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Peggy Tatum’s Birthday Parade by Edith Berry

On the Road for TCP Magazine, I had to cover a story about Peggy Tatum, founder of TCP Magazine. I was asked by Dr. Donna Corbett of Amazing Grace Etiquette, that orchestrated this event, to capture those special moments via pictures and video. I had been unable to capture her Sweet 16th Anniversary scheduled on March 14, 2020, due to the pandemic crisis. So what can you do for someone that’s Sweet 16, and hasn’t been kissed with love and hugs? Do a drive by parade, with signs, balloons, and waves from the car. We had to be in grand style for such a phenomenal woman. I remained hidden in an undisclosed spot under a shaded tree until the set time, awaiting this grand moment!.

At the designated time of 1:30pm, May 15, 2020, the Mass choir was randomly scattered, and proceeded to the cul de sac. Peggy was serenaded by the illustrious TCP Magazine Mass Choir led by National Recording Artist and Stage Play Actor, Anthony Adeion Hill. We opened up with a Happy Birthday song, sung Stevie Wonder Style. We were scattered for social distancing on the front lawn, while family members, and dear friends wished her well, as they drove by in a processional parade fashion. Award winning Neo Soul gospel Recording Artist Cynthia Jones, gave a cheer by spelling out each letter of Peggy’s name. Peggy Tatum’s love for others has been: encouraging people, an enhancer in ministries of churches, helping artists, and business entrepreneurs to exceed their fullest potential, and a support system to Female Pastors to strive in being great leaders! Besides being a friend, wife, mother, and grandmother, Peggy is an advocate for community affairs as the publisher and founder of a faith-based publication on positive African American achievements. It is for these attributes, we salute her on her birthday May 15, 2020.

Music director Anthony Hill with Ted & Peggy Tatum, and Ambassador Sharon Edmond

Zoom in to Zumba with Jordan

I’m still on the Road with TCP Magazine! Yes, I have virtually Zoomed in to Zumba with Jordan, but not at the Ace Center in Knightdale where she usually has classes, but right here at my workout center call home. All facilities are physically shut down for safety, due to the pandemic of Covid-19. Jordan has provided another course of action, by using Zoom to have classes. Jordan Farrell has taught fitness classes for 7 years. She has a B.S. degree in Exercise Physiology and minored in Nutrition. She is also a personal trainer. Jordan is licensed by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Certified Exercise Physiologist, and the American Council on Exercise as a Group Fitness Instructor, Weight Management Specialist and a Licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor.

There’s been much talk about social distancing, and wearing masks and gloves while going out in public. I also heard, and read about the uprise of depression, cabin fever, anxiety about family members getting on each other’s nerves, shopping for food, toilet paper, and other necessities. Then there’s the issue of taking walks, but not for exercise, but only walking to the refrigerator, and stove, then back to the sofa, bedroom, or tv! Now that the weight on your body frame is increasing, does that mean when the ban restriction is lifted, you’re coming outside? Don’t fret! Maintain your sanity, and stay healthy too! Zoom in to Zumba with Jordan.

Jordan makes the class so much fun! We’re dancing to a great music playlist, and if you miss a step or turn, nobody knows but you! Just laugh at yourself and keep it moving! This helps your physical and mental well-being. There are men and women on this virtual Zumba class, and students from other states, because they have to be quarantined too! She has even taught classes in NYC last summer in Harlem. She’s on the road to being national.

Photo credit: Tim Bowser Jordan Farrell at The White Space.
Photo Credit: Tim Bowser

Being on the Road with TCP Magazine to experience virtual Zumba on Zoom with Jordan is worth the trip! You can join in on Facebook at: Keep Calm & Zumba with Jordan; and Instagram and Twitter at: Jordanalexisss. While you’re staying in, stay fit, stay safe, and stay home! The life you save may be your own! For your viewing pleasure, Jordan has a Youtube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjMxTgCuOBqTiiqf7kBbdKA

Jordan Farrell performing at The Hayti Heritage Center

Social Distancing: Staying Home, Saves Lives!

