Best of Books 2021: Why these stood out

The best books of 2021 are “The Man Who Lived Underground” by Richard Wright; “Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America” by Eyal Press; “The Trees” by Percival Everett; “Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction” by Michelle Nijhuis; “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraqib; “Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch” by Rivka Galchen; “Smile” by Sarah Ruhl; “Second Place” by Rachel Cusk; “When We Cease to Understand the World” by Benjamin Labatut; “100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet” by Pamela Paul.

The best books of 2021 are “The Man Who Lived Underground” by Richard Wright; “Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America” by Eyal Press; “The Trees” by Percival Everett; “Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction” by Michelle Nijhuis; “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraqib; “Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch” by Rivka Galchen; “Smile” by Sarah Ruhl; “Second Place” by Rachel Cusk; “When We Cease to Understand the World” by Benjamin Labatut; “100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet” by Pamela Paul.

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When I look over this list of the best books of 2021, I see what’s not there, what didn’t make the final cut and deserved the hosannas. Rebecca Solnit’s discursive biography “Orwell’s Roses.” Clint Smith’s sobering travelogue “How the Word is Passed.” Matt Bell’s climate-change epic “Appleseed.” It’s been a great time to read widely and often, and considering the near-one billion books sold in 2020 — and the probable record coming for 2021 (publishers saw double-digit sales leaps for much of the year) — settling on 10 was tough.

As for the following 10 — I wish I could read them again for the first time. In no particular order:

1. “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” (Random House, $27): Columbus essayist and poet Hanif Abdurraqib — who’s had quite the year, named a National Book Award nominee and MacArthur “genius” in the same week — hasn’t written a bad book. His is a still-young career, but this is probably a high mark, a profound meditation on the Black artists and “mundane fight for individuality,” as well as what it means to be a Black audience.

2. “Second Place” (FSG, $25): The first novel from Rachel Cusk after her celebrated Outline Trilogy, and somewhat like those great books, here is another consideration of art and responsibility, if slightly less abstracted, though just as probing of its characters. A mother has a revelation in a gallery and proceeds to detonate her world, her marriage, her future.

3. “The Trees” (Graywolf, $16): Someday, inevitably, when Percival Everett is read by more people and not a painfully passed-over novelist whose work gets thrust into hands with a messianic promise of “Trust me,” here’s the book to tip the scales. Someone is killing the ancestors of the guys who murdered Chicago teenager Emmett Till back in 1955.

4. “Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch” (FSG, $27): Not quite satire, not entirely historical fiction, but full of truth and chillingly hilarious in an age of QAnon conspiracies, anti-vaxxers and cancel culture. Rivka Galchen takes a page from Monty Python, Salem and the #MeToo movement to tell the story of real-life Katharina, a 16th-century German widow with very important children (her oldest, Johannes Kepler, explained how planets move). She fights court accusations of witchcraft, for years.

5. “When We Cease to Understand the World” (New York Review Books, $18): At first, it reads like harrowing nuggets of history and hubris but soon, Benjamin Labatut’s ingenious story of complicity and horrors of scientific achievement takes just enough liberty with the men behind the invention of chemical weapons and the concept of black holes (among other paradigm-shifting bits of alchemy) to upend our understanding of sanity and fiction.

6. “Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction” (Norton, $28): Science journalist Michelle Nijhuis’ engrossing history of animal conservation avoids exactly the cheerleading that would render other books impotent. Here is a movement, she writes, “full of people who did the wrong things for the right reasons, and the right things for the wrong reasons.”

7. “100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet” (Crown, $27): Perhaps the only book on this list that might gain a little if read in dribs and drabs, tucked away beside your toilet. Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review and a breezy, skeptical op-ed sort of voice in her own right, does not set out to transcend the plaintive loss of the title.

8. “Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America” (FSG, $28): Journalist Eyal Press leans slightly into the pandemic “essential” workers of the title, albeit strategically, with reason: His aims are higher, the moral cost of jobs hidden away. He profiles drone pilots, prison guards, slaughterhouse workers.

9. “Smile” (Simon & Schuster, $27): In the days after giving birth to twins, the left side of Sarah Ruhl’s face began to droop and stiffen and she lost her ability to smile. She found herself in that small percentage of people who contract Bell’s palsy and do not recover. This is not the setup for overcoming-the-odds kind of uplift.

10. “The Man Who Lived Underground” (Library of America, $23): Though Richard Wright’s novella was well-known, the full text of his harrowing portrait of Chicago police abuse went unread for 80 years, so disturbing Harper editors they rejected it — at a time when Wright was the bestselling Black author in America. What’s here now is feverish, familiar, a tale of a Black man beaten by police who escapes under the city, at a cost: His foundation of reality frays.

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The best books of 2021 are “The Man Who Lived Underground” by Richard Wright; “Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America” by Eyal Press; “The Trees” by Percival Everett; “Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction” by Michelle Nijhuis; “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraqib; “Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch” by Rivka Galchen; “Smile” by Sarah Ruhl; “Second Place” by Rachel Cusk; “When We Cease to Understand the World” by Benjamin Labatut; “100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet” by Pamela Paul.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Nursing dean Marsha Lewis to retire – University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Marsha L. Lewis, who has led the University at Buffalo School of Nursing through 10 years of growth in its core mission of education, research and community service, will retire from UB at the end of the academic year.

The announcement was made Friday in a university-wide memo from A. Scott Weber, provost and executive vice-president for academic affairs, and Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“An excellent dean and university leader, Dean Lewis has significantly advanced UB’s research, education and engagement missions. She will leave the school well positioned to continue building upon its strength and reputation,” Weber and Cain said in the memo.

In her decade of leading the School of Nursing, Lewis has championed creating a culture that exemplifies the school’s values of accountability, respect and excellence while promoting collaboration, diversity and inclusion.

“My 10 years with the University at Buffalo’s School of Nursing have been the best of my 50-year nursing career,” Lewis said. “I am so proud of the great strides we have made together as a school and as a university. Seeing our faculty and staff grow and thrive, our students succeed in their academic programs and careers, our alumni lead and shape the future of nursing and health care, and our generous donors support the school’s important initiatives has been immensely rewarding. It is a great honor to be part of UB and the Western New York community.”

She created and implemented strategic plans that focus on improving health and quality of life through collaborative, interdisciplinary research and scholarship; delivering excellent nursing education programs including advancing clinical simulation, telehealth and interprofessional education; and expanding community partnerships and collaborations.

