Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday Cooking Traditions

Kitchen Talk Group PixIt was an honor and pleasure for the BND Institute of Media and Culture to host three of Richmond’s top culinary experts and entrepreneurs during the second iteration of “Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday Cooking Traditions” on Nov. 5 at 1717 Innovation Center. Our guests included Herman Baskerville of Big Herm’s Kitchen and Catering, Tye Hall of T&R Catering and Trey Owens of Soul Taco. The program was moderated by Richmond media personality and Virginia Lottery Draw Host Mikki Spencer.

All of our panelists spoke candidly about the hard work that goes into their calling. Baskerville, who honed his craft while working in corporate settings, shared the newfound responsibility that comes with having to provide for his own family as well as his employees’ families.

For the past few years, Big Herm has been one of the only minority food vendors for the Washington Redskins’ training facility in Richmond. Well-known throughout Richmond, Baskerville proudly noted that his take-out and delivery restaurant has been in its current North Second Street location in Jackson Ward for seven years, longer than any of the other restaurants in the “food court’s” corridor.

Further proof of Baskerville’s culinary talents came after the discussion as attendees devoured slices of his mouth-watering fried turkey, macaroni and cheese and string beans.

Hall, who learned to cook under her grandmother’s watchful eye in a Philadelphia speakeasy, recalled how their cooking helped to sustain many in their neighborhood who were on food stamps or had limited resources.

“For me, food just always made sense, especially around the holidays,” Hall told the Kitchen Talk attendees. One of our biggest traditions was candied yams, and my grandmother made them with brown sugar, raisins, pineapples and melted marshmallows on top. So, when I made it for the first time, my husband was like, ‘What the heck are those brown things in the sweet potatoes?’ “

While Hall appreciates her past and the high-profile clients that she often caters to these days, she is careful to maintain boundaries, even to the extent of not posting photos of herself with celebrities. More often than not, “I am conducting business with managers, agents or other administrators,” said Hall, a former nurse and military veteran. “They’re the ones I’m likely to pose with.” In addition to their catering business, Tye and her husband, Reggie, own a budding hemp-based food company, Gourmet Hemp Foods.

Trey Owens opened Soul Taco two years ago with co-owners Nar Hovnanian and Ari Augenbaum. His restaurants, located in Richmond’s Jackson Ward and Shockoe Bottom, recently earned “Best Tacos in Virginia,” from MSN. Soon you’ll be able to catch him on an episode of celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” on the Food Network.

Like Hall, Owens also grew up cooking alongside his grandmother. Holiday meals in Richmond were abundant displays.

“For Thanksgiving, it’s the whole dinner –just everything is on the table,” said Owens. “It’s crazy. Growing up, a lot of times most of holidays were at my house… that was the tradition ….just go where all the kids were. For Christmas, we would do breakfast and a traditional thing was rocky mountain oysters. It wasn’t until I got older until I realized what they were and stopped eating them.”

Owens said that when he opened his first restaurant, he prayed that it would be a success. He also burned sage over equipment and other parts of the business, a ritual with Native American roots that is performed to cleanse a space or environment of negative energy and to generate wisdom, clarity and healing.

“It’s one thing to pray for success,” said Owens, “but you also must pray to be ‘ready’ for that success.”

Bonnie Newman Davis



What an amazing evening on Dec. 3, 2019 with authors Sadeqa Johnson and Trevy McDonald who discussed their books before an eager audience at the Libbie Mill Library. Communications strategist Marylinn Minor moderated the program.

Sadeqa, whose works include “Love In A Carry On Bag” and “And Then There Was Me,” has worked with JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes. Trevy is a prolific university professor contributed to numerous anthologies and publications and co-authored a reference book on starting your own publishing house.

After sharing excerpts from their books, the two authors provided tips about writing fiction and nonfiction works and how to find an editor or publisher. We appreciate Sadeqa and Trevy for joining us and look forward to their return for future BND Institute of Media and Culture “Book Club” events!

