African American First: First Black-owned Radio Station – WERD-AM in Atlanta, GA


Jesse B. Blayton, Sr., was a pioneer African American radio station entrepreneur.  Blayton founded WERD-AM in Atlanta, Georgia on October 3, 1949 making him the first African American to own and operate a radio station in the United States. He was born in Fallis, OK, on December 6, 1879 and died on September 7, 1977 in Atlanta.  He was known as the “Dean of Negro Accountants.” He worked as a bank president and a college professor before purchasing WERD. In 1955, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. He made history in 1949 when he bought the 1,000 watt Atlanta radio station for $50,000. He changed the radio format and directed it toward the African American audience. WERD was a pioneer in programming what he called “Negro appeal” music, playing early versions of rhythm and blues music that could not be found elsewhere on the air. Although WDIA, established in Memphis, TN in 1948, played music oriented for a black audience, WERD was the ONLY black-owned station to do so at that time. By 1954, there were approximately 200 black-oriented stations but fewer than a dozen were black-owned.  He hired his son, Jesse Blayton, Jr., as the station’s first Program Director.  ~

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Alison Crockett performs at Capital Fringe Festival

James Levy Presents: When ET Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

ROCK OPERA: PRESS RELEASE presents “When ET Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: a Sci-Fi Rock Opera”
Where: Spooky Universe Universalist National Memorial Church 1810 16th Street NW Washington DC, 20009
When: Wednesday July 13th @ 6pm; Tuesday July 19 @ 9pm; Thursday July 21 @ 9pm; Saturday July 23 @ 1:45pm; Sunday July 24 @ 2pm
What: Sci-Fi Rock Opera featuring therapy, healing, phone calls & Visitors. •In 1990s L.A., a rock star questions her sanity. •In a nearby sanitarium a man with amnesia wakes up screaming, a girl seems too scared to live.
•And on the dark side of the moon a ship powers up…
Why: DC TheaterScene gave us top rating, 5 out of 5 stars in last summer’s Capital Fringe Festival!
For more info contact James Levy at For complete reviews and to watch video of the show from last summer’s Fringe Festival,    go to
This production is presented as a part of the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival. A program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe. Check out Alison Crockett in the production!

5 Performances
Capital Fringe Festival
July 2011

Spooky Universe(Dupont METRO 6 blcks)
Universalist National Memorial Church
1810 16th Street NW
Washington DC, 20009

* Wednesday July 13th @ 6pm
* Tuesday July 19 @ 9pm
* Thursday July 21 @ 9pm
* Saturday July 23 @ 1:45pm
* Sunday July 24 @ 2pm

Cast and production details

Buy tickets here

This production is presented as a part of the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival. A program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.

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Anthony David Launches AWOL Foundation

AWOL  (All Walks Of Life) is a registered 501(c)3 that provides arts and technology education for at-risk youth. The organization’s main goal is to successfully develop youth in an environment that encourages respect, education, creativity and most of all non-violence. AWOL strives to provide troubled youth with an outlet for their creative energy and frustration, while teaching them practical jobs skills, empowering them to overcome peer pressure and to make better decisions in their daily lives.

What began as a casual gathering of poets, musicians and emcees at Savannah State University in 1997 was incorporated as a non-profit group in September of 2004, a way for Founder/CEO Tony “Polo” Jordan, an emcee and probation officer, to compromise between his love of hip hop and his experiences helping troubled kids.

Juxtaposing hip hop culture and positive youth development though various artistic mediums, the organization has become one of Savannah’s premier youth serving organizations, impacting the lives of hundreds of youth every year through its unique programs.

With a mission “to promote and provide self-awareness through the use of poetry, hip hop and life,” the organization hosts a number of events including: a weekly television show called the Chop Shop, a monthly open mic night called Therapy Session, conflict resolution workshops, the theater arts program called Act Up, digital arts education programs involving film and music production, and an innovative IT Training called Goon Squad that teach youth how to refurbish old computers, which are then given to families in the community.

For more info, contact:
DaVena Jordan
Executive Director
(C) 912.704.3812
(O) 912.303.4987
(Skype) Davena.Jordan

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Former Chic band member, Raymond Jones dies

Former Chic band member, Raymond Jones dies

Producer, composer, keyboardist, recording artist, engineer and musical director, Raymond Jones has died.No details have been given on how he died, but he had been ill. He was born and raised in New York City.  He got his big break when his friend Tony Thompson introduced him to Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards who at the time were forming Chic. Jones joined the band and toured the world with Chic. He played on songs like Good Times by Chic, Upside Down by Diana Ross and We Are Family by Sister Sledge. He performed and recorded with rock artist Nona Hendryx, too.  He worked under the guidance of producer, George Duke and he became music producer for Stephanie Mills and Angela Bofill and others.  He has written for Whitney Houston and Patti Labelle.  Raymond recorded his first solo CD “Acts of Love” in 1997 for independent label UEG. After that, he took a position from July 1997 to March 1998 as music director for the Keenan Ivory Wayans late night talk show on FOX network nationwide. Jones released his second CD “Naked Soul” in 1999.  In 2001, Jones released his third solo CD “Intimate” which got rave reviews.  He went on to release a total of 5 CDs. Raymond will truly be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans. R.I.P.

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Farewell Oprah!

Farewell Oprah!

The second part of Oprah’s “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular” event was filled with high-profile singers, actors, and journalists, but surprisingly they were not the stars of yesterdays show. There is no doubt that the spotlight moment of the show was when Oprah was honored by a group of scholars from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tyler Perry began the tribute by acknowledging how Oprah has helped thousands of young people throughout the country go to college, and amongst these students are more than 400 African American men from Morehouse College that she sent to school on scholarship. Perry then announced that some of the recipients of the scholarship came to participate in the farewell celebration. Following this, hundreds of recipients of the scholarship began to fill the stage and aisles of the United Center carrying electric candles. These candles symbolized the importance of allowing one man to complete his education and build a new life.
One of the 400 men who was blessed to receive the scholarship and appear on yesterday’s show was Parnell Minter, who is from my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Watch the video describing his once in a lifetime experience.

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