All posts by LaRita Shelby

LaRita "Jazzy Rita" Shelby is a broadcast media & marketing professional. She serves as V.P. of Marketing and Special Programming at Additionally she is an actress, singer/songwriter who has appeared on TV and in film.
cash money content - logo

Cash Money Content Launches #IRead #WeRead,

cash money content reading

*September is National Literary Month and in celebration Cash Money Content (CMC), the literary division of the Cash Money Records, has launched a community reading encouragement campaign designed to challenge the African American community to develop a habit of reading.

“Reading is an important step in the right direction toward making a difference in our community,” says Ronald “Slim” Williams, Co –founder of Cash Money Records and Cash Money Content. “Let’s encourage our communities to read.”

CMC’s goal is to encourage African Americans, young and old, to share books, interesting article links and compelling blog posts using their social media channels with the hashtags #IRead and #WeRead. This effort is to not only open the dialogue about books and share interesting literary findings, but also to inspire families and the African American community as a whole to pick up books, follow links and read.

Based on a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, on average, African American twelfth-grade students read at the same level as white eighth-grade students. Findings also state that the twelfth-grade reading scores of African American males were significantly lower than those for men and women across every other racial and ethnic group.

Reading is a fundamental step in the right direction to changing these statistics in our communities.

Please join CMC’s effort by reading with your family and friends; engaging in book clubs, or just by sharing books and articles you love! Please include the hashtags – #IRead and #WeRead along with images of you reading, or images of what you are reading and let’s start inspiring our community to make this change together.

#CashMoneyContent #IRead #WeRead t: @cashmoneybooks ig: @cashmoneycontent

About Cash Money Content
Cash Money Content (CMC) is a groundbreaking partnership that pairs the Cash Money Records brand with Atria Books, a division of the publishing powerhouse, Simon & Schuster. CMC is publishing some of the most original and influential authors of urban fiction, as well as memoirs from some of today’s most prominent voices, and life-changing books on success, motivation, money and health.

For more information on Cash Money Content, contact:

Kia Selby
K&K PR for Cash Money Records/Cash Money Content
[email protected]


Donna Torrence
Mediasavvy PR for Cash Money Content
[email protected]

President Obama signs My Brothers Keeper Initiative

The White House Launches ‘My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge’

White House Launches My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge

President Obama signs My Brother’s Keeper (Feb.  27, 2014) initiative encouraging communities to implement cradle to college to career strategies for young men of color.  A Call to Action Community Challenge  is set forth as of September 2014.   See the full initiative at    Photo by Pete Souza- Official White House Photo

*In February, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative to ensure that all youth, including boys and young men of color, have opportunities to improve their life outcomes and overcome barriers to success.

As part of that launch, the President also established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force (Task Force) to review public and private sector programs, policies, and strategies, and determine ways the Federal Government can better support these efforts.

The Task Force was also charged with determining how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community.

In late May, the Task Force released its 90-day interim progress report, which identified a set of recommendations and a blueprint for action for government, business, non-profit, philanthropic, faith, and community partners.

Since the launch of MBK, the Task Force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans, through online and in-person listening sessions, who are already taking action.

In June, responding to their commitment announced at the MBK launch, eleven of the nation’s leading philanthropies announced $194 million in independent incremental investments in organizations and initiatives, including programs to enhance school learning environments and reduce young people’s interaction with the justice system.

In July, President Obama announced new independent commitments by businesses and nonprofits representing more than $100 million dollars and pledges of support from educators, business leaders, athletes, and mayors aimed at addressing some of the report’s recommendations.

Also in July, the National Convening Council (NCC) was launched as an independent private sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth, Tribal, local, and nonprofit communities.

On September 27th, the President announced that more than 100 mayors, county officials and tribal nations (full list below) have already accepted the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge” (“MBK Community Challenge” or “Challenge”), the next step in organizing and building upon the work of community leaders to improve outcomes for youth in America.

 MBK Community Challenge

Today, the White House announced the MBK Community Challenge, an effort to encourage communities (cities, counties, suburbs, rural municipalities, and tribal nations) to implement a coherent cradle-to-college and career strategy aimed at improving life outcomes for all young people, consistent with the goals and recommendations of the Task Force’s May report, to ensure that all youth can achieve their full potential, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances in which they are born.  The Challenge is not a new federal program, but rather a call to action for leaders of communities across the Nation to build and execute comprehensive strategies that ensure:

  •  All children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally prepared;
  • All children read at grade level by third grade;
  • All young people graduate from high school;
  • All young people complete post-secondary education or training;
  • All youth out of school are employed; and
  • All young people are safe from violent crime.

