Despite Controversy Make Your Date Detroit Delivers Results

Initiative Saves Hundreds of Black Babies 

By Darlene A. White and Patreice A. Massey, Managing Editor 

Most soon-to-be mothers around the world are preparing for baby showers; gender reveals and discussing different themes for baby nurseries as their pregnancies progress. But for an alarming number of black mothers in the city of Detroit, their focus is avoiding preterm labor in hopes of keeping their infants alive.    

Detroit has one of the worst (highest) preterm birth and infant mortality rates in the country, equal to that of some third world countries. With a preterm birth rate of 14.5 percent, Detroit earned an “F” among major U.S. cities for premature births according to the 2018 Premature Birth Report Card from the March of Dimes, the nation’s leading maternal and infant health nonprofit organization. 

“For every 1,000 babies born alive in the United States, about six die before their first birthday. But in Detroit, that number is higher. In Detroit, for every 1,000 live births, an average of 15 infants will die before their first birthday,” according to data obtained from the U.S. Office of Minority Health. 

Research has shown that disparities such as racial inequity, poverty, stress, food insecurity, lack of education, and limited access to transportation or health care can contribute to poor health outcomes for mothers and babies.  

In efforts to quell this epidemic, the city of Detroit has welcomed several initiatives geared towards reducing the city’s infant mortality rate. One such initiative is the Make Your Date Detroit program. Make Your Date Detroit is a Wayne State University organization that is fighting to turn the tide against premature births in Detroit. 

Make Your Date Detroit is a program steeped in controversy. There have been investigative reports delving into the program’s fundraising methods and allegations of a personal relationship involving the mayor of Detroit. Headlines tout impropriety and imply that the program may have received preferential treatment from city officials. It’s a salacious story, that has everyone talking. 

But what isn’t making headlines are the results seen from this program and the fact that it is saving lives in the African American community.  

According to its website, the program provides free prenatal care to city residents regardless of their insurance coverage. The program focuses on screening and treatment for a short cervix, a leading condition that contributes to preterm delivery. 

Mayor Mike Duggan, who has witnessed the effects of preterm labor during his time spent as the head of one of Detroit’s prominent health systems, believes infant mortality is a priority issue and supports Make Your Date Detroit 

“As the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, it was very difficult to watch infants born at 7 or 8 months struggle even to breathe on their own,” said Mayor Duggan. “That happens in Detroit hundreds of times a year, twice as often as in the rest of Michigan. Make Your Date is an effort to give Detroit children every opportunity to begin their lives strong and healthy by helping moms carry their children to full term.” 

With the disproportionate number of infants of color affected by preterm birth, the goal of Make Your Date is to be the best support system for expecting mothers throughout their pregnancy.  

“African American infants are at a 50 percent greater risk of preterm birth compared to white infants. As a result, African American infants are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants,” says Marisa Rodriquez, director of strategic operations of the Office of Women’s Health at Wayne State University. “African American women are three to four times more likely to die in pregnancy than white mothers. Hispanic mothers and infants are also at greater risk when compared to white women. There are tests and treatments that exist to reduce preterm birth, but many pregnant women do not have access to them. Our program works to make these lifesaving approaches available. What our program and others provide is important in the fight to reduce the very substantial racial and ethnic health disparities that are seen in pregnancy.” 

Rodriquez says that the Make Your Date program has already begun saving infant lives in a short period. 

Make Your Date has been so successful that participating mothers are 37 percent less likely to deliver at under 32 weeks and 28 percent are less likely to deliver at under 34 weeks,” she said. “In a city with such high rates of preterm birth and infant mortality, these results are remarkable. We are very proud that women are delivering healthy babies as a result of this program.” 

Expectant mothers can expect to receive an array of services that will help ensure the health of mother and baby—no insurance required.   

“If a pregnant woman has not gone to prenatal care or does not have insurance yet, Make Your Date connects pregnant women to receive the necessary prenatal care at the location she requests and insurance sign-up assistance,” said Rodriquez, “We help to facilitate access to early prenatal care and stay with these moms throughout their pregnancy to be sure they receive the necessary tests, treatment, and services to ensure a healthy pregnancy.” 

Deja Mason, 23, of Detroit, is a participant in the Make Your Date Detroit program. She says the program has helped educate her on what to expect during her pregnancy with her daughter 

“I enjoy the fact that this program gives you the proper insight to the problems that pregnancy may cause,” she stated. “I also like the fact that the program teaches you how to properly care for yourself during pregnancy.” 

The majority of the Make Your Date Detroit participants are African American women, residing in the City of Detroit, with an age range of 13-44; more than half are between 13 and 24. Some participants are first time mothers, others have several children and many have experienced a preterm birth or infant loss in a prior pregnancy. Some moms often have limited or no insurance, transportation, medical services, medication, food and shelter. 

Mason says that after participating in the program, she recommends Make Your Date Detroit to all expecting mothers.  

“These people running the Make Your Date program truly care and they take their time to teach and help all mothers who are expecting a baby. This is something that I truly needed when carrying my baby.” 

Anyone can be involved in bringing awareness to the Make Your Date Detroit program. Opportunities include acting as a volunteer, donating, or referring a friend or family member to the program. 

For more information on the Make Your Date Detroit program, please visit www.makeyourdate.org. 

For Maternal Infant Health Programs near you please call 1-833-MI4-MIHP (644-6447) or Email: MIHP@michigan.gov 

