M. Alexis Scott
M. Alexis Scott is publisher of the Atlanta Daily World, a newspaper founded by her grandfather in 1928. She has responsibility for the overall editorial content and general management of the paper, which targets the African American community in metro Atlanta. In 1932, the Atlanta Daily World, founded by W.A. Scott, II, became the nation’s first black-owned daily newspaper in the 20th century. The paper publishes once a week now, can be accessed daily over the Internet at www.atlantadailyworld.com. The newspaper became a part of the Real Times Media family in March 2012, joining five other historic African American newspapers including the Chicago Defender, the Michigan Chronicle, The Michigan FrontPage, the New Pittsburgh Courier, and the Tri-State Defender in Memphis, Tenn. Ms.
Scott joined the Atlanta Daily World in 1997, following a 22-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Cox Enterprises, Inc., where she worked her way up from reporter to vice president/community affairs at the Journal-Constitution and then director of diversity at Cox. In addition to her duties as publisher of the newspaper, Ms. Scott is a regularly featured commentator on “The Georgia Gang,” a week-in-review program on politics broadcast on FOX 5 in Atlanta. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Life Financial Group Ms. Scott is active in nonprofit organizations. She is a member of the boards of the High Museum of Art, the Historic South View Cemetery Preservation Foundation; the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the board of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. She serves on the Global Advisory Board of the Center for Civil & Human Rights and the President’s Council of the Atlanta History Center.
Ms. Scott has received many awards and honors, including the inaugural Keystone Leadership Award from Build, Grow and Enjoy Radio in 2012; being inducted along with the rest of The Scott Family into the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame of the Atlanta Press Club in 2011; the 2011 Trailblazer Award from the Atlanta Hawks; 2010 Journalist of the Year Award from the Atlanta Regional Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; the 2010 Generational Torch Award from the Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce; 2009 Community Leader Award from the Alliance for Christian Media and the 2009 Pioneer Award from the Black Women Film Preservation Project. She was inducted into the 2007 Business Hall of Fame of the Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. She also received a 2007 Trailblazer Award In Honor of Coretta Scott King from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
A native of Atlanta, Ms. Scott is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, and attended Barnard College in New York City and Spelman College in Atlanta. She also attended the Columbia University School of Journalism as a summer participant in the 1974 Michelle Clark Fellowship Program. She is a 1992 graduate of the Regional Leadership Institute and a 1991 graduate of Leadership Atlanta. She has an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Argosy University. She has two sons. She and her family are members of First Congregational Church, U.C.C., where Ms Scott served as presiding officer from 1982-1992, was a member of the Sunday School staff for nearly 30 years and serves on the Board of Missions.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson was in Atlanta this week, thanks to Delta Air Lines and the company's annual Star Awards for diversity suppliers.
Magic was definitely the star in his 30-minute conversation with former radio personality and restaurant owner Frank Ski. I was prepared to be cynical about his talk about being a successful businessman. Of course a world champion, hall of fame NBA star would be successful in business.
But after hearing him break it down, I realize that Magic Johnson does have the magic to be successful in business and everything else he does, including living healthy for more than 30 years with HIV.
"Everybody thought I was a dumb jock," Johnson allowed in response to Ski's probing question about his challenges in shifting gears from the basketball court to the world of business, "not a businessman."
Despite his detractors and critics, Johnson launched his business career. Today he is chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), which includes multiple business entities and partnerships such as Canyon Johnson, a $1 billion dollar real estate fund, Yucaipa Johnson, a $500 million dollar private equity fund, ASPIRE, a new African-American television network, SodexoMAGIC, Magic Airport Holdings, Best Buy, T.G.I.F. Friday's Restaurant, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, Detroit Venture Partners, and Vibe Holdings, LLC . He is the chairman of the multi-cultural media company that houses the Vibe, Uptown, and Soul Train brands. In addition he has a foundation that supports many great causes in communities around the country.
