Bean Soup Times was created by Chicago-native Toure Muhammad, a journalist, comedy writer, public relations and online marketing specialist. He’s a proud alumni of Lindblom Technical High School (Chicago, IL) and Lakeshore High School (College Park, GA). Here’s a little more about publisher Muhammad.
After graduating from Morehouse College, he was a reporter and photographer for The Final Call newspaper, where he was on the front lines helping to give voice to the voiceless. Toure reported on issues primarily affecting Blacks and Latinos. He conducted interviews with elected officials, civil rights leaders, and activists, and Hip Hop artists such as Too Short, Doug E. Fresh, Queen Latifah, Ghetto Boys, and Ice T. He also interviewed Larry Hoover, the reputed leader of the Gangster Disciples.
In all, he wrote several hundred articles on various issues ranging from police brutality, gang violence, public housing, mental illness, government wrong-doing, entertainment and more. Toure also, in 1997, compiled a history book about the Nation of Islam called Chronology of Nation of Islam History which sold more than 10,000 copies.
Then, he became the communications director for a national organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes the religious community to support worker rights’ issues. I fundraised, crafted media messages and strategic plans. Toure conducted media campaigns that resulted in front page news articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune to name a few. He traveled deep into southern cities writing news articles and attracting publicity for Latino immigrants being exploited in poultry factories. He even coordinated a national conference held in Washington, D.C.
Then, Toure started Bean Soup Times (March 2001), a satire and entertainment publication. Basically, he become a journalist and a comedian…since most of the news was a joke anyway. Bean Soup Times—the place where humor, politics and culture meet—has been a matrix of support, encouragement and advocacy for Chicago artists, entrepreneurs, activists, and organizations via a print edition, events, website, press releases, email marketing, flyer distribution, ad placement, and good old-fashioned word of mouth recommendations, and networking.
Toure has worked for the fastest-growing labor union in the country where we exposed how the uninsured were being overcharged for medical treatment. Toure helped many drowning in medical debt get their bills drastically cut or reduced to nothing, and we successfully launched a hospital safety campaign that became the Hospital Report Card Act. For you history buffs, then Illinois Senator Barack Obama was the lead sponsor of the bill! Signed into law August 2003, this law calls for hospitals to publicly report on staffing levels, nurse turnover and vacancy rates, and infection rates.
Toure managed the publishing of a quarterly newsletter for 30,000 plus members that had to be translated into four languages; and developed communication plans, message, themes and communication vehicles for religious, community, worker, and political audiences.
Toure then spent the last two and a half years working as the communications director for a prominent Illinois Congressman where he developed and implemented media and constituent outreach. He traveled back and forth between Washington, DC and Chicago managing both his national and local presence. This included broadened his online presence via email marketing and social networking. Toure also wrote talking points, speeches, press releases, served as his spokesperson and helped him maintain a positive image in the community.
No stranger to being the subject of the media, Muhammad has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Upscale magazine, rolling out newspaper, and N’Digo magapaper. He’s been interviewed by Tavis Smiley on NPR, on Chicago’s WBEZ (Chicago public radio), and many other radio shows and local cable shows. For two years he appeared weekly on Black Chicago’s historic WVON radio station.