‘Conversation with the Candidate’ with Beto O’Rourke: Part 2

‘Conversation with the Candidate’ with Beto O’Rourke: Part 2

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>> WELCOME BACK TO OUR CONVERSATION WITH THE CANDIDATE AND TONIGHT’S GUEST FORMER CONGRESSMAN BETO O’ROURKE. IT’S TIME TO BRING IN QUESTIONS FROM OUR AUDIENCE. I’LL JUMP IN IF WE NEED A FOLLOW-UP. BUT FOR NOW LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT WITH OUR FIRST QUESTION MARIE MULROY: WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FIRST EXECUTIVE ORDER WHEN YOU GET ELECTED? THERE ARE SOME ANYTHING FOR US TO TAKE ON. LET’S HAVE A MINIMUM START THESE. REUNITE EVER CHILD HAS BEEN SEPARATED FROM THEIR PARENTS AT THE U.S. MEXICO BORDER. THE TORTURE WE ARE VISITING ON THEM, THE UNCERTAINTY OF WHEN OR IF THEY WILL SEE THEIR PARENTS AGAIN, IT’S MAKE SURE WE DO THE RIGHT THING IMMEDIATELY. I WILL ALSO TAKE EXECUTIVE ACTION GIVEN THE FACT THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS HAPPENING. IT POSES THE LARGEST EXISTENTIAL THREAT NOT JUST TO THIS COUNTRY BUT TO THE PLANET. WE WILL CRACK DOWN ON METHANE EMISSIONS. WE WILL STOP ALL OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION ON FEDERAL LANDS AND OFFSHORE ON THE NINTH RATES. WE WILL MAKE SURE WE PURSUE A VIGOROUS PLAN TO GET A NET ZERO GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BY 2050. 2030 WILL BE HALFWAY THERE AND TO DO THAT WE HAVE TO START ON DAY ONE. THOSE ARE A FEW OF THE STEPS WE WILL TAKE. CAROLYN MORRILL: I RECEIVED THIS MESSAGE FROM MY SON SAYING “MOM- I AM OK -ACTIVE SHOOTER-SAFE IN LOCK DOWN. IN ODESSA, TEXAS, SO I AM GOIN TO ASK ABOUT GUN CONTROL. SINCE YOU ARE FROM TEXAS, WHAT WAS THE MAIN REASON FOR TEXAS TO LOOSEN ITS GUN CONTROLS ALLOWING IT TO HAVE GUNS ON SCHOOL GROUNDS AN IN CHURCHES, ETC. WHAT WAS THE MAIN RATIONALE FOR TEXAS TO DO THAT? >> POLITICS, THE NRA, MEMBERS OF THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE THINKING THAT THE REELECTION WOULD BE ASSURED IF THEY PANDERED TO THE GUN LOBBY. COMPLETELY IGNORING THE FACT THAT WE NOW HAVE FOUR MASS SHOOTINGS IN JUST THE LAST TWO YEARS. SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL, SUTHERLAND SPRING CHURCH, EVIL SHOT WHERE THEY PRAYED. EL PASO, 22 PEOPLE KILLED IN WALMART WITH AN AK-47. A WEAPON DESIGNED FOR WAR AND COMBAT TO KILL PEOPLE AS EFFECTIVELY, EFFICIENTLY AS POSSIBLE USED AGAINST US IN OUR CIVILIAN LIVES. AS YOU JUST MENTIONED, AND MIDLAND AND ODESSA, I AM SO SORRY THAT ANYONE HAD TO EXPERIEN THE VIOLENCE DIRECTED AGAINST THEM OR THE FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY OF BEING IN A LOCKDOWN SITUATION. HOW DO WE CONFRONT THIS? WE NEED TO PASS A BO AGENDA THAT HAS AS ITS CENTER, SAVING THE LIVES OF FELLOW AMERICANS. UNIVERSAL THAT PROJECTS. RED FLAG LAWS TO STOP SOMEONE IF THEY POSE A THREAT TO SOMEONE. ENDING THE SALE OF AK-47S AND AR-15’S. WE MUST GO FURTHER. YOU MUST HAVE MANDATORY LICENSING, REGULATION OF INDUSTRY OF THE GUNS THAT WE HAVE AND WE MUST I BACK THE AR $.50 — AR-15’S AND AK-47S. THE QUESTION YOU ASK EMPLOYEES THAT IT’S GOING TO BE DIFFICULT TO DO IN TEXAS OR IN THE UNITED STATES. I’M LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE IN TEXAS AND OF THE COUNTRY ON THIS CAMPAIGN, I’M NOT SO SURE ANYMORE. THEY HAVE TOLD ME THEY HAVE CHILDREN AS WELL. THEY’RE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR KIDS SAFETY. THEY DON’T ACCEPT THAT WE LOSE 40,000 OF OUR FEDERAL — FELLOW AMERICANS TO GUN VIOLENCE EVERY YEAR. OWNERS OF AR-15’S SAYING I WILL GLADLY GIVE IT BACK OR DESTROYED IF IT WILL HELP TO SAVE LIVES. WE NEED POLITICAL LEADERSHIP THAT REFLECTS THEIR INTERESTS NOT THAT OF THE NRA. THAT IS WHY I NOT ONLY DON’T ACCEPT HELP FROM THE NRA, I DON’T ACCEPT A SINGLE DIME FROM A SINGLE LOBBYISTS, SPECIAL INTERESTS, IT’S TIME THAT WE SAVED THE LIVES OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS AND THAT’S WHAT I WILL DO AS PRESIDENT. >> WHAT IF THERE IS A CITIZEN WHO OWNS AN AR-15 AND OBEYS THE LA AND PRACTICES GUN SAFETY, WHY ARE THEY NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM? >> WE WERE IN A MARCH ORGANIZED BY YOUNG PEOPLE. ALL OF THESE GREAT ACTIVIS AND ADVOCATES, STUDENTS WHO ARE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE LEAD ON THIS ISSUE AND THE VACUUM OF LEADERSHIP FROM OUR POLITICIANS AND OFFICIALS. I REMEMBER AT THE END OF THAT MARCH. I HAD MY SON, HENRY, AT THE END ON MY SHOULDERS. WE SAW MEN HOLDING THOSE WEAPONS. HENRY SAID WHY SOMEONE SHOWING UP WITH ONE OF THESE GUNS THAT I AM USED SEEING IN MOVIES ABOUT WAR? I SAID DON’T PAY THEM A MIND DON’T GIVE THEM ANY ATTENTION THEY ARE JUST TRY TO MAKE A POINT AREA THAT WEAPON IS AN INSTRUMENT OF INTIMIDATION. A TOOL OF TERROR. IT IS THAT KIND OF WEAPON THAT KILLED PEOPLE IN THE WALMART. PEOPLE WHO ARE KILLED FOR THEIR ETHNICITY OR THEIR — THEIR PRESUMED IMMIGRATION STATUS. IT’S WHY HISPANICS ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY TELL ME THEY FEE LIKE THEY HAVE A TARGET ON HER BACK. AS LONG AS THERE ARE MILLIONS OF AK-47S AND AR-15’S OUT THERE, IT INSPIRES THE FEARED THAT THE TERRORISTS WANT US TO FEEL. IT IS A DIFFICULT POLITICAL STEP FOR US TO TAKE, IT IS A NECESSARY ONE. IF WE’RE GOING TO REDUCE THAT FEAR. FOUR-ON-TWO SAID THE LIVES OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS. I WILL BUY THOSE WEAPONS BACK. KENNETH BERLIN: WHAT CAN YOU DO IN YOUR FIRST 100 DAYS TO GET IMMIGRATION REFORM ISSUES PASS IF THE REPUBLICANS HOLD THE SENATE ALSO, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON USING EXECUTIVE ORDERS IT YOU CAN’T GET ANYTHING THROUGH IN THE FIRST HUNDRED DAYS? >> THIS TOUCHES ON SOME OF THE QUESTIONS WE HAVE BEEN ASKED ALREADY. HOW DO WE GET SENSIBLE GUN LEGISLATION PASSED WHEN YOU HAVE LEGISLATORS FROM STATES LIKE TEXAS OR NEW HAMPSHIRE OR YOUR OWN GOVERNOR WHO DETAILED — VETOED THREE MEASURES PASSED THE LEGISLATURE. HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE PROGRESS? HOW DO WE COME TO GRIPS THAT WE LOST SEV CHILDREN IN OUR CUSTODY AND CARE AT THE U.S. MEXICO BORDER? THAT THERE ARE TENS OF THOUSANDS WHO REMAIN IN PLACE IN MEXICO THANKS TO OUR MIGRANT PROTECTION PROTOCOLS. THIS PHRASE THAT DENIES THE REALITY THAT WE ARE FACING CRUELTY AND TORTURE ON THESE KIDS. I THINK BY ELEVATING THOSE CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR STORIES, THAT CAN ONLY HELP TO COMPEL DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS AND INDEPENDENTS ALIKE TO DO THE RIGHT THING. SHOCK THE CONSCIENCE OF THE COUNTRY. FORCE US TO KNOWLEDGE WHAT IS BEING DONE IN OUR NAME RIGHT NOW. WHEN THE PRESIDENT BEGAN A ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY LAST SUMMER, AND WAS SEPARATING CHILDREN FROM THEIR PARENTS, DEPORTING THE PARENTS BACK TO THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN AND THAT THE KIDS IN CAGES AND SENDING THEM TO A CAMP OUTSIDE OF EL PASO, MORE THAN 1000 OF US SHOWED UP IN THE WAKE OF THAT. WE BORE WITNESS AND TESTIFY BACK TO OUR FELLOW AMERICANS AND WITH THE POLITICAL PRESSURE ON THE ADMINISTRATION UNTIL THEY CHANGE THE POLICY. THE REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION OF DONALD TRUMP, ONE OF THE MOST HATEFUL MEN TOWARDS HISPANICS AND IMMIGRANTS THAT THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER SEE IN THAT EXAMPLE, I SAW THE POWER OF PEOPLE. THAT POWER WILL BE BROUGHT TO BEAR IN OUR ADMINISTRATION TO REWRITE OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS IN THE IMAGE OF THE PEOPLE OF MANCHESTER. THE PEOPLE OF EL PASO, OF A COUNTRY AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS AND IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES FROM THE WORLD OVER. AND THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS. THAT MEANS LEGALIZING THE PRESENCE OF 10 MILLION LABOR IN THE TOUGHEST JOBS YOU CAN FIND IN AMERICA IN THE SHADOWS. IT MEANS LEGALIZING THE PRESENCE OF DREAMERS MORE THAN ONE MILLION STRONG THAT THEY NEVER FEAR DEPORTATION BACK TO THEIR HOME COUNTRY. IT MEANS ADDRESSING ISSUES IN GUATEMALA, EL SALVADOR, HONDURAS LIKE REDUCING VIOLENCE THERE OR ADDRESSING HISTORI DROUGHT GUATEMALA IS SUFFERING. SOME FAMILIES DON’T HAVE TO MAKE THE 2000 MILE JOURNEY AND COME TO THIS COUNTRY IN THE FIRST PLACE. LET’S REMIND US WE ARE AT OUR BEST AND MAKE SURE WE LIVE OUR VALUES GOING FORWARD. REPUBLICAN, INDEPENDENT, DEMOCRAT ALIKE AREA ARE DEMOCRATS BEFORE — WE ARE AMERICANS BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE. >> >> WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE FIRST 100 DAYS POLICY WISE THAT CAN GET SOME OF THESE THINGS DONE? >> THE LEGISLATION I JUST DESCRIBED WE WILL SEND TO CONGRESS WITHIN THE FIRST 100 DAYS. THE EXECUTIVE ACTIONS I WAS ASKED ABOUT EARLIER REUNITING FAMILIES WHO HAVE BEEN SEPARATED, COMMITTING TO KNOW ME — NEVER DETAINING ANOTHER FAMILY OR CHILD AGAIN. INSTITUTING A CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM I EXECUTIVE ORDER TO MAKE SURE THAT A FRACTION OF THE COST WOULD RESTORE THE DIGNITY TO THOSE FAMILIES. MAKE SURE THEY ARE OK AND IF THERE ABLE TO STAY UNDER OUR ASYLUM LAWS, THEY REVEAL THEIR GENIUS HERE. THEY CONTINUE TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR GREATNESS AND THEY ARE THE ULTIMATE BENEFICIARIES. NATALYA ORLANDO: I KNOW YOU TOUCHED ON THIS EARLIER. WHAT ACTION WILL YOU TAKE TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE FROM HINDERING OUR PLANET? >> THANK YOU FOR THE QUESTION. WE WILL HAVE ENFORCEABLE LIMITS ON GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS EVERY SINGLE YEAR OF OUR ADMINISTRATION. PAST THEM INTO LAW SO THEY ARE BINDING FOR THE ADMINISTRATIONS THAT FOLLOW OURS. IT IS ONLY IN THAT WAY THAT WE WILL GET TO NET ZERO GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BY THE YEAR 2050. THE HALFWAY THERE — THAT WILL REQUIRE US — THEY FULLY WERE EMBRACED RENEWABLE ENERGY LIKE WIND AND SOLAR AND INVEST IN THE NEXT GENERATION OF TECHNOLOGIES LIKE EVERY STORAGE TECHNOLOGY TO DISTRIBUTE THE WIND AND SOLAR WHEN THE WIND IS NOT BLOWING AND THE SUN IS NOT SHINING BUT WE STILL NEED TO BE ABLE T ELECTRIFY OUR HOMES. IT MEANS PUTTING FARMERS IN THE DRIVER SEA AND PAYING THEM FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES THAT THEY WANT TO PROVIDE. PLANTING COVER CROPS YEAR-ROUND TO MAKE SURE WE PULL MORE CARBON OUT OF THE AIR AND SEQUESTER MORE OF IT IN THE SOIL. USE NO TILL AND PRECISION TILL FARMING. REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE TO RESTORE MORE. REBUTTING AN INCENTIVE TO KEEP MORE LAND IN CONSERVATION AND NOT CULTIVATE EVERY SQUARE INCH UNDER OWNERSHIP AS WE’RE INCENTIVIZED TO DO — IN OTHER WORDS, IF ALL OF US DO ALL THAT WE CAN, THIS COUNTRY CAN SET THE EXAMPLE FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD WHICH IS NECESSARY IF WE’RE ARE GOING TO CAN BE THE OTHER POWERS OF THE PLANET TO HAVE THEM DO THEIR PART AS WELL. EVEN IF WE WERE ABLE TO PUT A SWITCH TODAY AND STOP EMITTING ANY GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, THAT IS ONLY 16% OF THE PROBLEM. IF WE’RE GOING TO KEEP OURSELVES — FROM GOING ONE DEGR CELSIUS OVER THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION LEVELS, WE NEED EVERY COUNTRY TO DO THEIR PART THREE OF ESTABLISHING THE MORAL AUTHORITY, BEING THE INDISPENSABLE COUNTRY AGAIN, USING EVERY OPPORTUNITY LIKE LAST WEEK’S G-7 SUMMIT OR OUR TRADE DEALS TO LEVERAGE OUR POWER AND INFLUENCE TO HELP OTHER COUNTRIES TO MEET THEIR COMMITMENTS, THAT IS HOW WE ARE GOING TO CONFRONT CLIMATE CHANGE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. >> THANK YOU, I AGREE. >> THE NEXT QUESTION COMES FROM DAN PELLETIER: WHAT MAKES YOU QUALIFIED TO BE POTUS? QUESTION –? AT THE TIME THE THIRD POOREST URBAN COUNTY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — AWASH IN TALENT LOOKING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY OR A CHANNEL THROUGH WHICH IT CAN EXPRESS ITSELF AREA WE TOOK TH CHANCE ON OUR HOME TOWN. WE TOOK THE CHANCE TOGETHER AND WERE SUCCESSFUL. SERVED ON THE EL PASO CITY COUNCIL FOR SIX YEARS AND EVERY WEEK I HELD A TOWN HALL MEETING DESPITE THIS ONE. I’VE LISTENED TO MY CONSTITUENTS, LEARN FROM THEM, REMINDED MYSELF WHO I AM ACCOUNTABLE TO THE END OF THE DAY AND BROUGHT THAT SAME PHILOSOPHY T SERVICE WHEN I WAS IN CONGRESS. HOLDING TOWN HALLS EVERY MONTH FOR THE SIX YEARS I WAS THERE AND ALTHOUGH EVERY DAY I SAID I WAS IN THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY, WE WERE ABLE TO GET THINGS DONE AREA. PROTECTING PUBLIC LANDS IN AN ADMINISTRATION THAT WAS DIMINISHING THE SIZE OF OUR PUBLIC LANDS AREA INVESTING IN BOTH SECURITY AND SAFETY OF THE U.S. MEXICO BORDER AS WELL AS OUR ABILITY TO FACILITATE TRADE AND TRAVEL AND IMPROVE OUR QUALITY OF LIFE. WE DID THAT BY SEEING BEYOND OUR DIFFERENCES OF PARTY AFFILIATION AND PUTTING THIS COUNTRY FIRST. LASTLY, LAST YEAR WOMAN RAN FOR SENATE IN THIS 254 COUNTIES OF TEXAS, WE WROTE NO ONE OFF REGARDLESS OF HOW READ THE COUNTY WAS. WE WENT TO PEOPLE — PLACES WHO VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP 96%. WE DID SO BECAUSE THEY ARE EVERY BIT AS DESERVING OF OUR ATTENTION, RESPECT, BEING LISTENED TO AND SERVED. THE ONLY WAY I CAN DO THAT IS TO SHOW UP AND LISTEN TO THEM FIRST. WE ALSO SHOWED UP IN THE BLUE PLACES OF TEXAS TO MAKE SURE THEIR STORIES WERE INCLUDED IN OUR CAMPAIGN. AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE WON MORE VOTES THAN ANY DEMOCRAT HAD IN THE HISTORY OF TEXAS. WE WON INDEPENDENCE IMPORTANTLY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES AND ALMOST HALF A MILLION REPUBLICANS LIKE MY MOTHER VOTED FOR ME [LAUGHTER] NOT DESPITE BUT BECAUSE OF THE PROUD AGENDA WE BROUGHT IN BECAUSE WE INCLUDED THEM. THAT’S WHAT IT’S GOING TO TAKE A MOVEMENT OF AMERICANS REGARDLESS OF DIFFERENCES TO DEFEAT DONALD TRUMP AREA THAT’S WHAT IT’S GOING TO TAKE TO YOUR QUESTION VIA FACEBOOK TO MAKE SURE WE BRING THIS DEEPLY DIVIDED COUNTRY TOGETHER AGAIN. IN THE FACE OF HISTORIC THREATS WE HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE AND THE ABILITY TO PURSUE AN AMBITIOUS AGENDA THAT WILL DISTINGUISH AND DEFINED THIS COUNTRY FOREVER AFTER. KRISTI ST. LAURENT: YOU TOUCHED ON A LOT OF WHAT I WAS GOING TO ASK. I WANT TO DRILL DOWN. HE SERVED IN THE HOUSE, YOU KNOW HOW THINGS WORK. AND DON’T WORK. HOW YOU SEE BEYOND EXECUTIVE ORDER GETTING OUR GRAND IDEAS THROUGH? DO YOU SEE YOURSELF GOING TO THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OR THE SENATE? DO YOU ANTICIPATE USING A STRONG CABINET? DO YOU ANTICIPATE STARTING THE BALL WITH EXECUTIVE ORDERS? HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PLANS COMING TO FRUITION? >> GREAT QUESTION. I THINK IT IS CLEAR THAT POLITICS AS USUAL IS NOT WORKING FOR THIS COUNTRY. WHEN WE FAIL TO MAKE PROGRESS ON ANY OF THE ISSUES THAT WE JUST TALKED ABOUT FROM CLIMATE TO HEALTH CARE TO IMMIGRATION TO THE ECONOMY, WE GIVE FOR A GROUND TO THE KIND OF DEMAGOGUES LIKE DONALD TRUMP WHO WILL USE OUR JUSTIFIED ANGER AND FRUSTRATION BUT TURN IT AGAINST THE MOST DEFENSELESS AND A VULNERABLE AS HE HAS DONE. IT IS GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE A DIFFERENT KIND OF POLITICS. I WILL BEGIN WITH HIS CAMPAIGN. MAKING SURE WE ARE NOT JUST LOOKING AT THE WHITE HOUSE BUT LOOKING TO BUILD A MAJORITY IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. IN THAT HISTORIC TEXAS RUN, WE HELPED TO TURN TO CONGRESSIONAL — CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS FROM RED TO BLUE HELPING TO FLIP THE HOUSE. WE HELPED TO ELECT 17 AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN TO JUDICIAL POSITIONS IN HARRIS COUNTY HOME TO HOUSTON, TEXAS. MOST DIVERSE CITY IN THE COUNTRY THEREBY CHANGING THE FACE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE. LET’S DO THAT ACROSS THE COUNTRY. LET’S HELP CANDIDATES AT EVERY LEVEL OF THE BALLOT. ESPECIALLY IN THE FEDERAL RACES THAT WILL DETERMINE MAJORITIES AND WE CAN WORK. IF WHATEVER REASON WE ARE UNSUCCESSFUL IN CHANGING THE COMPOSITION OF THE U.S. SENATE, OF REPLACING MITCH MCCONNELL, THEN LET’S FIRST APPEAL TO THEM DIRECTLY. YOU MENTIONED GOING TO THE CAPITAL AND I WILL DO THAT. I BELIEVE THERE IS AN OFFICE IN THE CAPITAL RESERVE FOR THE PRESIDENT THAT I DON’T THINK IT’S EVER BEEN USED. LET’S START USING IT. LET’S KEEP OFFICE HOURS AND ALLOW ANY REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT OR INDEPENDENT TO COME IN AND SHARE WITH US WHAT’S ON THEIR MIND. SEE IF WE CAN’T FIND THE COMMON GROUND TO PURSUE THE COMMON GOOD FOR THIS COUNTRY. THEN FAILING THAT, LET’S MAKE SURE WE GO TO THEIR HOME DISTRICTS. AND TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES AND IN FACT, LISTEN TO PEOPLE ON THESE ISSUES. I THINK THE CONSENSUS, THE POLITICAL WILL, THE PUBLIC SENTIMENT IS THERE RIGHT NOW ON CLIMATE CHANGE, GUNS, HEALTH CARE. IT IS JUST NOT FULLY REFLECTED IN THOSE WHO HOLD POWER. IF THOSE WHO HOLD POWER WILL DO THE RIGHT THING, LET’S GO AROUND THEM TO THE PEOPLE AND PUT THEM IN POWER. >> WE HAVE ABOUT 90 SECONDS BACK. YOU ARE COMING BACK HERE AND IT’S CLEAR I WATCHED YOU FOR NINE MONTHS. THERE IS A RIGHTEOUS ANGER AREA YOU WOULD REGRET YOU THAT GIVEN WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR HOMETOWN. HOW DO YOU AVOID LETTING THAT CONSUME YOU? >> YOU EITHER GIVE UP IN THE FACE OF THE KIND OF TERROR WE SAW IN EL PASO WHERE DID YOU PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN A CITY THAT LOSES 18 PEOPLE IN A GIVEN YEAR. YOU’RE EITHER CONSUMED BY THE SUFFERING AND THE TRAGEDY OF IT, YOU EITHER ACCEPT IT AS AN ACT GOD OR A FUTURE OR OUR FATE OR YOU STAND UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I FEEL SO COMPELLED TO DO THAT RIGHT NOW. ESPECIALLY GIVEN WHERE THIS COUNTRY IS AND WHAT WE SAW IN EL PASO. ESPECIALLY GIVEN THE FACT THAT THE JUDGMENT I FEAR MOST OF ALL IS THAT OF MY CHILDREN. AND YOUR CHILDREN. THEY ARE COUNTING ON US TO DO THE RIGHT THING. THAT POWER IS STILL WITHIN OUR GRASP BUT IF WE WAIT MORE THAN 10 YEARS, WE HAVE LOST IT ON CLIMATE. IF WE WAIT ANOTHER DAY WE HAVE LOST IT ON GUN VIOLENCE. IF WE WAIT TO CONFRONT THE ENDEMIC RACISM, THE WHITE SUPREMACIST TERRORISM THAT IS THE NUMBER ONE DOMESTIC LAW ENFORCEMENT THREAT IN THIS COUNTRY THAN THAT IS ON ALL OF US BECAUSE WE CAN TAKE NO SOLACE OR COMFORT AND BLAMING IT ON THE PRESIDENT OR ON A GIVEN POLITICAL PARTY IN A GOVERNMENT OF, BY, AND FOR THE PEOPLE. RESPONSIBILITY RESTS ON ALL OF US AND I TAKE THAT RESPONSIBILITY VERY SERIOUSLY. >> WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE ON AIR AND ON OUR MOBILE UP. — ONLINE AND ON OUR MOBILE APP.