The Task Force also identified a set of “cross cutting” areas, among them the importance of caring adults being present and active in the lives of children, hence the emphasis placed on mentoring.

The Challenge calls upon mayors, Tribal leaders, town and county executives, encouraging them to take the following steps:  within 45 days of accepting the Challenge, local communities convene a Local Action Summit with key public and private sector stakeholders to assess needs, determine priorities, and decide what combination of the above objectives they will tackle; within six months of accepting the Challenge, communities publicly launch a plan of action for accomplishing their goals, which will include a protocol for tracking data, benchmarks for tracking progress, and a blueprint for how the community will resource its efforts.

The White House, the U.S. Department of Education, and the NCC are launching the Challenge.  The NCC will provide communities with resources to support their local planning process, assisting them in developing successful strategies for action and tracking their progress.  More information, including how local executives can sign up for the Challenge, is available at

Additionally, the Federal government has recently announced a number of programs that address recommendations in the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force progress report.

For example, the Department of Justice announced a $4.75 million initiative to invest in training, evidence-based strategies, policy development and research to build trust and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement, and the communities they serve, and through the Smart on Juvenile Justice initiative, awarded $2 million in three grants which provide training, technical assistance and education to improve the quality of services, end racial and ethnic disparities, and encourage reforms in juvenile justice systems.

The Department of Education awarded more than $57 million in grants focused on improving school climates and keeping students safe.  And in September, the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development announced a collaboration between HUD-funded organizations, and civil legal aid programs and public defender offices, to focus on expunging and sealing juvenile records – improving the chances that reentering youth will be able to obtain degrees, find work, and secure housing.

Information on previous independent private sector commitments can be found at

MBK Community Challenge Early Acceptors

LocalitiesAkron, OHAlbuquerque, NMAlleghany County, PAAnniston, ALAtlanta, GAAtlantic City, NJ

Augusta, GA

Baton Rouge, LA

Beaverton, OR

Birmingham, AL

Boston, MA

Bridgeport, CT

Brooklyn Park, MN

Buffalo, NY

Caddo Parish, LA

Carlisle, PA

Charleston, SC

Charles Town, WV

Charlottesville, VA

Chattanooga, TN

Chicago, IL

Cleveland, OH

Columbia, SC

Columbus, OH

Compton, CA

Cook County, IL

Culver City, CA

Dallas County, TX

Dayton, OH

DeKalb County, GA

Denver, CO

Des Moines, IA

Detroit, MI

Dubuque,  IA

DuPage County, IL

Durham, NC

Edinburg, TX

Elkhart, IN

Fairmount Heights, MD

Ferguson, MO

Flint, MI

Forest Heights, MD

Fort Wayne, IN

Fort Worth, TX

Fulton County, GA

Gary, IN

Harrisburg, PA

Hartford, CT

Hempstead, NY

Hobson, AL

Holly Hill, SC


Holyoke, MAHouston, TXHuntington, WVIndianapolis, INIthaca, NYJacksonville, FLJersey City, NJ

Johnstown, PA

Kansas City, KS

Kansas City, MO

Knoxville, TN

Lansing, MI

Laredo, TX

Las Vegas, NV

Little Rock, AR

Long Beach, CA

Los Angeles, CA

Louisville, KY

Macon, GA

Madison, WI

Massillon, OH

Memphis, TN

Milwaukee, WI

Minneapolis, MN

Mount Rainier, MD

New Haven, CT

New Orleans, LA

New York, NY

Newark, NJ

Newton, MA

Niagara Falls, NY

Normandy, MO

North Chicago, IL

Oak Creek, WI

Oakland, CA

Orlando, FL

Palm Beach County, FL

Philadelphia, PA

Phoenix, AZ

Pittsburgh, PA

Portland, ME

Portland, OR

Prairie View, TX

Prince George’s County, MD

Prichard, AL

Princeton, NJ

Providence, RI

Ranson, WV

Rialto, CA

Richmond, CA


Rochester, NYSacramento, CASaint Joseph, LASalt Lake City, UTSan Antonio, TXSan Francisco, CASanta Ana, CA

