Bringing the Heat

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Photography by Dero Sanford

   Andre Braswell is the youngest of three siblings. He remembers a childhood in Southeast Arkansas filled with fun and lots of laughter. “I was smaller than my sister and brothers, but wanted to do big things. I was always following them and was often the one to get caught when they ran off with friends. I learned early in life to fly straight.” Congruent with these values, Andre supports the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission – providing national commentary for the important mission fulfillment work of the commission across the state. 

 width=   After attending Bronx Community College, a friend from Pine Bluff introduced Andre to the entertainment industry. “After all the music events – I wanted something that I could contribute to the masses, but different than just entertainment.” With nearly two decades of Hip-Hop tours and promotions, he turned his attention to Heat Magazine. Its strong online presence creates a unique conversation between pop culture and pragmatic advice. “My partner Stacy Slater and I are committed to helping youth succeed. We spend time working with the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission to educate young people and let them know nonviolence is the solution.” 

   Since its inception in 1993, the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission has provided strategic programming that cultivates an intrinsic understanding of social justice. It promotes the steadfast progression of human rights and the transformative power of knowledge. Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Executive Director DuShun Scarbrough elaborates, “Our statewide outreach is designed to be educational, with an appreciation for history. We encourage youth to engage in positive leadership development by offering thousands of hours of volunteer opportunities.” DuShun believes in a more equitable future for all Arkansans and realizes that technology provides a powerful outlet for the King legacy. “Dr. King reminds us that we stand between two worlds, the dying old and the emerging new.” Andre represents the emerging new world – the new way that this generation is capturing history, telling the stories through live events and social media.”

   Heat Magazine creates meaningful content to illustrate the organization’s appeal among constituents. DuShun explains, “Andre captures the families of victims, and presents stories that may be overlooked in mainstream media to diverse audiences. He has done an amazing job following the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission across the state – giving viewers an in-depth look at what we do onstage and behind the scenes.  He captures the essence of our events by interviewing the attendees and the celebrities to gather their perspectives.”

   The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission promotes a deeper understanding of nonviolence and equality as a path for positive change. These values cultivate community among all Arkansas courage + determination that all people can embrace. DuShun remains confident that strong civic leadership from friends like Andre will help bring Dr. King’s vision to fruition. “He is a role model for youth through his courage and passion to pursue stories of interest with service and compassion.”  

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