Week 3

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Jan 25, 2012 ... REMEMBERING DR KING — Rev. Al Sharpton looks on .... Dr. Stein, a graduate of Harvard. Medical .... ployers did not rush off to cheaper labor ...

New York

Beacon website: NewYorkBeacon.net

Vol. 19 No. 03

Showing the Way to Truth and Justice

January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012

E-Mail [email protected]

75 Cents

MLK REMEMBERED Gov. Couomo, Mayor booed at MLK events

REMEMBERING DR KING — Rev. Al Sharpton looks on as Poet Amiri Baraka lays a wreath at the MLK memorial during observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Washington, DC last Monday. The national holiday was celebrated throughout the country. (See Story On Page 3)

Hunger Action supports mayor’s minimum wage plan (See Story On Page 3)

Gillibrand, Rep.Clarke pledge continued fight for recovery and restoration of Haiti

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


Judge Ronald Lagueux

Judge orders removal of school prayer mural A federal judge has ordered the immediate removal of a Christian prayer mural displayed in the auditorium of a Rhode Island high school, saying it violated a U.S. constitutional ban on statesponsored prayer in public schools. U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux rejected the school’s claims that the message in the mural - which opens with “Our Heavenly Father” and closes with “Amen” - was purely secular. “No amount of debate can make the School Prayer anything other than a prayer, and a Christian one at that,” Lagueux wrote in a 40-page opinion. Jessica Ahlquist, a student at Cranston High School West, sued the city of Cranston and its school committee in April 2011 to remove the banner, which dates back to 1963. As an atheist, Ahlquist said the mural made her feel excluded and ostracized. She accused the school of violating the Establishment Clause of the Constitution’s First Amendment, which prevents the government from promoting one religion over another. School officials responded that the banner was a historical memento of the school’s founding days and did not serve any

religious purpose. The prayer encourages values of honesty, kindness, friendship and sportsmanship. Joseph Cavanagh, a lawyer for the city and school officials, said they were analyzing the opinion to determine whether to file an appeal. “We were hoping this banner would be viewed as a neutral, secular, historic display,” Cavanagh said. The mural, donated by the class of 1963, had evolved historically in the community and never had a religious purpose, he said. The court relied on a 2005 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court called for particular care in separating church and state in public schools. In that case, the high court ruled that a monument displaying the Ten Commandments was acceptable on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. But the court added that the same monument on the grounds of a public school would be impermissible, “given the impressionability of the young.” Lynette Labinger, a volunteer lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who represented Ahlquist, praised the judge for recognizing that Supreme Court precedent. “Placement of a public government display of a religious message in a place with impressionable young students has not been upheld,” she said.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (DNY) and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) reaffirmed their commitment to the long-term recovery efforts of Haiti by announcing new legislative initiatives that they will support upon their return to Congress. They released the following statement commemorating the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake that took place in Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010: “As we mark the two year anniversary of this horrible tragedy, we must not let up on our pledge to help rebuild Haiti,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Even as the people of Haiti have made great strides, there is still much more work to be done and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the incredible energy of Haiti’s people is met fully by American support, which leverages the knowledge and talents of the Haitian Diaspora. The survivors of the tragedy remind us of the strength, resilience, and hope that emerged from the rubble. We stand in unity with the Haitian people and remain steadfast in our mission to see Haiti overcome, recover, and succeed.” “Two years ago, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti – one of the worst natural disasters in nearly a century. In memoriam, I call on people of good will in the United States and around the world to stand firm in our commitment to help mobilize the people of Haiti to reach their full potential and subsequently move Haiti forward in the quest to become a 21st century civil society with the tools they need to be selfsufficient and life affirming,” stated Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke announced their support of the following legislative initiatives in Congress: * The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act –This bill would direct the President to report to Congress on the status of post-earthquake humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts in Haiti, including efforts to prevent the

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke spread of cholera and treat persons infected with the disease. * A Resolution Recognizing the Two Year Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haiti–This resolution honors the victims of the quake, the people of the U.S. and Haiti who helped the victims, and urges the President to maintain focus on Haiti. * A Resolution that the U.S. Should Work with the Government of Haiti to address gender-based violence against women and children – Recognizing the high rate of sexual and other violence against women and children, the resolution praises certain steps that Haiti has taken and calls for more training of Haitian law enforcement, support for ministries responsible for these issues, and

safety improvements in the displacement camps. With one of the largest concentrations of first and second generation immigrants living in New York, Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Clarke have worked diligently to ensure that the U.S. continues to address the needs of Haitians, Haitian nationals, and the Haitian Diaspora. Below you will find additional initiatives and letters that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke have worked on together in the 112th Congress. * On January 11, 2011- Sent joint letter to President Barack Obama with House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, sent a bicameral, bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama to extend the expiration date of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The Department of Homeland Security announced the extension of TPS for Haitian nationals living in the U.S. since January 12, 2011, allowing them to remain in the United States until January 22, 2013. * On December 12, 2011- Reintroduced the Haitian Emergency Life Protection Act of 2010 (The H.E.L.P. Act) in the 112th Congress. This bill would allow an estimated 55,000 Haitians who already have approved immigration petitions to join their relatives in the United States. * On December 15, 2011- Sent joint letter to President Barack Obama requesting DHS create the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. “It is our sworn duty to continue to stand with the people of Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora as they come together to implement a long-term recovery strategy in Haiti. We must strengthen our efforts to help members of the Haitian Diaspora, in the United States, joining those around the world – to bring stability to Haiti,” added Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “Much more must be done as we mark the second anniversary of this devastating earthquake. That is why I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the NGO’s community in the U.S. and Haiti, as well as, the Haitian Diaspora to make sure that Haiti is fully restored to its rightful position as “The Pearl of the Antilles.”

Green Party presidential candidate backs MLK initiative on healthcare Dr. Jill Stein, running for president as a Green Party candidate, said if elected she would honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by not only embracing his call for civil rights and racial equality but continuing his struggle for peace, economic justice and universal health care. Dr. Stein, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, said she would make health care a right and enact a single payer, expanded and Improved Medicare for All. In 1968, Dr. King said that “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” “All Americans are entitled to quality health care. We need to also control the excessive costs of health care,

starting with eliminating the expensive and wasteful practice of health insurance, where profits are increased by denying access to health care. It is a scandal that President Obama, who has long admitted that single payer is the best solution, instead copied Milt Romney and mandated that all Americans buy health insurance,” stated Stein. The last major speech Dr. King delivered, “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution”, was on poverty. Speaking at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., King talked about how the poor were invisible in America. When he was killed in Memphis four days later, while supporting the striking garbage workers, King was organizing a massive march in

Dr. Jill Stein

D.C. to launch a new campaign to end poverty. King called for “a campaign for jobs and income, because...the economic question was the most crucial that black people and poor people, generally, were confronting.” “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will,” added King. Strikingly, a recent report has included that nearly 50% of Americans live in conditions of actual poverty, meaning that they are not self-sufficient and cannot afford food, transportation, and shelter, or are just one paycheck away from that falling into that condition. Income in-

equality in America is worse than it has been since 1927. The richest 1% own 40% of the nation’s wealth and get 24% of the income. “We need economic policies that seek income equality. We need to guarantee access to the fundamentals of life, these being quality housing, food, transportation, education, and health care. We need a progressive tax system that requires the wealthy and Wall Street speculators to pay a higher share of the tax burden. We need to focus on providing a decent life for the 99%, not excessive wealth for the 1%,” noted Stein. Dr. King had concluded that a guaranteed annual income was needed as the prime step to ending poverty in our country. “I (CONTINUED ON PAGE 16)

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Hilda L. Solis

$20M federal grant to help ex-offenders gain skills Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has announced the availability of $20.6 million in grant funds to assist adult former offenders who are returning to their communities after serving time in justice facilities. The U.S. Department of Labor expects to award 17 grants of approximately $1.21 million each to organizations that will provide these individuals with employment-focused services and support. “By supporting these employment training programs, we are fulfilling a core promise of our justice system: Those who do wrong and serve their time deserve a second chance to make a positive contribution to their families and their communities,” said Secretary Solis. “Ultimately, these investments are turning ‘tax takers’ into ‘tax payers,’ and helping to relieve a major economic strain on state and local budgets, while also helping individuals get back on their feet and enhancing community stability.” Grantees will provide job training and employment preparation assistance, mentoring and connections to support services such as housing, substance abuse programs and mental health treatment. These grants represent the fifth generation of the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders-Adult Program, which previ-

ously was called the Prisoner Reentry Initiative. Eligible applicants for the grants include nonprofit organizations that are located in or have existing staff in the high-poverty, highcrime communities they propose to serve. Program participants will be individuals ages 18 and older who have been convicted of crimes as adults under federal or state law, but never of a sex-related offense, with the exception of prostitution. Complete eligibility criteria are included in the solicitation for grant applications. Each year, approximately 700,000 inmates are released from state and federal prisons, and return to their communities and families. Without assistance to make a successful transition, the majority of former offenders return to criminal activity. In order to successfully reintegrate into their communities, it is essential that these individuals have the skills and support necessary to compete for and obtain jobs. A notice of the grants solicitation will be published in the Jan. 13 edition of the Federal Register. To view a copy online, visit http:// w w w. d o l e t a . g o v / g r a n t s / find_grants.cfm. For more information on the Department of Labor’s range of employment and training programs, visit: http://www.doleta.gov.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo violated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by exploiting and manipulating Dr. King’s legacy of empowerment to promote a cynical political agenda that victimizes public school students, their parents and the teachers who are the foundation of public education. Governor Cuomo is wrong to do this and we, as public school parents, call upon him to immediately stop, the audience declared. And in Brooklyn Mayor Bloomberg drew boos and jeers during Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Day event. Later at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, the crowd gave him the coldest reception of any speakers on the dais ad Sharpton tried to quiet the gathering. At the Brooklyn Academy of Music , where he was one of a dozenf elected officials, Bloomberg was greeted with groans and jeers and boos as he started to address the crowd. Governor Cuomo stated that he sees school reform as a continuation of Dr. King’s struggle. We agree with the Governor completely. However, rather than com-

Mayor Bloomberg in Brooklyn mitting his administration to fully King would not agree with this divisupporting education in the state’s sive and deceptive approach. public schools – support that We know that Dr. King would would include compliance with never support bamboozling parents court decisions mandating in- to accept a so-called “parent trigcreased funding for New York ger” law that, in reality, manipulates City’s schools in particular – Gov- parents into converting their ernor Cuomo has chosen the well- schools to charter schools – charfinanced drumbeat of so-called “re- ter schools that, in turn, will greatly formers” who see the privatization diminish parental rights compared of public education as an acceptable outcome. We know that Dr. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 9)

Abu Mumia is still held in solitary confinement in violation of order Mumia is still in Administrative Custody (AC)—the hole—at SCI Mahanoy. The confinement conditions in all the Restricted Housing Units (RHU) are degrading and tortuous. Mumia is on a cellblock that houses AC as well as disciplinary custody inmates. He is in solitary confinement, with lights glaring 24/7, without adequate food, or the opportunity to buy food to supplement his diet. He is shackled and handcuffed whenever outside his solitary cell—including when he goes to shower. And he is isolated without regular phone alls, or access to his property, including legal materials, books and typewriter. His visiting hours are limited. In short, Mumia

is being subjected to conditions in AC that are more onerous than those on death row. There is no legal basis for Mumia to be confined in AC. At the point he was no longer under a death sentence, he should have been transferred into general population. This is not dependent on a court date for Mumia to be formally resentenced to life imprisonment. On Jan. 3 and Jan. 6, 2012 I submitted demand letters on Mumia’s behalf to John Wetzel, Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), and to John Kerestes, Superintendent SCI Mahanoy, to immediately transfer and assign Mumia to general popuAbu Mumia Jamal


Hunger Action supports mayor’s minimum wage plan The Hunger Action Network of New York State said today that it was pleased that Mayor Bloomberg has joined the effort to raise the state minimum wage, though it wished he would also support the efforts to improve the City’s Living Wage Law. Hunger Action has been pushing the last two years to raise the state minimum wage to $10 an hour and then index it to inflation. Many of the three million New Yorkers who use emergency food programs are from households that work but make too little to escape the poverty level. Raising the minimum wage and the minimum unemployment benefits are core parts of Hunger Action’s agenda to

address the state’s massive income inequality. Hunger Action several years ago submitted a petition under the State Labor Law to start an administrative procedure that enables the Governor to raise the minimum wage without the need for legislative approval. Unfortunately both Governors Patterson and Cuomo failed to act. In his speech before the Governor’s State of the State address, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Speaker said that raising the state minimum wage was his top priority for the year. The state minimum wage is presently $7.15 an hour, ten cents below the federal minimum wage. Most, but not all, workers receive the higher of

the federal and state minimum wage. The purchasing power of the minimum wage was $9.92 (in 2009 dollars) in 1969. Raising the minimum wage to $8.90 an hour, would raise it to its historical goal of providing a full-time worker, with two dependents, with an income equal to the federal poverty level of $18,530. A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 67 percent of respondents favor hiking the minimum wage to $10 an hour. Even a majority of Republicans — 51 percent — favor the higher minimum wage. Among neighboring states, Connecticut has a minimum wage of $8.25 an hour while Massachusetts is at $8.00. The

state’s minimum wage lags behind 18 other states. A study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that a New York household must bring in hourly wages of $23.21 in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the state at fair-market rent without spending more than 30 percent of income on housing. As the NY Times pointed out in a March 27, 2011 editorial in favor of raising the minimum wage, “Economists analyzing the impact of the increases on jobs have concluded that moderate increases have no discernible impact on joblessness. Employers did not rush off to cheaper labor markets in the suburbs or across state lines for a simple reason: that costs

money too. The most recent research, by John Schmitt and David Rosnick at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, found that San Francisco’s minimum wage jump to $8.50 in 2004 — well above the state minimum of $6.75 — improved low-wage workers’ incomes and did not kill jobs. An even bigger jump in Santa Fe, N.M., the same year — from $5.15 to $8.50 — had a similar effect.” There has been a massive shift of income from the bottom and middle to the top. In 1973, the richest 1% of Americans had 9% o f t h e n a t i o n ’s i n c o m e . B y 2007—leading in to the Great Recession—the richest 1% of Americans had increased their (CONTINUED ON PAGE 15)

