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Deonte Towner’s Pieces in the Dark

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Looking for a good read?! Pick up Pieces in the Dark by Deonte Towner.

Pieces in the Dark holds many truths about the human emotions. The short heartfelt vignettes include emotional stories of heartbreak, love gone wrong, moving on, loss, identity, spirituality and a strong lust for inner freedom. Everything becomes into question and the meaning of life is then changed by all the events that occur throughout life. Is it possible to find joy and happiness in a world full of chaos? Does depression go away? Or, does it hibernate for awhile? What happens when the lights turn on and all your secrets are brought to the light? Every page will have you whispering “me too”.

About the Author: Deonte Towner

What is your purpose? That is the first question I ask people. Everyday you wake up there must be something driving you. There must be something that is going to keep you alive when all hell is breaking. I am a 26 year old teacher originally from Salinas, California who teaches at the most challenging high school in Watts, California.

Often when I tell people that I teach in Watts their first reaction is “Do they even respect you since you are so young? Why would you do that to yourself?” People don’t realize that being a teacher is not about your age. It’s not about how “cool” or how much you can “relate” to your students. All people want is someone to listen to them. That goes for anyone. From the rich to the poor. All people want is for someone to listen to them. I have a gift of hearing what a persons heart is saying.

I realized that I am on a journey and there is a need for teachers in Southern California. I have always had the fire inside of me to be an influential teacher in the East Los Angeles area. Every day I wake up my main focus is for God to give me the right words to speak to my students in order to show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I am so excited that my dreams have officially come true. My first book is finally complete. It took time and dedication. I wanted to leave something behind for my future kids and generations to come. I had many nights where I prayed and asked God to lead and guide me on this book. He guided my hands every step of the way.

There were days that I wanted to give up and say I will write this next year, but God revealed to me that I needed to get it done this year because someone in the world needed to read these powerful passages in my book. I thank God for giving me the strength to complete this book because my father and auntie had a stroke 6 months ago in the same month and are in therapy getting better. My mom has been by his side every day praying for his strength. This season of my life has not been easy, but God gives us strengths in times of weakness.

Poetry Corner

My goal is to give students a space to be themselves and a platform to express their feelings in a positive way. Drug abuse, gangs and violence surround our students but they choose to fight with their words. On every other Friday teachers and I have partnered together to host what we call “Poetry Slam”. Students stand before their peers and recite a poem that they have written in the quad area at lunchtime. This gives students the opportunity to get everything off of their chest and voice what they believe in or how they feel. Usually, students walk up nervous but they feel very accomplished at the end. There bravery and honesty gains them their peers respect. Students and staff hug all the participants after because of their vulnerability.

Going Beyond the Book: A Word from Deonte Towner

Pieces In The Dark was released on April 4, 2018 and out of 23,000 books it is was ranked at # 274 on Amazon! I was wondering if you can support a teacher that is trying to impact this generation by purchasing the book and leaving a review. 40% of the proceeds will go directly to supporting my students.

I want to continue to be able to bless my students with school supplies, personal hygiene products, meals, prom tickets and yearbooks. A lot of my students get robbed and beat up by gang members on their way home and they often come to class empty handed and bruised up. I teach American Literature at a high school in Watts California and it is a low income area. Many of my students live with their grandparents or live on the street because there parents are either locked up, or on the street addicted to drugs. A large amount of our students are in the foster care system. I want to be able to bless students. Thank you so much for reading this message.

Also please when you say your prayers please pray for all schools across the nation, so that God can continue to camp his angels around campuses with everything that is going on in the world. Once again thank you.

What do my students need?

  • Pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Backpacks
  • Grooming & Hygiene Care
  • Pens
  • Color Pencils/Markers

If you would like to support Mr. Towner’s students, donations can be made via Venmo @Deonte-Towner and Cash App @DeeT92. You can contact Deonte Tower at [email protected] and visit his website at www.deontetowner.com

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Alexandra Shipp Doesn’t Understand Colorism and It Shows

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Alexandra Shipp is suffering from the same light-skin plight that Tinashe claimed stifled her career two years ago. Oh well…

After hearing that KiKi Layne was in talks to step into her queendom as Storm, Alexandra Shipp wasted no time chiming in on Twitter. Her hot garbage take has since sparked yet another conversation about colorism in Hollywood. Alexandra stated, in so many words, that Black people aren’t supporting her because of her skin tone. Proving she, like so many, does not understand colorism as a system of oppression, Alexandra makes it clear there’s still work to be done.

You see, Alexandra, no one is attacking you for having light skin. They’re simply expressing joy over the much-anticipated portrayal of Storm as she was intended — a dark-skin, beautiful Black woman. This was a monumental opportunity for you to offer praise. Instead, you chose self-pity because a skilled actress is taking a role you aren’t entitled to. Let’s look at receipts, shall we?

KiKi Layne has been nominated for:

  • The Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
  • The Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor
  • The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble.

You, Alexandra, have been nominated for a Teen Choice Award and a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award.

Because you, and others who look like you, have not had to search for representation to feel included, you may not know how to respond to this. I get it, You think you worked hard, earned that role, did it justice. Sorry, baby, but you thought wrong. The one-time wife of T’Challa deserves to be a dark-skin queen and there’s nothing you should do about it.

It’s bigger than you.

For two decades, we have waited for the mantle of Storm to be assumed by a woman who truly looks like her. For once, little Black children who share that skin-tone would feel seen as they look upon their favorite superhero. Imagine children looking at Storm the way they knew her and the way they thought they could be; strong, beautiful, dark-skinned, and more talented than you.

