Irving’s Black Arts Council showcases raw emotion and talent through the eyes of women

(Left to right) Candice Y. Johnson, LaTricia “God’s Poet” Murray, Jessica Minaya, Harmoniee Valentine, Stephanie Dixon, Leah Hayward, and Catrina L. Handley, take their bows to the audience (Image: Rachel Hawkins / NDG)

By: Rachel Hawkins NDG Staff Writer

Throughout a woman’s life, she will face many emotions dealing with the ups, downs, secret desires, sadness and personal triumphs. Depending on the type of situation and amount of pressure society places on her, she will act according to and hopefully overcome these struggles.

Styling Diva Productions, a multi-faceted company that produces a variety of events presented Many Faces of Women on April 14 in the Dupree Theater at The Irving Arts Center.

The production was a series of one-woman monologues which represented nine different women who are seen in our everyday society.

“What inspired me to take on acting was when I was in a stage play and I was asked out of the blue if I would be in a production for them and I agreed,” Stephanie Dixon, founder of Styling Diva Productions said. “After that, I started writing my own stage plays and this is where I am now.

“Being a woman means being motivated, encouraged, a conqueror and an overcomer,’ Dixon said. “For so long women have been the underdogs and basically treated like nobodies, but I believe that now, especially with movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, I think it’s time for us to branch out. Being a woman right now is the best thing you can possibly be.

“I try to ensure there was a select message in each monologue,” Dixon said. “I want women to know that we are wonderful and great, but we need to start letting each other know that we’re great and powerful, we can be successful and we can do all things. And we can simply do this by banding together and having self-motivation.”

In Act 1 the audience first watched The Faithful Woman with the Unfaithful Husband, where a woman discovered her husband’s infidelity through a note and a diamond bracelet which was originally meant for his secretary during his work trip. In the note, he declared his love for her and excitement for starting their new lives together. Stephanie Dixon who portrayed the character discussed her denial, eventual acceptance and starting a new life with her children.

The Single Woman and Mother, played by Harmoniee Valentine featured a stressed single mother who consistently worries about her 16-year-old as he consistency hangs around the wrong crowd. After discovering her son was thrown into jail for robbing a store, she then decided to let him stay overnight to teach him a lesson, and thus finally taking a break from working overtime.

The Vain Woman played by Stephanie Dixon, symbolized a woman who despite living a rich and extravagant lifestyle, was truly lonely because she desired a husband and children.

Leah Hayward plays The Discourage Young Woman, a middle schooler who suffers from bullying daily. Following a suicide attempt gone wrong, realizes the worst mistake of her life would have been ending it. Later she gains the courage to stand up to her aggressors and for herself.

“We’re not only celebrating women after Women’s History Month, but we really celebrated the diversity that’s out there for us,” LaNita Johnson, event coordinator and Irving Black Arts Council’s President, said. “That’s what the Black Arts Council does. We find new fresh talent, and some of these women have never been on stage before. That’s what it exists for, for the up and coming art or artists.

“Right now we live in a digital age, so for people to come into our seats and see our performers, photographers, and artists, that’s a lost art now,” Johnson. “Kids nowadays can see them on YouTube if they wanted to, but they didn’t.

“This shows us that no matter how divided we think we are, we’re all the same,” Johnson said.

Act Two began with The Church Woman, played by Stephanie Dixon, a woman who realized she was judging people for her exact mistakes.  The Gossiping Woman, played by Catrina Handley symbolized a woman who judged every person who walked by her house, only to later realize she was internally sad because her husband left her.

Jessica Minaya played The Abused Woman, who comes to the conclusion to stand up for herself, face her husband and leave him after he beats her.

The last monologue was The Woman Facing Alzheimer’s Disease. Played by Stephanie Dixon, a woman who is living in Alzheimer cares facility believes her family forgot about her and took her house after they just visited her. Throughout her story, she continues to talk about waiting for her husband to return from the store, but she soon discovers through an obituary pamphlet left in a laundry basket, he died many years ago.

“While watching this play and being in it, I can see the different type of women troubles altogether, and it makes you see what women are going through,” Leah Hayward, actress and eighth-grader said. “It helped me see things from a different point of view and understand everything else.

“Being a woman means that I am strong and I will make it,” l said. “In our times and troubles God will always be there for us, and it’s up to us as women to pull together as one.”

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To The International Court Of Justice On The Behalf Of Africans

The devastation of Aids in Africa

The devastation of Aids in Africa

There is no African who knows scientist Johan Van Dongen better than me. Whenever he talks to me all his subjects are based on seeking justice for Africans because the leaders won’t do it. The fact that they want to have a cordial relationship with European and American leaders and continue getting the financial support, African leaders are docile which has cost the continent a great deal. Thus, on August 25, 2016, Johan and I prepared this document seeking justice for Africans

An open indictment of genocide and other crimes committed by scientists in collaboration with governmental, medical, military and pharmaceutical establishments against Africans

Joel Savage and Johan van Dongen are humbly requesting Dr. Courtenay Griffiths, Chairman of, amongst the distinguished International Criminal law specialists, providing representation in trials of genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes before international and national courts, to help us to bring justice to the Africans.

Dr. Courtenay Griffiths is particularly noted for his work in the recent landmark case in The Hague defending the former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor. His Criminal defense work emphasizes on terrorism and murder, some of the most noteworthy cases being; The PC Blakelock murder trial, The Brighton Bombing, The Harrods Bombing, The Canary Wharf Bombing, The Risley Riot, The Dartmoor Riot, The Damilola Taylor murder trial.

The Hague, August 25, 2016.
To the prosecutors of the International Criminal Court Justice

Peace Palace
2517 KJ The Hague, The Netherlands
This indictment brings before the International Court of Justice (ICC) the greatest crimes ever committed in the course of human history against Africans. The accused are charged with causing injury to and the death of millions of people through war crimes and other crimes against humanity. These crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

The accused know that they will be held accountable for these crimes and have therefore embarked on a global campaign to undermine the authority of the ICC in order to put themselves above international law and continue their crimes to the detriment of all mankind.

Therefore, the current indictment must be considered by the ICC with utmost urgency. Moreover, every natural person and every government are hereby called upon to join this indictment with the goal once and for all terminate these crimes.

There are ample evidence archive documents, and statements available to prove that Aids, Ebola and other diseases are medical crimes purposely committed against mankind, in order to find vaccines against it for military defending purposes.

The medical, pharmaceutical, military, and political establishments have committed crimes against humanity, especially Africans. Their criminal intentions also give evidence that Aids, Ebola, and other tropical new diseases, didn’t get to Africa miraculously, but the viruses causing the diseases, such as Burkitt’s lymphoma and Cytomegalic, were deliberately done.

