Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Links, Incorporated, a national organization of professional women of color, is hosting a town hall meeting on "Addressing Childhood Obesity in the African-American Community." The event takes place this Saturday, April 2, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Mint Museum Uptown (500 S. Tryon St.).

The Charlotte Chapter and the Crown Jewels Chapter of The Links are holding this town hall meeting as part of the national initiative their organization created to address obesity in children and families. The town hall meeting is meant to not only educate those in attendance, but to also offer opportunities for the community to get involved in tackling this serious health issue. A panel of local leading health professionals in the areas of education, health, food and nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, and social services will each discuss obesity issues prevalent in African-American youth.

A continental breakfast/lunch will be served and door prizes will be given away. There will also be a "Biggest Loser Contest." Confirmed speakers include: Mayor Anthony Foxx; Barbara Pellin, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Cheryl Emmanuel, Mecklenburg County Health Department; Gardner Hawkins, Melange Health Solution; Rodney Adams, Department of Social Services; Eric Watson, Food Lion; Reggie McAfee, Cross-Country for Youth; and Dr. A.Q. Queen, UNC Charlotte.

The Links, Incorporated has formed a National Commission on Childhood Obesity Prevention and unveiled a policy brief, "Childhood Obesity in the African-American Community: Issues and Policy Recommendations from an African American Perspective," by Dr. Jada Moore Ruffin; a children's activity book; and The Kid's Editon, a curriculum designed to help chapters plan the program content of childhood obesity programs. The organization has received corporate support for these efforts, including a $35,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support community outreach related to childhood obesity, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation contributed a grant of $300,000 to assist with documenting the prevalence of obesity amongst African-American children. Find out more about this initiative at

If you have any questions about Saturday's event, contact Tiffany L. Jones, publicity chair, at 201-304-2933 or

Monday, March 28, 2011

Obama Name-Drops Charlotte in Libya Speech

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 3/28/2011 No comments
Like millions of Americans this evening, I tuned into the 7:30 p.m. nationally televised address from President Barack Obama on military operations in Libya. Since news stations had spent the last few days discussing and predicting what Obama would talk about, there wasn't much "new" information in his speech. But when he mentioned Charlotte, it caught my attention.

"We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi--a city nearly the size of Charlotte--could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world," Obama said, about six and a half minutes into his prepared remarks.

For those of us who live in Charlotte, this is a big deal. First off, the president simply said "Charlotte" and not "Charlotte, North Carolina." This seems to indicate that he expects that you know where Charlotte is. I remember a time when people from other parts of the country wouldn't know if Charlotte was in North Carolina or South Carolina, and would often confuse it with Charleston.

Secondly, Obama could've compared Benghazi to other similar-sized U.S. cities like, say, Chicago in comparison to land size, or Detroit for population.

Most importantly, perhaps, this continues to show that Charlotte is on Obama's radar. The city is still reveling in last month's announcement that Charlotte will host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Having your city be a favorite of the United States president can only be a good thing. In fact, The Washington Post published an article yesterday about "Obama rewarding local stations in battleground states with biggest ‘get’ in TV news." The article featured a photo of WSOC anchor Natalie Pasquarella interviewing Obama in the White House a little more than a week ago.

Below is a clip of Obama mentioning Charlotte in his speech this evening.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tomorrow makes it exactly three months since seventeen-year-old Phylicia Barnes from Monroe disappeared while visiting her sister in Baltimore during the Christmas holiday. The Today Show aired a five-minute segment yesterday, updating the national public on her case. This is particularly great since her disappearance was scrutinized early on for the lack of media attention it received.

Phylicia Barnes, a star student at Union Academy, should've been preparing to graduate.

The Today Show is a huge platform, and it will spark many local news stations around the country to do similar updates on the status of Phylicia's case. Watch the Today Show clip below (or click here). You can also follow the "Pray for Phylicia Barnes" Facebook page where more than 20,000 people have shown their support. Hopefully this attention will lead to her safe return.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson joined Twitter last Tuesday, and in a little more than a week he's amassed 15,000 followers. Pretty good numbers, unless you're comparing him to Charlie Sheen (who garnered a Twitter record one million followers in a day). But you would never compare Jimmie to Charlie. Jimmie is a nice guy. And it shows in his tweets.