3 NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net

Gov. Cuomo and Bloomberg booed at Dr. King Day celebration events

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


Census figures show one in two Americans is poor or low-poverty line By Erich Schlegel Zenobia Bechtol, 18, and her 7-month-old baby girl, Cassandra, play in the dining room of her mother’s Austin, Texas, apartment, where they moved after she and her boyfriend were evicted from their apartment. Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income. The latest census data depict a middle class that’s shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families. “Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too ‘rich’ to qualify,” said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty. If it weren’t for food stamps and other government money for families who need help, we

wouldn’t have been able to survive. “The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal,” he said. “If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and lowincome families to rise for the next several years.” In a U.S. Conference of Mayors survey being released Thursday, 29 cities say more than 1 in 4 people needing emergency food assistance did not receive it. Many middle-class Americans are dropping below the low-income threshold — roughly $45,000 for a family of four — because of pay cuts, a forced reduction of work hours or a spouse losing a job. Housing and child-care costs are consuming up to half of a family’s income. States in the South and West had the highest shares of low-income families, including Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina, which have cut back or eliminated aid programs for the needy. By raw numbers, such families were most numerous in California and Texas, each with more than 1 million. The struggling Americans include Zenobia Bechtol, 18, in Texas, who earns minimum wage as a part-time pizza delivery driver. Bechtol and her 7-month-old baby were recently evicted from their

apartment after her boyfriend, an electrician, lost his job. “We’re paying my mom $200 a month for rent, and after diapers and formula and gas for work, we barely have enough money to spend,” said Bechtol. “If it weren’t for food stamps and other government money for families who need help, we wouldn’t have been able to survive.” About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That’s up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure. The new measure of poverty takes into account medical, commuting and other living costs. Doing that helped push the number of people below 200 percent of the poverty level up from 104 million, or 1 in 3 Americans, that was officially reported in September. Broken down by age, children were most likely to be poor or low-

income about 57 percent followed by seniors over 65. By race and ethnicity, Hispanics topped the list at 73 percent, followed by Blacks, Asians and non-Hispanic whites. Even by traditional measures, many working families are hurting. Following the recession that began in late 2007, the share of working families who are low income has risen for three straight years to 31.2 percent, or 10.2 million. That proportion is the highest in at least a decade, up from 27 percent in 2002, according to a new analysis by the Working Poor Families Project and the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit research group based in Washington. Among low-income families, about one-third were considered poor while the remainder — 6.9 million — earned income just above the poverty line. Many states phase out eligibility for food stamps, Medicaid, tax credit and other government aid programs for low-income Americans as they approach 200 percent of the poverty level. The majority of low-income families — 62 percent — spent more than one-third of their earnings on housing, surpassing a common guideline for what is considered

affordable. By some census surveys, child-care costs consume close to another one-fifth. Paychecks for low-income families are shrinking. The inflation-adjusted average earnings for the bottom 20 percent of families have fallen from $16,788 in 1979 to just under $15,000, and earnings for the next 20 percent have remained flat at $37,000. In contrast, higher-income brackets had significant wage growth since 1979, with earnings for the top 5 percent of families climbing 64 percent to more than $313,000. The new survey of 29 cities points to a gloomy outlook for those on the lower end of the income scale. Across the 29 cities, about 27 percent of people needing emergency food aid did not receive it. Mayor Michael McGinn in Seattle cited an unexpected spike in food requests from immigrants and refugees, particularly from Somalia, Burma and Bhutan. Among those requesting emergency food assistance, 51 percent were in families, 26 percent were employed, 19 percent were elderly and 11 percent were homeless. “People who never thought they would need food are in need of help,” said Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Mo., who co-chairs a mayors’ task force on hunger and homelessness.

AG unveils $1M in funding for foreclosure prevention Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced his office will fund $1 million in foreclosure prevention services to aid New Yorkers struggling through the foreclosure crisis. The Attorney General also issued a Request for Applications (RFA) seeking bids from non-profit legal services and legal aid organizations to provide direct legal services to homeowners in foreclosure or at imminent risk of foreclosure. “As our state faces another tight budget year, we must be creative and aggressive in our efforts to support working families who are struggling to stay in their homes,” said Schneiderman. “This funding will provide thousands of New Yorkers with the legal expertise they desperately need to defend their rights and avoid falling prey to unscrupulous mortgage servicers or foreclosure mill law firms filing fabricated or robosigned documents. My office will continue to use every tool available to us to protect homeowners and all vulnerable New Yorkers.” Statewide, an average of 1 in 10 mortgages is at risk of foreclosure. The approximate number of individuals living in homes that are either in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure (based on typical household size for each distressed mortgage) exceeds the populations of Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse combined. While foreclosures come at a high cost for families and communities, preventing foreclosures through legal assistance is a bargain for taxpayers. The Empire Justice Center projects that if foreclosures of currently distressed properties continue unabated, they will cost local governments in New York State more than $5 billion. However, for ev-

ery foreclosure averted, through legal assistance or other measures, counties would save an average of $186,695 in direct and indirect costs. Attorney General Schneiderman has made it a top priority of his administration to hold accountable those whose misconduct led to the collapse of the housing market– and to provide significant relief to homeowners. The last round of federal stimulus funding for the New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Foreclosure Prevention Services Program ran out on December 31, 2011, and the state has not fully made up the shortfall. The Attorney General’s funding will allow critical services that would otherwise be lost to continue across the state. The $1 million allocation will be funded by unspent dollars from a 2006 settlement between the Attorney General’s Office and Ameriquest Mortgage, .CThe investigation found that Ameriquest engaged in predatory and illegal lending practices to sell and refinance mortgages, including misrepresenting and failing to disclose loan terms, charging excessive loan origination fees, and inflating appraisals to qualify borrowers for loans. The settlement required Ameriquest to pay the participating states $295 million in restitution, roughly $22 million of which went to New York and its homeowners. Given the urgency of the foreclosure crisis, Attorney General Schneiderman has directed an expedited RFA process, which could result in awards for funding in as soon as eight weeks. Good government groups, housing organizations, community leaders, and clergy members from across the state today praised Attorney General Schneiderman’s

eral Schneiderman’s bold action that will give the working families in our community a fighting chance,” said Darius G. Pridgen, Senior Pastor of the True Bethel Baptist Church and Member of the Buffalo Common Council. “By allocating resources for foreclosure prevention services, the Attorney General has once again stood up for those who need our help the most.” “We applaud the Attorney General for making funds available to the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program and providing legal assistance agencies an opportunity to continue providing direct assistance to homeowners in default and foreclosure,” said Deborah Boatright, Northeast Regional Director, NeighborWorks America. “The Attorney General’s smart, bold action will make a real difference in the lives of countless New Yorkers who are struggling to get by and hold on to their most precious possession.”

Attorney General Eric Schindermann decisive action. “We are incredibly grateful to the Attorney General for supporting the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program,” said Mark Ladov, Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “This program has a strong track record of improving outcomes for working families at risk of losing their homes, and is a critical investment in New York State’s economic

recovery. Attorney General Schneiderman’s intervention helps ensure that this vital work will continue. We look forward to working with the Attorney General to aid struggling families and address New York’s foreclosure crisis.” “Homeowners across this state are struggling in these tough economic times. We owe a debt of gratitude for Attorney Gen-

“Attorney General Schneiderman must be applauded for funding legal services to help struggling homeowners facing foreclosure,” said Rev. David K. Brawley, Senior Pastor, St. Paul Community Baptist Church. “Communities like East New York, Southeast Queens, Mount Vernon and other neighborhoods throughout the state have been hit hard by the mortgage crisis, and this bold action will protect hundreds of families who are at risk for teetering over the edge. The Attorney General understands the depth of this problem, and has come up with a creative way to help safeguard our state’s future.” The guidelines for applying and the application will be posted in the New York State Contract Reporter, www.nyscr.org and will also be available on the Attorney General’s website, www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/ budget_fiscal/procurement.html later this week.


NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


Editorial The American deficit: Where do we go from here?

New York


By Marian Wright Edelman Child Watch

Walter Smith: Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Miatta Haj Smith: Co-Publisher & Executive Editor William Egyir: Managing Editor

A diverse U.S. population will not guarantee parity By George E. Curry NNPA Columnist The United States’ population is growing increasingly diverse, but the sharp demographic shift is unlikely to close the huge economic gap between Whites and people of color, according to an annual report issued by United For a Fair Economy, a nonpartisan think tank that studies wealth and power in the U.S. Each year the Boston-based organization issues its “State of the Dream” report near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Citing Census Bureau figures, the report notes that Whites constituted 80 percent of the U.S. population in 1980. By 2010, that figure had slipped to 65 percent. And by 2042, Whites will become a minority for the first time since the Colonial days. “If the trends in racial economic inequality continue at the rate that they have since 1980, the changing demographics of the country will produce a vast racialized underclass that will persist even after the majority of the country is non-White,” the report concluded. Examples of racial and ethnic inequality in the U.S. include: · In 2010, the median family income of Black and Latino families was 57 cents to every dollar of White median family income. By 2042, the median Black family will earn approximately 61 cents for every dollar of income earned by Whites. Latino families

are projected to earn only 45 cents in 2042 on every dollar of White median family income. · The wealth gap is particularly disturbing. In 2007, at the height of the housing bubble, the average White family net worth was five times greater than the average Black net worth and more than 3.5 times the average Latino net worth. If current trends continue, the report states, Black families will by 2042 accumulate 19 cents for each dollar of White net worth. Latinos will have 25 cents per dollar. That means the wealth gap between Whites and people of color in 2042 will be even larger than it is today. · Education is the most important tool we have to expand social mobility Thanks to civil rights gains, affirmative action and other progress, Black adults are 60 percent as likely to have a college degree as White adults; Latinos are only 42 percent as likely. If current trends continue, by 2042, African-Americans will continue to make progress in closing the education gap. However, the gap will be even larger for Latinos. · People of color represent more than 65 percent of the prison population, largely because of harsh drug laws and selective prosecutions that are part of the war on drugs. Blacks are six times more likely to be in prison than Whites. Roughly 65 percent of Black men born since the mid1970s have prison records. The report observes, “If current trends continue to 2042, the percentage

of people of color who have experienced jail time will dwarf even that number.” To reduce what it calls the “perverse concentration of wealth and power in the U.S.,” the report declares, “We need nothing less than a diverse, powerful social movement dedicated to advancing meaningful policy solutions on many fronts to reduce the racial divide.” It will take a powerful movement to counter to corrupting influence that money has on politics. “To gain political power necessary to make significant progress toward racial economic equality, the influence of money in politics must be reduced and voting rights for all Americans must be restored and protected,” the reports observes. “Eliminating racial inequality will require a powerful and sustained political movement, aligned not just along the lines of race, but also by economic interests.” Authors of the report noted that the Occupy Wall Street movement and similar efforts around the country are steps in the right direction toward building a broad coalition. In the aftermath of King Day celebrations, it is important to remember that Dr. King was organizing a Poor People’s Campaign at the time of his assassination. Encouraged by the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1968, he was creating a movement to address (CONTINUED ON PAGE 15)

“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it. Not too many years ago, Dr. Kirtley Mather, a Harvard geologist, wrote a book entitled Enough and to Spare. He set forth the basic theme that famine is wholly unnecessary in the modern world. Today, therefore, the question on the agenda must read: Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?” Forty-five years ago this month, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took a very rare sabbatical at an isolated house in Jamaica far away from telephones and the constant pressures of his life as a very public civil rights leader to write what would become his last book: Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? The excerpt above feels as though it could have been written yesterday. Professor Mather’s book arguing that mankind had achieved the ability to move beyond famine was published in 1944, but in 2012, despite nearly seventy more years of unparalleled advances both in scientific and technological capability and in global resources and wealth, hunger and want are still rampant. Back then Dr. King wrote: “There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will… The well-off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds, and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’” When Dr. King died in 1968 call-

ing for a Poor People’s Campaign, there were 25.4 million poor Americans, including 11 million poor children. Today there are more than 46 million Americans living in poverty, including 16.4 million poor children. The question of why we still allow poverty and hunger to exist— and the answer—remain the same: The deficit in human will. As another political season gets into full swing in the United States, a new crop of candidates are making a lot of promises about their competing visions of America. But how many TV debates are focusing on whether America is a compassionate nation? How many stump speeches are saying how shameful it is that last year more Americans relied on food stamps to eat than at any time since the program began in 1939? How many are responding to Occupy Wall Street’s outcry about the morally obscene gulf between rich and poor in our nation where the 400 highest income earners made as much as the combined tax revenues of 22 states in 2008? Which PACs are running commercials to remind Americans that we are normalizing poverty, child hunger, and homelessness, and creating historic income, wealth, and mobility gaps that threaten to destroy the American dream? If the qualification for individual and national greatness is genuine concern for the ‘least of these,’ too many of our political leaders and citizens are failing. As our nation pauses for the national holiday celebrating Dr. King’s birthday, I hope we will not spend it just listening to speeches praising Dr. King but instead will heed and act on his words. When will we hear what Dr. King declared in 1967—“the time has come for an all-out world war against poverty”—and work to win the first victory right here at home in the richest nation on earth? Is it possible to overcome our deficit in human will, or is the fact that we have already squandered so much time and still have so far to go a reason to give up? (CONTINUED ON PAGE 15)

What is the state of the Dream? By Dr. Julianne Malveaux NNPA Columnist I always feel inspired and elated, but also challenged and chagrined, at some of the celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. There are those, too many folks, who want to sanitize Dr. King and turn him into a dreamer. Too many only quote the part of his “I have a dream” speech that talks about character content and skin color. Too few remember that in the same speech he said, “We have come to the

nation’s capital to cash a check, and the check has been marked insufficient funds.” Dr. King was an economic populist, an anti-war activist, as well as a classically trained theologian. Too many put emphasis on the latter, without acknowledging the former. That’s why each year, I am excited to receive the State of the Dream report from United for a Fair Economy. This organization does great work in talking about the wealth gap, and their annual foray into exploring the dream has looked at joblessness,

homelessness, and austerity. Last year their report shared facts on the relative pay that people of color earn in the public and the private sector and concluded that austerity programs that cut government jobs disproportionately affect people of color. This year’s report focuses on the Emerging Majority, and concludes that unless policy shifts are made, the wealth gap will grow even wider than it is today. Additionally, they project that by 2042, just 30 years from now when people of color are a majority in

our society, nearly 5 percent of the African American population and 2 percent of the Latino population will be in prison if current incarceration trends continue. The report’s set of policy recommendation’s includes a recommendation to end the war on drugs. Indeed, more than half of those currently incarcerated are casualties of the drug war, some with very minor offenses, and others with conditions that warrant drug treatment, not incarceration. “Economic inequality between whites and people of color will per-

sist unless bold and intentional steps aer taken to make meaningful progress towards racial equity, to sever the connection between race and poverty, and ultimately to eliminate the racial economic divide altogether,” the report says in its Executive Summary. But such bold words are belied by the growing gap, increasing poverty, the unemployment rate differential, and continuing barriers to educational access in communities of color and among those who are low income. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 15)


