What’s Going On – 10/14

Melvin Van Peebles, 89, passed away on September 21.

NEW YORK, NY

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio departs City Hall in about 75 days. After his eight-year tenure the city is not much better for wear. The city has solvable problems – education, homelessness, mentally challenged population Rikers Island lawlessness, rampant drug abuse, gun violence, and robberies at outdoor restaurants. But local government is immune to the prescriptions. There will be no honeymoon period for de Blasio’s successor, Eric Adams or Curtis Sliwa. Please note early voting dates October 23 to October 31.


Last week the CDC announced that Black and Latinx households suffered disproportionately higher COVID19 fatality rates. The losses included many heads of households which would destabilize family cohesion. It’s a recipe for more homelessness, more foster care, shelters. Could some of the national violence so widespread in Black and Latinx communities be related to the loss of loved ones owing to COVID?
Damian Williams, 41, confirmed by the US Senate will be the first Black Manhattan US Attorney for the Southern District of NY, viewed as America’s premier federal prosecutor. Alum from that office moved on to prestigious positions such as US cabinet members, senators, judges and NYC mayor. Native New Yorker, son of Jamaican immigrants, Williams graduated from Harvard, the University of Cambridge, before earning his Juris Doctorate at Yale Law School. He clerked with Merrick Garland, a federal judge, current US Attorney General and with Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Damian Williams

ARTS/CULTURE
THEATER: There is no shortage of musicals during the 2021 Broadway season. The following list shows with large Black casts.
AIN’T TOO PROUD: THE LIFE AND TIME OF THE TEMPTATIONS, a juke box musical about Motown’s storied group opened on Broadway in 2019 and garnered 12 Tony nominations.
TINA, THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, starring Adrienne Warren, winner of the Tony for best performance for a leading actress in a musical. She leaves the show on October 31.
CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, starring Shirley Clarke, is about an African American maid in Louisiana who encounters change, in ways large and small. Narrative unfolds through song about the transformations of those changes.
FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME: LIN-Manuel Miranda, Wayne Brady, Leslie Odom, Aneesa Folds.
SISTAS, story about the struggles, joys and triumphs of Black women through song, including pieces popularized by vocalists from Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, to Jill Scott and Beyonce.m

Howard French

Read Columbia University Journalism Professor, former NY Times journalist Howard French’s L.A Times Op-Ed “The West Owes a Centuries-old Debt to Haiti” in response to the recent inhumane treatment of Haitians seeking asylum in the USA and their deportation. The essay argues that “the Haitian revolution is one of the most remarkable stories of liberation, the largest revolt of enslaved people in history, and the only one to have produced a free state.” He continues stating how the Haitian revolution impacted US land mass and history. French’s new nonfiction work, “Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans and the Making of the Modern World 1471 to the Second World War” hits book stores this week.

Phillip Morrow


NEWSMAKERS
RIP: Phillip Morrow, 77, passed away on September 20. A master urban planner and economic development specialist. Morrow was the Director of Public-Private Partnerships at HUD, in Washington, DC in the 70s. He relocated to NY where he presided over the Harlem Urban Development Corporation and plunged headlong into housing and economic development projects rehabbing thousands of housing units and the Apollo Theatre renovation. In 1996, Morrow was named President of SoBRO, the South Bronx Overall Economic Corporation, where he was one of the architects of that area’s revitalization and stabilization. His Midas Touch revitalized underutilized SoBRO areas, rehabbed homes and the construction of the HIPHOP Museum.


RIP: Melvin Van Peebles, 89, passed away on September 21. The Chicago-born renaissance man was a filmmaker, playwright, actor, painter, musician, novelist and Wall Street trader to name a few of his vocations. His Broadway works “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death” and “Don’t Play Us Cheap” were performed in the same season. His films, “Story of a Three Day Pass,” “Watermelon Man” and “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” were edgy Black political statements and profitable. Van Peebles saw himself as the godfather of independent cinema, not the mainstream name assigned to him, father of blaxploitation film.

Kenneth Thompson


Good NYC News. A street was co-named in honor of the late Kenneth Thompson, Brooklyn’s first African-American District Attorney. Kenneth Thompson Way is on Jay Street between the Brooklyn DAs Office and the Brooklyn Supreme Court……….The FBI raided and removed items from the office and home of white firebrand, racist, Ed Mullins, head of the NY Police Department’s Sergeants Union. He resigned by day’s end. FBI would not disclose the cause of the raid, saying that it is ongoing and in concert with NYPD. Raid is probably union-funds related. Who did Mullins antagonize, Congressman Ritchie Torres? Mayor de Blasio?
A Harlem-based real estate consultant, Victoria can be reached at victoria.horsford@gmail.com

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