Kevin Benoit

Editor in Chief (2004-2006) / Reporter / Writer

2004 – Kevin is an entrepreneur from Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic movies. What more can one say. Kevin is a Capricorn born January 2nd. He is younger than you might think and he is currently in his second year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He is a graduate of George Wingate High School in Brooklyn. One day Kevin would like to become a lawyer/author and live in a mansion next to the shore of Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn. 
Kevin has been at HarlemLive since June, not long but he is already the Editor In Chief and has written many articles on the site including features on Eric Jerome Dickey, Vickie Stringer, and Ms. Slyvia Woods owner of Slyvia’s World Famous Restaurant. 
Kevin does it all, business man, friend, student, “the man” and believe me “HE GETS THE JOB DONE.”

Here at HarlemLIVE

by Kevin Benoit

Sept 2005 – Here at HarlemLIVE “we gets busy,” figuratively speaking that is. Sure HarlemLIVE is the site you click on to get all the latest news in the community, around the city and around the globe, but inside the office there are tons of stories everyday. 

By now if you are checking out the site you know that HarlemLIVE is a youth run online publication. We are an award winning journalism program that includes news articles, investigative stories, opinion pieces, personal essays, poetry, photography and video documentaries. The students organize events, conduct workshops and sit on panels, increasing their networking and public speaking abilities.
HarlemLIVE is a year round program where young adults ages 13-21 volunteer their free time to do something that is positive and fun. Over the course of the summer students come out in packs because of their newly found free time. Schools out leaving students with a void for that mental stimulation that they love and can’t get enough of. HarlemLIVE provides that stimulation for the everyday teen and it also provides them, with something positive to do with their time.

This summer most of the staff has come via Summer Youth Employment. Almost 30 students entered this program at the beginning of July all getting paid to do something fun and exciting. We also accepted another 8-10 students who came in as volunteers making the opening to our summer a very promising one. 

Every summer we have our Youth Media Challenge where we split the staff into teams where they compete against each other for prizes and chances to fill up open slots of our executive staff. The students learn everything that we do throughout the year getting a crash course in how to run an online magazine. Usually we have three teams and that is successful but this year after some of the staff members realized that HarlemLIVE was not the organization for them or after we realized that they were not the staff for HarlemLIVE the three teams were broken down to just two. So all summer Keeping It Real Entertainment (KIRE) and Supernova battled head to head. Both teams were lead by long time staff members, KIRE led by Jessica Batson who joined the staff in May and Supernova led by Tracey Casseus who joined the staff in October of 2004. As leaders they learned that taking responsibility for the bad as well as the good is not always fun. They learned how to really run an online publication. We taught them well if I can say so myself.

The teams were put through the regular competition with a few twists and turns along the way and a few improvements to match the new technology in the world. They did the flyer contest-a competition to see who could pas out the most flyers in the least amount of time-they tried to write as much stories as possible, put together the best video, and even developed the best blogs and pod casts, 
All the participants can tell you that the competition started out shaky but it ended with a bang. The competition culminated with our annual award ceremony at Bloomberg’s Headquarters. At the ceremony we announce the winning team, we give out awards to individual achievers and we announce the editors for the fall year. This year’s all around best individual achiever was Iyanna Garry. She won awards for best poem, best blogger, best essay and best health story. Steven Martinez was the winner for best story while Troy Robateau was the winner for best video. 

The winning team for the competition was Supernova coming off a lackadaisical performance for the first two weeks. Somehow they managed to get their selves back in the competition and in the end they gave their selves a chance to win it all. 

The new leaders for the fall and the immediate future were all people who made outstanding contributions throughout the summer. Our new Entertainment Editor, Keisean Marshall, wanted to meet Beyoncé when he joined HarlemLIVE-and he still wants to-but with HarlemLIVE he is so much closer to reaching his goal. 
Our new Video Director, Ranale Todman completed two videos over the summer and he showed that he gained the most out of the program and was willing to give the most back into it. Over the summer we somehow got twins on board a pair of outgoing young females from the Bronx. It turned out that they love marketing and after testing them out with on e of our open mics they proved that they are young marketing gurus in the making. Dejinay and Denaira Reid are out new Marketing Directors. Our new Health Editor, Tracey Casseus had been working on developing a template for the health page even before the summer began, but it was her strategy, dependability and ability to follow through that landed her the position. Iyana Garry became our lead writer because when you are that talented you deserve acknowledgement. Since then we have made her editor of the Community section as well as the Life in the City section. It’s only right being that she lives in Brooklyn, works in Manhattan, goes to school in the Bronx and spent all summer doing slideshows on Queens. Our newest Editor In Chief is Jessica Batson the leader for Keeping It Real Entertainment. When she joined in May Richard Calton said that she had potential to be the next leader and his prediction proved to be true. She is also the editor of Current Events and Politics. Mera Beckford is still out Managing Editor because no one can do that job as wonderfully as she can. As for me I have been promoted to Publisher of HarlemLIVE. That just means I am still the dedicated head male here. Look for some changes in these positions soon.
I asked some of the staff members about their feelings toward HarlemLIVE and the summer experience and here’s what they had to say. 

