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THE USA 11/3 ELECTION

Americans have 2020 election fever!. Temperatures are rising. To be sure, most of the electorate has decided to vote Biden or Trump. The election rituals like Presidential debates and rallies only prolong the agony that we must endure until November. 3.
Can America accommodate another four years of the uncertainty and vagaries that accompany POTUS 45 governance or what passes for same? Can America accommodate a President who parrots and believes the words of the late African autocrat Idi Amin? Both say: “I’m very powerful, I’ve got a really good brain, People like me.” See the Trevor Noah video. Does America want another four years of a cult figure’s misadventures? Americans want a leader consumed by COVID19 management and containment followed by an economic recovery. Not possible from this White House!
This week, Pfizer, became the third pharmaceutical company to say that its 3rd stage clinical trials would not be complete before 11/3. No COVID vaccine by 11/3! Meanwhile, Trump, who never quarantined long enough for his COVID 19 diagnosis, is crisscrossing the country, hosting political rallies, and probably spreading the virus to the faithful, as he tries to punish Americans for another four years. The election demographics are changing but the Dem/GOP strategists still appeal to special interests, based on ethnicity, race or class. A group overlooked by politicos includes Millennials and Gen Zers, who according to a Pew Research study comprise 37% of the 2020 electorate! Aside from age similarities, they defy description.

As of October 19, the US Election Project reports that at least 28 million Americans have already voted, which is 20% more votes counted in the 2016 election. The Project is headed by Michael McDonald, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. Moreover, the report says that California and Texas and Florida lead in ballots cast. Registered Democrats have outvoted Republicans in early voting by a 2 to1 margin. Democrats exceed GOP in voting by mail.

NEW YORK
Hopefully, New Yorkers will be dancing in the streets after anticipated 11/3 election results are known. Or will chaos prevail with a Trump loss? NYPD is preparing for protesters, pro and con, on the streets, regardless of election outcome. By mid-November, New Yorkers will start to prepare for 2020 NYC mayoral election.

ARTS/CULTURE
TELEVISION: Channing Dungey, 51, named Chairman of Warner Brothers TV Group. She has oversight of HBO, HBO Max, TBS, TNT, and WB shows like “The Bachelor,” “Riverdale” and “Young Sheldon.” Ms. Dungey’s CV is glass-ceiling proof. She was the first Black woman executive to run one of the big 4 networks while she was at ABC from 2016-2018. She made headlines there when she cancelled the renewed “Roseanne” show after Barr made racist remarks about Black newsmaker Valerie Jarrett. She joined Netflix where she was VP of original content until a few months ago.

THEATER: Brooklyn’s Billie Holiday Theatre has spearheaded THE BLACK SEED, a strategic plan that will award grants from $30,000 to $300,000 to 50 Black theaters across the USA. Grants are made possible from a $5 million lead gift to the BHT from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. The BHT is accepting Requests For Proposals for Black Seed funding until Friday, November 13. Grantees will be announced in December. Visit TheBlackSeed@Restorationplaza.org
If you missed the documentary DRIVING WHILE BLACK: African American Travel and the Road To Civil Rights which aired on PBS on October 13, you can stream it until early November at www.pbs.org/show/driving-while-black. The documentary was adapted from African-American scholar Gretchen Sorin’s book of the same title. Sorin narrates the documentary, assisted by Black historians and eyewitnesses, who hold forth about Black mobility from the Middle Passage to the cars on national highways. It is an absorbing, informative experience.

OUT OF AFRICA
The US State Department says that Sudan will be removed from the US terrorist list. Why? Sudan is eligible for US humanitarian aid and other assistance conditional on its payment of $335 million for victims of Al Qaeda attacks on US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Sudan joins the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain who recently normalized relations with Israel. The UAE got the nod for a $1 trillion weapons purchase deal with the US as a result of the detente.
The Ivory Coast holds general elections on 10/31. Current two-term President Alassane Ouattara is running for a 3rd term, which violates Constitution. The house of one of his opponents, former Prime Minister Affi Nguessan, was burned down; and two campaign protesters were killed. No one wants a reprise of the IC post- election violence of 2010-11 when 3000 died and the nation descended into chaos.

NEWSMAKER
RIP: Anthony Chisolm, 77, joined the ancestors last week. A seasoned actor, he mastered stage, TV and film who boasted many awards and nominations for his craft. A collaborator of playwright August Wilson, Chiz inhabited Wilson characters in plays like “Two Trains Running,” “Jitney,” “Gem of the Ocean,” and “Radio Golf.” His screen credits include “Uptight,” “Putney Swope” “Beloved,” and Chi-Raq. “Law and Order” and HBO’s “Oz” were among his many TV creds. He is survived by two children, Alexander and Che, and two grandchildren.
Harlem Restaurant Week Fall 2020 runs from October 19 to 31, promoting $25 prix fixe lunches and $35 prix fixe dinners. Some of more than 40 participating East and West Harlem bistros include Chocolat, Renaissance, Ruby’s Vintage, Cove Lounge, Angel of Harlem, Archer & Goat, The Edge, Red Rooster, the Honey Well, Sisters Cuisine, City Island in the City, and Mountain Bird. For full HRWF 2020 menu, visit harlemrestaurantweek.com.

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

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