Executive producer Michael B. Jordan’s Superhero Drama Raising Dion

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Personal Response

By Joselyn Ellington BA

Nov. 1, 2019

Raising-DionAlisha Wainwright taking her son Ja’Siah Young to school in Raising Dion.  Photograph: Netflix

Netflix’s nine episode series Raising Dion written by television producer Carol Barbee and directed by Dennis Liu released to Netflix Oct. 4, 2019.  It stars Alisha Wainwright “Nicole Reese”, who takes on a very surprising new role of a single mom to a very special kid “Dion” played by eight year old young star Ja’Siah Young.

Dion’s father “Mark,” played by Walt Disney’s Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan went missing unexpectedly in the triumph of a supernatural storm.

raise dion.jpg“Dion” staring in disbelief at is father “Mark” who magically disappeared in a storm.  Photograph: Netflix

As a single mother myself and as a black woman I find the series enlightening and inspirational.

I believe I am on episode five. I began watching yesterday while my daughter was at school as I had the day off from work. I wanted to just unplug and relax and I recently saw someone post on Facebook how good this show was, so I decided to give it a shot.

Watching “Nicole” pour out tears in the bathtub thinking about the unexpected loss of her husband “Mark” was relateable to me. I cried with her as I also cried about the loss of my father recently, and other important males in my life.

“Nicole” is a very pretty woman who can make you envious. Just by looking at her it would seem as if she has it all, but when you get to know the reality of her struggle you begin to fall in love with her character and the qualities she posesses as a decent person.

After my child returned home from school yesterday I was much kinder to her than I have been. She noticed it. I give credit to Alisha’s role. As a single mother she remained passionate and loving to her son, fortunate enough to shield him from harsh battles that typical black boys from the hood must live through.

When you see a little black boy on the cover of something you may instantly stereotype the contents before seeing what’s inside.

The boy “Dion” is incredible and powerful just like his dad says in a video chat that his mom has saved in her cell phone that she watches and responds to over and over as she continues to hold him dear and near.

raising dion

“Mark”, “Dion,” and “Nicole” pose as a family in Raising Dion.
Photograph: Netflix

Rising artist Greg “Jee Em” Mooneyhan is back and ready for the game of music

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#SouthBendHighlights

By Joselyn Ellington BA

July 22, 2019

Greg “Jee Em” Mooneyhan

SOUTH BEND – Greg Mooneyhan who goes by the stage name “Jee Em,” is an up and coming rising artist who loves to create hip-hop music. He is president and co-owner of the multifaceted music company Gutter to Glory Entertainment, with new manager Rebecca Lucier.

“I was welcomed so warmly by Greg and Trav (second owner of Gutter To Glory Ent. Travis Lottie) honestly,” Lucier said. “It was nothing but good vibes during my interviews.” Lucier applauds both men for being very positive.

Luciers job is to keep up with artist’s schedules and availability to ensure everyone stays on the same page. “Greg has been so nice and he’s great with keeping the lines of communication open so I can do my job for them to the best of my ability.”

Mooneyhan was born in Michigan City, Ind., and currently lives in Bremen. He works with various artists from South Bend including founder of Killin the Beat Ent., Kyle Bishop and recording artist Travis “God Travvy” Lottie who is collaborating with him on their new and up coming album “Now or Never,” releasing August, 2019.

Album cover for Jee Em and God Travvy’s collaboration album “Now or Never” designed by WS Designing

Album Expectations

Fans should expect to hear a healthy blend of hip-hop and r&b music, good production, and versatility from Gutter to Glory’s artists as well as others who showcase their talent in an effort to prove what makes them different.

“It will also be gratifying to show people just how hard we have been working and the quality of music you can expect from talented artists who genuinely have love for each other.”

Local artist’s views on Jee Em

Jee Em is a very ambitions and lyrically driven artist. His determination and willingness to get out and get it sets him apart from others. I look forward to seeing his progress.

President at Killin The Beat Ent., Kyle Bishop

Bishop is Mooneyhan’s publisher. He helps register songs and provides International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC) for tracking. He helped him set up distribution through Distrokid as well as make local connections with other artists and studios. https://distrokid.com/vip/seven/725236

Stand up guy. Definitely a unique sense of music.

