Dr. Willie Wilson spent part of his Easter Sunday at Greater Harvest Baptist to launch National Bail Reform Movement.

He has become a public advocate for criminal justice reform and utilizing his wealth for the common good. His recent

$160,000 donation to assist Cook County taxpayers with their property taxes brought a great deal of gratitude from residents chosen to receive the gift. For those who didn’t take the Chicago millionaire’s mayoral and presidential run seriously—Dr. Wilson’s philanthropic efforts has garnered more attention and respect from some his critics.

The struggle is real out here and the tale of two cities is far from being a “tale”—it is “tell-tale” of the harsh reality of surviving in a city that has become increasingly ex- pensive for many living on fixed income or check-to-check.

Music executive, Kevin Liles.

On the flipside, the city of Chicago hosts the third annual Lake FX Creative- Con two-day seminar and showcases presented by Google. Produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), it’s a free conference for emerging artists and creative professionals from April 21-22 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.).

One of the highlights of the conference will be special keynote speaker and music mogul, Kevin Liles. Co-Founder and CEO of 300 Entertainment and CEO of KWL Management, the former President of Def Jam Music Group and Warner Bros. will speak at 5:00pm on Friday, April 21 at the event.

In addition, I’m pleased to moderate another wonderful music-driven panel at the Lake FX CreativeCon featuring “Women in Music, Marketing and Media” on Saturday, April 22 beginning at 4:30 p.m. featuring Sr. VP of Marketing, Rona Mercado at Cashmere Agency (Los Angeles); Entertainment producer, Tyra Martin (WGN-TV), Midwest Regional Director, Caryn Lee (Interscope Records) and yours truly as the panelist moderator.

For a full listing of some fantastic panel discussions and showcases in music, film, theater and technology—visit LakeFX- Chicago.us. Most respect to the Program Manager, Frayne Lewis, for overseeing two non-stop days of extraordinary resource sharing and networking among our creative community.

Chief of Program and Civic Engagement of Navy Pier, Inc., Michelle T. Boone

Former Commissioner of DCASE, Michelle T. Boone, is currently Chief of Program and Civic Engagement of Navy Pier, Inc.—the city’s number one tourist destination. Last week, Navy Pier unveiled Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones, delivered by DHL, which debuted in Chicago on Saturday, April 15. Exhibitionism will run a four-month engagement through July 30, 2017, proudly brought to the U.S. by Jackson.

Guests will have the unique opportunity to experience the incredible journey of the most influential rock ‘n’ roll band in the world through this immersive and interactive exhibit set in the Pier’s Festival Hall B, showcasing more than 500 rare items spanning the band’s influence on fashion, recording, film and art, culminating in a mind-blowing 3D concert finale.

With the limited exhibit run of David Bowie’s showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), I asked Michelle will fans have a similar experience when visiting The Rolling Stones exhibit at The Pier?

“People know to go to a museum for an exhibition. The MCA has a membership base, there’s a steady flow of people that go to that venue specifically for that. The idea of Navy Pier hosting an exhibit is new and has never been done before and folks come to the pier for many different reasons,” she said. “It’ll be different to see how audiences respond. Bowie was a huge blockbuster for the MCA but I would imagine that The Stones is certainly just as popular and ingrained in the culture as David Bowie was but in a different sort of way.”

Knowing the influence of Black music from legendary artists—Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf and other Chess Recording artists—makes The Rolling Stones’ Chicago bond strong. Boone says, “The Stones has this unique Chicago connection be- cause the Blues played such a role and influence. They’ve had this long history of playing at the Checkerboard Lounge and other small clubs that weren’t necessarily part of the official tours. Musicians that they’ve built relationships with over the years.”

Birthday shout-outs

Celebrations are for wonderful belated birthday wishes to this year’s Defender Women of Excellence honoree, Catrice Armstrong and favorite choreographer and master teacher of Monsters of Hip Hop, Chonique Sneed on April 18. One- half of Chicks That Pitch, casting manager, Ericka Mauldin; Chicago native but New York resident, Maxine Daniels (daughter of music retailer, George Daniels); and music rep. turned awesome realtor, Nycholle Brown celebrate on April 20. DJ Vick Lavender keeps the birthday flames burning on April 22. Notable music veteran, Eric Payton; music producer and musician, D. Brooks and marketing agency executive, Freddie Baez celebrate on April 23.

Congrats & Honors

Essence Magazine named Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx as one of 100 women on their inaugural #WOKE100 list, which honors Black women activists, artists, politicians, educators, organizers, journalists and creators who are working to achieve equality for people of color. Foxx became the first African-American elected to the office challenging incumbent Anita Alvarez–shaking “sleeping giants” in a landslide win.

Features Editor for Essence, Lauren Williams, felt the May issue was an important testament to the women and their wonderful embodiment of work during a crucial time in our political climate.

“We thought it would be great to take a pause and look at the past 12 months and everything that has transpired. We know at Essence that black women are at the forefront of major movements around political, social and the arts—any genre you can think of. This is our way in our 47th anniversary issue to really pay homage to those women. We did our best to include a selection of women in all fields just to show what Black women are doing in the country,” she said.

Sabrina Fulton, mother of slain teen Trayvon Martin, is part of the Mothers of the Movement and founder of Circle of Mothers. Williams said they asked, “What was the moment that she became ‘woke’?” She said, “It really wasn’t until I lost my son.” She found a new purpose in helping other mothers who had under- gone the same tragedy in working to affect change in legislation.

Also, Chicago author/blogger Luvvie Ajayi is featured on the power activist list and on the cover. Ajayi is on a roll with her bestseller, “I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual.” Television rights was recently secured by Park Forest native and television guru, Shonda Rhimes, and business partner, Betsy Beers (Shondaland), along with ABC Signature Studios.

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