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1970s Throwback, Lenora — Helping Fans to ‘Relax’ with her Music

NNPA NEWSWIRE — By every definition, Lenora is a throwback. For “Relax,” she introduces an alter-ego, “Suga’ Love,” an afro-wearing “Foxy Brown” like character whose looks underscore the fad-happy decade of the 1970s. “I’m a ’90s baby, but at heart, I’m like a child of the ’70s. That era of music heavily influences me,” she notes. (Photography, beauty and styling by RIOT MUSE)

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For “Relax,” she introduces an alter-ego, “Suga’ Love,” an afro-wearing Foxy Brown-like character whose looks underscore the fad-happy decade of the 1970s.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Chelsea Lenora White – simply Lenora to her family and fans – is proving herself to be one of the most exciting rising singers in the music industry.

The Houston-based crooner has released, “Relax,” a smooth tune with a languid feel that gives listeners a carefree, letting go, sensual experience.

Unintentionally reminiscent of Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover,” Lenora’s “Relax” counts as a throwback to the 1970s with enough appeal to make lasting impressions throughout the next decade.

“Just relax,” Lenora sings on the track. “You could do it if you put your mind to it.”

When asked about the connection to Ms. Ross, Lenora said she’s a fan, and “Love Hangover” happens to be a song she loves.

“It probably was subconscious for sure,” Lenora says of the similarity the opening of “Relax” has to “Love Hangover.”

“When I work with producers, I always will give them something that I have listened to and something that I like, and ‘Love Hangover’ is a song that I like,” she stated.

The single contains a bass guitar riff that is also a nod to Marvin Gaye’s, 1976 hit, “I Want You.”

By every definition, Lenora is a throwback.

For “Relax,” she introduces an alter-ego, “Suga’ Love,” an afro-wearing Foxy Brown-like character whose looks underscore the fad-happy decade of the 1970s.

“I’m a ’90s baby, but at heart, I’m like a child of the ’70s. That era of music heavily influences me,” she notes.

While the ’70s is known for the lack of boundaries, Lenora understands that modern-day artists are under more of a microscope, mostly because of social media.

“I’m cautious. I love that era of music, but it always has to be fresh and new,” Lenora stated.

“Even with the cover art we use for the single, I thought was tasteful.”

In the cover art, Lenora is in her underwear, but unlike the penchant today to photograph sexy women in thongs and G-strings, she’s decked out in full bottom briefs. She’s also facing away from the camera, so only the back of her bra is revealed.

It’s just another way in which Lenora gets her message across for people to “Relax.”

“I draw a parallel between blue cheese and ranch,” Lenora stated regarding the line she chooses not to cross when displaying such sensuality in her music.

“A lot of people don’t like blue cheese, but I love blue cheese. But ranch is agreeable to everyone. So, with ‘Relax” I was like okay; this record is like my ranch dressing. Everybody can get on board with this.”

Lenora and her team, which includes the influential Houston-based producers, Beanz n Kornbread, and award-winning songwriter Dustin “Dab” Bowie, wrote the hit single in one hour.

Lenora said she just so happened to be in the same studio as Bowie one night, and she eventually played some music for him.

It was a Saturday night in Los Angeles, Lenora explained.

A flight she had scheduled to leave two days later was delayed, so Lenora returned to the studio, and that’s where she and Bowie co-wrote “Relax.”

Already, the song has touched listeners in ways Lenora found surprising.

“I feel like music is therapy, music is escapism. I always hope my music will heal and provide therapy,” Lenora noted. “A girl told me that the song saved her life. She said that in the song, I remind people to breathe. Some people’s lives are so hectic that they want something for themselves to be able to get away even if they can’t afford to get away physically, the music can provide some of that escapism for them.”

Lenora started singing in Kindergarten and has wowed audiences from her church to local venues in Houston and on into college where she’s classically trained, and where her golden voice mastered the Opera.

It might surprise most who have heard her sing that Lenora went through a period of self-doubt and stopped performing.

“I think it was like six years that I didn’t put music out. It was 2017 when I finally started singing again,” Lenora said.

After a self-imposed hiatus, Lenora returned to the spotlight for a special performance in Washington, D.C.

She belted out another Diana Ross tune, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” during the enshrinement ceremony of her late grandmother and former Houston Forward Times Publisher, Lenora “Doll” Carter.

The ceremony inducted Carter into the Gallery of Distinguished Black Publishers.

“I knew I couldn’t stay away from music,” Lenora stated. “But, I had management and people telling me to do things that I didn’t necessarily agree with. When I did come back out, I did a performance called ‘Motown and More,’ and it’s a huge deal. There are 40,000 people there over the weekend for that show, and I had never done it before 2017. When I did the audition, they were like, “Who are you?” “Where have you been?” And I realized that this style of music is who I am.”

With a hot new single and tens of thousands of followers on social media, Lenora is on the fast track to superstardom.

“That Motown show opened doors for me in terms of people knowing what I do. ‘Relax’ is the biggest so far for me, it’s getting a lot of radio play,” Lenora stated.

“It’s trending in the West Indies and London, and that’s crazy because I’ve never been to any of those places yet. I’m not a brand-new artist, but essentially I am a new artist because I’ve rebranded, I’ve taken a step back.”

“Relax” is available on all streaming platforms.

Download “Relax”: https://song.link/relax

Connect with Lenora:

Facebook: Facebook.com/SincerelyLenora

Instagram: @SincerelyLenora

Twitter: @SincerelyLenora

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NNPA – Black Press w/ Hendriks Video Interview

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Black Woman to Lead United States Park Police

 Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

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Pamela A. Smith

Pamela A. Smith, a 23-year veteran of the United States Park Police, will lead the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.

Smith, who became the first African American woman to lead the 230-year-old agency, immediately remarked that she would establish a body-worn camera program for USPP within 90 days.

The program will initially begin in San Francisco and be implemented across the country by the end of the year, Smith said.

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers, which is why I am prioritizing implementing a body-worn camera program within my first 90 days,” Smith offered in a statement.

 “This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve.”

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and graduated from the FBI National Academy. She is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

During her law enforcement career, the proud Zeta Phi Beta Sorority sister has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, and academy instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

 According to a news release, Smith also served as executive lieutenant to the chief of police, assistant commander of the San Francisco Field Office, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division, and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division.

Smith was the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its Major.

At the USPP, she will lead a 560-member workforce that protects the public, parks, and the nation’s most iconic landmarks in Wash., D.C., New York City, and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

“Chief Smith’s commitment to policing as public service and her willingness to listen and collaborate make her the right person to lead the U.S. Park Police at this pivotal moment in our country,” Shawn Benge, deputy director exercising the delegated authority of the NPS director, noted in a statement.

 “Over the coming months, the leadership of the National Park Service will explore opportunities with Chief Smith designed to strengthen our organization’s commitment to transparency. Her personal and professional experience make her acutely aware of and ready to meet the challenges and responsibilities that face U.S. Park Police and law enforcement agencies across the nation.”

 Jennifer Flynn, the associate director for Visitor Resource Protection at the National Park Service added that she’s looking forward to Smith’s leadership.

“Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

 “As federal law enforcement officers, the U.S. Park Police officers have a new opportunity each day to give their best to the American people. Chief Smith exemplifies that approach as a colleague and mentor, and she will be instrumental in refining and shaping the future of the organization,” Flynn said.

Smith declared that she would lead by example and expects all officers to display integrity.

 “I have dedicated my career to the professionalism of law enforcement, and it is my highest honor and privilege to serve as chief of police,” Chief Smith declared. “Today’s officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities. I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity.”  

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Children’s Defense Fund: State of America’s Children Reveals that 71 Percent of Children of Color Live in Poverty

“While we reported on the 73 million children in the U.S. in 2019, which is 22 percent of the nation’s population, we also note that 2020 was the first year in American history that a majority of children are projected to be children of color,” said the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, the president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund.

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Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)
Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

Part One of an ongoing series on this impactful and informative report.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The child population in America is the most diverse in history, but children remain the poorest age group in the country with youth of color suffering the highest poverty rates.

“While we reported on the 73 million children in the U.S. in 2019, which is 22 percent of the nation’s population, we also note that 2020 was the first year in American history that a majority of children are projected to be children of color,” said the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, the president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Dr. Wilson’s remarks come as the Marian Wright Edelman founded nonprofit released “The State of America’s Children 2021.”

The comprehensive report is eye-opening.

It highlights how children remain the poorest age group in America, with children of color and young children suffering the highest poverty rates. For instance, of the more than 10.5 million poverty-stricken children in America in 2019, approximately 71 percent were those of color.

The stunning exposé revealed that income and wealth inequality are growing and harming children in low-income, Black and Brown families.

While the share of all wealth held by the top one percent of Americans grew from 30 percent to 37 percent, the share held by the bottom 90 percent fell from 33 percent to 23 percent between 1989 and 2019.

Today, a member of the top 10 percent of income earners makes about 39 times as much as the average earner in the bottom 90 percent.

The median family income of White households with children ($95,700) was more than double that of Black ($43,900), and Hispanic households with children ($52,300).

Further, the report noted that the lack of affordable housing and federal rental assistance leaves millions of children homeless or at risk of homelessness.

More than 1.5 million children enrolled in public schools experienced homelessness during the 2017-2018 school year, and 74 percent of unhoused students during the 2017-2018 school year were living temporarily with family or friends.

Millions of children live in food-insecure households, lacking reliable access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food, and more than 1 in 7 children – 10.7 million – were food insecure, meaning they lived in households where not everyone had enough to eat.

Black and Hispanic children were twice as likely to live in food-insecure households as White children.

The report further found that America’s schools have continued to slip backwards into patterns of deep racial and socioeconomic segregation, perpetuating achievement gaps.

For instance, during the 2017-2018 public school year, 19 percent of Black, 21 percent of Hispanic, and more than 26 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native school students did not graduate on time compared with only 11 percent of White students.

More than 77 percent of Hispanic and more than 79 percent of Black fourth and eighth grade public school students were not proficient in reading or math in 2019, compared with less than 60 percent of White students.

“We find that in the course of the last year, we’ve come to the point where our conversations about child well-being and our dialogue and reckoning around racial justice has really met a point of intersection, and so we must consider child well-being in every conversation about racial justice and quite frankly you can only sustainably speak of racial justice if we’re talking about the state of our children,” Dr. Wilson observed.

Some more of the startling statistics found in the report include:

  • A White public school student is suspended every six seconds, while students of color and non-White students are suspended every two seconds.
  • Conditions leading to a person dropping out of high school occur with white students every 19 seconds, while it occurs every nine seconds for non-White and students of color.
  • A White child is arrested every 1 minute and 12 seconds, while students of color and non-whites are arrested every 45 seconds.
  • A White student in public school is corporally punished every two minutes, while students of color and non-Whites face such action every 49 seconds.

Dr. Wilson asserted that federal spending “reflects the nation’s skewed priorities.”

In the report, he notes that children are not receiving the investment they need to thrive, and despite making up such a large portion of the population, less than 7.5 percent of federal spending went towards children in fiscal year 2020.

Despite Congress raising statutory caps on discretionary spending in fiscal years 2018 to 2020, children did not receive their fair share of those increases and children’s share of total federal spending has continued to decline.

“Children continue to be the poorest segment of the population,” Dr. Wilson demanded. “We are headed into a dark place as it relates to poverty and inequity on the American landscape because our children become the canary in the coal mine.”

Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children.

The $1.9 trillion plan not only contained $1,400 checks for individuals, it includes monthly allowances and other elements to help reduce child poverty.

The President’s plan expands home visitation programs that help at-risk parents from pregnancy through early childhood and is presents universal access to top-notch pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds.

“The American Rescue Plan carried significant and powerful anti-poverty messages that will have remarkable benefits on the lives of children in America over the course of the next two years,” Dr. Wilson declared.

“The Children’s Defense Fund was quick to applaud the efforts of the President. We have worked with partners, including leading a child poverty coalition, to advance the ideas of that investment,” he continued.

“Most notably, the expansion of the child tax credit which has the impact of reducing poverty, lifting more than 50 percent of African American children out of poverty, 81 percent of Indigenous children, 45 percent of Hispanic children. It’s not only good policy, but it’s specifically good policy for Black and Brown children.”

Click here to view the full report.

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