Rep. Bass elected new Chairperson of Congressional Black Caucus

Rep. Karen Bass and House Democrats hosted a press conference to discuss the Trump administration’s proposal to separate migrant families and place separated children in foster care. (courtesy photo)

Bass has continued to represent the 37th congressional district of California by being an active voice for criminal justice reform, fighting for America’s foster care system, and strengthening the United States ties with Africa. Now Bass will have the opportunity to continue making change in her new role as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

By Brandon I. Brooks, Managing Editor, Los Angeles Sentinel

Kimberlee Buck contributed to this article.

In 2008, Congresswoman Karen Bass made history after being elected as the first ever African American woman to become Speaker of any state legislature. Since then, Bass has continued to represent the 37th congressional district of California by being an active voice for criminal justice reform, fighting for America’s foster care system, and strengthening the United States ties with Africa. Now Bass will have the opportunity to continue making change in her new role as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

Bass’ colleagues from the DNC, CBC as well as local and religious leaders extended their warmest congratulations on her latest feat.

“[I am] truly excited to see the energy and determination Karen Bass will bring to her role as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus,”said minority leader of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

DNC chair Tom Perez says he “couldn’t be happier to call Congresswoman Karen Bass the next chair” of the CBC.

“From fighting for criminal justice reform and child welfare to affordable health care and a stronger economy for all, Karen has devoted her life to serving California families and African American communities across the country,” he said.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II referred to Congresswoman Bass a “trailblazer.”

“I am delighted that Congresswoman Karen Bass has been elected to lead the Congressional Black Caucus for the 116th Congress. Rep. Bass has been a trailblazer and a true advocate for issues concerning people of color. I am certain that her leadership will continue to move the CBC ahead and I look forward to working with her,” he said.

Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson told the LA Sentinel:

“We are proud to share our leader, Karen Bass, with the rest of the country. I am eager to see the largest Congressional Black Caucus make great strides under her leadership.”

LA City Council President Herb Wesson, who is also a longtime friend of Bass, congratulated her in a Twitter post: “Congratulations @RepKarenBass on being elected chair of the @OfficialCBC! It’s been an honor to have you as a friend, colleague and representative. The Congressional Black Caucus is in good hands.”

Pastor J. Edgar Boyd who is the senior minister at First AME Church of Los Angeles calls Bass “a true champion.”

“Karen Bass has become a true champion for causes which impact the lives of people living within her district, across California and even beyond the borders of the US. True courage is seen in her fight to ensure the rights and opportunities of children, working parents, seniors, veterans, and the LGBT community; while yet promoting measures to ensure civil justice, human safety, and civility at our borders. Her leadership at the helm of the CBC will provide dividends well into the future,” he said.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas mentioned that he can think of no one better than Karen Bass to lead the CBC.

“With 55 members, the Caucus is larger than it has ever been, and well-positioned to advance a progressive agenda. I look forward to hearing more about that agenda when Rep. Bass delivers the keynote speech at this year’s Empowerment Congress, to be held January 19th at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science,” he said.

Senator Holly Mitchell who has worked with Bass in the past described how Bass’ leadership will influence the CBC.

“Someone with her experience in terms of managing budgets the size of California and managing budget crises the size of California and to have been a leader of one of the most powerful state legislatures in the country…all of that experience with her national contacts that she will bring to her role as chair will be hugely beneficial to the caucus as a whole. I am excited for her and I am excited for the future of the caucus,” she said.

Bass, who is the eighth woman to hold this position, will replace outgoing chair Cedric Richmond.  Other members of Congress who were also elected include: Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03), first vice chair; Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14), second vice chair; Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA-04), secretary; Congressman A. Donald McEachin (D-VA-04), Whip; and Congressman-elect Steven Horsford (D-NV-04), Parliamentarian.

“From her days in the California General Assembly where she became the first African American woman in U.S. history to lead a state legislative body, to her work in Congress to address both domestic and international issues affecting people of African descent, Congresswoman Bass has demonstrated tried and true leadership,” said Richmond in a statement.

“There’s much work to be done next Congress to ensure equality and justice for African Americans and other marginalized communities, and I am confident Congresswoman Bass will continue to provide strong leadership in this regard.”

Bass and the newly elected members of the CBC executive committee will take office on the first day of the 116th Congress. In the meantime, the LA Sentinel spoke with Congresswoman Bass to discuss her vision for the CBC as well as the things she hopes to tackle in this position.

