Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trentonian TV Production Notes: Freedom (Episode 6)

TRENTON -- Great way to start the week: Excellent show with Freedom engaging his many guests in quality conversation. Each guest touched on the Trayvon Martin murder, as did Freedom. His guests ranged from a Trenton developer (Roland Pott) to young Trenton entrepreneurs (Corey Thomas and Willie King) who own a traveling hair-cutting business to a black Trenton fireman (Ernie Doggett III) to a Trenton native (Earl Sanders) who is bringing entertainment executives into the city to inspire young minds.

While all the guests were great today, Pott and Thomas stood out. We'll start with Pott, who began his revitalization career in Trenton in 1999 by opening Urban Word Cafe. Pott has several other projects from South Warren Street to South Broad Street, projects you can find out more about at But he said a few things that made my ears perk up, such as choices being made on state, county and local municipal levels regarding Trenton and the push to "concentrate poverty downtown."

We've heard this kind of thing before, heard that Trenton will take money (or whatever financial perk the city gets) to house those with woes in this new building or that one because Princeton and Hamilton and Ewing and Lawrence don't want them. Pott said de-institutionalized people come to the City of Trenton in droves -- thanks to easy access to the train and bus stations -- as do war vets with mental traumas who are in institutional transition, and so this huge concentration of people with  problems floods an overburdened city, which then plays into the whole safety and crime thing.

Is this Trenton's dirty little secret?

That all said, Pott said there are new pockets of business revitalization, especially in Latino quarters. Trenton needs much more revitalization, he said, but "the big challenge is perception" because people who consider Trenton "make decisions before looking at facts."

I'd like Pott to come back to Trentonian TV to further delve into Trenton's future.

Corey Thomas and Willie King have a bright future in Trenton, and who knows, maybe even nationally. Thomas is CEO of 1-800-4-A-Haircut, and King is the barber, and what they do is drive to centers where seniors or the disabled live and give them haircuts because, Corey said, "everyone deserves to be well-groomed."

What a great idea. Corey was nervous when he took the seat next to Freedom. Freedom was kind of itchy, too, during his first episode, but now he looks like he's been a talk show host for years. He did a strong job calming Corey's jangled nerves. Corey is a funny guy, charming even. Freedom asked him to sum up his business plan, which he did in a long-winded sentence. Freedom ribbed him but Corey came back with "It looks better in words." That was a fun moment because it shows that Corey thinks on his feet. King, too, was sharp in his few minutes. Both of their grandfathers were master barbers, from whom Corey and Willie have taken the shears and run with their own unique idea.

Corey made a plea to "Mr. Mack" -- hoping to get some backing from the city. He spoke on behalf of the elderly and disabled. "They could use your help, too, Mr. Mack."

Corey Thomas and Willie King are everything that's right with Trenton.

Meanwhile, Ernie Doggett III -- one of 44 black firemen in the Trenton Fire Department -- touted a special event that the Trenton African-American Firefighters Association is hosting this weekend. It's the 4th Annual Black Affair and Comedy Show, and Trenton is hosting the event for the first time as part of the Northeast Region meeting of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters.Check out the website HERE.

Earl Sanders is a Trenton native who continues to build a strong career, and he is trying to give back to this community with the Battle Creek Entertainment Industry Conference on May 6 at the Marriott.

The event, according to Battle Creek's website, provides the chance to "hear from some of the most influential and inspirational leaders in the field. They'll explore various aspects of the entertainment industry from developing your own television show and creating innovative programing for network TV, to the future of the music business and the emerging markets in radio and online magazines."

One of the featured guests at the event is Wilbur section native Anthony Maddox, who has been nominated for an Emmy (producer, director, writer) -- and who, by the way, is co-owner of Soul Train. Yeah, that Soul Train. Here's a New York Times story on Maddox after he, Peter Griffith and Kenard Gibbs bought Soul Train from Don Cornelius.

"I'm laying out the red carpet for you, Trenton. I could've done this anywhere," Sanders said. Here is the promo flier for the May 6 event.

Here are some photos I took of each guest, either in the guest seat or waiting in the wings at Trentonian TV (click to enlarge them).

Oh, yeah, booth duties ran smoothly for the most part. I started the morning by rebooting the computer, then logged onto Livestream first before activating Procaster. Something weird did happen when Livestream began recording even though I didn't hit the record button -- I recorded by hitting "Go Live" on Procaster. Either way, the live broadcast recorded with graphics and screen-in-screen, so I was pleased at 9:02 a.m.

Here's Roland Pott:

Here's Corey Thomas of 1-800-4-A-Haircut:

Here's Willie King waiting as Freedom interviews Pott:

Here's Earl Doggett III:

Here's Earl Sanders:

And here are Doggett, Pott and Sanders (sounds like an attorney firm):

So sit back for an hour and enjoy what I think was Freedom's best episode, which he capped with an opinion about the Trayvon Martin murder in Sanford, Florida:

Watch live streaming video from trentonian at

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