Category: Community Written by Steve Holsey
During its 1993 to 1998 run, “Living Single” was among the most popular TV shows, particularly with Black viewers.
The sitcom was funny, true to Black culture without (usually) going over the top and/or embarrassing the African-American community.
It could deliver a serious message when called for, featured good writing, a likable ensemble cast with perfect chemistry, and had clearly defined characters (although I must admit I often found Kim Coles’ naive character Synclair annoying).
Queen Latifah (who portrayed Kadijah) has said she would love to bring the cast back together for her new talk show. That would include Coles, Kim Fields (Regine), Erika Alexander (Max), John Henson (Overton) and Terrence “T.C.” Carson (Kyle).
SPEAKING OF television programs, I caught part of two editions of Arsenio Hall’s new late-night show. He is a likable guy and often quite funny, but it will be more difficult for him this time around (his first show, which was groundbreaking on many levels, aired from 1989 to 1994).
The new show is okay, but not really special, which could really hurt being in a field that is already crowded (Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman, etc.). But time will tell. Perhaps he can carve out a niche for himself, and we will be happy for him if he does. Just being Black sets him apart in a way that should be a plus factor.
Arsenio Hall’s pal, Eddie Murphy, recently announced that he is returning to making music, which is not to suggest that he is setting aside comedy or acting. An early 2014 release period has been set. The first single is the Bob Marley influenced reggae song “Red Light.”
Murphy, who enjoyed some recording success in the ’80s, said of his new album, “Everything’s not a masterpiece, but I’ve got a lot of stuff that’s really strong.”
KEYSHIA COLE offended a lot of people following the Destiny’s Child reunion halftime show performance at the Super Bowl in February. She launched an attack against Michelle Williams, saying she “always f----- the groove up.”
That was totally uncalled for, and many people believe it was a publicity grab.
But, fortunately, Cole has issued a public apology, and Williams, who never sank to Cole’s level, said, “Apology accepted.”
That’s the difference between class and “limited class.”
Meanwhile, Kanye West and Ray J are still exchanging barbs. Ray J started it. He used to go with West’s girlfriend Kim Kardashian (they have a child) and made a widely viewed sex video with her. To taunt West, he recorded a song titled “I Hit It First.”
West appeared on a late-night TV show and called Ray J “lame” and, worse than that, referred to him as “Brandy’s little sister.” Most likely this is not the end of this, but hopefully these two will eventually find a way to take the high road and behave like grown-ups.
BARRETT STRONG, who wrote so many classic Motown hits with Norman Whitfield, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “War,” issued a legal challenge regarding an earlier Motown superhit, “Money (That’s What I Want).”
Strong, who was also the artist, says he wrote the song with Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy Jr., but his name was removed from subsequent pressings.
I am inclined to believe that Strong is telling the truth, although why his name would be deleted is a mystery that only Gordy or maybe Bradford could answer.
Well, R. Kelly certainly continues his ability to cross lines and get people talking. His new album, due in November, will be titled, believe it or not, “Black Panties.”
It is interesting that Dionne Warwick always claims the Burt Bacharach/Hal David composed classic “What the World Needs Now Is Love” as her own when, in fact, it was Jackie DeShannon who had the Top 10 hit in 1965.
Warwick had recorded the song before DeShannon, but it was an album cut, not a single. So for that reason, Warwick should not include it among her hits.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that “My Baby Loves Me,” one of big hits of Martha & the Vandellas, was intended to be a Four Tops release. When a new decision was made, Motown just took Levi Stubbs’ voice off and replaced it with that of Martha Reeves. The background on the record remained the Tops, with the Andantes added. The other two Vandellas are not on the record at all.
MEMORIES: “Part-Time Lover” (Stevie Wonder), “Let’s Go Crazy” (Prince & the Revolution), “We Are The World” (USA For Africa), “Bette Davis Eyes” (Kim Carnes), “Another One Bites the Dust” (Queen), “Love Machine” (the Miracles), “Flowers” (the Emotions), “Say You, Say Me” (Lionel Richie), “Love Hangover” (Diana Ross), “Good Times” (Chic).
BLESSINGS to Stefanie P. White, Eddie Allen, Derek Thornton, Michael Brock, Jasmine DuBois, Leland Stein, Earline J. Franklin, Georgella Muirhead, Gerald W. Smith and Keena Green.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Wynton Marsalis: “Don’t settle for style. Succeed in substance.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 10:46
What A Knight! Detroiters pick community book and record store as winner of Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle
Area art lovers got a much-needed boost with the announcement of the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice contest earlier this summer, which launched a month-long text to vote campaign to identify a local community-based project deserving of support.
