AUTUMN IN AMERICA
The Georgia jury on the Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery’s death did not disappoint America when it delivered a guilty verdict for three white men. The jury proved that liberty and justice for all is possible in America in a red state as the nation agonizingly struggles to attain a more perfect union.
NEW YORK: The 2022 NYS Gubernatorial race is using lots of print ink. Polls are taken or made up every week. According to latest, Kathy Hochul enjoys a commanding lead with 40%, followed by Letitia James at 17%, de Blasio 7% and Jumaane Williams, at 6.7%. Congressman Tom Suozzi, who represents Queens, and Long Island, just entered the race, as a moderate. According to Ballotpedia, African American entrepreneur Joe Holland joins the 2022 NYS Attorney General race. The Democrats AG lineup includes Eric Gonzalez, Brooklyn DA; Melinda Katz, Queens DA, and Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout.
In NY last weekend, the Neo Fascist Proud Boys, dressed in black with faces covered by bandanas, marched without a permit, down the highway, to Rockville Center’s business district in Nassau County where they, distributed flyers and disrupted business. The trigger: the 11/02 GOP victories in Nassau and Suffolk Counties? Or their anger about the Georgia jury verdict regarding the in the Ahmaud Arbery case.
NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams planned to visit Europe this week. He cancelled and decided to visit Ghana instead. Good idea! While in the homeland, Adams should take a side trip to Benin and get the ancestral blessings for the tough road ahead for him as NYC Mayor, the second hardest job in America.
Robin Hood Foundation CEO Richard Buery’s, NY Daily News opinion piece, HOW ERIC ADAMS CAN MAKE THE WORLD’S GREATEST CITY THE MOST POWER ENGINE OF OPPORTUNITY, should be required reading for urban policy makers nationwide. It is long on stats and solutions to address poverty, education, housing, and eviction prevention. Buery was NYC Deputy Mayor with oversight of the Pre-K program under Hizzoner de Blasio.
TEXAS: It is no secret that Governor Greg Abbott must exit the state mansion in 2022. There is a crowded field of gubernatorial contenders on both sides of the aisle, including Texas native son, actor Matthew McConaughey, who recently pulled out of the race. Democrat Beto O’Rourke should be the Abbott successor. Republicans have won questionable races since 2000. Remember the 2018 Governor races in Georgia and Florida, when African American Democrats Tracey Abrams and Andrew Gillum, respectively, lost by small margins.
COVID’s myriad variants surface willy-nilly, all the more reason for the vaccination. The latest variant, Omicron, was reported by a South African scientist. Consequently, South Africans and Africans from Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana are banned from traveling to the US and the United Kingdom, Paraguay, and Australia. The travel ban in premature. Omicron has been spotted in Hong Kong.
A 1,500-foot skyscraper, which would be the highest in NYC and the highest in the Western Hemisphere, is in the planning stage. Its newsworthiness lies with the project’s principals, and African American Dream Team, real estate developer Don Peebles, developer; McKissick and McKissick, construction company;
Exact Capital, a real estate development firm, investor; and David Adjaye, architect. The Affirmation Tower will house two hotels, the NAACP headquarters and commercial office rental space. Tower will be located in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards vicinity.
ARTS AND CULTURE
THEATER: There is more Black theater for discerning theater aficionados. Previews begin December 6 for MJ THE MUSICAL, yes, as in Michael Jackson, with a book by Lynn Nottage, including more than 25 of the Man in the Mirror’s chart-topping hits. Michael Frost makes his Broadway debut in MJ title character. Visit MJthemusical.com
Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre has two plays, GONG LUM’S LEGACY,” by Charles White and A MILES SOLO by Glenn Young, on its 2022 Spring schedule. Visit newfederaltheatre.com
The play, THE SLAVE WHO LOVED CAVIAR by writer/poet professor Ishmael Reed satirizes the relationship between American pop culture icons cum fine artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, runs in a limited engagement from 12/23 to January 9, at the Theater for The New City, 155 First Avenue, Manhattan. Rome Neal, Director of Nuyorican Poets Café, serves as production coordinator. Call 212.254.1109
BOOKS NOTES: Actor Will Smith’s memoir, WILL, raced to the top of the nation’s best seller book lists. He is also getting media attention for his lead role in the biopix, KING RICHARD, about Richard Williams, the highly-driven dad/coach of world-renown tennis icons Serena and Venus Williams.
The Washington Post’s 10 Best Books of 2021 list includes works by three African American women: “The Love Songs of W.E. DuBois” (fiction) by University of Oklahoma Professor Honorée Fannonne Jeffers; “Somebody’s Daughter, A Memoir,” by Ashley Ford and “All She Carried, The Journal of Ashley Sack, A Black Family Keepsake,” a nonfiction story about enslavement and separation by Harvard Professor Tiya Miles.
Check out the new kid on the literary block, Digital Canopi, a platform for “Caribbean ebooks, e-textbooks and literary works, past, present and future’ which will launch as live streamed event on Friday, December 3 from 11 am @digitalcanopi.com.
MUSIC: Billy Strayhorn is one of four composer/arranger deities who was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame, Class of 2021. A Duke Ellington collaborator for almost three decades, Strayhorn’s TAKE THE A TRAIN is rated as one of the top 100 American songs of the 20th Century.
RIP: Fashion designer Virgil Abloh, 41, died of a rare form of cancer. Chicago born Abloh was the son of Ghanian immigrants. He earned degrees in engineering and architecture but learned to sew from his mother. In the fashion world, he was a Kanye West collaborator, before launching his Off-White line. In 2019, Louis Vuitton hired him as creative director of men’s wear, which was a first for a Black person with an upscale couturier. He set up a $1 million scholarship for young Black fashion industry leaders and was obsessed with influencing younger generations.
RIP: Malikah Shabazz, 56, the youngest of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz’s six daughters was found dead by her daughter on November 22, in her Brooklyn, NY apartment. She died a few days after Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance exonerated two men for the wrongful conviction of killing her father. The Shabazz women want the Malcolm X death investigation to be re-opened.
A Harlem-based media management consultant, Victoria is reachable at email@example.com