These efforts coincided with significant improvement in the school’s reputation. In U.S. News & World Report, the school is ranked among the top 20% of undergraduate and graduate schools of nursing, and its online RN-to-BS program, as well as its Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthetist program, rank among the top 10 nationwide. As a result of these successes, the school has seen significant enrollment growth in several of its programs.

As dean, Lewis has been committed to building the school’s national and international reputation for research — from discovery to translation — that improves health care delivery, outcomes and equity, Weber and Cain said, adding that she increased administrative support for faculty scholarship through the Center for Nursing Research and focused on recruiting faculty with excellent research portfolios.

“During her time as dean, national recognition of faculty has grown, research proposals have steadily increased and the school has more than doubled its research expenditures,” Weber and Cain said.

In the past 10 years, seven School of Nursing faculty members have been inducted as fellows into the American Academy of Nursing. Faculty have also been named fellows in the Gerontological Society of America, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, International Academy of Addiction Nursing, American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology, and the Sigma Theta Tau International Researcher Hall of Fame.

Recognizing that nursing is an increasingly global profession, Lewis has focused on internationalizing the school, providing students with a global perspective and unique learning opportunities that empower them to address complex health challenges. For example, the school has offered a variety of opportunities to provide health care and medical screenings to underserved populations around the world, including Haiti, Ghana, Senegal, Belize, the Philippines; refugee camps in Greece; and rural areas of the United States.

Lewis also built partnerships within UB and the local health care community to expand clinical opportunities for students and increase the school’s impact through community-based research and education.

The school received grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand clinical sites for students, improve nursing services to Native American and other underserved populations, and enhance its curriculum. It expanded its dedicated education units, an innovative, clinical education model designed for nursing students to gain one-on-one learning experiences in acute care and community-based settings. And the school built on its position as a national leader in interprofessional education (IPE) by helping establish an excellent IPE program for UB’s Academic Health Center that prepares UB students across the health sciences to be collaborative-practice ready.

Her leadership during the pandemic helped ensure nursing students continued to receive safe and high-quality education.

Internally, Lewis created in 2015 a School of Nursing task force to focus on issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, and she appointed an assistant dean for diversity and inclusion. The task force is now a standing committee named the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee, and in 2021 the school appointed a new assistant dean and unit diversity officer.

In partnership with Greater Buffalo United Ministries and Millennium Collaborative Care, the school joined the Million Hearts initiative in 2016, which aims to combat heart disease and stroke, especially within communities of color. The school is also working with UB’s health sciences schools and community organizations to eliminate health disparities among communities of color through the African American Health Equity Task Force and UB’s Community Health Equity Research Institute.

The school also renovated several spaces in Wende Hall, including conference rooms and classrooms, which were outfitted with new technology and software to enhance virtual conferencing and increase collaboration.

A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and an internationally recognized scholar and leader in academic nursing, Lewis is a specialist in psychiatric-mental health and nursing education, with expertise in curriculum and instructional systems. She is the developer of the Savvy Caregiver training program for caregivers of people with dementia, which was heralded as one of the nation’s top evidence-based programs for caregivers by the U.S. Administration on Aging.

A search for her replacement will begin in the spring semester.

A somber anniversary illustrates why Congress must pass Emmett Till Antilynching Act

“You can kill the revolutionary, but you cannot kill the revolution.” These were the words my late comrade and friend, Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, spoke and lived by. 52 years after his killing, Chairman Fred’s life and legacy remain just as vital to our understanding of justice today as they were on Dec. 4, 1969.

I recruited and worked alongside Chairman Fred in the Illinois Black Panther Party in the late 1960s, where we fought for the liberation of people across Chicago who had long been ignored by those in power. We set up community health clinics and an expansive free breakfast program for children. We helped broker a peace agreement between Chicago’s street gangs, reducing violence in the city’s most marginalized neighborhoods. And we joined forces with the Latino Young Lords and the Young Patriots, an organization of poor whites, to form the original Rainbow Coalition. Despite living in one of the most segregated cities in the United States, our working-class coalition fought together against economic oppression and many other issues that still plague our communities to this day — police brutality, substandard housing, mediocre education, and low-quality health care.

Then, in the early hours of Dec. 4, 1969, the Chicago Police Department — working in conjunction with the FBI and the Cook County State’s Attorney — entered an apartment that seven members of the Black Panther Party were staying in, with the premeditated aim of killing Fred Hampton. The police immediately opened fire, killing Fred as he lay in his bed next to his pregnant girlfriend. Our fellow Black Panther Party Member Mark Clark was also killed in the raid. My own apartment was raided in the early hours of the very next morning.

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Through meticulous work, we were able to prove that the official narrative of that night — that Hampton and Clark were killed in a firefight — was a complete falsehood. In fact, investigators determined that the police fired 99 bullets while the Panthers only fired one. William O’Neil, an FBI informant embedded the Black Panther Party, had provided floor plans of the apartment to law enforcement in advance, and an autopsy found a massive dose of Seconal in Chairman Fred’s bloodstream, powerful enough to sedate an elephant.

52 years ago today, the American government carried out a planned political assassination of one of our nation’s brightest young leaders. It is a powerful reminder that Black lives have never been valued by many in our nation’s power structures.

When Ida B. Wells published her seminal investigative journalism on lynching in America, she found that many lynchings occurred because the victims posed a threat to the white supremacist status quo. One of her friends was killed merely for operating a successful grocery store that competed with white businesses. While the killings Wells examined were not political assassinations, many share a common thread with Hampton’s killing — they were committed against individuals who challenged the racist status quo in their communities.

Sadly, all too often for Black Americans, merely existing can be seen as a challenge to the racist power structure. Ahmaud Arbery was only 25 when he was gunned down for merely jogging in what his killers deemed to be the wrong neighborhood. His death was a modern-day lynching. While the recent guilty verdict in the trial of his killers was a relief, it cannot bring Arbery back. It does not stop the vicious racism and vigilante gun violence that led to his murder. And it is no guarantee that other perpetrators of modern-day lynching will be brought to justice.

Congress must act promptly to ensure that no one who participates in such acts of terror and hatred can escape justice. That starts by passing my Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would finally designate lynching as federal hate crime. The bill honors the legacy of Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in 1955. His death helped spark the civil rights movement, but his murderers never faced justice — they were acquitted days later by an all-white jury in a sham trial in Tallahatchie County, Miss.