“Well one of the main things that I hope to accomplish in the two years that I’ll be able to serve in this capacity is to really elevate the accomplishments of individual members of the Congressional Black Caucus,” said Bass.

“We have a President who is openly hostile and hateful when it comes to African Americans and immigrants and people of color in general. What he has done behind the scenes in attempting to dismantle 60 to 70 years of gains that we have made in the Civil Rights Movement through various levels of activism through legislative accomplishments. He is quietly dismantling a lot of those accomplishments and I want to see that stopped.”

Bass goes on to say the Trump administration is the most corrupt administration she has ever seen in her life and that the CBC will be at the “forefront of that fight” holding them accountable for their actions.

Aside from new role in the CBC, Bass will also be the chair of the subcommittee on Africa.

“What I really want to do there is begin to change the way the United States does foreign aid,” she said.

“Too many times we give foreign aid to our own consulting firms. I think we need to spend more attention assisting Africans, build their capacity. This is something President Obama was doing with initiatives like ‘Feed the Future’ and ‘Power Africa.’  He was trying to address some of the capacities in Africa.”

Bass further explains her plans for aiding Africa by zeroing in on infrastructure.

“So, looking at ways that we can do partnerships with U.S. businesses and African businesses for roads, bridges, ports and airports,” she said.

One of Bass’ other passions apart from her advocacy in Africa is her commitment to the Black Press. During the interview, Bass announced that she will be convening with the National Black Publishers Association (NNPA) to discuss the ways in which the federal government can do business with the Black Press.

“It’s inexcusable that we spend millions and millions of dollars in advertising everywhere, but virtually zero in the Black community with Black Press. That should change, I hope I can make a dent in that,” she said.

Executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and the L.A. Watts Times, said Danny J. Bakewell Sr., recognizes Bass’ qualifications and appreciates her steeping in and up to fight for the Black Press.

“Bass’ ascension to the chairmanship of the Black Caucus is a great moment for Black America and particularly for the Black Press,” said Bakewell. “She is poised, professional, and will not be denied when she is in pursuit of things that are important for Black America.”

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Review: The Gritterman at Manchester Albert Hall

The news that The Maccabees would be disbanding back in 2016 was met with upset to say the least. The group had rightly earned a loyal following, and the uncertainty of what each member would do next hung heavy over their fans.

We needn’t have worried.

Guitarist Felix White busied himself launching a cricketing radio programme with Greg James and Jimmy Anderson for Radio 5 Live, but it was lead singer Orlando Weeks who delivered the biggest curveball of them all – an illustrated Christmas book.

The Gritterman tells the tale of an unsung hero, an ageing, dignified widower who grits the streets while the rest of the world is sleeping. It was written and illustrated by Weeks himself, and was accompanied by an album of music and spoken word by actor Paul Whitehouse. The project was well-received, and labelled ‘beautiful’, ‘wistful’, and ‘extraordinary’.

Then that album spiralled into a live show, a one-off performance at London’s Union Chapel last December. And now it’s spiralled again, bringing the former Maccabees frontman to Manchester’s very own Albert Hall.

He’s a very different frontman without his big band bravado around him. He is polite, timid, humble. He slips onto the stage with no fanfare at all to introduce himself and his work, all fumbling hands and gentle voice, encouraging us all to save our applause until the end and hopefully donate some money to The Marmalade Trust (a charity dedicated to tackling loneliness) on our way out.

When he reappears minutes later with his full band – and he’s got pianists, percussion, bassist, a full choir, and actual Paul Whitehouse up there with him – and clasps his hands around his microphone stand, he seems instantly more at ease.

Orlando Weeks with Paul Whitehouse
(Image: black arts pr)

Weeks weaves together spoken word, instrumentals, and songs into one masterful piece of storytelling. He’s a composer and a conductor, guiding his large entourage through every note. Even when there is no music, he bobs and sways, like the rhythm of The Gritterman has consumed him entirely.

There’s humour here amongst the haunting sounds of the choir, and thoroughly British humour at that. Whitehouse’s easy and sincere narration punctuates the score, and is light-hearted (microwave meals and dodgy gearboxes) and incredibly moving in places (a eulogy and a poetic description of sleeping children).

Seasonal Hero is poignant and perfect – “I miss the sound of your calling, I miss your voice on the phone, miss your rat-a-tat-tapping to the songs we both know” – and as spotlit snowflakes swirl around the ceiling I find myself swallowing an unexpected lump in my throat that never really goes away.