Are you staying on the Road with TCP Magazine? No, we’re not on a real road, but a virtual one. We’re obeying the laws of the land! Our first and foremost concern, is the safety and well-being of our subscribers and followers. The Pandemic attack our country and world of Covid-19, forced us to shutdown activities. Our country’s new slogan is: “Staying Home to Saves Lives!” A new vocabulary that was constituted in our everyday language, wasn’t really used before. But as of March 2020, due to the Covid-19 crisis, Merriam Webster has added Coronavirus disease 2019. It’s abbreviated form is Covid-19, a family of viruses that occurred in 2019. I would like to focus on this new term of Social Distancing.

Social distancing is the safe practice for preventing the spread of this disease. We have been instructed to increase physical space between people to avoid spreading this virus. Now that we are staying six feet apart, not having gatherings of family affairs, church services, concerts, movies, and theater, what in the world can we do? The word social to me connotes being together, needing companionship or company, simply meaning being around other people. We have an urgency to be connected. So let’s stay connected through social media! In this world today, an old R & B song that comes to my mind by James Brown, is called “No Man is An island!” We don’t want to be alone!

Since the onset of Social Distancing, we have engaged in Physical distancing! Make sure you stay 6 feet apart! Social Media usage has increased to “socializing,” via virtual online activities of meetings, rehearsals, performances, singing, and FaceTime calls. But whether you call it social distancing or physical distancing, reach out, but don’t touch, no hugging, but virtual hugs! No handshakes, and no fist bumps. But just like we tell a 2 year old that goes through the terrible two’s no, some people are going to keep doing the same thing. And here we are telling grown folks to wash their hands! What have they been doing all their lives? Well, if you have trouble following the laws of the land outside of your home, “Stay Home to Save Lives!” The life you save may be your own!

A Barren Street
A Full Parking lot

The Shows have Paused!

On the Road with TCP Magazine, I took a trip downtown Raleigh to Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. I stopped there, because I didn’t want to favor one theater company over the other. I remembered that old adage, “the show must go on!” It’s a phrase in show business that originated in the 19th century, when the circus had an animal or performer that was injured. The ringleader and band kept the show moving, so that patrons would not panic. They didn’t have an understudy to replace the injured performer as they do today. And now, the shows in the Triangle has come to a halt! I don’t need to give the statics on Covid-19 which is officially worldwide pandemic. As a writer, actor, dancer, educator, and as a minister, the shows have paused for the safety and well-being of our community. I want the pause to only be temporary!

The community theaters, too numerous to name, have come to a standstill! Many readers may be unaware of what’s at stake. I have attended more than 30 different events, and witness firsthand, the hours that many artists, producers, and directors have put into these productions. As a contributing writer of TCP Magazine for my column called The A.R.T.S. (Always Reaching for the Stars), I know the numerous hours that I personally pour into learning lines, blocking, or dance routines, it’s more than a 9-5 job. It’s a passion! They’re stage crews that build the set, move stage props, synchronize the lighting and timing of sound effects, public relations to promote the shows, artistic directors, playwrights, and board members that play an integral part of a production. Then we need you, the patron, to fill the seats. For some artists. this is their only source of income; their livelihood! They perform for you through public or community theater that may or not pay actors at all. In having compassion for many in the theater community to continue, your help is needed. I am hopeful that we will get through this crisis, but we don’t want our art community to go under. A pause means just a short stop for a while, then pick back up. Look at the production companies in your community, to give back. Any amount will help! If you’re not sure of whom to donate to, you can go to https://chathamlifeandstyle.com to see the numerous Performing Arts groups listed to help. The Managing Editor Dustin K. Britt, keeps an updated list. Your support will help all of us say “the show must on!”

All Theatre Companies need you to do this!

Guilt, Shame, & Storytelling by Edith Berry

On the Road for TCP Magazine, I went to HQ Raleigh-Gateway in Raleigh to join Executive Storyteller/Artistic Theologian, a female Griot, Alexus Rhone. She facilitated workshops nationally for people to learn how to tell stories. Alexus shares how to “unpacked our lived realities, and loose the shackles of shame.” Alexus is the Founder of Truth Meet Story, LLC, Executive Producer of Unshackled Production, studied Theology and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Journalism/Public Relations at the University of Texas.