What would Dr. Martin Luther King say? By Yussuf J. Simmons Managing Editor Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel What WOULD Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say, were he still among us to observe that – despite naming schools, streets and boulevards … and erecting statues, and monuments in his honor – the country, and indeed the world, seems to ignore the message that he selflessly gave us all. Dr. King’s words in 1967 would be appropriate today substituting Vietnam with Iraq and/or Afghanistan – the dream is still unfulfilled. A look at parts of his speech is very instructive, for as he said, “Peace is not just the absence of war, it is the presence of justice.” (On April 4 1967, exactly one year before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, he delivered an address to the Clergy and Laymen, concerned about the Vietnam War, and its devastating effects relative to America’s domestic policies and moral standing. The speech was entitled “Beyond Vietnam,” and he directed it as a call to the conscience of America. In 2012, as the nation celebrates, what would have been his 83rd birthday, his words then were ideally suited not only to today’s wars but also today’s society in general. Though he had been addressing the clergy, his message was to the nation as a whole. For as he emphasized, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death,” it reflected the nation in the 1960s and it certainly mirrors the nation in the 21st century. Dr. King words were/are prophetic. In dissecting Dr. King’s speech, it is important to notice the similarities. For as he said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal; that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam” (Iraq/Afghani-

stan).( ( Dr. King continued, “Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam (Iraq/ Afghanistan), many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path.” (That brings to mind Congresswoman Barbara Lee when she – the only one, out of 535 (100 senators and 435 representatives) – voted against the authorization of use of force following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This made her a pariah as she received threats against her life and the resentment of her colleagues). “Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam (Iraq/Afghanistan) and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America,” Dr. King said. The economic devastation that continues to ravage the country bears witness to his words about the struggle that he (then) and others (now) are waging against the overseas conflicts. There is a direct connection between those conflicts and the misery that has befallen many Americans: the unemployed, the homeless, the poor, etc. “A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle,” Dr. King went on, “It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor – both Black and White – through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam (Iraq/Afghanistan) and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or en-

ergies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam (Iraq/Afghanistan) continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such,” he said. Listening to various news reports about the economy, unemployment and the drastic cuts in programs that are essential for ‘life, liberty, health, education, welfare and the pursuit of happiness,’ and the cries of massive suffering from coast to coast, makes Dr. King’s words more powerful in his absence than when he walked among “us.” “My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years – especially the last three summers,” Dr. King emphasized. “As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action,” he pleaded. “But they asked – and rightly so – what about Vietnam (Iraq/ Afghanistan)? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” And he raised his voice and shouted from the mountaintop

about the things that he said that were wrong with “my own government.” It may even be considered hypocritical that as “we” honor his life and legacy with parades and speeches, naming streets, boulevards, schools and colleges in his name, “we” do not honor the fundamental ethic of his life and the dream that he left “us” by promoting peace more vigorously than we do. For as another great American – President Dwight D. Eisenhower – had warned the nation in his farewell address in 1961, years before Dr. King, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Another great leader – President Nelson Mandela – said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” In concluding, “For those who ask the question, ‘Aren’t you a civil rights leader?’ and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: ‘To save the soul of America,’” Dr. King articulated, “We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for Black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that Black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier: O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet, I swear this oath” The world has arrived at that hour

and the words of Dr. King need to be listened to and acted upon: Iraq/ Afghanistan, at present, is the Vietnam about which Dr. King was speaking. WHEN THE KING MONUMENT WAS UNVEILED IN 2011, SOME WHO KNEW DR. KING AND WALKED WITH HIM, AND OTHERS WHO KNEW HIM THROUGH HIS WORK AMONG US HAD THE FOLLOWING WORDS: REV. JESSE JACKSON: “Dr. King was a source of inspiration. Blacks in the South, under the laws of oppressive segregation, were held down by fear; so he had to inspire them to choose hope over fear. Blacks in the North and in the West, it wasn’t so much fear as it was cynicism: the belief that we could not win. Many Blacks went North and West where there was a little more dignity than the Southern oppression; they were free but not equal. Dr. Kings mission was to change the law. It was a struggle to end (unjust) law. But it was also to take our consciousness beyond just legal oppression to economic justice. Many of our freedom allies would not be our economic allies. Dr. King last campaign was to end the war in Vietnam and a war on poverty; and that’s where we are today.” CHMN. OF CBC., REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER: “No African American alive would ever believe that the final monument on the mall would be that of Martin Luther King Jr. We, of course, realize that Dr. King is now serving as a reminder to all of us that we must remain vigilant on issues of justice, and his monument, the statue that is now on the mall is a reminder. He’s looking across the city and across the nation … when you look at the sculpture depicting him and the appearance of his facial expression is very serious. I’m looking at you guys … stay on the job and do the right thing.” XERNONA CLAYTON: “Dr. King (CONTINUED ON PAGE 16)

One hundred years later and it still doesn’t work By Harry C. Alford NNPA Columnist There has been such an enormous amount of attention given to the production of Bio-Diesel, Ethanol and other forms of alternative energy. You can drive out in the Midwest or Texas and see windmills twirling all over the scenery. How much of a difference has this made to our carbon “foot print”? The answer is disappointing. There hasn’t been much of a dent made. In fact, there may have been more harm than good. Windmills are not rocket science. People have been using windmills for water power since the 16th century. Energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens invested many

millions of dollars and reached a firm conclusion: It is not the answer. He has decided not to build another single windmill. Besides that, virtually all of the parts that go into a windmill are made in China. There is no significant impact on American jobs or energy output. The most interesting alternative is Ethanol or bio fuel. This too is an old technology. The history of it goes back to George Washington Carver, the great scientist of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Dr. Carver did an overwhelming amount of development with peanuts. Much of this was due to a contractual arrangement he had with automobile magnate Henry Ford. The auto industry was

booming and the demand for oil was growing at an exponential rate. Ford wanted Dr. Carver to come up with a bio fuel to replace the need for oil. The Rockefeller Family and others had the lock on oil and he didn’t want to become overly dependent on them. After years of experimentation on the Tuskegee campus, Dr. Carver and Henry Ford came to this conclusion: It is not feasible to develop bio fuel. That was over one hundred years ago. The fact still applies yet, environmentalists and politicians have pushed hard to further the development of bio-fuel. It works but not on an economical basis. The less bio fuel you have the more gasoline you will need.

However, there is plenty of oil in the world and we just have to develop a cleaner way of using it. That is the better alternative. Food should be eaten as hunger still prevails in many parts of the world. The rapid expansion of the bio fuel industry has put a big strain on the supply of food crops such as corn, sugar, palm oil and wheat. Not only are these crops directly consumed by humans they are also key ingredients in feed for livestock such as cattle, sheep, chickens, turkeys, etc. In addition to livestock, nearly thirty percent of edible items found in a supermarket have such ingredients in them. Thus, the increased demand for bio fuels has significantly in-

creased the price of groceries which has a terrible affect on the consumer price index and inflation. We all feel this every time we buy food. Lobbyists and fiscally liberal politicians have been pushing for subsidies as incentives to those manufacturing these bio fuels. Fortunately, the annual subsidies that were given to producers of the bio fuels have ended. This thirty year ridiculous program has now ended and hopefully our grocery prices will start to decrease. Supplies of bio fuel start to decrease. The largest foreign producer of it, Brazil, has started cutting back on its sugar cane to ethanol program as the mar(CONTINUED ON PAGE 15)

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


National Black Republican Council chairman Fred Brown honored by One Hundred Black Men of New Jersey; Jerrid Douglas and William Strickland also honored By Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles & Society Editor The 100 Black Men of New Jersey, Inc. (OHBM-NJ) has the honor and distinction of being one of the original charter members of the national organization, The 100 Black Men of America, Inc. One of the organization’s signature events is its annual New Year’s Eve gala and concert extravaganza hosted by top rated radio personality Lenny Green on Saturday, December 31, 2011 at the luxurious Hyatt Regency New Brunswick Hotel, New Brunswick, NJ. The concert featured performances by Grammy award-winning artist Howard Hewett and jazz sensation Reggie Hines. The event also featured a premium cocktail hour featuring open bars, live music, butler passed hot hors d’oeuvres, carving stations, pasta stations, followed by a white glove served dinner and show; top shelf open bar all night long inclusive of martinis, daiquiris and champagne; exquisite Viennese dessert table after dinner; and New Year’s Eve count down with champagne toast at midnight. All proceeds will help support the programs and activities of 100 Black Men of New Jersey, Inc., a not-for-profit organization. During the program, the organization paid tribute to three honorable men presenting them with its coveted legacy award: Fred Brown, Jerrid Douglas and William Strickland, Esq. The National Black Republican Council (NBRC) chairman Fred Brown stood in honor as he received the 2011 legacy award for distinguished service before over 500 guests of African American doctors, lawyers, bankers and other high level professionals in attendance at the year-end party. The organization proclaimed that chairman Brown’s legacy will have an extraordinary impact on “our quality of life for generations to come,” and he was further lauded for his “sacrifices, good deeds and perseverance.” In his acceptance speech chairman Brown saluted the 100 Black Men of New Jersey’s board of directors and its president Jerrid Douglas who was also an award recipient. In his special salute to Douglas, he commended his exemplary “commitment to promote strategic policies and programs critical to the well being of the communities in the state of New Jersey, and his ability to articulate political/social/economics issues in a tenacious yet compassionate manner has been most extraordinary.” He also spoke highly of Douglas’ leadership and compared it to his own. “Unquestionably, the 100 Black Men Of New Jersey, Inc. is most fortunate to have you as one of its outstanding leaders. As chairman of the NBRC, representing 44 states and 50,000 members nationwide, my leadership role has always been extremely challenging. This journey began in 1983, more than 29 years ago.”

Brown further explained that “there were many times and moments that it would have been impossible to continue this journey without the support and love of my family.” Then, Fred Brown, Jr., son of the chairman, told the crowd that the chairman is “not only my father, but also my mentor.” In his closing remarks, chairman Brown expressed emphatically that

Honoree Fred Brown “I leave you tonight with the principles that I have always lived by. Always strive to be impeccable with your words and deeds. Don’t take anything personally. Never let anyone turn you away from your convictions. Never fail to be open in your communications. Remember in life there are no big ‘I’s or little u’s. We are all in this together. The past is history, the future...a mystery, but the present is a gift which is why it is called a present.” Chairman Brown extended a special thanks to all of those who came out to support him with special thanks to Robert Williams and Ronald Poitevan. On behalf of NBRC, he also thanked attorney Darlene Jackson for her support and dedication as she coordinated the Council’s participation in the event. It was a historic moment for the New York State Black Republican Council (NYSBRC) and the beginning of the illustrious legacy of the National Black Republican Council (NBRC) when in 1974, Fred Brown merged his membership of the NYSBRC into the NBRC and created the largest and most influential minority Republican organization in the state and in the country. The major goal and objective is to increase the participation of Blacks in all aspects of the Republican Party politics. By the end of the 1980 Republican National Convention, to which he was a Reagan Delegate, Brown had emerged as a highly respected national political operative and advocate. He served as a Statewide Chairman of the Reagan/Bush Committee of New York; New York State Campaign Chairman of the ReaganBush Committee for Blacks and Special Groups; and the Northeast Regional Chairman of the ReaganBush Committee for Blacks and Special Groups (represent the thirteen states of the northeast region). In 1985, Brown began his tenure as chairman of the NBRC, a position to which he was re-elected and he currently retains; and, for eleven years, he was a member of the Republican National Executive Committee. As chairman of the NBRC, representing over 50,000 members in 44 states, he co-

ordinates the national office in Washington, D.C. and the state council organizations. In addition to the national office in Washington, D.C. , Brown is the Republican District Leader of 77th Assembly District of Bronx County, New York. He has been a Delegate to the National Republican Conventions of 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. He has been a National Convention speaker during the previous seven Republican National Conventions and he has actively participated in every Republican Presidential campaign since 1980. Likewise, as president of the New York State Republican Council, Brown has been politically involved in the successful campaigns of former Governor Pataki, Mayor Guiliani, Mayor Bloomberg, Senator Velella, Mayor Ernie Green, and Mayor James Garner, former President of the National Council of Mayors. He has also been politically involved in the success of hundreds of other state and local campaigns around the country. In addition to his extensive political activities, Brown has achieved distinguished accom-

York City, New Jersey and Miami, Florida with an annual construction budget of over $4 billion before it was liquidated. With the essential business and political savvy, Brown has been retained throughout the years by several Fortune 100 companies throughout the United States. Presently, Fred Brown is a presiding board member of Victory Charter Schools; and he also serves a presiding Board member of Great Oaks Foundation. Chairman Brown has been recognized nationwide for his achievements and accomplishment in education, politics and real estate. His awards and proclamations include: NAACP Man of Year Award; Kappa Omicron Chapter of Omega Phi Fraternity, Inc Outstanding Leadership Award; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Outstanding Service Award; New York State Veterans of Quality Organization Outstanding Leadership Award; New York City School Construction Authorities Outstanding Leadership Award; Camden, New Jersey, Office of the Mayor: Proclamation Recognizing Fred Brown’s Efforts To Help Revitalize The City; Republican Presidential Task Force –Outstanding Service Award; and Westchester City of New York: Proclamation Declaring Fred Brown Day For Entire County; Mount Vernon, New York–Outstanding Service Award; Detroit, Michigan–Outstanding Leadership Award; Yale University— Outstanding Service and Leadership Award for New Haven Downtown 9 th Square Development; Hempstead, New York Proclama-

Honoree Jerrid Douglas plishments and recognition in the education and business arena as well. He was elected to the community School District #9 in Bronx County in New York City in 1977. He served for fourteen years. He successfully won reelection to three year terms of office for five consecutive terms. As a member of the Bronx County School Board, Brown’s key responsibility was to oversee 35 schools; 35,000 students; hundreds of teachers and school administrators; and an operating budget of more than $100 million annually. In the business arena, Brown received a Minority Section 8 Demonstration Project in 1981 for more than $5 million to construct, own and manage 83 units of low income housing in New York City. He served as a consultant to the City of New Haven, Connecticut, successfully securing a $25 million Urban Development Action Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to redevelop nine city blocks in downtown New Haven (generating a $4 billion project). He established a solely minority-owned and operated construction company, Thacker Associates, which operated in New

Allan Houston with Honoree William “Bill” Strickland tion Declaring Fred Brown Day; and University of Bridgeport, Connecticut Outstanding Leadership Award, just to name of few. With his diligent commitment to the National Republican Party, Brown has selected to serve in one of the highest and prestigious membership of Republican National Committee, the EAGLE. Without a doubt, Mr. Brown commitment to the world of Republi-

can politics continues on. Jerrid Douglas is a director and investment representative for Barclays Wealth Americas, and joined Barclays in 2011. He leads a team of professionals at Barclays advising wealthy individuals, families and institutions on asset allocation, investment strategy, financial planning, trust and estate issues, risk management, banking and structured financings. Prior to joining Barclays, he was a director at Citi Private Bank, a private client advisor and a core equity and fixed income portfolio manager at Bank of America’s Private Bank. Douglas is president of 100 Black Men of New Jersey, Inc.; a board member of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; lead founder of 100 LEGACY Academy Charter School; and chairman of the 100 LEGACY Academy Foundation. Douglas has received numerous awards and honors for his academic, professional and civic accomplishments. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master in Business Administration in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He holds Series 7, 66 and Life/Health insurance producer licenses. He is a certified health governance leader and mentor. William Strickland is managing partner at Blackwave Group. He is well known in the sports industry for his integrity, vision and for being one of the most knowledgeable and respected negotiators in sports. He was the first African American agent to be named by The Sporting News “100 Most Powerful People in Sports” and he has been recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as the top African American sports agent. Strickland’s twenty-seven years of representing professional athletes includes nine years as president & CEO of Strickland Management Group, LLC; and a five and-ahalf year stint as president of the Basketball Division at IMG, the world’s largest sports management company. Prior to joining IMG, he spent over eight years with ProServ where he rose to become chief operating officer of their Team Sports Division. Most recently, Strickland served as president of basketball at Blue Entertainment Sports Television for three and-a-half years. During his career, he has negotiated extensively throughout the NBA and NFL and consummated over $1 billion in gross compensation for his clients. His opinions have been solicited by mainstream media commentators, educational institutions and voiced in national forums and widely read magazines. Strickland attended Loyola Marymount University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and where he served for 6 years on the Board of Regents and on its Athletic Director’s Council. He earned his MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of California at Los Angeles and his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member in good standing of the District of Columbia Bar and the State of Pennsylvania Bar.