Never has the Albert Hall been so still. The audience collectively holds its breath, terrified to move in case we break the spell that has descended on the venue like a thick blanket of snow.

I have no idea how much time passes. I’m so transfixed that I don’t even drink my glass of wine.

Although Weeks’ songwriting and distinctive vocals have always been lauded, they’ve never shone as brightly as they do tonight. The Gritterman is tangible magic.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Calvert Library Celebrates Inspiring African American Men of Calvert County

Calvert Library Prince Frederick is celebrating the release of a new book Inspiring African American Men of Calvert County on Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30pm.  In 2017, Darlene Harrod, a remarkable woman herself, spent many hours compiling biographies for a book published by Calvert Library entitled Inspiring African American Women of Calvert County. When she was asked whether she would re-create the feat for African American men of Calvert County, she didn’t hesitate. Executive Director Carrie Willson-Plymire said, “Calvert Library is very grateful for Ms. Harrod’s dedication to helping Calvert County’s African American community tell its story and celebrate its successes.”  While Harrod did much of the compiling of names and chasing down of contact and research information, she shares the credit, “I was happy to be asked and I was happy to have help from Shirley Knight who provided invaluable assistance with the editing work and offered outstanding input for the project.”

The library’s goal in creating the first book was to provide a resource and inspiration to young people, especially young women. According to Willson-Plymire, “Our most recent library tagline is ‘Inspiring Possibility’ and the women and men featured in these books are a perfect model of this.”  At the December 19 event, young members of the community will be introducing the featured men and talking about what inspired them about the men they have met through the book.

There are 39 men featured in the book.  Most are from our fairly recent history, but Charles Ball was a hero of the early 1800’s and William Sampson Brooks was active in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. According to Robyn Truslow who coordinated the project on behalf of the library, “We did not include every inspiring man in this book but we did include some blank pages to encourage people to add the stories of others that inspire them.”

The first printing of the book was sponsored by Friends of Calvert Library and they are also hosting the reception at the release event.  Friends President Martha Grahame said, “We are so excited about this project and proud to be supporting it. The Friends are strong believers in making a difference in one’s community and there are many African American men who have contributed to the building and improvement of our county, its people and the world beyond. We are pleased to celebrate them with this book!” Each man featured in the book will receive a copy courtesy of the Friends.  Additional copies will be available for sale at the event for $5.  They are also available on Amazon and of course, to check out or read digitally from the library.

The recurring theme in these collected stories is perseverance through unfair challenges, a commitment to finding opportunity despite obstacles and a dedication to making the world a better place for the next generation. Calvert Library has been a partner in the Big Conversation: Dismantling Racism and it was this group that encouraged Truslow to move forward on this book project.  Truslow said, “As a library, we know the power of a story. We want to help people tell theirs.”

For more information, call Robyn Truslow at 410-535-0291.








United Way campaign brings in $56 million

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County announced Thursday that its 2018 community campaign brought in $56 million, on target with the organization’s fundraising goal. 

The 2018 United Way campaign co-chairs. (Photo: United Way)

Following a record $60.36 million campaign in 2017, the organization lowered its goal to $56 million this year, citing the consolidation and closure of a few corporate partners, including Bon-Ton. 

The campaign was chaired by Cristy Garcia-Thomas, chief external affairs officer of Advocate Aurora Health; David Gay, Milwaukee managing partner of Ernst & Young LLP; Don Layden, venture partner at Baird Capital partner at Quarles & Brady LLP; and Mike Rowe, chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Transmission Co.

“We’re proud to celebrate with everyone who contributed to our campaign in 2018,” said Amy Lindner, president of United Way. “It’s always the people behind the campaign that make a difference, and this year was no exception.”

United Way invests in more than 220 programs and more than 110 partner agencies, with a focus on the three core issues of health, education and financial stability. Investments from United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County cover a four county region: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties.

A dozen local companies contributed more than $1 million in employee gifts and corporate support. They include: Johnson Controls ($4.4 million), Fiduciary Management/T&M Partners ($3.7 million); Northwestern Mutual ($3.7 million); Aurora Health Care ($3.2 million); Rockwell Automation ($2.6 million); Baird ($2.2 million); We Energies ($1.7 million); BMO Harris Bank ($1.6 million); Harley-Davidson Motor Company ($1.1 million); Froedtert Health ($1 million); GE Healthcare ($1 million) and ManpowerGroup ($1 million).

