Calvin Harris records song with Taylor Swift’s long-time rival Katy Perry

Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift and Katy PerryGETTY

ENEMIES: Calvin Harris announced he had recorded a song with Katy Perry

Last week Taylor’s ex Calvin Harris announced he had recorded a song with her long-time rival Katy Perry.

Now I can reveal that same track features another guest who had a beef with the Shake It Off Star, Nicki Minaj.

The trio will unveil the single, titled Soft Lips, after Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards in the US.

An insider told me: “Nicki and Katy Perry have already been teasing Soft Lips on social media. Although lyrically the song is not obviously about Taylor, it’s no coincidence that these three artists have come together.

“They have all had high-profile run-ins in with Taylor and it won’t have gone unnoticed by her.”

Katy PerryGETTY

FEUD: Taylor’s fall-out with KP is of course legendary

“Nicki and Katy Perry have already been teasing Soft Lips on social media”


All they need now is a guest rap from Kanye West to make it the ultimate diss track.

Soft Lips will undoubtedly be seen as revenge for past bust-ups.

Taylor’s fall-out with KP is of course legendary and rumoured to have inspired her diss-song Bad Blood.

Then last year Calvin was none too pleased when she ended their relationship, revealed secrets about a song they made and got together with Tom Hiddleston.

Minaj’s beef with the country pop star dates back to 2015 when they got into a Twitter spat over the MTV nominations not including black artists.

Mid spat, the rapper blew Katy Perry a supportive kiss suggesting she was on Team KP.

More recently they were thought to have made up but then Minaj appeared to mock Taylor when she amassed more Billboard hits than her.

Taylor is doing a good job of rising above the melodrama.

She is currently keeping a low profile while recording her new album in Nashville, and is expected to be launching a comeback in the autumn.


Irish belle Una Healy blames Ed Sheeran for making Galway a crazy place to be now.

The Saturdays star turned solo artist can’t escape Sheeran’s hit Galway Girl, saying: “It’s really big over in Ireland.

“My dad is from Galway actually, and lots of my cousins, so there’s a lot of weddings with first dances to Galway Girl and a lot of Galway girls being serenaded with Ed’s song. It’s done so well but it’s totally in his nature, with his grandparents being Irish.”

Una has shot a new video for her song Battlelines at London’s Bush Hall.

She told me: “It’s a song about the ups and downs of a relationship, the fights and making up.”


Harry Styles is getting his very own edition of Carpool Karaoke.

Fans will get to hear just how good he is at singing 1D classics without the other boys later this week.

And they will also witness another dodgy shirt! It’s all part of a weeklong residency on James Corden’s US TV show where, as usual, Harry gave nothing away.

He coughed and looked away when Corden grilled him about his on-off relationship with Kendall Jenner.

Meanwhile, poor old Kendall fell flat on her face during a casual bike ride.

Sister Khloe filmed the model going ass-over-t*t.

Harry’s still refusing to admit their love affair must have hit her hard…

Harry StylesGETTY

STAR: Harry Styles is getting his very own edition of Carpool Karaoke


Lorde secretly wants to be Stevie Nicks – the Kiwi is such a fan of the Fleetwood Mac star she hunts for clothes “Nicks would wear”.

She quipped: “She wraps my heart in soft fabric. Isn’t she just beautiful?” Lorde revealed she was afraid new album Melodrama would not live up to her debut.

She explained: “There was a real hit of, like: ‘I just don’t have another one. It could never be good enough.’”


Luis Fonsi is shocked Justin Bieber rapped in Spanish on his song.

The Puerto Rican said: “I didn’t even know he was doing it. There was a line in English but he sang in Spanish instead – so now everyone can learn Spanish!”

Luis says his album drops in November with some big collabs: “My dream would be Stevie Wonder.”

Luis FonsiGETTY

ARTIST: Luis Fonsi is shocked Justin Bieber rapped in Spanish on his song


After a few pop duds is Lady Gaga already preparing for a new career as a mechanic?

The star stepped out in a pair of workmen overalls, customised to suit her unique taste.

Your local Kwik Fit fitters wouldn’t be seen dead with the off-the-shoulder look.

Mother Monster was enjoying a break from shooting her new movie A Star is Born.

Maybe she could change the oil in my car while she’s at it.


Gone are the nipple pasties and in comes the double denim for Miley Cyrus.

The Malibu star rocks her new look and blames daddy Billy Ray Cyrus for her bad-girl past.

The former child actress said: “I didn’t get a school escape like most people. I went to work with my dad – that was really hard, every day from like 11 to 18. Which is why, when I turned 18, I had to break free.”


Rocker Brian Johnson is Back In Black.

The AC/DC singer, who quit touring because of hearing issues, joined Paul Rodgers on stage in Oxford this week.

Johnson covered Barrett Strong’s Money (That’s What I Want) with Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant.

The Geordie was told to stop performing following a “series of examinations by leading physicians in the field of hearing loss”.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Legendary music boss Reid out amid harassment reports

NEW YORK: L.A. Reid, one of the music world’s top executives who helped launch the careers of myriad stars including Rihanna and Justin Bieber, has left Epic Records after reported harassment allegations.

The 60-year-old has been chairman and CEO since 2011 of Epic, a unit of Sony Music that has been home to some of the top artists in recent decades from Michael Jackson to Pearl Jam.

Sony Music late last week issued an unusually terse statement of just one line: “L.A. Reid will be leaving the company.”

The company offered no further comment. But reports Monday in music magazine Billboard and The New York Post said that Sony management terminated Reid after complaints of sexual harassment.

The New York Post, citing an unnamed source, said a female assistant told management of inappropriate remarks and physical advances by Reid including asking her to hug him in bed during a business trip.

A lawyer for Reid did not return a message seeking comment Monday. Reid on Twitter quoted novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

Reid is considered one of music’s top tastemakers and last year released a memoir that recounted a who’s who of famous artists with whom he has worked.

Reid, who formerly headed labels Arista and Def Jam, became known in the late 1980s for producing a smooth pop sound for African American artists and jumpstarted the careers of TLC, Toni Braxton and Usher.

But his influence stretched across genres and he was famous for instinctively sensing who would become massive.

