Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Cowboys of Color on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

On Saturday, June 28, 2014, author, musician, and historian, Art. T. Burton,will join us to continue our discussion on Cowboys of Color; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Mr. Burton has studied the Wild West extensively for several decades. He will share with us stories about many popular figures like Bill Pickett, U.S. Deputy Marshall Bass Reeves, and the Buffalo Soldiers but Burton will also enlighten us on many stories about cowboys from his researched and books that are not as prominent in our history.

What is often left out of many popular cowboy stories that are written today is the multicultural makeup of our Western Heritage and the influence of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Latino, and Native Americans who helped shaped the Wild, Wild West way of life. Mr. Burton who lectures around the world on Western Heritage and Cultural shows us the richness of our country's diversity and why we all should want to learn more about The American Cowboys of Color; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

“(Black, Red, and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighters of the Indian Territories, 1870-1907) is a meaningful addition to my library, especially with the recent dedication of the Buffalo Soldier Monument. Your book illuminates another exciting chapter in the story of the outstanding contributions made by African Americans to our Nation's history.”
- Colin L. Powell,
65th United States Secretary of State, American statesman and a
retired four-star general in the United States Army.

"When we have no understanding of our history, we can not appreciate the potential that our future holds."

Living Your Best Life Radio, radio that empowers, inspires, and motivates you to live your BEST life, can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, Tune In, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network (XM 142).
Follow the #cowboysofcolor hash tag on Facebook and Twitter.

More About Art. T. Burton 

Art T. Burton has a distinguished career in education and the arts. He received bachelor and masters degrees in cultural and ethnic studies at Governors State University (GSU), where he served as student assistant dean. Additionally, he was selected as a recipient of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities,” and traveled to Brazil with GSU’s award-winning Jazz Band as their percussionist.

Burton was Recruitment and Admissions Counselor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Coordinator of Minority Affairs and Admissions Counselor at Illinois Benedictine College. He taught Art T. Burtonethnic and cultural studies at Prairie State College, South Suburban College, and Governors State University. Burton spent ten years at Loyola University as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of African American Student Affairs. Burton was the Director of Student Development/Minority Affairs at Columbia College in Chicago for seven years. He is currently a professor of History at South Suburban College in South Holland, IL. He is a recipient of the “Living Black History “ Award. In 1983 and 1990 he was selected as an “Outstanding Young Man of America” in recognition of professional achievement, superior leadership ability, and service to the community. As author of Black, Red and Deadly, "Turk" Burtonhe has been interviewed by radio and television hosts and was featured in the November 1994 issue of Emerge magazine. His book is being considered for a feature film on African- Americans in the West. Initiated by Burton, the major character in the book, Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall, was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

Burton is a member of the Chicago based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (A.A.C.M.) since 1973, Burton has shared musical experiences with Dizzy Gillespie, Muhal Richard Abrams, Chico Freeman, Amina Claudine Myers, Lester Bowie, Henry Threadgill, and Elvin Jones. In 1996, Art played percussion on saxophonist Vandy Harris’ recording PURE FIRE. In 1998, he played percussion on a critically received recording by noted Chicago saxophonist Ari Brown titled VENUS for the Delmark label. Art was elected Chairman of the Association for the A.A.C.M. for the year of 2011. He has played the bongo and conga drums professionally for over 30 years.


Friday, June 20, 2014

LaCanas Casselle, Shaunn Casselle, and Howard Gentry Share Life with Eldridge "The Lord's Prayer" Dickey on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

Audio of show can be found here.
"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage — to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness."

"In every conceivable manner, family is the link to our past, bridge to our future."
On Saturday June 21, 2014, we will continue our tribute to Eldridge "The Lord's Prayer" Dickey. His daughter, Shaunn Casselle, along with her mother, LaCanas Casselle who was Dickey's college sweetheart and wife, will share about Eldridge Dickey, the family man and his life as a college athlete at Tennessee State University (TSU) and life in the NFL. Many of their personal stories have not been shared with the media.
The Casselle Family photos of life with Eldridge Dickey; husband, dad, brother-in-law, uncle, son-in-law
Hear LaCanas talk about meeting Eldridge Dickey for the first time and how two kindred spirits fell in love and became one in marriage. LaCanas, a TSU cheerleader and majorette, will chronicle Dickey's transition from outstanding HBCU college quarterback to his historic draft pick by the Oakland Raiders. LaCanas who was treated like a daughter by TSU's Big John Merritt will also share about collegiate life during the turbulent late 60's at TSU.
LaCanas Casselle's TSU Campus Sweetheart photo '64
Shaunn Casselle, Dickey's daughter, will share how the events surrounding the induction of her father into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame has impacted her life and helped her to cherish even more the memories of her daddy. Shaunn also talks about the legacy of HBCUs. Dickey's daughter attended Howard University but her blood runs TSU Blue. Her mother's sister, Ramano Casselle, was captain of the cheering squad who married James Buford, a 1987 TSU Football Hall of Fame Inductee. Her mother's brother, William Casselle, was on TSU's swim team. The Casselle-Dickey union was a testament to what many in the Black community knew during the 60's era, HBCUs not only excelled in athletics but also in educating families.

