The Winter Olympics unfolds in Beijing, China and we watch countries compete with each other for a gold, silver or bronze medal for excellence. Sports is a welcome alternative to war. Thousands of miles away in Western Europe, nations are in disarray awaiting Russia’s next move of an imminent invasion of Ukraine, its neighbor, which will lead to war. NATO, the EU bristle at the thought of a war in Europe, with myriad ramifications for world society. A major NATO ally, the US has provided support to Euro allies and close to a billion dollars in military support direct to Ukraine. Is there a new axis of power, Russia/China? Let’s talk sanctions and diplomatic solutions with the Russians, instigators of the impending Ukraine aggression. There are too many extant fires to extinguish now in Syria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, and in the USA with the threat of domestic terrorists.
Two years ago, no one could have predicted a pandemic which would claim millions of lives worldwide and which would plunge the planet into chaos. Battling COVID and its variants has been warlike. Now another war emerging in Europe which will have serious worldwide consequences. No Way! Let’s do more cold wars, no hot wars!
Black History Month 2022 opened with grim news. On February 1 media headlines focused on the bomb threats to 14 historically Black Colleges and Universities, HBCUs, including Howard, Spelman, Xavier, Kentucky State and Jackson State University. A week later, the FBI reports about six people of interest, all members of white hate groups. Domestic terrorism intervenes during BHM.
On February 1, former pro football coach Brian Flores sued the National Football League (NFL), and three teams – Miami Dolphins, NY Giants and Denver Broncos – for discrimination in hiring practices for coach and upper management positions. All defendants denied the Flores claim. The NFL is the nation’s highest revenue-generating sport, which boasts team players who are 80% Black, and which has no people of color who are franchise owners.
Flores went public two weeks prior to the holiest NFL day, the Super Bowl which is February 13. Its half time roster is 95% Black, all HIPHOP deities like Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg Dr. Dre, and Kendrick LaMar. By February 7, the Houston Texans promoted African American Lovie Smith to head coach. The Dolphins hired biracial Mike McDaniel as head coach. Brooklyn-born Brian Flores, the son of Black Hondurans, may have ended his NFL coaching career with his lawsuit. He is to be commended for exposing fault lines in the NFL configuration of 32 teams.
The 2022 American midterms are arguably the most important election for the nation this Century. Americans must return to the polls in large numbers and cast their votes for Democrats this year, if American democracy is to be sustained. Early polls and stats do not favor Democrats control of Congress. Voter suppression laws in many states disproportionately impact voters of color. The Republican propaganda machinery says that the 1/6/21 insurrection was “legitimate political discourse,” its Critical Race Theory culture war is popular; and its anti vaxx stance is attractive to many. They outwit Democrats, unable to take victory laps for recent Congressional victories. GOP censures its reps who sit on the Jan 6 investigation. GOP Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell recently said “Jan 6 was a violent insurrection.” NY Congressman Hakeem Jeffries says that RNC stands for Republican National Cult. Rumors abound about an early exit by Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison.
FILM: Film industry’s nominations for the 3/27 Academy Awards were announced. African Americans were finalists in top categories. Best Picture, KING RICHARD, a biopix about the father of tennis phenoms, Serena and Venus Williams. Best Actor: Will Smith in title role and as co producer, in KING RICHARD and Denzel Washington THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH: Best Supporting Actress, Aunjanue Ellis, KING RICHARD and Ariana DeBose, WEST SIDE STORY Best Documentary: Stanley Nelson and Traci Curry, for ATTICA, about the NY prison uprising and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, co-director of SUMMER OF SOUL (Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised”), a 1969 Harlem culturefest. Best Original Song, “Be Alive” by Beyonce for KING RICHARD.
FINE ART: The DC MOORE Gallery’s new exhibit, “DAVID DRISKELL: Mystery of The Masks” runs from February 17 to March 26. Fine artist David Driskell, (1931 to 2020) is a household name among international collectors and art scholars. The show includes 60 art works, paintings and works on paper, and is the first major Driskell exhibition since his death in 2020. DC Moore is located at 535 West 22 Street, Manhattan. DCMooreGallery.com
The Skoto Gallery celebrates its 30th Anniversary with a group exhibit highlighting works by as many established and emerging artists, which runs from February 10 to March 19. Skoto is headquarters for contemporary African art including the Diaspora in NYC. Jamaica-born Peter Wayne Lewis, Senegal-born Mor Fall, Worsene Worke Kosrof, Sokari Douglas Camp, and Carl Hazelwood are among the 30th Anniversary artist participants. . Skoto Gallery is located at 529 West 20 Street, Manhattan. Skotogallery.com
THEATER: Black Theater thrives on Broadway. MJ, THE MUSICAL about Michael Jackson, with a catalog of about 40 songs, starring newcomer, Myles Frost, opened on February 1. Some reviewers note that he channels the King of Pop like a devoted disciple.
The drama “Skeleton Crew,” starring Phylicia Rashad, Joshua Boone, Brandon Dirden, directed by Rubin Santiago-Hudson, which is set in a Detroit car factory got universally good reviews about the acting, direction and script. It seems to be an audience pleaser.
THE FEBRUARY CALENDAR
The NY Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Asian Legislators host its 51st Annual Legislative Conference, from February 18-20, in Albany.
This year is one with a plethora of a NY elections, the result of the 2020 Census and the new redistricting maps. In 2022, New Yorkers vote for Governor, Attorney General, NY Assembly members and Senators, and all Congress members. Visit NYSABPRHAL.ORG.
The Positive Community Magazine hosts its Second Annual Great American Emancipation Day Awards Banquet on February 19 from 2-6 pm at The Robert Treat Hotel, Newark NJ. Event honorees are Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka; Suzan Cook Johnson, US Ambassador at Large; Dr. Ben Chavis, President of the National Newspaper Publishers Association; Debi Jackson, CEO/President Youth Development Foundation, Bishop Johnny Ray Youngblood, Mt Pisgah Baptist Church; and Kim Nesbitt Good, Friends of The NJ Legacy Foundation. Visit ThePositiveCommunity.com
A Harlem-based management consultant, Victoria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org