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‘Conversation with the Candidate’ with Beto O’Rourke: Part 2

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke joins Adam Sexton for the latest installment of the “Conversation with the Candidate” series. In this portion, see a more traditional town-hall style format where the voters primarily ask questions of the candidate.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke joins Adam Sexton for the latest installment of the “Conversation with the Candidate” series. In this portion, see a more traditional town-hall style format where the voters primarily ask questions of the candidate.

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Trump called him ‘my African American.’ Now he’s left…

Gregory Cheadle is the Redding resident who shot to national fame in 2016 when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump saw him at a campaign rally in the Sacramento Valley city and said, “Look at my African American over here. Look at him! Are you the greatest?”

“I wasn’t offended,” Cheadle said in an interview this week. After all, he was a Republican, a Trump supporter and a candidate for Congress. “At the time, it was funny. I did not think he had any ill intent.”

Now, nearly three years into the Trump presidency, Cheadle is having second thoughts about Trump, his racially insensitive comments and the Republican Party. Last month, Cheadle left the party. He’s running for the House — for a fifth time — as an independent.

“It’s indisputable that he’s got a problem,” Cheadle said of Trump. “The problem is that he has a white superiority complex. He does not put the plight of black people on the same level as the plight of white people.”

Cheadle, 62, didn’t come to this revelation overnight. It started when Trump criticized former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick two years ago for kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick intended the silent protest to draw attention to racial injustice and police use of excessive force.

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Trump called it unpatriotic and said players who knelt during the anthem were “sons of bitches” who “should be fired.”

Cheadle described himself as “furious” at Trump’s reaction and said the president wouldn’t use that language “to describe Kim Jung Un.”

“Here’s a man (Kaepernick) who is trying to bring awareness to the plight of black people, and he called him an SOB. That was too much for me,” Cheadle said.

“It angered me even more that he would cloak his racism under the guise of patriotism. It gave people the opportunity to release their prejudices under the guise of patriotism.”

Then came the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., when a man fatally struck a counterprotester with his car and Trump said there had been “very fine people on both sides.” And Trump’s description of Haiti and some African nations as “s—hole countries,” and his tweet that four U.S. citizens in the House who are women of color should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Cheadle said Republicans’ silence on such remarks shows “that they are of the same cloth. The white superiority complex runs so deep in our society that they want to pander to their constituents.”

Why didn’t Cheadle speak out earlier? He said he did on social media, but few reporters picked up on it. He acknowledged he had a hard enough time getting media attention when he was a House candidate.

He said he didn’t join the Democratic Party because he disagrees with the party’s stance on gun control and support of abortion rights.

“If I ran as a Democrat, I would have the same outcome now,” Cheadle said. “Leaving.”

Any way it’s sliced, Cheadle will have a hard time beating GOP Rep. Doug LaMalfa in California’s First Congressional District next year. In 2018, Cheadle finished fifth out of seven candidates in the primary with 6.1% of the vote.

He can’t exactly ride the black vote to victory. “It’s only 1% (African American),” Cheadle said. “There are great people up in Redding, but it can be pretty lonely up here.”

The oddest part of the whole episode with Trump is that it started as a joke — on Cheadle’s part. At the rally, Trump was saying he had been talking to an African American friend. Cheadle, who was in the front row, raised his hand.

“I said, ‘I’m here,’ as a joke. Everybody around me starting saying, ‘He’s here,’ and pointing to me.

“I was just having fun.”

Joe Garofoli is The San Francisco Chronicle’s senior political writer. Email: jgarofoli@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @joegarofoli

‘The book is a portrait of my soul. Every word is true.’ — Emily Bernard reads from ‘Black Is the Body’ at Clemmons Family Farm

Photo by Scooter MacMillan
Emily Bernard author of ‘Black Is the Body’ and UVM professor of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Wanda Heading-Grant, UVM Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs discussing Bernard’s book with about 30 people at a reading at the Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte.

SCOOTER MACMILLAN
Staff Reporter

The setting was perfect for Emily Bernard’s reading from her bestselling book “Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time and Mine.”

It wasn’t just the beautiful and historic Barn House on the Clemmons Family Farm with the late afternoon light streaming in from the Adirondack Mountains in the distance.

Nor was it the wonderful company that included Lydia and Jackson Clemmons, who cobbled together the charming and inviting home (now a museum and event center) from two barns – when he was in his 70s.

The perfection, served with an extra helping of wow, was due to hearing Bernard read from her moving collection of essays in the Barn House’s great room – where some of the book was written.

It was also perfect because after the Clemmons bought the farm in the 1960s and moved their family to Charlotte from Cleveland, Ohio, they’ve been inviting African American artists and scholars like Bernard to their home. The Clemmons not only wanted to share their heritage with their children, they wanted to share it with their neighbors in the whitest state in the country.

“I really believe that it’s a blessing for all of us to be sitting here,” said Wanda Heading – Grant, UVM Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. The reading by Bernard was the third in a series of speakers moderated by Heading-Grant called “To Sing of Common Things: Making a Way Out of No Way,” being presented at the Clemmons Family Farm.

One of the selections Bernard read was from her essay “Going Home,” some of which was written in the great room where the group was gathered.

Photo by Scooter MacMillan
Author Emily Bernard, above, said that some of her book ‘Black Is the Body’ was written in the room where the reading took place at the Clemmons Family Farm on Sept. 14.

She said that writing in the Barn House helped “focus the tone of the essay … It felt like the right space to write that piece.”

“It’s about my grandmother and her mother and that space,” said Bernard. “I wanted the reader to sit and listen to the story.” And so we did.

“I come from a family of readers,” Bernard read. She recounts in the essay a story of visiting her aunt’s house in Hazelhurst, Miss. She was browsing her aunt’s bookshelves before a trip to a bookstore. Noting the quantity books, she realized: “There was always more room for books.”

Among the stories that the rapt audience heard were of Bernard’s experiences of motherhood. She is the adoptive mother of twin Ethiopian daughters. One of her daughters is reading “Black Is the Body” for school. Bernard said that, the day before the reading, her daughter told her, “I love your book. I’m loving it and to see you as a person.”

The collective “Awww,” of those gathered in the Clemmons Farm Barn resonated with a harmony rare and precious for anyone who has had or has been a child.

“My brown daughters became black when they were 6 years old,” Bernard wrote in one of the essays she read. “They were watching television one day in February, Black History Month. A commercial came on. It was more like a 30-second history lesson. A commemoration of a pilot, a poet or a politician – a ‘first black’ as a writer I know calls them.”

“‘See, we’re black,’ said Julia to Isabella.” Bernard recounted the ensuing conversation between her daughters. “’No, we’re brown,’ Isabella responded. ‘Yeah, but they call it black,’ Julia explained.”

Her daughters had learned “the absurd and illogical nature of American racial identity,” Bernard wrote. “Blackness, Julia had figured out, had nothing to do with actual skin color. Blackness, she had come to understand, was an external identity; external to her, anyway.”

Hearing this conversation Bernard said that her heart sank because her daughters were learning that blackness is “a social category, not a color but a condition.”

And they were learning that “being black meant that you had to be constantly aware, that you could never really be at ease.”

“The book is a portrait of my soul,” Bernard said. “Every word is true.”

Since the book’s publication, the author said she’s had so many “Forest Gumpian experiences.”

“The book did better than we all thought it would,” Bernard admitted. So well, in fact, that she was surprised when she went back for a reading in her hometown of Nashville to find that half of her high school class was there.

Her classmates, even some who were “good old boys” in high school, were so honest about how they realized that things they’d said and done were wrong and that they “were part of the problem,” Bernard said.

She talked about an essay that appeared in American Scholar called “Fired,” about the breakup of a friendship or “being dumped by a friend.”

“A gentleman wrote me and said, ‘With all due respect, if you had to choose between the essay and the friend, which would you chose?’ And I said, after some thinking, ‘The essay.’”

However, she didn’t include that essay in “Black Is the Body.”

“The book is a different spirit,” she said. “I did write that essay with some malice in my heart.”

Bernard said she “is on the page” as a vulnerable person. “I don’t believe in the hate writing,” but sometimes she has “to go there to know there.”

“This is a book that to me is reckoning with the maternal legacy and my place in that,” said Bernard.

Although she had expected the biggest readership would be women, she said she’s gotten letters from men who said, “Your grandmother is my grandmother.”

Since the publication of her book, making connections that Bernard didn’t anticipate has been an education and she said she’s learned that life is about relationships.

“I’ve met so many people that are beloved by people and that’s been incredible,” Bernard said.

The next speaker in the To Sing of Common Things: Making a Way Out of No Way series is Naima K. Wade reading from her book “Elbow Dreams: A Black Girl Growing Up in Vermont During The 1960’s,” 4-5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The Ethical Cafe Presents 400 Years of African-American Music in America

The Ethical Culture Society of Westchester, a non-theistic congregation in White Plains is in the midst of an ongoing effort to educate the public about African American culture on the 400th anniversary of the first slaves in America.

On Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ECSW will honor the music of African Americans through the decades. The concert is part of a new Ethical Cafe series and will feature performances from Westchester-based artists Yao Lawrence Cunningham, Lynn Bellville, Lester Harper and Judi Bellville.

The event is co-sponsored by the 400 Years Project, a countywide collaboration that aims to draw attention to the legacy of 400 years since the first slaves were brought to America. Throughout the performance, attendees will not only be exposed to African American cultural sounds and their roots/evolution, but will also learn about cross-cultural pollination of black music.

Featured Music includes:

1619 to 1719 (Slave Period) Plantation Folk Music/Urban Folk,

1719 to 1819 (Slave) Emergence of Sacred and “Code Music,”
1819 to 1919 (Roots of Blues, Jazz and Spirituals), and
1919 to 2019 (Evolution of Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Gospel, Protest, Rock & Roll, Hip Hop, Rap, Fusion forms/Multiple ethnic & cultural influence/collaborations).

ECSW is one of more than 23 member societies of the American Ethical Union (AEU), a national organization based on the teachings of Ethical Culture, a non-theistic religion founded in 1876 in New York City.

Ethical Culture Society of Westchester is located at 7 Saxon Wood Road, White Plains.

To RSVP or obtain more information: info@wsfec.org or 914-263-6667.

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Paintings in two new exhibitions at Winter Park’s CFAM connect labor, leisure, and the production of art

There is no leisure without labor. Much of human history is determined by the push and pull of social segmentation, defining who is responsible for the labor and who gets to spend their life in leisure. Several of the artworks included in two exhibitions opening at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum this week, African American Art of the 20th Century and At Leisure: Images of Repose, sharply elucidate these tensions and aspirations.

The ability to devote significant resources and time toward the production of aesthetic objects and images has, historically, been defined by existing power structures. Artist Palmer Hayden’s “The Janitor Who Paints” (ca. 1930), on loan from the Smithsonian Museum of American Art as a part of the exhibition African American Art of the 20th Century, is described by the artist as a “protest painting.” The painting was inspired by Hayden’s relationship with fellow black artist Cloyd Boykin, who supported himself as a janitor while continuing his practice as a painter.

