‘Banning the Box’ Helps Prisoners Become People [via The Root]

prisonbars400.jpg.CROP.rtstory-large“Have you ever been found guilty of a felony?”

For too many people, that question is the difference between living a life of dignity and living a life of shame and bitterness. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe made a bold move Friday and signed an executive order to “ban the box.” Through this statewide initiative, state agencies and public employers can no longer disqualify job seekers if they have a criminal record. This makes it easier for the formerly incarcerated to find employment and rebuild their lives. It also, most importantly, brings us, as a nation, one step closer to humanity. Continue reading

[audio] Police Perspectives

This month has been dubbed #FergusonOctober in reference to the civil unrest in the small town outside of St. Louis where an unarmed Black teen was gunned down by a white police officer.

Protesters in the streets after the shooting of Michael Brown IMAGE: FLICKR, CHARLES REX ARBOGAST

The tension between people of color and the police force has risen steadily since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by a vigilante in 2012. Many people, specifically people of color, feel unsafe and even in more danger in the presence of police.

During college I had the opportunity to interview other students about their experience with campus police and law enforcement. I want to share that today since it seems like not much has changed in community-police relations. If anything, the feeling of discomfort has risen and expanded to other parts of the country.


Police Perspectives by Jolie A. Doggett for Terp Weekly Edition

Jolie questions student perspectives of the law enforcement. Recorded and Edited by Just Jolie

Wonder Woman [via Vision Magazine]

So for the last 14 days I’ve been scrambling, struggling, and grinding to prepare for the ESSENCE Music Festival in New Orleans. I was invited at the last minute to do some freelance work for ESSENCE Online (cue Ashanti‘s “Dreams are real…all you have to do is just believe”).

So that means I don’t have any new scathing commentary on race, gender, and pop culture (yet) this week. What I would like to share is an article I wrote for Vision Magazine, the print publication ministry of the First Baptist Church in Glenarden. I began writing a column called “Sister Truth” in which I hope to encourage women of Christ (like myself) throughout life’s challenges and tough decisions.

This trip to New Orleans has been one of the strangest and thrilling experiences of my life (look out for VLOGS this week). I’m constantly trying to encourage myself. I hope this article helps me and someone else. 


WONDER WOMAN by Jolie A. Doggett

My name is Jolie. But my friends call me “Wonder Woman“. Why? Because I’m always on the go and I’m up for any challenge. Just like the fictional comic heroine, I used my wit and smarts to face life’s difficulties all while remaining calm, strong, and beautifully composed. I work hard and I used to pride myself on being able to handle my own life and my own problems, whatever they were, all on my own.

When I started college six years ago, a lot of things changed. New places, new people, new struggles, new standards to live up to. It wasn’t long before I felt incredibly overwhelmed.  It was all seeming like too much. I couldn’t find any strength in myself to move forward they way I used to.

Everything I was once so sure about in myself was now put in question. My former composed self became quickly disheveled by the pressure to succeed. I felt weak and discouraged and, quite frankly, stupid. Who did I think I was that I could make my way through my career and become successful?

One morning I woke up really not ready to face what was sure to be a difficult day ahead. I didn’t have any strength left in me. I picked up my Bible and randomly flipped through its pages. I found myself in the book of Psalms and read Chapter 73 verse 26: “My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

It was then that I realized I was no Wonder Woman at all. And that was okay because God is and will always be the true superhero in my life. He swooped in when all seemed lost and my world was falling apart and saved the day. He handles things in ways I could never handle on my own. When I can’t do it all, God can do it all and then some.

I made it through four years of undergrad and more challenging situations by reading that verse every morning and reminding myself that I am not invincible and assuring myself that I would still be okay. When I couldn’t find the strength in myself, I had to find my strength in God. I had to humble myself and allow my God to have control. I am never all on my own. God is always there.

So to all the wonder women (and super men) out there who are working hard, raising their kids, chasing their dreams, and making a way, stay close to God who is the source of your power and your super strength and let Him save your day.