Tyrell Carlton, the longest serving member of HarlemLIVE that was placed on a team was the co-leader for team Supernova. He was also on last years winning team, Vertigo. He feels that he is a good luck charm and he is thinking about doing it again next year that way he can have a three-peat and maybe he’ll even be team leader. He says that the most interesting part of HarlemLIVE is “meeting new people and going on interesting stories.”

Jessica Henderson has learned that HarlemLIVE can be bigger than all your expectations. She was the co-leader for Keeping It Real Entertainment and she was a big part to keeping her team focused. “HarlemLIVE is more than I expected. I thought I was going to be a simple journalist. This is more important than I thought. Her greatest experience so far: Meeting Al Sharpton. She asked him if his hair was real.

Jasmine Hamm the youngest staff member this summer is entering freshman year of High School this September. Her growth over the summer was a joy to watch. “I love the experience,” she says. “It provides a lot that will benefit me in my future. I do stories, photography and I’m jumping into video as well.”HarlemLIVE recently did a presentation at the Apple Store. Members of the new look executive staff as well as alumni and members of the Board of Directors all took part in the presentation. The purpose was to inform other people and groups how we use technology and how it has benefited the organization. The presentation was a great experience for all of those involved especially those who hadn’t done much public speaking in the past.

In other news Tracey Casseus, our new health editor is working on our health page. It will soon be added to the HarlemLIVE website. The colors are different and it will standout but it looks very good. The page is being developed by HarlemLIVE alumni Justin Young.

Another breakthrough in the HarlemLIVE office is the monthly open mic series. Back in May we did our first Poetry Slam Series. It lasted a period of four weeks throughout May and June. The response was so huge and the events wee so successful that we had to go on and do another one. The turnout continued to increase so we just had to do it on a recurring basis. So the first Saturday of every month it goes down. Poets, singers, and performers from all over the city come out to perform at our office space.

Janet Jackson: Mommy?

by Keisean Marshall

November 2005

The Jackson name is in the news once again, and again it’s 39-year-old Janet Jackson. It is rumored that her and her former hush-hush husband James DeBarge has a secret daughter. The 18-year-old daughter is named Renee.

This latest scandal was un-covered on New York City’s WQHT-FM (“Hot 97”) last Friday by Young DeBarge- the brother of James DeBarge. It took her a week for her to even deny or confirm this rumor which leaves me skeptical- but the pop star is never in a rush to confirm or deny a story, it took her years to acknowledge that she was actually married to DeBarge; it wasn’t until choreographer Rene Elizondo filed for divorce that it was revealed. 

It is said that Janet Jackson and James DeBarge, of the family band DeBarge, wed in 1984 when she was 18 and he was 21. The marriage was said to have ended in annulment in 1985.

E! TV reports that. Brian Oxman, an attorney for the Jackson family, said the version he heard had Jackson’s record label urging the then- emerging star to keep the kid out of the picture. Since Oxman was in a position to ask if it was true, he said he did. “The answer was no way, no how,” he said Monday. “From the sisters to the mother, every last one of them never said it happened.”

E! TV did the math, a Jackson-Debarge baby who was 18 in October 2005, would have to been born in 1987, or late 1986. Either way, the timeline means the child would have been born after the couple’s reported break up, and during Jackson’s emergence as a superstar with her solo breakthrough “Control”.

The teenage daughter is said to be living with Janet’s sister, Rebbie Jackson, 56. Rebbie is the mother of three children with he husband Nathaniel Brown. 

In a brief statement to NBC’s Access Hollywood Janet Jackson said in response to these allegations; “I do not have a child and all allegations saying so are false.”

The question is why are all these accusations are coming out right now, is it because Young DeBarge has just released a new album that he is currently promoting and wants to boost sales?

