitled "Black Women and Their Fictions." In 1984 he became a full professor at Rutgers University, but was subsequently denied tenure.[28] In 1985, Baraka returned to Stony Brook, eventually becoming professor emeritus of African Studies. In 1987, together with Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, he was a speaker at the commemoration ceremony for James Baldwin. In 1989 Baraka won an American Book Award for his works as well as a Langston Hughes Award. In 1990 he co-authored the autobiography of Quincy Jones, and 1998 was a supporting actor in Warren Beatty's film Bulworth. In 1996, Baraka contributed to the AIDS benefit album Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip produced by the Red Hot Organization.
In July 2002, Baraka was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey by Governor Jim McGreevey. Baraka held the post for a year mired in controversy and after substantial political pressure and public outrage demanding his resignation. During the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in Stanhope, New Jersey, Baraka read his 2001 poem on the September 11th attacks "Somebody Blew Up America?", which was criticized for anti-Semitism and attacks on public figures. Because there was no mechanism in the law to remove Baraka from the post, the position of state poet laureate was officially abolished by the State Legislature and Governor McGreevey.
Baraka collaborated with hip-hop group The Roots on the song "Something in the Way of Things (In Town)" on their 2002 album Phrenology.
In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included Amiri Baraka on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.[29]
In 2003, Baraka's daughter Shani, aged 31, and her lesbian partner, Rayshon Homes, were murdered in the home of Shani's sister, Wanda Wilson Pasha, by Pasha's ex-husband, James Coleman.[30][31] Prosecutors argued that Coleman shot Shani because she had helped her sister separate from her husband.[32] A New Jersey jury found Coleman (also known as Ibn El-Amin Pasha) guilty of murdering Shani Baraka and Rayshon Holmes, and he was sentenced to 168 years in prison for the 2003 shooting.[33]


Amiri Baraka died on January 9, 2014, at Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey, after being hospitalized in the facility's intensive care unit for one month prior to his death. The cause of death was not reported initially, but it is mentioned that Baraka had a long struggle with diabetes.[34] Later reports indicated that he died from complications after a recent surgery.[35] Baraka's funeral was held at Newark Symphony Hall on January 18, 2014.[36]

Friday, January 31, 2014

Senior Executive Editor's Ink:Best Man Holiday

Turning the Page: Opinion Editorial on the Movie-“Best Man Holiday”

By: Isis Spokenpen


This is the second time we the (audience) were introduced to these college friends. The first time we were allowed to peek into their imaginary world, we did more laughing and reflecting than anything. Yet, the friendship theme this time revealed to most and reminded some that once the rights of passages that accords in the (thick and/or thin- bubble) of young adult land is over “life happens” and the seriousness of navigating through life as an adult reveals the substance of who you really are.  As Jessica Parker said in the second Sex in the City movie “tradition will always sneak in”.

Thus, the writers of Best Man Holiday in their own art “reflects” life like fashion were true to the above theme.  Like the first movie we laughed, but unlike the first movie we cried as life can change on a dime. Each character was well developed; allowing for the movie to be as relatable as artistically possible. The romantic male and female interaction between the characters is the under pending that glues the theme of lifelong friendship tightly together. The characters highs and lows individually and collectively introduce us to us. Connecting to their humanity allows us to learn from their world.

The character Mia (her) death was symbolic of how our lives are not really our own. Life waits for no one and delaying today’s truth to hold on to the false hope or guilt of yesterday will always leave you without the substance necessary to endure unexpected change. Her husband’s faith was the strength providing stability to them both in an unstable experience of lost. Change unexpected can feel like a death but nevertheless can be what clears a path way for a blessing of joy that surpasses what was lost.

In holding so tightly to our own plans we can smother God’s purpose in the script of our lives. God is the supreme master author as such, He writes the end and then the beginning.  The birth of Robin’s baby, Mia’s name sake on the same night of the beloved character’s funeral revealed a pattern of God. God will never take anything out of the world and not replace it. In this fulfillment of truth; we see the shifting of one’s life force to open the door for another’s life force; at the appointed time when human hearts are open to receive. A seed sown will always provide a necessary harvest to give life to the intergenerational story of humanity.

Another love fest observation that was also interesting to highlight is how although Mia and her husband were both people of great faith; it was the best man of little faith who eulogies Mia. Eulogizing someone is the acted of speaking the last blessing over a person life an act that can be extremely hard to complete when intimately connect. Yet, we see the best man completed what is asked of him in the manner that allowed him to be Mia’s safe escape her 1st responder.

The Best Man is the Main Character in both the first movie and the second his character is still unfortunately very UNDER DELVELOPED. As we the audiences aggressively await the third movie which will lead to the Best Man being yet, the best man again.  Thus, question becomes will he become the Better Man??