In just his third tweet, Jimmie said, "Thanks for the warm welcome everyone." As much as hard-core race fans might not like him or want him to change, the driver of the 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports is a genuinely nice guy. He's won the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championships (the first to do so) and some fans and critics have asserted that such a nice champion is harming the sport. They long for the days of The Intimidator, the late Dale Earnhardt.

But I say kudos to Jimmie for proving that nice guys can finish first--five years in a row. Plus, he's got a hot wife (and a baby now eight months old).

Below, I've recapped some of Jimmie's notable nice-guy moments from his first week on Twitter:

  • On his second day tweeting, he thanks Lance Armstrong for helping him get "dialed in on Twitter." A few days later, Tony Hawk tweets that he "got a text today from @JimmieJohnson saying he recently joined Twitter & wanting advice."
  • A sports reporter asks Jimmie if the local NASCAR guys have found another great restaurant since one of their Charlotte faves (Il Posto Osteria) closed. He suggests Aria downtown.
  • A seemingly disgruntled tweeter compares Jimmie's 14,000 followers to Jeff Gordon's 45,000 followers and remarks "nuff said." To which Jimmie replies, "I've only been up a week, give me time."
  • Another angry tweeter says to Jimmie, "your cockiness is why I don't like you and will be the reason your weak fanbase crumbles one day." He replies, "Really???" Fellow NASCAR driver JJ Yeley comes to his defense, then says "Welcome to Twitter. People can be mean here." To which Jimmie replies, "If you're going to read the good, you need to read the bad. I think its funny."
  • When a female NASCAR fan from Bristol, Tennessee asks "what is with u nascar guys u won't talk back to the fans." Jimmie responds to her tweet with "not the case, just thousands of tweets to look through," in effect talking to her as she'd asked. And actually, the majority of his tweets so far have been responses to followers.

If you're a fan of Jimmie Johnson, following his Twitter page (@JimmieJohnson) will be a great place for you to see what he has going on, what he's doing around Charlotte--such as when he tweeted today that he was visiting a local school, and he plugs his TV appearances and new products like his upcoming video game that comes out this summer.

And I believe he'll be tweeting long after the Charlie Sheens of the world.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More than two years after US Airways Flight 1549 departed New York for Charlotte, the plane will finally arrive here this spring. This flight, famously dubbed "Miracle on the Hudson," took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport on January 19, 2009, only to crash land on the Hudson River moments later after a flock of birds struck both engines. Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger became a national hero for saving the lives of the 155 passengers on board. The Airbus A320 has been sitting in a New Jersey warehouse for the past two years, but will soon be shipped to Carolinas Aviation Museum to become a permanent exhibit.

AP photo.

This exhibit will become another feather in the cap for Charlotte's growing field of outstanding museum offerings. Carolinas Aviation Museum, which is adjacent to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, is probably the quietest of the city's museums, but this new exhibit will make it a must-see for locals and tourists. The exhibit is scheduled to open next January and will focus on the technology that helped the plane land safely as well as the heroics of Captain Sully, according to The Associated Press. The inside of the plane is still littered with first-aid kits, life jackets, and food and beverages still waiting to be served.

I would expect there will be a grand celebration when the exhibit opens at the museum next year. Many of the original passengers of that flight are Charlotte residents, and Captain Sully flew out of Charlotte for years.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Prince's "Welcome 2 America" tour six-date trek through the Carolinas was announced less than a week ago, and people haven't stopped talking about it. Tickets went on sale Monday morning and several of my friends (close ones and Facebook ones) were typing in their credit card numbers, eager to get good seats. Well, today brings another announcement: the artists who will open for Prince at each stop in the Carolinas.

