What’s Going On
By Victoria Horsford
Last week’s Democratic debate was the best ever but played to low ratings, perhaps because America was saturated by House Intelligence Committee Impeachment Hearings. Thought that it was the best performance by US Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who were exceptional and not dodging important references to Black America.
Kamala Harris comes uptown and gets a warm Harlem welcome and a large turnout at a fundraiser for her 2020 US Presidential bid at the home of real estate developer-cum-philanthropist Beatrice Sibblies. Everyone was in attendance from local electeds headed by Brian Benjamin, who was on the Benefit Committee for high net worth African American residents. Ticket levels ranged from $500 to $2800. Event was redolent of 1960s Harlem when Black elites controlled banks, real estate holdings, antipoverty programs and were the local professional class when we had a collective unconsciousness.
NY Democratic Congressional incumbents will have to deal with 2020 Primary challenges, a rarity. Affected Congress members include veteran Jerrold Nadler, who has been in power for 27 years; Eliot Engel, who has been in Congress since 1988; Carolyn Maloney, in Congress since 1992 and Brooklynite in Congress since 2006. Her opponent, Adem Bunkeddeko, 31, has launched his digital fundraising campaign since September. Congressional newcomer, Charlie Rangel successor and Dominican Republic-born Adriano Espaillat, faces a challenge from NY African-American Gen-Xer Richard Habersham.
The Brian Benjamin Birthday Celebration/fundraiser for his 2021 NYC Comptroller run will be held at Minton’s Playhouse, 206 West 118th Street, Harlem, on December 7 from 3-5 pm. Ticket price levels are holiday season user-friendly. [RSVP: 646.559.9946]
Beauty and cosmetics titan Courtney Adeleye invested $30 million into a fund, The Generational Advantage Fund, which will help Black women business owners. Founder/CEO of the Mane Choice, Adeleye has partnered with MAV Beauty Brands to make the fund a reality. Subject fund will offer programs, resources and financing for Black women business ventures. The Mane Choice is an Alabama-based multicultural hair solution company. MAV is a hair and body care company. Adeleye’s daughter, 5-year-old Lily Adeleye, is the youngest CEO to have her company’s products sold at Target.
THEATER: Broadway is about MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC. According to reviews, a star is born with Adrienne Warren’s performance in the title role of “TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL,” now playing on Broadway. Play is executive produced by Ms. Turner……. “AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG, THE TEMPTATIONS” continues to run as one of Broadway’s most popular shows. Either one or both would make great holiday gifts!
Vy Higginsen’s “MAMA I WANT TO SING” musical treasure at 35, is still a crowd-pleaser. The play returned to its roots at the Heckscher Theater, now residing at the Museo Del Barrio headquarters on Fifth Avenue, along Museum Mile. The production had a fresh edge with a cast of characters who were supremely competent actors/vocalists supported by a wonderful sextet of musicians. The two performances were SRO.
The Classical Theatre of Harlem revives its enchanting family-friendly musical, “A CHRISTMAS CAROL IN HARLEM,” a reimaging of the Charles Dickens classic. Story is set in contemporary Harlem and Scrooge is a real estate developer, exceedingly mean, stingy and insensitive. Music, dance and song predominate in this cleverly adapted update of “A CHRISTMAS CAROL.” Saw it last year and cannot stop singing its praises. Directed by Carl Cofield and adapted by Shawn Rene Graham, “CHRISTMAS CAROL” playdates are December 8 to December 21 at the Aaron Davis Hall, at the City College campus.
MEDIA: The 11/25 Time magazine cover story, “THE NEXT 100 Most Influential People,” identifies achievers in the following categories – Advocates, Artists, Leaders, Innovators and Phenoms. The following lists some of the African-American and African NEXT People: Somali-born Magid Magid, 30, whose family relocated to England where he is a member of Parliament; Adut Akech, 19, model from South Sudan; Nigerian Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, 29, founder of STER, Stand Up to Rape; Joy Buolamwini, 29, computer scientist who founded the Algorithmic Justice League; Kwame Onwuachi, 30; Photographer John Edmonds, 30; Jason Reynolde, 35, author of “Look Both Ways;” Dancer Liza Koshy; Njideka Akungil Crosby, 36, visual artist; Jharrel Jerome, 22, actor, “WHEN THEY SEE US;” DJ Shanela Pierre, 38, drag queen; Kenyan-born filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu, 39; Illinois Representative Lauren Underwood, 33, the youngest Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress; “Queen & Slim” film director Melina Matsoukas; Tristan Walker, 35, entrepreneur who sold his business to Proctor & Gamble, now the first Black CEO of a P&G subsidiary; NBA freshman Zion Williamson, 19; Ugandan political firebrand and presidential hopeful Bobi Wine, 37, will challenge incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who has held power since 1986. It would be wise to read more about the above-cited newsmakers.
Happy Birthday to Sagittarians: Senator Brian Benjamin; filmmaker Grace Blake; Jeff Burns, media executive; Joe Barnes; Denise Coke, techie ad designer and fine artist; Harlem District Leader Cordell Cleare; NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo; educator Copper Cunningham; Cornell Professor Carole Boyce Davies; Darryl Downing, marketing consultant; George Faison; Fern Gillespie, writer/publicist; realtor Karlen Grant; Richard Parnell Habersham III; Cicely Harris, CB10 Chair; Kwaku Horsford; Robert Horsford, Apex Building Group; Sheryl Huggins, journalist; Joyce Mullins Jackson, realtor; Samuel L. Jackson; Jay-Z; Alice LaBrie; Rosalinda McIntosh; Nesta McClymont, Jr & Sr; Ernst Perodin, Esquire; Joy Reid, MSNBC; CUNY Professor Linda Ridley; Karl Rodney, NY Carib News Publisher; Jane Small; Gail Wright Sirmans, Esquire; filmmaker Eric Tate; and Tina Turner.
Last weekend was New York City memorial time to celebrate the lives of three preeminent Americans – Toni Morrison, Diahann Carroll and Jessye Norman- who altered the American cultural scene in ways large and small. There was the memorial at St. John the Divine for literary lioness Toni Morrison, recipient of Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes on 11/21 (Thursday) where Oprah, Angela Davis, Edwidge Danticat and Ta-Nehisi Coates paid tributes to her.The memorials for actress of stage, screen and TV Diahann Carroll and opera diva Jessye Norman were held at the Helen Hayes Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House, respectively, on Sunday, November 24.
December is AIDS Awareness Month. It is the month of the winter solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and scores of business and corporate holiday parties, many of which will be included in WGO!