Detroiters picked Hamtramck’s LO & BEHOLD! Records and Books as the award winner.
The store, owned by Richard Wohlfeil, received the news at a celebration event for the 56 winners of the Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide contest funding projects that engage and enrich Detroit through the arts.
“There is a lot of passion in Detroit for LO & BEHOLD! and that showed in the People’s Choice Award voting,,” said Dennis Scholl, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts.
Knight Foundation launched the People’s Choice Award to highlight the work of small and up-and-coming arts organizations in metro Detroit.
The small business entrants, including contest winner LO & BEHOLD, are expected to get a big lift from publicity and social media associated with the effort. Many have never received venture capital or grant support.
LO & BEHOLD is a true start-up in every sense of the word. Opening its doors without any external financial funding, the business has grown to become a viable and vibrant component of the community.
Patrons appreciate Wohlfeil’s personal commitment to the business, from his willingness to work odd jobs just to keep the business afloat, to donating his own personal records and books to keep the shop doors open.
“Seeing a positive, physical change in our community is what gives me the strength to keep going,” said Wohlfeil, who can use the grant to fund an arts project of his choosing.
Wohlfeil, fresh from his victory, will use the $30,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant award to document LO & BEHOLD’s monthly Folk Blues Night performances. The intimate, acoustic events, hosted by two local folk blues musicians, will be recorded using vintage ribbon microphones as an early blues session might have been recorded in the 1930s and 1940s.
With challenge funding, the store will release recordings as a series of LPs, with booklets providing the history of the songs and information on the musicians.
The four other nominees for the People’s Choice Award included artist collective Complex Movements, bike design group East Side Riders, the Mt. Elliot Makerspace and the monthly storytelling event Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers.
To learn more about the nominees, visit knightarts.org/peopleschoice.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 10:43
Category: Community Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Groundbreaking network of inspired black men to launch
with Knight Foundation funding
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a $3.6 million investment in a new network of inspired black men to build caring and prosperous communities. That’s the mission of BMe, which takes a fundamentally different approach from traditional philanthropy.
“Number one, we recognize black males as assets to society,” says Trabian Shorters, Knight’s former vice president of communities and now founder of the independent nonprofit BMe. “So we aren’t trying to fix anyone or focus on any deficits. Instead we are engaging people around the things they care about and building community together. We shine a light rather than just curse the darkness.”
Over the last two years, working in close partnership with Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement and with support from the Heinz Endowment, Knight tested its “black men as assets” approach in Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
Building on that success, BMe will now increase the presence and impact of engaged black men in the pilot communities, and later nationally, by connecting them with each other, supporting their events and projects, telling their stories and inviting people of all races and gender to join in this movement.
“Over the past two years, BMe attracted support from a wide range of backgrounds and walks of life. The power going forward will be in staying true to the vision: that black men and boys are community assets who, working together, can make our communities better,” said Knight Foundation President AlbertoIbargüen.
In addition to Shorters, BMe is governed by a board of field-leading innovators, including former NAACP President Ben Jealous, Donors Choose Founder Charles Best, and TIAA-CREF Senior Managing Director Stephanie Bell-Rose, who is also a Knight Foundation trustee.
“What excites me about BMe,” said Jealous, “is it gives the possibility of creating a network for other networks to connect into.”
BMe’s asset-approach fundamentally changes perceptions and opportunities by answering four sequential questions about black males, Shorters said. “Do they care? Will they lead? Will others join them? And what can we all do together?”
The answers from the two years of field-testing are inspiring.
Do black men care? Over a dozen weeks in 2012 and 2013, more than 3,000 black men—from all walks of life—submitted video testimonials about the big and small things they personally do to strengthen communities. They do these things commonly without any recognition or fanfare. Black men care.
Will they lead? BMe asked these everyday black men, “What would you do if we gave you funding to improve the community?” Hundreds of ideas were submitted, and 70 of those men received funding. They then provided services to more than 10,000 of their neighbors on issues ranging from youth development to public health; stopping violence to helping former inmates; protecting the environment to community farming; and spurring entrepreneurship to improving financial literacy. Black men will lead.
The surprise during the development of BMe came at the response to the third question: Will others join in? BMe attracted dozens of enthusiastic local partners including small businesses, houses of worship, elected officials, women and youth groups who all seemed eager, even hungry, to embrace black men as assets to community. Others are willing to join in.
