Last week I said goodbye to my friend, Dennis Darrell, who at age 47
recently passed.

In case you were unaware, Dennis was a well-know promoter of independent films in the Charlotte area. He was a talented, nutty-professor-type advocate committed to helping independent filmmakers — particularly African Americans — gain respect in an
industry sprinkled with few filmmakers of color.

Although he was in failing health, you’d never know it.

I first met Dennis when he produced the initial Legacy of Women Film Showcase for Deltas of
Charlotte, Foundation, Incorporated. This event, the first of its kind in Charlotte, featured award-winning short films by African American women filmmakers. In addition to uncovering great films, he lent his expertise to help coordinate this event.

“Dennis helped us with everything,” says Katrina Young, president Deltas of Charlotte
Foundation, Inc. “He contacted vendors, selected the films and assisted with every aspect of the event. He will truly be missed.”

Now in
its seventh year, the Legacy of Women Film Showcase is a huge success,
largely because of Dennis. I am honored to have worked with him as the
event’s host for five years.

With a bundle of enthusiasm and little hosting experience, Dennis helped me feel comfortable and confident behind the microphone. We always shared backstage laughs and I
enjoyed his comments regarding the film selections. And each year, as
the previous year, he paced frantically back stage, like a father
awaiting an unborn child’s arrival. Albeit nervous, Dennis maintained
his cool and always smiled.

As the Legacy event prospered and maintained a following, Dennis tapped me to host other film events he produced around town, whereby I further honed my public speaking and
hosting skills.

As I reflect on his legacy I’m blessed I had an opportunity to know Dennis. Charlotte’s independent film climate has been accelerated by his touch. Dennis leaves behind a wife, Nikita, and three stepsons.

As a fitness professional, I remind readers to embrace your health. Please schedule your regular screenings and examinations and exercise regularly.

where to begin? Here are some tips for healthy living from the American
Heart Association website:

  • Eat more vegetables and fruit; they’re generally high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and
    other important nutrients and low in calories.
  • Eat fish at least twice per week choosing oily fish high in
    omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, trout, or herring.
  • Add whole grains. Eating unrefined whole grains can lower your
    cholesterol and help you feel full when you’ve had what you need.
  • Cut back on fats, cholesterol, and sodium. Look for fresh produce
    and grocery items with little or no added sodium or saturated fats. Find
    ways to bake, steam, and prepare your foods with healthy living in
    mind. Try to keep your sodium to 1500mg/day or less and look for
    “low-sodium” or “sodium-free” items at the grocery store.
  • Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. Keep your intake to
    these sweet treats to no more than 36-oz per week, based on a 2000
    calorie diet.

And, like Dennis, live life pursuing your passion!

In health and wellness.

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