Gov. Cuomo and Bloomberg booed at Dr. King Day celebration events to those in place for non-charter school parents. We know that Dr. King would never support a public education approach that promotes segregation between perceived “haves” and “have nots” through the colocation of charter schools within operating public school buildings. We know that Dr. King would never support pitting AfricanAmerican and Latino parents against teachers and other unionized workers in the public education system. The legacy of Dr. King and the struggles of organized labor are intertwined. It is Governor Cuomo who forgets that Dr. King supported organized labor here in New York State

and that he died while in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting striking sanitation workers. We are, unfortunately, not surprised by the Governor’s callousness. Mr. Cuomo also said in his State of the State address on Jan. 4 that there is nobody lobbying for students. We strongly disagree because we, the parents, lobby for our children’s education every day. We, the parents, have to endure the rhetoric and destructive plans of hedge-fund financed front organizations who applaud the closing of schools, the replacement of qualified veteran teachers with wellmeaning under-trained rookies, and the abandonment of children with special needs and English Language Learners. These outcomes are not happening to Mr. Cuomo’s children or those of the hedge-

funders; they are happening to Black, Latino and Asian children in overcrowded and underresourced schools. We, the parents, have to endure the co-location of charter schools that pay no rent for space in buildings where our children were denied small class sizes, music and art programs, quality libraries, adequate space for special needs students, and a reasonable and safe lunch hours. Maybe Governor Cuomo’s Education Commissioner, Dr. John King, is comfortable — or must be comfortable — with the attack on public education. But the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would support true parent empowerment and would be standing with the real stakeholders—students and parents and

teachers and the community. New York’s parents — real parents untainted by well-financed organizers — want education legislation that truly empowers parents, not privatizers. We hear the real drumbeat of the civil rights movement. Therefore, the NYCPU Legislative Agenda for 2012 is our first step in the ongoing struggle to fulfill Dr. King’s dream. This agenda includes a parent empowerment

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policy that provides parents with choices for taking over failing schools — choices that don’t enrich privatizers. We welcome Governor Cuomo’s support for our Legislative Agenda. In Harlem, Mayor Bloomberg drew more boos as tried to compare his record on education to that of the slain civil rights leader.. “Thnak you very much ,” he said , looking towards hecklers.


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NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net



By Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles & Society Editor

Record 24 new members inducted into prestigious One Hundred Black Men, Inc.

(back row, l-r) Fitzgerald Miller, 1st vice president, new members Darryl Mack, Fitzgerald Miller, 1st Vice President (left, back to camRenaldo Stroud, Charles Archer, Esq., Kevin Brown, OHBM president Phil Banks, era) and Former President Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr. pin The mission of the One Hun- Jr., and new members Stepfone Montgomery, Perry Fogg, Mark Clement, James carnations on new members (from left) Lacy DuBose IV, dred Black Men of America, Inc. Hendricks and Lacy DuBose IV (front row, l-r) new members Alex Brown; Jeffrey Lamont Mency, Kevin Brown and Jeffrey Raphael (OHBM) is to improve the quality Raphael; Mark Brantley, Esq.; Lamont Mency, Lamar Myers and Phillip Britton of life within our communities and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans. It takes men of strong character and commitment to uphold the high standards set by the distinguished organization; and OHBM prides itself on the quality of men it attracts. A new crop of stouthearted OHBM were inducted into the New York chapter of OHBM by Philip Banks, Jr., president of OHBM-NY chapter, at the organization’s 48th annual celebration of Founders Day on Thursday, December 15, 2011 at The Cornell Club, New York that was attended by some 200 members, Presidents’Achievement Award recipient Eugene Marsh with board members (from From left: New Member Charles Archer, Esq., and former left) Rudolph Coombs, Myron Williams, Bennie Hadnott, Phil Banks, Jr., Felton president Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr. friends and supporters. “We are honored to administer Johnson, Darryl Williams, Mark Smith, Will Brown and Fitzgerald Miller the oath of membership to 24 men of the highest standing and caliber befitting one of the nation’s leading volunteer organizations,” said Banks. “We are confident that each of these men will be a tremendous asset to our chapter.” The new members are Andres Alexander, manager & senior analyst, AIG; Charles Archer, Esq., CEO, Evelyn Douglin Center for Serving People In Need; Mark Brantley, Esq., chairman of the board, Municipal Credit Union; Phillip Britton, consultant and partner, Equitable Dev Consultants; Alex Brown, assistant facilities manager, record and grants, Sesame Workshop; Kevin Brown, actor & president, Brownstone Entertainment; Mark Clement, Eugene Marsh, Presidents’Achievement Award recipient and OHBM Natatia Griffith, Phil Banks, Jr. and Avalyn Simon New York Police Department Ser- president Phil Banks, Jr. geant; and Senay Dawitt, senior valuation lyst, Credit Suisse; Frederick Banks. Avalyn P. Simon, 2nd vice presi- tively impact the Black community. analyst, Federal Home Loan Bank Richardson, contract investigator, Among the distinguished dent, New York Coalition of One One Hundred Black Men, Inc.’s of New York; Lacy DuBose IV, MSM Security Services, LLC; guests were former OHBM presi- Hundred Black Women; Patricia service projects focus on agency field executive, State Quentin Roach, senior vice presi- dents Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., Thomas, facilitator, New York mentoring, education, health and Farm; Perry Fogg, owner, Perry dent & chief procurement officer, and Paul Williams, Jr.; Charles A. Chapter Women Presidents’ Orga- wellness, and economic empowerFogg Couture Concepts; James Bristol-Myers Squibb; Andrew Archer Esq., CEO, Evelyn Douglin nization; and The Rev. Dr. Calvin ment. The organization has a long Hendricks, senior director, Human Scott, account & project manager, Center for Serving People In O. Butts, III who delivered words and successful history working Resources, ESPN; Zachary James, First Data Corp; Renaldo Stroud, Need; David Banks, principle, of wisdom to the new inductees. with its corporate and community Premium All-Access Manager, president & CEO, C.O.B.O Investi- Eagle Academy; Terrence Banks, In closing, Banks noted, “Today partners to make significant differNew Jersey Nets; Earl Ian gations, LLC; and Stephen Tyson, OHBM member; Hon. Leroy some of New York City’s and the ences in the lives of the communiLaidlow, Esq., attorney & presi- Jr., college advisor, Harlem Comrie, Deputy Majority Leader, entire country’s most talented pro- ties it serves. dent, Earl Ian Laidlow Esq., P.C.; Children’s Zone. New York City Council; and fessionals have joined our orgaA celebrated example is the esAndrew Lyttle, area sales manPrior to the main event, member Natatia Griffith, honorary presi- nization with a pledge to address tablishment of The Eagle Academy ager, United Parcel Service; Darryl Eugene Marsh, president and CEO dent, New York Coalition of One the needs of our community which for Young Men in the Bronx, with a Mack, assistant principal, Yon- of the Princeton, New Jersey-based Hundred Black Women and Com- are at an all-time high during this focus on academic excellence, leadkers Board of Education; and Construction Project Management missioner, New York City Commis- time of unprecedented local, na- ership and character development Lamont Mency, manager, prod- Services, Inc., was awarded the sion on Women’s Issues. tional and international chal- and more recently, Eagle Academies uct development, OHBM, Inc.; Presidents Achievement Award. Also Virginia M. Montague, lenges.” have opened in Brooklyn and Stepfone Montgomery, vice presi- “Eugene Marsh is being awarded president, New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of Queens. For more information dent & chief officer, MTA Staten today for his outstanding contri- One Hundred Black Women; New York City was founded in 1963 about The One Hundred Black Island Railway; Lamar Myers, as- butions and dedication to not only Norman Seabrook, president, when a group of successful Afri- Men, Inc., call 212-777-7070 or log sociate, Alvarez & Marsal; Jeffrey his own business, but to One Hun- New York City Correction Offic- can American men came together on to www.ohbm.org. Raphael, investment banking ana- dred Black Men as well,” observed ers’ Benevolent Association; to pool their resources to posi- (Photos by Tyrone Rasheed)

Bookin’ It

Author ‘Joan Myers Brown and the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina’ By Kam Williams “Blacks in the segregationist United States of America of the 30s and 40s fought back with inherent toughness. If the white world could not see the nobility of their culture, Black artists crowned themselves: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lady Day, and more recently, Queen Latifah… There is no finer demonstration of the Black voyage toward reinvention and assertion of aristocracy than in the encounter of Black dancers with ballet. They mastered the form to show that they mattered, making it a bodily thing… To be a Black ballerina is not a simple rejection of one’s African and Afro-American heritage but instead a challenge to those who would say ‘stay in your place; your bodies, and abilities are not capable of doing this.’ It is an embracing of our full heritage— Black and white—just as white Americans can see fit to embrace Black genres.” — Excerpted from the Foreword (pgs. xvii-xviii) In 1960, Joan Myers Brown opened a dance school in Philly in order to afford aspiring, Black ballerinas a chance for formal training at a time when their opportunities were severely limited due to de facto segregation. A decade later, she founded The Philadelphia Dance Company, a/k/a Philadanco, a professional company for her top students who found themselves un-

welcome at lily-white institutions still practicing racial discrimination. Against the odds, Brown built her organization over the ensuing decades into a leading ensemble with an international reputation for excellence which simultaneously served as a career springboard for top artists of color. This phenomenal accomplishment is glowing recounted in “Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina,” a biography which actually is as much a an intimate memoir about an intrepid pioneer as it is a chronicle of the African-American struggle for civil rights during the 20th Century. The book was written by Brenda Dixon Gottschild, professor emeritus of dance studies at Temple University, a brilliant scholar who is passionate about her field of endeavor. Consequently, the enlightening text might be best described as a combination history lesson about the talented Brown (including her mentors and protégés as well) and a labor of love undertaken by a sage elder determined to remind future generations in vivid detail about the many hardships endured by their African-American ancestors on the long, hard road to racial equality. A timely testament to a legendary role model who inspired generations of little Black girls to reach for the stars in the face of a racist society that would just as soon crush their prima ballerina dreams. To order a copy of “Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina,” visit: http://www.amazon.com/ exec/obidos/ASIN/0230114091/ ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Author Joan Myers Brown

Flick Chat

Meryl Streep delivers Oscarquality performance as Brit PM By Kam Williams Movie Critic Over the course of her illustrious career, Meryl Streep has landed more Academy Award nominations (16 and counting) than any other thespian in history. Blessed not only with an enviable emotional range but a knack for feigning foreign accents and regional dialects, the versatile actress has repeatedly demonstrated an uncanny ability to disappear into whatever role she’s been asked to play. Such is again the case with “The Iron Lady,” a comprehen-

sive biopic about Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990. The movie was directed by Phyllida Lloyd who previously collaborated with Streep in 2008 on “Mamma Mia!” Meryl will undoubtedly garner another well-deserved Oscar nomination for her spot-on impersonation of the imperious icon’s public persona, from the pursed lips to the steely demeanor to the haughty tone of voice. She further rose to the challenge of a demanding assignment which also called for her to cap- The comparable Meryl Streep ture the character’s recent descent wins Golden Globe Award for into dementia, a dotage which has Best Actress performance in ostensibly been marked by hallu- "The Iron Lady" cinations and semi-lucid ramblings. performance here has been Unfortunately, Streep’s sterling squandered in service of an over-

ambitious screenplay by Abi Morgan which attempts to bite off more than it could possibly chew in less than two hours. As a result, the film fails to do justice to the touchstones in Thatcher’s life and career, tending to tease rather than address the material in depth. Constructed as a series of flashbacks, it takes superficial looks at everything from her coming of age during World War II to her college days at Oxford to her marriage to Denis Thatcher (Jim Broadbent) to their starting a family to her developing a feminist consciousness to her entering politics. The bulk of the film’s focus is devoted to her tempestuous tenure at Number 10 Downing Street, a period marked by both domestic

and international unrest courtesy of the Irish Republican Army and a war in the Falkland Islands, respectively. Overall, this empathetic portrait paints the Prime Minister as a headstrong conservative as dedicated to her family as to her country. But by the film’s end, we really haven’t learned much memorably about Maggie beyond her enduring love for the devoted husband who predeceased her. A potentially-underwhelming production elevated singlehandedly by another tour de force turned in by the ever-astounding Meryl Streep. Very Good (3 stars). Rated PG-13 for violent images and brief nudity. Running time: 105 minutes. Distributor: The Weinstein Company.

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net

Entertainment Special


NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


Beacon On The Millennium Men of Liberia hold annual fete The Millennium Men of Liberia bid good-bye to 2011 and ushered in the new year with pomp and pageantry at a dinner dance held at the weekend in Harlem. In his annual message, the organization’s President Robert Wesley paid tribute to members and thanked them for their support. “Despite the fact that we all are struggling to meet our financial obligations with our already meager earnings, you have never wavered in somehow and someway meeting of our need, be it students or institution.” At the event the organization honored 10 graduating students, paid tribute to women groups and thanked men and woman of Liberia whose selfless service is helping to make Liberia a vibrant and thriving country again Founded 11 years ago, the Millennium Men of Liberia was established as a means of promoting peace and unity among the people of Liberia following the civil that polarized Africa’s oldest Republic. (Photos by Louis Boone)

First Lady Michelle Obama joins presenters at star-studded BET Honors

BET Honors 2012 By Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles & Society Editor. First Lady Michelle Obama made her debut appearance at the BET Honors event upstaging everyone wearing a spectacular scarlet organza, one-shoulder gown by J. Mendel to present the literary arts award to honoree MayaAngelou following a taped salute from the renowned poet/ author’s friend Oprah Winfrey at the fifth annual awards show celebrating the outstanding achievements of extraordinary legends. Gabrielle Union returned as host adding her own pa- BET Honors 2012 recipients: Colonel Charles McGee, Roscoe C. Brown Jr., Beverly Kearney, Spike Lee, Mariah Carey and Stevie nache to the platinum program by Wonder are joined on stage by First Lady Michelle Obama and Gabrielle Union having as many changes as Diana Ross at one of her acclaimed concerts. The 2012 BET Honors recipients included internationally acclaimed musician Stevie Wonder (musical arts), Grammy-Award winning songstress Mariah Carey (entertainer), influential filmmaker Spike Lee (media), the heroic Tuskegee Airmen (service) and inspirational coach and mentor Beverly Kearney (education). The BET Honors star-studded lineup included pulsating perforFirst Lady Michelle Obama, Honoree Maya Angelou with presentmances by Aretha Franklin, Patti ers Willow Smith, Cicely Tyson, Queen Latifah and Jill Scott Labelle, Ledisi, Common, Luke James,Anthony Hamilton, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Rowland with WuTang Clan rapper Raekwon, with appearances by Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Olympic Gold Medalist Sanya Richards Ross, India.Arie, Jill Scott, John Singleton, L.A. Reid, Cicely Tyson, Queen Latifah and Willow Smith; as well as some political types including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., senior B. Smith Debra Lee Kelly Rowland adviser to the president Valerie Jarrett, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell and BET news anchor T.J. Holmes. The show was taped at the historic Warner Theatre on Saturday evening, January 14, 2012 in Washington, D.C. and will air during Black History Mariah Carey with son Moroccan Scott Cannon and Nick Cannon Month on Monday February 13 at 9:00 p.m. Stephen Hill, president of music programming and specials, BET Attorney General Networks, and Lynne Harris Taylor, Eric Holder vice president of specials, BET NetHon. Colin Powell works, are executive producers, along Hon. Jesse Jackson with Cossette Productions. Lexus is this year’s returning sponsor for the BET Honors red carpet and VIP reception. Proceeds from the two-hour ceremony’s private ticket sales will be given to Metro TeenAIDS. Metro TeenAIDS, a longtime partner of BET, is a community health organization dedicated to supporting young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS, through education, support, and ad- Spike Lee, Tonya Stevie Wonder, vocacy. (Photos by Walter McBride Lewis Lee First Lady Michelle Obama Spike Lee, John Singleton Ann Jordan, Vernon Jordan Aretha Franklin / Retna Ltd.)