Regular Guy: Lenny Santiago

by Keisean Marshall

Sept 2005 – After seriously deliberating on who should be our first feature story interview, I thought someone who worked in the music business would be ideal. I spoke to one of my family members who had a connection with this guy in the music business named Lenny Santiago. From the title of his business card read Vice President of A&R of Island Def Jam Recordings. I was very skeptical by doing this interview because I didn’t know who this guy was, and I really wanted to interview someone to the likes of Jay-Z or Beyonce.
Our Marketing Coordinator and I walked in to the Def Jam offices. We waited a few minutes before an intern or Lenny’s assistant came to us and told us that Lenny was in a meeting and that he will be with us shortly. 
We were later escorted to Santiago’s office certainly wasn’t what I expected. I was expecting a big office with one of those grand recling chairs in front of the New York skyline- you know what I mean? Instead of one of one with wall to floor windows of the Manhattan skyline with a grand reclining chair, Santiago’s office was simple, along with his attire, a gray Rocafella polo shirt with jeans and Bathing Ape sneakers. Along the walls were posters of Trina on the cover of Smooth Magazine and a very young Lil’ Kim- before her appointment with Dr. Nip-N-Tuck.

Starting his music career from the bottom in 1995, Bronx native Lenny Santiago worked for Bad Boy Records as a promoter- the guy who staples posters to the lightpost or hands out flyers. While at Bad Boy, Santiago set his sights on Rocafella Records. While at Bad Boy he had his eye on rapper Jay-Z. He looked at Jay-Z and saw someone who was going to a never lose popularity?]. 
Santiago was interviewed by rapper Jay-Z, Dame Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke to get the job at the Roc where he worked street promotion. Santiago was quickly promoted to head of Promotions and eventually head of A&R. Santiago left Rocafella Records for a brief time to go to Virgin Records, but then left to join Jay-Z at Def Jam.
HarlemLIVE: What is A&R and what does it stand for?
Santiago: Well… A&R stands for Artist Repertoire. I serve as an artist rep, for the label, meaning if we have someone like Ludacris- I serve as the manager. I help the artist record their album, get them to the studio, work out a budget to record an album and keep the artist within budget. I also help get a producer for a track. I tell artist what I think is hot and so on… A&R also signs artists’, we help put the album together, I try to go to as many show casing as I can to look for new talent. 
What do you think contributed to your skills while at A&R?
I always had someone who believed in me. I have that ear of music, when I was at the Roc, I sort of got tired of street promotion so I went to Dame and explained to him that I was getting restless so he hooked me up with an A&R guy named “Hip-Hop.” 
Who are some of the artists that you helped sign?
I found this kid named Stimuli from Brooklyn- he’s not out yet. Sometimes you find hot talent but sometimes the label doesn’t agree with you. While at Virgin Records, I came across this talented guy named Webbie from the New Orleans area but Virgin didn’t see what I saw. Webbie was picked up by Warner Brothers and now has a hit song out titled “Give Me That.”

Does your career affect your relationship with your family and do you bring work home?
Absolutely! It affects family a lot, only because at A&R we work hard—24 hours a day. I absolutely do not bring work home; I try to turn everything off including my Blackberry and pager. I started out by making Sundays my “no work day,” it’s a family day. This is a demanding business; you’re like a doctor you have to be on call 24/7. You have dozens of artist who have dozens of different schedules that you have to see or rep for them. This job can be very stressful. 
What do you think is the hardest part of your career?
Well…I think it’s to stay on top and not become what people call “Hollywood” or “Boogie.” A lot of people in this career often forget where they came from, and get big heads. I try and I have remained humble and I think that’s why a lot of people gravitate to me and want to deal with me. Where I am, some people may think I can let my ego run with it because Jay-Z is my right-hand man and because I’m working at Def JAM and with the Roc. But I don’t do that… I still chill with the public and go to show casings.
Do you have a greatest career moment?