Santa Fe, NM

Savannah, GA

Seattle, WA

Shreveport, LA

Southfield, MI

St. Louis, MO

St. Paul, MN

Syracuse, NY

Tacoma, WA

Tallahassee, FL

Tampa, FL

Tucson, AZ

Village of Phoenix, IL

Washington, D.C


Tribal Nations

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (CA)

Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (AK)

Cherokee Nation (OK)

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (SD)

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa  (MN)

Hoonah Indian Association (AK)

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (CT)

Navajo Nation (AZ, NM, UT)

Oneida Nation of Wisconsin (WI)

Pawnee Nation (OK)

Round Valley Indian Tribes (CA)

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (MI)

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe (SD, ND)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (ND, SD)

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (WA)




(White House Launches My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge)
wendy moten1

The Timeless Voice of ‘Wendy Moten Sings Richard Whiting’ (Audio Interview)

Wendy Moten Sings Richard Whiting
Wendy Moten Sings: Richard Whiting
Classic vocalist may finally get her due at this year’s Grammys

*Wendy Moten has performed with Julio Iglesias around the world and at Carnegie Hall. She has shared the stage with such industry giants as Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Joss Stone and many more. But upon hearing one note, it is evident that Wendy Moten is a star in her own right.

Wendy’s early career launched with a debut album in 1992, and four other solo albums followed. They were all beautifully performed but under recognized given the magnitude of her talent, which rightfully stands on par with Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey- then and now. Wendy also waged an increase in name value when she teamed up with her Memphis homeboy Kirk Whalum on the Stevie Wonder remake “All I Do” in 1998.

Thankfully, the Memphis native has an undaunted spirit, and a growing fan base that insists that this starlet come full bloom. Wendy’s latest release is entitled “Timeless: Wendy Moten Sings Richard Whiting.” caught up with Wendy recently and she filled us in about the excitement of her current album, her rise up the charts and the Grammy buzz surrounding her new project.

What is evident is that somehow we have let a superstar slip through our hands. Hopefully the new Timeless album will help rectify this artistic injustice and Wendy Moten will finally be heard, loved and known for her classic voice, and her alluring beauty and talent.

For more performance videos from Wendy, visit: For more info in general on Wendy Moten, visit and


(Wendy Moten Sings Richard Whiting)
charles belk

Curbside to Capital Hill: Turning an Arrest into Progress

Charles Belk Turning Arrest Into Progress - Curbside To Capital Hill

Charles Belk, businessman and filmmaker has turned insult into activism for the wrongfully accused.

*A little over 4 weeks ago, on August 22, 2014, I was handcuffed on a curb, fingerprinted, photographed, denied being read my rights, denied a phone call, denied initial contact with my attorney, and placed in a jail cell under a $100,000 bail for armed bank robbery. All because I was misidentified as the wrong, “tall, bald, black male,”…”fitting the description.”

I get that the law officers didn’t know that I was a law biding citizen that had never been arrested in 51 years of life. I get that they didn’t know that I was an award nominated and award winning business professional. I get that they didn’t know that I was well educated. I get that they didn’t know that I was a tax-paying, contributor to society and had had some great jobs. I get that the law officers, who are faced with very dangerous, real criminals everyday, didn’t know that throughout my entire life I had been very active in serving each and every community that I had lived in.

They didn’t need too, because, they saw someone, “fitting the description.”

What I don’t get….WHAT I DONT GET, is why, during the 45 minutes that they had me handcuffed in the sun, before they locked me up and took away my civil and human rights, that they could not simply review the bank’s video footage to clearly see that the “tall, bald, black male,”… did not fit, MY description.

A lot has happened in the last four weeks since that time was spent on the curb. Because of social media, my one voice, became the voices of many, and we have been able to help give a voice to the voiceless. There have been conversations with the Chief of Police and city officials; with state legislators; and with the office of the California Attorney General. My incident gave way to a cause which grew into a movement. Volunteers are being organized and the movement has moved from the curbside to Capital Hill. The reality of my situation is that it happens everyday to so many people in so many different cities around the country. The truly devastating piece of all of this is that innocent individuals that are wrongfully arrested have to spend up to $5,000 and sometimes up to 6 months of their time to get an arrest record, for something that they were totally innocent of, expunged, or sealed or deleted. No innocent person, who has been wrongly accused and unjustly treated, should have to go through that, to “re-declare” their innocence!

