By Victoria Horsford
WEEK IN REVIEW
At the end of its annual convention, the NAACP called for the impeachment of POTUS 45. Perhaps it was that pronouncement combined with the Mueller Congressional Hearings that touched his unhinged button. Having set aside his invective about “The Squad,” Trump turned his acid tongue towards Congressman Elijah Cummings and the people of Baltimore, Maryland. Then he takes on Rev. Al Sharpton by calling him a con man. Sharpton’s response: “If I am a con man why am I not in your cabinet?” Now Trump has assembled a few Black clergymen to explain that he is not racist. Can this be real? I really don’t know if America can survive another 17 months of the Trump madness. He is not good for the national health.
However, life must go on, on a local level…. The following notes are NY updates: According to the Board of Elections, current Queens Boro President Melinda Katz, Democratic insider, won the election for Queens District Attorney by 60 votes after a recount. Not so fast, says her contender Tiffany Caban, who is appealing the BOE recount results in court…. NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins was named National Chairman of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, an organization which works to get more Democrats elected to statehouses and the US Congress.
About five challengers, including African-American attorney Alvin Bragg, former federal prosecutor and NYS Attorney General lawyer, have announced their interest in the Manhattan District Attorney’s race in 2021. Incumbent Cy Vance has not indicated if he is eyeing reelection. His reputation has been sullied by his office looking askance at cases where affluent New Yorkers are not charged with serious offenses; i.e., Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and the Trump clan.
New York landlords and real estate associations are fuming over the recently enacted New York State tenants’ protection laws, which among other things, makes it harder for them to raise rents in the city’s million rent-regulated apartments and to convert affordable units to market rate. Landlords are so incensed that two groups, the Rent Stabilization Association and the Community Housing Improvement Program, along with an assortment of individual property owners, have filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn the NYS law. Unable to file a suit against NYS, the defendant is the Commissioner of the NYS Housing and Community Renewal. New York real estate interests have controlled the NYS Legislature, particularly the Republican majority in the Senate, for about 10 years. They are used to a compliant legislature. Today, the NYS Legislature and the Executive branch are dominated by Democrats with strong progressive leanings. It is going to be interesting to see how the real estate barons fare in new territory, the land of the US Supreme Court. It is going to be interesting to see how they spend their monies next year in political races. In New York, lobbyists, it is alleged, spent about $130 million last year, a figure larger than the GNP of some Third World countries.
Harlem-born Gen-Xer Corey Smyth launches Blacksmith Recordings in a joint venture with Capital Music Group and Motown Records. His multi-genre Blacksmith Recordings boasts a talent roster which includes Vince Staples, Kilo Kish and emerging artists Ted When and Benn Good. A veteran artist manager, Smyth has eagle eyes for identifying talent and developing careers. Blacksmith was founded in 1991 while he attended Morehouse. Since graduation, he has been building his brand and has managed the careers of top-tier Billboard artists such as Mos Def, De La Soul, Foxy Brown, Staples and comic-extraordinaire Dave Chappelle. Los Angeles-based Smyth has cut his teeth in feature films, producing “Gully,” which unspooled at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. [Visit: Blacksmithnyc.com]
The auction of the Johnson Publishing Company’s Ebony picture archives, arguably the most extensive photo collection of 20th century African-American life, has a happy ending. A consortium of organizations – the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation – bought the archives for $30 million. Moreover, the same group will donate the Ebony picture archives to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture and the Getty Research Institute, enabling it to be widely accessible. The Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation are headed by African-Americans Darren Walker and Elizabeth Alexander, respectively.
In conclusion, everyone walked away from the auction with some dignity. Johnson Publishing creditor Mellody Hobson and hubby George Lucas will get their $13 million load repaid; Linda Johnson Rice has about $17 million wam (walking-around-money). What’s left of the once-formidable Johnson media empire? Ask Michael Gibson of the Clear View Group, who acquired Ebony and Jet magazines in 2016. Ebony magazine has been reduced to Ebony.com. Jet.com has expired shortly after the acquisition.
The PFBL (Pelham Fritz Basketball League) Scholarship Fund and Assemblywoman Inez Dickens co-present the Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony on Sunday at the Harlem State Office Building, located at 163 West 125th Street. [Scheduled time is from 1:30 to 4:30 pm] Last week, WGO published a list of the 17 college-bound scholars. Event partners and sponsors include Capital One Bank, Pepsi, Manna’s Restaurant, Community Financial Services Centers, Migdol Organization, Duane Reade, Jimbo’s, Grace Lutheran Church and Bill Perkins (NYC Council).
A special LEO shout-out to luxe fashion designer and style curator Dapper Dan, nee Daniel R. Day, on the occasion of his 75th birthday on August 8. A household name in fashion and lifestyle media since the announcement of his 2017 partnership with Gucci, he is getting lots of attention for his literary skills as displayed in his new Random House book, “MADE IN HARLEM, A MEMOIR,” which has been on the NY Times best-seller list for two weeks.
The Jamaican Independence Celebration Foundation, under the distinguished patronage of Ambassador E. Courtenay Rattray, Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, will celebrate Jamaica’s 57th Anniversary of Independence on Saturday, August 17, which is Marcus Garvey’s Birthday, at the Grand Ballroom of the NY Marriott Brooklyn Bridge Hotel, located at 333 Adams Street, Brooklyn. The distinguished gala honorees are Mayor David Dinkins and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. Entertainment will be provided by the Fabulous Five Band and special guests.
[For reservations call 631.374.7811 or 718.802.8301]
Cityandstateny.com will host a celebration of the 2019 BROOKLYN POWER 100. These are the most powerful Brooklyn residents, elites in government, business, academia, media, advocacy and beyond. Brooklyn’s Boro Prexy Eric Adams is event keynoter. The event will be held on August 21, 6:30 to 9 pm, at the DUMBO Loft, located at 155 Water Street, Brooklyn.
A Harlem-based brand and media consultant, Victoria is reachable at Victoria.firstname.lastname@example.org.