Yeah, I have a few… My greatest moment was “The Jay-Z Fade To Black” concert at Madison Square Garden. That was just a triumph, it seemed that we won over everyone. I DJ’d for Jay, and to do something like that at the Garden was just an incredible night for me!
How do you think you have grown since you started?
I’ve matured. I’ve learned how to keep stable and how to be consistent. It’s important to treat people with respect. I believe as long as you give it, you’re going to get it back.
How has the music industry changed since you first were introduced to it? 
People don’t sell as many records as they once did. In the South, they [people who buy music] tend to support their favorite artists but in the north we don’t really tend to do that. If we had fifteen artists, ten of them would be selling great records. Now, we only have three or four, we have Jay, Nelly, 50 Cent and Eminem selling good numbers and the rest do just okay. 
Is that because of talent?
Maybe. A lot of these recording companies like to put their friends and family members on, I don’t feel like people are seeking talent. I am a strong believer of going out to see what’s new and hot- something that is going be a change. I like to sign a movement.
There aren’t a lot of artist from the North, why is that?
Well, a lot of them are very local, they speak of what their neighborhood knows. A lot of them don’t speak universally. They talk about their block, and their hood- they’re people in North Dakota, Miami, and California that you also have to relate to. Don’t get me wrong- some of them are very talented but I think that’s a problem.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
This job is very stressful, so I hope to be out of it by then. I just want to be the head of a record company. I even may do publishing, which is another division of music- they sign writers. I would like to deal with a variety of artists and not just one label. I would love to have signed an artist who have became huge and made a difference in Hip Hop.

Keisean Marshall – Entertainment Editor / Reporter

Keisean Marshall

July 2005

Keisean Marshall currently holds the Entertainment Editor duties at HarlemLIVE. He joined HarlemLIVE in the Summer of 2005. In his Senior year in Rice High School. He also holds the title of Editor and Chief of “The Raider Eye”and reporter for “School Sports Magazine.” 

Once Keisean is finished with college he plans to go in the career direction of Broadcast Journalism. He somewhat has his plans set- from age 21-32 he wants to report the news and anchor. From then on he wants to have his own Television Show. 

He is inspired by talk show host and journalist, Oprah Winfrey. For college he has his eye set on the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. He is a very focus person and very grounded for a 16 year old.

Keisean resides in Harlem with his younger sister and mother.

Keisean Marshall is a 16 –year- old student attending RICE High school. In his free time he hangs out with friends. Although he lives with his mother and baby sister, it doesn’t stop him from blasting hip- hop and R&B music. After Keisean completes his last year at RICE, he plans on getting a BA degree. He also wants to be a news anchor, host a talk show or own his own company. Keisean was asked why he came to Harlem Live “to put my foot into the door of journalism, you always have to start somewhere,” he replied.

Date with Destiny

Keisean Marshall

Aug 2005 – The Destiny Fulfilled and Lovin’ It Concert was the place to be this past Friday night. Destiny’s Child performed one of their last performances in New York City for their farewell concert. There were no special guest, no TI, no Lil’ Wayne, no Jigga which was sort of a disappointment. 

The group who came out with hits like “Survivor” and “Independent Women” officially announced their split on June 13 th in Barcelona. Michelle Williams, Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland thanked their fans for their love and support at the concert. They explained that they wanted to move forward and pursue personal goals and individual careers in music, theater, television and film. 

Destiny’s Child explained, “As a group, we’ve been blessed with success and the greatest fans in the world. We have been working together as Destiny’s Child since we were nine, and touring together since we were fourteen. After a lot of discussion and some deep soul searching, we realized that our current tour has given us the opportunity to leave Destiny’s Child on a high note, united in our friendship and filled with an overwhelming gratitude for our music, our fans, and each other. After all these wonderful years working together, we realized that now is the time to pursue our personal goals and solo efforts in earnest. This is a time of natural growth for all of us. No matter what happens, we will always love each other as friends and sisters and will always support each other as artists. We want to thank all of our fans for their incredible love and support and hope to see you all again as we continue fulfilling our destinies.” 

The Madison Square Garden concert was sold out with Amerie and Mario as the opening acts. Amerie was great; she’s not just a singer she can be also added to the list of entertainers. Her dancing and vocal routines were very intriguing and exciting. The drummers and dancers were off the meter- everything were perfect. Doing her performance of her hit single “One Thing” she pulled out rapper Fabulous to perform. 

Mario performed his hit songs “Let Me Love You”, “How Could You” and “Just a Friend.” It seemed as if Mario’s dancers took more of a shine than he did. Mario tried to regain his shine by taking his shirt off which had the female majority of the crowd go crazy. He performed for about a half and hour with two wardrobe changes. During Mario’s performance, I saw lack of originality, He ripped off his shirt and grinded on a female in her lingerie- something that we see during Usher’s performances. 

