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New York Giants Cornerback Walter Thurmond Launches Foundation for Arts and Education

New York Giants Walter Thurmond hosted a cocktail party in celebration of the launch of the Walter Thurmond Foundation for Arts and Education, in partnership with United Way of New York City's ReadNYC, Pros for Africa, and Impact Repertory Theater. Invited guests included fellow New York Giants Quintin Demps and educator, artist, poet, writer, producer, director, Jamal Joseph among others.

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What's The 411's host and fashion reporter, Jacinda Motton, checked out Walter Thurmond's fashion for the evening and reporter Chris Graham talked to Walter about his charitable venture, the Walter Thurmond Foundation.

What are Walter Thurmond's aspirations and dreams for the Walter Thurmond Foundation.

"I'm just trying to support different programs that really cater to the youth both domestically and internationally those are the biggest needs," said New York Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond. "The youth are our future, they need to get the best education out there possible."

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Impact Repertory Theater at the Launch of the Walter Thurmond Foundation for Arts and Education. Photo Credit: Alexis Williams/What's The 411 Networks

So what's the message you want to give to young people?

"..to believe all your dreams can come true and really go out there and work for those dreams," Thurmond responded. "I am a living testament to that situation. I just want to inspire the younger generation to achieve any goals that they have."

Interesting enough, Walter Thurmond is supporting arts and education, but did not play any instruments or focused on art as a kid growing up. Just straight up football.

"..just straight football, but I have a big fascination with film and everything like that," he said. "I have been fortunate to start my own film company and I have a couple of projects that we've been working on so that's where arts and education come in... really just trying to encourage kids to do whatever their dreams are."

 WATCH VIDEO: Walter Thurmond Launches Walter Thurmond Foundation for Arts and Education


Alabama Rapper Skoolie Debuts Thought-Provoking Short Film for "Check Out My Watch"

What's The 411TV music and entertainment reporter Rita Obi, conducts a wide-ranging interview via Skype with Alabama rapper, Skoolie regarding Check Out My Watch.

Instead of the same old urban-themed music video most rappers release for a record/single, Skoolie released a short film with thought provoking visuals for his single, Check Out My Watch.

"...Tell us a little bit about the concept behind it, it's very creative, the visuals were amazing, tell us a little bit about how that came about," Rita asked Skoolie.

"When we made the record, I actually wanted to just do something that everybody else wasn't doing," responded Skoolie. "Because here in my city, they actually pretty much go to the same locations and do something that everybody else did and when we put the little Negro spiritual kind of moans in the back, it was like, yo we have to be slaves....I consider myself to be a more thought-provoking artist; I wanted to bridge the gap between the hipsters and the hoods; so where I could still get my lyrical point across, but at the same time, I could still touch that audience that I don't normally touch. I wanted the hook to be super simple, but I wanted it to mean a million things. The whole started out with nothing now we blow it all, We literally did start out with nothing as a people, we really started out with not a thing, but now that we have a small a little bit of something, we still just you know, frivolous spending, it's a fashion show, it was just basically saying, come on yall, wake up a little bit, like just a little bit."

"Your sound is very, very unique," Rita said in a complimentary manner. "It reminds me of like Kanye West, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar. Who would you say inspired you to get involved in the hip hop industry?"

"Who inspired me period was A Tribe Called Quest, like I'm a huge Tribe fan," Skoolie responded paying homage to the pioneering hip hop trio. "Right now my idol is Kanye West; being that he pushes the envelope...he sees what you're comfortable with and with that alone that's gonna make you talk about him, and want to see what he's got going next because he's provocative and I appreciate his artistry like in the way.. his projects are always so well thought out; it's just refreshing and I try to follow in his footsteps but at the same time in a sense try to outdo him as well. It would be awesome to meet him and to just have a conversation with him because I feel the same way he does about a lot of stuff. Kanye is a huge, huge inspiration to me and my music today."

WATCH VIDEO: Rapper Skoolie Talks About His Musical Journey and the Concept for Check Out My Watch


Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon Getting Ready for Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival

In her first interview for What's The 411TV, Rita Obi has a sit-down interview with Wu-Tang Clan member, Raekwon.

Wasting no time, Rita asks, "The [Brooklyn] Hip Hop Festival is coming up, soon, what can we expect from your performance".

Nothing but fire, Raekwon responded. "Being driven on stage, you know, just raw exhilarating hip hop; a lot of great energy; this is what I love to do; this is my job, you know, to get up there and turn into a human CD on yall and give you quality music."