Some people and institutions consider this crime as genocide and therefore demanding those involved to face the international court of law in The Hague, Netherlands.

In our book “Aids and Ebola the greatest crime in medical history against mankind” we gave details about a panel discussion in June 1978, organized by the Dutch Royal Academy of Science in the Netherlands, about the contamination of vaccines, which among other speakers Professor H.H. Cohen confessed over contamination and preparing of dangerous vaccines.

To remind you of Professor H.H. Cohen and the statements he made in 1978. He was one of the panelists of an inquiry committee that the speakers questioned about safety and as a physician and bacteriologist in aspects of preparation of vaccines. Cohen, director of the National Institute for Public Health RIV Bilthoven, in the Netherlands at that time, and on behalf of the government responsible for the manufacture and investigating of dangerous and contaminated vaccines.

Cohen admitted that some of the vaccines released to be used are contaminated. “Let me give you an example: it is known that live polio vaccine, is also in inactive polio vaccine. The two form leukemia recently said on the television that it contains a tumor virus, namely, the Simian Vacuolating Virus SV40, responsible for causing Aids. These dangerous viruses which caused Aids had originally been found in polio vaccine.” He concluded.

Genocide and criminal actions
It was discovered after the vaccines had been administered by Salk, Sabin, and Koprowski, especially Koprowski was responsible for injecting over a million of people with Aids- and Cytomegaloviruses and with many other microorganisms contaminated vaccines in Africa.

During the most normal course of business, he administered heavily (genetically engineered) contaminated vaccines on innocent and ignorant Africans. We know in many books about Aids and things that developed under the Apartheid regime and in the former Belgian Congo under the regime of the Belgium government in cooperation with Germany, France, United Kingdom, the United States of America, Russia, and Japan.

These first vaccinations by famous pioneers such as Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur, and Robert Koch were the beginning of inserting or administrating animal microorganisms into the human immunological system in accordance with Pasteur’s Postulates.

Exchanging of dangerous microorganisms which will change the lives of millions of Africans, because they were the victims of unbridled experiments of micro-organisms which will change the lives of millions of Africans because they are the victims of unbridled ruthless governmental, military, pharmaceutical and medical establishments.

Hillary Koprowski
The vaccine of Hillary Koprowski was indeed very easy to produce with monkey kidney cells, but the extract obtained from polio-infected monkey kidney tissue was so badly filtered that only bacteria from the substance was withdrawn, and the monkey’s deadly tissue resident viruses escaped their attention. Anyone with the contaminated vaccine from Koprowski was treated as one who has a virus which didn’t occur naturally in humans.

After all Koprowski vaccines were cheap in the United States and had been tested on twenty mentally handicapped children from a mental health facility in New York. He decided to produce it in large quantity in preparation to serve in Africa, but not in the United States. Even though he tested the vaccine on handicapped children, he never had a license or permission from the government.

To implement its first major immunization, he settled in the Belgian Congo. He built a laboratory at Camp Lindi, in Stanleyville, now called Kisangani and finally vaccinated all black animal keepers with Chat l-type vaccine. Apparently, the results to him were satisfactory. As quickly as possible, he rounded up the people in the northeast of the present Federal Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to vaccination stations. This took place in the fifties.

In the hands of Belgian doctors and nurses, the polio-active vaccine with long needles was sprayed into the open mouths. The exact number of doses is not known, but estimates indicate that approximately one-quarter of a million men women and children were inoculated with the strong contaminated Chat 1-type vaccine. The real impact of the vaccine on the black population in this former Belgian colony was heavy. They were affected by many diseases which causes were difficult to trace.

It has been discovered that, in case, of the polio vaccinations, two different methods were used. Over a million of Africans were ‘sprayed’ while contrasts to the white ‘caps’ were given. The latter method has the advantage that when the vaccine is not viral, there are no bacterial infections in the mouth and the esophagus because the capsule dissolves in the stomach. Why is that Belgium and Belgians in the Congo never used the vaccine or the capsule?

It was a known fact that the vaccine of Koprowski caused very dangerous side effects in 959, because of a publication. On May 14, 1956, Sabin published an article in the British Medical Journal, explaining that he has found an unknown cell-killing virus (HIV) in the polio vaccine of Koprowski. In this way, the American scientist who had vaccinated only black skinned people massively in the former Belgian Congo did not respond to this serious accusation.

Nevertheless, he was never accepted by a committee of American Congress. He was called to give an account of how he developed a chat-type vaccine which indeed was very much contaminated with numerous serious monkey viruses. Now it stands that over a million of people in Africa had been inoculated with a dangerous vaccine, and Koprowski’s confession quietly made him disappear from the scientific stage.

The United States Congress was shocked by the relentless flow of allegations mainly causing turmoil in the United States. The Congress resolved only in the nineties. Almost forty years after the first vaccinations, Philadelphia-based Wistar Institute, approached the commission, requesting for serious charges on their merits to investigate the contaminated vaccines.

The request from the U.S. government to investigate the production of the polluted polio vaccine due to an in-depth research made since the same institute Koprowski prepared the vaccine. Later this gave the established Wistar Panel, consisting of six members, a nickname as ‘Wistar Six.’

They were commissioned to test their merits. More surprising is the fact that the Wistar Institute, turned commission to investigate the laboratories of the U.S.A. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), the two institutions responsible for mass vaccinations in Africa.

It is therefore quite understandable that the two laboratories never were inconclusive about the true infection of the Koprowski vaccine. Despite the repeated requests for investigation, they refused to investigate the vaccine from Koprowski and abandoned for an independent investigation. Indeed, Hillary Koprowski in the sixties and seventies as head of the virology department worked in the same Wistar Institute.

Hillary Koprowski was the vice chairman at a congress in which Luc Montagnier, the discoverer of the retrovirus which causes Aids, was to give evidence over the vaccines infected with the SV40 virus. However, it remains that Wistar categorically denied all allegations.

These sickening experiments were conducted on absent-minded and innocent (homosexual) people in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York by members of the U.S.A. Department of Defense (DOD). At that mentioned conference were celebrities like Hillary Koprowski, inventor of the by SV40 virus-contaminated polio vaccine and Stanley Plotkin, both employees from the Wistar Institute, Albert Bruce Sabin of the scientific Weitzmann Institute in Israel and inventor of the genetically modified polio vaccine, Hilleman of Merck Sharp and Dome (MSD) and the attendant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) named Purcell.