He is most noted in Atlanta for his Magic Johnson Theatres (a venture that no longer exists) and his Starbucks partnership.These deals served as the catalyst for redevelopment in urban communities across the nation and became a part of his business philosophy.
"You've got to believe in partnerships," he said. "I don't need all the money. Give me 5 percent. I'm good with that, especially If this means you'll have a successful business instead of a failure."
Besides partnerships, he said you've got to have good people working with you. "You've got to hire people with expertise, not just hire family and friends.... I pay my family to stay away." After joking about his family, he added, "You've got to find out who is best out there and who can help you."
Also, note that in 2010, he divested his Starbucks and Los Angeles Lakers shares for in excess $100 million dollars. However, he continues to assist Starbucks with their community development initiatives and remains vice president of the Lakers.
Johnson said he's been successful because he always does more than is expected. "You have to do more," he said. "You have to bring added value to everything you do." He said that as an entrepreneur, you have to "over deliver on your contract, so you can retain it and get another one." And for minority entrepreneurs, this is even more important, he said.
As a minority, you have to make sure you're successful, because it's not just for you. "If you're more successful, it will mean more opportunities for other minorities."
He also advised the small business and minority-business owner guests at the luncheon to make the right decisions about their brands and their reputations. "You want to look at yourself and your partners 20 years from now and say, 'we had a great run.'"
Magic said he attributes his success to his partners, being prepared and the foundation and values provided by his parents. He said he also wants to be a great example to his children. He noted that his wife Cookie keeps him grounded and is his greatest confidant.
"We didn't want to become Hollywood, we just wanted to do Hollywood," Johnson said in response to Ski's question about maintaining his humility. "I know that God can take it away tomorrow."
I've come away with a greater appreciation of the man behind the brand. So,Magic, thank you for the success that you share with others in business and in the community. And thank you Delta Air Lines for sharing him with us this week.
My dad was a photographer.
He started taking pictures before he was drafted into the Army during World War II.
When he came out, he continued taking pictures for our family and for the Atlanta Daily World. He took pictures of my mom, before they were married, for his college yearbook, The Maroon Tiger (Morehouse). He took pictures for the ADW of the first eight Black policemen hired by the Atlanta Police Department in 1948.
If he liked the color of what I was wearing to school, he'd stop everything and stand me in front of the fireplace in the living room and take my picture. Though he's been dead for 21 years, I still miss our annual family photo in front of the church on Easter Sunday for which he used a timer on his camera to put himself in the picture, too.
So this is why I have a very special feeling for the "Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story" exhibit that recently opened at the Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library, sponsored by PNC bank. For more than 40 years, Charles "Teenie" Harris (1908-1998) took more than 80,000 photographs of African-American life in Pittsburgh, mostly for the Pittsburgh Courier, a nationally-circulated Black newspaper, much like the ADW.
The Woodruff Library has 80 images on display that express the "truthfulness and beauty" of the Pittsburgh community, said Loretta Parham, CEO and director of the library at the opening.
The exhibit runs through May 24 and is free and open to the public during library operating hours.
"You can feel the love he has for the community, and you love him," said Karen Jefferson, project manager for the library.
Karen's right. The black and white images are brilliant and familiar, even though I've never been to Pittsburgh, nor met any of the subjects. Harris, like my dad, captured the ordinary and the exciting episodes of life in the community.
Archibald Hill, vice president, market manager and community development for PNC, agreed with the resonance of the photographs. He said he and his father were both students at Morehouse College and the exhibit truly captures the familiar life of the Black community.
A special guest at the opening was Deborah Willis, chair and professor of photography and imaging at New York University and a leading historian of African-American photography. Atlanta art historian Amalia Amaki introduced Willis by saying "she drops books the way rabbits drop babies." She added that they are not just books but "treasures, journeys and new opportunities to learn."
Willis said she met Teenie Harris in 1981 while she was still a student. She said Teenie's work captured the breadth and depth of African-American life from the 1930s to 1970s.
