By Victoria Horsford
HARLEM: NYS Assemblywoman Inez Dickens’ downstate inauguration ceremony was an affair to remember. Held at the Harlem Hospital Pavilion on February 2nd, the event was full of pomp and circumstance, complete with color guard and an SRO audience. Many high-pedigreed NY Democrats were in attendance who delivered remarks about the evolution of Inez Dickens, the elected official who began in 1990. Speakers included NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, NY Democratic County Leader Keith Wright, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and former Congressman Charles Rangel. Dickens’ sister Delores Dickens-Richards spoke, as did surprise guest Doug E. Fresh in a characteristic “free-style” tribute to Ms. Dickens. NYS Court Judge Tanya R. Kenney administered the “Oath of Office” which was followed by photo-ops and a reception with catered food and beverages were served. Crowd was rife with A-list business, community and faith leaders.
Interest in the NYC February 14th special election for the 9th City Council District, formerly occupied by Inez Dickens, has spilled over to mainstream media. A 2/5 Sunday Daily News story referenced the election, which stated that 12 candidates are running. The 2/6 NY Post story about the special election says that 9 contenders are in play. A telephone message to my home/office queries me about whom I favor for the election and cites 5 candidates: Senator Bill Perkins, Cordell Cleare, Athena Moore, Larry Blackmon and Marvin Holland.
A NY Observer story says that former NYS Assemblyman Keith Wright will run for Senator Perkins’ seat if he wins the 2/14 City Council election…………Adriano Espaillat, Dominican Republic-born freshman Congressman who succeeded Charlie Rangel, has applied for Congressional Black Caucus membership. Espaillat defines himself as a Latino of African descent.
BROOKLYN: Elected officials Jumaane Williams, Kevin Parker, Rodneyse Bichotte and Josue Pierre convene a “State of Immigration, State of Emergency” session on 2/8 at 1401 Flatbush Avenue to consider potential changes for immigrants during President Trump’s watch and how to prepare for future actions. For more info call 718.629.2900, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE NATION: When will President Donald Trump present his 2017 “State of the Union Address”?…………………When will the Democrats convene this month to vote for the Democratic National Committee’s new leadership team? The contestants for DNC Chair are Congressman Keith Ellison; Tom Perez, President Obama’s Labor Secretary; Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party; Jaime Harrison, S.C. Democratic Chairman; and Sally Boynton Brown, Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director. Time for change is Now!
Check out the “EN POINTE: Brown Girls Do Ballet”, an arts calendar featuring African-American dancers on their toes. Najaah Patterson, of Atlanta, is one of the ballerina subjects. Najaah was the ultimate modern danceaholic who has attended the highly coveted Alvin Ailey Summer Boot Camp in NY every year since 2014. Last year, her interest veered towards ballet. Her EN POINTE pictures suggest that she could be a Misty Copeland acolyte. Do not take my word. Get your copy of EN POINTE. It is a great Black History Month gift and conversation piece. [Visit browngirlsdoballet.com]
MOVIE: “I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO”, a documentary about American writer/essayist/screenwriter James Baldwin, directed by Haitian-born globe-trotter Raoul Peck. Oscar nominee for Best Documentary, “I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO” is unfiltered vintage Baldwin and his meditations on American race relations, Black Lives Matter, film and love. Samuel Jackson narrates from Baldwin’s material which is provided by his estate.
MOVIE: “CHAPTER AND VERSE” is a gritty urban drama feature film about an ex-convict who tries to start a new life on Harlem’s new, gentrified and mean streets. Directed by Jamal Joseph, starring Daniel Beatty, “CHAPTER AND VERSE” is playing at Mist Harlem, 40 West 116th Street.
Congrats to Vonetta Horsford Nelson and Brian Jacobs on their engagement. A destination wedding is planned in Puerto Rico next fall.
Congrats to tennis phenom Serena Williams, who is engaged to Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, an online platform used for creating and sharing content such as stories, links and images in areas from gaming to politics.
Brooklyn Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo and the Anderson Food Ministry hosts a Senior Pre- Valentine’s Lunch, “Love in the 35th District”, on February 10th at 55 Hanson Place, 9th Floor, in Brooklyn at 11 am to 2 pm. [RSVP at 718.260.9191]
RIP: Wilhemina (Billie) Holliday, 86, transitioned. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Holliday was raised in New York and quickly emerged as one of its rising stars of her generation. She graduated from NYU and the New School University where she earned her MS in Human Resources and Manpower Development. In 1976, NYS Governor Hugh Carey appointed her to the NYS Parole Board, where as commissioner she had oversight of all 37 correction facilities. In 1984, NYC Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward named Holliday Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs, a title which made her the highest-ranking Black woman in American law enforcement. After her NYPD retirement, she was appointed Mt. Vernon Police Commissioner. She served as NAACP Mid-Manhattan President for 8 years. Holliday was a member of the Ethiopian Hebrew Commandment Keepers Synagogue.
Oprah will be a special contributor to the CBS-TV show “60 MINUTES”, a sound business move for both brands during these divisive American times. “60 Minutes” boasts weekly audiences between 10 to 20 million. Oprah will continue to manage OWN, the cable TV Channel which she co-owns with the Discovery Network.
The Harlem Opera Theater celebrates its 15th Anniversary Salute to Black History Month at the Schomburg Center on February 17th at 7:30 pm. Concert is a tribute to Sylvia Olden Lee, Fulbright scholar, pianist and accompanist who was the first African-American vocal coach hired by the Metropolitan Opera who coached opera divas Marian Anderson, Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle, and she toured with Paul Robeson. [Visit harlemoperatheater.org]
Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre presents “ADAM”, a new play about Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, which is set from 1945 to 1967 in the halls of Congress, Abyssinian Baptist Church and Bimini. Directed by Ajen Washington and written by Peter DeAnda, “ADAM” stars Timothy Simonson. Play runs through March 12th at the Castillo Theatre, 543 West 42nd Street, Manhattan. [Visit Castillo.org]
The Greater New York Chamber of Commerce hosts Black History Month Awards Breakfast honoring the Honorable Charlie Rangel; Michael Garner, 100 Black Men President; and Larry Mullins, WINS news anchor, on Friday, February 10th at 8 am at the Hard Rock Café in NYC. Registration required. [Visit chamber.nyc]
The NY Urban League hosts its 14th Annual Champion of Diversity Awards Breakfast on February 13th at 7:30 am at the Plaza Grand Ballroom, Fifth Avenue at 58th Street, Manhattan. Honorees include Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller; Rosalind L. Hudnell, VP Corporate Affairs Group, Intel Corp., and President of the Intel Foundation; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and a Champion of Diversity Award for Exemplary Best Practices for American Airlines, American Express and Comcast NBC Universal. [Visit NYUL.org]
The Harlem Fine Arts Show(HFAS) returns to The Riverside Church on February 16-19. The HFAS is a treasure trove of works by Black masters and emerging fine artists, an expo without equal in NYC. HFAS will honor Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The HFAS Opening Night will be hosted by the Delta Sigma Theta’s Brooklyn Chapter. [Call 800.376.2860]