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Omaha Native, JeRonelle featured on Fox’s The Four

Photos: ©2019 Nehemiah Barney, Revive Omaha

Character. Integrity. Faith. Family. And, a captivating voice with an incredible range that will stop you in your tracks.

Revive Omaha was blessed to have a conversation with native Omahan JeRonelle about his experience on the hit tv show, The Four last year. Immediately following his performance on the show, reactions came in from around the world. He blew the celebrity judges and the international audience away with his gift of range, style and a falsetto that generated over 3,000,000 views on social media.

“Saaaaang.”
—Maxwell

“Excellent.”
—John Legend

“Amazing.”
—Omaha Family and Friends

It appears that he has blown up on the national scene overnight. But behind the scenes, JeRonelle has been “praying, preparing, grinding” and stepping out in faith since a very early age. “I started singing when I was 3,” said JeRonelle. His name was formed by combining the names of Jesus, his father Ron and his mother Michelle.

Actually, it was earlier, but 3 was the age that he could officially join the children’s choir at his family’s church, Salem Baptist Church. It was there at church and at home that he began to discover his God-given gift for music and singing. “I began to notice people’s reaction when I opened my mouth to sing and realized it was more than just me singing. It would have an impact on them.”

JeRonelle with consistent and unwavering encouragement and support from his mother Michelle, family members, and friends continued to sing through elementary, middle school and high school.

“I was the kid who was always in somebody’s talent show. Singing in the choir. I was always around music.”

He initially had not planned to go to college, he wanted to pursue music immediately after high school. His mother had other plans. “She wasn’t having that,” he said with a big smile as he thought about that life-changing moment. She insisted that he take at least one year of college. He agreed and was accepted at Clark Atlanta University and earned a music scholarship.

“One year turned into two, two into three and then four,” said JeRonelle. It was there that he had the opportunity to further develop what God had given him.

Immediately after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life long dream.

“It’s been tough. There have big highs and lows sometimes multiple highs and lows in the same day.”

Auditions. Rejections. Evictions. Bills.

Through it all JeRonelle consistently went back to the foundation that makes him more than a powerful voice. He called on his faith. He called on his family.

“This journey the past three years in Los Angeles has really helped me to develop even greater faith. My family has prayed for me. They have encouraged me with scripture. They have been there in the rough moments. God has always come through. Even when I was asking what now God? What’s going on? How am I going to do this? This journey has shown me how he comes through every time and everything is working for my good.”

Photos: ©2019 Nehemiah Barney, Revive Omaha

Last summer, just about anyone watching the show and listening to him sing Maxwell’s rendition of “This Woman’s Work” on the Fox show, The Four recognized instantly that they were listening to one of the most gifted voices we had ever heard. Even the other talented members of The Four reacted with awe.

From the first note, people in the audience and around the world gasped with their mouths wide open in complete shock as JeRonelle flawlessly sang. JeRonelle “kilt it” and “shut it down” as many said on his social media which collectively have gained more than 50,000 followers since his first appearance on the show.

His first song was exceptionally strong right out of the gate and was enough to earn him a chance to challenge one of the other chair holders. The audience was responding to him with great energy and feeling his stirring rendition of “Too Close” by Alex Clare.

But when he stood and delivered “This Woman’s Work,” Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled and Meghan Trainer instantly knew JeRonelle had won the battle and earned his seat as one of the Four.

“Presence means everything and you, you were on point”, said Diddy.

Trainer who was obviously pulling for the other artist said, “I know JeRonelle has won tonight.”

“You got to be hungry,” said DJ Khalied. “JeRonelle, he came to eat.”

Now it was up to the audience. “On television, it appears that the vote comes back in 15 seconds. It actually takes three minutes,” recounted JeRonelle.
He could hear people in the audience: “We love you”. “We voted for you.”

He was praying. Thinking about what this moment could mean for him. Thinking about the encouragement from friends and family. Thinking about the sacrifices, long nights, highs and lows, the challenging and difficult circumstances and obstacles.

Thinking about all of the auditions and working for, praying for, grinding for a moment to break through. Thinking about the “we really love your voice, but you are not what we are looking for” moments he had experienced when applying in previous years for The Voice, American Idol, and even The Four.

And then, the decision came in.

“JeRonelle you have won the battle and you are now the newest member of The Four.”