He signed Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne, R&B superstar Rihanna and, more recently, pop singer Meghan Trainor after hearing them audition briefly for him.

He also inked a contract with a teenage Justin Bieber and worked with Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez to revive their careers after their initial fame waned.

While mostly behind the scenes, British television viewers saw him for two seasons as a judge on singing contest “The X Factor,” an experience he later decried as lowering his artistic bar.

Reid’s exit marks a strikingly swift move after Sony endured public criticism for declining to respect singer Kesha’s requests to exit a contract.

Kesha has sued producer Dr. Luke, accusing him of raping her and tormenting her psychologically. He denies the charges and says she remains contractually bound to his Kemosabe Records, a Sony imprint. — AFP

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‘Silva’ gives good July Value in preparation for Betting World 1900

Vodacom Durban July watchers will be on tenterhooks throughout this week in the build up to one of the most important pointers to the big race, the R400,000, Grade 2 Betting World 1900 which will be run on Friday night at Greyville.

The 1900 is one of the Champions Season D-Days for horses who are on the borderline of July qualification.

It’s My Turn, picture Liesl King

Justin Snaith has the topweight It’s My Turn, who finished fourth in the July last year. However, he was only in 18th place on the first July log, so will need to run a big race either here or in another qualifier like the Cup Trial.

Snaith’s other 1900 pair, Elusive Silva and Prince of Wales, put in excellent SA Champions Season pipe openers in the Listed Sledgehammer handicap over 1800m. Elusive Silva showed showed a magnificent turn of foot to win easing up and is now joint-second on the July boards at 8/1. He only has a 99 merit rating, but was in 16th place on the July log.

The winner of the 1900 can only get a maximum of a six point merit rated raise, so he looks likely to be one of the best weighted horses in the July. Prince Of Wales gave Elusive Silva 3kg in the Sledgehammer and ran on strongly to be beaten only two lengths. Snaith said he had come on tremendously for the run, so he still represents good July value at 33/1. Prince Of Wales and Elusive Silva have landed plum draws on Friday night.

Last year’s July-winning trainer Joey Ramsden has a fascinating runner in Macduff. He is merit rated only 89 and finished way back in the Sun Met, but he had some good 1800m form behind Whisky Baron before that. He won his only previous start at Greyville. That was in the Listed Darley Arabian over 1600m on the poly, where he showed a good turn of foot, He is as effective on turf and has a plum draw on Friday night.

National Champion trainer Sean Tarry runs the tough old front-running veteran Serissa, who should ensure a decent pace. He also runs five-year-old Hyaku and the three-year-olds Tilbury Fort and Copper Pot. Copper Pot has a good turn of foot, but has been found wanting in features to date. Tilbury Fort finished a good 2.8 length third in the Gauteng Guineas, but was way back in the Grade 1 SA Classic, where he might not have enjoyed the going, as he should stay the 1900m trip.

Geoff Woodruff’s Master Switch has come into his own this season, so should do better in this race than he did last year. His stablemate Go Direct has also come into his own in the typical manner of a four-year-old by Go Deputy and is a dark horse. Both of Woodruff runners have wide draws.

Three-time July-winning trainer Dean Kannemeyer runs Mr Winsome, who is a typically improving son of Silvano, but must prove he is as good against out of province horses as he is against the locals.

Gavin van Zyl runs the long-striding but continually disappointing Rocketball. He has dropped to a 95 merit rating and showed some signs of revival last time.

Four-time July-winning trainer Mike de Kock runs Jubilee Line, who is yet to live up to the regard he is held in, but ran a good race in a 2000m handicap last week.

Duncan Howells runs Ten Gun Salute, who was in last year’s July and has been said to have come on a lot from gelding.

Glen Kotzen runs Banner Hill who proved himself more than just a stayer when easily winning his Champions Season pipe opener over 1800m on the Greyville turf.

2017 Vodacom Durban July ante-post betting guide [as at 12:53pm May 15]:

13/2 Marinaresco, Al Sahem; 7/1 Elusive Silva; 14/1 Heavenly Blue; 15/1 Black Arthur, Saratoga Dancer; 16/1 Horizon, Edict Of Nantes; 18/1 Its My Turn; 20/1 Pagoda, Hat Puntano #; 25/1 Copper Force, Africa Rising, Captain America, Krambambuli, Zodiac Ruler; 28/1 Brazuca, The Conglomerate, Deo Juvente; 33/1 Prince Of Wales, French Navy, Master Switch; 35/1 Bela-Bela, Master Sabina, Nightingale; 40/1 Orchid Island, Secret Captain; 50/1 Liege, Banner Hill; 66/1 Nebula; 80/1 Ten Gun Salute, Bi Pot, Silver Mountain; 100/1 Safe Harbour, Witchcraft, Girl On The Run, Smiling Blue Eyes, Trophy Wife; 150/1 Jubilee Line, Tilbury Fort, Macduff, Bold Viking; 250/1 Royal Badge, Copper Pot; 300/1 The Elmo Effect, Rocketball, Fort Meyers.

Odds courtesy of and subject to change

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

‘Home’ the sort of play theater is homesick for

Updated 1:46 pm, Monday, May 15, 2017

When we critics describe a work of art as sentimental or nostalgic, it’s usually to denigrate. But with Lorraine Hansberry Theatre’s “Home,” those descriptors only laud.

Samm-Art Williams’ Tony-nominated 1979 play, seen Sunday, May 14, at the African American Art and Culture Complex, is that rare drama that earns every pang of homesickness, every longing for bygone days, that it sets out to conjure.

That’s partly because the play, about black North Carolina orphan Cephus Miles (Myers Clark), remains, nearly four decades later, the sort of story our mainstream stages don’t tell often enough. That’s also why the 36-year-old Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, which is dedicated to producing works by and for people of color, is such a vital part of the Bay Area theater scene.

But the show, directed by Aldo Billingslea, also succeeds because Williams’ language transcends easy feeling for something more mythic, more primal. Here’s Cephus on his love of the rain on his crops: “The warm sparkling drops cover your face and the ground with its sweet blanket of pure wet.”

