Celebrities Embracing Clayton County

ND_STAR_POWER_5_t670Clayton News Daily | Article By Jeylin White

Clayton County has become the epicenter for several celebrities to launch or promote their community initiatives.

Actress Ellia English, 52, is best known for her role as “Aunt Helen” to Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx’s “Jamie King” on “The Jamie Foxx Show,” and currently known as “Mary Lou Wentz” on the Disney Channel sitcom “Good Luck Charlie.” She visited Mt. Zion Primary School to promote her literacy tour. 2012

“Actors and entertainers are a big influence and it’s so exciting for English to come out and help out with our county-wide initiative,” said the school’s principal, Enika Bryant.

Another young actress who imparted words of wisdom to Clayton’s youngsters was 16-year-old Ajiona Alexus, who stopped by Elite Scholars Academy in August, to speak to young girls of “Ladies of Elite,” a new mentoring program — initiated this year — that focuses on self-esteem, bullying, conflict resolution and promoting self worth, for seventh- through 11th-grade girls.

Alexus recently landed her first major TV role as the daughter of comedian Rickey Smiley on the TV One network called, “The Rickey Smiley Show,” that premiered this fall could not have gone any better,” said Jamilyne Lorme, school counselor and founder of the mentor group. “[Alexus] did such a wonderful job. She doesn’t look like a celebrity but [like one of my students] and the [girls] were so comfortable with her.”

Jonesboro’s Toney Douglas, a point guard for the Houston Rockets, and his brother Harry, wide receiver for the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, signed autographs at the annual Chick-fil-A back-to-school bash, in August. The brothers are graduates of Jonesboro High School and have an organization called the “Douglas Brothers Foundation.” Every year, the two said, it’s important for them to give back to the county to help shape children’s futures.

“Education is key to one being successful in the future and I thank Clayton County’s teachers and coaches for helping me,” said Harry.

During the bash, they handed out 500 school supplies and 35 haircuts for young boys.

Rhythm and blues artist Angie Stone was honored last year by the Forest Park High School Parent Teacher Association with an award for her contributions to the county. She also hosted the City of Riverdale’s South City Concert Series and performed for the Riverdale concert series was rhythm and blues artist Freddie Jackson, who performed his hits “Rock Me Tonight,” and “You Are My Lady.”

“These [smaller venues are] what Freddie Jackson was made of. My first album went gold with Atlanta alone, I sold 500,000 copies. So these are the die-hard fans,” said Jackson.

“It’s important as celebrities we give back to our communities. It’s the people who have made us successful,” said VaShawn Mitchell, who leads praise and worship service for Higher Living Christian Church in Jonesboro.

Mitchell is a six-time Stellar Award winner, who is currently a part of the American Family Insurance “Dream Out Loud” tour.

It’s important that we encourage people, even in this distressed economy,” said Mitchell. He added his favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”


Above Photo by Jeylin White | Clayton News Daily
Left: Rhythm and blues artist Freddie Jackson, who performed his hits “Rock Me Tonight,” and “You Are My Lady,” at the City of Riverdale’s South City Concert Series.