This year’s campaign set a new record of 42,126 volunteer hours, with an estimated value of $1 million. Rockwell Automation clocked in the most volunteer hours during the campaign.

Mary Lou Young

“We are so grateful to the many businesses and individual donors that continuously support United Way year after year,” said Mary Lou Young, CEO of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. “It’s because of their support that United Way continues to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our four county area.”                      

At the campaign celebration, Cory Nettles, United Way board chairman and managing director and partner at Generation Growth Capital, announced a new award, the “Linda McFerrin Award for African American Nonprofit Leadership” in honor of retiring United Way vice president of special projects. The 2018 award winner will be announced on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.

“My wife Michelle and I are so proud to establish this award in recognition of Linda’s 42 years of leadership and service to United Way,” Nettles said. “A nonprofit leader will be selected by United Way’s Diversity Leadership Society and a grant will be made by United Way to the organization they represent.”

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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County announced Thursday that its 2018 community campaign brought in $56 million, on target with the organization’s fundraising goal. 

The 2018 United Way campaign co-chairs. (Photo: United Way)

Following a record $60.36 million campaign in 2017, the organization lowered its goal to $56 million this year, citing the consolidation and closure of a few corporate partners, including Bon-Ton. 

The campaign was chaired by Cristy Garcia-Thomas, chief external affairs officer of Advocate Aurora Health; David Gay, Milwaukee managing partner of Ernst & Young LLP; Don Layden, venture partner at Baird Capital partner at Quarles & Brady LLP; and Mike Rowe, chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Transmission Co.

“We’re proud to celebrate with everyone who contributed to our campaign in 2018,” said Amy Lindner, president of United Way. “It’s always the people behind the campaign that make a difference, and this year was no exception.”

United Way invests in more than 220 programs and more than 110 partner agencies, with a focus on the three core issues of health, education and financial stability. Investments from United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County cover a four county region: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties.

A dozen local companies contributed more than $1 million in employee gifts and corporate support. They include: Johnson Controls ($4.4 million), Fiduciary Management/T&M Partners ($3.7 million); Northwestern Mutual ($3.7 million); Aurora Health Care ($3.2 million); Rockwell Automation ($2.6 million); Baird ($2.2 million); We Energies ($1.7 million); BMO Harris Bank ($1.6 million); Harley-Davidson Motor Company ($1.1 million); Froedtert Health ($1 million); GE Healthcare ($1 million) and ManpowerGroup ($1 million).

This year’s campaign set a new record of 42,126 volunteer hours, with an estimated value of $1 million. Rockwell Automation clocked in the most volunteer hours during the campaign.

Mary Lou Young

“We are so grateful to the many businesses and individual donors that continuously support United Way year after year,” said Mary Lou Young, CEO of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. “It’s because of their support that United Way continues to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our four county area.”                      

At the campaign celebration, Cory Nettles, United Way board chairman and managing director and partner at Generation Growth Capital, announced a new award, the “Linda McFerrin Award for African American Nonprofit Leadership” in honor of retiring United Way vice president of special projects. The 2018 award winner will be announced on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.

“My wife Michelle and I are so proud to establish this award in recognition of Linda’s 42 years of leadership and service to United Way,” Nettles said. “A nonprofit leader will be selected by United Way’s Diversity Leadership Society and a grant will be made by United Way to the organization they represent.”

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L.A.’s Best Malls and Why We Love Them

How old were you when you learned it wasn’t cool to love the mall anymore? I was about 20, in college getting a liberal arts degree, and dating an anarchist who subsisted on vegan ice cream sandwiches and Noam Chomsky books. It was way back around the dawn of the new millennium, when shopping on the internet was really becoming a thing, a big ol’ recession was on the horizon, and years of trickle-down economics that didn’t actually trickle left the average suburban mall dweller without disposable income to blow on Sharper Image foot massagers.

In the years since then, a lot of ink has been spilled about the demise of the shopping mall and who’s to blame for the slow death. In 2017, an L.A. Times writer said, “The mall—suburbia’s onetime lifestyle nexus for giant pretzels, ear piercings and a girl’s first thong—is battling a decline in cultural relevance as the social meeting place for young Americans continues to transition from physical spaces to phone screens.” While changing times have resulted in a number of casualties—RIP Westside Pavilion—L.A.’s malls aren’t relinquishing their cultural-institution status without a fight. I mean, when’s the last time you tried to find a parking space in the Glendale Galleria’s garage on a Sunday afternoon?