Producer, artist, and engineer at N’Tha Dark Recordings, Duecey Montana

Montana produced Mooneyhan’s single “Faith in Me,” now on Spotify.

Back Story

Mooneyhan took a significant pause from writing and recording and got back into it about a year ago.

“I stopped recording around age 15 and it really was because I got heavily into high school sports. I never stopped writing though. That is something I have always made time to do because I love it so much. But after high school was college, then my mother’s illness, and marriage and children happened so I kind of couldn’t find the time to get back to recording.”

Mooneyhan lost his mother Colleen in 2009 to complications of thyroid cancer. She worked at Walgreens, Michigan City for over 25 years and as a bookkeeper and cosmetologist. His father Steve is a huge Notre Dame fan and a retired custodian from Michigan City area schools. His parents and his brother Jeff were all born in Michigan City. He has enjoyed attending Notre Dame Games together with his dad and brother.

“He still lives in Michigan City and despite my wishes, still has not had any ideas of moving closer to my family and I,” Mooneyhan said regarding his father.

“I’ve learned very many things from both of my parents, and a lot of the positive and negative traits I have, I can attribute to them.”

Mooneyhan has excelled in writing, vocabulary, and the English language since an early age. From age 11-15 he wrote and recorded hip-hop songs using his own lyrics and recording them over industry beats that came out as singles on old cassette tapes.

So I have always loved writing and obviously you have to do that with being an artist/musician. On top of that, music has always been very near and dear to my heart, and I’ve found it to be very therapeutic.

Using his combined talents and his love for music “hip-hop being number one,” made it easy for him to pursue music as a career. He regrets taking so much time off but is making up for it and says he couldn’t be happier.

Love for hip-hop

Mooneyhan is a fan of pretty much all genres of music, but 95% of the time he enjoys writing hip-hop lyrics.

“You can do so much more with your words, and the fact that hip-hop artists only instrument or close to it is their mouth, means you have to work very hard, but you can be very expressive.”

Mooneyhan also aspires to make some crossover genre hip-hop songs using hip-hop and country, and hip-hop and southern/classic rock.

Inspired by True Lyricism

Mooneyhan is inspired by true lyricism. He feels it is an important quality and a trait that has somewhat been lost in recent years. He admires the art of storytelling and an artist’s ability to paint a vivid picture with their words. “And I appreciate it even more if it’s about a life event or situation I can relate to.”

His number one influence is American rapper Eminem. “It has been him for a very long time.” These days Mooneyhan mostly listens to underground and independent hip-hop. He is also greatly inspired by American rappers Jelly Roll, Yelawolf, Jay Z, Andre 3000, and Notorious B.I.G.

Gutter to Glory Entertainment

The name

Mooneyhan grew up in Michigan City in a really bad neighborhood with high crime. Money was tight and many things were hard to come by, he said. “The closest word I could think of to give the situation justice was ‘Gutter;’ I came up from the gutter, and ‘Glory,’ for my teams aspirations to be very successful in the music industry.” Gutter to Glory’s meaning is coming up from the gutter and headed for glory. 

Goals and New Music

A major goal for the company is to grow and put out as much music as possible, Mooneyhan said. In addition to “Now or Never,” he is half way finished completing his debut album “Darkest Times to Brighter Days.”

More music from Jee Em: “Embrace the Chaos” feat. God Travvy

Mooneyhan prides in having a family oriented business atmosphere. “Everyone’s opinion or ideas matter and are taken into consideration, and what makes it very easy is that all of us have an overall goal, we all want to reach it and we are working to reach it together as a family.”

The biggest problem Gutter to Glory had was prioritizing various projects individually and as a team but should now feel at ease. “We successfully hired a company wide artist manager to help with a lot of the tasks so we can focus on doing what we do best, and that is making great music.”

Rebecca Lucier on hopes for the company

“My hopes for the very near future is to be able to get each artist their own personal big show and two to three smaller shows by the end of the fall. The hope is to be able to get the whole label together for a big concert in Indy (Indianapolis) by the beginning of winter.”

Ultimately, Lucier said “I want the world to know and love each artist associated with the label by this time next year. We may be a small group, but it only takes a few small waves to create a tsunami.”

South Bend’s very own T-Swang makes Top Five in U93’s Local Fix Live

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Fate? or Predetermination?

