SUMMER: THE AMERICAS
The United States Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that provides a constitutional right to an abortion. The United States of America is veering right. Are we moving to an autocracy or a theocracy? American politics’ new focus is on states’ rights. The SCOTUS is oblivious to the will of the people. More than 60% of Americans support a woman’s right to an abortion. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argues that it is time to revisit and roll back other civil rights protections germane to contraception and gay rights. Isn’t the Texas GOP legislature considering repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act? What happened to the pursuit of the American more perfect union? Did a partisan court deliver a victory to the Democrats during this chaotic Midyear election cycle?
The June 28 NY Primary for Governor, Lieutenant Governor was predictable with Democrats Gov. Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado winning and Republican Lee Zeldin winning for Governor. Most of the NY Assembly incumbents won races despite challenges by the Working Families Party and Democratic Socialists of America.
HARLEM, NY: a June 14 full-page New York Times b&w ad begins “The Historical Harlem Bethelite Community Baptist Church is on Death Row. “Wrongly convicted of Owing $36K Taxes to NYC.”
“Help us raise the $3.1 million to save our beloved 82-year-old church, K thru 12th Grade School, Children’s Breakfast Program and Homeless Shelter.” In February 2022, a judge ruled that the church be sold at auction awarding the Mellon Bank a super windfall profit of $3.1M on a $36K disputed tax from a tax-exempt Harlem Church. “We have filed for bankruptcy protection praying that we can raise the funds to pay Mellon Bank $3.1M.” The case is in federal bankruptcy court.
A convoluted story? Yes. The church is the red building on the southeast corner of Malcolm X Boulevard at 123 Street where Sr. Pastor James Manning holds forth and uses a signboard to expose his views on the world of Harlem. The church is also known as Atlah Missionary World Church, a neighborhood anathema. Rev. Manning is homophobic, anti-immigrant, a Trump Republican, a speaker at GOP conventions, who had no kind words for President Barack Obama.
THEATER: The Classical Theatre of Harlem presents a Harlem imagining of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” starring Kara Young, 2022 Tony nominee for her work in CLYDE’S, in Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem 18 Mt. Morris Park West, at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater from, July 5-29 at 8:30 pm. Performances are free to the public. Visit to register at tcthnyc/org
EDUCATION: Donald Ruff was named President/CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation. He succeeds David Banks, current NYC Chancellor, Department of Education, a co-founder of the Eagle Academy, which caters to Black and Latino male teens. It has 6 campuses in NY and NJ. A 16-year veteran of the Eagle Academy, Ruff headed its college initiatives programs.
FESTIVAL: Essence Festival 2022 is back in New Orleans from June 30 to July 3. It will be a cultural feast with a cast of thousands, including Janet Jackson, Nicki Minaj; Kevin Hart, Isley Brothers, Summer Walker, The Roots and Friends and the New Edition.
CARIBBEAN HERITAGE MONTH
Brooklyn Boro President Antonio Reynoso hosts a Carib Heritage Month Celebration tonight, June 30, 5-9 pm at Boro Hall. Dress code, white preferred.
In celebration of Caribbean Heritage Month and Haitian Culture, Consul General Jeremie Robert of France in New York hosted an exhibition fundraiser of 27 Haitian fine artists on June 9 at his Fifth Avenue Office. Fundraiser proceeds will benefit the Haitian Roundtable, a nonprofit organization created by Haitian-American professionals and dedicated to changing the narratives about Haiti and the Haitian people. Gina Sampson, Eric Girault, Shakespeare Guirand, Claire Saintil, Rosemond Grande-Champs Valentin are among the artists whose works were exhibited.
CARIB AMERICAN NOTABLES: Eric Holder, US Attorney General; Shaun Hoyte, Con Edison; George Hulse, Emblem Health; film/tv producer Rafee Kamaal; writer Jamaica Kincaid; Mona Manigot, Antigua Progressive Society and Simone Manigo, Esquire; cosmetics titan Pat McGrath; and photographer Hakim Mutlaq.
RIP: Writer/ essayist George Lamming, 94, passed in his native Barbados. He earned early creds in the literary world for his loosely autobiographical, critically acclaimed novel “In the Castle of My Skin.” The Caribbean colonial to independence experience informed his writings. He lived in London, a part of the Windrush generation, he also spent time in Trinidad, Ghana and the United States, where he was a member of the faculty at Brown, Duke, and the University of Texas. He also taught at the University of the West Indies. Married and divorced, he had two children and 10 great-grandchildren. He returned to Barbados in 1980.
RIP: Actress, playwright, director educator Shauneille Perry, 92, passed on June 9. A staple at Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre, founded in 1970, where she directed 17 plays. She also directed plays for the Negro Ensemble Company. Her directing credits include Black classics like J.E. Franklin’s Black Girl,” “Paul Robeson,” “Jamimma,” “The Sty of the Bling Pig,” and “Who Loves The Dancer.” Perry was the first Black woman to direct plays Off-Broadway and was a ubiquitous force in the NY theater scene for 40 years. A native Chicagoan, Perry’s plan was to become an actress after graduating from Howard University and earning an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. Dissatisfied with the paucity of acting roles offered to her, she cut her teeth in theater direction.
She wrote and directed some of her own plays like “Things Of the Heart: Marian Anderson Story.” She re-wrote “In Dahomey,” the first Broadway musical staged for African Americans in 1903. Perry joined the faculty at Lehman College in the Bronx in 1986, where she headed the Drama Department and staged many works, including “Looking Back: The Music of Micki Grant.” She is survived by three daughters and four grandchildren.
A Harlem based consultant/griot, Victoria can be reached at email@example.com