Williams is equally spare yet vivid in envisioning Cephus himself. At first glimpse the character might seem like just another hayseed, but Williams writes Cephus in a cipher, spurring endless speculation and projecting. Cephus takes his childhood Sunday school teachings — “Thou shalt not kill” — so seriously that he’s willing to go to jail for them when he gets drafted to fight in Vietnam. He’s no angel, nor is he a crusading pacifist. But he nonetheless elevates the commandment to mantra, as if in issuing it, God were speaking directly to him. Clark makes the character all the more unflappable; taunts from his Cross Roads, N.C., neighbors roll right off in the face of an easy grin, a bit of posturing. If you were to somehow ask the character where he got that inner strength, he’d probably demur and self-efface, while the twinkle in his eyes would say, “Isn’t it obvious?”

Even more extraordinary are Britney Frazier and Tristan Cunningham in a multitude of roles that invoke everyone from Cephus’ fellow farmers to the lowlifes he encounters when he tries life in the big city. They aren’t just individual characters but chorus, their rhythms sketching out the hush of the countryside, then the rush of the subway, often with neither prop nor costume change.

In one scene, playing a corpulent and menacing churchgoer, the slightly built Frazier hikes up her knees with such herculean effort that you’d swear folds of flesh were cascading from her limbs. Underscoring another scene with song, her mighty alto seems to rise up from throughout the theater.

Fans of Cunningham’s chameleon-like performance in Cutting Ball Theater’s “Tenderloin,” from 2012, should rejoice. In “Home,” Bay Area audiences have another chance to savor the full range of her talent. She steps so fully into each character — every tiny role a richly imagined amalgam of bearing and voice — that with each snap of a transformation you hold your breath, as if observing a magic trick.

A feast for the imagination, Billingslea’s direction briskly ferries time along; all of a sudden, Cephus is no longer a young man, and in his 30-odd years, it’s as if America has lost its innocence, too. Ultimately, Cephus offers a primer for how to go forward after you’ve fallen from grace: with gratitude, and with the belief that grace might not still be that far off.

Lily Janiak is The San Francisco Chronicle’s theater critic. Email: Twitter: @LilyJaniak

WILD APPLAUSEHome: Written by Samm-Art Williams. Directed by Aldo Billingslea. Through June 4. 90 minutes. $25-$35. African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St., S.F. (415) 474-8800.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Dear White People, Cultural Appropriation Exists Even If You Don’t Believe In It

Cultural appropriation has become one of those Trump-era terms that gets people literally all a-twitter. But there’s one thing you may notice when the topic hits your feeds and timelines — the people who are dismissing it as a joke are, well, white folks.

Like late at night on May 11, when a host of media bigwigs “hilariously” started Twitter-organizing an actual “Appropriation Prize” in reaction to the resignation of Write Magazine‘s Hal Niedzviecki after online uproar surrounding his editorial calling for one.

(More on that in a sec.)

hal niedzviecki
Hal Niedzviecki resting his head on a desk. (Photo: CP)

It began with former Rogers’ exec Ken Whyte. Soon, National Post editor-in-chief Ann Marie Owens, Maclean’s editor-in-chief Alison Uncles and CBC managing editor Steve Ladurantaye joined in, along with many columnists from various publications.

By this morning Steve Ladurantaye had tweeted an apology for his “dumb glib tweet about a dumb glib idea” and Owens joined in with “Apologies for any offence caused by what began as free speech protest thread — Twitter no place for glib.”

But their not-glib point was made clear if you noticed the pale skin tone of everyone piling on in that thread.

“In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities.”
— Hal Niedzviecki

Before you bombard my feed and timeline, I’m not in anyway saying these white people (or others) are racist because they have an opposing view to mine about this issue. I’m saying that there’s a reason why they don’t think cultural appropriation is a big deal, and that reason is because to them it’s not a big deal.

It’s the same reason why so many men don’t think catcalling is a concern — they’re not scared by it and, besides, it’s just a compliment, right?

What is cultural appropriation? Consider Elvis who, as Public Enemy’s Chuck D once pointed out in “Fight the Power,” was “a hero to most but never meant shit” to him. The reason why is because Elvis appropriated the black minority’s culture of music and made it palatable by repackaging it selling it to the white majority.

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Now did he honestly love the music by the black artists before? Was he legitimately inspired by it? Sure was. Daily Beast even reported an interview he gave in 1957 where he said:

“A lot of people seem to think I started this business. But rock ‘n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. Let’s face it; I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that. But I always liked that kind of music.”

Nevertheless, Elvis was already dubbed the “King of Rock’n’Roll” and embraced by the white media and white audiences. He wasn’t alone, either. As the Cambridge History of American Music points out, “It seems that many Americans wanted black music without the black people in it.” By the 1970s rock’n’roll was an almost entirely white genre.

elvis presley
Elvis Presley. (Photo: Flickr)

That’s the background for why the black community gets understandably upset when, say, a hip-hop Grammy goes to Macklemore instead of Kendrick Lamar and why you see headlines like “Iggy Azalea Doesn’t Win Grammy for Best Rap Album, Twitter Sighs With Relief.”

Now that last bit is funny because it’s true. You’re not hearing about cultural appropriation more nowadays because people weren’t upset before. It’s because social media has given the voiceless a voice and so minority complaints that once went unheard by the white majority are now being amplified online.

Just ask Niedzviecki. He is the now-former editor of Write Magazine after publishing “Winning the Appropriation Prize,” in which he encouraged white, middle-class writers to culturally appropriate even more! Oh, did I mention the issue was devoted to indigenous writing? Yes, really.

His editorial began with him proclaiming “I don’t believe in cultural appropriation” — as if a white person saying this could just make the whole issue go away already.

“In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities,” he added. “I’d go so far as to say that there should even be an award for doing so — the Appropriation Prize for best book by an author who writes about people who aren’t even remotely like her or him.”

He does not actually understand why people are upset.

His point was that CanLit is “exhaustingly white and middle-class” and the problem is that these people too often write about being white and middle-class. The solution, in his mind, is not to open doors for more people of colour, but to have those exhaustingly white and middle-class folks write about people of colour instead or, as he phrased it, “explore the lives of people who aren’t like you.”

