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What’s Going On

AMERICANA 2020
The Democrats: Is it a foregone conclusion that Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic Presidential nomination with all of its unintended consequences? He has momentum…but I don’t know if his contenders should be dismissed, after only three contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada? None of those states reflect the diversity embodied in the American electorate. None have a sizeable Black population, for starters. Perhaps, a different trend will emerge after the 2/29 S.C, Primary, where large numbers of Blacks will participate and after the 3/ 3 Super Tuesday primary outcomes in 14 states, which will award 1357 delegates.

Let’s examine the Sanders’ moderate competition. Who can explain the votes to date in second and third place for moderate contender Pete Buttigieg? He is the least bombastic of the presidential hopeful lot; but something that he says resonates with white moderates and Midwestern voters.

Joe Biden

The jury is still out on former VP Joe Biden, who was leading contender to beat Trump a few weeks ago. He has not performed well in debates, fared even worse in the three 2020 primary/caucus outings, and his national poll numbers are not encouraging. His campaign appears sluggish. Will SC Black voters give Biden bid an adrenalin rush? Biden says yes. Democrats are still confounded by the low Black voter turnout in 2016, especially in swing states. No African American will top 2020 ballots. Will the “anyone- but- Trump” mantra be sufficient for Black voter turnout in November?

Former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, another moderate, entered the Democratic primary game late – with lots of baggage – not the least of which was his stop-and-frisk mayoralty, which targeted African Americans and Latinos, and with bundles of money. His national spending spree, targeting many demographics – swing-state voters, suburban women, and African Americans – is buying voter support. There is still rancor in many Black communities re: Bloomberg’s mayoralty, but he seems to be doing disproportionately well with Blacks in national polls. His TV ads send a message that he and President Obama are besties. He is the only candidate buying Black print media. Moreover, he consented to waive three non-disclosure agreements signed by women who were sexually harassed or discriminated by him at Bloomberg LLC. Would he waive the non-disclosure agreement signed by African-American Burton Waddy, a former Bloomberg employee? No, it is not sex-related!

The Republicans: Trump crony Steve Bannon said that the Trump presidency was going to dismantle the administrative state. We observe in horror as that plan unfolds. Trump has little interest in moving the United States towards a more perfect union. His policies and executive orders move more towards imperfection and a disunion. The Trump domestic agenda has little regard for the Constitution and the rule of law – civil rights, gun reform, national unity, health care, clean air. Trump promised a dystopian world during his inaugural address. Can Americans endure four more years of the Trumpublican nightmare?

NEWSMAKERS
RIP: Barbara Elaine Smith, 70, died from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at her Sag Harbor home, B. Smith was a Black woman who had it all – beauty, business savvy, style and a vision. She first came to the public’s attention as a Wilhemina model who donned a ‘70s cover of Mademoiselle magazine. Then came B. Smith’s restaurant in Manhattan, THE place to dine in midtown. B. Smith’s begat sister bistros in Washington, DC and in the Hamptons. B. Smith leveraged her brand, becoming a lifestyle guru who boasted a TV Show, “B. Smith With Style,” wrote four books, and created a home-goods line sold at Bed, Bath And Beyond. Twice married, B. Smith lived in two Central Park South condos before moving to Sag Harbor. She is survived by her husband Dan Gasby, stepdaughter Dana Gasby and two brothers, Ronald and Dennis Smith.

RIP: Harlem native, Tyrone Perry, 60, joined the ancestors on February 16. Beloved father, son, and brother, Tyrone was a devoted family man. He attended NYC public schools, enlisted in the US Army in 1979, and attended Bronx Community College. He honed his skills as a handyman, adept in plumbing and carpentry and earned a NYC locksmith license. He is survived by his mother Maxine, his daughter Aliya, a recent John Jay College graduate, his siblings Wayne, Alisha and Kendall and nephews Craig, Tyrone, Kendall Jr, Maxwell and Kai.

RIP: Katherine Johnson, 101, passed away. The NASA mathematician in the 50s and 60s who was known for verifying results from computers to calculate space travel orbits. The first American Astronaut to orbit earth, John Glenn, requested that Johnson vet computer results. She did similar calculations a year earlier for astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. The book “Hidden Figures,” about her and the team of Black women with their math prowess at NASA, was made into a film in 2017, which garnered a few Oscars. Johnson and her Black buddies were fact-checking NASA computer calculations for accuracy!

Isabel Dos Santos

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
The Forbes billionaire List: Africa’s Billionaires 2020, the top 20 have a combined worth of $73.4 billion. Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote heads the List for the 9th year in a row, has estimated net worth of $10.1 billion. Angolan Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is the only woman in Africa’s billionaire club.

HAITI: Haiti is no stranger to protests and unrest. Nation is rife with political and socio-economic turmoil, which began last year when national protests were organized calling for President Jovenel Moise’s ouster. Last week was no different, when Haitian police launched their protests for wages as orgy of gunfire began. The Haitian military suffered fatalities and casualties against the backdrop of the nation’s traditional pre-carnival festivities. President since 2017, the Moise government is synonymous with unparalleled corruption and ineptitude. Haiti has morphed into a culture of unstoppable daily violence, to include carnage, kidnapping and arrests of civilians and opposition-party leaders. Moise refuses to leave. He began talks with the opposition parties to discuss government power sharing.

Romare Bearden

BLACK CULTURE
FINE ART: Art lovers and collectors will be lining up for the Essie Green Galleries new exhibit, a salon style show of 15 artists, which include Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, Edward Bannister, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones, and which opens on Saturday, February 29 with a reception from 3:30 to 6 pm. EGG President Sherman Edmiston enthuses about the exhibit, “Some works speak to Black history and many celebrate Black art mastery.” Exhibit runs through April 4 at 419A Convent Avenue, corner of 148 Street, Harlem, Visit essiegreengalleries.com or call 212.368.9635.

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

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