Tuesday, March 27, 2012


(MEMPHIS, TN.) --We bring you the news, but it isn't everyday we become apart of the headlines!  I had just left Memphis when this story was being heard in newsroom around the Southeast, it even made CNN Headline News!  I couldn't believe what I was hearing, April Thompson, one of my colleagues for many years was simply doing her job when she suddenly had a gun pulled on her and her photographer. What blew my mind even more is April Thompson is one of the most "non-confrontational" people I know.

I'll never forget her encouraging me to go for my dream of starting my own on-line magazine, all while trying her best to help me a tenacious from Mobile land in a spot in Memphis. But, clearly God had bigger plans not only for me, but for April as well.

I have friends and family members who are in law enforcement and the military. Everyday they kiss their wives and children and ask God to bring them home the same way they left, in one piece!

April who has been in the business for a long time got married a few years ago. However, I'm sure after   almost 20 years in the business she never thought she would need to "pray the same prayer"seeking God's protection as well.

Those of us who have been in this business a while simply know at the end of a 10, 12, 14 hour shift, eventually we're going to make it home. But, last week's incident certainly gave more than a few of us pause. I'm grateful to God my friend was able to make it home to her husband last week, understandably shaken, but no worse for the wear.  I"m also thankful her skilled photographer had the insight to stand his ground and continue to press record on his camera after becoming the target of an unwelcome intruder. Here's my two cents worth: April and her photographer were simply doing their jobs. They were even seen on camera complying with the man's request to leave, though he clearly stated he wasn't the homeowner. I don't have a dog in this fight and I surely don't speak for WREG or April Thompson, but what I know for sure, what happened on that day had many other seasoned journalists in newsrooms all over the Southeast rethinking that list of 10 of the most dangerous jobs in America.


Friday, March 23, 2012

President Obama: "If I Had A Son He Would Look Like Trayvon Martin"

(Washington, D.C.)--The thunder that's being felt in Florida is also being felt all the way to The White House. President Barak Obama Friday didn't mince words or side step the controversial case that polarizing a nation. When asked for his opinion on the growing outcry for justice for Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teenager recently gunned down, the President spoke out in support of the victim's family.

President Obama says that all Americans should take the shooting of unarmed teen, 17 year old Trayvon Martin seriously. The President of The United States went a step further saying that he had a son, "he would look like Trayvon Martin".

President Obama offered his condolence for the victim's family and said he would follow the Attorney General's counsel on his finding when it comes to federal violations by the Florida complex security officer George Zimmerman who is accused of pulling the trigger.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


(Mobile, AL.) -- It's spring break and a number of visitors are flocking to Gulf Coast beaches. Many area businesses are gearing up for what they hope is a profitable season.  If "the open" sign is on in the storefront window, the lucky business owner should consider themselves lucky.  There are still hundreds of small business owners who have lost everything while waiting to cash in on millions that were promised nearly two years ago.

VISION/VOICE/VARION has learned there's a new effort to help those affected by the "crisis on the coast" to get the money they deserve. Three weeks ago, BP settled for over 9-Billion dollars to pay out claims. Right now, Cederick McMillan, Senior Pastor at New Birth Community Church is just one of several laymen working with "new leaders" who are being governed by "new rules" when it comes to the BP claims that are still unsettled.  Contact Pastor McMillian at pastorcdm@gmail.com to find out if you're still eligible.

Meantime, Varion Walton, one of the most "trusted names in news" is digging deeper, preparing to ask the tough questions to two prominent attorney's at the helm of the new push to get the checks mailed within 14 days, upon approval.  We'll provide you with the information you've waited for, plus give you an update on how this money is changing the lives of struggling Gulf Coast businesses still hoping to comeback from one of the worst disasters in U.S. history.

Don't miss this "Vision/Voice/Varion" EXCLUSIVE!