Now Niedzviecki was the editor of a print magazine about writing — published by the Writers’ Union of Canada no less — so it would be hard-pressed to claim that his argument wasn’t intentional. I mean, the section was literally labelled “Writer’s Prompt.” But that didn’t stop him.

First social media blew up over the “clueless and thoughtless” editorial — thanks to posts by the likes of editorial board member Nikki Reimer, the issue’s indigenous contributors like Alicia Elliott, and indigenous scholars like Daniel Heath Justice‏.

Next, the Writers’ Union of Canada released an apology and Niedzviecki resigned.

But then he did an interview with the Globe and Mail in which he claimed “I had no intention of offending anyone with the article.”

Of course he didn’t. He does not actually understand why people are upset. FYI: It’s not the “charged” term that is upsetting for people, it’s the act of cultural appropriation.

It’s the act of hipsters wearing headdresses at music festivals. It’s the act of white girls dressing up as “Sexy Squaws” on Halloween and, as Niedzviecki of all people should be aware, it’s the act of Joseph Boyden claiming indigenous heritage to sell books, occupying a too-limited space in exhaustingly white and middle-class CanLit that could have gone to indigenous writers.

And, yes, it’s the act of gaslighting the real existence of cultural appropriation in a magazine issue allegedly devoted to amplifying the voices of the historically appropriated.

White people do identity politics, too – they just call it “politics.”

And, of course, while indigenous writers have taken to Twitter and Facebook to express their outrage, Globe columnist Elizabeth Renzetti is arguing “unpopular ideas shouldn’t be silenced” as if that’s all cultural appropriation is: “unpopular.” (Note: the headline was later softened to “Cultural appropriation: Why can’t we debate it?”)

Because, to her, it’s no big deal.

It’s also no big deal to Walrus magazine editor Jonathan Kay, who tweeted “The mobbing of Hal Niedzviecki is what we get when we let Identity-politics fundamentalists run riot
Sad & shameful.”

(White people do identity politics, too — they just call it “politics.”)

It’s also no big deal to the National Post‘s Christie Blatchford whose column was headlined “Magazine editor the latest to be silenced for the sin of free speech.”

norval morrisseau
Norval Morrisseau at the Pollock Gallery. (Photo: Photo by Dick Loek/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Let’s look at how this could have played out instead.

This week was also supposed to be the opening of a gallery show by Toronto painter Amanda PL but it was cancelled after concerns that her art appropriates the indigenous Woodland-style of Anishinaabe artist Norval Morrisseau.


Except Visions Gallery co-owner Tony Magee has said this just isn’t true.

White people do need to “explore the lives of people who aren’t like you.” But you don’t do that by stealing their stories.

“We didn’t make our decision out of political correctness. We didn’t do it as caving to pressure. We did it because we opened our eyes,” Magee told the Canadian Press. “It’s really offensive to have people accuse us of caving in and not being willing to stand up for what we believe in. Well, we are standing up for what we believe in.”

Now that’s the proper way to handle the concerns of marginalized people.

Niedzviecki was right about one thing, though — white people do need to “explore the lives of people who aren’t like you.”

But you don’t do that by stealing their stories. You do it by reading them, by listening to them and by sharing them.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this blog described Ken Whyte as a current Rogers employee.

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DS 7 Revealed As France’s New Presidential Ride

Deliveries to regular customers start in January 2018.

The new President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, will use the all-new DS 7 Crossback as his ceremonial vehicle. The model was introduced two months ago and was driven for the first time in public on the official inauguration ceremony seven months before its launch.

Of course, this is not just a regular example of the crossover. It features a custom-made opening roof, French Republic signature badging, and a Tricolor flag holder. Finished in Ink Blue, it has a matching Black Art leather interior named “Opera Inspiration” after a district of Paris, and 20-inch alloy wheels with special finish.

La voiture présidentielle d'Emmanuel Macron

There’s no information regarding the powertrain of the car, but DS Automobiles says in many aspects it is equipped with technologies that will be also offered to regular customers starting in January 2018. These include the DS Connected Pilot, “paving the way for autonomous driving,” and DS Actove Scan Suspension, “the 21st century DS suspension system,” which uses a camera to anticipate any bumps and undulations in the road surface.

More about the DS 7 Crossback:

Emmanuel Macron, the youngest President of the French Repulic since Napoleon Bonaparte, won’t be the first to use DS as a presidential car. General Charles de Gaulle in the 1960s, Claude Pompidou in the early 1970s, and their successors Giscard d’Estaing, François Mitterand, and Jacques Chirac in 1995 were all riding different Citroen/DS models from the past.


The presidential car will be displayed from May 16 at the DS World in Paris. As for the production DS 7 Crossback, it will go on sale in the first days of 2018 and will be offered with a new hybrid system delivering 300 horsepower (223 kilowatts). In this configuration, the crossover can travel up to 37 miles (59 kilometers) on purely electric energy.

Read also:

DS Automobiles

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Catherine Hernandez’s novel brings a spotlight to a Toronto neighbourhood often left in the wings

By Catherine Hernandez
Arsenal Pulp Press
264 pp; $17.95

Scarberia. Having been born and raised in the generally lower-income east-end Toronto neighbourhood, this is how my friends and I have always referred to Scarborough, stamping it with the same doom and gloom our central and west-end neighbours did. For so many of us, it is a place to escape, to grow out of, the small town to the city’s bright lights. For others, it’s home, period. Often because, while something bigger may be our destination, for our immigrant parents, Scarborough was the destination.

This is a place established by the brown and black working class and a multicultural artistic community, proudly held up even while disregarded by the rest of Toronto. There is an authenticity to it, one well captured by activist and writer Catherine Hernandez in her new novel, titled – what else – Scarborough. It’s unusual to read about the streets I’ve been raised on, the parks where I used to play, the roads I still drive down now. Because for many Scarberians, this is a story never told and often considered not worth telling, and one that makes me want to relinquish that Scarberia moniker once and for all.

The novel follows the interconnected stories of three children living around the Kingston/Galloway area, each with their own battles. There is Bing, who is struggling with his sexual identity and his father’s mental illness; Laura, who has bounced from her mother to her unstable, neglectful father’s care; and Sylvie, who spends her days with her family in a shelter.

