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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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Community Features

1,200+ attend Rebuilding the Village Conference featuring Eric Thomas

OMAHA, Neb. – June 11, 2024 – On Friday, June 7, more than 1,200 attendees walked through the doors of  the CHI Health Center Omaha & Hilton Omaha Downtown to listen to captivating speakers during the 17th Annual Rebuilding the Village Conference and Luncheon. Hosted by the Empowerment Network, the event also featured the Revive Omaha Black Business Expo, as well as a powerful and energizing speech delivered by keynote speaker Eric Thomas, Ph.D., a New York Times best-selling author, educator and motivational guru.

“Think Big and Take Action! The Rebuilding the Village Conference was a tremendous success, bringing together local and national leaders, visionaries and community members who are committed to making a tangible difference,” said Willie Barney, CEO and founder, Empowerment Network. “We were able to convene over 1,200 participants including 600 youth from our Step-Up Omaha program.  This conference is more than an event; it’s a movement that empowers teamwork to revitalize our communities. Together, we are forging a path towards sustainable growth and collective prosperity.”

Timothy Christian, Board Chair, Empowerment Network and CEO Night Fox Entertainment, Eric Thomas ET and Willie Barney, CEO and Founder, Empowerment Network.  Photo Credit Nehemiah Barney

The Rebuilding the Village Conference and Luncheon brought together community leaders, activists, entrepreneurs and stakeholders to address critical issues facing underserved communities. With a strong focus on professional and community development, this year’s conference was centered around career advancement, DEI, entrepreneurship, leadership development and wealth building. Sessions were designed to enhance collaboration and strengthen the economic impact in Omaha and beyond.

As keynote speaker, Thomas talked about the importance of inclusive leadership strategies, purpose with emphasis on working collectively. “As a leader, you have to stop ambushing, as a leader, you have to stop doing the one-on-one, as the leader, you have to stop being in isolation,” said Thomas. “You’ve got to understand why [purpose] is so significant; it’s so significant because whoever you are, whatever assignment you’re on, you have to fulfill that assignment.  You are better when you move together.”

Supported in part by the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a program of The Obama Foundation, the Empowerment Network is dedicated to building safe and thriving communities through economic, educational and social success. Programs like Omaha 360 and Step-Up Omaha exemplify these efforts. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance promotes supportive communities for boys and young men of color, ensuring they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.

With representation from New Orleans, Kansas City, Lansing, Tulsa, Pittsburgh, Memphis, St. Louis and other national cities, attendees came far and wide to network, build community and grow professionally and personally during this year’s conference.

This year’s agenda also included special sessions just for Step-Up youth which aligns with the mission of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.  Breakout sessions focused on driving change, community investment and connecting students with their gifts and strengths.

“There’s always more work ahead, but we have seen a measurable impact through our collective work and collaboration with hundreds of organizations and the engagement of thousands,” said Barney. “Step-Up students are graduating from high school, going to college and entering the workforce.  Graduates of Legacy Wealth are buying homes, launching and scaling businesses, saving and investing.  Alumni of Redefine the Game are receiving promotions, advancing their careers and moving into leadership. We are launching the next round of these cohorts and two others focused on fund development and leadership.”

In the coming months, the Empowerment Network is working with partners to launch the next phase of transformation this summer – pathway to careers, wealth and ownership. Additional growth opportunities including:

  • Connecting 200 more youth per year to the Step-Up youth employment and entrepreneurship programs, to grow to 1,000 students per summer within three years
  • Expanding STEAM programming including drones, robotics, music production, entrepreneurship and culinary.
  • Launching Skill Up! and EmPower Up! for hundreds of North Omaha adult residents to increase wages by providing wrap around and certified educational services
  • Investing in small businesses, entrepreneurship, tourism and job creation
  • Expanding efforts to reduce gun violence by an additional 50%
  • Assisting 250 organizations, small businesses, neighborhoods and churches with capacity-building

As an effort to invest back into Omaha’s Black-owned businesses, the conference featured entrepreneurs during the Black Business Expo, in addition to three breakout sessions specifically for small business owners.

More than 20 panel discussions and interactive workshops led by industry experts and community leaders were also held.

“We greatly appreciate all the attendees, sponsors, speakers, volunteers and all engaged.  We encourage you to support small businesses and stay engaged,” said Barney.

To learn more about the Rebuilding the Village Conference visit https://www.rtvomaha.com/. To stay connected with the Empowerment Network and learn about upcoming events, visit https://empoweromaha.com/. Follow Empowerment Network on Facebook at Facebook.com/EmpowermentNetwork.

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About the Empowerment Network

The Empowerment Network is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing economic, social, and civic progress within Omaha’s African American community, North Omaha and the region. Through collaborative efforts and innovative initiatives, the Empowerment Network strives to create opportunities for empowerment and transformation in every zip code and neighborhood in Omaha and beyond.

 

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Community Features

2024 Revive Omaha Black Business Guide

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Community Features

New cohorts prepare to launch…Leadership, Fund Development, Wealth Building & Career Advancement

OMAHA, Neb.

Great News!  After announcing four cohorts late last year, the Empowerment Network decided to delay the launch of the initiatives as they ran into the holiday season, received formal notice of their award of $10 million through the North and South Omaha Recovery Plan and continued the national collaboration with their partner cities introduced at last year’s African-American Leadership Summit.

The Network is now prepared to move forward with the four capacity-building cohort opportunities with their national strategic partners and advisors Dr. Pamela Jolly, Dr. Randal Pinkett, Dr. Jeffery Robinson, Suzan Hart and Anna Barber.

Keys to Fund Development to Make Your Vision a Reality & Intro to Cohort

Anna Barber, fundraising expert that has helped to raise hundreds of millions of dollars including for the Smithsonian’s National Black History Museum in Washington D.C., will lead a six-month cohort on Fund Development:  building a donor base to make your vision a reality.

Barber will share insights gained through her work with major universities, the Museum, Obama Foundation and other national clients.  Participants will develop a comprehensive step by step plan to build and maintain a strong, diversified donor base.

Complete this form to express interest in the Fund Development Cohort with Anna Barber.

 

Collaborative, Transformation Leadership and Powerful Storytelling & Intro to Cohort

Suzan Hart, one of world’s top storytellers and presenters, will launch a Collaborative Leadership and Storytelling cohort:  Maximize Opportunities with the Power of Your Story.

Participants will learn more about the transformational power of collaboration and enhance their presentation skills by defining purpose, understanding their value, and releasing the power of their story.

Complete this form to express interest in the Transformational Leadership and Storytelling Cohort with Suzan Hart.

 

Advancing Your Career with Key Principles from Redefine the Game & Intro to Cohort

Dr. Jefferey Robinson of BCT Partners will return to Omaha to help launch the 5th Cohort of the Redefine the Game Institute, an innovative career advancement and leadership development program. Over 150 have participated with most receiving promotions and increased compensation, expanded career opportunities or leadership positions within new organizations.

Complete this form to express interest in the Redefine the Game Institute cohort with Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson.

 

Understanding Your Wealth Building Code and Developing Your Plan & Intro to Cohort

Dr. Pamela Jolly a nationally recognized wealth-building strategist returns to launch the third cohort of the Legacy Wealth Initiative.  Graduates of Legacy Wealth have developed wealth plans, saved thousands of dollars, become homeowners, launched and purchased businesses, invested individually and collectively and made contributions to their community.

Complete this form to express interest in the Legacy Wealth Cohort with Dr. Pamela Jolly.

 

Stay connected to the Empowerment Network website for the next steps.   

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