WHAT’S GOING ON

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Colson Whitehead

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Things will get better. Mankind still has hope which we must keep alive, the Trump Presidency notwithstanding. He remains the most unpopular president since polls were extant. His popularity with his base is eroding.   One Internet news item on 12/25 indicated that diplomacy, aka talks, would take a front seat in dealing with North Korea.  Next year is also midterm elections, and the Trump effect produces wonders at the polling sites.

Cory Johnson

The year 2018 is a reelection year for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. Perhaps New York City residents may experience détente between the governor and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Andrew knows how to get out the vote!

Alas, the next NYC Council Speaker will not be a man of color.   Reliable rumors say that Councilman Corey Johnson has the necessary votes.

HARLEM, USA

The Studio Museum of Harlem, one of America’s “jewel in the crown” of culture, celebrates its 50th Anniversary next year.   Its board plans not only a face-lift but a new building at its present site, located at 144 West 125th Street.   The Studio Museum of Harlem will break ground in late fall 2018, designed by the internationally renown Sir David Adjaye, creator of the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

Ray McGuire

The new Studio Museum of Harlem project is a Herculean project for SMH Director Thelma Golden, SMH Chair Raymond McGuire and the SMH Trustees. The new building comes with 82,000 SF, with 5 floors plus a roof terrace and two subground-floor levels and a $175 million capital campaign.    The Studio Museum of Harlem operations will relocate to the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building.   The SMH artists-in-residence and curatorial programs will continue during construction at venues around Harlem and NYC.

The Studio Museum of Harlem Trustees ideally are looking at 30% participation in building construction by local general contractors who should contact African-American firm McKissack & McKissack, Harlem Office of Community Employment, located at 63-65 West 125th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, New York 10027; phone: 646-386-7277; E-mail: communityemployment@mskissack.com

The Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Art Center in Harlem, located at 2785 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, is closing on 12/31. Loss of that space is devastating to both fine artists and art lovers alike. The Neiman Art Center is a local treasure utilized for art classes and exhibitions along the north-of-145th Street corridor. Arts Horizons plans to keep the concept alive with an initiative, call LeRoy Neiman Art Center Without Walls. [Visit neimancenter.org]

MEDIA MATTERS

Cheryl Wills

Cheryl Wills, one of the first ladies of NY Cable TV, adds another feather in her career cap.   NY1 News staffer who was a senior reporter, anchor, host of a Sunday public affairs show (“Cheryl Wills in Focus”), will host a new NY1 show nightly called “Cheryl Wills Live” at 10. Wills also authored two books, “Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale” and “The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills”.

The ShadowLeague.com, a website specialist in sports news related to people of color, has launched POWER PLAYERS section, which focuses on women of color in sports.   ShadowLeague has profiled the following: Gold-Onwude, native New Yorker, TV journalist at Turner Sports; “Rosalyn Gold- Onwude’s Passion for Hoops Drives Her Ascension” and “Taylor Rooks Inspires as She Elevates in the Sports Media Game”. She is a SportsNet News reporter and TV host. Visit the site and learn about the upwardly mobile media stars.

ARTS/CULTURE

The Uptown Dance Academy hosts its 22nd Annual Black Nutcracker Gala Benefit on January 11 at City College’s Aaron Davis Hall, located at 160 Convent Avenue, Harlem, USA. Show time is 10-11 am and 6-7 pm.   Gala honorees are Geoffrey Eaton and Pat Stevenson. [Call 917.202.1601]

Colson Whitehead

The 14th National Black Writers Conference, held at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, convenes on March 22-25. The 2018 conference theme is “GATHERING AT THE WATERS: Healing, Legacy and Activism in Black Literature”. The NBWC welcomes theme-related papers which must be submitted by January 15; E-mail: writers@mec.cuny.edu.   The 2018 NBWC writers/honorees are Colson Whitehead, Kwame Dawes, David Levering Lewis, Susan Taylor, Steven Barnes, Tanannarive Due and Eugene Redmond. [Visit CenterforBlackLiterature.org]

How close is Oscar for African-American films in the 2018 race. The NY Times film critic Ms. Manohla Dargis rated GET OUT, directed by African-American Jordan Peele, a riff on America and its race culture, in her Top 10. She relegated I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, a portrait of James Baldwin, and MUDBOUND, to honorable mention status. Mr. A.O. Scott put GET OUT and I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO in his Top 10. MUDBOUND, directed by African-American Dee Rees, got Scott’s honorable mention. Film is set in post-WWII rural Mississippi when two men, an African-American and a white, return home from the war. Overlooked by the Golden Globes, this film garnered excellent reviews.

NEWSMAKERS

Don Hogan Charles

RIP: Don Hogan Charles, 79, died on December 15. Charles was the first Black photographer hired by the New York Times in 1964.   He covered civil rights, celebrities, fashion denizens for the NYT until 2007.   Charles captured Malcolm X with a rifle looking out of his Queens home. Many next generation Black photogs at the NYT spoke of Charles as a mentor during their initiation at the paper.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

February 14, 2018 is the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial.   Born into slavery, Douglass became an abolitionist, social reformer, writer and statesman, and prominent American historian. The Douglass Bicentennial will be observed across the nation throughout 2018. His great-great-grandson Lloyd Weaver is New York-based. [Visit douglassbicentennial.org]

December 18, 2017 was the Ossie Davis Centennial.   His family plans year-long celebrations to commemorate his life as an author, activist, actor. [Visit ossieandruby.com]

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture hosts its 6th Annual Black Comic Book Festival on January 12-13 at 10 am. Festival program is a mix of panel discussions, a cosplay show, film screenings of subjects like diversity, social justice, Black comics in digital spaces and Black masculinity in comic books. A magnet for comic book readers, creators, bloggers, nerds, independent publishers of all ages, the festival will be held at the Schomburg Center, located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard.   [Visit schomburgcenter.org/calendar

A Harlem-based management consultant, Victoria is reachable at Victoria.horsford@gmail.com.