Arsenal Pulp Press

The three, along with their parents, build a community in their Scarborough school, where they are brought together by Hina, a literacy program coordinator who makes it her mission to not only better these children’s language skills, but to offer a place of refuge and safety in an environment where drugs, crime, poverty and racism run rampant.

The way Hernandez refers to the suburban non-white experience, layered by class difference, makes Scarborough not only a topical read, but an evergreen one. Victor, a young black artist who is beloved in the community, at one point recalls being ostracized (even by his own neighbours) after he is admonished by police for painting a mural for which he was given a grant. His fear is palpable in Hernandez’s writing: “I was told by so many, and trained by so many to protect myself, that the act of stiffening in the presence of hatred toward black men became, and still is, as routine as putting on a shoe. Rabbit ears through the loop. Pull the laces.”

Similarly, Hina associates the way one white parent looks at her hijab – venom in his eyes and words as he drags his daughter away from a moment of affection between teacher and student – to a time she was laying on a hospital bed for an emergency appendectomy. The foreboding and fear is painfully familiar. She thinks, “Something about it made me remember my subconscious understanding that I was being cut open. I was being dissected. Then I was being sewn up, with something missing inside. Something about that moment. It made me remember the scalpels. The bright lights. The blood.”

It’s the plight of the other, alive in everyday conversation, in everyday contempt, even within her own community.

But Hina serves as a caregiver, and there is a keen, incredibly moving familiarity in the way the novel’s mothers and mother-figures love their children – something I associate with my own, but thanks to Hernandez, now see as the unique touch of the immigrant mother: the soft caressing, the arms a wrap-around “fence,” “fierce kisses” that are “more a smell than a smooch.”

After being harshly bullied by his schoolmates, Bing’s mother holds him tight, a barrier from the outside world. He repeats to himself the mantra her arms remind him of: “I am loved. I will be loved. I am loved. I will be loved. I am perfect just the way I am. … I practically suffocated under her loving grasp, but I dared not escape. … I languished in the sheer size of me. I was forced to rejoice in every fingernail, every hair on my head, the dimples on my cheek.”

This rare intimacy is strong in Hernandez’s dedication to a child she once taught in a Scarborough community centre when she was only 15 and the child was four. “Wherever you are, I hope you are safe,” she writes, a notion that lingers throughout the book, not only a message to outsiders of what it means to live in this neighbourhood, but that we are in it together. It’s sentimental, but I couldn’t help but feel profoundly moved in these small moments. We are a community that is not often lent a megaphone, falling off at the edge of the city, but one that is very much alive, through art, music, food and family. We are more than what makes the 6 p.m. news.

As a story that touches on problems accustomed to a neighbourhood plagued by its poverty, however, at times Scarborough verges on after-school special, a Degrassi for the more troubled set. But the melodrama hinges on the interplay between its three sets of young eyes – elementary school children who don’t know any better, but are beginning to discover that their lives are not quite as privileged as some of their classmates’ and those they see on TV. It’s a heartbreaking realization to read as it unwraps, but it’s a worthy reminder that there are many versions of one community and this is just a spotlight onto one rarely seen.

From the Rouge Hill waterfront via the 54 bus route, to the little strip mall on Lawson and Centennial to the National Thrift on Lawrence and Kingston, to the mural on the Warden Station underpass (Jamaican patty in hand), this is a town coloured by its people, brutal when it’s rough, comfortably home when it feels like it or when it doesn’t. And this is a story on the reckoning of privilege and the acceptance of difference. Simply put, it’s a lot.

As one character reminisces while working at a family-owned restaurant serving dishes from back home, “People here want home. They want home because it is so darn cold outside, and all they want is their mom and dad or kids back where it’s warm. And green. They want it how it is back home. Looks ugly and tastes pretty. Simple. Served with a big spoon on a big plate. No fuss. No thinking about texture and height and taste journey or whatever. They just want home.”

Because if Scarborough is anything, it’s an amalgamation of culture, connected by families who have immigrated from warmer climates with spicier palates, who have left behind their own parents and siblings and friends to find a better place for their children. And in Toronto, that place is Scarborough – a home away from home.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

City unveils draft action plan to combat anti-Black racism, asks ‘Did we get it right?’

Members of Toronto’s Black communities are hopeful about the recommendations in a newly-released draft action-plan to tackle anti-Black racism in the city, but many say just how to implement those ideas remains to be seen.

On Saturday afternoon, the city presented the draft — developed out of some 41 community conversations held between January and March of this year — at City Hall for feedback from the city’s Black community leaders and members. All in all, the city says, more than 800 people played a role in developing the plan.

“Our communities are lagging behind on a number of those socioeconomic indicators,” Amanual Melles of the African-Canadian Social Development Council told CBC Toronto. “I think there’s a good momentum, there’s committed leadership, the time seems to be right, we’re engaged in this process and I’m optimistic.”

The draft plan focuses on five key areas — each with tangible action items attached — which will be finalized before heading to the executive committee in June, followed by city council in July.

Tangible actions attached to 5 key areas

The five areas are:

  • Children and youth development, which includes increasing the number of “culturally appropriate” before and after school programs, increasing hiring of Black people, expanding resources for Black queer service providers and communicating with the province and school boards about the need for improvements to support safe learning.
  • Community engagement and Black leadership, which includes applying an “anti-Black racism lens” to the city’s complaint process, providing an incubation space for Black businesses and investing in Black arts and culture. 
  • Health and community supports, which includes improving the availability of mental health services for Black people, increasing the number of permanent Black health and social workers, expanding recreational programming, improving food access, ensuring Black seniors are represented in the city’s seniors strategy, and improving shelter and housing conditions.
  • Job opportunities and income supports, which includes increasing the employment and training opportunities for Black people at the city of Toronto, providing mentorship programs, promoting inclusive and equitable hiring practices and continuing to call on the province to raise social assistance rates. 
  • Policing and the justice system, which includes measures to stop racial profiling and the “over-policing” of Black people, reviewing use of force protocols, collect and publicly report mandatory race-based data, and making information about policing and the criminal justice system better available.