Moreover, there were other delegations from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, the United States Department of the Army in Washington, the Biological Defense Research Center in Fort Detrick, the Navy Department in Washington, the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

What mentioned inventors didn’t discuss with the world to know is, lethal substances and microorganisms were already tested in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Congo, South and Central Africa and many other areas. Assisting in carrying out these experiments continually are the Rockefeller Institute, the United Nations, the U.S. Air Force and Navy, the International Agency for the Research on Cancer, WHO, East African Virus Research Institute, CDC, NIH, United States Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), United Kingdom Army facilities at Porton Down and the Institute Pasteur in the picture.

They built their factories during and directly after the Second World War in the jungle of Uganda and the former Belgian Congo, in Africa and they picked Africans out of the trees they think. It seems to Johan van Dongen that “Smartness is a form of stupidity” when the so-called smart ones hurt or kill black people for criminal biological warfare purposes.

In particular, the National Security Study Memorandum in 1974 (NSSM 200), written by the then security adviser of the U.S. Government, Dr. Henry Kissinger, revealed such information. Aids are indeed the result of a sinister American foreign policy.

America will naturally respond negatively, but nobody will deny that in American and African-American research scientists had willingly executed services in the development and implementation of top-secret military projects under biological warfare.

In the U.S.A, there was suspicion over the activities at Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) but other institutions such as the British Porton Down, the French Institute Pasteur, and the German Max Planck Institute reveal little or nothing of what was happening in the institute.

The charge presented in this indictment are:

Genocide and other crimes against humanity committed in connection with the governmental, military, pharmaceutical and political establishments. They are committed to the name and interest of corporate investment groups, involved governments, military and involved stakeholders of investment groups. In order to establish the evidence and show the common motives of the accused a short historical review is imperative.

Throughout the 20th century, the pharmaceutical industry was built and organized with the goal of controlling health care systems around the world by systematically replacing natural, non-patentable therapies with patentable and therefore profitable synthetic drugs.

This industry did not evolve naturally. To the contrary, it was an investment decision taken by a handful of wealthy and unscrupulous entrepreneurs. They deliberately defined the human body as their marketplace in order to generate further wealth. The driving force of this investment industry was the Rockefeller Group.

They already controlled more than 90% of the petrochemical business in the United States at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century and looking for new global investment opportunities. Another investment group active in this field was formed around the Rothschild financial group.

The Cartel
After Rockefeller’s Standard Oil (today EXXON), the second largest pharmaceutical/petrochemical corporate conglomerate during the first half of the 20th century was the IG Farben conglomerate headquartered in Germany.

This corporate conglomerate was the single most important factor for the political rise to power of Hitler and their joint conquest of Europe and the world. In fact, the Second World War was a war of aggression planned, started and conducted on the planning boards of IG Farben. IG Farben was the parent company of IG Auschwitz, the largest Industrial plant of this chemical cartel outside Germany.

Much of the wealth of this cartel was built upon the blood and suffering of slave laborers, including those from the Auschwitz concentration camp. IG Farben promoted and used the unscrupulous political rulers of Germany as their willing tools to seek economic dominance over Europe and the rest of the world.

IG Farben was the largest shareholder in Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and vice versa. The victory of the Allied Forces over Nazi-Germany at that time terminated the plans of IG Farben to become the leading pharmaceutical and petrochemical conglomerate in the world.

At the same time, Standard Oil and the other pharmaceutical/petrochemical corporations of the Rockefeller consortium became the controlling financial group of this industry and remained so ever since.

In the Nuremberg War Tribunal of 1947 against the managers of the IG Farben Cartel, several of them were found guilty and convicted of committing crimes against humanity including mass murder, plundering, and other crimes. The Nuremberg War Tribunal also dismantled the IG Farben Cartel into the daughter companies Hoechst, Bayer, and BASF. Today, each of these companies is larger than the parent company IG Farben was at that time.

Today the United States of America and Great Britain are the leading export nations of pharmaceutical products in the world. In fact, two out of three pharmaceutical drugs currently marketed globally derive from corporations in these two countries.

The accused are responsible for the deaths of millions of people who continue to die from Aids and Ebola, cancer and other diseases and among them Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP) and Candidiasis that could have been prevented and largely eliminated long ago.

This premature death of millions of people is neither the result of coincidence nor negligence. It has been willfully and systematically organized on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry and its investors with the sole purpose to expand a global drug market worth trillions of dollars.

The marketplace of the pharmaceutical industry is the human body and its return on investment depends on the continuation and expansion of diseases. Its profits depend on the patentability of drugs rendering this industry the most profitable industry on planet Earth.

In contrast, the prevention and eradication of any disease significantly reduces or totally eliminates the markets for pharmaceutical drugs. Therefore, the pharmaceutical corporations have been systematically obstructing the prevention and the eradication of diseases. To commit these crimes, the pharmaceutical corporations use a maze of executors and accomplices in science, medicine, the mass media and in politics.

The governments of entire nations are manipulated or even run by lobbyists and former executives of the pharmaceutical industry. For decades, the legislation of entire nations has been corrupted and abused to promote this multi-trillion-dollar “business with disease” thereby risking the health and lives of hundreds of millions of innocent patients and people.

A precondition for the rise of the pharmaceutical industry as a successful investment business was the elimination of competition from safe and natural therapies because they are not patient and their profit margins are small. In addition, these natural therapies can effectively help prevent and eliminate diseases because of their essential roles in cellular metabolism.

As the result of the systematic elimination of natural health therapies and the takeover of the healthcare systems in most countries of the world, the pharmaceutical industry has brought millions of people and almost all nations into dependency upon its investment business.

The Accused are governments of:
Belgium, Germany, France, United Kingdom, United States of America and Russia. World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Wistar Institute, U.S.A. National Institute of Health and Dutch Royal Academy of Science in the Netherlands.

The accused are the following persons from the corporate, military and political sectors of different nationalities:

Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense of the United States of America. Rumsfeld was Chief Executive Officer of several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, among others the pharma-concern G. D. Searle, today part of Pharmacia. For several decades, he had the role of strategic organizer of the pharmaceutical “business with disease”. He received several awards for the pharmaceutical industry.

John Ashcroft, U.S. Attorney General. He is one of the strategists of the so-called Homeland Security Act, one of the organizational instruments by which the accused are systematically curtailing civil rights in the U.S. He is responsible for protectionist legislation that would essentially grant immunity to the pharmaceutical industry from being held responsible for their crimes in the U.S.

Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security, an accomplice of John Ashcroft in cementing the political and economic control of the accused with the purpose to continue their unscrupulous business with disease and other crimes by systematically curtailing civil rights in the U.S.