Meet two media mavens who also have mastered the art of fiction writing. Sadeqa Johnson, whose works include “Love In A Carry On Bag” and “And Then There Was Me,” has worked with JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan anBook Club 2019d Bishop TD Jakes. Trevy McDonald’s books “Round ‘Bout Midnight” and “Time Will Tell” were written while the prolific university professor contributed to numerous anthologies and publications and co-authored a reference book on starting your own publishing house. Please join the BND Institute of Media and Culture on Dec. 3 at Richmond’s Libbie Mill Library for a riveting discussion with Sadeqa and Trevy, who will read excerpts from their books, discuss the writing process, give advice to aspiring writers and sign copies of their books. The program, free and open to the public, begins at 6:30 p.m. Please RSVP at Eventbrite.

Love, Friendship, Heartache, Betrayal

Kitchen Talk 2019 Update with Trey-Hermandf
The BND Institute of Media and Culture, Inc. welcomes Richmond, Va. Media Personality and Virginia Lottery Draw Host Mikki Spencer as she interviews Chef Herman “Big Herm” Baskerville, Chef Tye Hall  and Chef Trey Owens of Soul Taco about their holiday cooking secrets shaped by soulful family traditions. Following the discussion, attendees will enjoy samples of holiday cuisine and select Virginia wines while mingling in one of Richmond’s newest and hottest venues, Capital One’s 1717 Innovation Center in Shockoe Bottom!

$10 per person

Visit Eventbrite for your ticket.

(Space is limited; Get your tickets today!)

Event Sponsors

MLH Assets Management  ~  Vinara Mosby, Maxamus Insurance   ~  Shoe Crazy Wine

*Proceeds benefit the BND Summer Media Camp 2020

Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday Cooking

Fading into Fall

BND Institute of Media and Culture Events!

Thanks again for all of your support! See you soon!

Nov. 5,  2019 – Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday
Cooking Traditions—1717 Innovation Center, Richmond, Va.
Dec. 3, 2019 – Calling All Book Clubs w/ Sadeqa Johnson &
Trevy McDonald –Libbie Mill Library, Richmond, Va.
Feb. 20, 2020  –  An Evening with Robert Dortch
March 31, 2020 – Innovative Women of Richmond
June 2020 – BND Summer Media Camp



The BND Summer Media Camps – 2019

3 camps in 3 locations for area youth to learn digital news delivery


Now in its second year, the BND Institute of Media and Culture’s 2019 Summer Media Camp combines journalism and multi- platform media technology for Richmond, Va.-area students in grades 6 through 12 to create and display their work via an online presence.  The camp is led by Bonnie Newman Davis, who has more than 35 years experience as a newspaper and online journalist and university professor. This year, three camps will take place at three locations: Ephesus SDA School, St. Andrew’s School and Second Baptist Church on Idlewood Ave. The day begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. Here are the dates:

Media Camp Newsletter page 1 (dragged)

June  24 – 28, 2019 

Ephesus SDA Academy, 3700 Midlothian Turnpike Richmond, VA 23224. Cost: $60 per student; Register by June 10, 2019 (Some scholarships available; please inquire.)

Ephesus Camp Overview

Ephesus Camp Application

Ephesus Camp Schedule

July 15-26, 2019 

St. Andrew’s School, 227 S. Cherry St., Richmond, VA, 23220, Cost: $120 per student for two weeks; Register by June 30, 2019  (Some scholarships available, please inquire)

St. Andrew’s School BND Media Camp Overview

St. Andrew’s School BND Media Camp Application

Second Baptist Church, 1400 Idlewood Ave., Richmond, VA 23220; Cost: $50 for one week; Register by July 10, 2019; (Some scholarships available, please inquire.)

Second Baptist Camp Overview

Second Baptist Camp Application 

Second Baptist Camp Schedule

During the camps, students will build their confidence as they learn about media literacy and gain more awareness about their individual and collective communities. The programs will tap into and explore students’ creativity, writing, editing and video skills. Students will work with professional media writers, editors, videographers and special guests who will lead them through various aspects of digital storytelling. 

Besides the technical skills students develop, we include time for field trips to local media outlets and to the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Such outings enlighten our students about news media operations and enable them to meet professionals in an industry in which they one day may work.

We are eternally grateful for this year’s media camp partners and sponsors:

Stacy Adams, Retired D.C. Police Lt. Henry Banks,

Christopher Noelle Boozer, Eric and Sarah James

JB Bryan Financial Group, Inc., The Home of AfroEconomics™

Debbie Burns, Dr. Linnie S. Carter, Gail A. Carter 

Andrea King Collier, Dominion Energy, Wayne Dawkins

Edward Roddick, Sr., Teshana Gipson, Frank Green, Michael L. Harvey, MLH Assets Management

Chris Mahoney, Kym Marten, Vinara Mosby, Maxamus Insurance

NBC12-Richmond, Va., Sally L. Newman, Nikki Nicholau

John R. Rich, Kenneth S. Johnson, Johnson Inc., Linda Shockley

Sabrina Squire, Lydia Thompson, Charles Taylor, Amy Trainum

Susan Winiecki

Dow Jones News Fund’s 2019 Q&A Interview with Bonnie Newman Davis



Summer Media Camp  2018 NBC12 Video Link:

For more information, please contact Bonnie Newman Davis, call 804 683-7203, or visit

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Why give to the BND Summer Media Camp?

Summer Media Camp 2018

Why a Media Camp?

I’m excited about helping young people explore a career field that has provided me countless opportunities that continue to this day. For 40 years, journalism and news media have allowed me to report and edit at several news outlets located in various parts of the country. I have interviewed and met numerous public figures, business leaders, artists, authors, musicians and more. My journalism skills have enabled me to teach at several leading institutions of higher learning, and I have traveled to dozens of U.S. cities and states, as well as countries in Africa and the Caribbean. And when the full-time jobs weren’t always available or met my expectations, my journalistic skills have allowed and continue to allow me to run a consulting business for clients that include corporations, universities and sole proprietorships. In addition, I routinely mentor and tutor current and aspiring journalists pro bono.

My combined skills and passion for journalism are the result of veteran journalists taking an interest in me when I had no clue about my future. My first inkling of what life could be like after college was sparked by my North Carolina A&T professors such as Dr. Richard E. “Dick” Moore, Professor Loreno Marrow, Dr. Ethel Taylor, Dr. Sandra Alexander and Dr. Samuel Mosley. After taking my first newswriting class under Professor Marrow, she convinced me that my writing was strong enough for the local black weekly newspaper, The Carolina Peacemaker. (That newspaper’s iconic founder, Dr. John Marshall Kilimanjaro, died this year.) So I wrote about A&T’s homecoming celebrations, of course, and other campus-related activities. Dick Moore further sprinkled seeds of hope that I could become a journalist by serving as my cheerleader and bringing to A&T well-known journalists such as Pamela Johnson, the first African-American woman publisher of a daily newspaper; Jay T. Harris, who became publisher of the San Jose Mercury News; Samuel Adams (who also died recently), a veteran civil rights reporter and distinguished professor at the University of Kansas at Lawrence; and Max Robinson, the first African-American to anchor a network news show who also happened to be from Richmond, Va. Drs. Taylor and Alexander were meticulously stylish women whose English courses furthered instilled in me a love for the written word. I pledged to one day to be like them. Meanwhile, Dr. Mosley was a young, brilliant political science professor who made figures such as Shirley Chisholm, Maynard Jackson, Coleman Young, Tom Bradley and Henry Marsh come to life in our cramped, drafty classroom.

After my first student internship in Wilmington, N.C. in 1978 and graduating from college in 1979, I attended the University of Michigan on a full fellowship. Before starting Michigan, I participated in the Dow Jones Newspapers Internship program, which came with a paid internship in Louisville, Ky. During that summer, as we trained to be copy editors in Bethlehem, Pa., I figured out where boxing champ Larry Holmes’ family was living in nearby Easton, Pa. and interviewed them.  I also covered President Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign in Louisville. A year later, as a summer intern at the Ann Arbor News in Michigan, I interviewed Barbara Bush who was campaigning for husband George Herbert Walker Bush’s presidential bid. In between all the political reporting, I “freelanced” on the side by reviewing musical acts such as James Brown and Bootsy Collins, and got my first taste of reggae music at local nightclubs. Irie, mon! I arrived at the Richmond News Leader in Richmond, Va. in 1981. Since then, the girl whose mother loved to describe as “smart, but shy” has grown comfortable approaching people from all walks of life to explore, listen to and write their stories.

Yes, I’ve had a wonderful career and it is my intent and purpose to inform as many young people as possible that they, too, can enjoy the same career highs in journalism that allow them to tell stories, edit, shoot, speak and deliver the news in today’s ever changing 24-7 news environment. I hope that you will join me by supporting this very worthy endeavor.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.


Bonnie Newman Davis

Journalist, Journalism Educator, Media Consultant

Executive Director, BND Institute of Media and Culture Inc.

804 683-7203

Bonnie Newman Davis: Bio

Media Portrayals: Looking Back, Moving Forward

So many events and programs took place in Richmond, Va. this past weekend and I am happy to have directed one such event and participated in a second. Thrilled that both events allowed me to be surrounded by numerous friendships, support and love. Thanks again to everyone who came out yesterday to support my BND Institute of Media and Culture symposium “Media Portrayals of African-American Women in Popular Culture and Reality TV.”IMG_1021

The program was at Virginia Union University’s Belgian Theater, and thanks to VUU journalism department chair Heidi Wilson and adjunct professor Jasmine Snead, a dozen VUU students and two UR students defied stereotypes by rising on a rainy Saturday morning to attend the session led by two seasoned journalists, academics and media industry professionals –Patrick L. Riley, a best-selling author and a former field producer for “Oprah,” (including the renewed 2005 Legends Ball),  and Dr. Sherri Williams, a frequent commentator on cable news whose day job is spreading knowledge and empowering students at American University as a professor of race and media studies.

Both of my guest lecturers are and were brilliant, and while everyone gained insight from the message shared, I KNOW that Patrick’s and Dr. Sherri’s words will resonate with the VUU students and Karla Peters’ University of Richmond mentees for decades to come. Truly, we could have spent the entire day listening to these two experts. So, what did Patrick and Sherri say? While I can easily write about the valuable lessons and industry insights shared, I won’t. Nor will I post videos or podcasts of the symposium. Months of work went into this program and tickets were reasonably priced. As the adage goes, “you snooze you lose.” However, I am available to consult with anyone who is interested in bringing this symposium to a university near you.

Shout out to my tribe for your part in making my Sunday night brainstorm three months ago a success: Karla E. Peters, Otesa Middleton Miles, Jazz “Senate Page” Miles, Renee Walston Johnson, LaTika Johnson Lee, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Chinae Massenberg, Charles Robinson, Heidi Wilson, Vanessa Coombs, Linda Conway, Marylinn Minor, Patrick L. Riley, Sherri Williams, Erin Stanley, Michael Harvey and Vinara Mosby, Tammie Smith, Cathy Gant Hill and Lynda Sharp Anderson. A special shout out to Teshana Gipson and Robin Farmer, who couldn’t participate, but were with us in spirit!
Part 2: Kym Marten: What can I say! You did it again, Soror! I’m so impressed by your KLM Foundation philanthropy and truly enjoyed your party with a purpose last night at the Richmond Convention Center. I was dead tired, but came out to support you because I admire the hard work executed by you and your team. Can’t wait until next year! Congrats!!








Media Portrayals of Black Women in Popular Culture and Reality TV

Media images of African American women have evolved from subservient stereotypes of the last century, but some experts question whether contemporary images oversimplify depictions of black women as either virtuous or villainous.

“Media Portrayals of African-American Women in Popular Culture and Reality TV” will explore why and if the perceptions about such notable women as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce Knowles, Meghan Markle, Cardi B, NeNe Leakes, Stacey Abrams, Nicki Minaj, Omarosa Manigault, and others are skewed by broad categorizations.

The discussion is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 6 at the Belgian Theater at Virginia Union University, 1500 N. Lombardy St.  The program is sponsored by the BND Institute of Media and Culture, Inc. and the Department of Mass Communications at Virginia Union University.

“Our perspectives, perceptions and behaviors often are influenced by the images, stories and narratives we hear, watch and consume on television or social media,” says Bonnie Newman Davis, principal of the BND Media Institute. “Such narratives lead us to consciously or unconsciously accept stereotypes and misconceptions that fuel racial, gender and identity tensions in communities of color.”

On hand to debunk, analyze and clarify over-simplifications are two well-known authors, scholars and media professionals, Dr. Sherri Williams and Patrick L. Riley. Williams is an assistant professor of race, media and communication at American University, with expertise in how black people’s use of social media is changing social justice and the entertainment industry. Her powerful voice and commentary have been featured in national media outlets including CNN, USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Smithsonian Magazine. Williams earned a Ph.D. mass communications and a master’s degree in magazine, newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in journalism at Jackson State University.

Riley, a graduate of Atlanta’s Morehouse College, has helped produce two much-lauded television specials, “Oprah’s Legends Ball” and “Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.” He also was a freelance, senior producer on Winfrey’s daytime talk show for 13 years. Riley’s book, “That’s What Friends Are For: On the Women Who Inspired Me,” is a paean to women activists, athletes and celebrities he’s met and worked with, including Winfrey, Diana Ross and Tina Turner – some of whose artistry brought solace to his boyhood struggle and sexual identity.

The program is $15 general admission (EventBrite) or at the door) and free for college and high school students. A reception and book signing will follow the discussion.

Register at EventBrite

Speaker Bios

Sherri Williams, Ph.D.


Dr. Sherri Williams

At the intersection of social media, social justice, reality television, mass media and how people of color use and are represented by these mediums is where you’ll find Dr. Sherri Williams, an assistant professor in race, media and communication at American University. Williams has a particular interest in how black people’s use of social media is changing social justice and the entertainment industry, especially television. She is also interested in and studies how marginalized people, especially black women, are represented in the media. National media outlets including CNN, USA Today, Smithsonian Magazine, Viceand theAtlanta Journal Constitution interviewed Williams for her social media expertise. She was also named one of  NBC BLK’S fierce black feminists you should know.

Williams is a media studies scholar who examines the impact of media representations through a black feminist lens and their connections to power and oppression. She probes ways in which images and narratives serve to uphold traditional heteropatriarchal and classist dominant ideologies and maintain the status quo of power. Moreover, she illuminates how news and entertainment media’s stories about people of color are connected to centuries-old ideas used to justify oppression, especially women of color. Williams is also interested in the ways in which telling our stories can liberate us. Before she entered the academy she was a print journalist for a decade and traveled to unfamiliar places to deliver stories that matter. Whether she stood in the middle of a Ku Klux Klan rally in Mississippi, a hostage situation at a hotel, the rural countryside of South Africa or the streets of Cuba – Williams transported readers to new places and introduced them to interesting people. Her career as a print journalist started in 1999 at the Associated Press’ Jackson, Mississippi. bureau. She still produces stories about social justice, media representations, health disparities and issues related to the rights of women, the working class and LGBT people.

Gender, race and class all play a significant role in people’s lives and Williams recognizes that. She also writes and speaks about those issues and sometimes uses her own life experiences as examples of how forces of oppression affect people daily. From class issues within families and the unique experience of first-generation college students to the real danger of the strong black woman stereotype to the black mental healthcrisis, Williams strives to illuminate the human impact of marginalization.

Twitter: SherriWrites

Cardi B: Love & Hip Hop’s unlikely feminist hero


Patrick L. Riley

Patrick Riley is best known for his work as a freelance, senior field producer at “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for over 13 years – including ABC network credits on “Oprah’s Legends Ball” and “Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy”. That opportunity provided moments for the Tokyo-born, Savannah, GA-reared Patrick to interview Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton as well as many of his own idols – including Diana Ross, Mary Tyler Moore, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Dr. Maya Angelou, and many more.


Patrick L. Riley

Since “OPRAH” wrapped in 2011, on-camera and event hosting opportunities have folded prominently into the Morehouse College graduate’s schedule – including return on-camera appearances with Daily Blast Live; TV-ONE’s “Life After”; COZI-TV; BET; The Advocate; Wells Fargo; and Arise Entertainment 360. Spring 2019 will showcase Riley as a co-host on digital talk show “The Happy Hour” on Facebook & YouTube. He has received a number of industry nods for his work, including the 2014 Momentum Education’s “Pillar of Empowerment” Award at Momentum Honors in New York City as well as several awards from the National, Atlanta, and New York Associations of Black Journalists, and others.

Patrick’s hardcover book, “That’s What Friends Are For: On the Women Who Inspired Me,” is published by Dorpie Books. NABJ deemed it “Outstanding Literary Work” as the NYC Pride organization awarded him its 2018 Trailblazer Award honor in Harlem at The Schomburg Center of Culture & Research.

In his book, Riley celebrates women and his 30-year career in journalism. Inspiration for the book came from the celebrity women that Riley has had contact with throughout his decades-long career in the entertainment industry along with his publisher.

“This book has allowed me to unpack a narrative that further fleshes out my layers … and I think people will connect to that,” Riley said in a March 16, 2018 Wave interview. “I want kids to know that their childhood dreams, crushes, fantasies are not to be dismissed by society, our families or ourselves. My life’s testimonial proves that a little black boy who was different than other boys and wasn’t so sure he’d ever be ‘accepted’ for his true self in the world can.”

In each chapter, Riley shares his story, biographical information about the celebrities, as well as commentary about his experiences with them. Those featured are women whom he has a real admiration and appreciation for. Women spotlighted include Diana Ross, Diahann Carroll, Aretha Franklin, Michelle Obama, Janet Jackson, Keke Wyatt and many more.


DNA, Data, Deeds & Dust

Genealogy 101: Climbing Your Family Tree

Discovering your family’s unique story is like solving a puzzle. However, getting started can sometimes seem daunting. Join us on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Libbie Mill Library to learn more about your family’s history. The program is free and open to the public. This discussion, led by Bessida Cauthorne White, an author and genealogist, will provide tips and strategies for beginning family research. It will include an overview of basic genealogy terms and tools, the use of public and private records, internet sources, oral history, and DNA. Attention will be given to the challenges associated with researching African-American families. Libbie Mill Library is located 2100 Libbie Lake E. St. Richmond, Va. 23230.

geneaology flierBrief Biography of Bessida Cauthorne White

Bessida Cauthorne White (B.S., J.D.) has been a genealogist for nearly 40 years. She is the family historian for nine of her families and manages DNA results for more than thirty family members and friends. She is co-founder and president of Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society and a founder of the Greater Richmond Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. In 2015, she chaired the National Conference of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. Held in Richmond, this is the only  national gathering of African-American genealogists to have been held in Virginia.

White is the editor of A Reunion of Recipes: The White Family Cookbook (1990), co-editor of Help Yourself! There’s a God’s Mighty Plenty: A Treasury of Recipes from the Cauthorne & Brooks Families (First Edition 2000 and Second Edition 2017), and co-editor of Gather at the Welcome Table: The Angel Visit Baptist Church Sesquicentennial Cookbook. She  has recently undertaken the task of identifying persons who were enslaved at Menokin and their present-day descendants. Menokin, located in Richmond County, Virginia, was the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee,.a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
An activist, retired attorney, and lay historian, she is president of the board of the Rappahannock Industrial Academy Alumni Association and serves on the boards of the Middlesex County Museum & Historical Societyand the Library of Virginia Foundation. White is a member of the Menokin African American Advisory Work Group and serves as church historian and vice-chair of the trustee board at Angel Visit Baptist Church, Dunnsville, Virginia.