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Street Soldiers TV: Can School Shootings Be Stopped? Teen Activists Rise Up

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Yet another mass shooting tragedy tore at the soul of our nation. But this time the aftermath is different. Many students who survived the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are vowing to make sure it never happens again. Can they succeed where so many others have failed?

“Every single person up here today, all these people, should be at home grieving,” Stoneman Douglas senior Emma Gonzalez said in a speech. “But instead we are up here, standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to seek.”

The brave speech by Gonzalez struck the conscience of the country and ignited the Never Again: March for Our Lives movement created by her and fellow students.

The teens took to the streets, the statehouse and anywhere people would listen—all this in between funerals for the 17 students and staff murdered at their school in Parkland, Florida. This is a healthy response, according to Dr. Randy Sconiers.

“At that age group, they’re very resilient, those kids that were talking out were very strong, they were tough, they were using that trauma and turning it into something that could actually help change,” Sconiers said. “And I call that transformational pain—when you experience pain then use it to change things in your environment.”

Teen actress Donshea Hopkins played the daughter of Ghost on the hit series “Power.” Her character Raina was gunned down outside school. She sees the debate over the Florida teens’ strong anti-gun stance as a positive.

“I think they’re doing an amazing job and they’re doing what they have to do. It’s like controversy causes action,” Hopkins said. “You can’t just set down and say ‘I don’t want this to happen anymore,’ you have to stand up and you have to try and make a change, you have to talk to your local politicians, you do have to go to Washington and talk to these really important people.”

For younger children, unavoidable images of the tragedy can be overwhelming and impossible to ignore. So the experts say that parents should encourage conversation.

“Be really careful about the information they share based on their age of the kids as well,” Sconiers said. “You don’t want to scare your kids but you want to educate them.”

“I let them know there’s people out there who try to do harm sometimes, here’s what to look out for, here’s what to do in these type of situations, here’s how to react, here’s how to respond,” said Patrick McCall, the CEO of McCall Risk Group and a father of four. “So that way they’re prepared, they’re not deer in the headlights, ‘Oh my god, what’s going on?'”

While the current generation of teens is sometimes seen as too passionate and unwilling to listen to adults, it could be their key to success as they take on the NRA, the White House, and anyone in their way, Sconiers said.

“Because they have those attitudes, they’re willing to go against the grain, and ‘If we have to, we’ll go against the adults who are not making changes,'” he said. “So that same thing that was considered the bad parts of this generation, we’re saying now this is actually the strength.”


FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

RANDY SCONIERS, DSW, LCSW, Clinical Therapist, New Steps Counseling

DONSHEA HOPKINS, Actress and Artist

PATRICK MCCALL, CEO, McCall Risk Group, Security Consultant

DARRIN PORCHER, PHD, Former NYPD Lieutenant, Criminal Justice Professor, Security Consultant


Street Soldiers TV: The Black Panther Phenomenon

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Marvel’s Black Panther is in movie theaters now. Black Panther the superhero is here to save the world but he represents so much more than that.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the comic book character in 1966—and predates the Black Panther Party, according to Chuck Creekmur, the CEO of The character is a king, warrior, and scientist—an alpha male on another level, Creekmur says.

Black Panther is king of a fictional technologically advanced African country that hides its riches and intellectual wealth from the world until the Black Panther must fulfill his destiny.

The movie has great action, strong female characters, a multi-layered plot and a predominantly black cast. It is groundbreaking in many ways.

“You have a $200 million budget given to a person of color, Ryan Coogler, 31 years old, has only directed two other films prior to this—Fruitvale Station and Creed,” says Clayton Davis, a film critic and the editor in chief of “And he’s given the keys to a big franchise like Black Panther.”

The film’s positive portrayals of a black civilization untouched by racism or colonialism can have a profound effect, especially on children.

“We’ve all been conditioned to see Africa and Africa’s children, whether they be in Africa or in Brooklyn, in a negative light,” says Brian Favors, an educator with the Nate Parker Foundation. “And I think this is going to be something that’s going to help defy some of those stereotypes.”

“Any time an individual can see themselves in a positive light, that can only increase their self-esteem,” says Dr. Elisa English, a clinical therapist.


FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers


CLAYTON DAVIS, Editor in Chief,

BRIAN FAVORS, Educator, Nate Parker Foundation

DR. ELISA ENGLISH, clinical therapist


Street Soldiers TV: Love and Loyalty: Taking Back a Cheater

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Sade sang about love on the front lines. Now for celebrities, their love lives are increasingly on front street.

Mega-hot Cardi B was still celebrating her engagement to Migos rapper Offset when other women posted their sex tapes with him. Cardi responded that cheating happens to everyone so why start over with someone else?

Celebrities can influence our relationships, according to Essence Magazine senior editor Charreah Jackson, a relationship expert.

“We know that people are watching what celebrities do more than ever so it definitely has an impact to see what are favorite celebrities, your favorite singer, your favorite actor,” Jackson says. “What’s happening in their home can definitely normalize things that happen in your home.”

Cheating scandals (think Tiger Woods) used to mean shame and divorce court. But no more. Actress Gabrielle Union went on to marry NBA star Dwayne Wade even after he confessed he had a baby with another woman. Lala Anthony is estranged from husband Carmelo after he reportedly fathered a child with his alleged mistress.

And it is not just celebrities.

“Believe it or not, nine times out of ten, the people are staying around,” says private investigator Patrick McCall, CEO of McCall Risk Group. “You’re presenting them with some pretty good evidence, some solid facts that this occurred, and they’re basically just saying, ‘I’m already invested, I have nowhere to go.'”

He says a lot of clients rationalize staying by saying they must have done something.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé may be the most high-profile couple to stay together through the tough times and make chart-topping albums and millions of dollars along the way—first Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” and then Jay’s “4:44.”

Jackson believes if the couple gets to the root cause of the cheating, they can rekindle their love.

But McCall disagrees.

“My honest opinion is, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater,’ never going to change,” he says. “The possibility of that person doing it again is pretty high.”


FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

CHARREAH JACKSON, Senior Editor, Essence Magazine

JACK A. DANIELS, Psychotherapist and TV Host

ANAIS, Star, “Love and Hip Hop: New York”



Street Soldiers TV: NYCHA Town Hall 2.2.18

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The New York City Housing Authority provides affordable housing for nearly half a million New Yorkers. But with a no-heat crisis and other ongoing health and safety issues, can NYCHA turn it around before it is too late?

This has been a rough winter for tens of thousands of rent-paying NYCHA residents who found themselves without heat and without help on some of the coldest days in decades. Residents told us it was nothing new, but it was also never this bad.

From Throggs Neck to Far Rockaway, one end of the city to the other, resident council leaders told us they were running high on complaints and low on results—a pattern all too familiar from the lead paint scandal and safety issues like crime, lighting, and security cameras.

Aging buildings, boilers breaking down, lack of staff, and lack of funding—despite NYCHA’s $3 billion annual budget—are the reasons we kept getting. Another frustration was no real timetable for repairs. So we put it to NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye in a rare interview on a recent Street Soldiers episode.

Some elected officials want her to step down. They accuse NYCHA management of incompetence, covering up problems, and not caring about residents.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Comptroller Scott Stringer called the situation an emergency.

Public Advocate Letitia James called for new leadership at NYCHA that recognizes the priorities of the residents, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized.

Days after announcing a $13 million emergency fund, Mayor Bill de Blasio told Good Day New York that he is sticking by his NYCHA chair, period.

So we took it to the people of NYCHA housing in a ground-breaking town hall in the Bronx. Voices were united as residents demanded permanent fixes to the problems. Residents and resident council leaders from more than a dozen public housing developments came out with local youth and concerned elected officials to talk about ways to solve the persistent problems facing NYCHA residents.

Residents have complained about no heat or hot water, urgent repairs not being made, broken promises, and dangerous health issues like lead and mold exposure.

Street Soldiers invited the mayor and NYCHA to attend or at the very least send representatives but they were all no-shows.

Our panelists who grew up in public housing say it is time to take the issues to NYCHA and City Hall. Joining our panel was hip-hop artist Ja Rule.

We had a lot of support for the town hall from Hot 97, which helped us get the word out and provide refreshments, to the hit web series “Project Heat,” which is based in the Pink Houses, to our event host, the Bronxworks Community Organization, which empowers Bronx residents to live their best life possible.

The mayor has pledged more than $200 million for new boilers and repairs, but many are skeptical about the timeline and the amount, which they say is a drop in the bucket.



Street Soldiers TV: Urban Web Series

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Urban web series are exploding in popularity. The shows attract millions of viewers. Themes of life and death in the streets, often on the edge of the law, made by self-taught filmmakers. Is this real-life street cinema or is the ‘hood going Hollywood?

“Mayhem” claimed the title as best popular web series in the first Urban Web Series Awards. It took off so fast that creator Andre Keys never looked back. He quit his job to work on the series full time. In fact, he is launching a spinoff series soon.

“Home of the Hittaz” is based out of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Far Rockaway with familiar themes of the drug game and violence and with characters as addictive as crack.

TV and film critic Clayton Davis says viewers can’t get enough. If there is a Hollywood for web series, it has to be Brooklyn. “Project Heat” makes filming on the streets an event for the neighborhood.

The incredible thing is that most of these web series creators are self-taught filmmakers and use friends and family members as actors, which makes scheduling a challenge. As they sign major distribution deals, they’ll be able to have a payroll.


FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

TIFFON “POP” DUNN, Creator, “Project Heat” and Founder, Urban Web Series Awards

DOUG “KD” APPARICIO, Producer and Cowriter, “Project Heat”

BOOM P., Creator and Director, “Respect Life”

CLAYTON DAVIS, Editor-in-Chief,

ANDRE KEYS, Creator, “Mayhem”

SHAKIM HINES, Creator, “Home of the Hittaz”…


Street Soldiers TV: Chinx, Cracking the Case

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The news of the arrests for the murder of Chinx rocked hip hop culture and social media. While it seemed sudden, it was many months in the making. And all the while, as Chinx’s brave and beautiful wife Janelli Caceres told me in an exclusive interview, she kept her hope alive on her long journey for justice.