Shaunn Casselle with her Aunt, Ramona (Cheerleader); her dad, Eldridge Dickey; her uncle,William Casselle (TSU Swim team); and her cousin, Dwann, wearing Dickey's jersey number.
James Buford
Shaunn Casselle with the TN Sports Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees
Shaunn wearing Eldridge Dickey's Black College Hall of Fame Ring
 Howard Gentry, Jr., Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk, will share what it was like being part of that history while educating us on the nomination process for Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and how TSU shined brightly this year with two Inductees; Dorsey Sims, Sr. and Eldridge Dickey, and TSU's 1957-59 Basketball team receiving the Significant Historical Achievement Honor. The 1957-59 produced NBA legends like New York Knicks Dr. Dick Barnett. Howard Gentry will share how the eventful week leading up to the 2014 ceremony brought back many memories of his father and how his TSU family bonds grew deeper and stronger.

Howard Gentry seeing a photo of his father and mother with Shaunn Casselle for the first time.
LaCanas Casselle reminiscing with NFL Legend Claude Humphrey
Carrie Gentry having a moment with her former TSU majorette and mentee.
These stories about Eldridge Dickey from his family and friends will empower, inspire, and motivate you to live your BEST life. Living Your Best Life,  can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network (XM 142).

More About Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, a non-profit 501c3, was founded by a group known as the Middle Tennessee Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association. Its early growth was due largely to three of the founders: С. Е. Jackson Jr., Charlie Sons, and the Rev. A. Richard Smith. The late Bernie Moore, retired commissioner of the SEC, and the late Bishop Frank Julian guided the fledgling Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in its struggle for recognition. In 1966, the prep sportswriters and sportscasters spent their last $300 to finance the first banquet. The State Legislature, under the leadership of Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh and Lieutenant Governor John Wilder along with Representative Bill Purcell and Senator Robert Rochelle, passed legislation in 1994 to officially create the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. The legislation passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate of the 98th General Assembly. Very seldom in the history in the state of Tennessee has a piece of legislation ever passed unanimously or as quickly as the “Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Act of 1994.” The creation of the Act began a new era in the history of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. A new Board was founded composed of 25 Tennessee citizens, eight each appointed by the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House; the 25th member of the Board is the State Treasurer or his designee. No more than eight of the appointed members shall reside in a grand division of the state. The organizers of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame are grateful to their sponsors for making the commemoration possible; to the citizens of Tennessee, whose enthusiasm has driven the event forward; to the many who have brought wonderful individuals to the attention of the selection committee; and, of course, to the inductees, who have contributed immeasurably to their teams and their communities.

Previous show on Eldridge Dickey can be found here.
Photo credits: TN Sports Hall of Fame, The Casselle Family
Quote: Alex Haley

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Grandfather's Note From Heaven

One of my greatest struggles in life has been overcoming the loss of my maternal grandfather, Joe Jackson. It has been several years since his passing, but there are times when it feels as if his passing was yesterday. I can remember his laughter; I can see his smile; I can repeat most of his stories verbatim; and quite often, I feel his suffering as he fought a hard and painful fight against cancer.

Often, I wondered what could have been done differently, especially to ease his pain. The first couple of years after his death, my dreams were filled with his moans, and I would awaken in the middle of the night with tears streaming down my face. I could still fill the grip of my grandfather’s hands as I held his at night, trying to comfort him to no avail.

I remember the careful planning of his final arrangements and the great pride my family took, especially my Aunt Henrietta, in making sure that every final detail was impeccable and benefiting the home-going of a patriarch and his meeting with the King.

As I learned to manage the heartache and sadness of the loss of my grandfather, I found respite by helping others by volunteering with organizations that mirror my grandfather's values. What started out as a way to deal with this difficulty became a mission—a mantra—and helped me to grow as a person. I now volunteer weekly and often find a “Mr. Joe’s story” in every venture and use these anecdotes to help others overcome difficulties or to meet an underserved need in the community.