Raekwon Recognizes Hip Hop has Changed a Lot

"Back then it was all about making a great body of work off top, not just driving everything through single records, single songs," Raekwon said. "But hip hop is going to grow the way it grows..."

Despite the changes, Raekwon likes where hip hop is going.

"It's all about respecting every kind of music," Raekwon added.

One has to understand that there is a change going on and you have to adapt your sound.

Even Marvin Gaye adapted his sound when he saw the times changing.

Being authentic is always fun and it's also growing with the times too, that is supposed to be fun.

In essence, artists can be authentic but if you go too far over people's heads, you run the risk of losing them.

WATCH VIDEO: Raekwon Talks Authenticity and the Evolvement of Hip Hop




THE LAST KING: A Battle Between God and the Edenites

What happens when you eat from the Tree of Life and gain immortality?

Well, God gets very, very angry with you!

And, that's just the beginning of the battle between God and the Edenites in a new book, THE LAST KING, by first-time novelist, A. Yamina Collins.

WATCH VIDEO: Interview with THE LAST KING author, A. Yamina Collins

Caught between God and the Edenites is Emmy, a 6-foot tall African American woman and unsuspecting mortal, living in -- of all places -- Lake George, New York. Then, there's Gilead, an Edenite --standing 6'7' and gorgeous by anyone's definition. He's a doctor, lives in a mansion, plays polo, and has a panther as a pet. Another thing: he's lived for at least three centuries. And, his brother Markus is white. The two men, however, happen to share the same height and profession. Well, sort of.

Emmy, Gilead, and Markus – along with a few dozen other characters – make up the world created by author A. Yamina Collins.

Yamina Collins recently stopped by What's The 411's studio home, BRIC Arts Media House, to chat with me about her new sci-fi romance novel, THE LAST KING, an e-book, being released in monthly episodes/volumes. Ms. Collins not only imagines a uniquely populated world in upstate New York of unaware mortals co-existing with exotic animals and sword-wielding immortals who ride in chariots, but she also has imagined who these characters might be – if they came to life in our world -- in the "real" world.

She shared with me that she imagines "Emmy" as Lupita Nyong'o, the Academy Award-winning actress who starred in 12 Years a Slave. Instead of Ms. Nyong'o's signature close-crop natural, as "Emmy," the actress sports jazz musician and vocalist Esperanza Spalding's trademark looser-curl natural.

"Gilead" in her view might be played by two-time Academy Award-winner, actor, producer, and director Denzel Washington, but about 30 years ago, when he starred in the TV hit drama St. Elsewhere (1982-1988).

"Markus," the brother of "Gilead," could be Chris Hemsworth, the Australian actor we cheered for in blockbuster movies like Thor and The Avengers.

SPOILER ALERT: Ms. Collins also let me know that she will introduce many other characters in upcoming episodes of THE LAST KING, and that, in addition to Markus, Gilead has 19 other family members! She reveals a few other spoilers in our interview. So, LAST KING fans, watch and listen!

THE LAST KING is in top-100 Amazon best-sellers list in Fantasy, Sci Fi, Women's Fiction Literature, and Christian Women's Literature. More than 15,000 monthly visitors stop by Yamina's blog, yaminatoday.com, to check in on the latest episode/volume of THE LAST KING. You can also find her on Twitter @yaminatoday.

A graduate of New York University, Ms. Collins resides in New York City and is the author of THE BLUEBERRY MILLER FILES, a quirky collection of short stories.

P.S. After the interview, Ms. Collins and I, along with What's The 411 producer, Ruth J. Morrison, celebrated the author's 8/23 birthday. Reaching in the large birthday bag, filled with objects based on themes in THE LAST KING, Ms. Collins immediately placed the fur-trimmed sparkling pink tiara on her head. She then pulled out the plastic sword, brandishing it in true swashbuckling style. I think Emmy and Gilead would've been proud!

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From Left to Right: A. Yamina Collins, Author, THE LAST KING; Ruth J. Morrison, CEO, What's The 411 Networks; Luvon Roberson, Book Editor, What's The 411


Early Detection: A Prostate Cancer Survival Strategy

Experts Debate Over Early Detection

Although the trend shows that the incidence of prostate cancer among African American men declined during the period of 1999-2007, black men still had the highest incidence rate for prostate cancer, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study. What is also troubling is that in 2007, the date that the latest statistics are available, black men were more likely to die from prostate cancer than any other group. White men had the second highest rate of deaths from prostate cancer, followed by men who are Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander.