A Fox 5 camera was the only one on hand as NYPD detectives brought in Quincy Homere, 32, and arrested him for the murder of Chinx, whose real name was Lionel Pickens, on May 15, 2015, in Queens when his Porsche was stopped at a light. Minutes later, they brought in suspect No. 2, Jamar Hill, 26. He was also charged with murder.

For more than two and a half years, NYPD detectives were relentless in their search for the killers, no matter what the obstacles, according to Queens South Homicide Lt. Richard Rudolph.

Janelli told me that during the many months when it seemed like nothing was going on, detectives from the 107th Precinct and Queens South Homicide kept her informed privately.

For Chinx’s legion of fans, and the hip hop culture, long accustomed to unsolved rapper murders, the arrests came as a shock, according to Vanessa Satten, the editor-in-chief of XXL magazine.

Lt. Rudolph said that in 2009 Homere and Chinx had a beef over a gang-controlled phone on Rikers Island that left Homere seething. In between felony arrests, Homere tried his hand at rap under the name Qwality, and even had a song out called “IDK Nothing,” with a reference to the same type of gun allegedly used in Chinx’s murder.

On April 24, 2015, after a show at the Sound Garden Hall in Philadelphia, where rising star Chinx was performing with French Montana, Homere’s hate and jealousy ignited. Sources said Chinx called him out as a snitch. For the next three weeks, law enforcement sources said, Homere hunted Chinx like an animal.

The courtroom was packed with Chinx’s family and friends, and security was tight in Queens County Criminal Court as Homere and Hill were brought before a judge. They were arraigned on murder and other charges and pleaded not guilty.

It was the first time Janelli saw the men who allegedly took away the love of her life and father of their children.

It is still too early to tell whether the suspects will go to trial or take a plea, but Janelli said she will be in court every time.

Over the years, Janelli has focused on raising her three children as a single mom, pursuing her college degree in business management, working and handling her husband’s music business. She said she will continue to pursue her own goals as an example to the kids to move forward despite tragedy.



LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

VANESSA SATTEN, Editor-in-Chief, XXL Magazine

DARRIN PORCHER, PHD, Former NYPD Lieutenant, Criminal Justice Professor, Security Consultant

KENNETH MONTGOMERY, Criminal Defense Attorney, Law Professor, Former Prosecutor

LT. RICHARD RUDOLPH, Commanding Officer, Queens South Homicide



Street Soldiers TV: Hip Hop Giving Back

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This is the season for giving and giving back. But some people do it all year round.

Hip hop is leading the charge. Hip hop artist Phresher is once again playing Santa with help from street soldiers to kids at a school in his East New York neighborhood. At Thanksgiving, he organized a deluxe feast for homeless neighbors.

He says there is nothing he’d rather do than give back. It warms his heart, he says. His career took another leap up being featured on Eminem’s new album. Phresher believes giving back is really keeping it real.

And hip hop personality Queenzflip’s video giving his coat to a stranger in need went viral.

But it’s not just hip hop. The Catalog for Giving funds 15 city youth-oriented programs that make a real difference in thousands of lives. Executive Director Florance Wiener says those from under-served neighborhoods really need those services to help level the playing field.

Those in uniform take on different duties this time of the year. NYPD officers made the holidays happy for children at St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf in the Bronx. And since 1947, the U.S. Marine Corps tackles a different mission in December: the Toys for Tots program.

The flip side of this is that there are many people looking to get donations. Charity funding experts like Florence Wiener say do your research before you give away your hard-earned money.

With more people involved in helping others, is it really becoming a way of life? The Street Soldiers panel—Phresher, Pastor Mike, Queenzflip, and Pat Robinson—tackled that topic.


FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

QUEENZFLIP, Humanitarian, Podcast Host, Social Media Influencer

REV. MICHAEL “PASTOR MIKE” WALROND, Senior Pastor, First Corinthian Baptist Church

PATRICIA “PAT” ROBINSON, Director Operations, Hot 97/WBLS/WLIB

PHRESHER, Hip Hop Artist, Humanitarian


Street Soldiers TV: Rethinking Relationships: Is Rap Going Romantic?

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From hip hop royalty like Jay-Z and Beyoncé to the British royal family, love and marriage go hand-in-hand. At the same time, the trend of open relationships is growing.

But can they really work? What’s really going on with our modern relationships?

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers
JACOB BERGER, Actor and Social Media Influencer
DION METZGER, M.D., Psychiatrist, Couples Therapist and Author
GRAFH, Hip Hop Artist


Street Soldiers TV: Fentanyl Crisis

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It’s dangerous and even deadly, and it’s flooding our neighborhoods…..From the city to the suburbs and beyond, Fentanyl is turning up in heroin and illegal pills….and it’s fueling a surge in overdoses.

Grammy-winning producer and rapper Timbaland shocked many in a new Rolling Stone interview by revealing he overdosed on prescription pills three years ago. This comes as the music industry and fans are reeling from the drug overdose death of up and coming Soundcloud sensation Lil Peep. He was 21 years old. One of the fatal pills may have been tainted with Fentanyl, a synthetic opiod 50 times more potent than heroin.