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Passing the Emmett Till Antilynching Act would ensure that the full force of the United States federal government is always brought to prosecute those who commit the monstrous act of lynching. It would show that our nation understands the heinous legacy of lynching and begin the process of closing this shameful chapter of our history.

Although his own life was ended by our own government at the age of 21, Chairman Fred’s legacy lives on. As we reckon with the fact of his assassination on this somber anniversary, we can demonstrate that we have finally begun to value Black lives by ensuring that the Emmett Till Antilyching Act is signed into law.

Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHillicon Valley — Amazon draws COVID scrutiny Democrat pushes for pipeline reliability standards Bottom line MORE represents the 1st District of Illinois.

Spate of robberies in San Francisco Bay Area threatens the survival of cannabis shops

Cannabis shops across the San Francisco Bay Area have been thrown into dire straits as gangs of thieves broke into more than 15 shops throughout November during the series of ‘smash-and-grab’ robberies that are plaguing California

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told reporters that ‘hundreds’ of vehicles targeted marijuana stores in Oakland last month, firing 175 shots and stealing about $5 million worth of products. 

Alphonso ‘Tucky’ Blunt, owner of Blunts and Moore, told MJBizDaily that his store lost about $25,000 during a November 22 raid, where more than a dozen burglars ransacked the store. 

‘I know 25 or so businesses that got hit … and out of all those, the percentage I know that told me that they may not be able to reopen is about 50 percent. That’s scary,’ Blunt said. 

‘I was safer, and had more money, (selling) on the street, illegally.’

A gang of thieves broke into Blunts and Moore on November 22, making off with about $25,000 worth of product as the ransacked the store

A gang of thieves broke into Blunts and Moore on November 22, making off with about $25,000 worth of product as the ransacked the store

A gang of thieves broke into Blunts and Moore on November 22, making off with about $25,000 worth of product as the ransacked the store 

Alphonso 'Tucky' Blunt, owner of the Blunts and Moore cannabis shop, said robberies in San Francisco have gotten so bad that he was safer selling drugs on the streets

Alphonso 'Tucky' Blunt, owner of the Blunts and Moore cannabis shop, said robberies in San Francisco have gotten so bad that he was safer selling drugs on the streets

Alphonso ‘Tucky’ Blunt, owner of the Blunts and Moore cannabis shop, said robberies in San Francisco have gotten so bad that he was safer selling drugs on the streets 

It was one of more than 15 robberies reported by the Oakland Police Department, but Blunt said he knows about 25 shops that were hit last month

It was one of more than 15 robberies reported by the Oakland Police Department, but Blunt said he knows about 25 shops that were hit last month

It was one of more than 15 robberies reported by the Oakland Police Department, but Blunt said he knows about 25 shops that were hit last month

Blunt and other marijuana shop owners said that their businesses are targeted because thieves believe they have a lot of cash on hand, which they said is not the case. 

Blunt estimated that his shop has been vandalized or robbed at least 10 times since opening in 2018. 

Amber Senter, the co-founder of Supernova Women – an Oakland-based nonprofit that helps women of color in the cannabis business – said robberies can be a death knell for dispensaries because insurance coverage is hard for them to get. 

‘A lot of these folks are not open and won’t be open for a while, because they can’t bounce back from these things,’ Senter said during a November 29 news conference about the Oakland robberies. 

‘They don’t have the runway and the extra capital and the war chest of cash to come back from something like this.’ 

Senter’s own business EquityWorks! Incubator was also robbed, which houses several small social equity marihuana companies.   

Along with Blunt and Senter’s businesses, some of the other cannabis shops hit in the Bay Area include: Bay Area Safe Alternatives, Blum Dispensary, Eco Cannabis, Purple Heart Patient Center, Community Gardens, Oakland Embarc Martinez, Phytologie Oakland, and Magnolia Oakland. 

A thief can be seen running away with a bad full of cannabis products from Bay Area Safe Alternatives in late November

A thief can be seen running away with a bad full of cannabis products from Bay Area Safe Alternatives in late November

A thief can be seen running away with a bad full of cannabis products from Bay Area Safe Alternatives in late November

The Eco Cannabis shop was also ransacked on November 22, with thieves prying open the doors to the dispensary

The Eco Cannabis shop was also ransacked on November 22, with thieves prying open the doors to the dispensary

The Eco Cannabis shop was also ransacked on November 22, with thieves prying open the doors to the dispensary

After the raid on Eco Cannabis, there was a shootout at the Blum Dispensary in San Leandro

After the raid on Eco Cannabis, there was a shootout at the Blum Dispensary in San Leandro

After the raid on Eco Cannabis, there was a shootout at the Blum Dispensary in San Leandro

Footage of the Bay Area Save Alternative robbery on November 16 shows a pair of robbers stuffing bags full of cannabis before running out the shop at 4.30 am. 

‘I was angry when I saw the footage,’ Anisa Alazraie, whose father owns the dispensary, told NBC. She said police had arrived in the middle of the robbery but failed to act quickly enough to stop the robbers. 

Two days later, the Embarc Martinez dispensary was also looted by three armed men wearing ski-masks. A store employee told police the suspects stole a large amount of cannabis and some of his personal belongings before fleeing in a black Honda sedan.  

The following week, the Eco Cannabis store, in Oakland, was targeted by thieves who pried the metal security doors open and raided the story. That same night, armed thieves robbed the Blum Dispensary in nearby San Leandro. 

Police said multiple vehicles pulled up on the dispensary and started shooting, damaging the store.  

Raeven Duckett-Robinson, owner of Community Gardens in Oakland, echoed the concerns about the rampant burglaries after his shop was also robbed last month. He told MJBizDaily that most cannabis shop owners ‘living and working hand to mouth’ and could not wait for an insurance claim to help them. 

‘Even if you do get the insurance money, it’s not going to be next week,’ Duckett-Robinson said. 

Blunt told KRON4 that Oakland officers advised him to hire armed guards to shoot potential looters, something Armstrong denied during a news conference this week. 