In the pharmaceutical sector, the following companies are accused:

Pfizer Inc., the Chief Executive Officer Henry A. McKinnell, Ph.D., the other Executives and the Board of Directors.

Merck, Sharp and Dohme Executives and the Board of Directors.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC, the Executives and the Board of Directors.

Novartis AG, Executives and the Board of Directors.

Amgen Inc., Executives and the Board of Directors.
Astra Zeneca, Executives and the Board of Directors.

Eli Lilly and Company, Executives and the Board of Directors.

Abbott Laboratories, Executives and the Board of Directors.

The Rockefeller Financial Group and the members of the Rockefeller Family in benefiting from the crimes committed.

The Rothschild Group and all its members financially benefiting from these crimes.

The JP Morgan Group and all its members financially benefiting from these crimes. The Trilateral Commission and its members, a body founded by David Rockefeller to coordinate the interests of this investment group in the three areas of the world, U.S.A., Europe and Japan – hence, the name “trilateral” – including all members of this commission individually who are found guilty of participating in these crimes or benefiting from them financially.

The members of other corporate lobby and interest groups who in the course of further investigation will be found to have participated in committing these crimes or financially benefited from them.

J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, its Chief Executive Officer William B. Harrison Jr., the other Executives and its Board of Directors.

Other financial institutions their Executive Officers, Boards of Directors and shareholders and others who in the course of further investigation will be found to have participated in committing these crimes or financially benefited from them.

Politicians as well as national and international political bodies who in the course of further investigation will be found to have participated in committing these crimes or financially benefited from them.

Members of the military who participated, or in the course of further investigation will be found to have participated in committing these crimes or financially benefited from them.

Pharmaceutical health executives who in the course of further investigation will be found to have deliberately and systematically participated in committing these crimes or financially benefited from them.

Members of the media and others who in the course of further investigation will be found to have participated in committing these crimes or financially benefited from them.

International Treaties Applicable For This Indictment

Beside the Rome Statutes for the International Court of Justice the following international treaties and declarations are applicable to the severe charges of this indictment:

  1. The United Nations Charter
  2. The Declaration of Human Rights of December 8, 1948
  3. The Geneva Convention on Human Rights of August 12, 1949
  4. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of January 12, 1951, 5. The Convention on Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity of 1968 6. The Principles of International Co-Operation in the Detection, Arrest, Extradition, and Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity of 1973.

The Jurisdiction Of The International Criminal Court Over The Accused

The accused committed the crimes outlined above, knowingly and deliberately and in full knowledge of all the circumstances surrounding their actions. The crimes reported here have been committed against all mankind.

The ICC in The Hague is the court governed by international law addressing these urgent issues.Moreover, the ICC was established after WWII and the Nuremberg Tribunal, with the goal to prevent another tragedy from happening – possibly a world war.

The accused can be both sentenced and punished by the International Criminal Court. The Statute applies equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity.

In particular, official capacity as a Head of State or Government, a member of a Government or parliament, an elected representative or a government official shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility under the Statute of the ICC, nor shall it, in and of itself, constitute a ground for reduction of sentence (Article 27, Paragraph 1 of the Statute).

Immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the official capacity of a person, whether under the national or international law, shall also not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person (Article 27, Paragraph 2 of the Statute).

Exclusion of criminal responsibility
None of the accused may invoke any of the grounds specified under Article 31 of the Statute for excluding criminal responsibility. The accused were acting in full knowledge about the illegitimacy of their actions. Thus, any claims to the contrary are null and void.

Equally null and void are all efforts by the accused to retroactively justify their crimes by forming coalitions of opinions with other nations.

Power to inflict punishment on members of the US Government and citizens of the USA

Even those of the accused who hold citizenship of the United States of America, cannot claim immunity from criminal prosecution before the International Criminal Court, just because the United States of America in contrast to 90 other countries around the world (i.e. almost half of the members of the United Nations) is not amongst the signatory states to the Rome Statute.

The accused have long been devising plans to try and evade the power to inflict the punishment of the International Criminal Court. This, however, does not exempt the accused from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, because the mere performance of the crimes involved in the acts to be judged before the ICC constitutes a liability to punishment under the terms of the Statute.

It does not matter if you belong to a specific Member State because the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over natural persons and not over States and establishes individual responsibility and liability for punishment (Article 25 Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Statute).

The ICC Statutes render attempts by the US Administration to coerce smaller nations into bilateral immunity pacts’ redundant.

In addition, the UN Security Council did rule that the US Government and therefore also the majority of the accused could not and should not decide themselves whether the International Criminal Court could take action against them or not.

This decision was taken for a good reason: One can only imagine what would have happened if the main figures accused in the Nuremberg Trials had been allowed to choose whether they had to stand trial before the Nuremberg Tribunal.

For these reasons the accused, even if they are citizens of the United States of America, are still subject to the power to inflict the punishment of the International Criminal Court. The individuals named should be indicted before the International Criminal Court on the basis of the valid grounds specified in this indictment.

The investigations into the individual responsibilities of the accused are to be taken up and continued by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

These investigations will also be continued and intensified on our side, the side of the people of the world.

The accused should be convicted for the following reasons: knowing and deliberate violation of the human right to peace; knowing and deliberate violation of the human right to life; knowing and deliberate violation of the human right to health. This indictment is to be updated and completed in a system of constant development and revision until legal proceedings finally commence against the accused.

This indictment deals with the largest medical crimes ever committed in the course of human history. Every day that formal proceeding at the International Criminal Court against the accused is delayed, millions of people worldwide will pay with their lives and the world moves closer to the next world war.

As the US Prosecutor in the Nuremberg War Tribunal against the executives of the chemical/petrochemical cartel IG Farben stated: “If the crimes committed by the accused are not brought to the daylight and if they are not held accountable, they will do even more harm in the future.”

We call on every African Government to unite behind the charges. The time to act is now.


Dutch scientist and micro-surgeon Johan Van Dongen
Exposing the crime of experiments on Africans with contaminated vaccines leading to Aids, Ebola, and other new tropical diseases. (Holland)


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Joel Savage: Author, Writer, and investigative Journalist. (Belgium)

Jack Whitten, Artist as Sojourner and Refugee, on Display at BMA

By J. K. Schmid, Special to the AFRO

Jack Whitten, the distinguished contemporary Black artist, premieres at the the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) this weekend.

“Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963-2017” features 40 works of an artist whose career spanned five decades.

Part exhibition, part biography, the BMA display presents a uniquely physical encounter with the artist’s work and his life.