The breakthrough moment. His gift has certainly made room for him and brought him before great men. With his voice, range, faith, character, integrity, and humbleness, there’s no question God has great things in store for JeRonelle.

The words of one of his original songs capture the essence of the moment;
“Seeds in the ground. New kid in town”

Although he lost his seat to fellow competitor James Graham, he is the first to tell you this was just one step on the front end of the journey. He is preparing now for his next season and what God has for him.

He is working on new music and focused on the opportunity to do some touring. Maybe, just maybe Maxwell or John Legend, or someone else will recognize the gift and come calling.

Follow and support JeRonelle on Instagram.

JeRonelle Talks Omaha, Los Angeles and The Four

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Events

Teen Summit hosted by Black Police Officers Association builds bridges, provides insights

Saturday, March 25, 2023

In its ninth year, the Teen Summit hosted by the Black Police Officers Association (BPOA) is producing great fruit and providing important insights from youth.

After a few years of hosting virtual events because of the pandemic, the Teen Summit returned to in person sessions and moved to the Village Empowerment Center.  The impactful event was co-founded between BPOA and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

“We love having the opportunity to engage with the youth in the community in a positive way,” said Marcus Taylor, one of the event organizers and co-founder of the BPOA.

“Hosting the event in person allows for a lot more interaction,” said Ken Fox, another organizer and co-founder of the program.

All youth participants not only walked away with knowledge and new tools to prevent and solve problems, but great gifts ranging from iPads and chrome books to big screen televisions.

“We like to give them an opportunity to reflect on the day and think about what they have learned,” said Curtis Morgan, co-organizer and facilitator of the student panel and discussions.  “The gifts also are a fun way to end the day and send them home with something unexpected.”

Students had the opportunity to attend sessions focused on what they called “real topics.”

One of the participants said, “These are the types of issues we should be talking about at school.”

In a panel discussion at the end of the event others agreed and offered their suggestions to improve the community and outlined priorities they would focus on if they were principals in their schools.

These are suggestions from students in attendance:

  • Schools should have more activities and clubs for Black students.
  • More opportunities to open up to discuss feeling and challenges.
  • Kindness Club.   Intentionally tell students what is good about them.  More messages to show appreciation.
  • More black teachers. Understand our culture.
  • More student voices included in decision-making.
  • Girls should be able to play all sports including football.
  • Create QR Codes that capture student input and then respond to what students are saying.
  • Explain why things are in place.  Example.  No Gum Policy.  Why?
  • Create assemblies on topics they students are actually interested in.  Discuss issues that are actually impacting us.  Like what we did today.
  • Should make community announcements at school.  Kids are dealing with problems at school and at home.  Speak reality during the announcements at school.
  • More people in student government that actually reflect what students want.

Issues that need to be addressed:

  • School too traditional.  Need to innovate.
  • No events at school that touch on tough issues like this and there’s no communication about events like this.
  • These are different times as we are growing up.
  • We can look up the answers through technology quicker than it is being taught.  Need to new teaching methods.
  • Mental health.
  • Everybody is struggling with something. Need to talk about it. Therapy sessions are needed with every student
  • Gun violence.
  • How to balance things.  Home. School. Work.  Family.
  • Depression.   Childhood Trauma.  People aren’t acknowledging the issues we are facing.
  • Addressing the “beauty” standard.  Clear skin.  Light skin.  Dark skin.

“It’s great to see the event return to in person and continue giving our youth a platform to learn and give input on issues important to them,” said Jermaine Ballard, one of the keynote speakers.

He encouraged the students telling them they have already shown leadership.

“You could have stayed in bed or played video games all day, but you chose to come here to learn.  You are all leaders.”

The Teen Summit is hosted annually by the Black Police Officers Association.  Event organizers include:  Marcus Taylor, Curtis Morgan, Ken Fox and David Preston.  Guest speakers included Jermaine Ballard, Keith Station, Jennifer Clark, Jeff Williams, Galat Toung, Johnny Nesbitt and others.

For more information, please go to: https://bpoaofomaha.com/

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NEWS

Branding Leaders Deliver Powerful Messages at Black Business Summit

Revive Black Business Summit

Saturday, March 25, 2023 at the Revive Center Omaha

Black entrepreneurs, business owners and support organizations gathered together at the Revive Black Business Summit for a powerful, inspiring and action filled morning of networking, business exchange and sharing insights regarding Branding, Marketing and Resources.

