WEEK IN REVIEW
2020 PRESIDENCY: It is hoped that the February 3 Iowa Democratic Caucus is not a prelude to Democratic efficacy this year at poll sites. It is as chaotic as the POTUS 45 White House, which most want to oust. The Trump White House operates like an autocratic institution and Iowa is like the election math in some Third World country. Do we need election-watchers to monitor polls come November? It is rumored that results could be announced by 5 pm on Tuesday, February 4. Michael Bloomberg, it is alleged, is taking advantage of the Iowa chaos in his marketing strategy. Oh, it’s going to be an ugly year in American politics.
HARLEM, NEW YORK: It looks like the Olnick Organization, the builder of Harlem’s 60-year-old, 6-building luxury housing complex, has overcome a major hurdle in its $800 million expansion plan for the storied buildings, located at 132nd-135th Street from Lenox to Fifth Avenue. The plan included five new buildings and a two-storied commercial strip fronting Lenox Avenue. The majority of the LT tenants, like 70%, oppose the expansion. To get a zoning extension in NYC, there is a four-tiered process: hearings with the local Community Board, which is CB10; with Boro President Gale Brewer’s Office; with the City Planning Commission; and with the City Council for final approval. The Olnick Organization has modified the expansion plan based on community feedback at hearings. Olnick obtained City Planning Commission approval on February 3. The City Council seals the fate.
The Black News Channel, a 24-hour TV news and information service targeted to Black America, hits the airwaves on Monday, February 10. The brainchild of former US Congressman JC Watts, who first referenced it in 2008, has been looking for partners for awhile. Shahid “Shad” Khan, Pakistani-American billionaire, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, an NFL franchise, is the Black News Channel network’s majority investor.
Trump adds citizens of six nations – Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan, Eritrea, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Kyrgyzstan – to his executive order list which bars entry to the United States. Four of those nations are African. Nigeria said there was no forewarning from the US State Department. On the one hand, Trump Team 2020 is giving monies to Black Americans to win their vote while excluding African Blacks from entering the United States. The original Trump 2017 list barred citizens of seven countries – Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen – from entry to the USA.
On a lighter note and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day on February 14, thought that I’d share this information. The world’s wealthiest Black man, Aliko Dangote, 62, is a Nigerian entrepreneur. His net worth fluctuates between $4-12 billion depending on media source and his nation’s currency. His Dangote Industries includes Dangote Cement, PLC and four other publicly traded companies under his Dangote umbrella which accounts for more than 20% of Nigeria’s stock exchange. What does that have to do with Valentine’s Day? According to countless media sources, the twice-married Muslim Dangote said, “I need a wife.” My research verified the statement, which was made in 2018. Don’t know if the twice-married Muslim businessman found a wife…but it could not be too hard to find out. He plans to open New York offices this year. This year is leap year. On February 29, Sadie Hawkins Day is celebrated. At that time, it is appropriate for a woman to propose to potential husbands. Perhaps, there is a US-based Dangote who is looking for a wife soon!
Leontyne Price, a prima donna soprano, is the fifth Black, and the first Black commanding a lead role, to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. A diva of international renown, she retired in the mid-80s. Born on February 10, 1927 in Laurel, Mississippi, she turns 93 this week.
Last month, New Jersey-based Rutgers University elected its first African- American President, Dr. Jonathan Holloway. Founded 253 years ago, Rutgers has a student population of 70,000. Dr. Holloway, a graduate of Stanford University and Yale, where he earned two degrees and a Ph.D. in History, has authored two books: “Confronting the Veil: Harris Abrams, Jr., E. Franklin Frazier and Ralph Bunche 1919-1941” and “Jim Crow Wisdom, Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940.”
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Dr. Janet Dewart Bell hosts a fundraiser/reception for freshman Representative Lucy McBath, of Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, the seat held by Newt Gingrich 20 years ago. In 2012, McBath’s son was shot and killed by a disgruntled white man at a Florida gas station, an incident which attracted national outrage and protracted media coverage, and which was the impetus for her congressional run. The fundraiser will be held on Friday, February 7 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Dr. Bell’s residence, located at 444 Central Park West, Suite 14B, Manhattan. Call 212.222.1242 to make a reservation to attend. If you cannot attend, please send a check made payable to Friends of Lucy McBath and mail to Dr. Janet Dewart Bell.
The Schomburg Center presents The Harlem Chamber Players’ Annual Black History Month Celebration with special guests, virtuoso pianist Joseph Joubert and soprano Renay Peters Joubert, Terrance McKnight of WQXR and members of the Harlem Chamber Players in a program featuring Florence Price and George Walker. Event is free and open to the public. The Schomburg is located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard. [RSVP to Schomburg is required]
The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies hosts its 23rd Annual Legacy Awards on February 19 at 6 pm at the Pierre Hotel, 2 East 61st Street, Manhattan. Distinguished honorees include Keith Duncan, Jamaica Money Market Brokers; Meredith Marshall, BRP Managing Partners; Honorable David Paterson; Dr. Godfrey Gibbison, Professor/Dean, College of Charleston; Lorraine Toussaint, Actress/Producer; and the Honorable Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of St. Lucia. [Visit AFUWI.org]
One Hundred Black Men, NY hosts its 40th Annual Benefit Gala on February 20 at the Sheraton Times Square New York Hotel, located 811 Seventh Avenue, Manhattan. Gala honorees are: Quentin Roach, Merck VP; Kimberly Godwin, CBS News EVP; Mandell Crawley, Morgan Stanley; Nikole Hannah-Jones, NY Times Magazine, “The 1619 Project;” John Elefterakis, EE & P Law; Rachel Noerdlinger, Mercury; and Scott Bremerman, UPS President, East Region. Founded in 1963, OHBM is the preeminent civic nonprofit organization which provides leadership and support services to the African-American community. The dinner gala proceeds will benefit the OHBM mentoring and scholarship programs. [Visit ohbm.org]
A Harlem- based branding/media entrepreneur, Victoria can be reached at Victoria.firstname.lastname@example.org