The CDC states there is no scientific consensus on effective strategies to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and that there is no agreement on the effectiveness of screening or that the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

Au contraire, about five years ago, I produced a television show, Protecting Your Prostate Health, and the guests were real clear that early detection saves lives. Thomas Farrington, President and Founder Prostate Health Education Network, in Waltham, Massachusetts and a prostate cancer survivor; and Dr. Faina Shtern, president and CEO of AdMeTech Foundation, are strong advocates of early detection.

Dr. Shtern believes that prostate cancer is a "public health disaster" among African American men. She described emerging scientific data indicating that image-guided early detection may save lives, and that image-guided treatment can control prostate cancer, as well as radical surgery, while drastically reducing complications and costs. Both experts are pushing the U.S. Congress to fund research and education to advance prostate cancer diagnostics. They agreed that the need for reliable blood or urinary tests for mass screening and medical imaging technologies for improved early detection and treatment is critical.

Ovarian Cancer Survival Strategy

Early Detection is Key

Each year, approximately 20,000 women in the United States get ovarian cancer and ovarian cancer kills almost 15,000 American women every year. Early detection of ovarian cancer is the best strategy for survival. Like hypertension, ovarian cancer is a silent killer because early symptoms are often too subtle to notice. Early symptoms are abdominal swelling or bloating, a feeling of pressure or pain in the pelvic area, abdominal pain, problems with eating or feeling full too quickly, and urinary symptoms such as having to go frequently or urgently. As you can see, these symptoms are often associated with other common illnesses and can easily be ignored.

Other symptoms include constipation, pain during sex, bleeding between periods or a change in your cycle, back pain, upset stomach or fatigue.

If your constipation, abdominal pain or pelvic fullness has lasted longer than a week, see your doctor.

Early detection saves lives.

A Snacking and Weight Control Tip

We all like to snack, but to keep the weight off, we must snack smartly. One of the best ways to snack is with a sweet, crunchy, juicy, low-calorie fruit. Pears and apples are smart choices. Both fruits have a decent amount of fiber to help fill you up. An added benefit is that apples and pears won't send your blood sugar soaring.

Weight-Loss Expert JJ Smith Offers Free eBook

JJ Smith, Nutritionist and Certified Weight-Loss Expert, offers a free eBook, "5 Reasons You Can't Lose Weight!" to those who are committed to losing weight and getting healthy in 2012!

Many of the reasons for weight gain are often outside of one's control. It is important to understand the hidden causes of weight gain, such as hormonal imbalances, excess toxins, and a sluggish metabolism. When many of these hidden conditions exist, traditional diet and exercise won't work ... and if it does, it's generally temporary. Ninety-five percent of people who lose weight on a diet gain it all back within 3-5 years. So, in this 30-page eBook, JJ discusses the hidden causes of weight gain and shares some real solutions for correcting them to help your body burn fat more effortlessly. Click here and go to the top right corner to get your free download: http://jjsmithonline.com.

It is important to understand that the body is smarter than any fad diet or magic weight loss pill. The body has a natural ability to stay slim and maintain its ideal weight if you focus on a "healthy lifestyle!" Diets are not the most effective way to lose weight permanently. Your goal should be to change to a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and getting physically active, as a way to achieve your weight-loss goals. Get your free copy of this eBook if you want to understand what's really causing you to gain weight so you can get off the roller-coaster ride of weight loss and stay slim for life! Click here and go to the top right corner to get your free download: http://jjsmithonline.com.

Actress Audra McDonald Makes History at Tony Awards

WATCH VIDEO: 411 Team talking about Audra McDonald making history with her sixth Tony Award

Actress Audra McDonald won her sixth Tony Award for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill.

With this Tony win, McDonald becomes the first person to win in all four performance categories, and she has also broken the record for the most Tony Awards won by a performer.

McDonald beats a record that she held with fellow winners Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris (Harris also received a Lifetime Achievement Special Tony in 2002).

McDonald has previously won Tony Awards for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, A Raisin in the Sun, Ragtime, Master Class and Carousel. Her additional Broadway credits include 110 in the Shade, Henry IV Marie Christine, and The Secret Garden.

Congratulations, Audra McDonald, a well-deserved honor!

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