Archive for January, 2013

Jail for Life: My Secret Thoughts

Posted in The Other Side by Publisher, Port Of Harlem Snippets on January 23rd, 2013

By T. Michael Colbert

A life sentence was only the beginning. The sentence was only the beginning of a spiraling descent into an abyss of despair. Finally, I see a glimmer of hope.

During my descent, my father and I had grown close. We had made plans to live and travel together and to be the father and son that had unfortunately eluded us for much of my young adult years. Eleven years into my incarceration, my father passed away from cancer.

Two months after his death, the courts denied my first appeal, which was swiftly followed by the denials to my second and third appeals. The hope that I saw at the end of the tunnel quickly became a speeding train traveling in the wrong direction. I dawdled away many years with self-loathing, useless activities and associating with less than inspiring friends.

Finally, a cousin came to see me with a magnanimous promise that he would retain a high-powered attorney who had the influence to have the judicial system set me free. He even offered me a supervisory position in his thriving construction company.

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Z Gospel and Z Go-Go: The New Face of Fitness!

Posted in Health by Publisher, Port Of Harlem Snippets on January 9th, 2013

By Kennedra Tucker

“Down, Down Up. Down, Down Up,” members and non-members of Purity Baptist Church shouted to fitness instructors as they performed three squats in a row and returned to a standing position while getting down to R&B artist Ciara’s “Gimme Dat.”

From the youngest participant, a seven-year-old, to the oldest, my 90-year-old grandmother, the Z Gospel class exercises drenched everyone in the room with sweat. And at the door, some would be participants came to see what the fuss was about and hoped to get enough courage to move and groove to Kirk Franklin’s “Before I Die.”

What is Z Gospel? It is a new fitness craze sweeping the nation tied to the popularity of Zumba, which has sparked millions of people to get off their bottoms and move and groove to funky Latin rhythms. Some regular Zumba attendees have been inspired to attend training, get licensed and start teaching Zumba in their own communities. Danette Tucker, my sister, is one such instructor. After getting her license, she began creating her own routines to her favorite music genre and DC’s favorite, Go-Go. She discovered that others loved dancing to Go-Go as much as she did and developed her own flavor of class, Z Go-Go. 

“Much like Beto, the creator of Zumba, we’ve taken our love for our favorite genres of music, Gospel and Go-Go, and incorporated them into our faith and love for the Lord, all to inspire a dance fitness program that is fun, exciting and a fellowship,” says Danette. “Oh! And by the way, we just so happen to be working out while building a sisterhood that will hold us together spiritually as well as physically. It’s truly a blessing,” she added.

Joining Danette and myself at Purity is our mother, Cynthia. Aside from breaking to care for her children, she has acted on her passion for fitness for a long time. Mom is not only a retired federal government worker, but a licensed Zumba instructor who calls teaching Z Gospel one of her post-retirement accomplishments.

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