From Caruso’s ersatz small-town town squares to Westfield’s revamped behemoths to smaller complexes that reflect the cultural tastes of their respective neighborhoods, we’re re-embracing the shopping mall. Here are our favorites presented in a vague ascending order. —Gwynedd Stuart


Fig at 7th is like if someone built a mall at the bottom of an abandoned rock quarry, or inside the Sarlacc pit from Star Wars. You have to take, like, eight escalators to get to the underwhelming food court at the lowest floor. Supposedly you can access the mall by walking in from Figueroa, but I’m guessing 99 percent of people drive in through the insanely complicated parking garage, which is a whole other seven circles of hell to navigate. The good news is that all the effort is worth it, since you get to access to a modern, still-looks-brand-new Target that is weirdly quiet and uncrowded for a store in the middle of downtown. There’s also a Nordstrom Rack, which is a badge of honor for any aspiring mall, and, for some reason, a Morton’s Steakhouse. Who is going to this mall to eat a $60 filet mignon?? 735 S. Figueroa St., downtown. —Garrett Snyder

Though it’s not technically in Los Angeles, this bougie Orange County establishment is worth a trip for the people watching and window shopping alone. At 2.8 million square feet, it’s the largest mall on the west coast, with a sprawling array of high-end stores that bring in over $1.5 billion annually. Grab a Godiva hot chocolate and ogle extravagant displays at Hermés and Saint Laurent amidst the posh sweatsuit-wearing masses, then head down the street to take a breather at this secret Noguchi Sculpture Garden. 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. —Zoie Matthew

The distinguishing factor with Westfield Topanga is the outdoor offshoot known as the Village. The mall itself is large and has most of the chain retailers you would expect, but cross the street to see where this shopping center shines. Rent the Runway has their only L.A.-area retail shop for picking up last-minute fancy dress orders (or swapping your Unlimited subscription)–and you can pop into Drybar, Blushington, Skin Laundry, and Sugar Nail for the complete pre-party primping package. And there is Go Greek, an entire café dedicated to Greek yogurt, so that’s obviously worth a trip, right? 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park. —Brittany Martin

Often confused with the Sherman Oaks Galleria (maybe only by me), the Westfield Fashion Square is good for mainly two things: the food court and Sephora. But I come here for other things, too. It’s a pretty chill mall, with no crazy lines or disorganized stores. Until, of course, the holidays come around. But even then, the environment here doesn’t feel as stressful as other malls in the Valley—it can get nasty in other places. 14006 Riverside Dr., Sherman Oaks.  —Pamela Avila

Ah, good ol’ Burbank mall. I’ve been coming here for like my whole life now, and while it’s definitely not the best mall out there and it can totally be a hit or miss–it just feels like the most accessible and inviting mall in the Valley. Perfect for last minute holiday presents or a last minute outfit, Sears, Macy’s, Old Navy, and Forever 21 will be there to your rescue (or maybe just mine). The mall recently underwent a renovation too though, so they’re stepping their game up, they even have an H&M in there now! And a way better food court than before. FANCY. Overall, it’s easy to find your way around Burbank Town Center and if you don’t find what you need inside mall, you can always walk down N. San Fernando Boulevard, where you’ll have more to choose from. 201 East Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. —Pamela Avila

I didn’t know the Northridge Fashion Center’s existence until I moved from North Hollywood to Arleta, and I usually only come here for last minute Christmas shopping or when technology fails me and I need the Apple Store to save my ass. It’s a good mall though, like a less-nice version of the Glendale Galleria and it has way more variety than the Burbank Town Center. It’s where you come when all the shelves at the Burbank mall are wiped out. On weekends, local artists and businesses also set up shop on the second floor of the mall so when you’re done giving into consumerism you can shop a little local, too. Balance it out. Also, parking over the holidays is a plus–Burbank and Glendale, on the other hand, can be total nightmares. 9301 Tampa Ave, Northridge. —Pamela Avila

