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What’s Going On


NATION TIME: For more than a week, African Americans and their leaders at the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, listened in disbelief to president-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees. Hey, something was amiss. The original, coveted cabinet posts State, Treasury, Justice and Defense seemed elusive for African Americans. Secretaries of State and the Treasury were announced. They are white. Yes, Blacks were named to the Economic Council, US Ambassador to the UN and deputy secretary posts, some of which require Senate confirmation. Then we learn that the nominees for Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health And Human Services are Hispanics, Alejandra Mayorkas and Xavier Becerra, respectively. Something was not right with President-elect “who was going to have our (Black) backs.” To add insult to injury Black leaders complained about Biden’s inaccessibility. They were not reticent about their discontent and shared same with mainstream media. They got an appointment with Biden on 12/8. However, something miraculous happened on 12/7 when media started circulating info that African American Lloyd Austin, a retired Four-Star Army General would be the Biden nominee for the Pentagon.

Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin, III

Lloyd Austin, 67, was the Commander of the US Central Command from 2013-2016 responsible for the Middle East. A 40-year Army veteran, he attend West Point and Auburn University. When Austin is confirmed, he becomes the first African American to oversee the US Department of Defense. Defense Department.

The Biden/African American leaders summit was held after press time. Will the angry Black leaders pressure Biden into a consideration of an African American for top Justice Department job? Will former MA Governor Duval Patrick made the cut? Don’t think so. Doug Jones US Senator from Alabama and Judge Merrick Garland, Obama Supreme Court nominee, eschewed by the US Senate, make more sense.

Marcia Fudge

On 12/8, media confirmed that Black Ohio Congress member Marcia Fudge is Biden’s HUD Secretary choice.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported good news about the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID19 vaccine on 12/8. Their double dose vaccine had an efficacy rate of 95% after doses were administered three weeks apart. Protection kicks in early with comparable efficacy across f race and age demos. On 12/10 FDA will review its assessments in advance of a vote to recommend use of the Pfizer vaccine in the USA. Now for the hard part, distribution of the vaccine to the states and convincing many Americans, especially Black Americans, of the drug’s efficacy. The nonagenarian British woman, one of the first recipients of the Pfizer vaccine in the West was encouraging.

Students of NY power politics must read the 11/30 City and State NY issue, guest edited by Sheryl Huggins Salomon which focuses on HOW BLACK WOMEN BECAME NEW YORK’S POWER PLAYERS, including a sidebar piece, “How Powerful Black Women Are Correcting Inequalities.” Issue is a compendium of interviews and profiles about 43 distaff leaders making a difference in NY and beyond. Some of the women profiled include luminaries like NYS AG Letitia James; Rep. Yvette Clarke; NYS Senate leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins; Bronx DA, Darcel. D. Clark; Mara Gay, NY Times; Mayor Lovely Warren; NYS Assembly members Inez Dickens Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Rodneyse Bichotte, Hazel Dukes; NAACP; Celeste Morris, Public Affairs; Arva Rice, NYUL; Maya Wiley, NYC Mayoral hopeful; Attorney Rose Pierre Louis, NYU; Kia D. Floyd, Facebook; Hasani Pratts, Higher Heights; Yvette Buckner, 21 IN 21; and Stacy Lynch, Bill’s daughter, a 2021 NYC Council hopeful. Visit, How Black Women Become NY Power Players.

Maya Wiley

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on Wednesday delaying the sale of the NYC tax lien sale through January 1. If the NYC Council fails to renew that law by 12/31, the sale is dead. That’s good news from Santa for the city’s small landlords, mostly Black and Latino.

The Black Virtual Career Fair hosts its General + Tech winter fair, December 10, 9 am to 1 pm PST. The Black Career Fair will match Black professionals with more than 25 national, forward-thinking, cutting-edge companies. Some of the Career Fair sponsors include Accenture Federal Services, Credit Suisse, Freedom Financial Network, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Intuitive Surgical, Pocket Gems, Shutterfly and X-the Moonshot Factory. For free registration, visit www.virtual.blackvcf/en/


Marcia Pendelton, founder of Walk Tall Productions and Black Theater Online Weekly, two NY based theater production and promotion outlets, expands her brand. She will produce/host a new 60-minute radio show, BACKSTAGE STORIES, another platform for arts, culture and entertainment, which airs Thursdays on WBAI-FM (99.5) and will stream internationally on Show launch is 12/10 at 9 pm.

MSNBC TV has hired GenXers, political analyst/author Tiffany Cross and WAPO journalist and editorial board member Jonathan Capehart to host its Saturday/Sunday 10 am -12 pm time slot, beginning December 12/13. They replace Joy Reid’s AM Joy, which has morphed into
REIDOUT a show which begins MSNBC weekday prime time lineup. Erstwhile regular AM JOY guests, Cross will host the Saturday show; and Capehart will host the Sunday show. Shows title is to be determined.

Three literary lions among the CENTER FOR FICTION Awardees last Thursday.
LUSTER, a first novel by Raven Leilani about a Black woman involved in a menage a trois with a white couple; James McBride’s historical novel THE GOOD LORD BIRD, about American abolitionist John Brown; and ONE WORLD imprint editor Chris Jackson whose writers portfolio includes Ta Nehesi Coates.

James McBride

The Women’s Media Center WMC elected New Yorker Janet Dewart Bell as its new Chairperson. Dr. Bell boasts extensive experience as a communications strategist, a radio and television producer and as a management consultant. The founder/president of LEAD Inter-generational Solutions, a nonprofit which identifies multi-generational leaders as social change agents. Dr. Bell also organizes the Derrick Bell Lectures on Race in American Society at the NYU School of Law, now in its 25th year. Her nonfiction book “LIGHTING THE FIRES OF FREEDOM: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement,” was nominated for a 2019 NAACP Image Award in Literature. The WMC was founded by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan in 2005 to raise the visibility and decision- making power of women to insure that their stories get told.

A Harlem-based brand/media consultant, Victoria can be reached at

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