‘Waiting to see what the commitment is’

Black Lives Matter Toronto member Ravyn Wngz says she sees little in the draft report that she objects to. Instead, she wonders about how the city plans to implement the measures and who is left accountable if they don’t become reality.

“You can have the policies and the language and all of the information. John Tory already said it’s been 40 years of information and so I’m sure in that time people have given recommendations before… so I’m really wanting to see what the commitment is to these recommendations to make sure Black communities, Black people can have the spaces that they need for themselves to grow and expand and to be in control of our own lives,” Wngz said.

Denise Andrea Campbell

The city’s director of social policy analysis Denise Andrea Campbell says Saturday’s consultation was an opportunity to ask Toronto’s Black communities, “Did we get it right?” (CBC)

BLM Toronto was not involved in the consultations, she added, largely because the organization wanted those who have been working on these issues for much longer than the approximately three-year-old organization to take the lead.

The city’s director of social policy analysis Denise Andrea Campbell said Saturday’s consultation was an opportunity to ask Toronto’s Black communities, “Did we get it right?” 

While Campbell wouldn’t speak to BLM’s absence from the consultations, she acknowledged the organization was instrumental in prompting a conversation about anti-Black racism in the city, adding it was invited to participate throughout the process.

Ravyn Wngz

Black Lives Matter Toronto member Ravyn Wngz says she sees little in the draft report that she objects to. Instead, she wonders about how the city plans to implement the measures and who is left accountable if they don’t become reality. (CBC)

“Certainly we’re here in part today because they challenged governments to pay attention to the very real things that communities need,” she said.

For now, Wngz remains cautiously optimistic.

“What I’m really hopeful for is that the entire city will hold John Tory and all of Toronto city councillors accountable,” she said. “When one community is lifted up, all communities are lifted up and that’s what we’re looking for.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Summer Nostos Festival 2017 at SNF (Video)

This June, the Summer Nostos Festival (SNFestival) proposes a homecoming (nostos), a collective “return” to all those things and ideas that the arrival of summer means for each one of us, with an entire week of free events for all, that will take place between June 18 and June 25, 2017.

The Festival is organized and exclusively funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), returning in this way, once a year, to the “home” it created for all people.

The SNFestival 2017 invites us to travel back to our favorite summers, guided by music, dance and melodies, stories and laughter, exercise and play. Let’s make this summer unforgettable! More than 400 Greek and international artists and contributors collaborate creatively, offering more than 75 events, held on 5 stages and many other spaces around the SNFCC. Music, dance, sports, discussions, arts and architecture are all part of a full week of events, with the presence of additional activities, such as screenings, guided tours and magic shows, composing a multifaceted program, which has something to offer for everyone.

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The cultural program, curated by the SNF Team in collaboration with Limor Tomer, Concerts & Lectures General Manager at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, as well as a team of consultants-experts in their respective fields, includes the participation of 160 Greek and 130 international artists, thus promoting partnership, the exchange of ideas and experiences.

Impressive outdoor concerts at the Great Lawn of the Stavros Niarchos Park and on the Canal’s sea water, summer parties, atmospheric performances in the halls of the Greek National Opera, works of art that will provide food for thought and reflection, alongside magic shows that capture the imagination, lectures and discussions that nourish the mind, combined with sports activities for the whole family, make up a program that contains all the vital elements of summer: carelessness, but also time for reflection, rest, but also action, opening up to new sights and sounds, but also returning to all those things that make us feel like home.

So, let’s return to everything we love and to all those things that make our heart beat!

[Main Events]

This open summer celebration brings together some of the greatest names of the international and local art scene:

>Live performances by Leonidas Kavakos, Yo La Tengo, Charlotte Rampling, The Cinematic Orchestra, Melanie De Biasio, Lena Platonos, Nikos Portokaloglou, Monika, Saul Williams, MELISSES, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Eleanor Friedberger, DJ Alex Cruz, Susan Deyhim, and many more, make up a musical blend for all tastes!

> A comprehensive discussion between the SNFCC’s visionary architect, Renzo Piano, and the New York Times architectural critic, Michael Kimmelman, combined with the architectural exhibition Piece by Piece – Renzo Piano Building Workshop which showcases models, sketches, photographs and videos of the firm’s projects during the past 30 years, and which, before arriving to Athens had already traveled to New York, Padua and Shanghai, all with the exclusive support of the SNF. More information on the show which is already on show at the SNFCC Lighthouse (until 23/7) can be found here.

> The now established race SNF RUN: Running into the Future, which returns this year with two different routes, of 10k and 6k, in addition to the 1k race for Special Olympics athletes.

> With regards to visual arts, the Only Connect program, designed by curator, art critic and academic, Robert Storr, along with a team of acclaimed curators, offers a selection of thematic videos and performances by Kim Jones, Tania Bruguera, Mieskuoro Huutajat, Paris Legakis, that address the concept of “connection”, at a time when communication between people is being tested.

> The Night Dances, a music and poetry performance featuring the critically acclaimed British actress, Charlotte Rampling. A poignant recitation of Sylvia Plath’s poetry, accompanied by Benjamin Britten’s solo suites for cello, Nos 2 & 3, performed by French-American cellist, Sonia Wieder-Atherton.

> The Τheater of War’s play Antigone in Ferguson, which deals with cases of police brutality and racism, based on an original idea by the director and creator of the Theater of War, Bryan Doerries. The performance utilizes the healing power of Ancient Greek Tragedy, to provide relief to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

> As part of the Festival’s dance program, the American choreographer and performer, Elizabeth Streb, comes to Greece for the first time along with the Streb Extreme Action group, for five gravity-defying performances at the SNFCC Labyrinth.

> Heidi Latsky and choreographer Apostolia Papadamaki present the collaborative performance On Display – Athens, a deconstructed choreography/commentary on the human body as a spectacle, with an ensemble of 10 Greek and American dancers, including professional dancers with kinetic disabilities.

> The Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece, make their debut at this year’s festival, leaving their own, distinct mark. The Greek National Opera participates with two performances of Giorgos Koumendakis’ play The day will come… directed by Ektoras Lygizos, while Antonis Foniadakis choreographs a two-part performance by members of the GNO ballet and independent dancers, under the evocative and cathartic sounds of Philip Glass’s music. Likewise, the National Library of Greece, participates with the interactive exhibition Reading Points, as part of their Summer Campaign activities, along with a series of open talks with a variety of themes.