The image of a black artist working on a painting in his own home must be seen within the context of America’s history of forced labor, racial segregation and economic exploitation. (Viewed in a museum in the American South, it becomes especially poignant.) In a quiet subversion of the systems of cultural gatekeeping, Hayden centers the clock on the bedside table and the tungsten glow emanating from a hanging bulb in the composition, pointing to the janitor-artist’s sacrifice of rest to pursue his craft; he trades his leisure time for self-directed artistic labor. A broom, feather duster and aluminum trash can representing his daily occupation insistently assert the necessity of sustained toil.

Transitions in economic power find visible expression in many ways, not least of which is trends in aesthetic production. Such a transition is apparent in the subject matter and distribution of artworks during the 17th-century period known to art historians as the Dutch Golden Age of Painting.

click to enlarge Dirck Hals, “An Elegant Company Playing a Game of Trictrac in an Interior,” ca. 1650, oil on panel. Donated in memory of Robert G. Scully.

  • Dirck Hals, “An Elegant Company Playing a Game of Trictrac in an Interior,” ca. 1650, oil on panel. Donated in memory of Robert G. Scully.

Dirck Hals painted “An Elegant Company Playing a Game of Trictrac in an Interior” in 1650, 10 years after the Dutch West India Company established a significant role in the Atlantic slave trade, contributing to the economic prosperity of the Dutch Republic and the subsequent increased Dutch middle-class appetite for secular art in the form of genre paintings. It’s on view at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum as a part of the exhibition At Leisure: Images of Repose, along with Hals’ “An Elegant Company Playing Music in an Interior.”

True to the genre of so-called “merry company” paintings popular during the time, “Trictrac” (a Dutch version of backgammon) depicts an indoor scene of aspirational bourgeois leisure in academic style. Unlike “The Janitor Who Paints,” this depiction of free time does not visibly allude to a moment being carved from the flow of paid labor. While there are some trunks and what could be a wooden washtub in a dark corner, the fine satin and velvet clothing of the players makes it clear they have nothing to do with domestic chores, and the implements are almost lost in shadow.

In form as well as content, these two paintings provide views into the inextricable connections between labor, leisure and the production of art during two disparate historical periods, encouraging side-by-side consideration of the relationships between prosperity and exploitation. It’s a comparison worthy of contemplation in this latest economic age, as technology infiltrates – and dominates – both our labor and our leisure.

This story is from the Sept. 18, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Constructing Jazz Inside Fine Art, And Vice-Versa

For many observers of modern jazz, pianist Jason Moran became a known entity 20 years ago, with the release of his debut album. For Adrienne Edwards, curator of performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art, his name first circulated more recently, as a kind of rumor.

“I have really good friends who are artists — whether it’s Adam Pendleton, or Julie Mehretu, or Kara Walker, or Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch — that were all saying, ‘I want to work with Jason,’ ” Edwards reflected this week. “And I kept going, ‘What is it about this musician doing things that are much broader than music? What is it about him that they are drawn to?’ “

The answers can be found, if not entirely resolved, somewhere in Jason Moran, a pathfinding exhibition that opens this Friday. It’s the first full show presented at the Whitney by Edwards, who originated it (with another curator, Danielle Jackson) last year at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. And, in addition to consolidating a large swath of Moran’s interdisciplinary work, the show highlights how his jazz skillset — not just with improvising, but also with nuances of alchemy and flow and surprise — have opened new possibilities for the artists in his orbit.

“Everyone had different reasons for seeking him,” Edwards says of those artists, “but the commonality was definitely aesthetic. Trying to get to a feeling of something that they knew, in their own work, they hadn’t fully gotten to yet.”

Moran, 44, grew up in an art-literate family in Houston, Tx., but he traces his current depth of engagement to two apprenticeships, with revered performance artist Joan Jonas and visionary conceptualist Adrian Piper. “You will hear me talk about Adrian Piper with as much vigor and respect as Wayne Shorter,” he said in a museum conference room on Tuesday. Responding to a question about when the chute fully opened to the art world, he looked back to 2006: “Making Artist in Residence for Blue Note, and putting Adrian and Joan on the record. That was me saying: ‘They are like Sam Rivers in my recording catalog. They are that important.’ “

Five years ago, Moran ended a long association with Blue Note, asserting ownership of his music while also signaling a shift in focus. He joined the roster of a gallery, Luhring Augustine. He also started his own label, Yes Records, breaking in its catalog with an album by his wife and collaborator, mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran. (As a team, the Morans have created major concert programs and other projects — including BLEED, a performance residency at the 2012 Whitney Biennial.) Subsequent releases on Yes Records have included Music For Joan Jonas, a collection, and MASS {Howl, eon}, after a work made with Mehretu.

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Jason Moran maps some, but inevitably not all, of these past collaborations. Luanda-Kinshasa, a transfixing film by Stan Douglas, occupies a small gallery. A six-hour loop of hallucinatory realism starring Moran and a handful of other real-life improvisers as 1970s funk shamans, it was previously shown at the David Zwirner gallery, andpartially released on vinyl.

Other collaborations are represented in a video compilation, projected in a loop on three walls of the main gallery space. Unsurprisingly, this feed works best with pieces designed for such a medium — like “Chess,” a three-channel installation by Lorna Simpson in which Moran fills one mirrored frame while the artist inhabits the others, in cryptic costumes. Another standout is a harrowing Kara Walker shadow-puppet film, part of a series titled The Bureau of Refugees, whose power derives in part from a tensile score by Moran and Hall Moran.

The room housing these videos is also home to three sculptural set pieces from a project Moran calls STAGED, which most visitors will understand as the central feature of the show. Conceived as living remnants of mythical New York jazz venues, two of these hulking works — conjuring Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom in the swing era and The Three Deuces on 52nd Street at the height of bebop — were commissioned by Okwui Enwezor for the 2015 Venice Biennale.

In the illuminating museum catalog for Jason Moran, published by the Walker Art Center, Enwezor (who died earlier this year of cancer) notes that even in their vacant quietude, these pieces hum with tensions. “Moran’s constructions are like spirit catchers,” he writes, “meta-spaces where African American emancipatory struggles for political autonomy, social wholeness, and creative rebellion are evoked and memorialized.”

Those echoes of conflict are even more present in STAGED: Slugs’ Saloon, which was commissioned for the Walker show. Slugs’ was a rugged outpost in the far East Village, infamous in jazz lore as the spot where trumpeter Lee Morgan was murdered in 1972. That’s not a leading concern for Moran, who has an ongoing affiliation with saxophonist Charles Lloyd, another Slugs’ alum. Still, it’s hard not to read a trace of violence into the kicked-over chair at the center of the sculpture, beside a glowing but blank-faced Wurlitzer jukebox.

Moran says that with STAGED, he’s reaching beyond the disembodied sound of jazz recordings, considering other ways in which the music’s history has been encoded. “Though I think of these places as so remarkably documented through these records,” he says, “there’s still a gap in the conversation around them. And in museums, you make a thing to display it.”

For those who know jazz history, Moran’s three pieces also lob an implicit commentary on the shifting economies and social realities of the music — its movement from a popular entertainment to an underground art music, and in and out of black artistic control. The Savoy was a space for dancing, and a magnet for white fans venturing uptown. The Three Deuces packaged bebop for hip consumption. Slugs’ was a dive where transactions were often made off the books. That all of these bygone spaces are now being memorialized in a museum exhibition, with all the resources and cachet such a thing entails, is part of Moran’s critical calculus.

In addition to his assemblages, Moran has works on paper in the exhibition, mainly from a series titled Run. Made by taping scrolls across the piano keyboard, and then playing the instrument with charcoal or pigment on his fingertips, these pieces feel charged with kinetic intention. They’re reminiscent of the basketball drawings of David Hammons, and of text paintings by a frequent Moran collaborator, conceptualist Glenn Ligon. “In the glimpse of that front gallery wall,” says Edwards, “you see an entire arc of Jason as a draftsman. They’re these really beautiful private improvisations; it’s him, in his own space, which we don’t see.”

At a reception for Jason Moran on Tuesday night, the opposite was true: Moran was ubiquitous, greeting friends and admirers as he moved through the space. Then it was Go Time: along with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, his longtime partners in The Bandwagon, he stepped into the set of The Three Deuces and started into an exploratory performance.

Starting out with a group improvisation, they soon settled into “Refraction,” a piece Moran recorded in two versions on Artist in Residence, with and without Joan Jonas. The rustle and tumble of the band, which has become an identifying trait, sounded at home in the room. After moving into another theme, Waits took a drum solo — giving Moran and Mateen the chance to walk across the gallery, through the crowd, and take up new posts at Slugs’ Saloon.

The Whitney will see a lot more like this in the weeks to come, by way of a performance series titled “Jazz on a High Floor in the Afternoon,” after a remark made by Hammons. Slated to begin next Friday, Sept. 27, with a rare performance by saxophonist Archie Shepp, it will also include vocalist Fay Victor (Oct. 18-19), saxophonist Oliver Lake (Oct. 25-26) and pianist Joanne Brackeen (Nov. 22-23). Each artist will be free to utilize whichever space they like.

The Bandwagon will mark its 20th anniversary as part of the exhibition, with ticketed concerts on Dec. 19, 20, and 21. But before then, the trio will play its annual Thanksgiving-week engagement at The Village Vanguard, a room that has become as sacred and spiritually charged for Moran as any of the haunts in STAGED. That he’ll be working there during his exhibition seems fitting, as a reflection of the real-life work that his art evokes and cannily distorts.

Inside the Wurlitzer jukebox on the Slugs’ Saloon set, invisible to any observer and unmarked on the menu, there’s a 45-rpm record that Moran had made for the occasion. It’s a recording of audience banter between sets at The Village Vanguard, during one of his recent engagements.

“You won’t ever hear it,” he says. “It’s the audience in there just talking, with some music lightly playing in the background. So yes, there’s a record in there.” He laughs. “Someone I met told me there was a guy who used to whistle all of the solos on the jukebox at Slugs’. I don’t even know if that’s real. But that record is for him.”

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

‘No path is easy’: Black opera singers detail struggles

NEW YORK – More than 60 years after Marian Anderson broke the colour barrier at the Metropolitan Opera, black singers still face unique obstacles in building their careers within the industry.

“We’ve made some strides, but not a whole lot,” said Naomi Andre, a professor at the University of Michigan and author of the book “Black Opera.”

“I happen to know there’s an incredible network of black singers out there,” Andre said in an interview with The Associated Press. “… and yet they’re not getting the calls from the big houses and probably should be.”

At the Met this season, the company said there are 36 black singers on the roster, out of a total of 368. Of those, 27 are in the new production of the Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess” that opens Monday.

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This image released by the Metropolitan Opera shows Latonia Moore as Serena, center left on stairs, and Frederick Ballentine as Sportin' Life in a scene from the Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess." (Ken Howard/Met Opera via AP)

This image released by the Metropolitan Opera shows Latonia Moore as Serena, center left on stairs, and Frederick Ballentine as Sportin’ Life in a scene from the Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess.” (Ken Howard/Met Opera via AP)

NEW YORK – More than 60 years after Marian Anderson broke the colour barrier at the Metropolitan Opera, black singers still face unique obstacles in building their careers within the industry.

“We’ve made some strides, but not a whole lot,” said Naomi Andre, a professor at the University of Michigan and author of the book “Black Opera.”

“I happen to know there’s an incredible network of black singers out there,” Andre said in an interview with The Associated Press. “… and yet they’re not getting the calls from the big houses and probably should be.”

At the Met this season, the company said there are 36 black singers on the roster, out of a total of 368. Of those, 27 are in the new production of the Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess” that opens Monday.

Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said the company is “committed to increasing diversity on stage.” He added that the Met is “proud that today virtually all our leads in Porgy and Bess . are established Met stars,” who regularly appear at the house in a variety of other operas as well — a sign that the company has developed a strong lineup of black talent.

Still, “Porgy,” a tragic love story set in South Carolina’s Catfish Row, provides a rare opportunity for black artists because the Gershwin estate requires that they be cast in all the singing roles. The AP sat down with five of them during rehearsals to talk about challenges they’ve faced.

The five, along with the roles they’ll be performing, are soprano Latonia Moore (Serena); mezzo Tichina Vaughn (Lily, the same role she sang for her Met debut in 1990); tenor Frederick Ballentine (Sportin’ Life) and bass-baritones Eric Owens (Porgy) and Alfred Walker (Crown.) Here are edited excerpts from the conversation:

AP: How has being African American helped or hindered your career?

BALLENTINE: I have experienced a few times where people said, ‘I just don’t know if we could see you in that.’ Or ‘Are you sure you could play that, does that quite work?’ They’ll dance around it but not say the actual thing. I think me being African American at this opportune time has helped me significantly because . I’ve been at eight houses and I’m quite young. However, I don’t know if I could have made such a deal were it not for me being able to do Sportin’ Life. It thrust me into an international light earlier. But at the same time, it is a bit stifling. I don’t want to feel trapped.

MOORE: For me it was “Aida,” and that’s what I’ve done the bulk of my career, mostly because I’m black but maybe because I’m kind of appropriate for the role vocally. And I thank God for it because that’s what catapulted me.

BALLENTINE: They’re more accepting of black women … because black men in romantic roles will always be an issue. We can think of so many black women who performed all over the world: (Kathleen) Battle, Leontyne (Price), Jessye (Norman) ….

OWENS: From that era, I can only think of one man, and that’s George (Shirley), but they made George up so light that he almost looked white on stage …

WALKER: I did Orest (in Richard Strauss’s “Elektra”) in Germany (opposite a white soprano) … The woman that hired me, her husband was the designer, and he looked horrified when he saw me and I was like, ‘You knew I was black, right?’ So they did this thing. He got us to put this dust on our face. We still didn’t look alike. It was so silly and it didn’t work.

VAUGHN: For the most part, it’s hard to be specific unless somebody comes to you and says something, because our business is quite subjective, but I have been told sometimes that they don’t want a black person for that.

