The revolutionary hip-hop band Arrested Development broke down barriers 30 years ago by releasing positive albums dedicated to Black self-love, Afro-centric themes and the end to white supremacy across the diaspora.
Co-founder and leader of the hit-making conscious rap group, Todd “Speech” Thomas, spoke to Atlanta Black Star about the group’s current projects and its upcoming 30th anniversary. During this exclusive sit-down, Thomas revealed his personal beliefs on topics ranging from the current state of the rap world to systemic white supremacy.
Beginning in 2012, the band worked on its most recent projects “Changing The Narrative” and “This Was Never Home,” which were both completed and released February 2016.
The albums have distinct sounds that appeal to die-hard fans and newcomers alike. “Changing the Narrative” is a sample-based album that has “raw hip-hop mixed with uplifting content” and it is free to listen to on the band’s website.
Both projects feature tracks discussing the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, violence in Chicago and the march on Selma.“This Was Never Home” utilizes the synthesizer and drum machine and focuses on how popular rap music changes the psychology of Black youths. It also tackles how marriage has been “torn down and dismantled in popular culture.”
Playwright Dui Jarrod’s “Unholy War” is an incredible melodrama exploring the psyche of an emotionally damaged man as he tries to marry the woman of his dreams. Yves– portrayed by Cario George— is a man who has been through a lot.
As a young boy, he was abandoned by his mother and had run-ins with many of her male suitors. However, as he aged, the wounds never healed and the pain lingered on. As a man, Yves became an emotional whirlwind with a strong love for vice.
The term “Kwanzaa” derives from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanzaa” which translates to “first fruits of the harvest.” From Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, families adhere to seven core principles such as Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility) and more. They typically create art and music, celebrate Black history, and wear traditional West African clothes like Kente cloth during the week-long holiday.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Kwanzaa, the United States Postal service released a new stamp on Oct. 1.
“I was commissioned by the Postal Service to paint the first Kwanzaa stamp in 1996, which was released as a 32-cents stamp on Oct. 22, 1997,” painter Dr. Synthia Saint James told Atlanta Black Star in an exclusive sit-down. “Nearly 19 years later in 2015, I was commissioned again by the USPS. This time to create/paint a Kwanzaa Forever Stamp.”
After 8-year-old Jalen Bailey expressed a desire to buy his mother a house, Sharhonda Mahan took the proper channels to get her son’s bakery business running.
In July, the Fresno, California residents applied for the necessary licenses and signed the legal documents to make Jalen’s Bakery a reality.
Within a week, young Jalen was making, selling and shipping off his baked masterpieces to lucky customers.
Jalen’s popularity grew instantly, and local media outlets wanted to share his inspiring story.
Mahan spoke to Atlanta Black Star about how Jalen started his own company before the age of 10 and how homeschooling affected his drive in life.
Around 2014, 6-year-old Jalen was baking on his own and baked his first peanut butter cookie without the help of his mother.
“I look at cooking as one of those things — like a basic thing for me,” Mahan told ABS. “I taught him to read when he was very young, to clean up and cook … Those were essential things he would need to know … I tried to make sure everything was fun — especially the things I knew he would need when he was older.”