So, we are taking our petition, which calls for the arrest records of innocent individuals wrongfully arrested to be automatically erased, as well as our voices — your voice– to Washington, DC; to Capital Hill and to the Congressional Black Caucus.

(Part 1 of a 3 part series)

Charles Belk is a Digital Marketing Executive and an Independent Film Producer based in Los Angeles. He was wrongfully arrested on August 22, 2014, and held under a $100,000 bail for armed bank robbery.

TWITTER: @charlesbelk, FACEBOOK: /charlesbelk


(Charles Belk Turning Arrest Into Progress – Curbside To Capital Hill)
Cicely Tyson and Blair Underwood

The Trip To Bountiful Opens Friday in Los Angeles

Cicely Tyson and Blair Underwood

Cicely Tyson and Blair Underwood in the critically acclaimed, Tony-nominated Broadway revival of Horton Foote’s American masterpiece “The Trip to Bountiful” at the Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre.

*The Center Theatre Group engagement of the Tony-nominated Broadway revival of Horton Foote’s American masterpiece “The Trip to Bountiful” opens Friday, September 26 at the Ahmanson Theatre. The production continues through November 2, 2014.

Directed by Michael Wilson, the cast includes Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Devon Abner, Wade Dooley, Arthur French, Pat Bowie, Russell Edge, Dalila Ali Rajah, Keiana Richàrd, Duane Shepard, Sr. and Desean Kevin Terry.

“The Trip to Bountiful” features scenic design by Jeff Cowie, costume design by Van Broughton Ramsey, lighting design by Rui Rita as well as original music and sound design by John Gromada, hair design by Paul Huntley, make-up design by Angelina Avallone, casting by Caparelliotis Casting and Los Angeles casting by Mark B. Simon, CSA. The production stage manager is Robert Bennett, the associate director is David Alpert and the CTG associate artistic director is Neel Keller.

“The Trip to Bountiful” tells the story of Mother Watts, played by Tyson. She is an elderly woman forced to live with her overprotective son, played by Underwood, and domineering daughter-in-law played by Williams. Mother Watts’ dream is to return for one last time to her small hometown of Bountiful, Texas. Her journey becomes a heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming and inspiring tale that examines the fragility of memory and celebrates the enduring power of hope, faith and family.

For tickets click here.

Center Theatre Group
L.A.’s Theatre Company
Ahmanson Theatre | Mark Taper Forum | Kirk Douglas Theatre

charles belk

Charles Belk Seeks An Automatic Erase for the Innocent

Charles Belk Seeks Automatic Erase For The Innocent

*Wrongfully arrested marketing executive and independent film producer, Charles Belk, presented to a panel of Hearing Commissioners on Friday, 9/12/14 at the California-Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP Los Angeles’ Hearing on “Solutions to Police Brutality and Racial Profiling.”

Hearing Commissioners assembled included CA Assemblyman, Reginald Jones-Sawyers, Sr., NAACP National Board Member, Ron Hasson, CA-HI NAACP President, Alice A. Huffman, San Francisco NAACP Branch President, Rev. Amos Brown, and CA-HI NAACP Criminal Justice Chair, Chris Jackson.

“Innocent citizens wrongfully arrested should not be further penalized by having to spend up to $5,000 and take up to 6 months trying to have an arrest record erased,” commented Belk.

“Our petition at, petitions the US Attorney General and all 50 state AGs to require that all arrest records of innocent citizens wrongfully arrested be automatically erase. And we encourage everyone to sign it and share it. Because it affects us all.”

Charles Belk was testifying as a result of being wrongfully arrested and held on $100,000 bail for Armed Robbery by the Beverly Hills Police Department on August 22, 2014 because he “fit the description.” According to Belk, as a result of his presentation to the Hearing Commission, CA Assemblyman Jones-Sawyers and the CA-HI NAACP are taking on the effort to draft legislation to erase false arrest records on innocent citizens wrongfully arrested.

Click here to sign the petition.

Charles Belk takes his battle from the curb side to the Capitol.

Charles Belk takes his battle from the curb side to Capitol Hill.

Charles Belk takes his battle from the curb side to Capitol Hill.


(Charles Belk Seeks Automatic Erase For The Innocent)