On Christmas morning 2013, Clarence "Pop"Holmes left us. He was my father-in-law whom I loved like a father. His kindness and enduring ways were like Velcro—sticky on both sides. Pop often reassured me that he understood my quirky nature which seemed to be in stark contrast to the rest of his family of sportsmen who talked sports and more sports.

When I had something exciting to share or was in the midst of a dream deferred on the verge of fruition, Pop would be the most likely go-to-person to share the possibilities or the good news. He would become just as excited as I was. And when my bright idea or dream turned out to be just a hair brain notion, he never voiced ridicule and would only find words of encouragement. He would give me that look, “We’ll get it next time.”

Like my grandfather’s death, Pop’s death was a great loss. Unlike my grandfather’s demise, I had not braced myself for or strangely welcomed Pop’s final exhale like I did my grandfather. Pop was a strong, healthy man—a young man—who left all too suddenly. My grandfather's body was ravished by cancer and death was his escape. As I cried for Pop, the pain of losing my first hero in life began hitting me at the same time. I found myself mourning two men.

While packing to head to Memphis to prepare for Pop’s final arrangements, I rumbled through my closet to find an appropriate hat and pulled down a few hat boxes. As I reached for a hat box that possibly contained a black hat, a large box containing some of my grandfather’s fedoras fell and opened from the impact. Seeing my grandfather’s fedoras that were given to me by the family literally took away my breath.

After regaining my composure, I began examining the box. As I pulled out several hats, I put them close to my heart and recalled fond memories of my grandfather wearing each. But when I returned the last head wear taken from the box, I noticed a note card on the floor.

 This note card was created by Aunt Henrietta who mailed several hundred of them to me to give to friends and customers from Nashville and other places as acknowledgment of their acts of kindness during our bereavement. I believed that I had given out or mailed them all and definitely did not think I had any left. But there it was—a note card, appearing out of the blue, that I had not seen in seven years and at a time when I once again was filled with grief. However, after reading the carefully thought out message that expressed the goodness of my grandfather and how much he loved his family as well as how much his family loved him, I believed it was truly a message from above.

My sadness was replaced with gladness, for I believed that God was letting me know that my grandfather was alright, and that he was welcoming a new friend into heaven—Pop Holmes. I will always cherished this reminder of my grandfather's life, his note sent to me from heaven.
Photos: Genma Holmes 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day Tribute to Eldridge Dickey on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

Audio of show can be found HERE.
"your family will always be
they help define just who you are
and will be apart of you eternally"

Eldridge "The Lord's Prayer" Dickey

 On Saturday, June 14, 2014 join us for a special Father's Day tribute to Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Posthumous Inductee Eldridge "The Lord's Prayer" Dickey. Hear from his son, Troy D. Dickey, former wide receiver for the University of Arizona, Cincinnati Bengals, NFL Europe, Iowa Barnstorm and Texas Cooper Heads, share about his father in a way that only a son could.

Listen to Troy discuss Eldridge Dickey's life not as a revered athlete who broke numerous records but as a father who loved his family. Hear little known facts like Eldridge Dickey's family professional sport lineage started with the Negro Baseball League, Eldridge Dickey babysat other well known athletes, Eldridge Dickey the counselor and Eldridge Dickey the grandfather. Troy will share why he has not talked about his father publicly and why the Dickey family has stayed away from the media spotlight since the death of his father in 2000.
Troy D. Dickey University of Arizona 92-93
Brayden Lenius Chaminade College Preparatory Class of 2014
Tune in to hear Troy Dickey share about his son, Brayden Lenius, and how much he wants him to succeed in life whether he has a professional football career or not. Listen to me share with Troy about meeting and interviewing Brayden at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame held in Nashville in May. I will share with Troy that it was my interaction with Brayden that prompted me to interview others who knew Eldridge Dickey when he was a quarterback at Tennessee State University as well as other family members.

Eldridge Dickey's legacy is still felt at the Tennessee State University decades after he played football there.You will also hear Brayden Lenius acceptance of his grandfather's Posthumous Award at the Tennessee Sport Hall of fame Induction Ceremony.

Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
This Father's Day message is timeless and shows the power of love, grace, and forgiveness.

Living Your Best Life Radio, radio that empowers, inspires, and motivates you to live your BEST life. can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, Tune In, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network (XM 142).

More About Eldridge Dickey 
Tennessee State's QB Eldridge Dickey #10, RB Bill Tucker #32, and WR John Robinson #84

His football career at Tennessee State University spanned from 1964-1967 where Dickey was a three-time HBCU All-American. In 1966, Dickey led the school to its first undefeated, untied and National Black College Football Championship. The Oakland Raiders made history on January 30, 1968 when they selected quarterback, Eldridge Dickey, as the 25th overall selection in the AFL/NFL draft. Making him the first black quarterback to be taken in the first round of any draft.

