WHAT’S GOING ON

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AMERICA, AMERICA

Kamala Harris

The White House Weekend: President Trump called a press conference last Saturday, 1/19 to announce his plan to end the government shutdown with a broad immigration bill accompanied by a $5 billion price tag for his border wall. Proposal was DOA with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On Sunday, VP Pence invoked Dr. King, saying that he would support a border wall! Thought that Trump was a great deal-maker.

To date, three Democratic women, US Senator Elizabeth Warren (69), US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) and US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (52), who was named to the Senate in 2009 by then-NYS African-American Governor David Paterson, are running for the US Presidency.   Wonder where he would land if she wins–her cabinet, an ambassadorship? Then, like a breath of fresh air on the 1/21 Martin Luther King holiday, US Senator Kamala Harris (54) announced that she is running for the presidency.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Promises, promises. This month, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his “State of the State” speech, proffered cash bail reform, early voting, strengthening rent regulation, MTA improvements in NYC, legalization of recreational marijuana, congestive pricing, to name a few.  In his “State of the City” speech, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to seize buildings owned by deadbeat landlords; to require paid vacation leave for private sector employees; to increase ferry routes to Coney Island and Staten Island; and to improve customer service at city hospitals. He also said, “There is plenty of money in the city, just in the wrong hands.” Rumors persist that he is interested in the 2020 Presidential race, which would explain his busy 2019 travel itinerary.   P.S.—NYC: Remember FJC Security Services, the alleged “peace officers” who, along with the NYPD, snatched Jazmine Headley’s baby from her arms at a Brooklyn Medicaid center last month, before arresting her? NYC recently renewed the $284 million FJC Security contract.

HARLEM: The Friends of Democratic NYS Assemblywoman Inez Dickens will host a fundraiser for her on January 31 at Mist Harlem, located at 46 West 116th Street, at 6 pm.     Fundraiser will include a Charlie Rangel Awards Ceremony, citing five outstanding business and community leaders.

BUSINESS AFFAIRS

Read the Harlem World magazine op-ed by Harlem Business Alliance Executive Director Regina Smith, “Locked Up or Locked Out, How to Ensure NY’s Black Community Gets Its Share of Cannabis’ Green Rush.”

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WORLD AFFAIRS

Etienne Tshisekedi

DEAR CONGO: National elections were held on December 30, 2 years after the mandated time. Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi emerged victorious out of a field of 21 candidates for the presidency.   President Joseph Kabila is stepping down after his 18-year reign. Election fraud has been alleged and that victor Tshisekedi cut a power-sharing deal with outgoing strongman Kabila.   Roughly 100 are dead in post-election violence. Congo is the richest in natural resources of real estate on earth.

KENYA: Kenya enjoys the “jewel in the crown” status in post-colonial, independent Anglophone Africa. It’s the nation where most foreign companies prefer to headquarter in Africa. Somali terrorists, Al-Shabab, disrupted the Kenyan peace on January 15 with a deadly attack on a luxury Nairobi hotel frequented by African elites and foreigners. More than 50 people were killed. The same group staged a similar attack in Kenya in 2013.   BTW, Kenya will introduce Chinese into its elementary school curriculum.

NIGERIA: General elections for the President and National Assembly will be held on February 16 in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. Health-challenged President Muhammadu Buhari, 75, is running for reelection facing 19 challengers with as many political parties. A sluggish economy and depressed oil prices contribute to Nigerians’ disaffection for him. Buhari was the first African eminence to meet Trump at the White House last April. After Buhari left, Trump told staff that he never wants to meet anyone so “lifeless again.” Trump’s next African visitor was Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, 58!

ARTS/CULTURE

FILM: Oscar 2019 results are in. The films which focused on Black protagonists garnered Best Picture nominations. They are BLACK PANTHER, BLACKKKLANSMAN and GREEN BOOK. Spike Lee (BlackkKlansman) is a Best Director nominee; Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” is a Best Supporting Actress nominee. Mahershala Ali, “Green Book,” is a Best Supporting Actor nominee.

THEATER: AMERICAN SON is an intense dark drama starring Kerry Washington, about an overachieving Black mother and her estranged white husband, an FBI agent, who are reunited late one night at a Florida police precinct awaiting news about the fate of their missing teenage son. It is a riveting, poignant slice-of-life piece about race, young Black men and their interplay with local police…. through January 27.

Lynn Nottage’s play, BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK, starring Jessica Frances Duke, opens January 29 and runs through March 3 with a February 19 premiere at the Pershing Square Signature Center in Manhattan. Play is a “70-year journey about a headstrong African-American maid-cum-budding actress and her tangled relationship with her boss, a white Hollywood star.”   Based in part on a real-life story about a maid who becomes a star off-Broadway. VERA STARK is directed by Kamilah Forbes, Apollo Theater executive producer who boasts producer/director Broadway and off-Broadway credits.

NEWSMAKERS

RIP: Virginia “Gini” Booth Harris, 71, has died. Born in Jamaica, Queens, Gini grew up in two worlds. She would accompany her dad, Judge William Booth, at civil rights marches, then join her mother later to attend a “Jack and Jill” function. Twice married with two sons and three grandsons, Gini was a multitalented individual who did stints as an actress, a TV producer, a community advocate and as a public relations consultant. She found her niche at Suffolk Literacy where she put in 20 years, 12 of which as executive director, where she thrived until she fell ill last year. Her e-mail sign off phrase was “joie de vivre.” That spirit was infectious.

[A Harlem-based management consultant, Victoria can be contacted at victoria.horsford@gmail.com.]