For the March 24 concert at Time Warner Cable Arena here in Charlotte, Prince's special guest will be Anthony Hamilton. Anthony, of course, is a platinum-selling, Grammy-winning artist in his own right. He's also, as you should know, a Charlotte native (and good friend of Grown People Talking). This will be his second concert this month in his hometown. On March 4, he headlined "Anthony Hamilton and Friends" at The Fillmore Charlotte (click here to see photos).

Anthony Hamilton performed at The Fillmore Charlotte earlier this month.
Photo by Jon Strayhorn / Media Arts Collective.

Anthony's concert at The Fillmore was an intimate performance that allowed him to be close to fans at the 2,000-seat venue. Opening for Prince, will elevate him to rock-star status as TWC Arena holds 18,000 for concerts and it looks like the short-notice show might sell out. I would think that many of Prince's fans are fans of Anthony, and if they aren't, they most likely will be after this concert. Anthony puts on a great show, and his catalog of hits (from hooks on rap songs to the contagious "Charlene" to the love ballad "The Point Of It All") is prime for the wide age range of fans who are coming out to see Mr. Purple Rain.

Prince's opening acts at the other Carolinas shows, according to Live Nation:

Colonial Life Arena in Columbia on March 21 with Mint Condition; RBC Center in Raleigh on March 23 and Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on March 26 with Chaka Khan; Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, S.C. on March 28 and North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston on March 30 with Lalah Hathaway.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sun Drop soda has been around for decades, but it's largely been limited to Southern states. That is until its parent company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, recently rolled out a national marketing campaign and began distributing the citrus-flavored soda across the country. You may have seen part of its new marketing efforts in a funny, new commercial that uses Snoop Dogg's 2004 hit song "Drop It Like It's Hot," which seems to have also become the company's new slogan. The girl dancing in the commercial is certainly dropping it--though I can't say that it's hot. But that's the intent and is what makes it funny.

Sun Drop has long ties to this area. Sun Drop Bottling Company of Concord, run by the King family, has been distributing the soda since 1954. And in the 1980s and '90s, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt endorsed Sun Drop, causing race fans all over the South to chug it because he said so.

Now, the new incarnation of Sun Drop is getting a little more hip and adjusting with the times. As you can tell by the commercial, which uses a hip-hop song as its theme and uses Fatman Scoop to narrate it, the brand is going after younger drinkers to try to compete with Mountain Dew. Its marketing is being handled by Scratch, a new marketing division of MTV.

No Limit Larry drives the Sun Drop whip and gives away soda and prizes.

Locally, Sun Drop has partnered with Power 98, and radio personality No Limit Larry is hosting Sun Drop Fridays, where he sets up shop at a particular business and gives away free soda, T-shirts, and other prizes. He tries to get people to "drop it," and he and his caravan will be at the Walmart on North Tryon Street this Friday, 4-6 p.m.

Below is the Sun Drop dancing commercial.

For more on Sun Drop, visit its newly redesigned website at If you have memories of drinking Sun Drop, post them below in the comments.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Remember Trump Charlotte?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 3/14/2011 No comments
In a recent interview with WCNC, Charlotte's NBC affiliate, to promote the new season of Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump did what he does best. He took the opportunity to plug a potential business venture. "By the way, I’m looking at some property in Charlotte," The Donald said. "I like Charlotte a lot. It’s a great place and I’m actually looking to buy some specific property in Charlotte."

I wonder if this specific property is the same one he was interested in about three years ago before the recession hit and several of Uptown Charlotte's planned condo towers got placed on the back burner or scrapped altogether. (Though a couple of projects like The Vue forged ahead.)

Back in 2008, the idea of Trump Charlotte had the city buzzing. Could it be reborn?

In fact, the website for Trump Charlotte is still up at It showcases the original plans for two side-by-side towers in Uptown. One tower has floor plans to include residential units and a hotel. The other is an office tower with a couple of floors of retail space. There hadn't been any news on this project in a long time--and it's not easy to tell when the website was last updated--so it was natural to assume that Trump Charlotte wasn't going to happen. But the real estate mogul's got us speculating again, and it could be an entirely different project if it happens.

