What's Going On
WHAT’S GOING ON
By Victoria Horsford
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
Gen-X trailblazer Richard Parnell Habersham sent shock waves through the Harlem business and political community last week when he announced that he was a candidate for the 13th US Congressional District, which spans Central and East Harlem, Upper Manhattan and parts of the Bronx. Congressman Adriano Espaillat currently occupies that seat, once held by Adam Clayton Powell, and more recently, Charles Rangel. Born and raised in Harlem, Richard Habersham knows the terrain, but is a politics novice. The 2020 congressional primary in the 13th Congressional District will be drama-intense. Can Habersham oust an incumbent congressman? Is Habersham Harlem’s answer to the phenom, Congresswoman AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
HARLEM: Remember Harlem’s Lenox Lounge, the nightlife music emporium renown worldwide? Razed about 2 years ago, the Lounge was replaced by a new 4-story building, located at 286 Lenox Avenue (124/125 Sts.) is available for sale. Building will house a Wells Fargo Bank branch on the ground floor, the Child Mind Institute and the Visiting Nurses, all of which have 10-year leases.
Harlem Haberdashery is an African-American-owned unisex fashion boutique offering both ready-to-wear apparel and couture selections for its clientele, a veritable mix of doctors, lawyers and entertainment elites like P. Diddy, Jay-Z and Beyonce, to name a few. Harlem Haberdashery celebrates its 7th Anniversary on Saturday, May 4, concurrent with a Kentucky Derby watch party a la Harlem.
The Archstone Holding Corporation hosts an Entrepreneurship & Investment Forum on Sunday, May 5. The Dinner Reception and Empowerment Forum will review investment opportunities in NY, Newark, the USA and beyond. Co-presenters Dr. Zienzi and Rev. Dennis Dillon will discuss investment opportunities in Africa and review “The Door of Our Return.” Event will be held at 41 Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn between Flushing and Park Avenues. [RSVP: Archstoneholdingcorp@gmail.com]
OUT OF AFRICA
If African geopolitics is your thing, read the TIME magazine story, “PUTIN’S EMPIRE OF AUTOCRATS,” a survey piece about Russian global entanglements which focuses on its influence-peddling in Africa, particularly in Sudan, former patrons in Francophone African countries, West African nations and the Central African Republic. The essay reveals that at least 18 governments have signed military cooperation deals with Russia since 2015 and about 23 African countries boast major arms deliveries from Russia.
President Trump always talks about “America First” as the mantra of the nation’s domestic and foreign policy. What was the real motivation for first daughter Ivanka Trump’s 4-day visit to Africa, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast, two shithole countries (from her dad’s utterances). Corporate America, with its billions invested in Africa, was unamused by Trump’s comments. P.S. – The USA still sends more than $8 billion in aid to Africa annually, cutting funds to countries too cozy with Russia.
THEATER: Congratulations to all the 2019 Tony nominees. Special congrats to the producers, cast and crew of the Broadway musical “AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG, The Life and Times of the Temptations,” which garnered 12 nominations, including Best Musical, Book of a Musical, Direction, Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role in a Musical Derrick Baskin; Performance by an Actor in a Feature Role in a Musical Jeremy Pope and Ephraim Sykes. Next week, I will write about the Black TONY nominees and their narratives, including Andre De Shields for Best Performance by an Actor in a Feature Role in “Hadestown,” and George Wolfe for Best Director of the drama “GARY: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus.”
FYI, I failed to congratulate playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, 37, 2019 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play “FAIRVIEW,” which ran for a limited 2018 NYC engagement at the SoHo Rep. Play will be revived this summer in Brooklyn. “FAIRVIEW” also won the Drama Desk Award last week. Theater enthusiasts should read the 4/28 NY Times piece, “HOW THESE BLACK PLAYWRIGHTS Are Challenging American Theater.” Subject playwrights are Drury, Jeremy O. Harris, Antoinette Nwandu and Jordan E. Cooper.
BOOK NOTES: Valerie Jarrett, Adviser to President Barack Obama, has completed her memoir, “FINDING MY VOICE: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward,” which is in book stores… Omarosa Manigault Newsome’s book, “UNHINGED: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” is available in paperback. Omarosa has made all of the familiar TV media destinations…Said that she has not decided who she will support in the 2020 race; however, she is partial to Kamala Harris, a fellow Howard University graduate…Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Harvard Ph.D., a psychologist from Stanford, has a new book, “BIAS: Uncovering The Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think and Do,” is making familiar TV stops. The book focuses more on unconscious prejudice than racism. Her research underscored how racial categories and stereotypes affect perception.… A 2020 Democratic hopeful, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, wrote his memoir, “Shortest Way Home,” and it is on the NY Times best-seller book list.
Internationally renowned Caribbean journalist, reparations and racial justice advocate Don Rojas has been battling bone cancer, which has been depleting his energies and resources. Rojas was Press Secretary to Prime Minister Maurice Bishop of Grenada, the NAACP’s first Director of Communications and Amsterdam News Executive Editor. Some of Rojas’ friends, including Professor Sir Hillary Beckles, Vice Chancellor, UWI and Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission; Reverends Herbert and Karen Daughtry, Dr. Ron Daniels, Charles and Inez Barron have organized a tribute/fundraiser for Don Rojas on May 11 from 4-7 pm at 415 Atlantic Avenue and Bond Street in Brooklyn. For more info, call 718.596.1991.
RIP: Film griot John Singleton, 51, died on Monday, April 29, two weeks after suffering a stroke. His film director/producer and screenwriter credits include “Poetic Justice,” “Boyz N’ The Hood,” “Baby Boy,” which deal with Black men and survival in America’s urban settings. John was the first African-American to get an Academy Award nomination as Best Director for his work in BOYZ. In addition to his film creds, Singleton has directed episodic TV shows since 2010. He has earned a special place in the American film culture firmament.
Attorney Jason Myles Clark, President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA, NY), announced that it will host its 35th Anniversary Awards Gala at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers, Manhattan, on Friday, May 17 at 6 pm. The 2019 honorees include Donald Prophete, Costangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP; Sheree Carter-Galvan, General Counsel, American Museum of Natural History; Amy Wollensack, Covington & Burling, LLP; Robert R. Reed, NYS Supreme Court Justice; and Hakeem Jeffries, US Congressman, Chair of the Democratic Caucus. NY1 Anchor Cheryl Wills will serve as Mistress of Ceremony. For reservations, visit MBBANYC.ORG.
The East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) hosts its 33rd Annual Benefit honoring its 2019 HS Graduates and celebrating “Our Mosaic, Then and Now,” on Monday, May 20 at the Museum of Natural History on CPW and 79th Street. Founded in 1958 as an after-school reading program, EHTP today is a high-quality education center with the highly-regarded East Harlem Scholars Academy Elementary and Middle Schools and College Scholars Program, and offers after-school enrichment opportunities in its after-school programs. EHTP caters to East Harlem’s Latino and African-American students. [Visit: ehtp.org/benefit or firstname.lastname@example.org]