SPRINGTIME IN AMERICA
George Floyd’s murder in Minnesota last May traumatized America and the world! We watched, in horror, teen Darnella Frazier’s video of a white police officer killing Mr. Floyd. That policeman Derek Chauvin was on trial — charged with second degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — which ended April 19. America is on edge as we await the jury’s outcome. Justice prevailed! Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges. The George Floyd Justice In Policing Act of 2021, passed by the House of Representatives. The Act addresses police practices and law enforcement accountability.
Last week, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with the Congressional Black Caucus for two hours to review how proactive his Administration would be with regard to Black America. The session ran the gamut, from more equitable health care for African Americans, more funding for education institutions serving Blacks, to an African American woman on the US Supreme Court and then some. Caucus also wants African American Shalanda Young to head the Office of Management and Budget. Attendees like Representatives Steve Horsford and Jim Clyburn are tight lipped about details.
The NYC mayoral race is literally the talk of the town. Endorsements make headlines in the absence of any solid poll predictions. Early, small polls give Andrew Yang the advantage, owing to name recognition from his 2020 US Prexy outing. Eric Adams has gotten endorsements from Freddie Ferrer, former 3-term Bronx Boro Prexy; Congressman Charles Rangel; Brooklyn Democratic leader Bichotte Hermelyn; Brooklyn’s Our Time Press newspaper announced early editorial support. Labor union support includes District Council 37, city’s largest municipal workers group, and NY’s Bravest. Scott Stringer got the United Federation of Teachers nod and the Working Families Party, mindful of ranked choice, a new wrinkle in NYC voting rituals, tapped him #1, Dianne Morales, #2 and Maya Wiley #3. Wiley got the 1199 endorsement.
Forbes just published its 2021 Billionaire List which includes 2755 elites this year. Most of the top 5 spots had the usual American suspects, Jeff Bezos, #1, Elon Musk #2, Bill Gates #4 and Mark Zuckerberg, #5. The North American Black billionaire honor roll includes Robert Smith, $ 5.2; David Steward, World Wide Technology $3.7; Oprah $2.7; Kanye West $1.8; Jamaica-born financier Michael Lee Chin, $1.6; Cager/businessman Michael Jordan $1; Jay-Z $1.4 and Tyler Perry $1. Just to be clear: All foregoing numbers reference billions.
Almost everyone in America is eligible for COVID19 vaccinations. Make an appointment or find one of the walk-in venues near you.
David Williams, PhD, St. Lucia-born Harvard scholar, talked on 60 Minutes on April 18 about the sociology of police shootings of Black people and its impact on the mental health of the Black communities, where shootings occur, for at least three months. His conversation really hit a nerve. How do these police shootings impact on young Black male psyche, in the long term? Dr. Williams is the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard where he also chairs the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the T.H Chan School of Health. He teaches African American Studies. Glad that academia is studying the mental effects of the Black community to police shootings. “60 Minutes” is to be commended for airing Williams’ segment on the eve of the Chauvin jury verdict.
MATERNAL HEALTH: The 4th Annual National Black Maternal Health Week was created and led by Black Mamas Matter Alliance. Visit birthequity.org/bmhw 2021. President Joe Biden proclaimed April 11 to 17, 2021 as Black Maternal Health Week. Virginia Fields’ The Black Health National Black Leadership Commission on Health in partnership with the Afiya Center presents MATERNAL HEALTH, a 3 part webinar series on April 21, “Reflection on Maternal Health A Year Into Covid; May 19, 2-3 pm National Overview Of Maternal Health, A Call To Action on Policies to address Maternal Health Equity; and June 16, pm. Maternal Health Resource Fair. Registration necessary at https://bit.ly/2RkF8YJ
FILM: The 93rd Academy Awards will be televised on April 25. No shortage of diversity this year’s nominations. Black Oscar nominations include Best Picture, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, is a biopix about Black FBI informer and his role in the killing of Fred Hampton, Chair of the Black Panther Illinois chapter in 1969, produced by Black trio Shaka King, Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King; Best Actress, Viola Davis, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM and Andra Day, THE UNITED STATES VS BILLIE HOLIDAY; Best Actor, Chadwick Boseman, MA RAINEY’S; Supporting Actor, Daniel Kaluuya, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, Leslie Odom Jr. ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI and Lakeith Stanfield, “JUDAS;” and Best Documentary Feature, TIME, about a Black Louisiana woman raising six sons while fighting her husband’s draconian 60-year prison sentence. Black Lives really matter to Oscar this year!
TV: Veteran broadcast news executive Kimberly Godwin was recently appointed President of the ABC-TV News division. Not only does she become the first Black woman to head ABC news but the first Black woman to head a broadcast network news operation. She has been working as a News VEEP at CBS for years.
FINE ART: The Calabar Gallery’s current Harlem exhibit, AFRICAN ARTISTS AND PROCESSES, showcases works by Alexandre Kyngu Mwilambwe and P. Wamaitha Ng’ang’a, from 4/17 to May 10. Gallery is located at 2504 Frederick Douglas Boulevard. Call 646.964.5062. Calabar’s first Arts Residency, targeting Black artists in Brooklyn and Harlem, at Brooklyn Commons, is a 3-month residency, currently accepting applications. Visit calabargallery.com
TAURUS THE BULL Birthday greetings to photo Anthony Barboza; Ghanaian Andrea Barnieh; Davies Burton, The Modern School alum; Ramona Candy, fine artist; Sadikisha Collier, fine artist; author Audrey Edwards; Willie Egyir, NY Beacon; Toni Fay; diva Patricia Pates Eaton; Denise Pruitt Grant, Chocolate Singles; Bernice Elizabeth Green, Our Time Press co-founder; Jeanne Parnell, WHCR-FM; Richard Habersham, nonprofit exec; Grace Hamler; Noel Hankin, Leviticus disco co-founder/author; Rolando Horsford: flautist Bobbi Humphrey Ed Lewis, Essence Magazine co-founder; Harriette Mandeville, Lotus Hawk/actress; Garnet Seraile Mckenzie; business man Crispin Roy Miller; Dr. Khalil Muhammad, Harvard; philanthropist Brenda Neal; Roy Paul, Cents Ability; Scott Stringer, NYC Mayoral hopeful; Sandy Tate; Margaret Porter Troupe, Harlem Arts Salon, Dr. George Williams, DDS.
A Harlem-based branding/media consultant, Victoria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org