What’s Going on – 8/5

NEW YORK POLITICS
On August 3, NYS Attorney General Letitia James delivered a bombshell report about the findings of an independent investigation into complaints about NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo and sexual harassment. The devastating report indicated that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and created a hostile work environment for women. The Cuomo rebuttal was quick and unconvincing. Democrats from President Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi to NY congressmen and lawmakers all call for a Cuomo resignation. Who would have foreseen the downfall of one of the nation’s most masterful politicians. His end is nigh! A fourth term, fuggedaboutit!


The contours of the 2022 NYC Council leadership are in progress, assuming a Democratic victory in November. Progressive politico Gale Brewer, former Council member, current term-limited Manhattan Boro Prexy, designated Upper West Side Council member, eyes the chamber’s Speakership, the chamber’s leader. Can Gale get enough votes with the freshmen councilmembers? NYC Fall power jockeying will be interesting.


What happened to NYC Council District 9 recount? To be or not to be. Who will emerge victorious, newcomer Kristen Richardson Jordan or will incumbent Bill Perkins prevail, health challenges notwithstanding? Will DOE and borough leadership duplicate the behavior of the 2019 Queens DA special election recount between Melinda Katz and Tiffany Caban, whose large voter advantage mysteriously evaporated behind closed doors?

AUGUST IN AMERICA
CALIFORNIA: California governor recall election is set September 14. Will the largely Democratic voters show muscular support for Governor Gavin Newsom? The California legislature is reviewing a $1,000 monthly allowance to young people who age out of its foster care program. An interesting notion. NY Senators are reviewing the program for application here.


ELECTION TRENDS: Every state but Mississippi has at least one LGTBQ official, close to 1000, most of whom are Democrats and anti Trump, according to LGBTQ Victory Institute report, 2 governors, 2 US Senators, 9 congressmembers, 189 state legislators and 56 mayors. These numbers are only those who are “out.” Of all racial groups the Black LGBTQ group is the fastest growing, with a 75% increase in the past year.


COVID19: While US has recently reached its 70% vaccine injection mark, they are still too many American skeptics. Hospitalizations and deaths surge again among vaccination naysayers. Israel is the first nation to administer the Pfizer Covid 19 booster shot to seniors over 60. US travelers beware. Check the CDC destinations for Americans to avoid because of high Covid-19 risks: Greece, Ireland, Curacao, St. Barts, US Virgin Islands, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Libya.

ECO DEV OPS
August is National Black Business Month, an observation in place and practice since 2004. Patronize Black businesses, goods and services, this month and beyond! Read the Journal of Black Innovation @ blackinnovationinalliance.com
The federal rent evictions moratorium expired on July 31. Many tenants in arrears are Black Americans and people of color are vulnerable. However, the rent evictions moratorium for New Yorkers is August 31. NYS has $2 billion in stimulus monies set aside for rent arrears. New Yorkers with rent arrears should apply for Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) immediately.
Visit OTDA.NY.GOV/Programs/Emergency-Rental-Assistance.

ON BEING A PART OF THE SOLUTION. Will Smith’s Dreamers VC and a company backed by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation participated in a $165 million capital raise for a startup that will help renters become homeowners. Initiative will work with people who cannot secure a mortgage owing to bad credit or to down payment shortfalls. Goal is for resident to start paying a mortgage instead of rent.

Martine Moise

CARIBBEAN AFFAIRS
HAITI: The First Lady of Haiti Martine Moise wants the USA FBI to investigate who is responsible for her late husband Jovenel Moise’s July 7 assassination. The latest Haitian crisis begs for so many questions, which only the Haitian people and its Diaspora can answer. The NY based Haitian Times and Haiti Observateur, published in Creole and English, are good sources for unfiltered Haiti updates. The NY Haitian American community has communicated its concerns about the crisis with the White House, which is expected to expand protections for Haitians in NY and beyond considering the recent presidential assassination and the nation’s attendant political instability.
JAMAICA, the Caribbean island, celebrates the 59th Anniversary of its Independence from the United Kingdom on August 6, 2021.
TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, the Caribbean twin-island nation, celebrates the 59th Anniversary of its Independence from the United Kingdom on August 31, 2021

ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT
FINE ART: The Cultural Museum of African Art gets $1 million grant from the NYS Assembly, at its new home at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn. The museum houses the works, collected by Eric Edwards for more than 50 years, and whose inventory includes more than 3000 objects’ d’art from all 54 African nations, valued at more than $5 million. NYS Assembly member Stefani Zinerman petitioned for this gift.


THEATER: PASS OVER is a drama written by Antoinette Nwandu about two young Black men looking for a way out, begins a 9-week engagement at the August Wilson Theater, on August 4. Visit passoverbroadway.com


Join Ruben’s Juke Joint, “A Night in Lackawanna” with live performances by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and musicians Barry Harrison, Booker King, Ayadele Maakheru, Junior Mack and Matthew Skoller, at Minton’s Playhouse, at 206 West 118 Street, Harlem, on August 9. The preview party is a teaser for the Manhattan Theatre Club production of his Obie Award winning play, LACKAWANNA BLUES, which begins a limited Broadway engagement on September 14.

MUSIC: Jazzmobile presents vocalist Tammy McCann’s “YES, MAHALIA, A Tribute to Mahalia Jackson,” at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Manhattan’s Marcus Garvey Park, on Friday, August 6 at 7 pm at the Richard Rogers Amphitheater, on Mt. Morris Park West at 122 Street, one block east of Lenox Avenue, Harlem.

NEWSMAKERS
RIP: Actor/director Arthur French, 89, passed on July 26. Born in NYC, the son of West Indian parents from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, French was a well- known presence in American theater, on Broadway, Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway. A founding member of the Negro Ensemble Company, his distinguished and prolific career also included repeat stops at the National Black Theatre and New Federal Theatre, in roles that ran the gamut from mainstream classics like “Death Of A Salesman” and “Henry VI” to Black classics, “Ain’t Supposed to Die A Natural Death, “Two Trains Running,” “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” and “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men.” He worked in film and TV.


RIP: The Dominican Republic’s politician cum merengue star Johnny Ventura, 81 passed on July 30. Former mayor of DR capital Santo Domingo, he had a captive worldwide audience as the father of modern merengue vocals, that pulsating, infectious music which originated in DR.
A Harlem-based branding/media consultant, Victoria Horsford can be reached at victoria.horsford@gmail.com

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