Visions of Stars -- The Other Blacks With Power

In light of this very somber weekend with the decision regarding Trayvon Martin, I didn't know if it would be a good idea to release a story about the highlight of my trip to Miami to cover the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).

Then I thought about it long and hard and realized there is a connection between ABFF and Trayvon Martin. Ownership. Control. And the need for a solid platform where the voices of people of color can be heard and in return make a difference.

But more importantly, there must be more positive images portrayed of black, brown and yellow people. We need to see that there are more similarities than there are differences.

Furthermore, people of color -- especially black people -- must have a podium from which to tell their stories and show themselves openly to the public in order to tell our story. To educate individuals in the areas that they may have been misguided or fill them in on certain things they may be unaware of like our behavior, our ownership, our contribution to the American society in which we all live.

ABFF has been in existence for some 17 years. Founder Jeff Friday is a family man with a lovely wife, two beautiful boys and a brilliant idea. He founded the festival to create an organization that services his people, people of color, people. The premise of the four-day retreat and international film festival should not be mistaken as exclusion to any other race, but rather as an event to give a voice to young artists. It is their opportunity for them to shine where they many not normally have been recognized otherwise. It's a message to them that vision counts. It's a beautiful thing.

During my visit to Miami I had the pleasure of meeting some of the industry's most talented artists actors, producers, directors, writers, investors, distributors and various business owners.

The air was unbelievable. The town was magnificent, the people spectacular. Production was well put together by the Huff Events and PR Group and attention well given to guests and media personnel.

The take-away here is that it is easy to make judgments from the outside. It is not until you are in the think of it, in the midst of it all, that you can know how a people operates. I urge everyone to plan their next family vacation during ABFF. You will not be disappointed.

The festival is conveniently located on Miami Beach, Florida, and both the Ritz Carlton and the city of Miami love the attention as it swells with creative minds.

So although this may not seem to have any immediate connection to our young brother that was tragically lost, both physically and legally, the battle continues in other ways. We can honor this young man by showing the beauty of other young African American people and their ability to succeed within their own community. In the end, they are assets to us all. Until God steps in to make the wrongs right, all we have is to be patient, positive and prayerful.