“Apollonian Sword” (Photo by J. K. Schmid)

A years-long project of negotiation and curation culminates, in part, as a memorial. Jack Whitten died Jan. 20, 2018.

The Jack Whitten story, as told by the BMA, is one of a refugee and sojourner. Whitten was born in 1939 in Bessemer, Ala., deep in the Jim Crow South, to a family of artists; Whitten’s brother, Bill, is the designer of Michael Jackson’s signature crystal gloves and socks.

Whitten originally studied to become an Army doctor through the ROTC and Tuskegee Institute. It was there that Whitten was inspired by the polymath Dr. George Washington Carver, another artist.

Later, Whitten joined the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. After hearing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King speak at the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Whitten joined marchers in Baton Rouge, La. When the backlash turned violent, Whitten took refuge in New Orleans until things cooled off.

Whitten eventually escaped the violence in the South and sought to make a break into the New York arts scene. Stifled by the rules of teachers and the conventions of critics, Whitten began travelling to Europe.

Rather than retreat to Paris, in the mode of the Harlem intelligentsia, Whitten instead went to Crete. Seeing samples of African carvings stateside, Whitten became seized by a dream: to carve something from a whole tree.

He found a prime specimen almost immediately, and his initial struggle was to find anyone that might give him permission to craft it. Crete was measurably more laid back than New York. His first set of tools were borrowed from a local carpenter, and he set to work.

In the ensuing years, Whitten developed into his signature style: a fusion of Black American, Cretan and African traditions. Crete, like Whitten’s work, is just about equidistant between Africa and Athens.

“Homage to Malcolm,” for example, combines multiple African traditions into one compelling piece. Like Malcolm X, the pan-Africanist and Black nationalist, combines traditions. In one portion of “Homage” burning is used to carve and treat a recess; in another, the practice of nailing is demonstrated, the work ends or begins with a long spine in the spirit of a headdress. Wholly asymmetrical, without an obvious beginning or end, the piece cannot be confronted head on, or in order, but only in its entirety.

“The Apollonian Sword” works with wood and marble, classically Greek materials. A white blade is set in black mulberry, then sealed with molten lead. This use of molten lead is the same method ancient Greeks used to anchor the bases of the columns in the Parthenon, which still stand today.

“The Afro American Thunderbolt” combines African and Cretan traditions with a copper-jacketed bolt of lightning. The symbol of Zeus’ power and protection is enhanced with the African spiritual practice of warding nailing.

As viewers proceed further, the works get more and more personal incorporating the debris and artifacts of Whitten’s personal life.

With more and more time in Crete, Whitten became a master fisherman. Fishing line, fish bones, and other aquatic motifs enter his work. Spearing octopus, his specialty, enters his work with the incorporation of tentacular imagery and the use of octopus and cuttlefish ink.

The exhibit concludes with Whitten’s parallel project: his portraiture. Eight of the “Black Monolith” series pay tribute to the likes of James Baldwin, W. E. B. DuBois and Ralph Ellison. Many include mosaic work learned in Crete.

Stephen Towns, 38, is currently on exhibit at the BMA; the curation is entitled “Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning.” He spoke about Whitten’s impact on him as a fellow artist.

“I enjoy the materiality of the work,” Towns told the AFRO. “Quilting and even my paintings are about sort of piecing things together. And when I’m making a square object, that you’re going to stand in front of, all I have to think about is a person standing in front of an object. But for someone like him, these sculptures, he has to think about the person’s total experience walking around the object. I think at some point, I’d like to be able explore the same things. Seeing the show has definitely inspired me.”

“Odyssey” opens to the public April 22 and will run through July 29.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Independence Day

Photo Credit: pixabay

{Originally posted to the Abu Yehuda website}

Independence Day in Israel is a lot like Independence day in America. There are barbecues, fireworks, weekend camping trips, street fairs, concerts of patriotic music and boring speeches by government officials. Both nations gained independence from the British Empire, and neither felt warm enough toward their former imperial rulers to join the Commonwealth.

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But there are significant differences. Possibly because the nation is young enough that there are still people around who remember when the state did not exist and who remember the price that was paid to create it, there is still a feeling – at least, in some quarters – that independence is not a normal condition. For thousands of years there was no sovereign Jewish state, and the Jewish people were the paradigm case of the outsiders living, with various degrees of toleration, in other people’s countries. That changed suddenly on May 14, 1948, the 5th of Iyar on the Jewish calendar.

America had her Tories who would have preferred to remain colonies of Great Britain (including the son of Benjamin Franklin, who had been the Royal Governor of New Jersey), but I suspect that after some 242 years, very few Americans continue to believe that the US should return to colonial status. Israel had (and still has) her anti-Zionists: those who oppose a Jewish state for religious reasons, and those who oppose it for various political reasons. I doubt this will change even when the state reaches (with God’s help) its 242nd birthday.

Some Americans complain that many of their countrymen (and women) don’t appreciate the sacrifices required to create and maintain an independent nation. This is less of a problem in Israel, whose people are under constant threat, both individually and collectively, by the enemies of the state and the Jewish people. Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism (yom hazikaron) takes place the day before Independence Day. When the siren sounds to mark the beginning of yom hazikaron, almost all Israelis stop what they are doing and stand at attention for the duration of the siren. Autos stop in the middle of the highways , and their drivers get out and stand beside them. I admit that no matter how many times I’ve experienced this, it’s always emotionally powerful. Except for the siren (and perhaps a few barking dogs) there is absolute silence; and it happens at the same precise moment all over the country.

I said “almost all Israelis” because there are some Arab citizens, some Haredim, and even a few extreme leftists who oppose the Jewish state and make a point of showing their contempt for it and for the soldiers who died for it. If I could afford to, I would happily buy them all one-way tickets to the Arab or Diaspora countries that they appear to yearn for.

When America gained independence, its population was composed of Europeans mostly of British descent, African slaves and Native Americans. It was some time before the “non-white” inhabitants achieved equal rights. Israel also had a minority population made up of Arabs who, while citizens from the start, were under military rule until 1966. Since independence, both countries absorbed immigrants from numerous cultures, although almost all of those absorbed by Israel were Jewish.

Some Arab citizens of Israel see themselves as Israelis, while others embrace their “Palestinian” identity and reject “Israeli-ness.” Most Jews feel that they are part of a Jewish people that encompasses Jews of different national origins. The divisions between Jews of European and Middle Eastern or North African origin are becoming less important as time and intermarriage blur them. Russians, Ethiopians and others are also blending into the Jewish population.