AP: Where do you stand on the issue of white singers darkening their skin for certain roles? The Met stopped using dark makeup for “Otello,” and white soprano Tamara Wilson protested against darkening her face for “Aida” in Verona, Italy.

MOORE: I’ve never had an issue with it personally. The only issue I’ve had is the Al Jolson look.

OWENS: That’s blackface, where you’re disparaging the person. When you look at “Otello” and “Aida,” someone is aspiring to be the leader or the princess of Ethiopia, I never had a problem with it. If they were trying to make fun of black people, that’s different.

MOORE: You have to be a chameleon. When I went to Japan for “Aida” they painted me darker. I said, “Why are you painting me darker?” and they were like, “We have Ethiopians in body suits and we want you all to be the same colour.” . And I said I’m with it. It looked great. I looked amazing, super dark.

BALLENTINE: I don’t understand the necessity of Aida being in blackface. Why? Are you going to go around and do it to the entire chorus? You can make the point easily with costumes.

VAUGHN: If I want to be Klytemnestra (Elektra’s mother), do I need to get in white face?

AP: What about the production by the Hungarian State Opera which violated terms of the Gershwin copyright and used white singers who claimed they “self-identified as African American?”

MOORE: It’s ridiculous what they did and they lied, but why shouldn’t they put on a production? They want to sing that music.

BALLENTINE: How are you going to feel when the copyright on “Porgy” runs out (in 2030) and it’s in the public domain and people want to do it in blackface?

WALKER: If I saw an all-white cast in “Porgy and Bess” I would be really offended. . How can you take the race out if it? Its all in the language. Would you set it in Catfish Row? I’m not going to buy a bunch of white people in this historic place.

AP: What advice would you offer young black singers trying for a career in opera?

VAUGHN: No path is easy for people of colour. Anywhere. Decades ago when I was young and wondering should I do this for real, a woman — she was white — told me: “You need to not think about what colour you are.” As soon as you start thinking about yourself as black, you invite obstacles.

WALKER: I kind of had to do that. I go to these foreign countries and I’m singing these roles and you’re the only black man in the room you look around, there’s no one else. . I just can’t have that as baggage.

OWENS: I tell young people, “Nobody ever got your job.” If it was your job, you’d have had the job. . Anytime I don’t get a job when I audition, I assume that it wasn’t about your colour, because if you go down that road it’s paralyzing and then there’s no self-examination about the artistry.

BALLENTINE: For every single one of us you see on stage, that’s another door that we have opened so that people behind us can follow. I think every time I do a role that’s not “Sportin’ Life,” I’m opening the door for some young black man behind me . because it’s really hard.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Best of Gay D.C. XVIII

Christmas comes early this year! Long an October staple, the Blade’s annual Best of Gay D.C. readers’ poll awards gets bumped up to September this year as we’re keeping next month open for our 50th anniversary festivities (shameless plug: the Birthday Gala is Oct. 18; tickets at blade50th.com).

So we’re taking this week’s edition to celebrate who and what you think are the best Washington has to offer its LGBT residents. 

For every perennial winner like Freddie’s Beach Bar, the 9:30 Club or Miss Pixie’s — which have all extended their dominance again this year — there are newer faces like Ricky Rose (Best Drag King), Donald Mitchell (D.C. Gay Flag Football) and Lexie Starre (Best Burlesque Dancer). 

Some winners and runners-up flip-flop in succeeding years. Rayceen Pendarvis and Bishop Allyson Abrams have something like a volleyball game unfolding in these pages in the Best Clergy category. Time for a sermon-a-thon?

We’re also taking this edition to honor the Blade’s own Lou Chibbaro, Jr. a staple of the paper since the mid-‘70s and celebrating his 35th year as a full-time staff member this year. In a Blade “Best Of” first, we give an award to one of our own. Chibbaro is the recipient of this year’s Local Hero Award, a title that has previously gone to Danica Roem, Gavin Grimm, Rev. Dean Snyder and more.  

Thankfully here, nobody has to “sashay away.” That’s the beauty of gay Washington — we can enjoy Pitchers one night, JR.’s another. Check out Nellie’s Brunch one weekend and Hank’s Oyster Bar another. It’s all good. 

About 3,500 nominations and 20,000 votes were cast in 99 categories for the 18th annual Best of Gay D.C. Awards. The Blade’s Stephen Rutgers coordinated the process. The photographers are credited throughout. This year’s contributing writers are Brian T. Carney, Patrick Folliard, Evan Caplan, Philip Van Slooten and Joey DiGuglielmo. Awards presented Sept. 19 at Dacha Navy Yard. 

The Blade staff congratulates each of this year’s winners and finalists. 

HERO AWARD: Lou Chibbaro, Jr.

Lou Chibbaro, Jr. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Longer than Johnny Carson was on “The Tonight Show,” longer than “Gunsmoke,” longer than Barbara Walters on “20/20” or Ted Koppel on “Nightline,” Lou Chibbaro, Jr.’s full-time run at the Washington Blade is not only a record (so far as we’re aware) in LGBT media, it exceeds the runs of many classic long-running shows or media personalities. 

Starting as a freelancer in 1976 and full-time in 1984 (the same year Alex Trebek started hosting “Jeopardy”), Chibbaro is not only an LGBT icon and institution, he’s a stalwart reporter still out there pounding the D.C. pavement with shoe-leather reporting of the highest kind. For these decades of selfless service, he’s the recipient of a Blade “Best of Gay D.C.” first — on the occasion of the paper’s 50th anniversary, Chibbaro gets this year’s Hero Award, an accolade previously won by Danica Roem, Gavin Grimm, Rev. Dean Snyder and others. 

Chibbaro moved to Washington in 1972, came out in 1975 and was alerted to the existence of the Blade (which had started just after Stonewall in 1969) by a gay counselor he knew in New York. Working as a reporter for a newsletter in energy and environmental issues, Chibbaro wandered into the Blade office, then on 19th St., on the second floor in the same building as the Lambda Rising gay book shop, and introduced himself to the editor, the late Joseph Crislip. He was soon contributing to the paper. He’d been contributing to a gay radio show broadcast out of Georgetown University but its plug had been pulled and Chibbaro was looking for another LGBT outlet. 

Chibbaro remembers an informal office. The paper was released monthly at the time. One of his early scoops (from tipster Paul Kuntzler) was about a plan — eventually abandoned — to have a gay presidential candidate speak at the Democratic National Convention in ’76. Initially, Chibbaro wrote under a pseudonym (Lou Romano), fearful his Blade work might inhibit his employability down the road. It was a common practice as Crislip, too, had a fake byline. By the late ‘70s, Chibbaro was writing under his legal name. 

Through many editors, location changes, buyouts and more, Chibbaro has remained. He attributes his longevity to a passion for the subject matter.

“I came to Washington as a political junkie and when you’re interested in politics, Washington is the place to be,” Chibbaro says. “And as a gay person and someone who slowly got to know the community quite well, the types of stories we do are very interesting to me. They have significance and can have an impact.”

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia recognized Chibbaro’s local crime beat reporting by presenting him with its 1998 Justice for Victims of Crime Award, citing his “outstanding service to crime victims and their families” through his news reporting.

Among his other life achievement awards are Community Pioneer from Rainbow History Project (2009), GLAA and GAYLAW  Distinguished Service Awards (2010, 2013 respectively), Anita Bonds Community Cornerstone Award (2016) and the Partnership Award from the CAEAR Coalition. 

“I have for many years viewed my career at the Washington Blade as both a job as well as a community service,” Chibbaro said. “It is truly an honor to receive the Hero Award.” (JD) 

NIGHTLIFE

Best DJ Presented by BYQueers

Keenan Orr

Keenan Orr (Photo courtesy of Orr)

His music has been called “a sharp mix of disco, electro, funk and classics of the ‘80s and ‘90s” with past residences at Cobalt, the Rock and Roll Hotel and more D.C. venues. Orr spins at Sleaze at Wonderland Ballroom (first Thursday of every month) and is starting a new Thursday event soon at Uproar. He also has residencies at Eighteenth Street Lounge and MARVIN. And yeah, he’s gay. Look for him on Facebook to follow his upcoming appearances. (JD) 

Runner-Up:  DJ TWiN

Best Dance Party

Avalon Saturdays, Soundcheck

Avalon Saturday at Soundcheck (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

1420 K St., N.W.

dougiemeyerpresents.com

Editor’s Pick: Sleaze, Wonderland Ballroom

Poised to celebrate its one-year anniversary in October, Avalon Saturdays at Soundcheck is a hit. 

During lunch break from a day at jury duty, party promoter extraordinaire Dougie Meyer explains, “At Avalon, we’ve accomplished what we set out to do. We brought a community together and gave them another safe space in D.C. to have fun and be themselves. Those who wanted to come for a drag show and those who want to dance to circuit music into the wee hours get that too.”

Things are still being tweaked, a year into the proceedings. 

“We’ve learned that to make Avalon great, we have to change something every week whether it’s the position of couches or discounted tickets or whatever. Our dedication to making our customers happy has earned us regulars, week after week, and that tells you you’re doing something right.”

Nothing is on autopilot here.

“A lot of people think you open the door, and — boom — there’s a party,” he says. “No, we have a team of people busting their asses all week long to make it happen. But on Saturday, it’s a night of fun and a good time with a changing roster of drag queens and DJs.”

And yet Avalon Saturdays isn’t resting on its laurels. Meyer says, “Our lineup through October is insane — our one-year anniversary party is followed by a Halloween party. We’ve already booked an international DJ for January 2020. The party keeps going.” (PF)

Best Bartender

Jo McDaniel, A League of Her Own (at Pitchers)

Jo McDaniel (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Jo’s second consecutive win! 

2319 18th St., N.W.

pitchersbardc.com

Runner-up: Matthew Strother, Green Lantern (a 2011 and 2012 winner for his work at Secrets)

Best Burlesque Dancer

Lexie Starre

Lexie Starr (Photo by Your Rouge Photography)

D.C. Gurly Show

dcgurlyshow.com

Runner-up: GiGi Holliday

Sexy Lexie Starre got her start in burlesque with the D.C. Girly Show, the District’s longest-running queer burlesque troupe. She’ll be back onstage in December with the troupe’s Raise the Roof show, a fundraiser that will benefit local organizations.

In the meantime, she produces Pretty Boi Drag with her wife Pretty Rik E (who was the Blade’s Best Drag King last year). They started the troupe in 2016 and have been selling out shows ever since. They focus on elevating the visibility of drag kings, especially drag kings of color, and present both large productions as well as Open Mic nights where both new and veteran kings can get stage time.

Lexie is also working on getting her new business up and running. Wingo Circle Birth Services (wingocircle.com) provides labor and postpartum doula services and inclusive childbirth education classes for queer parents and families.

Lexie’s been performing since 2011 and says that some of her favorite showbiz memories were performing “Proud Mary” with her wife as Ike and Tina Turner (fringe and all!) on the main stage at Capital Pride and auditioning for “America’s Got Talent” with the D.C. Gurly Show. (BTC)

Best Drag King 

Ricky Rosé

Runner-up: Pretty Rik (A flip-flop of last year’s outcome.)

Multi-title holding drag king Ricky Rosé’s ethos is pretty simple: follow your dreams and all drag is valid.

Speaking via phone from a bus en route to a gig in Richmond, Va., Ricky explains their drag persona: “I’d say Ricky Rosé is like the name — brings glam to ghetto. Also, I’m your cool dad. I like to throw it back to my Latinx culture, lip-syncing mostly reggaeton and salsa. I’m a very proud Puerto Rican.”

Based in D.C., Ricky has been doing drag for two years. “Shortly after seeing my first drag king show, my heart wanted to jump out of my chest. I knew I’d found my calling and passion. I went home the same day and started practicing makeup.”

Offstage, Ricky’s chosen name is Yadiel. Ricky Rosé is a longtime nickname. “I wanted to stick true to myself while discovering my true form through gender identity. I’m non-binary in daily life. I’ve questioned gender identity as a kid and came into my non-binary gender through drag. I feel at home most in drag.”

Ricky, who frequently performs in queer venues all over town and holds down a day job at Sephora on 14th Street, is grateful for the votes from Blade readers. “It means people are seeing my work and appreciating what I bring to the stage. My goal has been to discover who I am and share and celebrate that with folks.” (PF)

Best Drag Queen

Bombalicious Eklaver 

Bombalicious Eklaver (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The drag-alter ego of Ed Figueroa, famous for making space for other Asian drag queens in the region. Follow her at @bombalicious.eklaver on Instagram.

Runner-up: Brooklyn Heights

Best Transgender Performer

Riley Knoxx

Riley Knoxx (Washington Blade photo by Blake Bergen)

Runner-up: Ana Latour

Riley Knoxx is the world’s number one Beyoncé impersonator. A heady job that’s taken her around the globe and afforded her a comfortable life. And while Knoxx performs with drag queens, she isn’t a drag queen. “Because I’m transgender, my performance style is very much what you’d get if you went to a Beyoncé concert. I try to make it as close to that as possible.”

Need proof? Check out her cameo in Taylor Swift’s star-studded “You Need to Calm Down” video alongside luminaries such as Adam Lambert, Adam Rippon, Billy Porter, Katy Perry, RuPaul and many more! 

When Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” dropped in 2003, Knoxx took note. “People began to connect me with that song, and they started coming out to see me as her. My popularity grew with hers. So, naturally I thought there was something to this, and from that point on I only performed as Beyoncé.”

To remain on the top of the heap of a million Beyoncé impersonators takes work. As part of the job, D.C.-based Knoxx studies the star’s every move — how she walks, talks and holds the mic. She also dutifully mimics Beyoncé’s hair, wardrobe and makeup style. As a performer changes over the years, so must the impersonator.  

“Part of my career’s longevity is that I’m willing to change. I’ve never gotten bored, and so neither does the audience. It’s very different from year to year. If you’re not changing, you’re not growing. And growth has always been my goal.” 