#SOUTHBENDHIGHLIGHTS

By Joselyn Ellington BA

July 7, 2019

Tswang poses in front of U93 van after making top five in U93’s Local Fix Live at the St. Joseph County 4-H Fair

SOUTH BEND – On Monday, July 1, at the St. Joseph County 4-H Fair, U93 :: Today’s Best Music and Big Perm U93, hosted Local Fix Live; a showcase among 16 local performing groups competing for a grand prize: one week of radio play during prime hours, a Fort Wayne getaway (dinner and resort), and gift card to Sweetwater Music.

Sixteen performing groups were selected after U93 received an outstanding number of submissions months into a search to add local music to their Friday playlist.

Hundreds of submissions came in; however the accepted and set entries for the 2019 Local Fix Live’s had talent that showed through above the rest and rose above the noise to receive their final congratulations and showtime instructions.

Performing The Teddy Bop FunkHop, Anthony “T-Swang” Gullens made U93’s final five cut, and competed in an intense final round for the number one spot, won graciously by singer and guitarist Lauren Mckie.

All in all T-Swang shared the exciting news with Facebook.

T-Swang

Some contestants were not completely thrilled.

“Yeah. I think as far as the rap acts they may have been predetermined. I feel like I should have at least been a finalist; but on the other hand, it was great exposure and I made awesome connections, and met some dope artists,” contestant Marcel “Flostorm” Jones said.

Performing artist Britty MoMo, who shared a set with Travis TravGod Lottie, spoke highly of Tswang.

“I’ve known him for a very long time he’s been doing this forever, probably as long as me and I think he’s a phenomenal performing artist.”

She continued, “I think his overall performance was very good! His dancing helped draw in the crowd and that is key to a good performance, especially being a solo artist when you’re performing alone! He’s a beast in the game and he has been for years, his voice is nothing short of beautiful and I loved his song choices! He deserved to make it through and I think the judges recognized his talents as much as we did! He’s a great representation of South Bend’s talent!”

T-Swang is a middle-aged African American man with brown skin color, fair height and medium build. Performing he wore dark shades, a humble smile, comfortable white clothing and a black cap. A soulful, rhythmic and funk style soared through his voice, his body and, and his music as he captured the crowd on stage all on his own.

Being voted into the Top was a huge achievement for me. I’m not physically were  I want to be. But reaching past the pain of it all enabled me to do something I didn’t see happening; so that was a great ordeal for me. I really enjoyed it and all the artist show casing their awesome talent.  It was so nice to have a totally different audience of all genres giving you that feedback. I Love it win or lose. 

Anthony “T-Swang” Gullens

U93’s Local Flow Live judge Lwan Easton was contacted for feedback about the top five cut but chose not to respond. “Nah I think Imma fall back simply because I was a judge and all. Thanks for reaching out though,” Easton said.

Upcoming T-Swang Performance

T-Swang will be performing The FunkHop Mix of Teddy Bop and Roc on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 at Mix 106.3 WUBU FM's Mixer at Century Center, South Bend, Ind.

So, Who is T-Swang?

After all the fuss many of you may still be wondering, “Who is this guy?” Don’t worry, you are about to find out.

Anthony “T-Swang” Gullens was born in Chicago, Ill, and moved to South Bend, Ind. in the 1980’s. “South Bend raised me,” he said.

He has been making music since he could walk. “I would always try to make the sounds I was hearing with my mouth or by beating on the floor or walls. I imitated Michael Jackson and anyone who was a showman.” 

Gullens was truly inspired by his grandmother who would show him and his older brother chords on the organ, as well as his mother and her brothers who all could sing and play instruments.

“While spending the night or visiting they would always be singing, playing guitar, keyboards, piano, etc., It was truly and amazing time.”

T-SWANG IS THE NAME

In the early 1990’s Gullens heard the “New Jack Swing” sound and became hooked, he said ever since.

New Jack Swing is a mix of rap, dance-pop, and R&B with a little bit of disco, soul, and rock and roll; a style that originated in Harlem, N.Y. according to Chris Daly and Zilla Roccca on the Oral History of Swing.

It was made superior by American singer-songwriter, platinum producer, and two time over Grammy award winning artist Ted Riley.

T-Swang shakes hands with idol, acknowledged as King of New Jack Swing, platinum producer, two time Grammy award winner, and singer-songwriter Ted Riley

“I would listen to everything Teddy Riley had his hands on or in musically. That’s how my name was given to me by an old band mate of mine, T-Swang. It was because of my love for the New Jack Swing sound and the way I would dance.”

Side Note

According to mentalfloss.com/hardcore facts about New Jack City, the soundtrack for the 47.6 million dollar 1991 motion picture and classic, starring Wesley Snipes as villain “Nino Brown”, was heavily influenced by the New Jack Swing genre of R&B.

What else has T-Swang done?

T-Swang is the proud owner of FunkHop Production LLC, formed March 22, 2001, in Dowagiac, Mich. He currently operates as a consultant, and administrative and recording company (more on this later).

From 1992-1997 Gullens was in a group called N.I.N.E, which represents the number of completeness.

According to Gullens, N.I.N.E was the first group to give local artist’s their own platform on WSMK Smoking 99.1, known today as the Local Flow.

“Yep I was part of starting that whole thing.  I do a lot of guest appearances with Darryl Buchanan and the Dream Team Live band. I have a few band members that I play with, some of the members of the Black Pepper band also.”

Dreams and Achievements

T-Swang enjoys a photo with Grammy-nominated R&B singer Carl Thomas after performing in a show.

“I have been very blessed to have opened for Drake, Lyfe Jennings, Jeremiah, Carl Thomas, Genuwine, The Notre Dame Football Pep Rally, Trina, Sonya D, Michael Colyar, Bizzy Bone, Jagged Edge, Usher, The Whispers, Rome, and Public Announcement,” T-Swang said.

More Achievements

  • Held the number one position on the Reverbnation R&B/Soul Charts for 56 weeks straight, according to Gullens.
  • Hit single Teddy Bop was released globally through The DinahLynn Biggs syndicated Radio Show across 29 different countries. 
  • Wrote and co-produced I Ain’t No Quit Ta with multi-platinum producer J-Styles of the American R&B group Black Street.

One of the best moments of Gullens music career was getting to meeting his idol Teddy Riley and working on a couple of projects with him.

“Teddy Riley has worked with the best; Michael Jackson, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, M J Blige, Keith Sweat, Heavy D, Blackstreet (BS2), Girls Gen, EXO, Shinee, KPOP and so many more,” he said.

Gullens also enjoyed meeting and working on projects with J-Styles, as well as the lengendary platinum group 69 Boyz, on Back Yard Party scheduled to be released in 2019.

BEING A VOICE AND GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

One of Gullen’s greatest achievements has been a more humbler experience: helping feed many families across Michiana, using his talent and soul in his Michael Jackson Tribute concerts, where he advocates for FeedingAmerica.org.

Gullens also takes pride in being a voice for the young upcoming artist by teaching the business side of the music industry and seeing that artists get the tools they need for success.

From 3-6 p.m. every Wednesday at the Charles Black Center 3419 W. Washington St., South Bend, Gullens gives Music Business Workshops.  

Gullens formed FunkHop Production LLC to help recording artist reach their musical goals, and teaches about music writing and publishing through Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI).

“Most Artist have a lot of talent but lack the self artist management side of the business,” he said.

INSPIRATION

Gullens loves making music and shares it with anyone who will listen.

“I know what it feels like to be looked as strange, doubted by others, and cast out from the cool bunch. I have learned to use my music to express my love, pain, and anger to get my point across. Being told you are not good enough is only going to do one or two things to you: make you stop or more determined to prove them wrong. I know what it feels like to have self doubt, but that don’t make you any less of a human being. I’ve learned to give my all in what I do, and will continue to make progress in this land of music. I’m a voice for the artist and for the people and I’m hear to tell you. You can do it, just don’t ever give up!”

A WORD FOR UPCOMING ARTIST

“I would always tell young people to save for a rainy day, study your craft so that when that push button is not working you still can create from within and not by what you hear on the radio. Give back by helping another artist on the come up, and understand you have ownership on absolutely nothing that is God has given to you to share with your fans. It can always be taken and given to someone else, so never take it for granted! Study your craft, learn from the ones who paved the way for you and be humble.”