In America until recently the concept of the “melting pot” which would turn immigrants (but never African Americans!) into members of a homogeneous American People was popular, and immigrants aspired to assimilate into “American” culture. More recently, many immigrant groups strongly reject the melting pot, and insist on maintaining their original cultures. I don’t believe this tendency is strong among non-Haredi Israeli immigrants, who do appear to be assimilating to “Israeli” culture. There are various reasons for this: army service, shared stresses (terrorism, bureaucracy, etc.) and the comparative openness of Israeli society. In Israel, at least among the Jewish population, it seems that identity politics is declining; while in America, it is gaining importance.

American society seems – from my admittedly distant vantage point – to be more divided than ever in my memory. The delivery of health care and other social services appears to be worse than I can remember, the primary, secondary, and higher educational systems are failing in their purposes, and the long-term decrease in violent crime seems to be ending. There are many other troubling social indicators. Time will tell if the decline that I perceive is real, and if so, if it will be overcome.

70 years after independence, Israeli society has overall never been better off economically, although the high price of housing is a problem. There are still pockets of deep poverty. The benefits of the success of the high-tech sector and the natural gas discoveries have not filtered down to the lower rungs of the ladder. Politically there is the ongoing struggle between the right-of-center majority and the left-of-center establishment that includes the Supreme Court, the media, academic class, the arts, and so forth. There is growing conflict between Haredi extremists and everyone else. But on balance it is a happy, optimistic society. One indication is the high birthrate, over three children per woman for the Jewish and Arab sectors.

Despite this, there is a cloud over our optimism, which is the almost certainty of war with Iran and its proxies in the near future. Israel is not expansionist and does not desire war. We have absolutely nothing against the Iranian people, but unfortunately their radical regime has an obsession with destroying our state and ourselves.

We’ll prevail. It will be terrible for us, but more terrible for our enemies. Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel was not reconstituted after thousands of years to be lost after only 70.

There are flags everywhere, hanging from windowsills, on cars, on both of the antennas on our roof. Our bank is giving out free flags, made in Israel by handicapped people.

Happy Independence Day!


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Politics | Our First Ladies are a National Treasure – Sunday Political Brunch—April 22, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Mark Curtis

I was sad to hear of former First Lady Barbara Bush’s passing this week at the age of 92. She was a remarkable woman and a political force in one of the nation’s most famous political dynasties. It made me think back on all the First Ladies who served in my lifetime, and their contributions to our country. Let’s wish them all a happy Mother’s Day in advance, and look at their legacies as we “brunch” this week:

“Beating Around the Bushes” – This is a family that, like the Kennedys, is now in its fourth consecutive generation in America politics. They are simply interwoven in the fabric of this country. Barbara Bush was the daughter-in-law to Senator Prescott Bush (R-CT); wife to President George H.W. Bush; mother to President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and grandma of Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. The family dynasty is by no means over, with Jeb Bush still viable on the national stage, and his son George P., just getting his political sea legs.

“The Kennedy Kin” – Quite honestly, the only other woman in American history that can match Barbara Bush is Rose Kennedy. Rose was the wife of British Ambassador Joe Kennedy; mom of President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy; grandma of Rep. Joseph Kennedy II (D-MA); and great-grandmother of current Rep. Joe Kennedy, (D-MA). There were many other elected Kennedys, too, within each generation.

“Of Politics and Pain” – One of the things I found remarkable about Barbara Bush and Rose Kennedy was their compassion for others, despite great personal loss in their own lives. Rose Kennedy lost two children in World War II, and then two sons to assassination. Barbara Bush lost a daughter to leukemia at a very young age. And, many people forget that First Lady Jackie Kennedy lost two children before her husband’s assassination. The tremendous grief they must have endured, especially while living in the public spotlight, is unfathomable. Yet, they endured, and their contributions post-tragedy were remarkable. I remember once talking about this in a college lecture I delivered and someone said, “But these are incredibly rich and powerful families.” My response was, “Pain is pain; and grief is grief. I can’t imagine what it must be like to bury a child, whether you’re politically-powerful, rich, poor, or in the middle.”

“Covering Jackie’s Funeral” – One of my most enduring memories of being a reporter in Washington, DC, was covering the burial of Jackie Kennedy Onassis at Arlington National Cemetery. No press was allowed at the graveside service, but we could share a pool feed of the event. With all due respect, that is too sanitized for me, although I do think it was respectful of the family. So, I set up along the long driveway to the public entrance of the cemetery hours ahead of the funeral cortege. Suddenly I heard a man singing the most off-key, horrendous rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. His singing was bad. Yet, he was waving a large American flag, and his passion and grief were palpable. When I interviewed him afterwards he was in tears, saying something to the effect of, “I came to this country from the West Indies. I never would have become what I have, without President Kennedy and his wife.” He was grief-stricken as the hearse carrying her casket passed us by. I’ll never forget him!

“Who’s My Favorite First Lady?” – It’s a tough call, but I am going to say Betty Ford. It’s interesting, some First Ladies are very politically active and outspoken (Hillary Clinton and Michele Obama), and some have been more quiet and reserved (Pay Nixon and Laura Bush). Some were clearly behind-the-scenes, influential political operatives (Eleanor Roosevelt and Nancy Reagan). But who had the longest imprint on America? I say Betty Ford. First, she dealt with breast cancer publicly and with candor (back then you couldn’t even say breast on TV). Then she dealt publicly with addiction. The openness and availability of non-judgmental substance abuse treatment in this county – for decades now – is all due to Betty Ford.

“Sometimes it’s the Small Things” – One of the more understated First Ladies in my lifetime was Lady Bird Johnson. While some of the others I mentioned here took on heavyweight issues such as health care reform, drug use, literacy, nutrition, and substance abuse treatment, some were forceful and effective on other issues. Lady Bird’s issue was highway beautification. You must remember the Interstate Highway System launched by President Eisenhower was still in its infancy through the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Lady Bird fought for limiting the number of billboards, and led a crackdown on littering. The fact that we can drive cross-country in such beauty is a testament to her passion and legacy.

“Why the Political Spouses Matter?” – I refer here to First Ladies, but more and more we are seeing First Gentlemen across the land. Folks, these are critical, important, and influential people. I’ve often felt sorry for political spouses, many of whom did not seek the spotlight, but were thrust on stage. But they are very crucial in our process, because they have the ear of a president, governor, senator, or all the way down to town council member. Political spouses can have great influence, and will say things to their partner that no one else will. When President George W. Bush told Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to “bring it on” in 2001, when he got back to the White House quarters he says First Lady Laura Bush scolded him, saying in effect, “Are you crazy? What were you thinking?” In short, political partners matter!

