National Network Welcomes LaShanna R. Tripp As New Publisher

New Birmingham On the Cheap Website Publisher/Editor, LaShanna R. Tripp.



Birmingham, AL – The national “cheap” network brand, Living on the Cheap (LOTC) has named LaShanna R. Tripp as Publisher to develop its growing Birmingham website, Birmingham on the Cheap (BOTC). A writer, local event promoter, and former advertising executive with Luckie & Co., Tripp brings over 20 plus years of experience to the position.

Tripp was recently published in’s “Reckon Women” column, was a contributing author to Tavis Smiley’s award-winning book, “Keeping the Faith: Stories of Love, Courage, Healing and Hope from Black America,” and wrote, published and produced the popular play, “CHOICES…” with Jefferson County Schools in response to the onslaught of school shootings in 2018. The play garnered extensive media attention and was commissioned by The Nick Bell Foundation in both 2018 and 2019 for a full staging at its free, annual Nick Bell Football, Basketball & Cheer Camp.

As Publisher, Tripp will curate new, relatable content for readers, and infuse the network’s brand into the Birmingham community to support consumers in search of great deals and discounts during these tough, economic times.

“We are delighted to have LaShanna join Living on the Cheap,” said LOTC co-owner, Teresa Mears. “With her extensive background in media writing and communications, we think she will do well here with us. Plus, she knows how to find great deals, and the best, free and cheap things to do.”

More information about LaShanna R. Tripp is available on the company’s “About Us” page.

What Next?

© 2021 Tim Jones for Wordz & Rhythmz LLC.

As a nation stands on the cusp awaiting change, there’s a tension in the air that can be cut with a knife… Are you really ready for the answer to the question, What Next?”


What next, America?

This hysteria is overwhelming as loved ones held dear drop like flies!

Too young, high-strung, pre-existing conditions

Yet, ‘COVID’ marks their demise…

Hidden lies.


Everything smells of poop

As fellow men stoop so low as to smear their fears

Across whitewashed Capitol walls laid

By my enslaved and forgotten ancestors!

The reparations for Blacks stall and the poor class falls

As Congress’ too-little-too-late aid

Makes many of us wade and waddle

To coddle up new ways to reside.


Yet, the nation, with bated breath, bides…

Waits and relies on Biden’s imminent term,

Which widens the gap between black and white.


White and Black blends, forcing grey:

Blacks still hollering,

“Our Black lives matter!”

Yet our voices die…

Black man down…

Black woman down…

Blacks gunned down,

put down,

Black Genocide.

Watered down

Into new abbreviations like,

“P.O.C.” and “B.I.P.O.C.,”

Lumped together with other ethnicities

Who don’t believe Black matters matter,

So our Black love language is severed.


Miss me with that….

Lack of communication,

‘Cuz rejection seems to remain my station

As this nation continually stabs Blacks in the back,

Over 400 years now.


Like that best friend who said,

“I got your Black back, girlfriend!”

But in the end…

I was just a riser in her crystal clear staircase

As mine laid shattered…


Tattered and torn,

I’m so tired and worn,

Ready to just GIVE UP!

Throw in the towel as 2021

Hits me like a ton of bricks!

I’m so DONE!

Taking licks that no medicine can assuage,

So I meditate on a different page,

To my Higher Power of God!


As I lay subdued,

Eating a river of hot tears and spiritual verses like stew,

I spew chicken broth and brew — boiling mad,

Glad my Daddy sent heavenly angels

To help me climb out of my pit of despair…

Guarding my heart before I completely fall apart…

“Shanna don’t you dare…!”


See, I have to encourage MYSELF

‘Cause few listen when I call —

Emails go unanswered,

Ignored when I call or text,

But let them need something and I say no,

Those same folks be perplexed!



I’m almost afraid to ask.

But God doesn’t dish out fear,

So I’m here for the last




Turn now my eyes, my heart, and our kids to Lord Yah,

The Solution.

‘Cuz I’m learning that those who hurt you

Are sadly wrapped up in their own pollution.


See, the only One on Whom I can depend,

Will one day, part heavens’ skies with a shout, and descend.