Furthermore, your conflict with the change in the cast should not be conflated with other pressing issues. Don’t weaponize Black Lives Matter to represent losing a job because you’re talentless. Where is your grace, queen? You’ve been coasting on mediocrity in an industry that has made you proud of your light-skin privilege. Now that dark-skin is profitable, the industry is accepting of some actresses with melanin more popping than yours, and you want to play the victim? Ms. “90 percent of the racism I’ve experienced in my lifetime has been at the hands of fellow Black people.”

Girl, bye.

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Protests Ensue Over Death of Jameek Lowery

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Jameek Lowery streamed his final moments as he sought assistance from officers in a Paterson, New Jersey station. Having passed in police custody, community members and family want answers.

Scared and Alone

Jameek Lowery was disoriented, foaming at the mouth, and shoeless. Asking for water and visibly unsettled, 27-year-old Jameek admitted he’d taken ecstasy just moments earlier. Hoping officers would help him find proper care, Jameek trusted them with his life.

Police say they called an ambulance and accompanied him to St. Joseph’s Hospital, but what happened during transport is unclear. The Passaic County Prosecutor claims although hospital records do not indicate acute trauma, Jameek suffered physical force and compliance holds during the ride. While transport took between five and twelve minutes, the prosecutor alleges that Jameek was unresponsive upon arrival. Jamir King, Jameek’s brother, says Lowery suffered a fractured eye socket and broken cheekbone after the recording.

We want answers now!

Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale maintains everything that could be done to help Jameek was.

 “They will do the autopsy, everything will come up and then we’ll know where we stand, and the answers will be given to you. I want you to have those answers. Right or wrong, I want you to have those answers.”

Jerry Speziale, Paterson Police Director

Unhappy with what Paterson Police have provided since Jameek’s death Saturday, protests have ensued. Hawk Newsome of Black Lives Matter attended the Tuesday night protest, providing his support to the family and commenting on what he knew so far.

“He was extremely paranoid, he was terrified, and he had no shoes on. What I did notice was his face looked good and within a few hours he was dead.”

Hank Newsome, Black Lives Matter of Greater New York

City Council members were also present during the protests, providing comfort to the family as they begged for answers. Lowery’s sister Jamilia Laurie said, “My heart hurts, I can’t explain how I feel because I don’t know how I feel. I can’t go to sleep at night. I’ve been up since this happened. I cannot sleep.”

Justice for Jameek

Late into the evening, things came to a head as protestors clashed with police on the street, spilling out of City Hall where the rally took place. Holding cell phones to record the officers, police lined up on the other side, equipped with mace. People began chanting “Justice for Jameek,” “Black Lives Matter”, and “No justice, no peace”. Police fired upon the crowd with mace and a large crowd was seen fleeing the Paterson Public Safety Complex building, shielding their faces and coughing.

Wana Fulcher, a protestor on the scene commented on the frightening state of police relations in Paterson.

“I have four sons myself and this is very scary. Your child can’t even walk down to the store without being harassed by an officer. Who can we run to?”

Wana Fulcher, protestor

Community leaders and Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh are supporting the investigation into what happened to Jameek. Several news outlets have attempted to reach Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale for further comment with no success.

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On the Subject of R. Kelly

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I was 14 years old when R. Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography. It was 2002. TP-2 had been out for a while and everyone was vibing to “Fiesta” and “Feelin’ On Yo Booty”. He was preparing to perform at the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City when the story broke. A videotape had surfaced, allegedly showing R. Kelly urinating on an underage girl. The Black community was silent.

I overheard my adult cousins discuss the tape at family gatherings. Everyone that had seen it seemed to agree. Without a shadow of a doubt, they all knew they were watching Robert Kelly, the pied piper of R&B. Yet there was no outrage, no public outcry or demands for justice. It was sickening. At the time, I lived in Detroit, Michigan, home to DSA. DSA was known as The Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts, but it was famous for birthing the princess of R&B, Aaliyah Dana Haughton.

Buried

When Aaliyah married R. Kelly in 1994 in that secret ceremony with forged documents, Detroit knew. When conversation surrounding the nature of their artist-protégé relationship was questioned, Detroit knew. In televised interviews and radio segments when their voices and body language could be dissected, the truth was bare and as a community we denied it. For the second time, I watched a city turn a blind eye to R. Kelly’s predatory behavior for the love of his music. For what? Because it was more difficult to hold one man accountable for his hebephilia than sacrifice music to bump to? We collectively did ourselves a disservice, the same disservice we do to little Black girls and boys who are preyed on by family and religious figures.

Ignoring the presence of sexual deviance in the Black community does not make the trauma survivors battle daily disappear. I couldn’t understand why people made excuses for rapists or held victims accountable for their pain. “Just separate the art from the artist.” How? Why? The artist is using his status and artistry to directly engage, lure, and abuse Black girls. R. Kelly isn’t the only person to do this. Many celebs have used the promise of fame for sexual favors. Hell, employers use this exact same tactic. In the working environment, people in positions of power will dangle promotion and incentive to bargain sexual favors and people excuse it.

Second Chances

As a community, we must demand better. From the moment those 21 counts of child pornography surfaced following the release of the infamous tape, R. Kelly’s career should have been over. But it wasn’t. He went on to release the Chocolate Factory album, selling more than 3 million copies and going platinum. With the help of a delayed trial, he worked diligently, released gospel music to clean his image. By the time he went to trial in 2008, the Black community had two-stepped his depravity out of their memory. He was found not guilty.

People use twisted language like “Those girls were fast. Where were their parents?” Working long hours to clothe and feed that child. No parent is in all places at all times so save that bullsh*t. Such rhetoric does absolutely nothing to absolve sexual predators of the reality that they took advantage of naive adolescents or starry-eyed adults. Just call it what it is. Or are you afraid that acknowledging his deviance means calling out the same evil in those around you?

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