To see more photos from the TN Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, click here.

Photo credits: Tennessee State University Archives, University of Arizona Archives, Oakland Raiders Archives, and Courtney Sellers for TN Sports Hall of Fame

Poem Verse: Family is Like by Nicole M. O'Neil


Friday, June 13, 2014

TN Sports Hall of Fame Luncheon Led to Siblings Finding Each Other

If you follow my social media postings, read my news column and listen to Living Your Best Life, you know I love to write about and talk to living legends. I also love stories that are often over looked by mainstream media. The influence of my grandparents made me an old soul young in life and a passionate lover of stories that impact several generations, have historical significance, and reveal the hearts of servant leaders.

In May, my goals were to interview individuals who were inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. The backgrounds of the inductees perked my interest. Anyone who had a Coach Joe Gilliam connection was at the top of my list to get to know and write about, men and women who severed in the military, and any story that makes me ponder silently,  "This sounds intriguing, I wonder if there is more beneath the surface." I would later learn that the 2014 Class of Inductees had all of the above and more.

I contacted Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame to inquire if I could bring Living Your Best Life to any of the events. (I literally can bring a "studio" anywhere to plug and play later. My mics and cameras record interviews to help me with my research prior to a studio interview.) After getting the green light from Lynn Toy, I packed my gear to spend a weekend downtown getting to know some of the most recognizable names in professional and collegiate sports.

While scheduling interviews, Lynn called to share this gem with me, "I can not say why but you should really attend the luncheon. It will be special. Trust me." No need to repeat a statement like that to me. I made sure I put the luncheon on my schedule of events to cover.

Champions Within Luncheon: Shaunn Casselle, Howard Gentry, and Brayden Lenius
Lynn urging me to attend the luncheon put me on a venture that ended with me introducing siblings who had never met each other. Both are adults who knew something about the other but each was afraid if their reaching out to connect would be intrusive or would bring heartache instead of joy. I was in contact with both and was hearing each of their stories about their father, Eldridge "The Lord's Prayer" Dickey, who meant the world to both of them. After many calls and emails to verify family stories vs. media fiction, I realized that both of them were actually piecing together their father's life over several decades. And neither had ever spoken publicly about their famous father. I felt as if I had found a treasure chest of priceless memories. I finally said to each one, "You should really met. You guys have an amazing story to tell." They both agreed and all of us are forever changed. God IS good!

Living Your Best Life has been a part of many momentous occasions. I have interviewed the best of the best; stories that have impacted many lives over the years by challenging and encouraging us to dig deeper than media sound bites. But I had never been so empowered, inspired, and motivated by two individuals who only wanted to express their love for the father. Much like David, their father was an imperfect man after God's own heart and served others until his untimely death.

What started out as a two part show has now become three. Many media outlets have reached out to me to get in touch with the siblings. Both agreed getting to know each other was their main priority right now. When I asked the siblings to be interviewed, I wanted to air a show around Father's Day to pay tribute to Eldridge Dickey's accomplishments in life and his legacy. But I also wanted to know more about the legendary football player that became the man of God his children knew and love deeply.

I hope you tune in to hear all of the interviews that will include stories from those who knew him up close and intimately; Eldridge Dickey's son, daughter, grandson, his college sweet heart, NFL Greats and college friends. Like Living Your Best Life's Facebook Page to keep up with the Tributes to Eldridge Dickey and follow my live tweets about the show on Twitter.

Champions Within Luncheon Photos by Courtney Sellers


Monday, June 9, 2014

"Cracking Cards" Bank Scams on the Rise on Campuses in the Nashville-Middle TN Region

Nashville-Middle TN is in the midst of an economic boom. Attracting not only visitors from around the world, but corporations and new residents are being transplanted here from every corridor. But with the robust pecuniary gains come growth pains and not everyone relocating or visiting our area have good intentions. "Cracking card" gangs, also called card crackers, are loving the welcoming spirit of the Music City Region and the economic prosperity, illegally, especially among the college crowd.

Nashville-Middle TN is home to numerous public and private colleges and universities with thousands of students. Those students are becoming easy picking to a scam that has serious consequences.

 "Cracking cards", with origins in the Southside of Chicago, began creeping down south about a year ago with activity on many campuses around Middle TN. Card crackers start with an innocent question to unsuspecting college students, "Do you want to make easy money fast?" Rarely is there a "no". They are roped into the 'quick money, no work' scam. Students are told to loan the scammer their debit card and PIN to deposit a counterfeit check into their account. The card cracker then goes to another institution like a Check Advance Company and withdraw the funds the next day before the bank returns the check for being counterfeit. Most banks state the process takes about two days.