Blunt said that his shop has been vandalized or robbed at least 10 times since opening in 2018

Blunt said that his shop has been vandalized or robbed at least 10 times since opening in 2018

Blunt said that his shop has been vandalized or robbed at least 10 times since opening in 2018

Following the string of robberies, many owners said they might not be able to reopen

Following the string of robberies, many owners said they might not be able to reopen

Following the string of robberies, many owners said they might not be able to reopen

This map shows the locations of some of the major smash-and-grab robberies that took place in California between November 19 and December 2. The majority of robberies conducted by gangs of thieves have taken place in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles

This map shows the locations of some of the major smash-and-grab robberies that took place in California between November 19 and December 2. The majority of robberies conducted by gangs of thieves have taken place in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles

This map shows the locations of some of the major smash-and-grab robberies that took place in California between November 19 and December 2. The majority of robberies conducted by gangs of thieves have taken place in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles

The San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles have been among the hardest hit regions in a series of robberies undertaken by gangs of thieves. 

Police in Los Angeles had announced 14 arrests on Thursday in connection with 11 recent smash-and-grab robberies at stores where nearly $340,000 worth of merchandise was stolen, but all the suspects have been released.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said that most of the accused robbers suspected of ransacking businesses between November 18 and 28 were bailed out or met no-bail criteria, and one is a juvenile.

At a joint news conference, both Moore and Mayor Eric Garcetti called for an end to a no-bail policy for some defendants aimed at reducing overcrowding at Los Angeles County jails during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Garcetti called for an end to a no-bail policy for criminals who endanger store employees 

There were 7,542 robberies in Los Angeles this year through November 27, the LAPD’s most recent data indicate, which represents a 3.9 per cent increase from last year

There were 7,542 robberies in Los Angeles this year through November 27, the LAPD’s most recent data indicate, which represents a 3.9 per cent increase from last year

There were 7,542 robberies in Los Angeles this year through November 27, the LAPD’s most recent data indicate, which represents a 3.9 per cent increase from last year

California’s Proposition 47 – lighter sentences for thieves

Proposition 47 was passed by California voters on November 5, 2014.

It made some ‘non-violent’ property crimes, where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.

It also made some ‘simple’ drug possession offenses into misdemeanors, and allows past convictions for these charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor by a court. 

Under California law, though, if two or more person’s conspire to ‘cheat and defraud any person or any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal’ they can face no more than one year in county prison, a fine of $10,000 or a combination of the two.

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In California, a statewide policy of imposing $0 bail for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies ended last year, but it was kept in place within the LA County Superior Court system.

‘You could be arrested for a crime such as burglary, a serious felony… and that’s zero bail, meaning that we book and process and identify you, and then your arraignment day is three to four months from now,’ Moore said.

LAPD’s top cop said at least $338,000 in goods were stolen over ten days from stores and malls across the city that incurred $40,000 in property damage. Investigators are searching for multiple outstanding suspects, he said.

There were 7,386 robberies in Los Angeles this year through November 20, the LAPD’s most recent data, as compared to 7,386 last year.

Among the latest of the brazen of robberies in LA includes a pair or robbers who cornered a mother with her baby on the driveway of her mansion as she waited for its electronic gates to close on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Police Department, which shared footage of the crime on Twitter, is asking for help finding the suspects who robbed the mother in broad daylight. 

The unidentified woman is seen in the video walking into her driveway with her infant in a stroller.

The two robbers walk past the home, then turn around and walk inside before the electronic gates could close. 

They then back the woman against the wall of her property, take a diaper bag off her back and grab a cooler from inside her stroller before fleeing in a car parked outside.

‘Fearing for her and her child’s safety, the victim complied’ with the thieves demands that she hand over her belongings, the LAPD wrote in its Twitter post.’ 

They demanded she hand over her belongings before stealing a diaper bag and a bottle cooler, then fleeing in a silver sedan

They demanded she hand over her belongings before stealing a diaper bag and a bottle cooler, then fleeing in a silver sedan

They demanded she hand over her belongings before stealing a diaper bag and a bottle cooler, then fleeing in a silver sedan

And just Tuesday, legendary music executive Clarence Avant’s wife of 54 years, Jacqueline Avant, was killed by gunshot in what police fear may have been a home invasion at their $7 million mansion in Beverly Hills. 

Shocking photos obtained by DailyMail.com show the musician’s decimated sliding glass doors, though police pointedly declined to confirm that robbery was the suspected motive, saying all possibilities are under consideration.

Law enforcement sources told the LA Times that at least one burglar made it into the $7 million mansion before Jacqueline was killed, although it is unclear if that person was apprehended, and no description for a possible suspect has been issued.

Tributes have since been pouring out for the noted philanthropist, including from Bill Clinton and Magic Johnson, and Tyler Perry is vowing to devote ‘every available resource’ to tracking down those responsible.

In a statement to DailyMail.com, the victim’s family said: ‘The entire Avant and Sarandos families wish to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and heartfelt condolences for Jacqueline Avant.’

Aariel Maynor, 29, a career criminal, was arrested on Wednesday for the murder.  

Jacqueline (left) was rushed to a hospital after the attack, but succumbed to her injuries shortly after. She leaves behind a 53-year-old daughter, Nicole (far right), and a son (not pictured). Nicole, a former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas, is currently married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos (third from left)

Jacqueline (left) was rushed to a hospital after the attack, but succumbed to her injuries shortly after. She leaves behind a 53-year-old daughter, Nicole (far right), and a son (not pictured). Nicole, a former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas, is currently married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos (third from left)

Jacqueline (left) was rushed to a hospital after the attack, but succumbed to her injuries shortly after. She leaves behind a 53-year-old daughter, Nicole (far right), and a son (not pictured). Nicole, a former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas, is currently married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos (third from left)

It comes amid a surge in robberies and crime through Los Angeles and California, including a home shooting Tuesday that killed Clarence Avant’s wife

It comes amid a surge in robberies and crime through Los Angeles and California, including a home shooting Tuesday that killed Clarence Avant’s wife

It comes amid a surge in robberies and crime through Los Angeles and California, including a home shooting Tuesday that killed Clarence Avant’s wife 

Investigators work the scene of Jaqueline Avant's murder after an apparent home invader shot and killed her

Investigators work the scene of Jaqueline Avant's murder after an apparent home invader shot and killed her

Investigators work the scene of Jaqueline Avant’s murder after an apparent home invader shot and killed her

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin last week announced felony charges against nine people for a series of thefts, and Bay Area prosecutors announced a joint effort to combat organized retail theft.

In the Bay Area, the City Council in Walnut Creek this week approved an additional $2 million for policing after nearly 100 thieves wearing ski masks carried out a smash-and-grab mob robbery at a Nordstrom store in late November. 

An estimated $125,000 in merchandise was stolen. Two employees were assaulted and one was hit with pepper spray.