Knoxx has always been a performer. She remembers being 5 years old, substituting a flashlight for a mic and pillowcase for long hair as she sang Whitney Houston songs around the house. 

“My trans experience was hard in the beginning, but performing helped to make it better. Having people who loved me before I loved myself was a big thing for me. As a transgender person, it has kept me going in a world that isn’t always loving toward transgender people.” (PF)

Best Rehoboth Drag Queen

Magnolia Applebottom

Magnolia Applebottom (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

The drag alter ego of Jeremy Bernstein hosts events all summer at the Blue Moon and other Rehoboth venues. Follow her at @mrsmagnolia on Instagram. 

Runner-Up: Regina Cox

Best Drag Show

Nellie’s Drag Brunch

Nellie’s Drag Brunch (Washington Blade photo by Vanessa Pham)

Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

900 U St., N.W.

nelliessportsbar.com

Editor’s Choice: Pretty Boi Drag (last year’s winner)

Best Singer or Band

Wicked Jezabel

Wicked Jezabel (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Also won this award in 2013, 2017 and 2018! Frankie & Betty held the title 2014-2016. 

Editor’s Choice: White Ford Bronco

Best Straight Bar

Dacha Beer Garden

Dacha Beer Garden (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Fifth consecutive win in this category!

1600 7th St., N.W.

202-524-8790

dachadc.com

Editor’s Choice: Players Club

Best Karaoke

Freddie’s Beach Bar

Freddie’s Beach Bar (Washington Blade photo by Doug Horn)

Freddie’s was runner-up last year.

555 S. 23rd St.

Arlington, Va.

freddiesbeachbar.com

Editor’s Choice: Uproar

Best ABSOLUT Happy Hour

Number Nine

Number Nine (Washington Blade photo by Hugh Clarke)

A Blade “Best Of” ping-pong game — A repeat of the 2017 outcome after flip-flopping last year! 

1435 P St., N.W.

numberninedc.com

Editor’s Choice: Trade

Best Live Music

9:30 Club 

9:30 Club (Photo by Katherine Gaines)

A perennial dominator — whopping 14th consecutive win in this category! Won every year since 2006 (plus 2002 and 2003 — every time the category has been included).

815 V St., N.W.

930.com

Editor’s Choice: Wolf Trap

Best Neighborhood Bar

Larry’s Lounge

Larry’s Lounge (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

1840 18th St., N.W.

Editor’s Choice: JR.’s

Best Bar Outside-the-District

Freddie’s Beach Bar

Freddie’s Beach Bar (Washington Blade photo by Doug Horn)

Extending their record! — with this win and the Best Karaoke win, that makes 23 wins for this Best of Gay D.C. favorite. Freddie’s has won this award every year since 2002 in addition to several others. It’s a Best of Gay D.C. all-time record for a single category.

555 S. 23rd St.

Arlington, Va.

freddiesbeachbar.com

Editor’s Choice: Baltimore Eagle

Best Outdoor Drinking

Dacha Navy Yard

Dacha Navy Yard (Photo courtesy of Designing the District)

Dacha Beer Garden won last year! 

79 Potomac Ave., S.E.

dachanavyyard.com

Editor’s Choice: Red Bear Brewing Co.

Best Place for Guys Night Out Presented by BYQueers

Pitchers

Pitchers (Washington Blade photo by Wyatt Reid Westlund)

2319 18th St., N.W.

pitchersbardc.com

Editor’s Choice: Ziegfeld’s/Secrets

Best Place for Girls Night Out Presented by BYQueers

A League of Her Own (at Pitchers)

A League of Her Own (Washington Blade photo by Molly Byrom)

Second consecutive win in this category! 

2319 18th St., N.W.

Editor’s Choice: Ladies Tea at Hank’s Oyster Bar

Best Queer-Friendly Night Out Presented by BYQueers

D.C. Weirdo Show

D.C. Weirdo Show (Photo by StereoVision Photography)

dcweirdoshow.com

Editor’s Choice: Gay Bash

The D.C. Weirdo Show, the monthly cult favorite for freaks, geeks and exposed butt cheeks, started in 2006 at the Palace of Wonders on H Street before settling into its current home at the Dew Drop Inn in Brookland. Since 2015, the show has been hosted by Dr. Torcher and her fabulously weird colleagues. She typically serves as host and also performs as a fire eater, sword swallower and comedian. Her husband Mark is the tech weirdo; he does sounds lights and posters. Abraxas is the stage manager extraordinaire; as Dr. Torcher says, “she keeps the show flowing, manages props and sets the cast up for success.”

Dr. Torcher says, “The show is a supportive, creative stage for performers with tremendous talents in burlesque, clowning, comedy, performance art and sideshow. We’ve also had yo-yo stunts, pole dance, contortion, drag, dire flow arts and voguing.  

“Our audiences know that they will see a polished, thoughtful, strange and entertaining show. We’re an intentional reflection of the stories and communities that make D.C. everything it is. We center performances by queer people and people of color.”

Their next show, called “Weirdos for Life!” is this weekend (Sept. 20). Dr. Torcher is always on the lookout for new talent. New performers are included in every monthly show and the annual “Happy New Weirdo” show is all “new-to-us” performers. There’s an application on the website. Dr. Torcher says the troupe is always looking for “those who perform amazing physical feats and who represent stories that don’t usually get told on stage.” (BTC)

Best Rehoboth Bar

Blue Moon

Blue Moon (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

Blue Moon was editor’s pick last year. 

35 Baltimore Ave.

Rehoboth Beach, Del.

bluemoonrehoboth.com

Editor’s Choice: The Pines

Best Rehoboth Bartender

Jamie Romano, Purple Parrot

Jamie Romano (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

Third win in this category! Won in 2011 and 2013; was runner-up 2016-2017 (fair warning — he’s straight). 

Purple Parrot

134 Rehoboth Ave.

Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Runner-Up: Sutton Ward, The Pines

Best Rooftop View

VIDA U Street Penthouse Pool

VIDA Penthouse Pool (Photo courtesy of VIDA)

Second consecutive win!

1612 U St., N.W.

penthousepoolclub.com/u-street

Editor’s Choice: POV Rooftop Lounge

FOOD

Best Ethnic Restaurant

Rasika

Rasika (Photo by David Liu via Flickr)

633 D St., N.W. & 1190 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.

rasikarestaurant.com

Editor’s Choice: Tiger Fork

Best Bloody Mary

Hank’s Oyster Bar/Hank’s Cocktail Bar

Bloody Mary at Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

819 Upshur St., N.W.

hankscocktailbar.com

Editor’s Choice: Logan Tavern (last year’s winner)

Best Brunch

Le Diplomate

(Photo courtesy of Starr Restaurants)

Second consecutive win! 

1601 14th St., N.W.

lediplomatedc.com

Editor’s Choice: Farmers and Distillers

Best Locally Made Product

Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.

(Photo courtesy of Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.)

Approachable, affordable and portable Southern staples. Third consecutive win in this category. 

2301 Bladensburg Rd., N.E.

masondixiebiscuits.com

Editor’s Choice: Capital City Mambo Sauce

Best New Restaurant

St. Anselm

(Photo courtesy of Starr Restaurants)

Editor’s Choice: Little Havana 

St. Anselm

1250 5th St., N.E.

stanselmdc.com

Of the several Stephen Starr restaurants, St. Anselm shimmers bright. Located by Union Market, this meat-forward upscale-tavern-style restaurant is based on the Brooklyn locale of the same name. Executive Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley helms St. Anselm, a storied and award-winning chef, and a veteran of Jose Andres and Mike Isabella restaurants. 

Thick, hearty steaks livened by liberal helpings of herb butter are served in a vibrant atmosphere that’s part button-up and part button-down makes this an unsurprising choice for a favorite meaty meal. Beyond slabs of meat, diners are agog at the impressive shellfish and non-traditional steakhouse items like flaky biscuits with ramekins of pimento cheese and crispy “BoBo” chicken dressed up (or down?) with mumbo sauce. 

Chef Meek-Bradley, says that she and her staff “are so honored to be recognized by the (LGBT) community as Best New Restaurant. We are thrilled to be seen as a welcoming place to all of D.C.’s amazing diverse people.” (EC)

Best Food Festival or Event

Taste of D.C.

Taste of D.C. (Photo public domain)

“Largest culinary festival in the mid-Atlantic.” Runs Oct. 26-27.

thetasteofdc.org

Editor’s Choice: RAMW Restaurant Week

Best Craft Cocktails

Hank’s Cocktail Bar

Hank’s Cocktail Bar (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Second consecutive win! 

819 Upshur St., N.W.

hankscocktailbar.com

Editor’s Choice: Columbia Room

Best Fast Casual Dining

Stoney’s 

Stoney’s (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

1433 P St., N.W.

stoneys-dc.com

Editor’s Choice: CAVA (last year’s winner)

Best Local Brewery

D.C. Brau

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

“Popular craft brewery offering free tours and tastings.” Fifth win in this category!

3178-B Bladensburg Rd., N.E.

dcbrau.com

Editor’s Choice: Red Bear Brewing Co.

Best Local Distillery

Republic Restoratives

Republic Restoratives (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

1369 New York Ave., N.E.

republicrestoratives.com

Editor’s Choice: District Distilling

Best Burger

Duke’s Grocery

Duke’s Grocery (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A flip-flop of last year’s outcome. 

1513 17th St., N.W.

dukesgrocery.com

Editor’s Choice: Shake Shack

Best Caterer

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company

(Photo courtesy of Rocklands BBQ and Grilling Company)

Washington, Alexandria and Arlington

rocklands.com

Editor’s Choice: Occasions Caterers

Best Juice/Fuel Bar

Barry’s Bootcamp

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Second consecutive win!

1345 19th St., N.W.

barrysbootcamp.com

Editor’s Choice: Smoothie King

Best Chef

Jamie Leeds, Hank’s Oyster Bar

Jamie Leeds (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Second consecutive win! Locations at The Wharf, Dupont Circle, Old Town Alexandria and Capitol Hill. 

hanksoysterbar.com

Runner-Up: Patrick O’Connell, Inn at Little Washington

Best Coffee Shop

Compass Coffee

Compass Coffee (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Fourth consecutive win!

1335 7th St., N.W.

compasscoffee.com

Editor’s Choice: La Colombe

Best Special Occasion Restaurant

Floriana

Last year’s runner up! 

1602 17th St., N.W.

florianarestaurant.com

Editor’s Choice: Rose’s Luxury

Best Ice Cream/Gelato

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (Photo via Instagram)

1925 14th St., N.W.

jenis.com/scoop-shops

Editor’s Choice: Ice Cream Jubilee 

D.C.’s hottest club, even in the throes of winter, is often this brightly lit scoop shop of national notoriety. Jeni founded the first of her chain’s premium, artisan-style, cult-fave ice cream shops in 2002, and opened the front-and-center 14th and U spot in 2017.

 Jeni’s uses all-natural ingredients and sources from direct- and fair-trade suppliers for the highly Instagram-ready cups and cones. The super-creamy scoops layer fruit, nuts and other ingredients for unusual combos. Two top flavors may explain why the shop’s a winner: the brambleberry crisp, vanilla mixed with toasted pie topping and thick, sweet-tart jam; and the almond brittle, of brown-butter-almond candy crushed into buttercream ice cream. Yes, you can taste test them all. The vegan hot fudge topping doesn’t hurt. Be aware of the price point: a scoop is a cool $7.50.

When it opened, the shop’s team said, “We believe ice cream has the power to bring people together, so we’ve created the kind of space we’d love to gather with friends and strangers over a scoop of ice cream.” (EC)

Best Farmer’s Market

FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Market

Dupont Circle Farmers Market (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Second consecutive win! Sundays 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. year round

1600 20th St., N.W.

freshfarm.org/dupont-circle.html

Editor’s Choice: Eastern Market

Best Food Truck

Peruvian Brothers

Peruvian Brothers (Photo via Facebook)

4592 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria

peruvianbrothers.com

Editor’s Choice: Captain Cookie and the Milk Man Food Truck

Best Pizza

Timber Pizza Co

(Photo courtesy of Timber Pizza Co.)

Editor’s Choice: Comet Ping Pong 

809 Upshur St., N.W.

timberpizza.com

When it comes to top District-beloved pizza, it’s going down: you’re yelling Timber. 

The sizeable crispy-bottomed, blistered pies attract down-the-block lines in their hot Petworth digs. 

Owners Andrew Dana and Chris Brady, both from the D.C. area, started Timber when they realized that, “we hated our jobs … but we loved lunch,” they wrote. Dana and Brady founded their current brick-and-mortar shop in 2016 in Petworth after wowing crowds at farmers’ markets from its food truck starting two years prior. 

To helm the pizzeria, they brought on Chef Dani Moreira, who brings a distinct South American panache to her creative pies that are just traditional enough to be called “Neopolitan-ish.” 

At the popping shop, diners share communal tables and lots of napkins over stylishly titled pies coming out fast and hot from the wood-fired oven. Cheekily named pies include The Bentley, with chorizo, sopressata, Peruvian sweet peppers, and locally made spicy honey.

White and green pizzas, just as popular as red-sauced pies, add pops of Italianate color, and Chef Moreira brings out killer not-to-be-missed Argentine empanadas stuffed with saucy braised beef and sofrito. 

“As a D.C. native the best thing in the world is being voted Best Pizza by the people of D.C.! We’re always proud to be a friend of the LGBTQ community,” says Dana, not only co-owner, but also self-titled “chief dough boi.” 