There were a half and hour delay before the start of Destiny’s Child performance. The group was introduced by a video documenting all of the CD’s and magazines they were in, it was a nice intro. What some people call “the greatest R&B Groups of all time” represent women empowerment and what a woman should be, sexy and strong. From the way they strut the stage- you can tell the ladies owned the stage and demand respect. The first set of songs were classic hits, where they talked about men paying their bills in “Bills, Bills, Bills” and they also told their men to say their name in the hit “Say My Name.” 

Choreographer, Frank Gatson who choreographies Beyonce’s dance routines for her tours and videos like “Naughty Girl”, “Baby Boy” and “Crazy in Love” worked with the group for this tour and his work was amazing. Destiny’s Child’s dance moves for every song were just right. Beyonce did some “J.Lo” style moves and she even danced out her 5 inches pumps. Michelle who had a little incident back in November where she fell while strutting herself on countdown show, “106 and Park” proved to the audience that she was something to look at. 

Each of the girls had a solo performance where they performed their own songs from their solo CD’s. Kelly sung, “Dilemma”- her hit song with rapper Nelly. She came out with a purple dress and feathers. She hit every note in the song with passion causing the crowd stand up and sung every word with her. 

Michelle was next to perform, she appeared on a circular stage in which turned into steps. In her flowing gown she performed her gospel song “Do You Know?” It was very different to listen to a gospel song at a pop concert. Many people seemed unfamiliar with the song but by the end it had people standing and clapping with approval. In a BET interview, her band mate Beyonce stated, “She can make the worst sinner, a believer in God and not want to sin.” 

Beyonce performed “Baby Boy” in which she came out wearing a white outfit as if was in an African Tribe. The small group made their way up a revolving staircase in which she performed “Baby Boy” and later “Naughty Girl.” 

  In their song “Soldier” they wore skintight leather garments from Beyonce’s new Clothing Line, “House of Dereon set to launch in the fall. Before the concert it was expected that Beyonce would have been the shinning star at the concert, but I have to say all of them were stars. Beyonce wowed the audience during her verse when she made the diamond sign with her hands in reference to Jay-Z in which she is romantically linked with. 

During the Cater 2 U segment of the show, the three pulled up three guys on stage to be serenade. They all seemed stiff and nervous (wouldn’t you be.) The guy Kelly picked went straight to Beyonce’s chair, Beyonce quickly said, “UnHuh, Brother- She picked you, keep moving.” This serenade wasn’t as jaw- dropping as the BET Awards early this summer. 

Beyonce came out again to perform Dangerously in Love in a long gown. She really didn’t change her dance routines from what she did on the MTV Video Music Awards or her other tours. After performing Dangerously in Love she ripped off the bottom part of the gown exposing booty shorts to perform “Crazy in Love.” 

At the end of the concert was a show of harmony; in breakup songs like “Free”, “Bad Habit” and “Through With Love” showed how a woman alone could still rely on her girlfriends. During the “Loose My Breath” the girls hit the stage with white T-Shirts and blue jeans under a cascading waterfall.

Celebrities Go To School

by Keisean Marshall

How would you feel if you walked in to your classroom and saw a famous celebrity; like Madonna, Snoop Dog, Cameron Diaz or even Bill Gates? This is the case for some colleges around the nation. 

Courtesy of MTVu; a network dedicated to all aspects of college life both on and off campus. 

“Stand Up” [the program] brings the class to life in a way that few would ever imagine,” said Stephen Friedman, MTVu’s general manager. 

The network had envisioned a series where colleges would compete to hear a celebrity speak. But that proved too time-consuming to organize and when its second speaker, Marilyn Manson, nailed his appearance at Temple University, MTVu knew it had a better format. 

The goal of this program is to make the classroom fun, entertaining and make the class more interacting. 

Colleges and the network try to keep the program under-wraps- they manage to keep this serious secret by telling fibs to students who may wonder about the cameras when they show up to class. 

Hunter College in New York City participated in the program last week, a film class was told it was screening Madonna’s new documentary, “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret,” and discussing it with the film’s director. With an endless stream of adults- including big colossal bodyguards walking in and out of the room during the movie, smart students figured out what was happening. 

Student, Pinar Noorata, a junior film major said, “Since there were security guards all lined up I figured she was coming,” “That was kind of a dead giveaway. But I think everybody was still surprised. It was kind of surreal.” 

MTV and Viacom is considering giving “Stand In” some exposure on the main network, Friedman said, and is also mulling making extended versions of the appearances available on the Internet.