San Francisco Bay Area saw a robbery involving a gaggle of hammer-wielding masked bandits who ransacked jewelry, sunglasses and clothing stores at the Southland Mall in the San Jose suburb of Hayward.

Dramatic footage showed a group of about 40 to 50 robbers smashing glass display cases at Sam’s Jewelers at the mall. Staffers are seen screaming in terror as the heist unfolded. 

A group of about 40 to 50 teenage shoplifters made off with an unknown amount of jewelry and other items in Hayward, California, in November

A group of about 40 to 50 teenage shoplifters made off with an unknown amount of jewelry and other items in Hayward, California, in November

A group of about 40 to 50 teenage shoplifters made off with an unknown amount of jewelry and other items in Hayward, California, in November

A smash-and-grab robbery took place on Thursday in San Jose, where four masked suspects used hammers to smash display cases at Quick Service Jewelry Design (pictured)

A smash-and-grab robbery took place on Thursday in San Jose, where four masked suspects used hammers to smash display cases at Quick Service Jewelry Design (pictured)

A smash-and-grab robbery took place on Thursday in San Jose, where four masked suspects used hammers to smash display cases at Quick Service Jewelry Design (pictured)  

Around the same time, packs of thieves ransacked a sunglasses store and a Lululemon store in San Jose, stealing nearly $50,000 in merchandise, according to the San Jose Police Department  

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has boasted of his criminal justice reform efforts, promised that the proposed budget he sends to state lawmakers this month will ‘significantly increase our efforts to go after these retail rings,’ despite a controversial 2014 law – Proposition 47 – that bars prosecutors from charging suspected shoplifters accused of stealing less than $950 worth of merchandise with felonies.

‘We need to break up these crime rings, and we need to make an example out of these folks,’ Newsom said last month. ‘We cannot allow this to continue.’

REVEALED: Career criminal accused of killing Clarence Avant’s wife, 81, in Beverly Hills home invasion was arrested after shooting himself in the foot in ANOTHER robbery an hour later 

Aariel Maynor, 29, faces charges in Jaqueline Avant's murder early on Wednesday after shooting himself in the foot

Aariel Maynor, 29, faces charges in Jaqueline Avant's murder early on Wednesday after shooting himself in the foot

Aariel Maynor, 29, faces charges in Jaqueline Avant’s murder early on Wednesday after shooting himself in the foot

The career criminal suspected of killing Jaqueline Avant in a Beverly Hills home invasion was arrested just an hour after the murder, when he shot himself in the foot during a separate burglary in Hollywood Hills, police have revealed. 

Aariel Maynor, 29, faces charges in Avant’s murder early on Wednesday after an ‘astute watch commander’ in Hollywood connected the dots between the two home invasions, LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow said.

Maynor has been in custody since early Wednesday but was only announced as the murder suspect on Thursday afternoon.

Police say evidence suggests that Maynard shot himself with same AR-15 rifle used in the murder of Avant, the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, and that the two crimes are further tied together by surveillance footage of his vehicle.

The murder suspect has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for assault, robbery and grand theft.  

In September, Maynor was released on parole after serving a four-year prison sentence for second-degree robbery with enhancements for a prior felony. He remains in LAPD custody at a Los Angeles hospital

New footage shows Maynor handcuffed to wheelchair with his bloody foot on display as he is being taken into custody by police.    

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Maynor is seen handcuffed to wheelchair as he is being taken in to custody by police after he was caught at the site of another home burglary in Hollywood Hills where he had shot himself in his foot with what is thought to be the same AR-15 he used to kill Avant

Maynor is seen handcuffed to wheelchair as he is being taken in to custody by police after he was caught at the site of another home burglary in Hollywood Hills where he had shot himself in his foot with what is thought to be the same AR-15 he used to kill Avant

 Maynor is seen handcuffed to wheelchair as he is being taken in to custody by police after he was caught at the site of another home burglary in Hollywood Hills where he had shot himself in his foot with what is thought to be the same AR-15 he used to kill Avant

Maynor's bloody foot on display as police take him into custody after he shot himself in the foot in Hollywood Hills

Maynor's bloody foot on display as police take him into custody after he shot himself in the foot in Hollywood Hills

Maynor’s bloody foot on display as police take him into custody after he shot himself in the foot in Hollywood Hills 

Jacqueline (left) was rushed to a hospital after the attack, but succumbed to her injuries shortly after. She leaves behind a 53-year-old daughter, Nicole (far right), and a son (not pictured). Nicole, a former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas, is currently married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos (third from left)

Jacqueline (left) was rushed to a hospital after the attack, but succumbed to her injuries shortly after. She leaves behind a 53-year-old daughter, Nicole (far right), and a son (not pictured). Nicole, a former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas, is currently married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos (third from left)

Jacqueline (left) was rushed to a hospital after the attack, but succumbed to her injuries shortly after. She leaves behind a 53-year-old daughter, Nicole (far right), and a son (not pictured). Nicole, a former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas, is currently married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos (third from left)

Police say Maynor is currently their only suspect and his motive for in the murder remains under investigation.

Maynor is set to be booked once he is medically cleared, police said. 

Officers first responder to the Avant home invasion in the upscale Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills after a 911 call at 2.23am on Wednesday. She was found gravely injured and rushed to a hospital where she died.

A review of area surveillance footage showed what is believed to be the suspect’s vehicle speeding east out of Beverly Hills, investigators say.

At around 3.30am, officers responded to a second report of a shooting in the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive in the Hollywood Hills, about seven miles east of the Beverly Hills murder.

In Hollywood Hills, cops discovered Maynor in the backyard of a home, suffering from a gunshot wound to his foot. He had apparently accidentally shot himself in the foot during an attempted burglary, police said. 

‘We had an astute watch commander in Hollywood that started to put two and two together and reached out to Beverly Hills,’ Deputy Chief Chow said during a Thursday press conference. 

Maynor was sentenced to a five-year prison term in November 2013 for second-degree robbery and inflicting great bodily injury, a California Department of Corrections spokesperson said.

He served a second four-year term for second-degree robbery with enhancements for a prior felony and was released on parole on September 1, 2021.

According to his Facebook page, Maynor started a new job as an electrician in October. His profile claims that he studied at Hartnell College in Salinas. 