And no BFF, Boo, Bae, or girlfriend

Will be able to save your lost soul

To ascend.


Are you ready for the next,

For what comes in

The End?



The Don Who Stole Christmas

I Donald J. Trump do grievously swear…
© News Americas News Network and – All rights reserved



There’s a lesson to be learned from Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. After President Trump blocked a relief bill for the American people, it’s official: “The Donald” is “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”

Sadly, many of us, including myself, might literally be able to relate to Yehushua being turned away thousands of years ago. Millions of Americans stand to be evicted from their homes on New Year’s following the expiration of the CDC’s moratorium protections.

I was ashamed until I recalled how God’s Holy Son Yehushua was turned away. He was thought to be insignificant and sent to be born in a cold, funky barn with animals. Just as a rich innkeeper did not make room for an exhausted, pregnant woman bringing forth the King of kings, the U.S. Congress and the President continue its months-long bickering, leaving citizens in precarious predicaments.

Pregnant with struggling small businesses, plummeting savings, lost wages,
rising illnesses, mounting bills, the passing of loved ones, and soon,
lost homes, our most dire needs remain unaddressed
by the very people we elected to speak and act on our behalf. 

At this moment, a “fluffed” bill that is hardly relief for distraught Americans, has been stagnated. Congress has padded this bill, which is incredulously over 5,000-plus pages long, with support to foreign countries, a slew of government operational funds, research, and more aid going to undocumented immigrants instead of what’s been designated for American citizens.

Why are vast federal aid components not directly associated with COVID-19 relief for Americans and the economy laid out in this bill? Why has Congress spent months toiling on a bill padded with federal securities for government operations? How are undocumented immigrants receiving more funds than taxpaying Americans?

Can anyone make this make sense?

Although the $1,200 direct stimulus payments to Americans in April was the largest expenditure in the CARES Act spending bill, totaling $600 billion, direct aid to Americans remains dismal.

One of the richest, most advanced countries in the world is lagging when it comes to providing support to its citizens in the midst of the worst pandemic in the world’s history (see STATISTA study here).

Refusing to take responsibility for his own lack of leadership in this process, President Trump slammed the bill late Tuesday, then scuttled off on holiday. This morning, U.S. House Republicans rejected the Democrats’ proposal to increase direct stimulus aid to Americans from $600 to $2,000, leaving the entire relief bill in limbo.


President Donald Trump as Santa Claus.

I was under the impression that great leaders delegate, supervise, and manage their resources well. We clearly have a president who has missed this mark continuously during his tenure and rides out his pending days confirming this assessment. In addition, Trump’s administration and the elected U.S. Congress has shown us where their priorities lie, and it is not with the needs of its suffering constituents.

Just as we shrug off Yehoshua throughout the year, looking only to The Nativity Story long enough to get us into the Holiday spirit, we have missed the message in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The real meaning of Christmas NEVER came from a store, and America has clearly forgotten what “In God We Trust” means.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Kevron2001

Now more than ever, man must seek the Holy Spirit, be obedient, and have the faith of a mustard seed. No government, or gift, can, or will, save you. That is a job meant for One Who is Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and The End. Trust in The Lord, and know that no matter what, all is well. It is going to be a Merry Christmas! SHALOM.

Hiphop Artist Says 2020 Upheaval “A Good Thing”

A Good Thing
A Good Thing Single Cover Art
©2020 Responsible Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Good Thing single cover art, with sketch of Constantine the Emcee drawn by Priscilla Hall.




With the holidays fast-approaching, social media statuses sadly stagnate on the woes of an exhausting global pandemic, racial upheaval, and America’s election debacle.

From overworked essential workers to frazzled parents juggling remote learners and insane workloads, many are simply wondering: what good has come out of 2020?

Ask neoclassic hiphop artist, Constantine the Emcee,

and a voice of calm and reason simply replies, “Life.”

After all, this Thanksgiving Day, the Birmingham-based producer released his feel-good groove, “A Good Thing,” across all digital streaming platforms, which is inspiring people to focus on appreciating their families and the moment they have with them, right now.

“A Good Thing” arrives just in time for all to celebrate love and the value of life itself, while honoring the memories of those who are no longer with us.

This song will cause pause for reflection on everything negative but refocus perspectives to cut through the noise and embrace what is tangible.

Having been one to have encountered deaths of loved ones and loss of all material possessions, Constantine the Emcee is no stranger to tragedy.

The human challenge is to nurture and love life, no matter what state we’re in.

“In the 2008 recession, my family and I lost absolutely everything the day our eldest daughter was born. Two years later, we were both laid off, and on the day we were evicted, found out we were expecting our son,” said Constantine the Emcee.

“We are living proof that even in the greatest of losses, life happens, and it is still a good thing. The human challenge is to nurture and love life, no matter what state we’re in.”

Constantine the Emcee is the second artist to debut on the Responsible Media LLC (RM) independent record label, which officially began its quiet journey in 2008.

On the heels of releasing the magnanimous song, “Runnin’,” just this past June, followed by the sleek track, “Black Bentley,” in September, the rap artist remains diligent at making music reminiscent of old school Hiphop, which can be consumed and enjoyed by anyone and everyone for years to come, despite the state of life itself.

Download music at

Constantine the Emcee’s Black Bentley Rolls in Sept 18th for New Music Friday

Constantine the Emcee’s Black Bentley Rolls




©2020 Responsible Media LLC. Photo Credit: Robert Coleman.


Birmingham, AL — Neoclassic hiphop artist, Constantine the Emcee, will drop his sleek, new single, Black Bentley, featuring fellow Birmingham-based artists, 7even Rich, Fee Fee Redmon and TheRealJoeClark, on Friday, September 18.


This smooth, classy track produced by Oakland’s, Kevin Barnes (who has co-produced with R&B crooners, Tank and Chris Brown), will be available for download on all digital streaming platforms worldwide.


A tempting song suggesting one be cognizant of and gratuitous for what they have, Black Bentley elevates focus on working hard towards achieving the ultimate desire.


With Barnes’ rousing, feel-good instrumentations as a luxurious backdrop, each artist represented here vocalizes in mind-blowing syncopation, flowing with a unique lyricism their respective fans will undoubtedly appreciate.


Constantine the Emcee is the second artist to debut on the Responsible Media LLC (RM) independent record label, which officially began its quiet journey in 2008.


On the heels of releasing the magnanimous song, Runnin’, just this past June, the lyric slayer acknowledges that there’s additional music slated for release in the coming weeks. However, he remains tight-lipped about an exciting collaboration he has in the works.


For more details, visit Be sure to read more of our content at

Just Believe..

So, just when your mountain seems too high

And your valley falls too low

Just when your tears, they come so fast,

You can’t tell which way to go

Just when your heart’s about to break

From the pain that’s deep inside

That is the time when you just believe…

                                     ~ LaShanna R. Tripp, Just Believe. Wordz & Rhythmz Publishing, 2007.


I originally wrote the song, “Just Believe,” in 2007 for the one and only American Idol Songwriting Competition that took place that season. It didn’t win, but this season, those lyrics are speaking to me.

When God told me to “launch into the deep” in the Spring of 2019,

I knew then that I was about to be swimming for my life.


My older siblings will tell you that I had a time battling water as a toddler, so any references to swimming around in deep waters instigate fear. I prefer to feel my feet touch bottom.

But we know that sometimes, the only way to overcome that fear is to jump in head first, right? Well, I seem to have that part down pretty good!

At the age of three, I saw all of my older siblings splashing around in the cool, aqua waters of our backyard pool in Yorba Linda, California. I saw their heads above the water so all was safe, right? I gleefully called out their names, waving wildly. Then, I launched my little brown body into that pool,  nearly drowning.

If it weren’t for my oldest brother, Lou Price, I wouldn’t be here writing this.

43 years later, I am drowning again, but God warned me and promised a safety net. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t apprehensive. The last time I left the comfort of a full-time job to pursue passion, I lost everything and ended up homeless.

I just couldn’t go back to that. As I prayed for a new response, all He said to me was, “This time won’t be like last time,” then sent me to Isaiah 54.

When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful!

~Eric Thomas, The Hip Hop Preacher

If this season has proved anything to those of us who believe in Him, it’s that God says what He means, and He means what He says. As I see so many of my friends, family and entrepreneurial cohorts succeed and make huge moves to shift their lives to greater during this pandemic, I am excited for them, and celebrate with them, but I myself am encountering some extremely dire circumstances that threaten to take me out completely.


Ever feel like all you did was wake up to conquer the day and all you continue to hit are brick walls? I mean, how many meetings can you take and be told no? How many calls, how many emails, how many grants, how many auditions, how many opportunities can you apply for, and be told no, and keep moving? How many, how many, HOW MANY?

Yep. That’s me right now.

I can’t make sense of anything right now, and it’s so frustrating! And I can’t help but wonder, am I the only one willing to verbalize how low I feel? I have never been great at covering up how I feel. What you see is what you get, and my face will tell you everything. Want to win at poker? Play me. Worst poker face EVER. Heck, I don’t even know how to play poker, so there you go!

But this lets me know, more than anything, that there is something big brewing with every step I make. With every call, I am closer. With every email, I am closer. With every no, there’s a yes building somewhere. I just have to keep striking the rock, place my hope in God, and trust I will strike gold soon.

Every delay, every denial, every choice, every thing God has allowed to be placed on hold and blocked is leading me on a journey to something greater that must be completed in order for His will to manifest in my life. I will continue to work, I will continue to keep the faith, and I will continue to confess His Word.

I am in spiritual labor,

and these pains are something serious.

Lord, help thou my unbelief…




Depression: Alone With Him

Depression: Alone with Him

In the world’s madness, lies a battle within the minds of all African-Americans that no one can comprehend. How do we heal? How can we be restored? Who do we turn to when no one knows, or can even understand, how deep this hurts? There is only One I can turn to in this depression.


Laid prostrate before you
Weighted world pounding my head
No amount of sleep
Giving rest on midnight’s bed

Peacefulness has left me
Depression’s setting in
Few friends have come to call
Yet darkness soon descends

Silent, cries are stifled
Healing distances itself
But, The Spirit within me bursts
As another sista sheds her tears

Woman esteemed, now empty
Voice raised to appeal Black pain
I’m moved to share her moments
23 minutes is all it takes

Now, laid prostrate before You
Weighted world pounding my head
Alone With Him* plays softly
To guide my whispered prayers

A vision of our Savior Yahushua
Carrying a cross He needn’t bear
A weighted world upon His shoulders:
Man’s selfishness creates despair

I pour my heart out before You
Seeing Your faithful love so pure
The words swell deep within me
And I know I must endure

Spoken tongues edify me through prayer,
Breaking chains that ache head and heart
Waving goodbye to sadness
As darkness now departs

A talk with Him cures everything
Though world still lies in pain,
When I sit alone with Him
I find strength to fight again…


*The prayer and worship instrumental, Alone With Him by Brandon Roberson, which was an inspirational background for this poem. Visit for additional poems, articles and works by LaShanna.

Constantine the Emcee’s Runnin’ Available Now on All Digital Streaming Platforms

Constantine the Emcee Headshot
Birmingham Neoclassic Hiphop Artist Constantine The Emcee Returns With Scorching New Single ‘Runnin’

With injustice at an all-time high, neoclassic hiphop artist, Constantine the Emcee, knew it was officially time to release his song, Runnin’, to the public.


Birmingham, Alabama’s neoclassical hiphop artist, Constantine the Emcee, has released his debut single, Runnin’ on the indie record label, Responsible Media.


Featuring spoken word artist, LaShanna, and the Umdabu South African Dance Company, Runnin’ is now available on all digital streaming platforms, including Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify, to name a few.


About Runnin’

Runnin’ is a unique and rhythmic production composed by Constantine the Emcee. Add to it his mind-bending lyricism and you have an introspective song that ensures a thrill you have not previously heard.


The dynamic drumming talents of South African musician and dancer, Johannes “Jomo” Xulu, are featured, as is spoken word by actress and wordsmith, LaShanna Tripp.


Runnin’ originally premiered in the film, Reverse, produced by Alfred Lowe, but was never publicly released by the label.


Constantine the Emcee is the second artist to debut on Responsible Media, which officially began its quiet journey in 2008. Several singles are slated for the artist’s release in the coming weeks, and executives admit it has all been a long time coming.


Be sure to check out Constantine the Emcee on Instagram. For booking inquiries, email requests to


Click to hear a sample of Runnin’ by Constantine the Emcee!

The Confederacy: A Proud American Legacy or Suppressed Treachery? (Part I)

Prior to global protests against police brutality and systemic racism, Jennifer Luck and I were merely colleagues in theatre education. Currently a professor at Jacksonville State University, I first met Jennifer during the stage production of Mahalia at Birmingham Festival Theatre.


However, we now have another shared memory we would both rather forget – seeing men sworn to protect and serve pin an unarmed black man down in the gutter of Minneapolis. Officer Derek Chauvin was seen on camera pressing his knee into George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds to keep him from breathing. Standing by, clearly aiding and abetting, were his three colleagues. And it changed everything.


Enraged protestors flooded city streets nationwide following the senseless murder of Floyd by rogue police on Memorial Day, May 25, 2020. All four officers involved would not be arrested or charged for nearly a week.


Removing Historic Figures or Traitorous Rebels?

In Alabama, activists led a slew of peaceful rallies, until some protesters decided it was time to remove the constant reminder of why the Confederacy existed in the first place – the graven statue of U. S. General, Robert E. Lee, in downtown Birmingham’s Linn Park.


As protestors defaced and vandalized the Lee statue, attempting to knock it down, Mayor Randall Woodfin assured the disgruntled crowd that he would have the statue removed within two days. This spurred protestors across the country to follow suit.


NASCAR announced it would no longer fly the confederate flag, and cities and colleges across the nation began removing state-funded statues and symbols of confederate soldiers from their grounds. But traitorous hate attempts to prevail, as Alabama’s only African-American NASCAR driver, Bubba Wallace, and team #43 are attacked, arriving to races at Talladega Speedway on June 21, only to find a noose in his team’s garage stall.


Help from the Community

My friend Jennifer and many other fellow white Americans seek to understand what we as Black America has endured, actively working to see how they can address policy to effect positive change. What encourages me even more, is that she and other residents of Jacksonville are making a concerted effort to have a confederate statue in Jacksonville, Alabama’s town square removed.


“We have a petition and our art historian is doing the research and writing a provenance,” Jennifer stated. “We’ve already been to one city council meeting and raised the question in the public comments, and will speak again this evening. We’ve been looking into relocation options because we want it to be moved to a more appropriate place where it can be contextualized, not kept in a public space in the center of town.”


The Truth of America’s Treacherous Past

Some white Americans around the nation refuse to support the outcries against injustice, maintaining that American history is being destroyed by removing confederate symbols. However, truth about the Confederacy needs to be properly retaught to adults, including President Donald J. Trump.


During his election rally in Tulsa, OK on June 20, Trump seemed to provoke attendees in a mournful measure, saying that protestors were “tearing down our beautiful statues.”


We must remember that the 11 states who seceded from the United States in 1860 (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia) operated as a completely separate government with Jefferson Davies as President, following the election of President Abraham Lincoln. The Civil War was instigated by these seceded states, under the most notable Generals in the Confederacy, which included General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.


“We are still dealing with the problems that were perpetuated by those who thought themselves to be superior based solely on the color of their skin,” notes Jennifer.


When the U.S. government made plans to abolish slavery, the majority of southerners waged war against its own country. This operation reeks of treachery, and it has been grossly glorified, intentionally mistaught, and yet honored in American history for over a century.


Jacksonville’s Issue in Town Square

Moved by Jennifer’s persistence in getting Jacksonville to authorize the removal of its confederate statue in Town Square, we delved deeper in hopes of garnering greater support for her efforts, and maybe even aiding in repealing Alabama law.


“Most of the confederate memorial statues were placed around the early 20th century by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC),” said Jennifer. “This organization of white women sought to reframe the narrative of the Civil War and the Confederacy, not as treasonous rebels who lost, but rather as heroic men fighting for a noble ‘Lost Cause.’

This was accomplished at the height of the Jim Crow era as confederate soldiers began to die off, intending to disenfranchise Black Americans and enforce segregation throughout the South. They wanted to reinforce ideas of white supremacy, which didn’t stop at erecting monuments. It continued with rewriting textbooks that were used in schools in Southern states throughout the 1970s.

They used their wealth and clout, being from prominent families, to impose their agenda on school children from all walks of life. Some of the challenges is overcoming the narratives of the ‘war of northern aggression,’ ‘states’ rights,’ and ‘happy darkies working in the fields,’ which are a direct result of their influence.”


Jennifer believes that removing these monuments from public places is just a first step in correcting American ills against African-Americans.


“Systemic racism exists,” Jennifer said pointedly. “It is baked into the foundational documents of our country. The constitution values a Black life at 3/5 the value of a white life. We had to amend it to rectify that horrific mistake. The place of Black Americans is full participation in our democratic processes, full participation in our society, and full equality under the law.

“These reminders placed by segregationists keep those wounds open and don’t allow for healing the wounds of racism and moving forward. Relocating them (confederate statues) to places where they can be contextualized as historical objects may not abolish racism, but it is a step in the direction of making our public spaces more welcoming to ALL of our citizens.”


Relocating Statue for Educational Purposes

Jennifer has also discovered parts of her family history and is more adamant than ever about removing the confederate statue in Jacksonville’s town square.


“We are working towards relocating the Confederate monument the UDC installed in 1909.  We garnered over 1,200 signatures on a petition, and our goal is to build community consensus to relocate the monument to a more appropriate location where it can be historically contextualized. One of the women working on this project is an art historian who has been researching the history of the monument and Jacksonville.

“We are conversing with local organizations that may be willing to house the monument, along with the city council about our public spaces in town. The essential question at hand is, ‘Does this monument reflect our community values today?’ We don’t believe it does.

“The inscription on the monument reads, in part, ‘Be it ours to transmit to posterity our unequivocal confidence in the righteousness of the cause for which these men died.’ We don’t have confidence in that righteousness. Owning other human beings as property is not righteous or part of our contemporary value system. It should not represent the heart and soul of our town.”


How You Can Help

Jennifer and other residents will reappear before the Jacksonville City Council tonight at 7 p.m. to petition for the removal of the confederate statue. They are asking all residents to engage in the discussion.


Citizens can immediately help by signing the online petition here at


“We will continue posting updates for further actions taken by the community, and communicate progress that has been made in the effort,” said Jennifer. “As we move forward, there will likely be fundraising campaigns to cover the relocation and fines to pay to the state of Alabama.


The Wordz Blog follow-up story with Jennifer Luck will appear in the next blog, The Confederacy: A Proud American Legacy or Suppressed Treachery? (Part II). Stay tuned!



Constantine the Emcee Debuts New Single on Indie Responsible Media Label

Single Cover Art for Runnin'



Birmingham, AL — One of the city’s legendary producers and hip hop heads has returned with a riveting new single, just in time for Juneteenth. Today, Constantine the Emcee released Runnin’, featuring spoken word artist, LaShanna, and the Umdabu South African Dance Company, via his Soundcloud artist page. The anticipated single will also be released on all digital streaming platforms.

With injustice at an all-time high, Constantine the Emcee knew it was officially time to release the song to the public, saying:

“We had other music scheduled for release earlier this year, but with COVID-19, the timing wasn’t right. But our current societal climate deems it necessary to share Runnin’ with the public.”

An introspective song magnifying the mind-bending lyricism and production skills of Constantine the Emcee, Runnin’ highlights the dynamic drumming talents of South African musician and dancer, Johannes “Jomo” Xulu, as well as actress and spoken wordsmith, LaShanna Tripp. Runnin’ premiered in the film, Reverse, produced by Alfred Lowe.

Constantine the Emcee is the second artist to debut on the independent Responsible Media LLC (RM) record label, which officially began its quiet journey in 2008. With several singles slated for the artist’s release in the coming weeks, Responsible Media executives admit it has all been a long time coming.

For more details, please visit and