What's Going On
What’s Going On – 9/16
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin was sworn in. His current portfolios include rental assistance, public housing and COVID vaccination promotion. He has a lot on his work platter. He is no stranger to challenges. LG Benjamin told Errol Louis, NY1 Inside City Hall anchor, that he would not endorse any of the multiple contenders eying his Senate seat. Would like to hear names of the Republicans who covet his Senate seat. Harlem politicos will be busy through November.
On September 13, Democratic nominee for NYC Mayor, Eric Adams said. “NY will no longer be anti- business. This is going to be a place where we welcome business and not turn into the dysfunctional city that we have been for so many years.” His remarks make sense. What will the new progressive-leaning City Council members have to say about NYC culture? Who are frontrunners for Council Speaker? Forgot whose name Adams bandied about a few months ago. We know that incoming Gale Brewer, former Council member is interested in the Speakership.
VOTING RIGHTS OVERVIEW. The House passed the HR4 John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last month. What is the US Senate up to? Senators Joe Manchin and other Democratic Senators are working on a voting rights compromise – an amalgam of HR4 above a few key features lifted from the more comprehensive For the People Act.
It is imperative that VOTING RIGHTS legislation clears congress and get President Biden’s signature, considering the new voting rights, voter suppression laws recently enacted in Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Governors of those 3 states face 2022 re-election races.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and co-counsel Reed Smith LLC and The ARC “filed a federal law arguing that the Texas Voting Suppression law, S.B. 1, violates the First, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by intentionally targeting and burdening methods and means of voting used by voters of color.”
On September 24, Californians voted not to recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. According to projections, Newsom had large double-digit lead in a field of 40 Republican contenders, including African American conservative Larry Elder.
BLACK WEALTH: Rihanna’s consummate business talents coupled with her pop star successes have transported her to the billionaire stratosphere. The 2017 launch of her cosmetics and fashion emporium, under the upscale LVMH umbrella generated hundreds of millions in sales during its first quarter. NBA basketball legend LeBron James joins the billionaires club by year’s end, becoming the first Black athlete to cross that financial divide while still playing professionally.
Celebrity endorsements: The Beyonce/ Jay-Z partnership with Tiffany is a new exercise in over-the-top opulence. In their Tiffany ad, Beyonce wears a $30 million diamond necklace which is attracting intended results in media blogosphere Moreover, Tiffany has agreed to a $2 million scholarship commitment for creative arts students at five HBCUs. Don’t know how much the Carters received for their mannequin efforts.
America’s new poetess Amanda Gordan, who debuted at the Joe Biden inaugural, turned down more than $17 million in promotion opportunities this year. She signed with Estee Lauder and will represent the flagship in ad campaigns and speaking engagements. Gordon will work with Lauder to set up $3 million in grants to promote literacy among girls and women with its access to equity and social change. Her contract details were not disclosed.
The United Nation’s 76th General Assembly Session convenes September 14. The General Debates, the platform for heads of state from the 193 UN member nations to address the Assembly, begins September 21.
ETHIOPIA: The 11-month war widens between the Ethiopian central government and the rebel Tigrayan forces, despite a six-week ceasefire announced by the government in early summer. Today, famine is widespread, and more than five million people require humanitarian aid. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will pass on the UN GA session.
A military coup was staged in GUINEA, a mineral rich, Francophone West African nation, a few weeks ago. To date, there has been no discussion about a time window for new elections.
COTE IVOIRE, (Ivory Coast) on Africa’s West Coast, celebrated its 61st Independence Anniversary on August 7. It is the world’s largest producer of cocoa and it recently announced that it has large oils reserves, potentially about 2 billion barrels.
Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Haitian parents, Patrick Gaspard, is the former US Ambassador to South Africa, former adviser to President Obama, who exited the George Soros’ Open Society Foundation presidency late last year. Gaspard is President/CEO at the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpolicy institute, based in Washington, DC. which addresses issues like courts, criminal justice, democracy, economy, energy, immigration health care, and higher education.
Richard Buery, Jr. was named CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, NY’s leading poverty-fighting organization. His work creds include leadership posts with Robin Hood partners like Achievement First and Children’s Aid. A former NYC Deputy Mayor under Bill DeBlasio, he was also a civil rights attorney and an educator in Zimbabwe. A Stuyvesant HS alum, he earned degrees at Harvard University and Yale Law School. First generation American, his parents are from the Caribbean.
Prolific NY based journalist/author Herb Boyd made the Newsone.com list of “15 Acclaimed and Unapologetically Black Authors” for his epic work “BLACK DETROIT: A People’s History of Self Determination.” He was keeping vintage company. Authors Ta-Nehesi Coates and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche made the coveted Newsone lists, which were published coincidental with National Read A Book Day on September 6.
Two literary lions should make Best Seller lists this Fall. A two- time Pulitzer winner Colson Whitehead’s new book HARLEM SHUFFLE, is a crime novel set in the 60s, a family saga about race, power and masculinity. It is being promoted “as a love letter to Harlem and its denizens.” Nobel laureate in literature, Nigerian Wole Soyinka’s CHRONICLES FROM THE LAND OF THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE ON EARTH is his first novel to be published in 48 years. Story is “a literary hoot, a crafty whodunit and a scathing indictment of Nigeria’s political elite.”
NEWSMAKERS: September 14 was the 100th birthday anniversary of Constance Baker Motley, the first African American woman to serve as a federal judge.
RIP Harlem native son Wallace Gossett, 76, passed on August 21, at his home in Manhattan. A graduate of Wadleigh JHS, City College and Columbia University Law School, Attorney Gossett held many distinguished positions in the public and private sectors, including Executive Assistant General Counsel Torts for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. He served on the Board of Directors of the Northside Center for Child Development for more than 30 years. He is survived by his life partner Odette McNeil, his sister Linda Gossett Zaino, her husband and children and a family circle of friends. A memorial celebration of his life will be held in the fall.
A Harlem-based brand consultant, Victoria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org