Who was your favorite First Lady and why? Just click the comment button at

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving the Mountain State


Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.


Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%


When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%


Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50…

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%


In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don’t know/Refused: .6%


What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%


Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don’t know/Refused: 5%


Over the same time, has your family’s financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don’t know/Refused: 1%


Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don’t know: 4%


Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don’t know/refused: 1%


What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don’t know/refused: 1%


The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don’t know/refused: 17%


What particular ethnic group or nationality – such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth – do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%


Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?

Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%


Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%


Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%


Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%


Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%


Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%


Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%


Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%


Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%


Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%


Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%

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Artist Paul Johnson critiques media depictions of African American women in ‘Sambo Princess’ exhibition

click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARA BARRON

  • Photo by Sara Barron

Detroit-native artist Paul Johnson — aka “ffty” — has built multiple bodies of work centered around variations of the same character — a voluptuous, doe-eyed figure that resembles the extraterrestrial version of the female form. In Johnson’s latest body of work, Sambo Princess, his recurring character takes the form of a mystical African American woman and is meant to critique the ways that African Americans are depicted in media, specifically anime.

Johnson says his fascination with the female form started in adolescence. “As a hopeless romantic, angsty teen, I felt I wasn’t popular with the girls, so the idea of drawing my own would suffice,” says Johnson. However, this fixation wasn’t drawn from some pubescent obsession with female sex organs, but a deep reverence and fascination with women as an entity. Johnson says that while he is “totally enamored with the female figure,” he is careful not to hypersexualize the female body in his work, especially in his latest exhibition.

The title Sambo Princess is a play off the controversial children’s book, The Story of Little Black Sambo, by Helen Bannerman. Johnson says the success of this book facilitated and spread stereotypes of African American people, similar to the demeaning and stereotyping nature of 19th century minstrelsy, where white actors used blackface to perform and mock African American culture. In Sambo Princess, Johnson uses the color of his trademark character as a form of social commentary.

“I’m showing the evolution of my quintessential character from a flesh anime tone down to chocolate and straight carbon black,” says Johnson. Similar to the female characters in anime cartoons, Johnson’s “princesses” have unrealistically perfect bodies, but their faces are overtaken mainly by their drooping, exaggerated eyes, giving off a disillusioned and almost disturbing affect. By distorting the faces of his characters, Johnson is seemingly making a statement about where viewers are placing their attention when gazing at these female characters. One of his pieces shows multiple of the “princesses” splayed in different poses while two floating heads stare down almost salaciously.

click to enlarge "Sambo Princess rendition no.1 ft floating heads" by - PHOTO BY SARA BARRON

  • Photo by Sara Barron
  • “Sambo Princess rendition no.1 ft floating heads” by

Although Johnson says anime “taught him how to love,” he recognizes that the way some of the African American characters are portrayed is extremely problematic. “[The stereotypes] are even present in some of the anime I watch,” he says. “Figures like Mr. Popo, who was a puffy-lipped slave in Dragon Ball Z, or Staff Officer Black, also in Dragon Ball.” While Johnson’s Sambo Princess undoubtedly draws attention to these stereotypes, he also gives power to the character by placing her in settings where she’s depicted as a goddess or queen.

click to enlarge "Garden of Escapism" by Paul Johnson - PHOTO BY SARA BARRON

  • Photo by Sara Barron
  • “Garden of Escapism” by Paul Johnson

Described as a “loose collection” of work, Johnson’s Sambo Princess sparks an interesting and necessary conversation about the depiction of African Americans in cartoon media while leaving room for Johnson to develop his narrative, stylistically and conceptually. The exhibition will be up at Grey Area, 4200 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit, through May 6.

TV best bets for 4-22-18


GSN, 5 p.m.

Did you know you can bliss out to a marathon of Steve Harvey-hosted episodes of the beloved “Survey says” game show every night? Well, maybe only 28 percent of you did, but now everyone’s aware.


CBS, 8 p.m.

In the new episode, Dylan (Alan Cumming) and Lizzie (Bojana Novakovic) investigate the murder of a Jane Doe, but when they realize that the victim was killed by mistake, they must identify the killer’s motive and intended target before she suffers the same fate.


ESPN, 8 p.m. Live

Two NL rivals meet at Dodger Stadium as the Washington Nationals and L.A. Dodgers cap off a three-game series.


History, 8 p.m.

The special concludes with a look at the rise of partisan politics in the ’90s, and the unexpected origins of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Part 2 also investigates the progression of gay rights, the fall of traditional media, the move from offline to online and the unforeseen rise of a global terror network.


Lifetime, 8 p.m.

Original Film! Not since “My Stepson, My Lover” has Lifetime gifted us with such a delicious, Lifetime-y title that tells us exactly what to expect — and this one’s based on a true story. Lily (Megan West), a Christian good girl, becomes friends with Rae (Carly Pope), who seduces Lily’s twin, Jason (Matthew James Ballinger). He winds up dead, and Lily blames Rae, sparking a war that ends in, yep, more death.


Smithsonian Channel, 8 p.m.

A tugboat towing timber to a lumberyard at the Port of Everett is a reminder of the industry that built Seattle, but there’s no missing the $4 billion urban campus of Amazon, which now occupies 19 percent of all prime office space in the city. From the air, viewers can also trace the journey of coffee giant Starbucks from its first store in Pike Place Market to its massive world headquarters at the Port of Seattle.


CBS, 9 p.m.

Sam (LL Cool J) and Hidoko (recurring guest star Andrea Bordeaux) go undercover to investigate the robbery of more than $10 million from a cryptocurrency farm in the new episode.


FOX, 9 p.m.

The outrageous animated comedy is reimagined as a series that’s been on the air for 60 years and, in a special retrospective, it looks back at the cultural events and issues that were tackled on the show in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.


HBO, 9 p.m.

Season Premiere! The futuristic thriller set in an Old West theme park returns, and despite HBO’s secrecy, here’s what we know: The hosts are mad and on a rampage; most of the cast is back, with several new characters making debuts; some of the people we thought were dead aren’t; and a second land called Shogun World will be introduced.


ABC, 10 p.m.

Cameron (Jack Cutmore-Scott) tackles a Fashion Week robbery with century-old black art — a way to hide things in plain sight.


AMC, 10 p.m.

Season Premiere! The third season of AMC’s apocalyptic drama finds Sunny (Daniel Wu) living off the grid and doing his best to provide for his infant son in the wake of Veil’s death. When baby Henry contracts a mysterious illness, Sunny must join forces with Bajie (Nick Frost) and journey back into the Badlands, where The Widow (Emily Beecham) and Baron Chau (Eleanor Matsuura)are entrenched in a drawn-out war that has destabilized the entire region.