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net

The Scene



CATWALKIN’ with Fashion & Beauty Editor Audrey J. Bernard

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net

The story of 10 bold, beautiful and Black mannequins immortalized on film Nearly four decades ago when African American models Billie Blair, Pat Cleveland, Alva Chinn, Norma Jean Darden, Charlene Dash, Bethann Hardison, Barbara Jackson, Jennifer Brice, Ramona Saunders and Amina Warsuma boarded a plane from New York to Paris, they had no idea they would be part of a new world fashion order. They were headed to appear on the runway at a show at the Palace of Versailles for a fundraiser orchestrated by American fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert and Palace of Versailles curator Gerald Van der Kemp to raise money to restore the aging structure and provide exposure for American fashion. However, fierce competition between the lions of haute couture and what the French considered easy prey, a group of American designers eager to become household names on the European fashion scene, turned into ready-to-wear’s iconic coming out party. These amazing women walked the catwalk and received roaring applause and unexpected adoration. They helped innovative American designers pull off a fashion coup that would be the talk of the town for decades. In Versailles ‘73: American Runway Revolution, filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper tells the trailblazing, trendsetting, industry-altering tale of how a group of African American models made history, changed attitudes, and helped secure American fashion’s place on the world stage. Through in-depth accounts with designers, models, and journalists who witnessed the groundbreaking event and told in a tone brimming with pride, passion, and patriotism, Versailles ‘73: American Runway Revolution, shines a light on what happened that glorious night in Paris when five American fashion designers Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, and Halston faced off with five French couturiers Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro at The Palace of Versailles in 1973. The American designers shocked the world by deploying a diverse array of models. In particular, the bold, beautiful and Black faces of color that enlivened the event and the clothing. The plight of these embryonic glamazons may have gone unnoticed or unknown to you if not for the diligence of filmmaker Draper in bringing their plight to fashionistas of all colors and generations. The girls served as true role models for others to follow. Draper has daringly put together a beautifully-crafted documentary recalling the events of these fearless women who captured the attention of the fashion elite in 1973. The film shows how the American designers and Black models wowed and won over the

Versailles photo credit 11-28-1973 Kaplan-Spa France Fete de Versailles

Bold, beautiful and Black models are reunited at the special luncheon at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Amina Warsuma, Norma Jean Darden, Pat Cleveland, fashion designer Stephen Burrows, Charlene Dash, Alva Chin, China Machado, Billie Blair, and Bethann Hardison. (Not pictured: Barbara Jackson, Jennifer Brice, Ramona Saunders) (Photo by Mike Coppola / Wireimage) crowd, gained newfound respect and recognition, and turned the tide for U.S. fashion for years to come. Now Coffee Bluff Pictures has completed principal photography on Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution,” a documentary about the legendary1973 fashion show fittingly nicknamed the “Battle of Versailles,” directed and produced by Draper. Not many moments in life change the course of history; break the mold; shatter the status quo and usher in a paradigm shift. But on a chilly night in November 1973, such a moment took place. For the second time in history, the Americans stormed France in an epic battle. This battle, however, would pit the French haute couture establishment against innovative American ready-to-wear designers in a runway rumble for industry dominance. The Americans won! On the stage where Louis XVI married Marie Antoinette, in front of a who’s who audience of royalty, jet-set millionaires, and icons including Princess Grace of Monaco, Andy Warhol, Christina Onassis, and Josephine Baker, the Americans claimed victory. The French designers presented

their collections in a two-hour series of elaborate vignettes. Each side had its stars: Josephine Baker performed for the French, followed by the Americans who opened with Liza Minnelli singing “Bonjour Paris” surrounded by a multicultural rainbow of 36 models on a sparse stage. But it was the American designers who dropped a bomb. Their secret weapon — great clothes and a group of explosive Black models that sashayed down the royal runway to R&B music. They turned heads and simply stole the show. The extraordinary evening left an unforgettable imprint on the fashion industry and forever changed the role of Black models in America and abroad. The American designers had outdone these top designers in their own backyard. “The Americans had all the success which they deserved with their perfect organization and for their admirable fashion defile,” recalls Hubert de Givenchy. In an era known for protesting and sit-ins, this legendary event made a statement all its own – a fashion statement, one that created a cross-stitch of change across fashion, commerce, and

VERSAILLES-Designers Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows attend the Tribute to the Versailles models at The Met (Photo by Mike Coppola, Wireimage) publishing. In the audience that exhilarating night was fashion icon, the late C.Z. Guest who had this to say about its significance, ‘’Not since Eisenhower liberated Paris have the Americans had such a triumph in France.” Coffee Bluff ‘s production crew was granted unprecedented access to the Palace of Versailles, and spent months researching and revisiting the chateau that played host to a fashion revolution. The film includes exclusive photos and footage from this historic event. In addition to Draper, Versailles ‘73: American Runway Revolution is produced by Caralene Robinson and Michael A. Draper. The director of cinematography is Jonathan Hall, and the editor is Ryan Kerrison. Coffee Bluff Pictures is currently seeking a U.S. distributor to release the film in theatres nationwide. The filmmakers are also submitting the documentary for domestic and international film festival consideration. For more information about Versailles ‘73: American Runway Revolution, visit: www.coffeebluffpictures.com. Coffee Bluff Pictures is an At-

lanta-based independent film venture created to develop, produce and distribute compelling stories celebrating the African American experience. The company has several projects in various stages of development. Coffee Bluff is 100% female and minority-owned. Ironically, on Monday, January 24, 2011 from noon to 2:30 pm, I attended a special luncheon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York City, hosted by Harold Koda, curator of the Met’s celebrated Costume Institute, and Donna Williams, chief audience development officer. Williams was one of the people interviewed by the film producers for the documentary. The luncheon commemorated the diverse and multicultural group of models who captivated the audience when they took to the fashion runway at the Palace of Versailles, France in 1973, wearing the collections of the budding American designers. The women and designers who tasted victory that night reunited for the first time in decades at the luncheon that was co-hosted by two of the designers who watched his(CONTINUED ON PAGE 15 )

The story of 10 bold, beautiful and Black mannequins immortalized on film tory being made — de la Renta and Burrows. As I sat there surrounded by all of this model beauty, I remember saying to myself that it would be great for someone to bring this model story to the masses. I guess Draper must have been ease dropping.. During the reception, there were hugs among models and designers, and hugs, air kisses and warm embraces among the models themselves. Model Blair shed tears as she held de la Renta in a prolonged embrace. The two had not seen each other in years. “She was the star of my show,” exclaimed de la Renta! The models said at the time that they didn’t realize they were breaking racial barriers, but now believe that night changed the face and color of U.S. fashion forever. “It was divine,” model Cleveland said. “I was part of a beautiful group. It was like planting our flag, the flag of American fashion.” The legendary models were

on hand and listened as keynote speakers and event co-hosts de la Renta and Burrows lauded their courageous behavior that forever altered the way fashion is presented on a global stage and placing their iconic stamp on the fashion world! Donna Karan also spoke about the event that altered perceptions of American fashion’s presentation on the world stage, nearly 40 years ago. “I could not think of a more deserving group of women and dear friends who helped us define a new era in fashion as we began our careers all those years ago, nor a more defining organization to deliver this recognition,” remarked Burrows. It was a fashion battle between French and American style in the five exceptional American designers faced houses of celebrated French couturiers, drawing tremendous accolades for the Americans that resonated throughout the world and became a defining moment in American fashion history. But the Americans had a secret weapon; a vibrant group of African American models. It started

off all wrong for the Americans. Their sets were designed in inches, not centimeters, so they didn’t fit. Still, with only a bare stage and a thumping beat, the U.S. models launched down the runway and into fashion history. For many in the audience, the show was a first. Throughout the half-hour celebration of American ingenuity and minimalism, the audience erupted in mounting cheers, stomping and tossing their programs in the air at pivotal moments. When all the models appeared for the finale dressed in black, the audience rose to its feet at the American triumph. American fashion gained the respect it craved and the world of fashion and modeling was transformed The fashion divas made history. Sadly, according to Barbara Summers, former African American model, the foremost authority on the history of Black models, and author of Skin Deep: Inside the World of Black Fashion Models’ & ‘Black and Beautiful “that while the African American models were indeed the stars of the

show, their reward was little more than symbolic. After enduring tears, fights, prima donna trips by both models and designers and 11 hours of rehearsing without food and little water, they had some priceless memories, but little else.” When it was all over, the models discussed the formation of a union to upgrade their working conditions and improve their pay. The actual reality was that these fabulous performers received less

A diverse U.S. population will not guarantee parity (from page 6)

economic injustice. In his last speech on the eve of his assassination, referred to as the “Mountain Top” speech, Dr. King talked about the need to support Black business. He said, “We begin the process of building a greater economic base.” Picking up where King left off, the report stated, “It is a moral and economic imperative that we address the racial economic divide perience it, and while few in polite now. If we are to chart a path to a company use racist expletives to more promising future, one in describe people of African descent in this country, when a talk show host and a Congressman have the utter temerity to describe the First Lady’s body in disparaging terms, it takes me back two centuries, to echoes of the Hottentot Venus, Sarah Bartjee. (from page 3) The dream is certainly a work in progress, but the dream won’t share of the nation’s income to work unless we do. We cannot af- 23.5%. That nearly tied the ford to be smug, glib, or compla- record 23.9% in 1928—on the cent. The UFE report suggests eve of the Great Depression. that if we don’t act now, it will get The situation is even worse in worse later. NYS, with the richest 1% have Julianne Malveaux is president of 35% of the state’s income. AvBennett College for Women in Greens- erage wages are 7% percent boro, North Carolina. lower today, adjusted for inflation, than they were in 1973. An economic recession is a good time to raise the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage was enacted during the go down the same road that Dr. Great Depression to promote George Washington Carver and economic recovery. You can’t Henry Ford journeyed more than build a strong economy on a hundred years ago. They poverty wages. The long-term showed us that it doesn’t work fall in worker buying power is and nothing has changed. Energy one reason we are in the worst efficiency will come as experimen- economic crisis since the Great tation and research continues. Depression. There is no need to fake it as such When the federal minimum folly can bring economic harm to wage was established in 1938, all of us. the unemployment rate was Mr. Alford is the co-founder, still a very high 19 percent. President/CEO of the National President Franklin Roosevelt Black Chamber of Commerce, called the minimum wage an Inc(r). essential part of economic reWebsite: www.nationalbcc.org. covery. It would put a floor unEmail: [email protected] der worker wages, alleviate the

What is the state of the Dream? (from page 6) While our international competitors are investing in education, we are simply divesting. It is almost as if we have made a decision to devolve into a developing country. What would Dr. King say about all this? I think he’d be outside with the folks from Occupy Wall Street, and I think he’d be directing them to a 21st century version of the Poor People’s Campaign. I think he’d be standing outside some of the banks, asking why they deserve the bailouts that ordinary people can’t get. Just as he occupied a housing project in Chicago, I bet he’d camp out with

a family experiencing foreclosure. I know he’d be challenging us all. There have been significant changes since Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, and the signs don’t say white or colored any more. The signs don’t have to say it – in some instances outcomes do. In other words, there are no signs on dollars that say white or colored, but African American people have pennies to the dollars of wealth that whites hold. There are no signs that say white or colored on executive employment, but you can count the African American CEOs in Fortune five hundred companies on one, or on a good day, maybe two hands. The signs don’t say segregation, but too many still ex-

gins in the production do not justify much of a future. Another, ethanol giant, China, has also started to decrease its activity for the same reason. Gasoline prices alone should drop about 95 cents per gallon as a result of this stupid program’s demise. Actually, the future of energy stewardship will rely on the great engineering capacity found in energy giants such as Chevron, Shell, Exxon and others. They have the engineers and have in-

vested many millions of dollars in finding ways to produce energy in a cleaner, safer and more economical fashion. It won’t be environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Sierra Club, Greenpeace or any other entity that will provide breakthroughs in the economic efficiency and cleanliness in the energy industry. It will be our corporate giants who will lead the way. This experiment with ethanol has been nothing but a “flash from the past”. It can work in a limited way to replace oil but it comes at a very expensive price. It is imprudent to

which the racial economic divide is significantly narrowed and prosperity is more broadly shared, then we must take immediate action to ensure that the coming majority is not further burdened by the legacy of racism and White supremacy in the United States.” George E. Curry, former editor-inchief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/ currygeorge.

Hunger Action supports mayor’s minimum wage plan

One hundred years later and it still doesn’t work (from page 7)

than twenty-five dollars per day for spending money and three hundred dollars in salary for the show. After having demonstrated a level of exuberant showmanship that set the international standard for runway presentation and editorial layouts for years to come, later that year, American Vogue featured an African American model on its cover for the first time; and the success of the Versailles models paved the way for the diverse supermodels that followed.

hardship of inadequate wages, and stimulate the economy and job creation by increasing consumer purchasing power. According to the US Department of Labor, “the average worker affected by an increase in the minimum wage is not just a teenager flipping hamburgers. Only one in fourteen is a teenage student from a family with above average earnings. The fact is, almost two-thirds of minimum wage workers are adults, and four in ten are the sole bread winner of their family.” During the 2008 presidential campaign, President Obama endorsed raising the federal minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011 and then indexing it based on the Consumer Price Index. If it had been indexed based on the Consumer Price Index since 1968, it would be approximately $10.40 today. Ten states have adopted the practice of adjusting the minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index. Leading Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently announced his support for indexing the minimum wage.

The American deficit: Where do we go from here? (from page 6) Dr. King’s voice guides us if we are willing to take the next step and use it as a road map for action. In Where Do We Go from Here?, as he reflected on what direction the struggle for civil rights and social justice should take next, he shared a story about the need to commit to difficult struggles for the long haul. Dr.

King described a flight he had taken from New York to London years earlier in an older propeller airplane. The trip took nine and a half hours, but on the way home, the crew announced the flight from London back to New York would take twelve and a half. When the pilot came out to visit the cabin, Dr. King asked him why. “‘You must understand about the winds,’ he said. ‘When we leave

New York, a strong tail wind is in our favor, but when we return, a strong head wind is against us.’ Then he added, ‘Don’t worry. These four engines are capable of battling the winds.’” Dr. King concluded: “In any social revolution there are times when the tail winds of triumph and fulfillment favor us, and other times when strong head winds of disappointment and

setbacks beat against us relentlessly. We must not permit adverse winds to overwhelm us as we journey across life’s mighty Atlantic; we must be sustained by our engines of courage in spite of the winds. This refusal to be stopped, this ‘courage to be,’ this determination to go on ‘in spite of’ is the hallmark of any great movement.” Today we need to rev up our

engines of courage, battle against the fierce head winds of economic downturn, unemployment, poverty, and greed that threaten to undo the progress of the last fifty years, and stay true to the course Dr. King set for us. Now is the time to end child poverty and hunger in America. Marian Wright Edelman is the President of the Children’s Defense Fund.