Thanks to a centrally located popcorn kiosk, the air inside this otherwise totally pleasant mall with a great TJ Maxx is always redolent of artificial butter topping. Escape the aroma inside Macy’s, where you’ll find the Museum of African American Art tucked away behind the bed department on the third floor. Come for Palmer C. Hayden’s terrific series of paintings on folk hero John Henry, and stay for the cheaper-than-average tickets at the adjacent Cinemark movie theater. —Gwynedd Stuart

Glendale Galleria

You have to love a mall with not one but two parking decks (both of them free—no validation necessary). Smack dab in the middle of Glendale, the Galleria is deceptively large and has an Apple Store that tends to be less crowded than the more visible one at the Americana next door. Shopping-wise you’ll find all the usual suspects (including two Abercrombies, which seems excessive) and a family play place/restaurant called Giggles n’ Hugs, which, despite the slightly unpleasant name, seems a lot more chill and a lot less germ-ridden than the average Chuck E. Cheese’s. 100 W. Broadway, Glendale. —Gwynedd Stuart

With its geometric architecture, waxy tropical plants, and pastel pink-and-green tiles, the Koreatown Plaza mall is a consumerist dreamscape straight out of 1987. Step away from the bustle of Western Avenue to peruse cosmetics, clothes, and KPOP merch in its quiet selection of mom-and-pop shops, before grabbing some bibimbap in the not-to-be-missed basement-level food court. For dessert, head to the mall’s Plaza Market, a full-service Korean grocery store with an impressive array of candy and mochi. 928 S. Western Ave., Koreatown. —Zoie Matthew

This humungous mall in the no-man’s land between Culver City and Westchester loses immediate points for ditching its former name, the Fox Hills Mall, a legendary teen hangout through the Golden Decades of Malls (aka the ‘80s-‘00s). You may remember it being featured in the hit comedy Superbad, starring a not-yet-svelte Jonah Hill. Nonetheless, the Westfield Culver City ranks pretty high: aside from the abysmally named Mongrill Gourmet Mongolian BBQ, it has one of the most consistently great food courts in the city (Beef rolls! Fish tacos! Kabobs!) and the three-tier structure of the complex makes it surprisingly easy to get from Foot Locker to See’s Candies (get that free sample!) without being harassed by those guys at the kiosks selling hoverboards or whatever. Parking is ample too. 6000 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City. —Garrett Snyder

Palisades Village is designed for those who prefer the convenience of a shopping mall to come with the aesthetics of the main street of a small (yet impeccably curated) town. It’s leafy, the streets are brick, the buildings look individual and inviting, restaurant seating spills out to the sidewalks, and the movie theater at the core was originally built in 1948 (it’s now a luxurious Cinépolis). At just 31 retailers, Palisades Village is compact, and isn’t trying to cater to everybody, but as you stroll around, living your best, Goop-iest life, you’ll find all essentials of a certain type of posh, fashionable existence. Think: Alo Yoga for athleisure, Paige for denim, drapey, neutral-colored knits from Vince, and gluten-free baked goods from Sweet Laurel. 15225 Palisades Village Lane, Pacific Palisades. —Brittany Martin

This three-story artifact at the eastern edge of Little Tokyo feels like a set piece from an ‘80s action movie. You half expect to see Mel Gibson and Danny Glover from the original Lethal Weapon sliding down one of the escalators to catch a perp. What we’re saying is that it feels old, but in a cool retro-futurist way. The most amazing thing is how much stuff they managed to cram into three levels of grey concrete. There’s an arcade, a bowling alley, a Japanese dollar store (shout out Daiso!), a karaoke bar studio, a supermarket, a place that sells really good cream puffs, and a bunch of other kooky knick-knack shops you’d be hard pressed to find outside of Osaka. Despite all the amenities, the mall is empty most of the time, which only adds to the bizarro time-warp vibe. Apparently, and perhaps unsurprisingly, there are plans to tear the place down soon and replace it with yet another mixed-use residential complex. Sad! 333 S. Alameda St., downtown. —Garrett Snyder

Comfortably navigating the Grove on foot on the weekends (especially during the holidays) is not a thing. If you’re not dodging a GD trolley, you’re dodging some rich lady on a cellphone making a beeline for Barneys. That said, the Grove is an iconic L.A. experience and its proximity to the Original Farmers Market makes it a totally decent place to spend an afternoon with visiting relatives. And big bonus points for the single, most logical parking garage in all of Los Angeles, which has an inside track you can climb rather than being forced to traverse each and every level when all the little electronic signs indicate there’s no parking on the first several levels. Seriously, can builders please start emulating this model? I feel strongly about this. 189 The Grove Dr., Beverly Grove. —Gwynedd Stuart

