New I.M.A.G.E. News aims to change south St. Pete’s image

New I.M.A.G.E. News (left to right) Bruce Moore, Jabaar Edmonds, Bro. John Muhammad and Cranstan Cumberbatch

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — The Wrap Around Services (WAS) Collaboration’s May meeting featured a burgeoning multi-media outlet that aims to raise the profile of positive people and news about business, innovation and community in south St. Pete.

Held at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Education & Conference Center, community organizers Bro. John Muhammad and Jabaar Edmonds briefed the collaborative on their New I.M.A.G.E. News project.

The two started working together in 2012 with the Stop the Violence Coalition and soon formed Community Development and Training Center (CDAT), which provides organizational training and outreach to individuals, families and groups while connecting them with programs, services and resources that help overcome barriers to their growth, development and overall wellbeing.

New Information Media Arts Graphics and Entertainment (New I.M.A.G.E.) is a project born from CDAT. The project aims to “redefine what’s cool” and teach children and adults that the true path to long-term success is through education and the proper application of knowledge.

Edmonds and Muhammad hope New I.M.A.G.E. News will influence the way we have conversations about what’s happening in the south St. Pete community.

“We intend to accomplish our goals by publishing articles, making films, music, art, graphics, post community events and much, much more,” said Edmonds.

The idea is to help change the prevailing negative image by creating, airing and promoting media products such as TV commercials showcasing the many people who are charting successes in the community, but whose achivements are not widely known or celebrated.

On top of the news outlet, the project will conduct workshops and trainings to help “understand the power of words and the power of narrative when we talk about problems and talk about solutions,” said Muhammad.

He gave the example of the widespread belief that black people do not support black-own businesses. Muhammad said we must redefine the word “support,” which could be shopping at a black-own entity once a month or every day.

“Then we have a clear understanding of what support looks like and how we talk about supporting each other because contrary to popular belief, we spend a lot more time at black-owned businesses and operations than what is thought.”

Leaderz of the New School annual photoshoot: My Black is Beautiful

The old images of black apathy and failure will be replaced with positive images of what people are doing in south St. Pete. One such way is with the Leaderz of the New School annual photoshoot. The brainchild of Bruce Moore, the project introduces positive images of black leaders, business owners and community organizers and look to give them a higher profile in the media.

Their multi-sector approach also includes positive filmmaking, and with two films under their belts, New I.M.A.G.E. News is already shaping the way people think about homelessness with the movie “Art in the City” and technological careers with “Agent X.”

“Agent X” shows that there are black people working full time behind computers,” said Muhammad. “You’ll see people that are coding, flying drones, which are a huge industry, and we wanted to be able to show these types of opportunities to our community.

“So when you start thinking about a job, you can think about digital entrepreneurship, you can think about flying a drone as an option opposed to just being shovel ready and a laborer in the workforce.”

“Lakeside Chat,” an interview series that has produced two dozen interviews with city and community leaders and everyday folks against the backdrop of a lakeside gazebo in Childs Park falls under the New I.M.A.G.E. News umbrella.

Other projects include the “Tampa Bay Breakfast Club,” a radio show and podcast hosted weekly, and “Smart is the New Gangsta,” a grassroots media event series using themes and messages that support a culture shift.

For information, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CDATCenter/.

About Wrap Around Services Collaborative

The Wrap Around Services Collaborative was formed in 2010 and its mission is to connect community organizations, build partnerships, introduce collaboration opportunities and avoid the duplication of programs and services.

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