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net

(from page 14)


NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


What would Dr. Martin Luther King Say? (from page 7) was such an unsual man … a real man, in that he was honest and truthful to his convictions. He felt that he never wanted any monument, any honor, or anything bestowed or directed to him, personally. If he was here and we needed his approval to have this, we would never have this monument. But we have to keep in mind that this was a man who … when he got the Nobel (Peace) Prize, and got a monetary attachment with it, he gave it all away. He was unselfish … a selfless man who cared more about everybody else than himself. REV. JOSEPH LOWERY: “I think it’s a great honor for Dr. King and for the nation. I think he belongs in that environment on the mall because I consider him to be one of the fathers of the nation … having led the nation to a new era of racial justice in his lifetime.” REV. JAMES LAWSON: “I have mixed feelings about the event, though I look forward to being there. We have built a monument to a dead hero, and dead heroes are easier to take than live advocates of truth and justice are tolerated. I see it as a historical moment to be more tactful and powerful than any of us understand. King was the Moses of the 20th century for Western civilization; he was a Jesus figure of the 20th century. His voice was the major voice many people around the world heard, and listen for, and by 1967, in the United States, 90 something percent of us Black people said, ‘he speaks for me.’ That has never happened in the history of humankind except for people like (Mahatma) Gandhi of India, and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. But unless Black people, Hispanics and people of goodwill, and women in the United States can really recover that story; we are not going to move to confront our nation, with its obligation to continue this journey.” DR. MERVYN M. DYMALLY: “As fiery as he was in public life I found him, in private, to be a quiet, modest and unassuming person. It was my dubious experience to be the last person to drive him from LAX to Anaheim (Orange County) for a meeting for the liberal California Demo-

cratic Council, during my tenure as State Senator. This experience was a major high point in my political career.” GWEN GREEN (In reading a letter she received by those who are putting on the dedication). Ms. Green, it was a pleasure speaking with you today as you would join us in the nation’s capital for this important dedication. We recognized the significance contribution that you’ve made in civil rights struggle and considered an honor to host you. “It is very significant for the first time we have a Black person on the mall with all the White presidents.” BEN JEALOUS: “This is an historic moment in civil rights and American history,” stated President Jealous. “I look forward to honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King on the eve of the unveiling of his national memorial. The work of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not over. The civil rights community must ensure that his dream becomes a reality.” JULIANNE MALVEAUX: “So even as a statue opens to the public, doors close to too many Americans. Even as people throng to celebrate, there are those who are supportive, but who have had nothing to celebrate in a long time. The debt ceiling has imposed a particular ugliness on the current climate. As cities gird up for fall and winter, they are grappling with the reality that many will be unable to pay for utilities, and have the possibility of freezing this winter. Some were buttressed by federal funds, funds that must be cut. Similarly, there are cities where there is vacant housing and also homelessness. Why not put some of the homeless into vacant homes. Banks are often special villains, chasing profit and repelling the people whose dollars have inflated their bottom line. While (Harry) Johnson’s dream has been realized, Dr. King’s dream for economic justice, which means economic restructuring, remains deferred. This is a dichotomy, and also a tragedy.” DIANE E. WATSON: “It is a monument to justice. He will be the first African American on the mall and that really marks a turning point for America. We have an African America president because of Martin Luther King. It is the case where he got to the consciousness of America. So rather than judge the person by the color (of their

skin) as Martin Luther King spoke, they judged him by the content. And so Martin Luther King has a place in the history of the world because he came and saw that civil rights were given to all in this country, the number one country on the globe.” WILLIS EDWARDS: “The establishment of this memorial is historic in that our nation’s capitol will now include an African American who has been acclaimed as a peacemaker worldwide. This memorial recognizes the life themes characterized in all of Dr. King’s speeches of justice, democracy, hope, and love. His life and this memorial should inspire all of us to be committed to positive change and active citizenship.” LEON JENKINS: “It’s been a long time in the making but it’s a sure sign that America understands the importance of Dr. King’s contributions to the lives of every American. He helped change the face of what America looked like in the corporate room, in the boardroom, in politics, and socially.” CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS (CBC): “America has changed dramatically in the past five decades. For people under 50, it is hard for many to imagine life in the 19502 s and 602 s as compared to the America of 2011. Segregated housing, transportation, restrooms, theaters, and restaurants, coupled with the physical presence of racism, and sexism, religious intolerance and painful accusations of communism are all part of the dark past of America’s recent history. The magnitude of how the Civil Rights movement changed America is truly remarkable and is perhaps without precedent in modern history. Dr. King’s contributions to the changes of the last 50 years highlights the work of many who sacrificed and challenged America to reflect the practices in the words of the founding fathers.” MYRLIE EVERS-WILLIAMS: “I am honored to be a part of this historic occasion, for the Dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The honoring of this Great American Hero also inspires us to remember the Great Heroes and Sheroes of the Civil Rights Movement. Through the Civil Rights Movement, America has seen many positive changes in this ongoing struggle for Equal Opportunity and Justice. The Vision

Green Party presidential candidate backs MLK initiative on healthcare (from page 7) am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” Surprisingly, this was actually proposed a number of years later by President Nixon as a replacement for welfare, but Congress rejected it. Stein said that she agreed with King on the need to end war and reinvest the military budget to

fund domestic needs. Stein said she would also use the peace dividend to fund a Green New Deal to provide jobs while curbing climate change. “I will bring our troops home not only from Afghanistan and Iraq and Africa and South America, but from the more than one hundred countries where we have bases. The best way to protect the security of Americans is to rebuild our economy and stop using our military and economic might to exploit other countries and enrich corporate war profiteers,” noted Stein. King ended his speech at the Washington Cathederal four days before

he was murdered with a day with a call for America to end the Vietnam War, a call for a peace dividend. “Every time we kill [a Vietcong soldier] we spend about five hundred thousand dollars while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also stated, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

statement for this memorial dedicates the memorial to the Tenants of Dr. King’s American Dream of Freedom, Democracy, and Opportunity for all. There remains so much to be done to achieve this Dream for all American citizens. We have a responsibility to enhance the Legacy of Dr. King and the many other Civil Rights leaders who gave their lives, by being activist citizens on behalf of all, but especially those who are less fortunate. We have to Guard the Freedoms and Democracy that Dr. King lived and died for. It is imperative that the history of the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King and his great work be transferred to our next generations.” ELAINE EASON STEELE: “Rosa Parks would be just as excited as the rest of the country at the great honor being bestowed on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a leader and role model for social justice. Dr. King’s philosophy is more important today because of the mobilization to turn the clock back to the 1950’s. When Rosa Parks’ arrest on Dec 1, 1955 lead to the successful 381 Day Montgomery Bus Boycott, thrust a 26-year old Montgomery, AL. pastor into national prominence. The rest is history.” ROBERT “BOB” FARRELL: “ It is important to me for two reasons. Number one: to see the acknowledgement of a man who deserves all the contributions and praise and tributes that are due our own heroes, at the same time, I view it as something that represents the collective ‘us’, because

at a point, it’s not just Martin Luther King, Jr., the man, it’s the movement he led that made us proud. And he worked his way to the top, he won our collaboration and our cooperation, regardless of the different bases from which we came in the struggle, and it is most appropriate that this American hero has such a dedicated statue right there in the center of our American government.” DR. MARK PERRAULT: “He was a brilliant, dedicated community servant known especially for his ideas regarding non-violence and he also had a unique visionary intellectual quality built into his DNA.” MARC H. MORIAL: “National Mall on Sunday is not just a historic occasion for African-Americans, but a milepost on the nation’s journey to social justice. My own emotions are touched on so many levels—pride as an African-American, as a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity—King’s own fraternity and the organization that has driven the project from the beginning, as the leader of a national civil rights and economic empowerment organization, but mostly as an American. For all the mistakes that have been made attempting to carry out the principles outlined by the Founding Fathers, the principles themselves endure: All men—and let us not forget to include women—are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Perhaps more than anyone in American history, Dr. King embodied that ideal.”

Abu Mumia is still held in solitary confinement in violation of order (from page 3) lation with full visitation, phone and commissary privileges and access to all programs and services. The stated legal grounds are the following: The degrading, dehumanizing, tortuous conditions of Mumia Abu- Jamal’s confinement in administrative custody at SCI Mahanoy are an abuse of authority, counter to DOC regulations, punitive, discriminatory, in violation of his protected liberty interests and his civil rights, including First Amendment rights. The DOC regulations allow only two permanent categories of imprisonment, death row and general population. AC is by law only a temporary placement. It must be based on defined grounds, justified and implemented subject to procedural due process. None of the grounds listed in the DOC regulations for placement in AC apply to Mumia. In fact, on Dec. 8, 2011 the DOC transferred Mumia from death row at SCI Greene and onto a cellblock that does not house capital inmates. On Dec. 14, the DOC ordered

Mumia moved to a medium security facility, SCI Mahanoy, which by regulation cannot hold death row prisoners. The response by the DOC via telephone by Chief Counsel Suzanne Hueston was that Mumia is in AC pending resentencing and further evaluations. These are bogus explanations. The December 2001 federal court ruling that Mumia’s death sentence is illegal has been upheld on appeal. The District Attorney has stated there will be no trial to obtain a new death sentence. Therefore Mumia should be in general population. Nor is there a reason or basis for “further evaluation.” Mumia has been confined in Pennsylvania prisons for some thirty years. The DOC unquestionably knows his history, conduct and behavior. There is nothing in Mumia’s personal record to justify holding him in Administrative Custody. The DOC’s treatment of Mumia is punishment for depriving the FOP and Philadelphia District Attorney of his execution. This is the latest attempt by this frame-up system to silence Mumia, an innocent man, and to subject him to tortuous, punitive conditions in the hole.

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By Victoria Horsford BLACK ENTERPRISE The US Bankruptcy Court Judge Shelley Chapman approved a plan last week to put Inner City Broadcasting stations up for auction on February 16. Bidders must best company’s lenders - Yucaipa, Fortress Capital and Drawbridge Capital whose outstanding debt, approximately $254 million, becomes their “stalking horse” bid. Bids will be accepted for either entire company or just some of the stations, which would include NY’s WBLS and WLIB. Inner City Broadcasting is the African American owned media conglomerate founded by Percy and Oliver Sutton, Hal Jackson, Clarence Jones and a consortium of Black businessmen in 1971. Why does Yucaipa’s name surface during Black-media discussions. Yucaipa owner Ron Burkle, who is not African American partnered with Magic Johnson and formed the Yucaipa Johnson Fund, which acquired Vibe and Uptown Magazine businesses last year. Those partners recently merged their Vibe and Uptown operations with the BlackBook Media and the Access Network Company. FYI Johnson and Yucaipa were interested in Johnson Publications –Ebony and Jet- during 2010. WEEK IN REVIEW One of last week’s headlines read that South Carolina is not called low country for nothing. The GOP contenders have gone as low and as racist on the decency scale in dealing with each other. Convening a debate on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, was another insult to his memory. The one GOP prexy candidate Jon Huntsman, who seemed to belong outside of an asylum, dropped out of the race. ……Tavis Smiley has indicated that he would support President Obama’s re-election effort. Did he really have a choice, after listening to the GOP buffoons, during recent months?………..Search the internet and read the Amy Goodman, “Democracy Now” interview with guest lawyer/authors Michelle Alexander and Randall Robinson, which was conducted last week. Both also made public appearances in Harlem at Abyssinian Baptist and Schomburg Center, respectively. HAITI is in the news again. A progress report! January 12, 2012 marked the second anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that claimed more than 300,000 lives there. Progress has been slow according to media accounts by Haitians and Haitian Americans. Thousands of people still call tent cities home. Cholera is widespread. The billions of dollars initially pledged to post disaster Haiti have not been forthcoming. Haiti-based NGOs are unregulated. Perhaps, Mr. Clinton,

the UN and the Haitian government needs to press more US based Haitian professionals into service to effectively rebuild Haiti, from the planning stages to execution and as awardees of the multi-million dollar contracts for goods and services. OUT OFAFRICA US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits West Africa this week. Her itinerary, Liberia for Ellen Sirleaf’s second inauguration, the Ivory Coast, Togo and Cape Verde South Africa President Jacob Zuma and tens of thousands of his countrymen celebrated the centennial of the African National Congress ANC on January 8. The ANC has been the movement and the party that ushered in democracy and signaled the death of apartheid. All Democratic, post apartheid elections have been won by ANC members. Forbes Magazine’s 11/16/11 issue includes AFRICAN’S 40 RICHEST List, all of whom are men, most of them are Moslem or white. Headed by Nigerian, Aliko Dangote with $13.8 billion, the 40 Richest List also includes the following Black Africans. Nigerian Mike Adenuga; Patrice Motsepe, South Africa; Jim Ovia, Nigeria; Thehophilius Danjuma, Nigeria; Oba Otudeko, Nigeria; Uhura Kenyetta, Kenya; Halemm Belo-Osagie, Nigeria; Abdulsamad Rabiu, Nigeria; Mohammed Indimi, Nigeria; Chris Kirubi, the Donald Trump of Africa, Kenya; Stive Masiyiwa, Econet, Zimbabwe; Cyril Ramaphosa, SA. The specious Forbes Africa’s 40 Richest List makes no mention of about 10 Black South African billionaires, whose source of wealth is mining. Eyes are poised again on Nigeria which is coping with two crises. In the North the nation is plagued by bombings which killed dozens of people, in a plan hatched by Boko Haram, an extremist Islamist group. Then, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan announced an end to government fuel subsidies, a highly polarizing policy. And all hell broke loose. Protests and demonstrations and the threat of oil industry workers strike, fortunately averted last weekend. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer; and the only benefits that accrue to its population are the oil subsidies. Jonathan’s new policy has set economy into a tailspin and caused serious political divisions. BEST BOOKS/2011 If Forbes can do it, so can I. My 2011 Best Books List: A Year To Wellness: And Other Weight Loss Secrets: How to and Personal Journal by Bertirce Berry, PhD, whose narrative is informative and inspirational. Her wellness odyssey: loss of 150 pounds and the rebirth of mind, body and spirit; Disintegration: The splintering of Black America by WAPO Pulitzer-winner/journalist Eugene Robinson; From Fast Foods To Slow Foods: How To Wake Up Laughing by Yvonne Stafford, A blueprint along the body.mind/spirit. Manualcum-cookbook, with easy to prepare raw food menus;

Hillary Clinton

Harlem Travel Guide by Carolyn Johnson and Valerie Jo Bradley, an indispensable tool for residents, tourists, and historians alike; Heat Wave: The Life And Career of Ethel Waters by Donald Bodgle: High On The Hog: Culinary Journey From Africa To America by Jessica Harris with a foreword by Maya Angelou; Modelland, a novel, the first of a trilogy, by Tyra Banks, about a young woman who navigates the cut throat fashion/business world: One Day I Will Write About This Place, A Memoir by Wainaina, a Kenyan Scholar and Bard College Professor; The End Of Anger: A New Generation’s Take On Race and Rage by Ellis Cose; The Golden Apple: Changing The Structure of Civilizations by Edgar J. Ridley, is the last of a trilogy which began with “An African Answer: The Key To Global Productivity” and followed by Symbolism Revisited: Notes On The Symptomatic Thought Process.” Professor Ridley veers into social science, neurology and philosophy territory, examining symbols and their resultant mythology and superstition which have influenced man and civilization and how the Sympathetic Thought Process, a term he coined, then copywrighted, must be applied as an alternative, a corrective to symbolic thought; and The Persistence Of The Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency by Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy, a collection of his essays. PEOPLE Congratulations to actress Octovia Spencer, who won best supporting actress Golden Globe award for the feature film, THE HELP. Bodyworks guru James Dillahunt returns to NY for a few days Jan 19 – 24. Reservations necessary for massage and/or consultation. Email [email protected] Sam Logan, 78, publisher of the Michigan Chronicle, one of the nation’s oldest and largest AfricanAmerican newspapers, died

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Mchelle Alexander

CALENDAR OF EVENTS Eight Artists showcased at the Women Of Colours exhibition, curated by Oma Misha, at Harlem’s new fine arts venue, the Knox Gallery, located at 129 West 129 Street, on January 20, from 6-9 pm. Artists are Gigi Boldon, Noreen Dean Dresser, Mira Gandy, Klode Garoute, Lisa Ingram, Yukako Ishida, Ruth Llanillo Leal, and Grace Y. Williams. Visit www.knoxgallery.com The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies, AFUWI, hosts its 15th Annual “The Legacy Continues” Awards Gala on January 25 at the Hotel Pierre in Manhattan. The AFUWI 2012 Honorees are Harry Belafonte, Byron Lewis, Chairman/CEO, and jetBlue. The Caribbean Luminary Awardees are Dr. Errol Byer, Verona Greenland, Dr. Milton Haynes, Attorney Basil Paterson. The Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Awardees are Ricardo Bryan, Barbara Pyle and Terence Samuel. Ticket to the black tie Dinner Gala begin at $100 for the reception only, to $500 for the Dinner Gala. Founded in 1956, the AFUWI is the main fundraising arm of the University of the West Indies, in the USA. For more info, visit www.afuwi.org or call Dwight Johnson Design at 212.889.4694.

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net



NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


NNPA Award Winner

Enter tainment

By Don Thomas

Ultimate Crooner

Lenny Williams is always prepared for the spotlight that he belongs in Revival. He also spent a brief time with Atlantic Records, before deciding to put his solo career on hold in 1972, when he joined the emerging funk band Tower of Power. A string of hits ensued, including “So Very Hard To Go,” and “Don’t Change Horses (In The Middle Of The Stream),” written by Williams and Johnny “Guitar”

Running,” “Love Hurt Me Love Healed Me,” and “Midnight Girl.” Lenny recorded four more albums from 1977 to 1980, Choosing You, his first gold LP, Spark Of Love, Love Current, and Let’s Do It Today. These albums established a solid and loyal following for him and the impact of his music can still be felt, particularly on the

“Love is what has gotten me though all these years. I look for love and I surround myself with it…..”

Lenny Williams belted out the 2012 National Anthem at CORE’s 27th Annual MLK dinner gala held at the Sheridan New York & Towers Hotel in Manhattan (Photo: Ronnie Wright) Lenny Williams, an Oakland, California native, whose been described as the ultimate crooner possesses one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music. With his rich, passionate vocal style, he is rightfully regarded as one of R&B’s most influential soul men. Williams began his musical career making records that have subsequently become R&B and Pop classics. Songs like “Cause I Love You” (recorded on his solo album) and “So Very Hard To Go,” which he recorded as the lead singer for Tower of Power. His style has transcended into the new millennium, influencing many of today’s newest vocalists. Lenny himself sounds better than ever as he continues to keep the focus on love. “Love is what has gotten me through all of these years. I look for love and I surround myself with it. When it comes to singing love songs, one must go there to know there,” said Williams. Williams is able to take the listener to the heart of love with such soulful aplomb because love will never go out of style and no one does it better. His current single from his new CD Unfinished Business is entitled “Six In The Morning.” Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Williams moved to Oakland at a young age. Learning to play the trumpet in elementary school fueled his interest in music. His skills as a vocalist were first nurtured by singing in gospel choirs and groups around the Bay Area, where he was in good company, working alongside up-andcoming artist Sly Stone, Andre Crouch, Billy Preston and members of the Hawkins family— Edwin, Walter and Tramaine.

After winning several local talent contests, Williams signed his first record deal with Fantasy Records. He cut two singles for the label, including “Lisa’s Gone,” now regarded as an R&B classic among British soul music lovers, and “Feelin Blue,” written by John Fogerty of Credence Clearwater

Watson. During his two years with the group, Williams participated in three milestone albums, the Gold LP Tower Of Power, Back To Oakland, and Urban Renewal, while touring non-stop throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Lenny returned to his solo projects at the end of 1975. Initially signing with Motown in 1972, he later moved to ABC Records in 1977 (which was then purchased by MCA Records in 1979). Over the next four years, Williams scored 10 charted hits, including “Shoo Doo FuFu Ooh,” “Choosing You,” “You Got Me

hit “Cause I Love You.” The song crosses generational boundaries and has frequently been used on “old school” and “slow jam” compilations throughout the years. Williams was invited to sing vocals on “Don’t Make Me Wait For Love” in 1986, a track from superstar sax man Kenny G’s multimillion selling album Duo Tones. When released as a single in 1987, the song became a Top 20 Pop and R&B hit. Over the past few years, Lenny has continued his solo career, touring the United States, Europe and South Africa. In 2004 and 2005, Lenny and Kanye West were hon-

ored recipients of the BMI Songwriter’s Award for the song “Over Night Celebrity,” recorded by rapper Twista. He has recently shared stages with Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, K-Jon, Anthony Hamilton, The Whispers, Rick James, Boney James, Bobby Womack, The Ohio Players, Al Green, Usher and Frankie Beverly and Maze. He has also expanded his multi-dimensional career to include acting, starring in several popular stage plays. As an icon of the past and the present, Lenny Williams continues to expand his musical prowess and flex his newly-found acting skills. He is sure to continue wowing his fans in the United States and beyond for decades to come. “I’m going to continue to evolve and grow as I learn and experiment lyrically and musically. I’ve been doing this for a long time now and I’ve been watching all of the changes going on in the music business. I have my own label now (LenTom Entertainment). Let me do my thing,” Lenny says. Music lovers everywhere want him to do those things that he is the musical master of. Like a flowering perennial, prolific soul man Lenny Williams is always prepared for the spotlight that he belongs in.

BET’s hit show “The Game” that follows the lives of professional football players and their significant others returns for it’s 5 season. The cast Hosea Chanchez, Pooch Hall, Tia Mowry, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Brandy Norwood and Coby Bell stopped by the popular 106 & Park R&B/talk variety show for a taped interview with (left) co-hosts Terrace J and Rosci (Photo: Ronnie Wright)

Marlene “Bunnie” Ledford By Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles & Society Editor Socialite Marlene “Bunnie” Ledford hosted an exclusive holiday party at the fabulous full-service Cosmopolitan Club (“Cos Club”) located on Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side on Thursday evening, December 22, 2011. The elegant pahtee drew the who’s who of Black Society. The lovely hostess, who is a longstanding member of the private club, greeted her guests in a chic black outfit topped off with a stunning rhinestone belt and dazzling jewelry. As a member of the near century old Cos Club — where women come to “nourish their intellects; exercise their artistic impulses; cultivate friends; and freely exchange ideas” – that includes stylish club rooms, gracious terraces and gorgeous gardens, Bunnie’s guests were swathe in luxury once inside the beautiful ballroom reminiscent of old world opulence — elegant table settings, plush carpeting and decorative mirrors. The swinging soiree featured a premium cocktail hour followed by a top shelf open bar all night long inclusive of specially made yuletide martinis; live music; butler passed hot hors d’oeuvres; carving stations; pasta stations; and topped off with entertainment provided by the hostess who sang three of her favorite songs at the pure pleasure of her guests. Bunnie, accompanied by the magnificent jazz band, The Danny Mixon Trio, received a standing ovation. The much talked about party was one of the most desired invitations during the holiday season. Female guests felt especially special and at home when they learned that the 10-story prewar Cos Club was founded as a haven for women and, to this day, remains exclusively for women of accomplishment to enjoy each other’s company and where they can pursue their interest in arts and letters. (Photos by Michael Henry Adams and Arnold Webb)

Bobby Pines, Bunnie Ledford, Audrey J. Bernard

Danny Mixon Trio

Audrey Smaltz, Eula Johnson

Guest, Gail Marquis, Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Quentin Phelps

Linda Haley, Dr. Marcella Maxwell, Bunnie Ledford

Lance Wilson, Gerry Prothro, Winder Fisher

Harry & Barbara Delany, Jackie Fisher

Alma & Charles Rangel, Bunnie Ledford

Dr. Hector Estepan, Hope Suprise Suzie Small, Cheryle Wills, Debbie Jackson

Quentin Phelps, Michael Adams

Carole Braneley Pines

Bunnie Ledford, Eric Coleman

Jim Skeete, Suzie Small

Carole Lewis, Thomas Watkins

Betty Ann Jackson

Mel Jackson

19 NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net

Socialite Marlene “Bunnie” Ledford hosts stunning Holiday party for friends

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


At Lehman Center

Solid Gold Salsa from Puerto Rico to El Barrio is definitely Bronx bound Compiled By Don Thomas Lehman Center for the Performing Arts celebrates its 31st season with a rare New York City appearance by Salsa legends Raphy Leavitt Y La Selecta in a not-to-be-missed concert with Spanish Harlem Orchestra on Saturday, January 21, at 8pm. Considered Puerto Rico’s national orchestra, featuring Sammy Marrero they have had numerous hits since the early ‘70s, including “Payaso,” “El buen pastor,” “Café colao,” “La cuna blanca,” “Somos el son” and the beloved “Jibaro soy,” which has become a Puerto Rican anthem. Also appearing that night is one of today’s most revered Latin bands, the two-time Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, under the musical direction of Oscar Hernandez. Raphy Leavitt, bandleader, pianist, arranger, composer, and producer, formed his first band, Los Señoriales, in his early teens. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, he taught business at the San Agustin College in his hometown of Puerta De Tierra. Leavitt formed Y La Selecta, whose line-up of trombones and trumpets, rhythm section and voices included lead singer Sammy Marrero in 1971. With Borinquen Records, they released 10 albums between 1971 and 1979. Leavitt’s first composition, a bolero montuno called “Payaso,” was a hit. The single

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Y La Selecta’s self-titled debut Spanish Harlem Orchestra, hailed by music critics as “virtuosic jouralbum both went gold. The following year the band neymen who are one of New York’s had a huge international hit with great musical resources,” has edu“Jibaro Soy,” their second gold cated a new generation of listenrecord. Leavitt’s tribute to his late ers with its classic-meets-contemtrumpeter Luisito Maisonet, “La porary sound, grounded in the cuna blanca,” topped the charts in musical legacy of El Barrio, a pulLatin America and the Latin charts sating, East Side community in in the United States, and he was Manhattan that gave rise to named Puerto Rico’s Composer of Boogaloo, Latin Soul and Salsa. Directed by world-renowned piaThe Year. The single “El buen pastor” nist, arranger, and producer Oscar became another international hit Hernández, the 13-member, all-star and went gold in 1976. The band ensemble has established itself as released three albums with TH a standard-bearer of contemporary Records from 1981 to 1983. Carlitos Latin music. All four of the Ramírez joined La Selecta as co- orchestra’s albums have been lead singer on their 10th anniver- nominated for Grammy Awards. The band’s 2002 debut, “Un Gran sary album. Y La Selecta received the Puerto Rican music industry’s Día En El Barrio,” which revived Diplo Award for Band of the Year the classic 1970 sounds with a new in 1987. With more than 30 albums, hard-hitting point-of-view, launched including five compilations, to their the band and received a 2003 credit, the band’s latest release of Grammy nomination for Best Salsa new material is 2006’s two-DVD set Album as well as a Latin Billboard “30 Aniversario: Live.” The Award for Salsa Album of the Year/

Sonia Sanchez lauded

Sonia Sanchez

Noted Author/Poet/Activist Sonia Sanchez (PICTURED) was recently named the first Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia, will be honored during the first evening of the Artivist Film Festival, following the screening of the documentary film about her, “Shake Loose Memories.” A panel discussion including Sanchez, the film’s director Jamal Joseph, and invited community leaders will follow the screening. Jamal Joseph, former chair of the Graduate Film School at Columbia University will present the Artivist Award for Community Leadership to Sanchez. “Shake Loose Memories,” a New Heritage Film, directed by Joseph, executive producers Voza Rivers and Afeni Shakur, producer Rachel Watanabe-Batton, director of photography, Robert Shepard, is a documentary Cine Poem featuring Amiri Baraka, Toshi Regan,T.C. Carson, and Oscar Brown, Jr. Sanchez is most often associated with the Black Arts Movement and was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University. She was the recipient of the Harper Lee Award, 2004, Alabama Distinguished Writer, and the National Visionary Leadership Award for 2006. “Sonia Sanchez is a lion in literature’s forest...This world is a better place because of Sonia Sanchez: more livable, more laughable, more manageable. I wish millions of people knew that some of the joy in their lives comes from the fact that Sonia Sanchez is writing poetry,” says Maya Angelou. The screening with take place at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, Wednesday, January 25, 2012. Miller Theatre is located at 116th and Broadway. Admission is complimentary. Reservations 212 926 2550. (D.T.)

Best New Group. The track “Across 110th Street,” which featured singers Marco Bermudez, Willie Torres, Ray De La Paz and special guest Ruben Blades, garnered the group its first Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Salsa Album. “United We Swing,” featuring special guest Paul Simon, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Tropical Album. Their latest CD, Viva La Tradición, won a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album. Lehman Center is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. The 2011-2012 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the

New York State Legislature, JPMorgan Chase, and through corporations, foundations and private donations. Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx. Affordable Tickets for Raphy Y La Selecta and Spanish Harlem Orchestra on Saturday, January 21 at 8pm can be purchased by calling the box office at (718) 960-8833, Monday through Friday, 10am–5pm and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert), or through 24-hour online access at: www.LehmanCenter.org. Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway. Low-cost on-site parking available for $5.

You Go, Girl!


Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday Edited by Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles & Society Editor The original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday will make her dream debut on the Apollo Theater’s famous stage on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at the Opening Night of the 2012 season of the legendary Theater’s signature weekly live show, Amateur Night at the Apollo. The dream show marks the 78th year of the world’s original amateur talent competition. Since its inception in 1934, Amateur Night has been one of New York City’s most popular live entertainment experiences, launching the careers of thousands of performers and attracting audiences from all over the world. Hosted by comedian Capone, the opening night of Amateur Night 2012 will feature several surprises in celebration of the Theater’s 78th birthday as well as a special “dream” performance by Holliday of her much fêted song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” The song is the mostperformed song in the Apollo’s Amateur Night history. Holliday portrayed the role of Effie Melody White in the original musical version of Dreamgirls, giving one of the most triumphant singing performances ever committed to Broadway. Her raw, all-consuming vocal version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” made the Tony-winning performer a cult phenomenon. Dreamgirls, and Holliday by extension, are very closely connected with the Apollo — the opening scene in the musical took place at the Apollo and the period when Dreamgirls is set is an important chapter in the Apollo’s history. Also, the 2009 national tour of the musical premiered at the Apollo. Holliday gained national recognition when she landed the lead in the Broadway musical Your Arms Too Short to Box with God. Her performance earned her a 1981 Drama Desk nomination and led to her star-making performance in Dreamgirls, and featured her show-stealing performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,“ which became a hit single in 1982. Dreamgirls earned her not only the 1982 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical), but Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards; she also won a Grammy Award for her recorded version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”. She returned to the stage in 1985, appearing in Sing, Mahalia, Sing, and she continued to release pop music albums while on Broadway. The two-time Grammy

Jennifer Holliday “Twenty years ago when I was in ‘Dreamgirls,’ I was always a joke because I was huge. I went out once to a birthday gathering for me, and the New York Post wrote that I had broken the chair because I was so big. Well, I didn’t break the chair; it was just really wobbly. But the humiliation was terrible. Even after I lost weight, I was still the same person.” – Jennifer Holliday Award winner has recorded five chart-making CD’s for Arista, Geffen and Intersound Records. Holliday has also had several chart-topping singles. Her signature spine-tingling hit song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” charted at #1 on the R&B charts and was a top 40 Pop charter as well. The robust performer won a Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Vocal Performance for her soul-stirring rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” a tribute to the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. She went on to perform in the touring company of “Sing, Mahalia, Sing” in 1986, as the late, great gospel singer. During her stellar musical journey, Holliday has recorded with such artists as Barbara Streisand, Foreigner, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Michael McDonald, Maurice White, Peabo Bryson, Loretta Lynn, the Cincinnati Pops Symphony and many CD compilations featured with other artists, including soundtracks for “The Five Heartbeats,” “The Woo-Woo Kid,” “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and “The Rising Place.” In the 1990s, Holliday lost a substantial amount of weight and talked about her health battles with clinical depression. She is now a spokesperson on the subject. In an effort to avoid regaining the weight, Holliday had gastric bypass surgery. Jennifer Yvette Holliday was born October 19, 1960, in Riverside, Texas. The singer/actress received a Doctor of Music honoris causa from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Her career started on Broadway in musicals, but eventually she became a successful recording artist. Her biggest hit to

date is the R&B/Pop hit “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” Holliday landed her first big role on Broadway in 1980, when she landed her first notable role in the Broadway production of Your Arms Too Short To Box With God. Her performance in that musical earned her a 1981 Drama Desk nomination. Her next role was the one for which she is best known: the role of Effie Melody White in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Holliday joined the show in December 1981 and remained with the show for nearly four years. Her performance in the role was widely acclaimed, particularly in her iconic performance of the musical number that ends Act I, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Among the acclaim was Holliday’s sweep of awards in 1982, including the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, a Grammy award for her recorded version of the song, and Drama Desk and Theater World awards for the performance. In 2001, she sang “America The Beautiful” on the first WWE payper-view to be held after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Best of Jennifer Holliday: The Millennium Collection on Universal Records is her most recent release. “Twenty years ago when I was in ‘Dreamgirls,’ I was always a joke because I was huge. I went out once to a birthday gathering for me, and the New York Post wrote that I had broken the chair because I was so big. Well, I didn’t break the chair; it was just really wobbly. But the humiliation was terrible.” “Even after I lost weight, I was still the same person.” The Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feels

the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience response can help make or break a career. In 2012, the Apollo will bring the Amateur Night experience to an even broader audience with the launch of Amateur Night Digital, which will enable users worldwide to track the progress and vote for their favorite Apollo Amateur Night contestants. “This year’s Opening Night show is particularly special because we are introducing something really different and new to the Apollo audience with Amateur Night Online,” said Amateur Night producer Marion J. Caffey. “The new site will be interactive, allowing users to vote from home, extending the Apollo’s reach well beyond our own four walls. And we couldn’t be more excited to be showcasing the original Dreamgirl, Jennifer Holliday, who will surely be an inspiration to all our contestants and who will help us kick off our 78th season in style. This is going to be a great year for Amateur Night,” Caffey continued. Amateur Night will feature staples like C.P. Lacey in the role of the “Executioner” (the character who sweeps “booed” contestants off the stage) and the Apollo’s Amateur Night house band, fronted by Onree Gill. Highlights of the season include: a pre-show jam fest led by one of New York’s hottest DJ’s, DJ Jess, and special themed night shows including Broadway Night on March 16, 2012. The new season of Amateur Night runs from January 26, 201will start Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 7:30pm and will occur every Wednesday through October 2011. Amateur Night is sponsored by the CocaCola Company. Tickets for Amateur Night begin at $19and are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street. Ticketmaster at (212) 307-7171 or www.ticketmaster.com Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul and hip-hop. From its notoriously tough audience to the magic of the Tree of Hope, the Apollo Amateur Night story is the stuff that legends are made of -- literally. Amateur Night has been the launching pad for some of the world’s greatest artists including Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and Lauryn Hill. Long before Ted Mack and the Amateur Hour and American Idol, Apollo Amateur Night was, and continues to be, a primary source for discovering new talent and spotlighting up-and-coming artists, all hoping that the hallowed stage and the approval of the Apollo audience will launch their careers in the entertainment world. The Apollo is a national treasure that has had significant impact on the development of American culture and its popularity around the world. Since introducing the first

Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hiphop. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom on the Apollo’s stage. The Apollo Theater’s new artistic vision builds on its legacy. New Apollo programming has music as its core, driving large scale and more intimate music, dance and theater presentations. The Apollo will continue to present historically relevant presentations, as well as more forwardlooking, contemporary work. Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org. The Apollo’s annual season is made possible by lead support from The Coca-Cola Company, The Parsons Family Foundation, the Ronald O. Perelman Family Foundation, the Edward and Leslye Phillips Family Foundation, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Reginald Van Lee, the Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, and the Neuberger Berman Foundation. Lead annual support is also provided by public funds from the City of New York Theater Subdistrict Council; with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; New York State funding from Senator Bill Perkins, Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and the New York State Council for the Arts. Apollo Theater Introduces Amateur Night Digital Also on February 1, 2012, the Amateur Night experience will be taken to new heights with the launch of Amateur Night Digital to complement the weekly, live show. One of the most exciting features on Amateur Night Digital (amateurnight.org) will be the “Remix Round” feature - an opportunity for performers who participated in the live Amateur Night show but who did not place as finalists to enlist their friends and fans to go online, view their performance, and submit a vote to bring the candidate back to a subsequent live Amateur Night competition at the Apollo. Via the new Amateur Night mobile app for iPhone and Android, users can also win points and rewards for app usage and get access to exclusive content after they leave the theater. The site will feature video clips from the live version of the show, pre- and post-performance interviews with artists, audience reaction, and testimonials. Amateur Night Digital will expand the Apollo’s reach well beyond its own four walls.

NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net

Jennifer Holliday set to open new season of Apollo’s Signature Talent Competition


NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net


Danny Simmons curates Neekid Blk Gurls to celebrate Black women By Mira Gandy Artist & Scribe Daniel “Danny” Simmons, Jr., is an abstract-expressionist painter, poet and life long supporter of the arts. He believes in creating avenues of opportunity for artists and is specifically dedicated to supporting young and emerging artists. It is admiral for an established artist, whose work sits in the collections of Chase Manhattan Bank, the United Nations, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, to remain connected to the artists in the community. His passion has touched the lives of many artists, including me. Simmons gave me my first opportunity in a gallery exhibition, when he included me in a series of group shows he produced in Brooklyn and Soho in the early nineties. He is the founder and president of the Rush Arts Gallery in Manhattan and the Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn. Simmons is the older brother of hip-hop impresario, Russell Simmons and rapper Joseph Simmons (“Reverend Run” of Run DMC). Along with his brother Russell, Simmons established Def Poetry Jam, which has enjoyed long-running success on HBO. Simmons is also the founder and vice president of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization; as well as, the chairman of the board of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the NYC chapter of the National Conference of Artists. In 2004, Simmons published Three Days As the Crow Flies, a fictional account of the 1980’s New York art scene. He has also written a book of artwork and poetry called, I Dreamed My People Were Calling But I Couldn’t Find My Way Home. His most recent book, Deep In Your Best Reflection: Poems in 160 characters, is filled with racy love poems, all constructed in text message form. Currently, Simmons is the curator of the exhibition, Neekid Blk Gurls, on view at Rush Arts Gallery until January 27, 2012. Artists included in the show are Barron Claiborne, Delphine Fawundu-Buford, Guenter Knop, Mahlot Sansosa, Radcliffe Roye, Saddi Khali, Mikelle Moore, Russell Fredrick, Sean Antherley, Stan Squirewell, Howard T Cash, John Henderson, Deana Lawson, Quazi King, Dexter Jones, Ingrid Baars, Alaric Campbell, Zoraida Lopez, Delpine FaunduBuford and Kerika Fields. The result of Neekid Blk Gurls is a myriad of striking images that draw you in by aesthetics, not by nudity. From Ingrid Baars’ beautiful and regal African woman, Le’Africque C’est Chic, to Alaric

Alaric Campbell, Black Land

Curator Danny Simmons (Photo by Lamont Hamilton) Campbell’s, Black Land 2, photograph of a dancer, the exhibition as a whole makes a statement that is loud and clear. Black women are not to be seen myopically but viewed as beautiful and diverse individuals. (Photo Credits: Courtesy of the artists, Rush Fine Arts Gallery, Mark Blackshear and Lamont Hamilton) After viewing the exhibition, I reached out to Simmons to ask about the show’s theme.

Danny Simmons, Cosmic Mermaid

Danny Simmons,Untitled 2011

Ingrid Baars,Le Africque C est Chic

MIRA GANDY: What inspired in film, magazines, music videos GANDY: Did you know all of the this theme? and television. artists you chose? DANNY SIMMONS: I wanted to create an exhibition that celebrated the traditional art form of female nudes in art and celebrated real Black women; because, we don’t see those positive images. I wanted to find images that worked against, the often misogynistic, images of Black women in the media that are seen

GANDY: How did you choose the art or artists for the show? SIMMONS: Well, originally I wanted to show work from my personal collection. I have a large collection that includes work form artists like Gordon Parks. But then I thought, no let me see what today’s younger artists are doing.

SIMMONS: No, not all of them. I was given some recommendations from people and I just began to search for artists. I was looking for images that didn’t emphasize a woman’s body parts, but a woman as a whole. I also wanted to include images that made statements. The work in the show makes statements about beauty, politics, and culture.

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NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net



NEW YORK BEACON, January 19, 2012 - January 25, 2012 newyorkbeacon.net



Marc Rasbury


He shocked the world By Marc Rasbury

The term Living Legend is one of the most overused phrases in the English language. However, in the case of Muhammad Ali, it is an understatement. The man who many, including himself, consider to be the “Greatest of All Time” celebrated his 70th birthday this week. Although he ruffled some feathers during his lifetime, he is still one of the most beloved individuals to walk this earth. You will be hard pressed to come up with a more polarizing individual than Ali. He was one of the few athletes that truly transcended sports. Yes, he was a three-time heavyweight champion, dominating the sport for nearly two decades, but his influence stretches well beyond the ring. He was Tim Tebow 30 years before we ever heard of the World Wide Web. As a matter of fact, the Tebow sensation pales in comparison to the firestorm that Ali generated four decades ago. This brash young man burst on the scene by capturing the 1960 light heavyweight gold medal in Rome. Then, two years later, he upset Sonny Liston to capture the heavyweight title. Most sports fans took Ali’s brashness with a grain of salt. Even his joining the Nation of Islam did not bother the masses that much. But when he refused to comply with his draft order to serve in the Vietnam War, all hell broke loose. The man became a pariah with that move, a move that cost him the prime of his career. From 1967 to 1970, Ali sat on the sidelines serving a ban from boxing for not serving his country. He sat out on principle. He was opposed to the war and felt that he could not in good conscious participate in a war that he felt was unjust, while fighting for a country that did not respect his civil rights. His title was vacated and his ability to fight was revoked throughout the land. Joe Frazier eventually won the crown in a single elimination tournament. Think about the money that Ali left

on the table. Today, you can not get most athletes to endorse a political candidate, nevertheless take a stand on a controversial topic. As he inched closer and closer to bankruptcy, Ali refused to deviate from his stance. Society started to take notice and began to see his point of view. He received support from a vast cross section of America. From Martin Luther King Jr.; to the average Joe on the street; to students at Cal Berkley, Ann Arbor and Chapel Hill; many of the population started to throw their support behind the People’s Champ even If they were in favor of the war. The Supreme Court eventually overturned Ali’s ban from boxing and subsequent conviction, which set up the first Ali-Frazier fight, the most prolific sporting event of all time. It was not an epic event because you had two undefeated champs fighting for all the marbles, it became a political battle between those who were for the war and those who were against it. The contingent that still held a grudge against Ali for dodging the draft adopted Frazier as their symbolic figure. As you know Frazier won that fight, but Ali would eventually go on to recapture the title, taking out the likes of George Foreman, Ken Norton, Ernie Shavers and Frazier twice. Ali won much more. He won the hearts and admiration of the majority along the way. For all he did in the ring, he is remembered just as much for what he did outside the ring. He gave away his best years for a principle that he truly believed in. Some still hold his stance on the draft against him, and some might not have liked the way he treated Frazier during their epic battles, but one thing is hard to dispute: he believed in a principle and stood by it to the point he was even willing to jail. Here is a man that was vilified in the sixties and brought tears to our eyes when he lit the torch to start the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta. The man has gone from Public Enemy number one to one of the more beloved figures to ever walk the earth. So as you celebrate your 70th birthMuhammad Ali standing over Joe Frazier in the Manilla thriller day, here’s to you Champ.

Giants sittin’ on the dock of the Bay for NFC title Game By Jason Clinkscales This wasn’t 2007, but the results are just as sweet. With plenty of misguided talk about how similar these New York Giants were to those eventual Super Bowl winners, the comparisons were unavoidable as they traveled to Green Bay to face the top-seeded Packers in the Divisional Round. Much of the apparent resemblances between the games were forgotten early thanks to a dominant performance on all fronts as the Giants defeated the Pack 37-20 to advance to the NFC Championship Game. For example, unlike the ’07 NFC title game where the Packers had arguably the NFL’s most complete defense, this Green Bay team fea-

tured the league’s worst and it certainly showed throughout the contest. A Hail Mary caught by Hakeem Nicks to end the first half was the most telling as the wideout had four defenders near him and not one of them batted the ball down to prevent him from grabbing the football. Nicks had another outstanding performance in his second playoff game with 165 receiving yards on six catches, including two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the momentum Big Blue’s defense seized from the last three weeks continued as they slowly, but surely made QB Aaron Rodgers miserable. Similar to the start against Atlanta in the prior week’s Wild Card game, it took most of the first half for the pass rush to wear down Green Bay’s offensive

line. However, Rodgers’ bodyguards were completely overwhelmed as linebacker Michael Boley and lineman Osi Umenyiora registered two sacks each on the likely MVP. The pass rush also helped give way to three fumbles (two led to 10 points for the Giants) and Deon Grant’s coffin-nailing interception at game’s end. This was a complete turnaround from last month’s loss to the then-undefeated Packers- as Rodgers and his receivers torched the secondary for a 38-35 win. The next step to Indianapolis and Super Bowl XLVI goes through San Francisco as the 49ers host the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. In an instant classic, the Niners outlasted the New Orleans

Saints, 36-32, the afternoon prior to the Giants’ win. This is another revenge game for Big Blue and ideally, the Giants would have cleaned up some holes from their first trip to Candlestick Park back in November. In that heartbreaking 27-20 loss to the 49ers, the offense didn’t find a spark until the fourth quarter and by then, it was too little, too late. On top of four field goals, QB Alex Smith led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives that actually started the Giants’ swoon in the second half of the season. If New York keeps to its blueprint against Rodgers, they will be able to keep Smith from roaming about the field to extend plays or score on his own as he did for a lead-snatching touchdown run

against the Saints. They will also have to contend with workhorse rusher Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis, who is a major matchup problem for any defender. On the flip side, with talent and experience all over, San Francisco has the league’s best defense. Just as New York’s defense, the 49ers unit is riding off of high confidence from smacking the Saints in the mouth, despite allowing 32 points. Already with the league’s worst rushing game, New York won’t run the ball with much success against the first team to not allow a rushing touchdown in a season since the 1928 Providence Steam Roller. Manning and company need a complete, ideally mistake-free game in order to capture the franchise’s fifth NFC championship.