Comet Ping Pong, the restaurant made infamous for “Pizzagate” in the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, was a two-time repeat winner in 2017-18. (EC)

Best Rehoboth Restaurant

Azzurro Italian Oven + Bar

210 2nd St., Rehoboth Beach, Del. 

azzurrorehoboth.com

Editor’s Choice: Blue Moon (last year’s winner) 

This new Italian restaurant features an irresistible menu of signature dishes like carpaccio di bresaola, a mozzarella bar, and a stunning frutti di mare overflowing with clams, mussels, lobster and more. All pastas are homemade in house. Chef/owner Francesco is a first-generation Italian who grew up in the restaurant business. His wife and co-owner Tonya makes everyone feel welcome and often brings limoncello with the check. The rooftop bar is one of the town’s too-few spots for outdoor dining and drinks. A new, must-visit dining destination in Rehoboth Beach.

Best Local Winery

City Winery

City Winery (Photo via Instagram)

Second year for both winner and editor’s choice! 

citywinery.com

1350 Okie St., N.E.

Editor’s Choice: District Winery

MEDIA

Best Local Website

DCist

dcist.com

Editor’s Choice: Popville (last year’s champ)

Best Local Influencer

Timur Tugberk, @timurdc 

Timur Tugberk (Photo courtesy of Designing the District)

Timur was last year’s runner-up. See this week’s Queery for more.

Runner-Up: Maggie McGill, @maggiemcgill

Best Local TV/Radio Personality

Ari Shapiro, NPR

Ari Shapiro (Photo by James C. Svehla of COD Newsroom via Wikimedia Commons)

npr.org/people/2101154/ari-shapiro

Runner-Up: Chuck Bell, NBC 4 (2015, 2016 and 2018 runner-up; 2014 winner)

You can hear Ari Shapiro’s velvet voice every weekday afternoon on NPR’s “All Things Considered” (broadcast locally on WAMU 88.5 FM). He’s been co-hosting the show since 2015. 

According to his bio on the NPR website, during his tenure at NPR he’s reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One and has filed stories from dozens of countries and most of the 50 states.

The out journalist began his reporting career as an intern for NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg in 2001. Since then he served as NPR’s Justice Correspondent in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, was embedded with the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, spent four years as White House Correspondent during President Obama’s first and second terms and spent two years as the network’s London correspondent before assuming his present position.

Shapiro has been widely recognized for the excellence of his reporting. At 25, he won the Daniel Schott Journalism Prize for his investigation into methamphetamine use and HIV transmission. He’s also been recognized for his coverage of disability benefits for injured American veterans, the American judicial system and Hurricane Katrina and has been included in the “Out 100” and the Advocate’s “Forty Under 40.”

The intrepid reporter has been out since high school where he wore a pink triangle on his knapsack. He married his longtime boyfriend Michal Gottlieb at San Francisco City Hall in February 2004.

When time allows, Shapiro also sings with the band Pink Martini. He can be heard on four of their albums singing in several languages. (BTC)

Best Radio Station

Hot 99.5

HOT 99.5’s Elizabethany at this year’s Capital Pride Parade. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Second consecutive win! 

Editor’s Choice: The Tommy Show

PEOPLE

Best Amateur Athlete

Donald Mitchell

D.C. Gay Flag Football

dcgffl.org

Runner-Up: Sharifa Love (D.C. Furies, Rogue Darts)

D.C. Generals captain and wide receiver, Donald Mitchell, led his team to victory in Gay Bowl XVII and was quick to spread the love. 

“Everybody on our team made some play that was memorable,” the Nashville native told the Washington Post after the win. “There wasn’t one or two or three standouts. Everyone put in.”

Whether this Southern generosity was a part of his charm or his nature, it was appreciated by his community who named Mitchell best amateur athlete for 2019. 

“I’ve been on several teams,” Mitchell continued in the Post. “And I’ve never been more proud of a team that came together to fight for each other.”

Well, this award is one win he can claim for himself and still be proud. (PVS)

Best Artist

John Jack Photography

John Jack Gallagher (Photo courtesy of John Jack Photography)

John Jack Gallagher has been taking photos since his first boyfriend gave him a 35-millimeter camera for his birthday more than 30 years ago. In 2012, he started shooting professionally after members of the Stonewall Kickball team he’d been photographing insisted he shoot their wedding. A flip-flop of last year’s outcome. John Jack Gallagher was also the 2016 and 2017 winner. 

johnjackphotography.pixieset.com

Runner-up: Lisa Marie Thalhammer

Best Businessperson

David Winer

EatWell D.C.

Runner-up: Lisa Wise (Nest DC & Roost DC)

Being ‘woke’ is more than something trendy for local restaurateur David Winer — it’s something he feels in his heart. 

“Everyday I try to reach out to people and help them grow,” he says with a humility that seems rare for businesspeople these days, even those who become president. “And if I reach a couple of them, then that’s good. That’s the theme of our management company, to help others grow.”

For Winer, EatWell D.C. is about growing healthy communities, not just his bottom line.

“We are trying to do a better job of bringing local producers into the market,” he says of the work still ahead. “We’re trying to be environmentally neutral not only with our food, but with our beverages as well. We’re looking forward to educating a new crop of chefs to be sustainable and natural. That’s where we’re going.” 

Winer is humbled by the award and felt being environmentally and socially conscious weren’t just good business practices, but about “trying to live a good life” as well. (PVS)

Best Clergy

Bishop Allyson Abrams

Bishop Allyson Abrams (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Abrams regains the title after Rayceen won last year. They’re perpetual flip-floppers in this category. Abrams won in 2015 and 2017. Pendarvis won in 2016 and 2018 and was the 2017 runner-up. Abrams was the 2016 runner-up. 

Empowerment Liberation Cathedral

Sundays at 1 p.m.

4900 10th St., N.E. (Faith UCC Chapel)

empowermentliberationcathedral.org

Runner-up: Rayceen Pendarvis

Most Committed Activist

Charlotte Clymer

Charlotte Clymer (Photo courtesy Clymer)

The trans activist reached a settlement earlier this year with the Cuba Libre Restaurant after a manager forced her to leave after she used the women’s restroom in 2018. 

Runner-up: June Crenshaw

Best D.C. Public Official

Mayor Muriel Bowser

District of Pride, gay news, Washington Blade
Mayor Muriel Bowser (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Second consecutive win for the mayor! 

Runner-up: David Grosso

Best Hill Staffer/LGBT Bureaucrat

Alec Buckley

@AlecBuckley6 

U.S. Senate legislative staffer

Runner-up: Jacob Trauberman

Even though Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, (D-N.D.) lost her 2018 re-election bid, her former legislative aide is still hard at work campaigning for causes on the Hill. 

“Our household believes we can do more to #EndGunViolence,” best Hill staffer Alec Buckley tweeted on June 7 above images of himself and his partner in matching Wear Orange T-shirts. “That’s why we #WearingOrange @Everytown @MomsDemand.”

With 47 Tweets, 45 followers and 643 likes, Buckley may not be in Trump territory on numbers, but he still uses his social media presence to inform the public on social issues.  (PVS)

Best Local Pro Athlete

Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics

Elena Delle Donne (Photo courtesy of the Washington Mystics)

Donne’s second consecutive win! 

Runner-Up: Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals

Elena Delle Donne keeps extending her accomplishments. This year, she joined the elite 50-40-90 club (NBA and WNBA players who have shooting percentages at or above 50 percent for field goals, 40 percent for three-pointers and 90 percent for free throws during an entire regular season), becoming the first-ever WNBA player to do so.

That puts Delle Donne alongside Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers including Steve Nash, Reggie Miller and Larry Bird. She was also named 2019 Associated Press WNBA player of the year and topped the league’s most popular jersey list for the third consecutive season.

In addition to her success on the basketball court (as the “small forward” for the Chicago Sky and the Washington Mystics she was named the WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2013 and the WNBA MVP in 2015 and is a five-time WNBA All-Star), Delle Donne (who’s out as a lesbian) is an award-winning author.

Her memoir “My Shot: Balancing It All and Standing Tall” recently won a Parents’ Choice Award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation. Aimed at middle school readers, the book is an amazingly frank but age-appropriate discussion of both her career highlights and her personal challenges, including her decision to come out.

Last year, she also launched the “Hoops” series of novels for young readers (ages 8-12). “Elle of the Ball” introduces Elle Deluca, who closely resembles Delle Donne herself. Elle’s height is an asset on the basketball court but a liability in her ballroom dancing class where she towers over her male dance partners. The series continues with “Full Court Press” and “Out of Bounds.”

Like her fictional counterpart, Delle Donne is very tall and had an early growth spurt. She’s 6’5” and wears a size 12 shoe. She gets her height from her parents. Her dad, a real estate developer, is 6’6” and her mom is 6’2.”

She also gets her feisty spirit and determination from them. When Delle Donne was in elementary school, her doctor wanted to start her on injections to stunt her growth. Her mother refused, and, according to an interview with ESPN, she told her daughter, “Why try to be like the rest of the pack? Be your own person.”

The young athlete also had to come to terms with the fact that she could do things that her beloved older sister Lizzie would never be able to do. Lizzie, with whom Delle Donne remains close, was born deaf and blind, with both cerebral palsy and autism, and is unable to speak.

Born in Wilmington, Del., in 1989, Delle Donne rose to national prominence as a high school basketball star at Ursuline Academy. She led her team to three straight Delaware State Championships and was ranked as the number one recruit by Scout.com.

Delle Donne was recruited by the University of Connecticut but ended up playing for the Blue Hens at the University of Delaware. In 2010, she was named both “Player of the Year” and “Rookie of the Year” by the Colonial Athletic Association. Although she was diagnosed with Lyme disease during her sophomore year, she continued to excel as a college athlete and was selected second overall in the 2014 WBNA Draft by the Chicago Sky. She joined the Washington Mystics in 2017.

In 2016, Delle Donne won a gold medal as a member of the Unites States women’s basketball team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Delle Donne officially came out in an interview with Vogue magazine in August 2016 where she announced her engagement to girlfriend Amanda Clifton. The couple was married in 2017.

The award-winning out athlete, who has signed endorsement deals with Nike, DuPont and Octagon, is also a noted philanthropist. She founded the Elena Delle Donne Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for Lyme Disease research and special needs programs and is also a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics. (BTC) 

Best Local Pro Sports Team

Washington Capitals

Braden Holyby, center, of the Washington Capitals marches in the 2019 Capital Pride Parade. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Editor’s Choice: Washington Nationals

Same outcome as last year. 

Best Fitness Instructor

Mark Raimondo

Mark Raimond (Photo courtesy of Barry’s Bootcamp)

Barry’s Bootcamp

1345 19th St., N.W.

barrysbootcamp.com

Runner-up: James Crawford (Solidcore)

When best fitness instructor winner, Mark Raimondo of Barry’s Bootcamp, first heard Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down,” he knew he had to use it in his class. 

“I was like this is awesome,” he says. “It will make people feel safe, warm and invited to my classes.”

Raimondo teaches large classes of 50 or more, two to three sessions a day, but he’s still made personal connections and a few good friends in two short years. 

While students’ achievements inspire him, dance music motivates him. 

“At the end of the day, it’s fitness and it’s supposed to be fun,” Raimondo says. “So, I might throw some old Britney (Spears) in there to get people jazzed up.” (PVS)

Best Real Estate Agent

Michael Moore, Compass

Michael Moore (Photo courtesy Moore)

michaelmoorehomesdc.com

Runner-Up: Stacey Williams-Zeiger, Zeiger Realty Inc.

Michael Moore was a little frustrated working in retail clothing when a friend suggested he’d be terrific in real estate. Initially hesitant, Moore met with a savvy Realtor who encouraged him to give it a shot. With not a lot to lose, he took the classes, passed the test, and went to work for a boutique company broker in 1988. He’s been at it ever since. 

Today as a successful Realtor and senior vice president at Compass Real Estate, Moore credits his success to consistent customer service. “My career began with first-time homebuyers. In time, first-time buyers become sellers and they buy another house and they tell their friends. Now my business is almost entirely referrals and repeats.” 

Moore’s specialty is marketing and getting homes ready for sale. “I’m a huge proponent of staging and doing what it takes to project the property in its best light,” he says. “I try to create a situation that when a prospective buyer walks in the door, they love it, and think to themselves ‘won’t my friends be jealous when they see me living here.’”

While he does have a fair amount of LGBT clients, Moore never directed business toward or away from any one group. “Essentially I’ve always thrown the net out and taken what I get,” he says. “I’ve weathered good markets and bad markets and everything in between. … Real estate is crazy, maddening, exciting. It’s been a love affair.” (PF) 

Real Estate Group

Marin Hagen & Sylvia Bergstrom, Coldwell Banker

1617 14th St., N.W.

coldwellbankerhomes.com

Runner-Up: The Evan+Mark Team, Compass (last year’s winner) 

Best Rehoboth Real Estate Agent

Lee Ann Wilkinson, Berkshire Hathaway

Lee Ann Wilkinson (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

Second consecutive win!

16698 Kings Hwy A.

Lewes, Del.

leeanngroup.com

Runner-Up: Henry McKay, Jack Lingo Realtor

Best Straight Ally

Kathy Dalby

Kathy Dalby (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

runpacers.com

Runner-Up: Mari Rodale

In 2006, Kathy Dalby took a leap of faith. She left a dream D.C. job as a health care policy analyst for a high-profile law firm and took a full-time job at Pacers Running. She’s now CEO of the company, as well as the managing partner for Pacer Events, LLC, and publisher of RunWashington. The six stores serve as hubs for local runners and offer a full range of running gear along with training advice and a robust schedule of regular fun-runs and special race events. 

Based on her belief in “authentic and community-focused relationship building,” Dalby has been a staunch LGBT ally. Pacers Running has been a supporter of Capital Pride and the D.C. Front Runners. In turn, the Front Runners made one of Dalby’s childhood dreams come true when they asked her to be a member of their Pride Parade dance troupe.

Dalby says, “I try to create a culture at Pacers where we celebrate others. I am proud to be an award winner, but it’ll be a real win when we don’t feel like we need to single out straight folks for being supportive of our LGBTQ friends because frankly that should be the norm.”