"Vision/Voice/Varion" gears up to bring you "All Things Essence 2012"
It's the ultimate "party with a purpose!"  Last year we brought you all of the exclusive "behind the scenes"images with Jennifer Hudson, Charlie Wilson, Fantasia and so many more!  This year's "Essence Fest" promises to be bigger and better.  Check out this year's line-up by visiting ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL 2012 but  FIRST, check out how you can really support this incredible event early by getting your Essence Music Fest gear!  Spread the word, tell a friend, it's Varion's birthday weekend and it's going to be huge!

(March 19, 2012) New York, NY—It’s almost that time of the year! The 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival, held in New Orleans July 6-8, promises to be bigger and better than ever—featuring stellar acts such as Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia, Stephanie Mills, Charlie Wilson, Ledisi and more. Now, ESSENCE wants you to join the celebration early by rocking the “Festival Look” the moment you get to The Big Easy!

ESSENCE is offering this year’s official EMF merchandise—including t-shirts, hats, bags and more—in a variety of great new styles and colors. Just visit www.essencemusicfestival.com, ESSENCE’s Facebook page or call 877-687-4277 to buy your official merchandise and get a free gift from ESSENCE with your order. Plus, in honor of the 18th anniversary of EMF, consumers can save Be the first in your group to purchase now. Just see ESSENCE’s May 2012 issue for details and more Festival info. The presenting sponsor for the 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival is Coca-Cola. Major Sponsors include Coors Light and Verizon and Official Sponsors include State Farm, TV One and Visa Pre-Paid.

For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, visit www.essencemusicfestival.com. Join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter @essencemusic #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival on Facebook.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

MATTERS OF FAITH: "Millennium Minister" Streaming Faith, 24/7

(Montgomery, AL)--He's known for meeting modern day Christians where they are...on Twitter and Facebook!  Today this "new age" preacher, known for throwing out just about everything you thought you knew about the church; making sermons available on demand, "streaming faith" 24/7, takes a giant step "back in time!"  Dr. Jamal Bryant is just one of our nation's leaders heading to Selma, Alabama March 4th to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge commemorating "Bloody Sunday", the historic Selma-to Montgomery March of 1965 where civil rights leaders and protestors were savagely attacked.

Dr. Jamal Bryant, Pastor Empowerment Temple AME Church- Baltimore, Maryland
The 47th Anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" could be the "biggest" yet!  Today the "Millennium Minister" joins forces with civil rights leaders, targeting Alabama's new Voter ID, Immigration Laws and  Obama Healthcare.

First,  Dr. Jamal Bryant sits down with Varion Walton for an exclusive interview.  He answers critics who raised a few eyebrows when he showed up on television as a "spiritual coach" for reality stars K-Ci and JoJo, along with "Celebrity Apprentice" alum Omarosa.  

Jamal Bryant opens up about his new book, "World War Me", when he writes openly about a scandalous affair that cost him his marriage and almost destroyed his church!  It's a story you'll see ONLY ON VISION/VOICE/VARION!       SWITCH NOW:  www.varionwalton.com
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. surrounded by supporters during Selma to Montgomery March


Friday, March 2, 2012

"The Story Behind The Story"-The Nation's Reaction to USCG Search!

(Mobile, Alabama)--The bodies of two crew members from a crashed Coast Guard helicopter were recovered Thursday night form Mobile Bay, the Coast Guard said. Pilot Dale Taylor and Co-Pilot Thomas Cameron were found near the crash sight at the bottom of Mobile Bay.  Authorities say Drew Knight, a Coast Guard mechanic on board the doomed chopper, is still missing. Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge, a swimmer for the crew was found unresponsive the day of the crash and later declared dead. He was one of the first known casualties of this tragedy.

It's a heartbreaking headline that has folks along the Gulf Coast praying for the victim's families. Soon I would discover prayers and a tremendous amount of outpouring was also coming from my own family. Surprisingly, a story I assumed I had no connection to suddenly hit "close to home!"

