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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.”

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

CHARREAH JACKSON, Senior Editor, Essence Magazine https://twitter.com/Charreah

JACK A. DANIELS, Psychotherapist and TV Host https://twitter.com/jackAdaniels

ANAIS, Star, “Love and Hip Hop: New York” https://twitter.com/therealanais

PATRICK MCCALL, CEO, McCall Risk Group https://twitter.com/mccallriskgroup

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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.

–LISA EVERS

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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.

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

TIFFON “POP” DUNN, Creator, “Project Heat” and Founder, Urban Web Series Awards https://www.instagram.com/popshowup/

DOUG “KD” APPARICIO, Producer and Cowriter, “Project Heat” https://www.instagram.com/kdshowup/

BOOM P., Creator and Director, “Respect Life” https://www.instagram.com/boompacino/

CLAYTON DAVIS, Editor-in-Chief, AwardsCircuit.com https://twitter.com/AwardsCircuit

ANDRE KEYS, Creator, “Mayhem” https://www.instagram.com/mayhem_driz/

SHAKIM HINES, Creator, “Home of the Hittaz” https://www.instagram.com/ceo_sha_hom…

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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

FEATURED CAST:

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

VANESSA SATTEN, Editor-in-Chief, XXL Magazine https://twitter.com/VSattenXXL

DARRIN PORCHER, PHD, Former NYPD Lieutenant, Criminal Justice Professor, Security Consultant https://twitter.com/DrDarrinPorcher

KENNETH MONTGOMERY, Criminal Defense Attorney, Law Professor, Former Prosecutor https://twitter.com/EsqMontgomery

LT. RICHARD RUDOLPH, Commanding Officer, Queens South Homicide https://twitter.com/NYPDQueensSouth

JANELLI CACERES, Widow of Chinx

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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.

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

QUEENZFLIP, Humanitarian, Podcast Host, Social Media Influencer https://twitter.com/QueenzFlip

REV. MICHAEL “PASTOR MIKE” WALROND, Senior Pastor, First Corinthian Baptist Church https://twitter.com/MikeWalrond

PATRICIA “PAT” ROBINSON, Director Operations, Hot 97/WBLS/WLIB https://twitter.com/RadioHRlady

PHRESHER, Hip Hop Artist, Humanitarian https://twitter.com/PHRESHER_DGYGZ

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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?

FEATURED CAST:
LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers
JACOB BERGER, Actor and Social Media Influencer
DION METZGER, M.D., Psychiatrist, Couples Therapist and Author
GRAFH, Hip Hop Artist

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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.

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Street Soldiers TV: Social Media vs Social Mayhem

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Social media has never been hotter. Forget White House briefings—more national news is being generated on Twitter by President Trump than from the Oval Office. He has even brought a new demographic to the platform.

For everyone else, the several hours a day spent on social media can be a constant reminder of what they don’t have and will never be.

At its worst, it is a showcase for bullying and a forum for hate, with some groups more vulnerable than others, according to Bailey Parnell, founder and CEO of SkillsCamp. Women get it worse than men, she says, and women of color get it even worse.

In her TED Talks, Parnell urges people to become more aware of the impact on their lives and to understand that social media amplifies both positive and negative emotions.

Social media campaigns, like the hashtag #metoo referring to sexual harassment, raise awareness. Creative content like the Instagram accounts of comedian and actor TravQue and rapper and MTV personality Justina Valentine are propelling them to new levels of success.

Motivational prodigy King Nahh is only 12. He uses his social media to inspire people around the world. He has advice for parents: educate your child about cyberbullying and its consequences.

From Instagram antics to viral videos, the influence just keeps getting bigger and bigger. So how do we cope? This episode’s panel weighed in on that question.

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

BAILEY PARNELL, Founder & CEO, SkillsCamp https://twitter.com/BaileyParnell https://twitter.com/SkillsCampHQ

TRAVQUE, Actor, Comedian, and Social Media Influencer https://twitter.com/TravQue

JUSTINA VALENTINE, Singer-Songwriter, Rapper, MTV Personality https://twitter.com/JustinaMusic

LUCKY CHURCH, Entertainment Consultant and Public Relations Expert https://twitter.com/LuckyChurch

NYEEM “KING NAHH” HUDSON, Motivational Speaker https://twitter.com/KING_NAHH

KELLY GROGLIO, Creative Director, Mungo Creative Group https://twitter.com/KGroglio

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Street Soldiers TV: Combating School Violence in New York City

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The New York City school year got off to a violent start with an increase in deadly weapons and the murder of a student in his school. Now some are calling for tighter security, but others are worried about criminalizing our children.

“When I go to school and I feel like I’m not safe,” Matthew, a middle school student, said. “I think I can speak for all people — it affects you spiritually, mentally and physically.”

Safety fears are a daily reality for a majority of students and teachers, according to the Department of Education’s own survey.

The number of weapons seized in schools is up by nearly 50 percent, with 328 for July 1 to October 1, 2017, compared to 222 for the same period last year. ”

The students have a sense they can do whatever they want in our schools, so they’re bringing in more weapons,” said Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, the union representing school safety agents.

Abel Cedeno, 18, allegedly used a serrated switchblade to stab and kill Matthew McCree, 15, at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Management in the Bronx.

Brian Favors, an expert in urban education, said another layer of adult intervention would deescalate these situations before they turn violent.

“We need to really be intentional about looking at how do you create a village in the school,” Favors said. “That means training for teachers in cultural competence, and how to handle conflicts, because a lot of these conflicts could be resolved.”

The tragedy created an outcry for metal detectors, which were promptly installed in the school. Only about 6 percent of New York City middle and high schools have them. The concern by the administration is the undertone of criminalization.

“In addition to the permanent scanners that are in the schools, we have the ability to go to any given school on any given day and do scanning there,” said Assistant Chief Brian Conroy of the NYPD School Safety Division.

A growing number of community leaders and parents say kids should not have to face their fears on their own.

“When you’re trying to focus on school, you also have a whole lot of problems running through your mind, ‘Oh what if I run into this person this day or after school, what am I going to do?'” Matthew said. “That all affects your academics, which will affect the rest of your life, will affect your career. And that’s not good.” Some say school safety measures need to keep up with our changing times. –LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

BRIAN FAVORS, M.ED., M.S.ED., Educator, Breaking the Cycle Consulting https://www.culturallyresponsiveteach…

DARRIN PORCHER, PH.D., Criminal Justice Professor and Former NYPD Lieutenant https://twitter.com/DrDarrinPorcher

MATTHEW, Middle School Student

LINETTE TOWNSLEY, NAACP Youth Advisor