I met Alexus Rhone at Sips & Scripts downtown at Club Imurj. It’s a group that was formed by Yvette Holder to be an advocate for work written by North Carolina playwrights. Alexus’ work was a work in progress, in which groups of actors, playwrights, producers, and directors, get a chance to hear scripts in a stage read setting, critique, and give immediate feedback to the playwright. Alexus has shared stories on a national level, and facilitate in training others, how to be storytellers. I’ve attended a few story telling events such as: Club C Grace for “Jesus Jazz & Dessert Wine,” and Transfer Company Food Hall for “Converging Stories: The First Love.” Now, how far back can you reminisce about your first love? Yes, it takes writing and thinking to get your thoughts together! I didn’t know there was a technique to telling stories. You can’t just rant forever, because you would lose your audience.

In attending “Guilt, Shame, and Storytelling,” you have to open yourself up to confront your innermost feelings. The reasons that we have difficulty is because we feel guilty about what happened, or we’re ashamed of our actions. So, how do we move on to share to an audience of strangers, or friends when we have repressed emotions? Simply put, that’s where Alexus navigates you through telling your story to explore these issues of life, and confront your innermost feelings. She has produced story-slams and page to stage productions. If you would like to venture out, have fun, and become adventurous in 2020, then connect with Alexus Rhone to take a training workshop and tell your story! You can go directly to her facebook page or directly to Unshackled Productions, or Unshackled Publishing. Let the stories begin! This is a Woman in History, for Alexus is brave, bold, and beautiful to share her life experience!

Alexus Rhone

Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” by Edith Berry

On the Road for TCP Magazine, the Playmakers Repertory Company, had their opening night production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” by William Shakespeare. It was directed by Andrew Borba, at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art. William Shakespeare was an actor and a playwright. His plays were about life experiences of Some events in Roman history. His plays took place during the late 1500’s to the early 1600’s, and can be applicable to life in the 21st Century. The play and tragedy written by Shakespeare had the cast dressed in Roman attire.

The patrons were mesmerized at the stage scenery of a sculpture of Julius Caesar and simulation of blood. The columns simulated ancient Rome. Shakespeare’s writings were over 400 years ago, and still timeless. Some of the cast members played doubled or triple characters. The cast delivered Shakespeare’s writings poetically with fervor! I was amazed at the position of C. David Johnson (Julius Caesar) being so becalmed, as he laid on the floor for what seemed like 15 minutes from his attack! In Shakespeare’s day, female parts were played by male actors. However, the cast had females playing some male roles such as: Tia James (Mark Antony), Tori Jewell (Caesar’ aide/ Antony aides/Soothsayer), Sarah Elizabeth Keyes (Decius/Messala), AhDream Smith (Strato), April Mae Davis (Flavius/Cinna/ Titinius), and Lisa Wolpe (Cassius).

The interchanging of the cast playing different roles went cosily. The only characters that should have been females in this production, were AhDream Smith (Caphurnia), and Kathryn Hunter-/Williams (Portia). They were dressed elegantly with beautiful gowns. This cast had a great workout climbing up and down the steps in the aisles. They seemed prepared, and very agile. I’ll close in part with the speech by Tia James (Marc Antony), “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!” Go see this play about Julius Caesar!

Peggy Tatum: Sweet Sixteen and been kissed! by Edith Berry

Being On the Road for TCP Magazine for the past five years, was when I first came across this young lady Peggy Tatum. I was at The Sheraton Imperial in RTP at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Prayer breakfast in January 2015. I was taking a picture of gospel artist Jekalyn Carr, and she asked if I wanted her to take a picture of my friends and I with Jekalyn. She gave me her business card, and a few weeks later, asked me if I would like to go on tour with her to take pictures of hometown heroes, especially after she saw my pictures. I feel that’s where she came up with the name for my for my blogging page, that I wanted to do. we have travelled to many cities in North Carolina, and also South Carolina, and Virginia.

