My Truth: 1989, The Number

By Cheryl Smith, Publisher

Twenty-five years ago, I wanted to get friends together and have a good time, while raising money for scholarships and community outreach. I decided to have an event that took me back to my childhood. You see, in New Jersey, there were three places that families I knew gathered for entertainment: bowling alleys, skating rinks and movie theaters. So bowling it was. I called together friends, contacted Chuck D. of Public Enemy to ask if we could use the name of the blockbuster song, “Don’t Believe the Hype,” and we began planning for the inaugural Cheryl Smith’s Don’t Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-Thon.

That first year, Chuck and Malik of Public Enemy joined the wonderful Dick Gregory in kicking off the event and they have visited other times, giving their support. Over the past 24 years, numerous scholarships have been awarded, grants provided, trips to conferences and conventions funded, school books purchased and workshops sponsored. Thanks to generous support from companies, fellow journalists, elected officials, entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes, scholars, and friends, we feel we have made a difference.

I hope that people will come and join me on June 22, 2019, at USA Bowl, 10920 Composite Drive, Dallas. Any and everyone can come. YOU ARE INVITED! It’s a “celebrity” bowl- a-thon, but everyone is a “celebrity”— there will also be special guests like Country/Western sensation IMAJ, R&B and Jazz great Miles Jaye, judge Alesha Redmond, actress Virlinda Stanton, Comedian Shuckey Duckey, and more. We also have an online auction at http://www.32auctions.com/dontbelievethehype2019 — sign on and bid today.

Acknowledging landmarks is very important to me. Which brings me to my truth.“1989, the number, another summer”— are the opening lyrics from Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” (not to be confused with “Fight the Power” by the Isley Brothers!) It was 30 years ago, and 1989 is a year so many notable moments occurred. Yes, Spike Lee’s movie, Do the Right Thing, captured the mood of many of our communities across the country. The song, “Fight the Power,” captured the mindset of many and spoke to our truth.

Sadly, 30 years ago, the Central Park Five became part of our reality. Five young brothers, wrongfully accused, like so many before them. The travesty of their injustice is chronicled in the phenomenal Ava Duvernay’s When They See Us. Some of the strongest men I know say they cried when watching Kevin Richardson’s, Antron McCray’s, Raymond Santana Jr.’s, Korey Wise’s and Yusef Salaam’s story. Others refuse to watch because of the painful miscarriage of justice and abuse of power. The blessing is that they lived through it, but at what cost? And how many more similar stories are waiting to be told?

When will the madness end? Doesn’t seem like it will be any time soon, unfortunately. So, we all need to step in and at least attempt to turn things around. Thirty years from now, I pray the narrative will be different and we’ll be viewing documentaries on the likes of Mr. Roland Parrish. It was 30 years ago Roland Parrish began an epic entrepreneurial journey that has led him to become the second-largest African-American-owned McDonald’s Franchisee in the country. A graduate of Purdue University, this brother of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (I wonder if he can twirl a cane like Thomas Battles or David Godsey?) is a McDonald’s success story, building an empire that is supported by and supportive of the communities where his stellar stores exist.

Parrish, a native of Hammond IN, went to college on both academic and athletic scholarships. In addition, there is the Parrish Charitable Foundation. He has donated millions for education and community development. His philanthropic efforts are noteworthy and he sets the standard for excellence in everything he does. Many a young person has realized their life’s dreams because of support from Parrish, and many adults have been able to sustain their families. Parrish shows us how we can Do the Right Thing. We need more Roland Parrishes and we need to support, showcase and uplift. Then, we are in a better position to Fight the Power. Fight the Powers that be!

Hope to see you on June 22!