> The simultaneous chess encounter of legendary Garry Kasparov, with young champions from Greece.

> And of course, the creative and entertaining magic performances, that meet up in the Labyrinth and the Alternative Stage, featuring the amazing tricks of internationally acclaimed magician, Mark Mitton.

[embedded content]

[List of all the events]

Sunday, June 18

18:00-21:30 Park Games – Running Track

18:00 – 20:00 Kayak – Canal

18:30-20:30 Landart – Esplanade

18:30 – 21:30 Climbing Wall – Waterjets

18:30 – 21:30 WWF “Fish Forward” – Waterjets

19:00 & 23:00 Giorgos Koumentakis: “The Day Will Come” – GNO Alternative Stage

19:30 STREB Extreme Action – Labyrinth

19:30 – 20:30 Capoeira – Great Lawn

20:30 Markellos Chrysikopoulos & Handel: Water Music & Music for the Royal Fireworks – Canal Stage

21:00 Bang on a Can “Anthracite Fields” – Stavros Niarchos Hall

22:00 Concert: Nikos Portokaloglou – Great Lawn Stage

Monday, June 19

18:00-21:30 Fencing Tournament – Running Track

18:00 – 20:00 Robotics – Mediterranean Garden

18:00 – 20:00 Kayak – Canal

18:30-20: 30 Landart – Esplanade

18:30 – 21:30 Climbing Wall – Waterjets

19:00 “Greek Folk Music: What does it mean to us today?” – Book Castle

19:00 Wordless Music Orchestra, “Jackie” – Stavros Niarchos Hall

19:30 STREB Extreme Action – Labyrinth

19:30 String Quartet ETHEL “Documerica”– GNO Alternative Stage

19:30 – 20:30 Park Games – Great Lawn

21:00 Bang on a Can “Brian Eno’s Music for Airports”– Canal Stage

22:00 D. Kalantzis Quintet and Kamerata – Great Lawn Stage

23:00 Wordless Music Orchestra, “Under the Skin” – Stavros Niarchos Hall

Tuesday, June 20

18:00-21:30 Ping Pong Tournament – Running Track

18:00 – 20:00 Kayak – Canal

18:00 – 20:00 Kindergarten – Mediterranean Garden

18:30 – 21:30 Climbing Wall – Waterjets

18:30-20: 30 Landart – Esplanade

19:00 Public reading of Dionysios Solomos’ work “Woman of Zakythos” – Book Castle

19:00 – 20:30 “Everyone is playing”– Great Lawn

19:00 Conversation between Renzo Piano and Michael Kimmelman – Stavros Niarchos Hall

19:30 STREB Extreme Action – Labyrinth

19:30 K. Mourad & K. Azmeh – GNO Alternative Stage

20:30 Black Art Jazz Collective – Canal Stage

22:00 Concert: Lena Platonos & Guests – Great Lawn Stage

Wednesday, June 21

18:00-21:30 Park Games – Running Track

18:00 – 20:00 Kayak – Canal

18:00 – 20:00 Robotics – Mediterranean Garden

18:30 – 21:30 Climbing Wall – Waterjets

18:30-20: 30 Landart – Esplanade

19:00 “Angelos Sikelianos, Mother of God. 100 years since publication” – Book Castle

19:30 STREB Extreme Action – Labyrinth

19:30 Susan Deyhim “Beautiful and the Beast” – GNO Alternative Stage

20:00 – 20:30 Body Music – Music Garden

20:30 Mélanie De Biasio – Canal Stage

22:00 Concert: The Cinematic Orchestra – Great Lawn Stage

Thursday, June 22

18:00-21:30 Park Games – Running Track

18:00 – 20:00 Kayak – Canal

18:00 – 20:00 Kindergarten – Mediterranean Garden

18:30 Only Connect: Mieskuoro Huutajat – Screaming Men Choir – Agora

18:30 – 21:30 Climbing Wall – Waterjets

18:30-20: 30 Target Tournament – Esplanade

19:00 “Dimitrios Kapetanakis as the reader and the readers of Kapetanakis” – Book Castle

19:30 STREB Extreme Action – Labyrinth

19:30 & 23:00 Magic Show – GNO Alternative Stage

19:30 – 20:30 Capoeira – Great Lawn

20:00 – 20:30 Body Music – Music Garden

20:30 “Dés/équilibre/s” – A. Foniadakis’ Choreography of the Greek National Opera Ballet and Modern Dancers – Canal Stage

20:30 Theater of War: Antigone in Ferguson – Stavros Niarchos Hall

22:00 Saul Williams – Great Lawn Stage

Friday, June 23

18:00-21:30 Kids Athletics – Running Track

18:00 – 20:00 Kindergarten – Mediterranean Garden

18:30 – 21:30 Climbing Wall – Waterjets

19:00 “The spiritual testimony of Simone Weil” – Book Castle

19:30 On Display: Heidi Latsky & Apostolia Papadamaki – Waterjets

19:30 & 23:00 Magic Show – GNO Alternative Stage

20:00 – 20:30 Body Music – Music Garden

20:00 Tigue – Canal Stage

20:00 SNF Run: Running Into the Future – (Race begins at Panathenaic Stadium and ends at Esplanade)

22:00 ΜΕΛISSES – Great Lawn Stage

23:00 DJ Alex Cruz – Great Lawn Stage

Saturday, June 24

10:00-20:00 Adventure Road – Esplanade

18:00-21:30 Badminton Tournament- Running Track

18:00 – 20:00 First Aid Seminars for Children – Mediterranean Garden

18:30 – 21:30 Climbing Wall – Waterjets

19:00 “Five centuries since the posting of Luther’s 95 theses (1517-2017). The importance of Reformation in western civilization.” – Book Castle