Trump's quasi-announcement comes on the heels of last week's announcement that work on The Park condo in Uptown is resuming and will be completed by August 2012. After work stalled two years ago when the original builder filed for bankruptcy, leaving a shell of a building that's become an eyesore, a new developer is turning it into an exciting high-rise with condo units, a hotel, and rooftop restaurant. If real estate projects are coming back online, Charlotte could be getting her swagger back.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

You're probably familiar with the On The Line campaign to bring awareness to prostate cancer. It's been led by humorous commercials featuring prominent sports figures and celebrities. Now you can see a couple of them doing what they do best: talking sports. This Monday, March 14, college basketball legends Bob Knight and Billy Packer take you “Inside the Brackets” as they discuss the NCAA Tournament.

The event starts at 7 p.m. at McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square (345 North College St.) and admission is $20. Also featured on the panel are two of college basketball's greatest former players, Phil Ford (North Carolina) and Mike Gminski (Duke). With Knight and Packer, the four of them will discuss topics on the tournament ranging from upsets to anticipate, sleeper picks to watch, under and over-rated teams, and their Final Four picks.

Audience members will have the chance to ask questions, debate the panel's opinions, and present their own predictions for the chance to be chosen Charlotte’s most knowledgeable basketball fan. Click here to buy tickets.

Friday, March 11, 2011

This came as a surprising and seemingly short-notice announcement today. Prince is bringing his "Welcome 2 America" tour to Charlotte to Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday, March 24. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. at and This is being reported on several media outlets' websites today and the news is so fresh it isn't event posted yet on the ticket or arena websites.

Charlotte is one of six North and South Carolina cities Prince is playing over a nine-day stretch: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia on March 21; RBC Center in Raleigh on March 23; Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte on March 24; Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on March 26; Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, S.C. on March 28; and North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston on March 30.

Prince is known for selling out large arenas across the country. I hope Charlotte comes out to support this legendary concert, especially since these shows typically skip over us. But at the same time, if it's not a sellout, it should be blamed on the short notice given on the announcement. Heck, Usher is bringing his concert to Time Warner Cable Arena on April 30 and that was announced in February, two and a half months in advance. I also wonder if the promoters are taking too much of a risk by scheduling that many concerts in cities so close together. Typically, people from Charlotte, Columbia, and Greenville will drive to each others' cities for big concerts like this. But if any artist can pull it off, it's Mr. Purple Rain.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lexii Saga, a young rapper/singer from Charlotte, is scheduled to perform on BET's 106 & Park on Wednesday, March 16 during the "Wild-Out Wednesday" competition. She's at least the third Charlotte artist to appear on the segment over the last couple of years, following rapper Cutty Boi in 2009 and singer D. Blake last year. D. Blake won when he competed last May and was brought back on later in the year to compete in the all-star competition. And not to mention more established local artists like Rudy Currence who've performed during more high-profile segments of the top-rated music video show--106 & Park has been showing the Queen City a lot of love.

Tune into BET next Wednesday at 6 p.m. to see Lexii perform, and remember fans vote via text message for the winner. Before leaving for New York, she'll appear on Power 98 Tuesday morning. For more on the artist and to hear her music, visit

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day parties are a tradition when the CIAA Tournament is in Charlotte each year. Yesterday I attended arguably the liveliest day party of the dozens that were being held. Billed as "Do Day Dougie" and put on by Eddietainment, the party featured the legendary Doug E. Fresh at Pavilion at EpiCentre, which is on the rooftop of the massive entertainment complex in Uptown (a tent was erected because of rain). DJ Shogun was the maestro for the afternoon, moving the crowd with his electric blend of hip-hop and R&B. A noticeably slim Doug E. Fresh took the stage a little after 3:30 p.m. and showed why he's still in high demand 25 years after his classics like "The Show" and "La-Di-Da-Di" helped pioneer the early days of hip-hop.

In this video I captured, Doug E. performs "La-Di-Da-Di" over the "Teach Me How To Dougie" beat, and does his trademark moves, which young rappers patterned a dance (and songs) after.

For more coverage of the excitement from 2011 CIAA Week, check out the content I contributed to Charlotte magazine's website at
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