Students are promised a cut of the money and scripted to tell the bank that their debit card was stolen or lost to justify the amount that was withdrawn from their account. The students get shafted and are not given any of the money. Their account is in the red for the charge back, returned check fees, AND they have committed a serious crime. The amounts deposited are thousands of dollars. College students add even more misery to their life by lying to the bank and feds when they are questioned about the counterfeit checks. Lying to a federal agent can get you more time than the actual crime itself. By the time they do confess up, it is usually too little, too late as they sit staring across the table at bank corporate security, local police, Secret Service, and the FBI.

I have spoken to several parents who have experienced the above dilemma first hand. Most of their stories are very similar and the parents have been left dealing with the possibility that their children they sent off to college, to get an education, are being charged with a felony and facing serious jail time. Several parents are dealing with the financial repercussions of having to pay off the bank debt and the mounting legal fees to help protect any future their son or daughter may have.

Parents are usually blindsided with the news that their adult child participated in a criminal activity when their purpose in life as a college student is to go to SCHOOL. Many stated over and over, "I raised them better than this." But this is not about how they were raised or judgement of anyone. The reality is, students are putting themselves in situations where they could get a federal sentence longer than a drug dealer or a murder. It is that serious.

Very few college students have thousands of dollars in their checking account. The promise of getting a few hundred dollars for allowing someone to put a bogus check in your personal checking account at an ATM is a temptation that cash strapped students find hard to resist. But not every student is cash strapped. Some are just stupid to put it plainly; easy targets for professional thieves that seek out naive students who are willing to cut corners to buy sneakers.

Most students are met at clubs, intramural sporting events, and over Facebook. Before the card cracker strikes, they sum up who will be a willing participant. Students who want to be accepted by others, loners, and those who are careless with their personal identification are vine ripe for the picking. Some students have been known to have their IDs stolen. Students can be recruited by buddies who were initiated by other members of the card cracking crew. As in other gang recruiting activity, easy to coerce is first choice. Card crackers are usually young black males but card crackers are not exclusive to any race or even age. Young female college students are recruited as well and can rise up the ranks to be mid-level leaders by being the bait to lure college males.

Another group that has been infiltrated by the cracking card crime industry is the military. Young enlistees are promised a quick buck and they think "what harm" because they are ready to be deployed or move around often. But cracking cards crime travels and usually catches up with a member of the military no matter what part of the world they maybe stationed. This can cause them to lose their rank and they are often prosecuted as well. Being prosecuted for a federal crime as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces could lead to a dishonorable discharge and jail time.

Perplexed and wondering what can be done?

Become educated about cracking cards and spread the word throughout your community. Knowledge is power. Read as much information as possible and talk openly with your children about card crackers. As parents, our children will always be our children. It is a lifetime commitment. Listed below are words of wisdom that several parents shared with me that they wished someone would have shared with them to talk with their adult children.

1. Emphasize that cracking cards is criminal. Discuss this crime with your college bound, current college students, or young adult. No matter what the world may tell us, parents still have influence in their children's lives. Let them know the dangers of even thinking about it. And share with them real life consequences.

2. Know your college student's friends. An old saying, You are known by the company you keep, is relevant today. I am an advocate for knowing who is my children lives whether 5 or 25. Sudden friends out of the blue? Remember when we used to ask "Who are your people?" Unusual activities? Friends flashing money? Be watchful and be aware.

3. Ask questions. Nothing is more revealing than asking questions. Too often, parents see things out of the norm but brush it off. Trust your instincts. Did your son or daughter go on a shopping spree and you know they cannot afford the items? An inquiring mind finds answers.

4. Check your college student's bank records. Keeping tabs on what is deposited and what is withdrawn can help your students to manage their funds better but it also can give you the heads up if there are unusual activities. Be a co-signer on the account.

5. Teach your students the value of having good credit. Once a good name is ruin, it is hard to get it back. Bad credit is costly; higher interest rates, higher insurance premiums and can even cost a student future job opportunities.

6. Gangs are gangs. Parents can easily think that because their adult children escaped being recruited into gangs during their high school years, they can breathe a sigh of relief. Not so fast. Card crackers are gangs. They operated with the same hierarchy and are known to become violent if their livelihood is threaten or they fear their run is about to come to an end.

I believe being aware of threats that hinder building a great community is the best offense. I also believe that criminal activity flourishes when we look the other way or put out heads in the sand as if it does exist. Knowledge is power. Please share this with others.

Photo credits: Istock and GenmaSpeaks
Blog Design Created by pipdig