Twist and Shout

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trentonian TV Production Notes: Freedom Episode 14

TRENTON -- Those vials of lipstick, quad of eye shadow and bottle of gloss you see above? We're giving them away to the first person who finds out if Trenton Makes World Takes lore includes a cosmetics queen. There's a chance you might not find one, which would make Myrtha Nadine Jasmin the first one to put Trenton on the map for makeup with Nadege Cosmetics. Hold on to that thought for a minute.

This was an awesome show because of the guests. There was Joe Richardson, the retired Trenton cop talking about the Law Enforcement Officers Against Prostate Cancer Foundation and its annual "Prostate Awareness Gala" on June 2 at the Trenton Marriott. Ronald Lopez, a Trenton cop who died of prostate cancer in 2011, started the foundation with the help of his son, Lance Lopez, a New Jersey statie. "Ronnie's dream was that no other man suffers from the horrible disease and death by prostate cancer," Joe said. "We advocate and educate men about early screening for prostate cancer." Last April, Joe Richardson found out he had prostate cancer, which killed his father in 2001. "I was very pro-active, reading every day, on the Internet 24/7, and I opted to have surgery last November. Right now I'm cancer free." Proceeds from Saturday's gala go to pay for screenings and initial medication for uninsured men. If you'd like to attend the gala call (609) 424-3388 or go to

There was Elijah Aladin, 14, and Mekhi Holley, 13, both members of Trenton's B.O.Y.D. program. I think this is the first time in almost 5 years of living here where I saw or heard something "Trenton" and had a great feeling about the future. Bruce Boyd was on L.A.'s show a few months ago, and he talked up B.O.Y.D., but until you see an example in motion it's just chattering. Well, Elijah and Mekhi are beautiful examples of Trenton excellence in motion. Elijah is headed to Andover, Massachusetts, to attend Phillips-Andover Academy, which is one of the most prestigious prep schools in the world. And why not? His take on education? "It's vital. Without an education you're not going to be able to get a good job and not be able to support your family, and at that point you become just another number, and that's what this program (B.O.Y.D.) emphasizes, as well as education. It's shifting your paradigm." Moments later he responded to Freedom's question by saying "Don't let peers and what everyone else says about you make you feel less about yourself, feel like you're less capable because what this program has taught me is that with the right exposure, the right education and the right village to raise a child, the playing field can be level."

Mekhi's spirit was infectious. He talked about how attending a black male symposium opened his eyes to a world of great achievements by black men. He talked about how "common sense isn't really common sense -- it's what you learn from it". He talked about the achievement gap between white society and black society and how upset he was by having to learn from schoolbooks that were published in 1994, whereas white kids learn new things in new books published in 2012. "My book didn't even have the latest president -- the first black presdent," he said. "We're learning stuff that happened a while ago, but I want to learn about new stuff. Every year it's like we're repeating. The school system is very particular toward race. I think it's unfair." He talked about the pressure of growing up in Trenton. These days if a kid beats you up in school, your first reaction is to come back the next day and kill him because everyone will make fun of you if you don't. "Why can't you program yourself to walk away?" Mekhi said. "I don't like to fight. I stay my ground, do my schoolwork then go home and relax." He wants to be in front of the group, not in back, a leader, not a follower, and thanks to the New Jersey Seeds Program he's headed to a new school next year that will push his mind to greater heights. "Hopefully I'll get those new schoolbooks," he said with a laugh. Freedom asked Mekhi what he wants to be when he grows up. "I want to be an engineer or forensic scientist," he said. "But for now I want to pass the 7th grade. That's my goal." Great kid, as is Elijah. Great futures.

There was Dawn and Daniel Applegate. Daniel, 9, has Evans Syndrome, just one of 350 or so in the United States (about 1,000 worldwide) with the affliction, and I'll write more about him and the family's plight during the next week. Daniel is sponsoring a Tricky Tray Sweepstakes fundraiser July 14 at the Bordentown Elks. Proceeds will help find a cure for Evans Syndrome.

So, about that makeup ... there was Myrtha Nadine Jasmin touting her cosmetics line. She appeared on the Tyrone Miller Show last Tuesday to talk up her product. I don't know makeup from Adam, but Nadege Cosmetics seems like the real deal. Myrtha said she has spent 2 years developing the lipsticks and eyeliners and shadows and foundation and glosses while mapping out her business plan and short- and long-term goals. She took Freedom to task when he suggested Trenton females, especially Trenton's black females, cake themselves in makeup by 1) disagreeing with his statement and 2) explaining why the application of makeup with more than necessary during certain times of the month. It's actually the first time anyone has thrown something back in Freedom's face, which was nice to see. Anyway, back to the Trenton Makes World Takes in relation to cosmetics queens ... could Myrtha Nadine Jasmin become the first Trenton woman to market a cosmetics line on a global scale? Help us find out and we'll give you all of the things in the picture.

Here are some photos, and below them the episode:

Joe and Freedom

Joe and Freedom 2

Elijah Aladin and Freedom

Elijah and Freedom 2

Packed green room

Mekhi and Freedom

Mekhi and Freedom 2

Daniel, Daniel and Freedom

Myrtha and Freedom

Myrtha and Freedom 2

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