Though this might seem like your typical Westfield mall at first blush, its food court is in a league of its own. Located in the wealthy, majority Chinese neighborhood of Arcadia, its become a hub for upscale Asian restaurants in recent years, including the famed Taiwanese dumpling house Din Tai Fung, the hot pot spot HaiDiLao, and the chic Sichuan eatery Meizhou Dongpo (which serves a mean la zi ji, aka spicy fried chicken). 400 S. Baldwin Ave., Aracadia. —Zoie Matthew

Of the three L.A. malls immortalized in Clueless, the Beverly Center is the only one where we imagine a modern-day Cher and Di would go on a shopping excursion today. There’s a mix of shops from Uniqlo to Balenciaga, so you can pick up something stylish at any price point–and enjoy some glam window-shopping even if you’re not hitting the more luxe boutiques. This fall, the results of a years-long renovation project were finally revealed; in addition to a new façade, the interior is brighter and outfitted with modern furniture and an abundance of phone-charging outlets and other nice details. Restaurants including Cal Mare, Easy’s, Lamill, and Pitchoun offer dining options far better than the typical “mall food,” so while you might get shopped-out, at least you won’t be hangry. 8500 Beverly Blvd.e, Beverly Grove. —Brittany Martin

The shopping experience at Westfield Century City is uncommonly pleasant. The elevated terrace has pretty views of the surrounding glass skyscrapers, the stores are a perfect mix of luxury brands that make for interesting peeking around, more accessible shops where you probably actually buy things, and rotating pop-up spaces that keep things fresh. It’s an especially good destination for gift-shopping, because there are tons of options to buy things other than clothing (not so at all malls). Ever-popular chain Anthropologie recently opened a sprawling flagship here, there’s an entire shop dedicated to Moleskine notebooks and writerly goods, Compartes and Sugarfina sell colorful, made-in-L.A. confections, Eataly has every kind of food gift imaginable, and Aēsop, Fresh, and Lush cover the pretty, nice-smelling self-care treat categories. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City. —Brittany Martin

What is it about the Americana—the Grove’s Glendale-set sibling—that makes it so much more pleasant than its counterpart in L.A. proper? It’s definitely still crowded and has a trolley. It has a Cheesecake Factory and a movie theater (both v. important). Between its mix of 30-something-friendly stores, dancing fountains, and central location, the Americana somehow really nailed the pleasant Saturday by oneself (or, fine, with family and friends). Its my inner capitalist’s happy place, and by the looks of it, I’m not alone. Don’t tell my anarchist ex-boyfriend. 889 Americana Way, Glendale. —Gwynedd Stuart


RELATED: L.A.-Made Gifts for Every Type of Angeleno on Your List


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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Santa-sized hugs abound at Northwest African American Museum in Seattle

As Robert Williams puts the finishing touches on his red and white suit, he has one question.

“Where are my milk and cookies?”

Williams, who is a comedian by trade and performs as “Sweeng One,” has transformed into Santa for the first time for the Northwest African American Museum’s annual Black Santa sitting.

His next order of business is to turn the heat down in the room.

“It feels good, it just feels hot,” he said, sweating under the layers of faux fur.

Jarrett and Melanie Datcher were the first in line with their 1-year-old daughter, Makayla.

“This is our first child, and we want her to look at Christmas with a focus on Christ but also with a diverse community perspective,” said Jarrett.

Families of many backgrounds filled the waiting room, making Christmas ornaments and snacking on treats before getting their turn to be photographed with Santa and telling him what they want for Christmas.

Jarrett and Melanie Datcher try to cheer up their daughter, Makayla, who is a bit skeptical of Santa, played by Robert “Sweeng One” Williams at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)
Jarrett and Melanie Datcher try to cheer up their daughter, Makayla, who is a bit skeptical of Santa, played by Robert “Sweeng One” Williams at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

“This is something that black museums offer to their communities across the country,” said LaNesha DeBardelaben, executive director of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM).

“The aim of NAAM is really to enhance diversity and foster community,” DeBardelaben said. “This Black Santa day really allows us to accomplish that aim. It’s just a festive family fun day.”

Williams, sitting in his red and white suit, said it’s about representation: “I just think we need to see it.”

The final two sittings for NAAM’s Black Santa will be 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, see naamnw.org/event.