Police confirmed that Maynor (pictured in what appears to be prison) has an extensive criminal record dating back nearly a decade

Police confirmed that Maynor (pictured in what appears to be prison) has an extensive criminal record dating back nearly a decade

Police confirmed that Maynor (pictured in what appears to be prison) has an extensive criminal record dating back nearly a decade

Police confirmed that Maynor (pictured in what appears to be prison) has an extensive criminal record dating back nearly a decade

Police confirmed that Maynor (pictured in what appears to be prison) has an extensive criminal record dating back nearly a decade, including convictions for assault, robbery and grand theft

The 81-year-old philanthropist Jaqueline Avant, whose daughter Nicole is married to Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer, was shot dead early Wednesday morning in her $7 million Beverly Hills mansion despite a security guard being on the property.     

Police said Clarence and a security guard were home at the time of the attack but not harmed. 

Neighbors of the Avants were so worried by the recent rise in burglaries in the neighborhood that they hired armed guards a week before the music executive’s wife was killed.

Residents of Trousdale Estate in Beverly Hills told TMZ that just last week, several neighbors got together and hired a private security firm in response to a recent spike in home and car burglaries in the area. 

The neighbors were so afraid, they say they pooled money and hired a security company, but they had not started patrols yet before Wednesday’s tragic shooting. 

Beverly Hills police were called to the home around 2:30 am Wednesday after a 911 caller said someone had been shot and killed. Officers arriving at the scene discovered one victim, Avant's wife of 54 years, Jacqueline, suffering from a gunshot wound. She succumbed to her wounds later that day

Beverly Hills police were called to the home around 2:30 am Wednesday after a 911 caller said someone had been shot and killed. Officers arriving at the scene discovered one victim, Avant's wife of 54 years, Jacqueline, suffering from a gunshot wound. She succumbed to her wounds later that day

Beverly Hills police were called to the home around 2:30 am Wednesday after a 911 caller said someone had been shot and killed. Officers arriving at the scene discovered one victim, Avant’s wife of 54 years, Jacqueline, suffering from a gunshot wound. She succumbed to her wounds later that day

Maynor (pictured) was on parole at the time of the alleged homicide for a domestic violence case

Maynor (pictured) was on parole at the time of the alleged homicide for a domestic violence case

Maynor (pictured) has an extensive criminal record dating back to 2013 and has served time for robbery and grand theft

Maynor (pictured) has an extensive criminal record dating back to 2013 and has served time for robbery and grand theft

Maynor (pictured) was on parole at the time of the alleged homicide for a domestic violence case

Shocking photos obtained by DailyMail.com show the sliding glass door that was smashed by home invaders who killed the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant

Shocking photos obtained by DailyMail.com show the sliding glass door that was smashed by home invaders who killed the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant

Shocking photos obtained by DailyMail.com show the sliding glass door that was smashed by home invaders who killed the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant

Security guards patrol behind police tape set up in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills where Jacqueline Avant was shot and killed in her home

Security guards patrol behind police tape set up in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills where Jacqueline Avant was shot and killed in her home

Security guards patrol behind police tape set up in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills where Jacqueline Avant was shot and killed in her home 

An aerial view of Clarence and Jacqueline Avant's Beverly Hills home where the music executive's wife was shot in an apparent burglary

An aerial view of Clarence and Jacqueline Avant's Beverly Hills home where the music executive's wife was shot in an apparent burglary

An aerial view of Clarence and Jacqueline Avant’s Beverly Hills home where the music executive’s wife was shot in an apparent burglary 

Police presence outside Avant's home after the tragic shooting death of his 81-year-old wife Jacqueline

Police presence outside Avant's home after the tragic shooting death of his 81-year-old wife Jacqueline

Police presence outside Avant’s home after the tragic shooting death of his 81-year-old wife Jacqueline

On Wednesday, Clarence Avant’s wife of 54 years, Jacqueline Avant, died of a gunshot wound in what appears to have been a home invasion, although police have still declined to say how many suspects were involved, if anyone witnessed the attack or whether this incident is connected to a recent string of burglaries targeting the wealthy in the Los Angeles area. 

Jacqueline was transported to a local hospital but died later that morning. She was 81 years old. 

Law enforcement sources told the LA Times that at least one burglar made it into the $7 million mansion before Jacqueline was killed, although it is unclear if that person was apprehended, and no description for a possible suspect has been issued.

Beverly Hills police were called to the home in Trousdale Estates around 2.30am Wednesday after a 911 caller said someone had been shot, according to Beverly Hills Stainbrook.

Officers arriving at the scene discovered one victim, Avant’s wife of 54 years, Jacqueline Avant, suffering from a gunshot wound. Clarence Avant, 90, was in the home at the time but was not injured. 

Following the brutal killing residents say they have individually hired armed guards for extra protection, TMZ reported.  

Beverly Hills Police confirmed they would be increasing patrol in the area and the department has also hired a private security company to adequately cover the area. 

Beverly Hills Police said they have not found any connection between Avant’s shooting and the recent rise in looting in California. 

The incident comes as a string of 'follow-home' robberies plague residents of various upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods

The incident comes as a string of 'follow-home' robberies plague residents of various upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods

The incident comes as a string of ‘follow-home’ robberies plague residents of various upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods

Investigators work the scene of Jaqueline Avant's murder after an apparent home invader shot and killed her

Investigators work the scene of Jaqueline Avant's murder after an apparent home invader shot and killed her

Investigators work the scene of Jaqueline Avant’s murder after an apparent home invader shot and killed her

The home (pictured) in Trousdale Estates, a ritzy private community just outside Beverly Hills, is worth more than $7 million

The home (pictured) in Trousdale Estates, a ritzy private community just outside Beverly Hills, is worth more than $7 million

The home (pictured) in Trousdale Estates, a ritzy private community just outside Beverly Hills, is worth more than $7 million

The scene of the crime at Clarence Avant's $7 million home was taped off by Beverly Hills police Wednesday morning. An investigation is currently ongoing

The scene of the crime at Clarence Avant's $7 million home was taped off by Beverly Hills police Wednesday morning. An investigation is currently ongoing

The scene of the crime at Clarence Avant’s $7 million home was taped off by Beverly Hills police Wednesday morning. An investigation is currently ongoing

Clarence was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016, with his wife by his side

Clarence was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016, with his wife by his side

Clarence was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016, with his wife by his side

Tributes are already pouring out for the noted philanthropist, including from Bill Clinton and Magic Johnson, and Tyler Perry is vowing to devote ‘every available resource’ to tracking down those responsible.

