WHAT’S GOING ON

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Nikki Giovanni

NY ELECTIONS

Next Tuesday, November 7, is Election Day and it is necessary to “get out the vote”, especially the Black vote. Consider it a rehearsal for the 2018 elections.   When voters stay home, you get a federal government like the one we have today, with the lowest popularity ratings ever!

New Yorkers will vote for NYC Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, 51 City Council members, Borough Presidents, NYC Civil Court and NYS Supreme Court Judges.  The election outcome looks good for most Democratic incumbents.

THREE PROPOSALS ON THE BALLOT deserve your attention and vote.

  • Should there be a Constitutional Convention. Too many warring parties are against it. I recommend that voters read the VOTER GUIDE you received in the mail for arguments pro and con. Moreover, check online arguments about the Con-Con and form your own conclusion.
  • Amendment allowing partial or total forfeiture of pension for public figures who are convicted of a certain type of felony.
  • Amendment authorizing the use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes.

The last phase of the election season has not been that kind to Mayor de Blasio and Manhattan DA Cy Vance, whose reputations have been tainted by questionable donors. De Blasio is revisiting pay-to-play charges, which I never understand. Isn’t American politics based on pay-to-play? Look at the President, the Congress, the Governor, the NYS Assembly and Senate. What elected official is beyond accessibility to a major donor.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

OUT OF AFRICA: The Niger story and the ambush death of 4 US soldiers begs more questions than it answers. Story reads like a thriller.   Last week, news emerged about United States soldiers killing each other with Navy Seals allegedly killing a Green Beret in Mali in June. There are approximately 6000 US troops in Africa. Who knew?!

CARIBBEAN: Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean twin-island nation, celebrates its 36th Independence Anniversary from Great Britain on November 1.

MEDIA-SAVVY

The following is a FYI from the African-American Literature Book Club, aalbc.com, re: Top 50 Black-owned websites which should be visited for insights into the Black experience.   Some of the websites listed include howard.edu, blackenterprise.com, ebony.com, hellobeautiful.com, blackplanet.com, eurweb.com, worldstarhiphop.com, blackamericaweb.com, mediatakeout.com, atlantablackstar.com, thegrio.com, rollingout.com, bossip.com and afro.com. They are invaluable resources today.

CEMOTAP (Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People) celebrates its 30th Anniversary on November 18th at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center, 172 Linden Boulevard, Jamaica, Queens; 718-322-8454. Admission is free.

ARTS/CULTURE

Grace L. Jones

THEATER: Hold the date, November 20th, when the 45th Annual Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Awards will be held at the Symphony Space Theater at 2537 Broadway, Manhattan.   The AUDELCO Awards are the BLACK TONY’S recognizing Black excellence in the theater arts.   The AUDELCO Awards is the November “Show of Shows”. AUDELCO honcho Grace Jones announced that Thelma Pollard, Ishmael Reed, Lynn Nottage and Dominique Morrissey will be recipients of AUDELCO Special Awards. AUDELCO Awards run the gamut from Best Drama, Musical and Comedy Productions to Best Actor/Actress, Best Direction, Best Playwriting, Best Set Design and more. [Visit audelco.org]

Theodore Shaw

TALKS: The 22nd Annual Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society will be held on November 1st at 6 pm at Vanderbilt Hall, NYU School of Law at 40 Washington Square South, Manhattan.  Legal scholar Theodore M. Shaw, Julius Chambers, Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of NC at Chapel Hill, will present his lecture, “RACE, RIGHTS in a TIME OF MADNESS: What Would Derrick Do”,WWDD.     The brainchild of Dr. Janet Dewart Bell, the Lecture on Race began in 1995 to celebrate her husband’s 65th birthday, and was initially funded by Friends of Derrick Bell and the Geneva Crenshaw Society. The NYU School of Law has maintained it.

Nikki Giovanni

BETWEEN THE LINES TALKS at the Schomburg, located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, Harlem.   1) Join Schomburg Center’s Executive Director and poet Kevin Young, who will discuss his new book, “BUNK: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug & Plagiarists, Phonies, Post Facts and Fake News”, which traces the history of the hoaxes Americana from PT Barnum to President Donald Trump, with Garnette Cadogan, Martin Luther King, Jr., visiting scholar at MIT, on November 7th, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. 2) Join Poetess/Professor Nikki Giovanni, who discusses her latest poetry collection, “Between the Lines: A GOOD CRY: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter”, who will be interviewed by MSNBC-TV anchor Joy Reid on November 9th at 6:30 pm.   Book-signing will follow both talks.

DANCE: Misty Copeland, the first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, comes uptown to the Harlem Stage Gatehouse to lead a ballet class to engage young ballerinas in Harlem who attend the Dance Theater of Harlem and the Harlem School of the Arts on November 6th at 5 pm.   The class can be viewed by young and old dance enthusiasts.   It will be followed by a Copeland conversation with dancer/actress Carmen de Lavallade about “BEING THE FIRST.”   Harlem Stage Gatehouse is located at 150 Convent Avenue.

NEWSMAKERS

Derrick Johnson

The NAACP National Board of Directors unanimously elected veteran civil rights activist Derrick Johnson, 49, its President/CEO.  He is tasked with navigating the 109-year-old organization through a period fraught with challenges. The NAACP recently issued an advisory warning African-Americans about their safety and well-being while patronizing American Airlines. The advisory, effective October 21st, is in response to 4 egregious incidents experienced by Blacks from the carrier in 2017.

SCORPIOS: Dr. Debra Ann Byrd, LeRoy Clarke, Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, Sandra Trim DaCost, Rev. Jacques DeGraff, Drake, Joy Elliott, Dr. Lonnetta Gaines, Whoopi Goldberg, Loretta Greene, Vy Higginsen, Rene Lavergneau, Raymond Lewis, Sharon Lopez, Natika Martin, Stanley McIntosh, Anthony Nelson, Kenneth Reynolds, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Gloria Horsford Turruella, Chet Whye, Jr; Theresa Racine, Gabrielle Union and Anita Webster.

RIP: National treasure Bob Guillaume, 89, died.   He was an actor who mastered drama, comedy and musicals who dominated network TV with shows like “SOAP” and “BENSON”. A household name in musical theater with lead credits in “GUYS AND DOLLS”, “PURLIE” and “PHANTOM OF THE OPERA”.

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