She has some excellent advice: “Acknowledge your privilege and acknowledge the beauty in differences,” she says. “It’ll make you a better person, I promise.” (BTC)

Best Transgender Advocate

Ruby Corado

From left, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Casa Ruby CEO Ruby Corado and Lt. Brett Parson of the Metropolitan Police Department speak at a community forum on anti-LGBT violence on July 9, 2019. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A new title for Ruby after three wins as “Most Committed Activist” and the Local Heroine award in 2014. 

Casa Ruby

2822 Georgia Ave., N.W.

casaruby.org

Runner-Up: Sarah McBride  

Best Stylist 

Michael Ian Hodges 

Michael Hodges (Photo courtesy of Logan Aveda 14 Salon and Spa)

Logan 14 Aveda Salon Spa

1314 B 14th St., N.W. 

logan14salonspa.com

Runner Up: Roel Ruiz (last year’s winner)

For top stylist and Logan 14 Aveda Salon Spa owner Michael Ian Hodges, the recipe for success is simple: skills, consistency and friendliness. Also, location doesn’t hurt. There are more gays per inch in Logan Circle than anywhere else in the country, he notes. 

While adept at all types of styling, he’s best known for his men’s barber cuts. 

“I can do 44 cuts a day on a busy day. I have an assistant, and I double book: two guys every hour on a 12-hour day.”

Hodges first caught the hair bug sitting on the counter of his mom’s salon in England watching her do hair. When the family moved to the U.S., he brought his passion with him. After apprenticing with to an accomplished London-trained stylist in Maclean, Va.,, he began his professional career. Thirty years later, he’s still at it. 

At Logan 14, he maintains a large book of clients and helms a crew of 24 stylists. He’s grateful for his clients’ patronage. “They’re like family. I know their lives backwards and forwards. There’s a mutual support and caring. Relationships are important.”

Looking forward, Hodges, who lives with his husband on the D.C. line in Mount Rainier, Md., is expanding the size of Logan 14, and he’s considering opening a barbershop in the future. “I’m not getting any younger, (he turns 50 next year) but I see myself working and staying in the industry for a long time.” (PF)

COMMUNITY

Best Art Gallery

Renwick Gallery

Renwick Gallery (Photo public domain)

A repeat of last year’s outcome for both winner and editor’s choice.

1661 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

americanart.si.edu

Editor’s Choice: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Best Adult Store

Bite the Fruit

Fourth consecutive win in this category! 

1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W. 

bitethefruit.com

Runner-up: Lotus Blooms

Best Car Dealership

BMW of Fairfax

BMW of Fairfax (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Last year’s editor’s choice. 

8427 Lee Highway, Fairfax, Va.

bmwoffairfax.com

Editor’s Choice: Maserati of Arlington

Best Apartment/Condo Building

Atlantic Plumbing

(Photo courtesy of Atlantic Plumbing)

Last year’s editor’s choice and the 2016-2017 winner.

2112 8th St., N.W.

atlanticplumbingdc.com

Editor’s Choice: City Market at O

Best Doctor/Medical Provider

Whitman-Walker Health

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A flip-flop of last year’s outcome. 

whitman-walker.org

Runner-Up: Dr. Robyn Zeiger

Best Fitness or Workout Spot

VIDA Fitness

A flip-flop of last year’s outcome.

Locations at U Street, Logan Circle and Gallery Place

vidafitness.com

Editor’s Choice: Barry’s Bootcamp

Best Gayborhood

Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle Fountain, Russian news agency, gay news, Washington Blade
Dupont Circle (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Shaw is dethroned after three consecutive wins! Logan was also the 2016 runner up. 

Editor’s Choice: Logan Circle

Best Hardware Store

Logan Ace Hardware 

Logan Ace Hardware (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A perennial favorite in this category. Third consecutive win! 

1734 14th St., N.W.

acehardwaredc.com

Editor’s Choice: True Value on 17th

Best Home Furnishings

Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams 

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams in their 14th Street NW store. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Second consecutive win on the occasion of their 30th anniversary! 

1526 14th St., N.W.

mgbwhome.com

Runner-up: Room & Board

Best Home Improvement Service

Case Design

(Photo courtesy of Case Design)

“Full-service home remodelers building your dreams.” Third consecutive win! 

Locations in Washington and Bethesda.

casedesign.com

Editor’s Choice: Magnolia Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

Best Hotel

The Line

1770 Euclid St., N.W.

thelinehotel.com

Editor’s Choice: W Hotel

Best House of Worship

Foundry United Methodist Church

Foundry United Methodist Church (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Foundry fights back! Dethrones Empowerment Liberation Cathedral, which had four consecutive wins (2015-2018). Foundry (church home to 17 U.S. presidents) held the title 2011-2014 was last year’s editor’s choice. 

1500 16th St., N.W.

foundryumc.org

Editor’s Choice: St Thomas’ Parish Episcopal Church

Best Lawyer

Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Whitman-Walker Health

whitman-walker.org

Runner-Up: Michele Zavos (last year’s winner)

Since 2008, Amy Nelson has been director of legal services at Whitman-Walker Health. One of her milestone accomplishments was organizing the name and gender change legal clinic in 2012, which continues to serve hundreds of clients in updating their gender markers on identity documents annually.

Nelson is understandably proud about her work at the historic D.C. institution, saying, “Working at Whitman-Walker Health means being a part of history, part of a big messy family full of inspiration and passion, and is like no other job I could imagine. I am extremely excited about our expansion in Southeast and expanded services for youth.”

Nelson also underscores the importance of reaching out to D.C.’s diverse communities. “D.C.’s many (LGBT) and immigrant communities are fabulous and bold but need a little more love to stay healthy and safe as this country moves to erase them,” she says. 

The fierce advocate acknowledges the role her family plays in sustaining her work. “I am so grateful to be sharing my life chaos with the one and only amazing June Crenshaw whose commitment to D.C.’s queer youth experiencing homelessness is limitless,” she says. “Her heart inspires me to do better, be kinder and be OK with being me.”

She also unwinds by hanging out with her nieces and nephew in Arlington. “They are adorable rays of sunshine and happiness who ground me every weekend,” she says. But be careful if you ask to see pictures of them. Nelson warns, “I only have a few thousand photos of them on my phone.” (BTC)

Best LGBT Social Group

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Their show “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” is Saturday night (5 and 8 p.m.) at City Winery. The chorus knocks off Stonewall Sports after two consecutive wins. 

gmcw.org

Editor’s Choice: Stonewall Sports  

Best LGBT Sports League

Stonewall Kickball

Third consecutive win; 2016 runner-up. 

stonewallkickball.com

Editor’s Choice: DC Frontrunners

Best LGBT-Owned Business

District Title

A full-service provider of real estate settlements and title insurance. 

1150 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

districttitle.com

Editor’s Choice: Social Driver

Most LGBT-Friendly Workplace

Whitman-Walker Health

(Washington Blade photo by Wyatt Reid Westlund)

Third consecutive win.

1525 14th St., N.W.

whitman-walker.org

Editor’s Choice: National LGBTQ Task Force

Best LGBT Event

Capital Pride Celebration

The main stage at the 2019 Capital Pride Festival (Washington Blade photo by Drew Brown)

Third consecutive win! 

Editor’s Choice: Cherry Fund Weekend

Best Museum

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian America Art Museum (Photo by Zach Frank via Wikimedia Commons)

F & 8th St., N.W.

americanart.si.edu

Editor’s Choice: National Museum of African American History and Culture

Best Non-Profit

SMYAL

SMYAL Fall Brunch fundraiser (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders. Second consecutive win! 

410 7th St., S.E.

smyal.org

Editor’s Choice: Latino GLBT History Project

Best Private School

Barrie

13500 Layhill Rd.

Silver Spring, Md.

barrie.org

Editor’s Choice: Edmund Burke (also last year’s editor’s choice) 

Best Pet Business

City Dogs Daycare

1832 18th St., N.W.

301 H St., N.E.

city-dogs.com

Editor’s Choice: District Dogs

Best Place to Buy Second-Hand Stuff

Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnot

Miss Pixie’s (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A perennial favorite in this category! Same outcome for third consecutive year. 

1626 14th St., N.W.

misspixies.com

Editor’s choice: Buffalo Exchange (2016 runner-up)

Best Movie Theater

Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Landmark’s Atlantic Plumbing Cinema (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

New releases plus indie fare, foreign and avant garde. Third consecutive win. 

807 V St., N.W.

landmarktheatres.com

Editor’s Choice: AMC Loews Georgetown

Best Rehoboth Business

Purple Parrot

Purple Parrot (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

Second consecutive win! 

134 Rehoboth Ave.

Rehoboth Beach, Del.

ppgrill.com

Editor’s Choice: Blue Moon

Best Salon/Spa

Logan 14 Aveda

Logan 14 Aveda (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Fourth consecutive win! 

1314 14th St., N.W.

logan14salonspa.com

Editor’s Choice: Bang Salon

Best Alternative Transportation

Capital Bike Share

Capital Bikeshare (Photo by Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz via Wikimedia Commons)

capitalbikeshare.com

Editor’s Choice: Lyft

A flip-flop of last year’s outcome. 

Best Day Trip

Easton, Md.

Easton, Md. (Photo by Mellowcream via Wikimedia Commons)

Editor’s Choice: Harper’s Ferry

Best Regional Pride

Annapolis Pride

Annapolis Pride (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Editor’s Choice: Baltimore Pride

Best Tattoo Parlor

Fatty’s Tattoos & Piercings

1333 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

516 H St., N.E.

8638 Colesville Rd. (Silver Spring) 

fattystattoos.com

Runner-up: Tattoo Paradise (winner last two years)

“It feels good, but we’re kind of used to it,” says Fatty (the only name he gives), owner of Fatty’s Tattoo on receiving this year’s Best Tattoo Parlor award. “We’ve been voted D.C.’s best tattoo shop 10 times now. Since 2009.”

It’s also their 25th year in D.C., and Fatty says success comes from welcoming everyone equally. When the Dupont Circle shop first opened, not all businesses embraced tattoo lovers.

“Back in the ’90s, tattooing was underground and being gay was still kind of underground, so we matched up pretty nicely.”

Fatty saw many shops close after the 2008 recession, but this match helped keep his parlor open. 

“That’s our mission of excellence,” he says. “The customer doesn’t need to see it posted, they need to feel it.” (PVS)

Best Theater

Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center (Photo by Make Male via Wikimedia Commons)

The Kennedy Center returns after an upset flip-flop last year; it held the title 2015-2017!

2700 F St., N.W.

kennedy-center.org

Editor’s Choice: Studio Theatre

Best Theater Production

“Bright Colors and Bold Patterns” (Studio Theatre, July)

Editor’s Choice: John Cameron Mitchell’s “Origin of Love” (National Theatre)

Best Veterinarian 

Friendship Hospital for Animals

An upset flip-flop of last year’s outcome — CityPaws held the title 2015-2018. 

friendshipanimaldc.com

4105 Brandywine St., N.W.

Editor’s Choice: City Paws Animal Hospital 

2019 Black Music Honors Paid Tribute To Music Icons Xscape, Freddie Jackson, Yolanda Adams, Tamia, & Arrested Development

New York, NY (Top40 Charts / Central City Productions) The highly anticipated 4th Annual 2019 BlackMusic Honors hosted by television and radio personality Rickey Smiley and Grammy Award-winner and actress LeToya Luckett-Walker is currently airing in national broadcast syndication. The star-studded show was taped live at The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA.

Honoree Xscape, received the Urban Music Icon Award presented by AT&T for the platinum selling quartet group’s 25 years in the industry. Chart-topping crooner, Freddie Jackson, whose career has spanned over 33 years, received the Legend Award, presented by State Farm. Yolanda Adams received the Gospel Music Icon Award, culturally-conscience eclectic group, Arrested Development, received the Hip Hop Icon Award, while songstress, Tamia, received the Soul Music Icon Award. Leon Timbo and Major. performed a special tribute in honor of Rock and Roll Hame of Famer, Bill Withers. For honoree photos click here.

Many memorable performance tributes (PW: BMH) by Avery Wilson, Dee-1, Jade Novah, Jagged Edge, Jekalyn Carr, Naughty By Nature, June’s Diary, Keke Wyatt, Kelly Price, Le’Andria Johnson, Melanie Fiona, 702, were met with standing ovations. Viewers can click Blackmusichonors.com/Airtime.html to check local airdates and broadcast times.

The night culminated with founder and chairman, Don Jackson, expressing gratitude to the honorees, presenters and performers for making the night unforgettable. He stated,” the Black Music Honors gives us an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the trailblazers of African-American music.”

The 4th Annual Black Music Honors show is Executive Produced by Don Jackson, with Jennifer J. Jackson serving as Producer and Michael A. Johnson as Producer and Director.

State Farm returns as the Black Music Honors title sponsor, in addition to presenting sponsors: AT&T, Walmart, Chevrolet, Neutrogena Hydro Boost, Stellar TV and Central City Productions, Inc.

For more information on Black Music Honors, please visit www.blackmusichonors.com and connect on social media @blackmusichonors #BlackMusicHonors. For Black Music Honors show photos click here:

About Black Music Honors
Black Music Honors is an annual two-hour event that acknowledges the legendary African American artists who have influenced and made significant musical contributions to African American culture and American music worldwide. Produced by Chicago-based production company Central City Productions (CCP) and hosted by Rickey Smiley, television and radio personality, and Grammy Award-winner and actress, LeToya Luckett-Walker. For more information visit www.blackmusichonors.com

About Central City Productions (CCP)
Founded in 1970 by Don Jackson, Chicago-based Central City Productions, Inc. is a distributor of original targeted programming to television and cable networks. CCP’s award- winning television programs include The Stellar Gospel Music Awards, Stellar Tribute to the Holidays, Stellar Sunday, The Black College Quiz Show Series, and Mentoring Kings, among many others. For more information, visit www.stellartv.com.

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