T-Swang

Keep up with T-Swang by visiting his Electronic Press Kit (EPK) Learn more about his biography, music, watch live video clips, and more.

https://www.sonicbids.com/band/tswang/

Raising Dion

Afterthoughts

By Joselyn Ellington BA

Nov. 7, 2019

After watching the Netflix show Raising Dion I have a new perspective on human nature. People can be very devious and deceptional in order to get what they really want from you. A person can wear a mask for months, can be friendly and make you feel good especially when you are vulnerable and something is missing from your life. They can try to fill that void.
But we know when something isn’t right. We sense it. We may lie to ourselves or ignore the signs because the good feeling we get from these devious people brings comfort in a sense. And in a sense we may feel like we do actually need them.
Masks eventually fall off though and people reveal who they are. Trust your instincts.
“Energy doesn’t die, it just changes form.  Be careful.” – Mark
raise dion
Dion starring at his father Mark in the Netflix series Raising Dion.  Netflix Photo

Snoop Dog’s artist October London receives backlash from South Bend after social media post goes bad!

Writer Joselyn Ellington

June 27, 2019

Singer, songwriter, and producer October London, signee of Snoop Dog and Jazze Pha’s “Cadillacc Music,” is receiving backlash from his hometown South Bend, Indiana after a public Facebook post on Wednesday, June 26, stated he is fed up.

Image provided by Facebook user

After friends and fans got a hold of London’s worded discourse on the City of South Bend, including the one named in his Facebook post, ‘Walter West,’ memes and backlash instantly began surfacing social media. London’s post was no longer visible on his Facebook page after that.

South Bend residents barred none when it came to expressing feelings of dissent. One Facebook post in particular read, “Our city might not see eye to eye on a lot of issues, but I know one g** d** thing, disrespect us and we united with the trollin.”

Mentioned friend, Walter West’s response to London’s backlash: “He deserves every bit of this slander.”

Update 12:24 p.m. June 27, 2019

This afternoon October London leaves these closing remarks, “I’m disgusted at how my statement has been dismantled and twisted. I’ve had love for my city my entire life. The internet is powerful.”

NEW BOOK – Hillz Have Eyes

https://www.blurb.com/b/9468990-hillz-have-eyes

By Photojournalist Joselyn Ellington

Hello! On April 27, I took my very first trip to Atlanta, Georgia to the 2019 Indie Artist Rapperz Ball, a place where independent Hip Hop artists had an opportunity to show off their musical talents, and guess what? It was for a good cause: Hip Hop Versus Human Sex Trafficking!!!

My friend Ryan and I we’re invited to perform by my lifetime friend Kenya Harper that I grew up with in Michigan.

Ryan and I traveled all the way from South Bend, Indiana, a ten hour drive and rested in a lovely Hampton Inn suite in Stone Mountain, GA where we were treated to delicious waffles, tea, and other nutritious items during breakfast. The bed was extremely cozy. Too bad we only got to stay for one night, but it was worth it.

The performers in the ball took pride in their performances and were an inspiration to watch. The hospitality and welcome we received in Georgia was a breath of fresh air, and the landscape to and fro took us on a journey, especially me since I wasn’t the driver lol.

One of the most beautiful moments I experienced was when we stopped at a gas station in Tennessee. There were beautiful tall mountains right beside the gas station. A female employee was standing outside of her job at a business next door where I walked over to take a selfie.

She could tell I was a foreigner as she said, “You aren’t from here are you?” I said no. She could tell by my excitement.

She pointed out to me where there had just been a waterfall in the rock of the mountain. I stood next to it and began to take video of myself on Instagram. As I was taking video I saw about six big yellow Monarch butterflies beside me, and one black and blue one. They were in unison and in harmony. The only way I can describe the feeling I received during that moment is the Japanese term Wabi Sabi, which to me means beauty in simplicity.

After being home in Indiana and getting a moment to myself, I put together a fine art photography book called Hillz Have Eyes. It is an energetic collection of fine art landscape photos captured along the Stony, Appalachian, and Blue Ridge Mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.

If you look once you may miss it, but if you look closely eyes and faces appear in mysterious places.

Hillz Have Eyes, Joselyn Ellington

https://www.blurb.com/b/9468990-hillz-have-eyes CLICK HERE FOR PREVIEW