The final question, “what can we all do together,” is the one that remains to be seen. BMe’s data shows that the issues that black men feel passionate enough to lead on are the same issues that people of all races and gender care about: youth, public safety and health, the environment, education and the economy. That’s a natural bridge for community building, Shorters said.
“BMe captures the imagination of cities and mobilizes people to be proactively and positively engaged in their communities,” says Shawn Dove, director of the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement. “There is no cavalry coming to save our communities, but BMe reminds us that the iconic leaders we’ve been waiting for are already here in the form of thousands of black men who quietly and consistently make positive differences in the lives of others.”
BMe will formally launch later this winter by telling the stories of inspiring black men nationally, through the eyes of their family members, co-workers and friends. In doing so, BMe will recruit those men and their friends of all races and gender into the network and provide opportunities for them to connect with others who share their positivity and passion for building better communities together.
“What I enjoy about the BMe Community,” said Shaka Senghor, a BMe Leader in Detroit, “is that it’s not this missionary mentality. We don’t need to be saved; we just need resources to do the work.”
“Ultimately, BMe is about identity and community,” Shorters said. “Who do you think we are and what kind of world do you want to live in? If you want to live in a world of inspired people from all walks of life who are active and optimistic about building better communities, then BMe is your network—inspired by black men.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 11:15
Category: Community Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
DETROIT: Once farmland and home to a multitude of animals and orchards, Palmer Park is not a stranger to the celebration of the harvest.
On Sunday, September 22 from 2 - 5 pm, on the Fall Equinox, People for Palmer Park presents a free Harvest Festival with hayrides through the historic woods; apple tasting and applesauce-making demos; corn roasting; petting zoo and presentations by Farmer John and the Barnyard Express; interactive children's music with Motor City Music Together; arts and crafts; and much more. This will be a fun opportunity for all ages to learn about how our food is grown, the lives of farm animals, and nature in the park.
The event takes place by the new Splash Park, on Merrill Plaisance near Pontchartrain, between McNichols and Seven Mile Roads, west of Woodward Avenue. Parking in available at the Splash Park parking lot.
The Barnyard Express is a mobile educational farm center. Farmer John, an experienced educator and farmer, brings an array of his animals, including a goat, horse, sheep, pig, and calf. He will introduce each animal, milk the goat, and describe their care and fascinating characteristics. In between shows, visitors can pet the animals.
Special harvest treats will be on hand for tasting, including the five varieties of apples that grow in the park. Corn will be roasted, and cider and donuts, as well has homemade applesauce will be available. A special squash display will demonstrate the wide variety of pumpkins and squash that grow in Michigan and how they look inside and out!
Explore the woods, either on the hayride or by walking on the special guided path to view ancient and intriguing trees and plants, who have their home in Palmer Park.
Leah Celebi, violist and leader of Motor City Music Together will have instruments and songs to make wonderful, festive music and movement experiences with families.
We hope to have a dairy cow at the festival, so children can try their hand at milking this magnificent animal. But even if Elsie can't attend, there will be much to explore, experience and celebrate.
What: Harvest Festival with Petting Zoo and Hayride through the woods
When: Sunday, September 22, 2013, from 2 - 5 pm
Where: Palmer Park, by the Splash Park parking lot, Merrill Plaisance, west of Woodward between 6 & 7 Mile Roads, Detroit
Why: To celebrate and appreciate Palmer Park and the Fall Equinox and harvest
Who: People of all ages, especially children!
How much: Free
What else: Find out more information at peopleforpalmerpark.org
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 11:14
Category: Community Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
MIKE DUGGAN TO SPEAK AT YOUNG PERSON’S FORUM AT WCCCD DOWNTOWN CAMPUS
Detroit Mayoral Candidate Mike Duggan will speak to a group of young Detroiters at a town hall forum moderated by Bankole Thompson. The event will focus on the role of young people in shaping Detroit's future. The discussion is part of the Wayne County Community College District’s (WCCCD) Global Conversation Speaker Series.
The purpose of the forum is to allow Detroit's future leaders to raise pertinent issues and ask questions relating to their wellbeing in the city with Duggan, who is seeking to be the Motor City's next chief executive officer. The event is open to the public.
WHAT: Global Conversation Speaker Series Youth Forum
WHO: Mike Duggan Bankole Thompson More than 100 future Detroit leaders
WHEN: 5:00 – 6:30 PM, Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 11:16
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