Jacqueline, who once modeled in the Ebony Fashion Fair, served as president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group that focused on child care. She also served on the board of directors of the International Student Center at UCLA. 

The couple’s daughter, Nicole Avant, 53, is married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos. Nicole was also ambassador to the Bahamas, appointed by then-president Barack Obama in 2009. 

The Motown fixture’s life and legacy have been chronicled by Sarandos’ streaming service in 2019, in a documentary titled The Black Godfather.

The Netflix-run production was produced by his daughter Nicole, and detailed how Avant oversaw impressive deals for black artists throughout his illustrious career, which spanned decades, through narrations from Barack Obama, Snoop Dogg, Bill Clinton, and more.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame describes Avant as ‘cool, savvy, confident, and fearless – someone who makes the impossible possible. He’s served a variety of roles during his illustrious career, including manager, label owner, concert organizer, event producer, political fundraiser, and mentor.’  

It continues: ‘Avant’s career began in the 1950s when he served as the manager for Little Willie John and jazz organist Jimmy Smith. In late 1969, he launched Sussex Records, a label that soon achieved a Top Ten hit with Dennis Coffey’s Scorpio. The most notable artist on Sussex was Bill Withers, who released his first three records for the label, featuring the hits Ain’t No Sunshine, Lean on Me, and Use Me. In 1971, Avant launched Avant Garde Broadcasting, one of the first Black-owned radio stations in the country.’  

The storied exec is also an accomplished producer and actor – known for Deliver Us from Evil in 1975, The Color Purple in 1985 and Jason’s Lyric in 1994.  

Jacqueline, Clarence and Gail Mitchell at the Jazz Foundation honors in LA in 2019

Jacqueline, Clarence and Gail Mitchell at the Jazz Foundation honors in LA in 2019

Jacqueline, Clarence and Gail Mitchell at the Jazz Foundation honors in LA in 2019

A security camera is positioned at the entrance of the street at Trousdale Estates

A security camera is positioned at the entrance of the street at Trousdale Estates

A security camera is positioned at the entrance of the street at Trousdale Estates

A flower delivery arrives at the Avant home Wednesday in the wake of the early morning attack

A flower delivery arrives at the Avant home Wednesday in the wake of the early morning attack

A flower delivery arrives at the Avant home Wednesday in the wake of the early morning attack

A flower delivery arrives at the Avant home Wednesday in the wake of the early morning attack

A flower delivery arrives at the Avant home Wednesday in the wake of the early morning attack

In a statement to DailyMail.com, the victim’s family said: ‘The entire Avant and Sarandos families wish to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and heartfelt condolences for Jacqueline Avant.’

‘Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother and philanthropist and a 55 year resident of Beverly Hills who has made an immeasurable positive impact on the arts community. She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life,’ said the grieving family. 

Bill Clinton wrote in a tweet: ‘Jackie Avant was a wonderful woman, a great partner to Clarence and mother to Alex and Nicole, an active citizen & a dear friend to Hillary and me for 30 years.’ 

‘She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed,’ added Clinton.

Basketball icon Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson wrote on Twitter that he and his wife were ‘devastated’ by the news of Avant’s death, calling her ‘one of our closest friends.’

‘This is the saddest day in our lives,’ he wrote.

Actress Viola Davis tweeted: ‘So sorry for the Avant family. My heart goes out to you!!! OMG!!!! Where are we??!!! WHAT are we?!!’

Famed actor and director Tyler Perry vowed that ‘every available resource will be used to find whoever is responsible for this awful nightmare.’

‘This world can be so cruel and cold!! I have no idea what kind of sub-human could shoot an 81 year old woman, and in her own home,’ tweeted Perry. 

In a published statement, Los Angeles Sentinel owner and family friend Danny Bakewell Sr said that Clarence Avant was ‘currently grieving but resting with his family.’

Photos of the crime scene show a broken sliding glass door on the rear of the home, with shards of glass strewn about the outdoor pool deck. It is unclear if the glass was broken by the gunshot, or during an altercation which culminated in Jacqueline’s murder.

A security guard was stationed at the house, according to the outlet. He was reportedly shot but did not return fire at the attackers. Sources told TMZ, which first reported the murder, that Clarence was not injured.

Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said: 'The motives in this case are still unknown, and we are investigating all possible motives. We will not speculate on anything that's out there, including if this was a robbery attempt or not'

Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said: 'The motives in this case are still unknown, and we are investigating all possible motives. We will not speculate on anything that's out there, including if this was a robbery attempt or not'

Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said: ‘The motives in this case are still unknown, and we are investigating all possible motives. We will not speculate on anything that’s out there, including if this was a robbery attempt or not’

The scene outside of Clarence Avant's $7 million Beverly Hills home after his wife was shot and killed in an apparent burglary on Wednesday

The scene outside of Clarence Avant's $7 million Beverly Hills home after his wife was shot and killed in an apparent burglary on Wednesday

The scene outside of Clarence Avant’s $7 million Beverly Hills home after his wife was shot and killed in an apparent burglary on Wednesday 

A family source told TMZ that robbers fired shots as they entered the home and hit Avant’s wife. The home is valued at an estimated $7 million. It’s unclear if the suspect or suspects made off with any stolen goods. 

Stainbrook had said Wednesday afternoon that the department is currently conducting an investigation into the incident, which they have determined is a homicide.

At least one suspect, the shooter, had gotten inside the Avants’ home when he opened fire at Jacqueline, TMZ further reported, speaking to sources connected to the investigation. It’s still unclear how many suspects were involved. 

Police initially said the suspects were likely looking to rob the elderly couple, citing a broken glass door at the back of the property.

However, Chief Stainbrook later said: ‘The motives in this case are still unknown, and we are investigating all possible motives.’

‘We will not speculate on anything that’s out there, including if this was a robbery attempt or not,’ he added.

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The armchair critics keep doubting Nicole Kidman, but she’ll have the last laugh

And the doubters came in spades, including 21st Century American television comic queen Debra Messing, 53, who admittedly looks a lot more like Ball in her natural (well, as natural as a Hollywood star can be) state than Kidman does.

Messing threw herself into the mix in January as news emerged that Kidman had landed the part by retweeting a stream of posts on the social media platform saying the Will & Grace star should have gotten the part.

But director Aaron Sorkin, 60, defended Kidman’s casting. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter last month he said:“We made this movie during COVID, and so in Zooming with Nicole and Javier and everyone else, I’d make it very clear to them that I am not looking for a physical or vocal impersonation of these people.”

