President Joe Biden travels to Europe this week to caucus with NATO and EU partners in an effort to avert a hotter war between Russia and Ukraine, or the beginning of WWIII. Europe is resembling the war-torn Middle East. Belarus, a Ukraine neighbor could join the Russian war by week’s end. Too much bellicose talk for comfort or sanity. President Biden talks about deploying more US troops to NATO countries. Brinkmanship, heating war stories is really concerning for a world not fully recovered from the war on Covid19.
In February, Russia arrested Brittney Griner, 31, an African American professional basketball player for possession of drug paraphernalia. A member of the Phoenix Mercury team in the USA, Griner plays pro ball for a Russian team during the American WNBA offseason for more revenues. Her alleged crime is punishable for 10 years of incarceration. Women basketball players’ salaries seldom climb above $1 million. Russians extended her detention until May 19. She is an unwitting pawn in the game of two world power players.
If time permits, watch history unfold this week while President Biden’s Black Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson undergoes US Senate Judicial Committee scrutiny, replete with Republican irrelevant queries and distractions in an attempt to undermine her credibility. She has been before this Senate Committee three times. She was a picture of aplomb on Day 1. Reminding viewers that she was not being examined by a group of her peers.
Governors in all states have relaxed face masks, once considered necessary to combat the perilous virus, which seems to be pandemic of the past. Why are both Pfizer and Moderna requesting emergency approval from FDA and CDC for a fourth COVID 19 dose? I don’t get it. Spring break brings out the crowds. April 2022 hosts three major religious holidays – Passover, Easter and Ramadan – when people will assemble in big numbers.
The NYS budget is due April 1. The three-power people in the room, Governor Hochul, Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie are gazillions away from agreement. The Legislature wants mega millions more in social network programs. The Governor wants to revisit the bail reform law.
Last week, NYC Mayor Eric Adams visited Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to discuss solutions to stem the gun violence which plagues those two cities. Gun violence in NYC and Chicago was disproportionately high last weekend.
ELECTIONS: Disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo is ready to run for governor and to launch a new political party this year. Last week’s Emerson poll showed him trailing Governor Kathy Hochul by 4 points, in a hypothetical poll. However, 64% of poll respondents indicated that he should not run for any political office again. Ted cruz, lindsay graham – should delete??
BROOKLYN: Early results indicate a large Brian Cunningham victory in the special election for Assembly District 43 in Central Brooklyn, where 3000 votes were counted, with 62% of the vote, besting a group of progressives against Democratic Party chief Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn’s leadership who got 35 % of the vote. Republican and Conservative Party nominee Mesidor Azor, who got 3% of votes. A Jamaican American, Cunningham succeeds Diana Richardson, current Deputy Brooklyn Borough President.
FILM: The 94th Academy Awards airs live on ABC-TV on March 27 and will be co-hosted by Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall. Oscar 2022 will be produced by African American Will Packer, producer of runaway film hit “Girls Trip” and its sequel and of the “ROOTS” remake. Will Smith garnered key pre-Oscar best actor awards, for his performance in the biopic, King Richard” about parent extraordinaire Richard Williams who created two tennis superstars, Serena and Venus Williams. Denzel Washington is a 2022 Best Actor nominee for his portrayal of Macbeth.
Celebrated actors/philanthropists Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson are the People Magazine cover couple with a tagline: “ How My Wife Saved My Life.” Married for 41 years, Sam and LaTonya cut their teeth in NY theater with the NEC, and Woodie King’s New Federal Theater. Sam’s new film “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,’ an Apple TV+ mystery about a 91-year-old struggling with dementia, adapted from a Walter Mosley book of the same title.
MEDIA NOTES: Read the Sunday, 3/20 SUPER LAWYERS Advertising Supplement, NY Metro/Top Women with cover girl Lisa E. Davis, Esquire who says “We Need To Tell Other Stories,” about her decades-long battle for inclusion in entertainment and law. Davis is with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz Entertainment & Sports New York law firm and represents clients and businesses in television, publishing theater and sports, music and film like Spike Lee and Flavor Flav.
FINE ART: The Skoto Gallery’s new exhibit, Lula Mae Blocton, The First Two Decades 1970 to 1980 displays her love/obsession of abstractionism and runs from March 26 to April 30, at 529 West 20 Street, NYC. 212.352.8058 skotogallery.com
Happy Vernal Equinox. Spring is here. Birthday greetings to Aries: AKON; Ivo Philbert, PAYPAL; Ambassador Shirley Barnes; James Brooks, serial entrepreneur; Mariah Carey; Chance The Rapper; retired educator Brenda Clark; Fine artist John Dowell; Melanie Edwards, Rosamond Johnson Foundation; Ruth Ennis; Ronald Guy, Harlem Community Leader; finance and philanthropist Mellody Hobson; Ernest Hopkins, health Executive; Karen Horsford, Rocky Horsford, Jr; actress Jackee; Magic Johnson; Star Jones; Chaka Khan; Martin Lawrence; Pat McConnell; Dr. Leon Merrick, DDS; Eddie Murphy; David Oyelowo; Diana Ross; Ruby Ryles; Jill Scott; Maxwell Sidberry, HS junior; Dedra Tate events curator; David Walker, fundraiser/ events curator; Willie Walker, serial entrepreneur; Pharrell Williams; and culture/politics blogger Gloria Dulan Wilson.
One Hundred Black Men, OHBM, NY will host its 42nd Annual Benefit Gala, A Salute to Excellence, at Jazz At Lincoln Center, Manhattan, on Thursday, March 31 at 6 pm. Gala honorees include Brian Flores, NFL Pittsburgh Steelers; Eric Mower, Mower & Associates; Trayce Parker, UPS; Seth Waugh, PGA of America; Rudy Wynter, National Grid; Yasmin Cornelius, L&M Development Partners; Dan Schulman, PayPal CEO: James Brown, sports journalist, CBS; Liz Velez, Chairman Emeritus, NY Builders Congress; Dr. Greta Strong, Weill-Cornell Weill. For reservations, visit daysoftheonehundred.org
A Harlem-based media strategy consultant, Victoria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org