WHAT’S GOING ON

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Barry Jenkins

USA WEEK IN REVIEW

The State of the Union: Just when you thought that you heard it all,

Bob Corker

Republican US Senator Bob Corker said last week, “I think that Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos,” meaning Trump, POTUS 45. Corker continued saying that he feared that Trump was steering the nation on the path to WWIII. Corker is the lone GOP messenger who confirmed White House incompetence.

What is the White House doing about the humanitarian crises in America’s Caribbean territories like Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. What benefits accrued to PR and USVI after the Trump “paper towel” visit last week. An entire region is disabled because of energy and power shortages. Why does the Caribbean basin countries not take advantage of its greatest natural resource, the sun and the supply of energy it provides.

NOTES ON RACE: The Dove marketing culture has a problem with Black women, white women and racism in its ads. The latest Dove racist ad emerged last week in the digital world. It opens with a Black woman who morphs into a lighter woman who morphs into a white woman. Hence, the Black woman goes from dirty black who cleanses herself to whiteness. Dove soap items are Unilever products. In 2011, there was a Dove ad with three women standing next to each other. This is not the first time. A 2011 Dove ad with three women, each standing side to side with the Black woman on the far left with alleged bad skin. The second woman is lighter and the third one is the lightest who boasts smooth skin. The ad copy next to woman #3 read, “Visibly more beautiful skin”.

The Dove marketing formula is traveling from Black and dirty to white and

clean. Perhaps it is time to boycott the Unilever product brands which are legion. Remove the following brands from your shopping carts: Hellman’s, Lipton, Knorr, Vaseline, Breyers. Dove needs to hire some Black people to improve their race sensitivities.

NEW YORK, NY

Is the Obama clan fated to become New Yorkers? Rumors run rampant about Barack and Michelle about to purchase a co-op unit at 10 Gracie Square on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Barry Jenkins

HARLEM: Yes, Barry Jenkins, director of the 2017 Oscar-winning film MOONLIGHT, about the lives of poor, dark Black people, greeted the Manhattan Community Board 10 general meeting on 10/5 to talk about his next film, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk”, which will be shot on location in Harlem consistent with the Baldwin family’s wishes and Jenkins. Film production begins in late October with lots of exterior shots on Edgecombe Avenue.

The First Corinthian Baptist Church, on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard at 116th Street in Harlem, hosts Community Conversations on Health and Wellness on October 21st from 12-2 pm, and everyone is invited.  Featured speakers at the “Overcoming Stress and Achieving Wellness” talk include First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray, FCBC Sr. Pastor Rev. Dr. Walrond; Dr. Gary Belkin, NYC Mental Health Commissioner; and Dr. Sidney Hankerson, Columbia University Medical School. Food and massage will be available, and health insurance sign-ups are some of the event highlights.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

MacDella Cooper

On October 10, presidential elections were held in Liberia to determine who will succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected woman president who has served for 12 years. There are 20 registered candidates eyeing the Liberian presidency, including one woman, MacDella Cooper, 40, former NY model-turned-philanthropist who ran in the city’s A-list circles.   Current Vice President Joseph Boakai; George Manneh Weah, former soccer star, erstwhile paramour of Ms. Cooper; Benoni Urey, the country’s richest man; Alexander Cummings, former Coca-Cola executive; and Prince Johnson, former warlord, are among the 20 contestants.  To be sure, there will be a runoff unless one of the candidates scores 50% of the votes. Sirleaf shifts support from one candidate to another. It is rumored that she will relocate to Kenya and transfer some of her key assets there after the election.

Spain and Iraq are not the only nations dealing with separatist groups, the Catalonians and the Kurds, respectively, who both held recent referendums. In Nigeria, a separatist group in the southeast wants independence. This is 50 years after the civil war which claimed the lives of 1 million people for the selfsame matter. Nigerian President Muhmmadu Buhari has identified the indigenous people of Biafra a terrorist organization.   His government also has to deal with the terrorist Boko Haram in the northeast. ….. After independence, the former British part of Cameroon and the former French part of Cameroon united evolving into a Francophone entity. Anglophone and Francophone Cameroon are not harmonious. English Cameroonians want independence.

ARTS/CULTURE

Read author/entrepreneur Yvonne Stafford’s 9/29 Crain’s NY Magazine op-ed, “As Small Businesses Disappear, City Government Stands Idly By: Rising Rents, Gentrification and Upzonings are Erasing the Character of Historic Commercial Strips. Essay resonates with people who once lived in the city’s ethnic-specific neighborhoods.

The Columbia University Center for Jazz Studies presents the  ARMSTRONG CONTINUUM (as in Louis) with performances by Jon Batiste and Wycliffe Gordon at the Miller Theater, located at Broadway at 116th Street on October 12.

The Essie Green Galleries’ new exhibit, RECOLLECTIONS, features works by Romare Bearden, Allen Stringfellow, Geraldine McCullough, James Van Der Zee and Arthur Coppedge, opens with a reception on October 14th at 419A Convent Avenue, 148th Street, Harlem. [Call 212.368.9635]

NEWSMAKERS

Special birthday greetings to Tuskegee Airman Reginald Brewster who turned 100 last week.  A Harlem resident, a retired lawyer, centenarian Brewster’s eyes no longer work but his hands deftly play classical piano daily. His memories of the Tuskegee Airmen, his war days in England are graphic and lucid. The Tuskegee Airmen, US military personnel, were exceptional African-American aviators and one of the most respected fighter groups during WWII. They paved the way for the full integration of the US military.

RIP: Virgo Hardware founder Altiman Armstrong, 88, has died. The Jamaican-born handyman with multiple skill sets, relocated to Harlem in the 1970s and opened Virgo Hardware on Lenox at 129th Street where he stocked hardware items and provided locksmith, plumbing and masonry services. Armstrong moved VIRGO, his zodiac sign, to 188 Lenox Avenue in the 80s, where it is one of Central Harlem’s oldest Black-owned businesses.

HIGHER LEARNING

The 2018 US News and World Report list of the Top 80 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The following list includes the Top 10 of 55 ranked schools in descending order: 1)Spelman College, 2)Howard University, 3)Hampton University, 4)Morehouse College, 5)Xavier A&M, 6) Florida A&M University, 7)Tuskegee University, 8)NC A&T, 9) Clafin University, 10)Fisk University, 11)Dillard University.

A Harlem-based management consultant, Victoria Horsford can be reached at victoria.horsford@gmail.com.