“I know that Nicole was working on Lucy’s voice for a while, and I wanted to relieve her of that. As far as audience anticipation, that’s something I’m just not worried about. I’m certain that when people see the movie, they’ll leave feeling that Nicole has made a very solid case for herself, but moreover, I’ve found that you can really leverage low expectations.”

Nicole Kidman is well versed in the black arts of Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Nicole Kidman is well versed in the black arts of Tall Poppy Syndrome.Credit:Getty

At the latest count, this will be Kidman’s 65th film since she first graced the silver screen in 1983’s Bush Christmas.

That’s an extraordinary achievement by any measure, and yet the chorus of detractors always seem willing and able to pour their scepticism on her abilities as an actor.

Sure some of those outings she would probably prefer to forget – Australia and Grace Of Monaco come to mind – but with Oscars, Globes, BAFTAs, ACTAS and Logies all under her belt, she clearly deserves a little more confidence in audiences that she can pull off a role, even one as iconic as Lucille Ball.

And from initial reports coming back from advance screenings of Being The Ricardos, it sounds as though Kidman has pulled off quite a performance, so much so she is returning to Sydney – and arguably her toughest audience – to walk the red carpet in her hometown for the Australian premiere next week.

Her smile will be extra bright too if she’s been reading reviews from the Hollywood press, with no less than trade magazine Variety talking up her performance as a potential Oscar contender.

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“Kidman embodies the essence of Ball, especially in her mannerisms during the rehearsals and filming of episodes. She very well may break your heart, demanding the viewer’s sympathy and a best actress nomination may seem almost certainly in the cards for her,” wrote Variety reviewer Clayton Davis recently.

Though given how many gongs she already has in her trophy cabinet, another Oscar probably won’t be enough to keep her chorus of armchair critics quiet for long.

Not that she appears to be paying them much attention.

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Being African American, Male and Thankful in America

Happy Thanksgiving is an age-old holiday and tradition. It gives us an opportunity to gather with family and friends.

It is a celebration of recalling memories of old and making new memories. And of course, you cannot forget about the food. We eat as much as we can for as long as we can.

This Thanksgiving holiday was a time of relief and release. Some might challenge this statement, but I believe it is true.

The health crisis called COVID-19 made Happy Thanksgiving not so happy.

Sickness and death kept us at bay. Healthcare experts warned us not too see one another because of the fear of the spread of the disease.

Wearing a mask, washing our hands and being socially apart replaced our usual festive Thanksgiving.

Many of us spent more time at the hospital than at the dinner table on Thanksgiving last year.

Now with the vaccine and the booster, Thanksgiving this year was different. We were able to be around our family members and friends.

I hope your family and friends were vaccinated. Mine were.

This Coronavirus is still with us. Do not be fooled seeing large crowds in shopping centers. Not all of them have taken the vaccine.

Some people who are not vaccinated believe they will be a part of herd immunity. Personally, I did not want to take that chance. Playing around with my life wasn’t something I was ready to do.

After our Thanksgiving meal and fellowship, I started to reflect upon these times in our society.

As an African American male, I am blessed to still be here. As I have said before, I am in the fourth quarter trying to get to overtime. Many of my friends as they say in the church have gone onto glory.

So, when I wake up in the morning, I give Him thanks for another day. I thank Him for allowing me to leave my home and return to it safely.

That word “safely” is an important word in today’s lexicon especially if you look like me.

Leaving our homes does not necessarily mean returning to our homes. Sadly, but factually, there is some risk involved. A lot of times the risk is unseen.

Last week in Brunswick Georgia, a jury found 3 men guilty of murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

As all of America knows, he left home going for a jog. He did not return. Ahmaud Arbery was missed at the Thanksgiving dinner table. His family will forever mourn his loss.

African American men, these incidents sometimes called accidents happen way too often to us. We live in everyday fear thinking that we might be next.

My prayer is that we take care of ourselves. What does that mean?

It means that as Black men, we must treat each other better. We ourselves must be slow to anger and control our temper.

Being ready to do bodily harm to each other will leave an empty space at the dinner table. There is no happiness in remorse and sorrow.

There are already built-in obstacles to our success. We must not be obstacles and roadblocks to one another.

We have a purpose here and that is to be role models and to lift one another up.

Let us make a pledge now to truly be our brother’s keeper. Otherwise, we will fall victim to unintended violence and mayhem because we didn’t keep our cool. We let our temporary anger become a permanent mark on our character.

Usually, for us, it lands us in jail. That is the reality. “That’s keeping it real”.

Treating each other with dignity and respect will mean enjoying many more Thanksgivings to come.

Upstate NY artist working to keep Virgil Ablho’s legacy alive

It was nearly a week ago that the world lost fashion pioneer Virgil Abloh. He died at just 41 years old after battling a rare form of cancer for two years. The impact of his loss was massive for minorities in the fashion world.

One upstate designer is using her art to keep Abloh’s legacy alive.

“With Virgil being such a driving force in the fashion world, when I heard the news I instantly knew I had to paint,” Rae’ Frasier, artist and street wear designer, said. “It’s my duty as part of someone in the culture and creative world to make sure that his legacy continues to live.”

Like Frasier, many in the art and fashion world were saddened to learn the designer passed away last Sunday. This, after his private battle to a rare type of cancer know as cardiac angiosarcoma.

In 2018, he made history by becoming the first Black artistic director for Louis Vuitton and pioneering the luxury streetwear concept.

“He kicked the door open for Black creative people partnering with big white organizations,” Frasier said.

Long before his partnership with Louis Vuitton, Virgil’s own clothing label, ‘Off White,’ grew from just a few t-shirts to an entire brand with a celebrity cult-like following.

“These are different clothing collections that I’ve had over the past year,” Frasier said.

Frasier also uses fashion as a canvas in her clothing line ‘Art Money.’ From the Dorothy Dandridge jacket to the Kobe hat, she mints historical figures and urban concepts into wearable art.

“I think that’s a beautiful part of our culture we love merging things. And Virgil did that so well,” Frasier said.

Only one in a million Americans will be diagnosed with cardiac angiosarcoma this year. It develops in the inner lining of the blood vessels and lymph vessels. As with this cancer, and others like colon cancer, which killed actor Chadwick Boseman, doctors say it’s important for people at any age to listen to their bodies and see their doctor if they have a concern.  


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