Introducing D-Cal Rising Hip-Hop Star and Future Game Changer [via-Hypefresh Magazine]

One thing I love about being a writer is all of the cool people I get to meet. One such person is a young rapper from Baltimore named Edem Kwame but his fans may know him better as D-Cal. The dude is seriously dope. He opened up a show for Wale and Big Sean just a few months ago and is releasing an album this summer (WHAT?!) I had the opportunity to interview him for Hypefresh Magazine about his fast growing success and his future goals. Check out the original article here.


Introducing D-Cal Rising Hip-Hop Star and Future Game Changer by Jolie A. Doggett

From local aspiring artist, to opening act for two of the biggest names in hip hop (I’m talking big like Big Sean and Wale BIG!). Edem Kwame, known by his stage D-Cal, is quickly rising to super stardom. The Baltimore native by way of Ghana is making his mark on the Hip Hop music scene and putting the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) on the map. D-Cal is new and next on the scene.


I sat down with my good friend and dopest rapper I know to hear more about his latest endeavors. I wanted to share this exclusive with HYPEFRESH®. Get hip, everyone! And get ready for D-Cal’s hip hop takeover.

So tell the people who you are. Who is D-Cal? Where did you come from?

I was born in Ghana and that probably plays the biggest role in my sound. I grew up listening to music in other languages. Started rapping on a green box in Baltimore when I was about 10 and kept it from there.I actually don’t know why I never let it go.

What makes you stand out from the other local rap stars? 

Started rapping on a green box in Baltimore when I was about 10 and kept it from there.I actually don’t know why I never let it go…I don’t think people should listen to me as opposed to, but in addition to. There’s no need to X anyone out of the equation… just understand that I do me better than anyone else. 

And what does doing you sound like?

Don’t really have a go-to sound to my knowledge. My delivery is more aggressive than most new age rappers because I developed my early skills in the battling circuit. I’m rapping to people that aren’t necessarily in the best position in life, but are looking to do well. My content is very aggressive in tone, but if you actually listen to what I’m saying, you’ll realize the message is more reflective than anything.

Sounds like something people can get into.

My music is all about the “come up” and working hard to get what you want regardless of outside influences. Nothing is more exciting than the come up- you work so hard never knowing when your moment will come. That’s all I know how to do as a person so that is what I convey in my music. 

So what are you up to these days?

I just finished opening for Wale and Big Sean at Byrd Stadium. I have been doing somewhat of a College tour, hitting as many schools in the area as my schedule permits. Currently prepping for the release of “Hunger Pains” which should be out by late spring.

Wait, you just skated across that like opening up for Wale and Big Sean is no big deal at all. How did this happen?!

To open up (at Art Attack), I had to compete in a competition called “Battle of the Bands”. Nobody thought I was going to win because I was the only solo performer in a “band” competition. It was actually difficult as hell but the people voted me through. 

Were you nervous as hell?

I ALWAYS get nervous right before I go on stage whether I’m performing for 10 people or 10,000. Once I actually get on the stage, my nerves dissipate as soon as I open my mouth. There’s no way to describe the feeling of knowing everyone in a room is looking to you for entertainment. Then call and response actually gives me confidence. It means they’re attentive and engaged.

You sound like a legit superstar. A lot of artists describe getting in “the zone” the same way. How do you stay grounded?

Art Attack was definitely the largest concert yet. The funny thing is, it’s much easier to do a show like this, than a small one. If you understand crowd control, a large audience is your friend because mob mentality reigns supreme at concerts.If you understand crowd control, a large audience is your friend because mob mentality reigns supreme at concerts. It was cool to be honest. It’s a bigger deal to my peers than it is to me because I understand there’s way more work to be done. It was definitely a cool moment, but it’s a very small piece to a very large large puzzle.

I’ve listened to the first single released from the album. And the track GOES! What’s “Water Whippin” all about?

Water Whippin- It’s a concept that I’ve been using for a while that aligns with the idea of the #DoubleUp movement. Essentially,with whatever you’re doing in life, if you’re actively working to achieve something, you’re “Water Whippin”. The actual verses are telling two different sides of the same story. The first verse is explaining the difference between my life and the lives of many of the people that look down at how I & my community operate. The second verse discusses what happens when we get fed up. 

While the world waits for “Hunger Pains”, how are you staying relevant in this ever changing music industry?

My newest venture has been the release of these #DoubleUp shirts. These motherfuckers are live. We’re selling them to invest money in my next project, “Hunger pains” and of course since they have my movement’s hashtag written on them, it’s simultaneous promotion. Aside from that, I’ve been doing shows everywhere I can. Just getting the name out and networking wherever I go.

And how can potential fans jump on the D-Cal, #DoubleUp train?

Best place for now is youtube until we get this website up and running. Right now, you can just type “D-Cal” into youtube and everything I dropped within the past 5 or so months comes up. It’s kinda cool. To keep in touch with me, I’d suggest staying up with me on Twitter and Instagram @DeuceCaliber.


Edem Kwame aka D-Cal

Paul Carrick Brunson NOW — Episode 1

Starting in early 2013, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work remotely for Paul C. Brunson, renown matchmaker, blogger, and relationship advisor best known for his series “LoveTown USA” on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. I was hired as an associate producer for his new web series. Watch the first episode below.

(sorry I’m late posting this. and ignore the incorrect spelling of my last name. it’s “DOGGETT”:) )

Paul Carrick Brunson NOW–Episode 1


Travis Porter [via iaam.com]

Hey guys! In case you didn’t know, I also freelance for a number of online publications, one of them being iaam.com, Online Teen Entertainment. I recently had the opportunity to interview a very popular hip hop group Travis Porter about their music, production company, and their latest indie film: “Red Rock“.

Known for their popular hip hop club bangers like “Ayy Ladies” and their collaborations with artists such as Drake and Tyga, Travis Porter have made a name for themselves in the music industry. However as of late, the rapping trio have tried their first had at acting in their feature length indie film, “Red Rock”, a film they describe as an action, thriller, mystery that is sure to keep Team Travvy and any new fans entertained.

Check out my complete interview here: Travis Porter talks “Red Rock” Red Rock is now available on Netflix, iTunes, and DVD.

Deuce Caliber [via Groundsounds.com]

Recently got added on as a contributor at Groundsounds.com, a music art and culture blog based in Los Angeles, California. My first feature was an unsigned independent artist from Baltimore, Deuce Caliber.

Edem Kwame aka “Deuce Caliber”

Born Edem Kwame, Deuce Caliber (“D-Cal” for short) entered the rap game a very young age and never looked back. Citing artists like 50 Cent, DMX and even Elton John as inspiration, D-Cal pens his own rhymes and tries to make a name for himself in the rap game as well as a name for his label: Black Star Militia.

Check out my full interview here: Groundsounds.com presents DMV rapper Deuce Caliber

Production Value pt. 1

This summer, I had the honor of interning at National Public Radio. During my tenure (I just want to be fancy), I was able to work on a variety of stories with other interns as well as actual NPR reporters on lots of different stories. Below are some of those project summaries with links to the full article(s). Enjoy!


“The Cosby Show” was popular black sitcom in the 80’s and 90’s

My first professional blog! About a topic very close to my heart: Black Sitcoms. I did a lot of research about how my peers felt about today’s sitcoms versus those from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s. The basic conclsion: today’s black casted shows just didn’t come up to snuff. Check out my sentiments here:

“As Seen on TV” by Jolie A. Doggett


As part of my internship, I was able to work on NPR’s “Intern Edition”, an entirely intern produced program. I donned the role of producer and helped a fellow intern put together this social commentary about what happened when two white students joined a historically black scholars program. This one instance paints a larger picture of racial tensions that still exist in the United States. Listen to this audio piece below:


“White Sheep: Tensions Rise When Roles Reverse” by Madeline Tutman

Who is David Barton?

This is probably one of the most fun projects I worked on while I was at NPR. I was very lucky to work with the talented Barbara Bradley-Haggerty and the innovative Elise Hu on a web accompaniment to one of Barb’s biggest pieces: a feature on the controversial evangelical David Barton. It took a lot of strenuous tape watching and backup researching but the end result is a compare and contrast of fact and fiction-what Barton says versus what’s widely considered fact. Sidenote: After this piece was published, Barton’s publisher of his book, “The Jefferson Lies” dropped him. Coincidence? Or excellent intern reporting?

“Cue the Tape: How David Barton Sees the World” by Elise Hu and Barbara Bradley-Haggerty

David Barton is the evangelical founder of WallBuilders and author of “The Jefferson Lies”