A family member who used to live in the Palmer Woods, a subdivision in Semmes called me from New Jersey Tuesday night to tell me the pilot who perished in the crash was his neighbor. Across the miles my cousin, who is more like my little brother helpless watched with the rest of us, as our worst fears became reality.  My cousin would ultimately learn the man at the helm of the downed Coast Guard's helicopter Dale Taylor, was one of his closest neighbors from his old neighborhood.

That night my cousin shared this photo released by Dale Taylor's wife of their family. My grieving relative also shared something else I wasn't expecting, a "story behind the story!" He recalled Taylor as a doting husband and father who always had a smile and a kind word.  This week, the Coast Guard pilot is being remembered by those still living in this closed-knit community as "one of the nicest guys". Anytime I was out cutting my grass in the "sweltering" heat he immediately would come over and ask, "Can I help?" It's a real shame.  "He was really good guy," is how my cousin, an officer in the Air Force remembered this fallen hero.

Everyday God issues a lesson in life and today this tragic story is mine. What I know for sure...everyday servicemen and women like Dale Taylor put their lives on their line protecting our borders by land, sea and air. So the next time you see a service member making it home at the end of a long tour in the Middle East or at the end of a long day of training where you live, take the time to tell them "thank you" for all they do in keeping us safe because you never know when it might be your last.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? "Once a Journalist, Always a Journalist!"

(Johannesburg, South Africa)-Norma Quarles, Carol Simpson and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, three names that dominated the broadcast news industry in the late 80's and 90's. As a little girl growing up in Prichard, Alabama they were my "it" girls because there were not a lot of examples of strong black female journalists "on air" for me. (Keep in mind this was long before the years of Oprah!)  I also never forgot this "fiercely feminine" trio because they broke down barriers, opened doors and paved the way for me.

I remember it like it was yesterday, Sunday after church I'd check out Charlayne Hunter-Gault on PBS. After dinner, Norma Quarles had my undivided attention in between my mother's serving of Southern "chicken and dressing" with NBC Nightly News on the television.  Carol Simpson anchored ABC Evening News--Weekend Edition, respectively.

In the late 80's, early 90's they dominated the airwaves, but one by one they all slowly disappeared from the scene. I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Simpson during an NABJ Convention in Nashville nearly a decade ago. To this day Simpson is still quick to tell you what's on her mind and she doesn't mince words when it comes to talking about the continued struggle of breaking down "stereotypes" in the broadcast industry.

A few years later, during another NABJ convention and saw Charlayne Hunter-Gault in a crowded room of other well known national black journalists. I didn't get to meet Gault because my feet would not come unglued from their place. I was somewhat apprehensive about actually walking up to my  childhood "shero!" I would never tell Carol, but Charlayne was my favorite. Whenever she was on my television I was immediately awestruck. Not only is she tall and has a "big" presence on camera, to this day she is still articulate and has that smile illuminates any room she enters.
Imagine my surprise when I turned on my television this weekend to find her on the air again after all these years. Charlayne Hunter-Gault was hand picked as a special correspondent for NBC Weekend Today. She had the undaunted task of giving Lester Holt a medical update on another "iconic" male figure that become the lone symbol of ending Apartheid, former South African President Nelson Mandela.

It's got to be gratifying for Gault who now lives full-time in South Africa to know she still has the trust and respect of her colleagues back here at home.  Though her hair is now practically white, coiled tightly and different from her days of yesteryear, the wrinkles on her face are a vivid reminder of the miles she logged as an "international correspondent." I'm happy to say after all those years of my humble beginnings of growing up from Prichard, Mrs. Gault still has a way of "stopping me dead in my tracks."

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is one of those seasoned reporters who can still do the legwork and really "go get the big stories." Her intellect and integrity make me proud to spell my name "w-o-m-a-n" as I enter nearly 20 years in the business. Even today without the luxury of major call letters at the back of her name, Charlayne Hunter-Gault exemplifies what I know for sure, "once a journalist, always a journalist!"

Click for Link to:
PBS-"WHERE ARE THEY NOW?" -Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Click for Link to:
Media Bistro--Update on Norma-Quarles