Well, let me convey a few things about her. Peggy Tatum is President and CEO of The Connecting Place, a small business resource center and publisher of TCP Magazine. Peggy’s passion is helping people accomplish their visions and dreams by connecting them with the right resources, and engaging them to reach their God-given potential. TCP Magazine, a gospel publication with a focus on Music, Ministry, and Christian businesses is the tool that allows her clients to achieve exposure on both the local and national level. She demonstrates a spirit of sensitivity and awareness, by devoting benevolence, and committed service to the Raleigh community at large, as well as other communities. Peggy has affected the national landscape of the gospel industry by promoting and advancing the careers of innumerable gospel artists, clergy members, and other industry professionals. She attends New Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Fuquay-Varina NC, under the leadership of Dr. Nathaniel Wood. Her courtship and marriage to Ted Tatum is about 40 years.

Peggy Tatum is going 16 years strong and been kissed by God. This caused her business to grow, steadfastly, unmoveable, and always abounding in her love for God. For her sleepless nights, staying up to wee hours in the morning, finalizing the magazine, and sometimes texting me when she knows I’m up too, the journey continues! Her anniversary is celebrating blessings that has been bestowed on her. Come celebrate with us at: The Fountain of Raleigh, celebrating with Kim Person and other North Carolina Gospel Artists! Dr. Jerry Smith will be representing The Light 103.9 who is a finalist for Large Market Station of the Year. So come wish Peggy Tatum a blessed Happy Sweet 16!

Peggy Tatum CEO of TCP Magazine

Baba’s Rising Sons by Edith Berry

On the Road for TCP Magazine, I attended the 2020 Winter/Spring Master Dance Series at the Living Arts Collective in Durham, NC. The Master instructors have been under the training of the Legendary Baba Chuck Davis, and dancing for at least 30 years and more. They performed with him in the African American Dance Ensemble. They are Baba’s Rising Sons: Roberts Joila and Stafford C. Perry, Jr. They wanted to continue the legacy of Baba Chuck Davis and share with others, his legacy to soar! Well, let’s take some dance leaps down memory lane, and look into the lives of each of them.

Baba Roberts is a Griot, Dancer with the African American Dance Ensemble, formerly with the Suah African Dance Theatre, and studied Theatre at North Carolina Central University. He has also been a Step Coach at the Sallie B. Howard School of Arts and Education. His journey began 38 years ago with Baba Chuck Davis. Baba Roberts was a founding member of Baba Chuck Davis’ children’s company, Alayanye (the chosen ones). He studied with many choreographers and Masters all over the world. However, Baba Roberts moment in time was when he performed in Diego Garcia in which few inhabitants visit there. It’s located off the Indian Ocean and the Camp Justice American Naval Base is located there. He said it felt like being in paradise. Baba Roberts’ genuine personae, his love for the African culture, the dance, and instructing others, is definitely his forte!

Baba’s Rising Sons
Peace, Love, Respect for Everybody!

Baba Stafford is artist/activist, educator/scholar of African-rooted Dance, aesthetics, and theatre. He told me that he has been dancing since the womb, but professionally for 30 years. Baba Stafford toured as the Associate Artistic director of Baba Chuck Davis’ African American Dance Ensemble for 14 years. He studied in Philadelphia, New York City, North Carolina, and West Africa. Baba loved West Africa the most. He approached Baba Roberts with the idea about a year ago in a conversation, about how they could continue the legacy of Baba Chuck Davis. They were of like minds about utilizing what they were taught under Baba Chuck’s leadership for their own endeavors. It was the ultimate continuance of the legacy, and what Baba Chuck would have insisted they do. So with the calling of Baba Chuck who is now with the ancestors, the birth of Baba’s Rising Sons were born, for them to add their own voice to the story and traditions.

The Master Dance class was masterfully taught, and the energy of the mind, body and spirit was greatly felt by everyone present. We learned a feeling for the African culture, nobody felt humiliated or embarrassed if they didn’t catch on to the routine. As we prepared to take a break and close the session, we went to the floor on 1 knee, then both, and bent over in a position of obeisance, as if we were given homage to mother earth. Baba’s Rising Sons will meet once a month from now until May and then have Summer Intensive classes. The blue and red t-shirts were Baba Chuck’s favorite colors. Let the legacy continue with Baba’s Rising Sons, and as Baba Chuck would always say, “Peace, Love, Respect, for Everybody!”

The Donna Summer Musical

I was on the road for TCP Magazine at DPAC for “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical!” Songs were by Donna Summer,  Giorgio Moroder, Paul Jabara, and others. Book by Colman Domingo, Robert Cary, and Des McAnuff. The music supervision and arrangements by Ron Melrose, captured a collection of Donna Summer’s hits, sung throughout this production. Sergio Trujillo choreographer, along with dance captains Jennifer Wolfe and her assistant Sir Brock Warren, had dancers exemplifying movements with precision, gracefulness, and superbness! Des McAnuff directed the production. The energy, movement of stage props throughout the entire production, was well timed. It exhibited much fluidity in transitioning from one scene to another.

The life and times of LaDonna Adrian Gaines known by her stage name based on marriage, was  Donna Summer. She had been singing since youth, and became a big hit during the disco era in the late 1970’s. This production showcased Donna Summer upbringing from singing in the church, competing in competitions, and playing hooky from school in Boston to go to New York City for auditions. This gave her the opportunity to perform in the musical “Hair” which led to performing in Munich, Germany. The three Donna Summers from childhood, Duckling Donna/Mimi (Olivia Elease Hardy), to adult Disco Donna (Alex Hairston), to Diva Donna/Mary Gaines (Dan’yelle Williamson) playing the double character of the mother, had outstanding vocals and the phenomenal ranges that Donna Summer sang. Her German ex-husband Brian Helmuth/Sommer (Jay Garcia) divorced, and boyfriend Gunther was portrayed as abusive. Her 2nd husband musician Bruce Sodano (Steven Grant Douglas) were together until her untimely death from lung cancer. This was an all star cast! Donna Summer had many hits, was a five time Grammy winner, and best known for “Hot Stuff” “Love to love you Baby” and “Bad Girls!” And of course they sang my favorite, “She Works Hard For the Money!” Donna had three daughters represented in the show too. Let’s remember this legendary Queen of disco who took her “Last Dance” in 2012. This has been another moment in Black History.

The Legendary
The Cast
The Band

Ragtime Musical: Fighting for the American Dream

On the road with TCP Magazine, led to the production of “Ragtime” at the Stewart Theatre on North Carolina State University campus in the Talley Student Union building. It was presented by the University Theatre  from the book by Terrence McNally, Music by Stephen Flaherty, and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. I was on the edge of my seat, singing the songs, knew what to expect in each scene, and was mentally immersed in this show! After personally performing in Ragtime 3 years ago, and fell in love with this production, there’s no better place I rather be! The scene takes place In the early 1900’s, the immigrants came to America for a better life, and yet the African Americans who were here, struggled for freedom and acceptance, but dealt with racism and discrimination.

Ragtime music is a syncopated, off beat rhythm that evolved from African Americans played on the piano. This music was played during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It was played at the beginning and the epilogue with “Wheels of a Dream.” Nicole Hiemenz (Mother), Tim Eldred (Father), Byron Jennings, II (Coalhouse Walker Jr.), Isaiah Lewis (Tateh) along with the cast, and crew of students and staff that performed, displayed professionalism at its best. The songs, the orchestra, dancing, and the young ladies using their parasols to emulate a car driven by Coalhouse, exhibited an energetic performance. Mother embraced Aysia Slade (Sarah) and cared for her and the child born from Coalhouse.  Tateh like any other immigrant wanted a better life for himself and his daughter. It’s the America dream! I sat next to the grandson of the young man that played Houdini, (Grayson Fulp) a freshman who had to shave his beard and make sure he kept his hair long. He shared that Grayson was honored to be a part of this production.

Even though the production depicted the times then, let’s fast forward to 2020. What is the American dream? Tateh made his dreams come true! He made a better life making movies, and married Mother. However, Coalhouse started a rampage of killings because of racism, discrimination, and no justice. But he was killed because he took justice into his own hands. Coalhouse wanted a better way of life too! He wanted the American dream! His song, “Make them Hear you” (how justice was denied). What happens to a dream deferred?”….

The Cast
Sarah & Coalhouse