Attendees raved about the experience as national and global branding experts shared their wisdom and experience on delivering on the promise.

George Fraser, CEO and Founder

FraserNet and PowerNetworking Conference

Dr. Fraser jump started the morning with a powerful introduction to branding.  Fraser has worked with Fortune 500 companies and traveled the world teaching about branding, marketing and building strong black communities.  A Black Business Hall of Fame member, Fraser talked about the challenges and opportunities facing Black Businesses nationally.

“The pandemic has forced hundreds of thousands of Black businesses to close, yet there are opportunities for those who are remarkable,” said Fraser.  “Being good is not enough, we must be remarkable and excellent.”

Fraser also emphasized that a brand is a promise.  “We need to find joy in what we do, be comfortable failing our way to success and have faith in the things we do.”

“Are you a brand or a logo,” said Fraser.  “What is your promise and are you delivering on that promise?”

Fraser and his team are preparing for the 22nd annual PowerNetworking Conference which will be held August 2nd – 5th in Houston, Texas, rated by Forbes Magazine as the best conference in the nation for Black-owned businesses.

Devin Owens, Founder

Less the Agency

Devin Owens was then passed the baton and took the group further down the path of branding and marketing.  She began by reflecting on her own personal journey towards simplification and thus the launch of her business, Less the Agency.

She has worked with over 65 global clients and some of Omaha’s most recognizable Black-owned businesses and organizations, I Be Black Girl, the ACLU of Nebraska, STATUS Luxury Goods, Best Burger and others.

She pointed to the importance of brand consistency, voice, compass, promise and the connection between what we say and what we actually do.

One of the key messages was verbal identity:  “An integrated system of words and messaging that differentiate your brand and make it recognizable across channels and touch points.”

 

 

Monique Farmer, CEO and Founder

Avant Solutions

Farmer has won national awards for her innovative leadership with branding, communications and PR.  She has vast experience with corporate, public sector and small business marketing, communications and branding campaigns.

Farmer reminded the audience that in addition to our business brand, we also have a personal brand.

“What do people say when you are not in the room,” said Farmer.  “That is your personal brand.  What are you known for?”

Farmer walked the participants through some key components of branding:

  • Brand reputation
  • Experience
  • Research
  • Visual representation
  • Embedding the story
  • Brand promise

Farmer is also a college professor for the University of Texas at Austin and has a compelling and engaging style of presenting.

 

Teddy Young, Co-Founder

Stable Gray

Young is the Co-Founder of Stable Gray with his business partner, CharDale Barnes.  Young is known for his creative and industry leading approach to branding focused on understanding the emotional connections and problem-solving approach to business.

Stable Gray was named Small Business of the Year by the Greater Omaha Chamber and recently opened a second location in the heart of the historic 24th and Lake District.

Young brought a fresh approach by introducing the attendees to the importance of the emotional connections to brands.

“What does life look like when customers experience your product?”

To become better at branding and marketing, Young said business must understand how customers feel.  What are their pain points?  What do they want?  What is the customer’s problem that you can help solve?

“How does your business help solve that problem and how does it leave the customer feeling?”

Farmer and Young tagged team and provided a list of questions for businesses to answer in order to conduct a meaningful audit of the brand.

The summit ended with a panel presenting local resources, funding and opportunities available through the Grow Nebraska Women’s Business Center, Small Business Administration, Nebraska Enterprise Fund and the Carver Legacy Center in partnership with American National Bank.  Click here for more information on these resources and funding opportunities.

Resource Panel:  Ernest White, Carver Legacy Center Ambassador and Vice-President for American National Bank; Jim Reiff, Executive Director with Nebraska Enterprise Fund; April Hibbler, Small Business Administration; and Eden Butler, Grow Nebraska Women’s Business Center.

Mark Your Calendar.  The next Revive Black Business Summit will be Saturday, April 22, 2023!

Click here for more information.

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY:

 

Mark Your Calendar.  The next Revive Black Business Summit will be Saturday, April 22, 2023!

Click here for more information.

 

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Events

City of Omaha receives $34 million for Lead Remediation

City of Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Deputy Administrator Edward Chu, EPA Region 7

Regional leaders from the Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development joined together to renew their commitment to helping the City to Omaha to remove lead from the soil and paint in North Omaha.

EPA is investing nearly $30 million and HUD added $4 million.

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