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What’s Going On – 3/31

Rock said that he knew nothing about Jada Smith and alopecia.

Kathy Hochul

NEW YORK, NY
April 1 is NYS Budget due date. There are more than three degrees of separation between Governor Kathy Hochul and Albany brass Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins. In response to critics and a recent Siena Poll, Hochul wants to amend the 2019 law which eliminated cash bail for most crimes. Read the March 24 NY Daily News opinion piece, “Don’t Blame Crime On Bail Reform: Do Improve It,” by Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin. Most NYS legislators are bail-amendment averse. Perhaps, Hochul can manage a few tweaks. Child care, NYC mayoral control of education, to-go cocktails are a few items under consideration. The June primary season hovers.

Brian Benjamin

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin is under daily assault by NY media. It is alleged that he is a subject of a federal probe. It is related to a 2021 federal indictment of Gerald Migdol, Harlem and Bronx real estate developer, who was charged with wire fraud, identity theft, and other crimes related to Benjamin’s 2021 NYC Comptroller run. The June primary season hovers!

The honeymoon may be over between NYC Mayor Eric Adams, New Yorkers, and local media. Change takes time, something that politicians do not understand. He lifted the vaccine mandate for athletes and performers which has aroused the ire of the 1400 NYC workers who lost their jobs. His removal of homeless people’s tents and properties is not popular. Both the Governor and Hizzoner relaxed the COVID protocols, including masks by the end of April. On March 29, the Federal Drug Administration approved a second booster shot, bringing total COVID vaccinations to four.

President Biden also said in Europe that the US would accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and donate $1 billion to help Europe manage the surge in immigration from the Ukraine since the Russian military assault began.

Mr. President, can the US accept refugees like Haitians due south of the US border which is a failed state ravaged as much by natural disasters and foreign influence? Can the US accept some Ethiopian refugees, those fortunate enough to escape a civil war now in its 18th month?

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EDUCATION/JOB OPS
WANTED: New York young people, ages 14-24, should apply for one of 90,000 jobs with the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, DYCD, Summer Youth Employment Program, SYEP, the nation’s largest summer youth employment initiative. Another 10,000 summer jobs will be available through other NYC agencies. The application deadline is April 22. For more info, contact DYCD Community Connect at 800-246-4646

Hampton University, a historic Black college and university, will invite 50 to 100 Ukrainian and International Students in Ukraine who have been displaced by the war there to attend Hampton during the 2022 Summer Session. Invitation includes room, board, and tuition. Hampton President Dr. William Harvey said that Hampton extended the same offer to University of The Bahamas students in 2019 after a hurricane leveled the university. Email inquiries to ukrainianinitiative@hamptonu.edu

Questlove

ARTS/CULTURE
FILM; The 94th Academy Awards, for excellence in film, will go down in infamy and history. Produced by African American filmmaker Will Packer, Oscar 2022 boasted a large inventory of films about the Black experience, placed in top categories like King Richard, the Best Film Award nominee. Congrats to all who took Oscar home, including Ariana DeBose, Best Supporting Award actress for West Side Story; director and executive producer Questlove, “Summer of Soul,” Best Documentary; and director Ben Proudfoot, Best Documentary Short, about Lucia Harris, “Queen of Basketball.” Proudfoot urged President Biden to bring Brittney Griner home. Griner is a Black American WNBA player who has been detained in Russia since February. Congrats to Will Smith for his Best Actor Oscar for “King Richard,” which was obscured by his egregious behavior, which dominates media headlines two days later. Wonder what comments are happening at all-white parties about the Will Smith/Chris Rock Oscar interlude. PS. Rock said that he knew nothing about Jada Smith and alopecia.

THEATER: Shakespeare is back with a vengeance. Macbeth has been recycled in film and theater with Black actors in lead roles. Denzel Washington got an Oscar nomination for the lead in the film, “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” Ethiopia-born Ruth Negga, 2017 Best Actress Oscar nominee for the film, “Loving,” portrays Lady Macbeth opposite Daniel Craig in the “Macbeth” Broadway revival, which previews on March 28 and runs from April 18 through July 10

FINE ART: The Swann Auction Galleries in NY will hold its next auction of African American fine art on March 31. Visit SwannGalleries.com.

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The June Kelly Gallery’s new exhibit, Philemona Williamson: Recent Paintings opens April 8, with an opening reception, and closes on May 10. Williamson enthuses: “This series of paintings embodied in interpreted environments, with psychological and metaphorical consequences.” The gallery is located at 166 Mercer Street in Manhattan, 212-226-1660 or visit junekellygallery.com

Faith Ringgold

The American Folk Art Museum hosts its 60th Anniversary Benefit Gala, honoring painter and art quilter Bisa Butler; painter designer Brian Donnelly (a/k/a KAWS); and painter, mixed media sculptor, and quilter Faith Ringgold, at Gotham Hall, located at 1356 Broadway in Manhattan on Thursday, April 7 at 6 pm. Visit folkartmuseum,org for more information.

The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers presents the National Black Writers Conference, NBWC2022, an all-virtual event from March 30 to April 2. More than 70 writers will participate, including Ibram X Kendi, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Carolyn Butts, Jelani Cobb, Edwidge Danticat, and Marita Golden. Event honorees are Tracey K Smith, Eddie Glaude, Jr., Herb Boyd, and Jacqueline Woodson. To register, visit centerforblackliterature.org.

A Harlem-based business consultant, Victoria can be reached at victoria.horsford@gmail.com

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