"I love Teenie Harris," she said. "He gave me a new way of looking at Black life through the lens of a Black photographer."
Another special treat at the opening of the exhibit was the presence of Teenie Harris' daughter, Cheryl Harris, and Harris' grandson, Taun Henderson, also a photographer. "It's a humbling experience to see my grandfather's work," Henderson said. "Growing up, I didn't realize how powerful this man was."
Henderson now lives and works as a wedding photographer in Atlanta. He said he was happy to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. "If you find something you love, you'll never have to work another day in your life."
Teenie's collection of photographs was acquired by the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh in 2001. Through the support of PNC, the exhibit has been presented in several cities throughout the country and the date here in Atlanta is the first in the South. As a media sponsor for the exhibit, ADW is hosting a photography forum on March 28 at the library to feature the work of several local photographers. Stay tuned for more details. You may even get a chance to take some of their work home. So, thanks, Teenie. Thanks Woodruff Library. Thanks PNC. And thanks, Dad.
M. Alexis Scott is publisher of the Atlanta Daily World
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had some fun this morning at his annual "State of the City Business Breakfast" because he had good news to tell.
"For the first time (since I've been mayor) I can state proudly and confidently that the state of the city is strong," Mayor Reed told a room of nearly 1,000 business and civic leaders on Wednesday morning at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
He smiled, teased and glowed as he listed the many accomplishments of his administration, particularly the financial health of the city compared to where it was when he first took office in January 2010.
Blessed with one of the most beautiful smiles on the planet, it was a pleasure to watch him enjoy himself as he ticked off the list of "promises made and promises kept."
In the area of public safety, the mayor reported that the city has nearly reached its goal of 2,000 police officers, a longstanding aim of several mayors. He noted that felony crime is the lowest it's been since 1969.
He's proud of his efforts to transform the city's recreation centers into "Centers of Hope." He gave a shout out to Wells Fargo for its donation of $1.5 million for the recently upgraded Center of Hope in Thomasville.
He said next on the list for Centers are Pittman and Ben Hill. Besides Wells Fargo, strong corporate partners in this effort include The Coca-Cola Company and Turner
Broadcasting who all together have contributed more than $4 million to this initiative.
Besides the business community, the mayor acknowledged the Atlanta City Council members who were also present. "None of these things would be possible without a strong partnership with the Atlanta City Council."
The city's financial health has been revived, he declared. He said cash reserves have gone from $7 million in 2010 to more than $126 million. Unemployment has gone from 10.2 percent to 8 percent. He also thinks the plunge in property values may have finally ended. He said his first year, the property tax digest dropped $15 million, then $10 million the following year and then $5 million this year.
He pointed to the new Maynard Jackson International Terminal at the airport. He's excited about the development of the Atlanta Beltline. He's proud of the groundbreaking for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the College Football Hall of Fame being connected by the planned street car leading to the city's other big attraction: The King Center on Auburn Ave.
"We have to move out of this posture of merely surviving," he said.
And he's got big plans. He wants to tackle some $900 million in infrastructure needs. After his trip to China last year, he plans a trade mission to Brazil this year. And without naming it outright he kept up his drumbeat to help the Atlanta Falcons build a new stadium.
Saying that he follows a proud tradition of Atlanta mayors doing big things, he added, "I want to always be in the posture of choosing the future.... I want to make the right decisions at the right time."
And he couldn't resist having some political fun, too. He gave a slow build up to the visit of President Obama to Atlanta this week, suggesting that this prompted him to make a major
announcement. As the room waited with bated breath, he said, "I'm here to announce ...I am ... running for re-election." He let out a big "whew!"
I'm glad we got that straight. And just in case it wasn't clear, he reminded the crowd, "I am living my dream."
Congratulations, Mr. Mayor. You're the right person for the right time in the right job for our dear city.
M. Alexis Scott is publisher of Atlanta Daily World.