19:00-20:00 Only Connect: Paris Legakis – Great Lawn

19:30 On Display: Heidi Latsky & Apostolia Papadamaki – Waterjets

20:00 – 20:30 Wakeboarding Show – Canal

19:30 Garry Kasparov – Labyrinth

19:30 Eleanor Friedberger – GNO Alternative Stage

20:30 Toshi Reagon & the BIG Lovely– Canal Stage

22:00 Yo La Tengo – Great Lawn Stage

Sunday, June 25

09:00-11:00 Family Adventure – Running Track

12:00-20:00 Adventure Road – Esplanade

18:30 Only Connect: Tania Bruguera – “Tatlin’s whisper #6” – Agora

18:30 – 21:30 Climbing Wall – Waterjets

19:00 “50 years since the coup d’état of April 21st” – Book Castle

19:00-20:00 Only Connect: Paris Legakis – Great Lawn

19:30 On Display: Heidi Latsky & Apostolia Papadamaki – Waterjets

19:30 Magic Show – Labyrinth

19:30 Charlotte Rampling – Sonia Wieder-Atherton “The Night Dances”– GNO Alternative Stage

19:30-20:30 Everyone is Playing – Great Lawn

20:00 – 20:30 Wakeboarding Show – Canal

20:30 Nickel and Dime Ops – Canal Stage

20:30 Leonidas Kavakos Recital & E.Pace in the Piano – Stavros Niarchos Hall

22:00 Monika & ERT Orchestra – Great Lawn Stage


The Rehearsal Room: series of interviews with Kafka

Only Connect: video art screenings within the park and the facilities areas

Lighthouse: RPBW – Exhibition Piece by Piece

Book Castle: Interactive exhibition

[Information about your visit]

Dates and opening hours of the Summer Nostos Festival 2017

The Summer Nostos Festival 2017 events take place in the following days and hours:

Sunday, June 18: 6pm – 1am

Monday, June 19: 6pm – 1am

Tuesday, June 20: 6pm – 1am

Wednesday, June 21: 6pm – 1am

Thursday, June 22: 6pm – 1am

Friday, June 23: 6pm – 1am

Saturday, June 24: 10pm – 1am

Sunday, June 25: 9pm – 1am

During the Festival, the SNFCC premises will remain accessible during normal opening hours: 6am to 1am.

The opening hours for the Renzo Piano Building Workshop-Piece by Piece exhibition at the Lighthouse are from 06.00 to 24.00.

All Summer Nostos Festival events are free and there are no participation fees.

[A few words about the SNFestival]

The Summer Nostos Festival (SNFestival) is an arts, sports and education festival that is open to all. Music, dance, sports, arts and architecture, discussions, screenings and programs for children and families are combined every June, for an entire week, as part of a multi-faceted program of events addressed to all ages and interests.

Participation in all events is free of charge.

The SNFestival is organized and made possible through the exclusive support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The SNFestival finds an ideal venue in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC). During the Festival, multiple spaces in the SNFCC, both indoors and outdoors, host events and actions, reaffirming the SNFCC’s mission to offer a dynamic, open public space that is accessible to all.

The implementation of the Summer Nostos Festival is part of the broader and ongoing support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to the SNFCC.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The Blues Music Awards: A Funky Family Reunion

click to enlarge William Bell and Bobby Rush

  • William Bell and Bobby Rush

The Blues Foundation’s 38th Annual Blues Music Awards (BMA’s) were held Thursday night at a packed Cook Convention Center, and for those few hours, a kind of blues utopia materialized in downtown Memphis. First and foremost, it was a utopia for blues fans of all stripes, with performances by luminaries old and new keeping everyone moving and “rattling their jewelry” at the gala event. But it was a utopia as well for the performers and others in this niche of the music industry, coming together to renew old friendships, forge new ones, and see the once-humble world of blues entertainment exploding before their eyes. Paradoxically, and perhaps due to the blues’ homespun values, the community has lost none of it’s personal quality even as the industry of the blues has grown.

“It’s the biggest night in blues. We have two Grammy award winners, Fantastic Negrito and Bobby Rush, and they presented together,” explained Blues Foundation president Barbara Newman, who noted that the personal quality of the gathering remained intact. “It’s all about relationship-building. It’s a big reunion. And everybody’s looking out for everybody else. All the nominees want to win, but they’re really happy for their friends if they don’t.” Having headed the organization for less than two years, she’s made it her goal to reach beyond the established community. “The blues world knew about the Blues Foundation, but people that love the blues, but aren’t necessarily entrenched in the blues, didn’t know us, and we’re working to get them to know who we are. We’re seeing a lot more excitement and energy. Our social media has popped. There’s been huge growth there.”

Highlights of the night included a soulful set by Betty Lavette, who fondly recalled recording one of her hits here in Memphis forty-eight years ago, and a bristling performance by longtime Muddy Waters sidekick John Primer. Primer delivered the most gripping solos of the night, playing bottleneck slide in frenzied, coruscating sheets of sound, invoking the early Chicago scene one minute, quoting the Star Spangled Banner in the next. Pausing between numbers, he noted, “You know, I won one of these trophies last year. But I’ll be so happy when someone else wins. I don’t need five or six trophies. Let these young people win some and keep the blues alive.”

And while many young talents were recognized last night, the royalty of the evening was clearly Bobby Rush, fresh off his recent Grammy win for Best Traditional Blues Album. At the BMA’s, not only did his Porcupine Meat win Album of the Year, his fifty-year career retrospective on Omnivore Recordings, Chicken Heads, won Historical Album of the Year. “It makes me feel old!” quipped Rush. “But it’s a blessing to get old. You put your mark on a wheel and you roll it down a hill, and your mark come back to you.”

Musing on the four disc set, Rush noted, “to have a CD out with this many records, you have to be blessed enough to have that many masters. Because the masters that I have, I own. Not many artists, especially black artists, own their own masters.” Was this due to his business smarts at the time? “Now I think it’s smart. But I was blessed, because I think what happened was, they counted me out, ‘cos I was just a little blues guy, would never amount to anything. ‘Let him have it, he’s not gonna do anything with it.’ And all of a sudden I get 80 years old, and I have a valuable piece of property.” Rush hinted at more retrospectives to come. “That’s not even about half of it. I probably have another 120 songs in the can,” he said before adding, with his eye on the future, “My motto is, ‘I must do all I can while I can.’ The best song never been sung yet.”

For a complete list of winners and other information, go to

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment