Message from Montie

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Assist Her, Daughters of Donia and Lupe Fiasco Foundation create empowerment conference for teenage girls at Paul Robeson High School

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Ayesha Jaco

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Photo courtesy of Samantha Coleman

 

 

 

 

Chicago's south side Paul Robeson High School has developed quite the reputation lately for being labeled the school with one out of seven girls who are pregnant. But it turns out that the 115 Paul Robeson High School students reported as moms or moms-to-be aren't all moms, some are teenage fathers.

 

"Out of the 800 girls, 10 percent of those girls are in our program," Ms. Phillips, Parent Educator at Paul Robeson High School, said. "Eighty girls and we have about twenty-five guys that are in the program so that would bring our number to 115. That is [also] a combination of students that have given birth to their children already and students that are currently pregnant."

 

But the fact remains that there are still 115 teenage parents at the school and mentoring programs like the Lupe Fiasco Foundation, Daughters of Donia and Assist Her, Inc. have planned an event on Saturday, Dec. 5, to help change those statistics. The After I Met a Boy event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., on Sat., Dec. 5, at Paul Robeson High School on 6835 S. Normal Blvd.

 

Mentor group representatives Samantha Coleman, MA, LPC (the Executive Director of Assist Her, Inc.) and Ayesha Jaco (the co-founder of the Lupe Fiasco Foundation and the founder of Daughters of Donia) have created the After I Met a Boy empowerment conference focused on sexual education, prevention and mentoring for the ladies of Paul Robeson High School.

 

"I had heard about the high pregnancy rate at the school and a light bulb went off," said Jaco. "In lieu of the killings that have been going on and stats that came out last year--one in four girls between the ages of 14 and 21 have an STD--I was wondering what I could do to help."

 

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December 1 is World AIDS Day, How does this National STD Awareness Day effect you?

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Photo by Shamontiel, condom collection from BEHIV

A few days ago, I received a card in the mail from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. I've spoken to several college classes about safe sex and volunteered to help raise money for HIV/AIDS Awareness over the years, on top of writing "Round Trip," so this card caught my attention. On the front of the card, there's a red ribbon on the front of one of the buildings in the Chicago skyline. Underneath the skyline, it says "Imagine..." and "...our world without AIDS" is printed in the inside flap. Powerful card. And with your help on World AIDS Day and every other day of the year, we can all help fight this disease. 

 

World AIDS Day is around the corner on December 1, and worldwide there will be different locations honoring this important day. The CNA building in the loop honors this day with a red ribbon and the words "Fight AIDS" that is easily viewable from Lake Shore Drive. So what does this have to do with you?

 

On Friday, October 30, President Barack Obama signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS CARE Act and stated, "there are still 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and more than 56,000 new infections that occur every single year." While you may not be one of the 56,000 that currently have HIV/AIDS, fatal STDs such as this one can hit you or anyone around you at any point and time. This is why safe sex is so important in your sexual relationships.

 

And no safe sex is 100 percent. Even in a committed relationship, married people are also a growing number to find out that they have HIV/AIDS from a cheating partner. Even the Obamas got tested for HIV/AIDS to prove that it's okay to do so.

 

If you're interested in being tested and you live in the Chicago area, here are some commonly asked questions and answers about HIV/AIDS testing.

 

If I use condoms and birth control pills, why do I need to be tested?

Birth control pills do not prevent STDs. You must use a combination of both female or male condoms with birth control patches or pills if you want to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STDs at the same time. However, none of these contraceptives are 100 percent. There's also an issue with using the wrong type of condoms or putting condoms on incorrectly. Click here for condom wear tips.

 

I don't have health insurance, so how much do I have to pay for HIV/AIDS testing?

There are countless locations in the Illinois area that have free HIV/AIDS testing, including BEHIV. GetTestedChicago.com has a listing of free or low-cost HIV/AIDS testing areas in Chicago. Some HIV/AIDS testing centers will have a waiting period of 10 to 15 days while others, like BEHIV, will give you results within 10 to 15 minutes.

 

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Photo Gallery: Commonground's 40 Under 40 Chicago Crain's List honoree reception, Chicago adventures

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

This past week, I was honored with interviewing two of Crain's 40 Under 40 professionals, Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam from Commonground, a marketing agency that embraces multiculturalism. I think it's so respectable how they're building a bridge to encourage diversity where there was none. Other marketing companies are jumping on the bandwagon slowly but surely, but I knew about many of Commonground's products before I'd ever heard of Commonground so to find out that they'd achieved the honor of Crain's Chicago list for 2009 wasn't a surprise. I talked with these two entrepreneurs about social networking, diversity in marketing, their advertising and marketing background, and the economy.

 

And on Monday, Nov. 23, I was flattered to be invited to their 40 Under 40 Honoree Reception at a Chicago bar and restaurant called Clutch, located at 459 N. Ogden Avenue, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

 

 

 

Gallery sneak peek (28 images):

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Online movies versus theater movies, are we cheating the film industry?

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Was the film really worth $9.50

For my birthday I got an AMC gift card for $10, so I went to Orland Square Mall to see "2012." Had I not received that gift card, I'd have gone to The New 400 Theater because instead of paying $9.50 for any movie after 3:30 p.m., I'd have paid $7.50 after 6 p.m. or $5 before 6 p.m.

 

The Suntimes' Kara Spak recently wrote an interesting column called "Online movie free-for-all," and I agree with most of the comments. There are some movies that flat out are not worth paying $9.50 for. Was "2012" worth paying $9.50 for? Absolutely. Was "Paranormal Activity," a film I saw on my birthday? No. I liked it, but it wasn't worth $9.50, and I didn't even pay to see the film. It was another gift.

 

I miss dollar theaters and drive-in movies. The prices at concession stands weren't as high, and at drive-in movies, you could bring as much popcorn and drinks as you wanted to. In dollar theaters, the price for food was about as cheap as going to the grocery store. And with the movies being $1 or $2, I really didn't mind spending a little more. Even The New 400 Theater has free popcorn Tuesdays. These are the kinds of perks that drive me to go to movie theaters.

 

Many times when I want to see a film, I go to D'PUC Credit Union to purchase their movie tickets for $8 so I can at least get a little bit of money off if the film is not showing at The New 400 Theater. But how many people in Chicago do you know that know about this credit union's movie deal?

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KMT Health Food Store hosts first KMT health fair for 2009

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Free food was served at KMT Health Fair event.

KMT Health Food Store had their first KMT Health Fair from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, and quite a crowd turned out. After entering the health food store, located at 233 E. 75th St., the back was filled with people signing in, filling out free raffle tickets and guests had the opportunity to meet with different specialists for less than $5 and one for free.

 

Free food sat on a table on the left-hand side, including Tabouli, rice with lentils, salad with marinated vegetables, Barbara's cheese puffs, Mi-Del vanilla snaps and yogurt raisins.

 

Specialists at tonight's event included Yvette Magallón for chair massages, Fanta Celah for Reiki energy healing, Clairvoyant Center of Chicago for aura energy readings, Tru Heart Fit (Costellano) for movement training with C-bands and jungle gym lessons, David Jenkins for numerology readings, and Dr. Ceasar for Emotional Freedom and Stress Relief sessions.

 

After a brief numerology reading with David Jenkins, I headed upstairs for the Emotional Freedom and Stress Relief Sessions. I definitely understand why Dr. Ceasar was the one to hold these stress-free sessions because even when I mentioned how disorganized the sign-up process was (only Dr. Ceasar's class had a sign-up sheet at the front but the rest of the guests just had to hang around each specialist's room blocking the hallway and wait their turns), his response was, "Are you stressed?" I playfully rolled my eyes, but he still kept that same mellow tone. 

 

When another lady wanted to use her cell phone and blocked the gate in hopes that she could have her conversation and still attend the stress relief seminar, he simply walked her out of the gate while she tried to coax him into letting her finish her call, closed the gate and went about his session. No complaining. Just walked her out. I was amused. You weren't going to get this brotha excited.

 

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Chicago's The New 400 Theater releases Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' but crowd numbers are mediocre

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Shamontiel thinking she's "bad" (R.I.P. MJ)

I kept hearing the buzz about Michael Jackson's "This Is It," and initially I was not going to see the film. It seemed like a way for other people to get rich instead of honoring the King of Pop's final footage after 10 years of being silent. But The New 400 Theater (located at 6746 N. Sheridan in Chicago's Rogers Park) had the film, and oftentimes I have to go to more expensive and bigger theaters to see the mainstream films. Free popcorn Tuesdays. Evening films are only $7.50, and the first release was tonight at 11:00 p.m. How could I miss out on a deal like that?

 

I bought my ticket as soon as the theater opened today at 4:30 p.m. to beat the crowd and left an hour early to get a good parking spot in the Rogers Park area, where parking spots after 7:00 p.m. are almost pointless. I got my free popcorn and munched on it in my car before "This Is It" started, but when I went back inside, there was only a small crowd. I thought that was so strange because friends and family were telling me "This Was It" was sold out at theaters around them. I figured I was going to have to fight for a seat, but there were full rows with no one in them. What gives? Did others have the same suspicious beliefs I originally did about not supporting a film trying to get rich off of MJ's legacy, were you as surprised as I was that the film made it to The New 400 Theater, or did you just not want to go on a weeknight?

 

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Diamonds & Lace EventScaping presents The Makeup Bar of Chicago's official launch party

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Relana, co-owner of Diamonds & Lace EventScaping

 

If you're a fan of BRAVO's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," then you probably know about Atlanta's Makeup Bar parties with women being photographed and socializing while getting makeovers. Chicagoans will get to experience these "Girls Night In" events with The Makeup Bar of Chicago's official launch party on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Makeup Bar of Chicago will be located at the Dream Boutique Lounge at 1750 N. Clark.

 

"I saw ["The Real Housewives of Atlanta"], and I loved the concept," said Relana Johnson, the Creative Director and co-owner of a Chicago wedding planning company called Diamonds & Lace EventScaping. "I saw that there were lots of inquiries about it. As an entrepreneur, I saw that this could be something fantastic to bring to Chicago instead of us being the ones that get the trend last."

 

Similar to the "The Real Housewives of Atlanta's" third episode of season one, women will get makeovers, take photographs and liquor will be served. However, The Makeup Bar of Chicago adds some unique activities to the event. Diamonds & Lace's event will include eight or nine licensed professional makeup artists, two or three photographers, a chocolate martini sampler provider and wine tasting provider, a tarot card reader, a "resident eyelash diva" and one henna hand artist. Other entertainment will include complimentary mini-makeup applications; a body art fashion show; samba, burlesque and Caribbean dance performances from Sensuality Training for Good Gyrrls; and complimentary appetizers. The Dream Boutique Lounge has a full bar and restaurant. Valet parking will also be provided.

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How Urban Equities saved me from Chicago real estate nightmares

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Me sitting on the front porch of my Missouri apartment in 2002

I've lived in three states within the past decade during my university years. I've gone from dorms to off-campus apartments to the south side of Chicago to the north side of Chicago, and I've had my fair share of real estate company tales.

 

In Missouri, my real estate company was okay, but they wanted to charge me for utility issues that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the building being old. But the rent in Jefferson City, Missouri (Lincoln University is my alma mater) was $225 for a one-bedroom apartment in a beautiful neighborhood. No sane person is going to pass that up, especially when they know the rent prices living in bigger cities. However, I had a neighbor who blasted loud music and wanted to leave her trash on the steps instead of using the correct trash bags. We ended up in a bag throwing argument and the police were called--she was ticketed and I went back in the house to sleep. That was my one nightmare moment with neighbors.

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Gurnee's Six Flags Great America celebrates Halloween and Michael Jackson at 2009 Fright Fest with B96 deejay Jerzy

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Photo courtesy of Six Flags Great America

Halloween is coming. Why not scare yourself silly and drop 147 feet on the American Eagle, speed through six 160-degree turns or have random "dead" people jumping out at you at Six Flags Great America? Chicago is already giving Illinoisans the gloomy weather for nearby Gurnee, IL's Six Flags location, but don't let the cold weather stop you. The water park is closed, but the rides are still zooming like crazy. Over 75 rides (including 13 roller coasters, 35 kids' rides and 22 family ride in addition to other water rides), two haunted houses, two "scare-thru areas" and the "Thrill the World" Michael Jackson tribute with thousands of people re-enacting the "Thriller" scene sounds like a lot of fun.

 

Brooke Gabbert, Six Flags' Director of Communications, took time out to talk to ChicagoNow.com blogger Message from Montie about how Chicago's B96 deejay Jerzy is handling living in the Sky Trek Tower (since Oct. 10) until the Raging Bull gets 1.5 million riders, what's new this year for the Fright Fest and why people should spend their weekends at Six Flags.

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The Executive HQ, the Chicago artsy place to party

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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This is what the ceiling looks like in The Executive HQ.

Every once in awhile you go to a party or visit a place that leaves a lasting impression, and this past Friday on Oct. 9, I did just that. My cousin had a Mardis Gras birthday party on the south side of Chicago at "The Executive HQ," located at 2310 E. 75th Street. As soon as I stepped into this club, I could tell that the architect or artist who created it put a lot of weird effort into it.

 

Before you walk into The Executive HQ, it doesn't look like it's open to the public. The windows are painted white, and eyes stare back at you. And as soon as you walk in, looking up at the ceiling, there are multiple shut doors just hanging upside down. And in front of the door is a chair shaped like a hand, so when you sit down, it looks like the hand is groping your butt. Of course I sat down immediately, laughing away.

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