CBS, 10 p.m.

In the new episode, Elizabeth’s (Téa Leoni) negotiations for a security agreement combating gang violence in South America become complicated when she attempts to free an American recently kidnapped there.


Hallmark Channel, 10 p.m.

Holly plans a simulated flight experience for families dealing with autism; Roman plans a “Goodbye Gorgeous” week for Grams; and Holly struggles to plan an anniversary date for Rodney.


History, 10 p.m.

What began as a calm spring day in April 1995 erupted into the largest terrorist act our country had experienced at the time when a truck bomb left by Timothy McVeigh at a federal building detonated and killed 168 people.

In this episode, hear dramatic stories of an office worker trapped in the rubble, a mother whose 1-year-old daughter was in the building, a firefighter, a news reporter and the head of the local FBI tasked with finding the perpetrator.

Brought to you by the publishers of TV Guide. © TV Guide 2018

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The Wiz’s Kent Gash: “It is a gift to be African-American”

The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg

“The Wiz is a beloved classic of American musical theater,” says Kent Gash. “And it’s historically so important. It was the first black musical produced by an African-American producer, with a predominantly African-American creative team, to go on to win seven Tony Awards. That had never happened in history before. It had a long and very successful run financially.”

Gash, one could say, had a date with The Wiz long before his own production of the hit musical landed at Ford’s Theatre. For nearly his entire life in theater, the esteemed director has drawn some spark of inspiration from the hugely popular African-American take on Dorothy’s journey to Oz.

“I started performing as an actor when I was a kid,” Gash says. “In fact, I saw…the original national Broadway tour while I was still in high school. I saw it like six times. It had a big, big impact on me.”

Billed as the “Super Soul Musical,” The Wiz was one of many productions to cast a glow in the eye of the young black artist. Gash’s music and culture-loving parents took him and his older sister to see almost every major touring production that passed through their hometown of Denver, Colorado.

“They took me to see Zero Mostel in Fiddler On The Roof. I saw the touring production of Company. I saw Angela Lansbury in Gypsy. They took us to those things when we were very young.” However, it was The Wiz, with its ebullient display of African-American talent, that really spoke to Gash as a theater kid.

“It was the first black musical I ever saw where the black people didn’t have to suffer, where the black people were not sad all the time, and crying about the blues, or crying poverty,” he says. “It wasn’t Showboat, it wasn’t Porgy and Bess. It was a piece that was alive, and vibrant, and dynamic, and full of joy, and full of hope, and full of an energy that seemed to be unstoppable.”

The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg

Gash fatefully crossed paths again with The Wiz while studying drama and acting at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, when he booked an early professional role playing the Lion onstage.

“I was very young when I did it,” Gash recalls. “We did a small production in Pittsburgh that was choreographed by Broadway diva Lenora Nemetz…. One of my best friends, actress Tamara Tunie, who was on Law and Order: SVU and 24, was Glinda. We were all classmates together and were like, ‘Let’s go down here and get these jobs,’ and we did. It was great fun.”

Gash’s staging at Ford’s recaptures that sense of youthful fun, fueled by the unstoppable energy of well-honed talent unleashed both onstage and behind the curtain. A similar life-affirming spirit lit up the director’s fabulous production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Wig Out! last spring at Studio Theatre. Though a much darker tale of an innocent’s journey to the other side of the rainbow, Gash’s Wig Out!, like his staging of The Wiz, showed a flair for expressing the vibrancy within the black community.

“It’s really important for me to tell stories that celebrate and uplift African-American life, and also to tell the stories about African-American life that don’t get told all the time. That’s why it was so incredibly important to me to continue my working relationship with Tarell Alvin McCraney,” says Gash, who first teamed with the Oscar-winning playwright for a 2015 staging of the gay-themed drama Choir Boy, also at Studio. “No other playwright in the country is shedding as much light and so beautifully on the existence of the African-American and LGBTQIA community of color.”

The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg

The Wiz features several performers who, like the director himself, identify somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum. And a few of the show’s characterizations, most notably Christopher Michael Richardson’s gloriously camp Cowardly Lion, reflect a story-conscious commitment to queer inclusion.

Undoubtedly one of the buzzwords of the cultural moment, inclusion is also a key component of Gash’s philosophy as an educator. The founding director of NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway, Gash spends much of his time, when he’s not flipping over farmhouses at Ford’s, molding the talents of future thespians and directors.

“It’s an interesting, fascinating time to be teaching young emerging artists, because they have fast access to a great deal of information,” says the 57-year-old during an hour-long phone conversation. “The speed of that access has often given them a misperception about craft and about the dedication, the dedicated hours, discipline, and rigor required to really become an actor, to excel and to really become an artist.

“One of the great things about many artists in this generation — particularly many of the artists of color within this generation — is that there’s a deep desire for artistic expression, and social and cultural responsibility, and intersection to be a part of the work. You feel a deeper sense of representation of honor about culture, about using your whole self to really make the work, and to really have an impact, not only for yourself, but to really have an impact on audiences. People want to play for diverse, inclusive audiences now and work in diverse and inclusive companies of actors. There’s more and more of this happening, so that’s a great thing.”

The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg

METRO WEEKLY: How did you find yourself in New York?

KENT GASH: I was an actor for 20 years. Before I became a director, I went to Carnegie Mellon University, which is the oldest actor training program in America and one of the very best. I had a great time. Right after Carnegie Mellon I moved to New York and have lived here really ever since. Although, I’ve gone away to do other things. I went to Los Angeles to get my Masters in directing. I was a company member at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. I was also in residence as the Associate Artistic Director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival for two years, and for eight years was the Associate Artistic Director of the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. All that time, I still kept a place in New York.

MW: Is New York home for you now, or is it more like your Oz?

GASH: Home home for me is always going to be Denver, Colorado, because that’s where my family still lives. I go back to Denver and spend time there, easily five or six times a year. My sister still lives in Denver. My mom, who will be 90 in September, still lives in Denver. My roots as a human being, in many ways, start in Denver.

Is New York Oz? Well, yeah. It’s always going to be Oz in so many ways, because it’s a city of infinite, endless possibility, and wonder. There’s always something to aspire to in New York. Even criminals who come to New York want to be a world class best criminal. I think it’s an aspirational kind of city that can bring out the best in people. Especially in this complicated world that we live in now, it’s important that we not take each other for granted. It’s important that we listen, and listen with an open spirit and an open heart, and an open mind.

MW: Your iteration of Oz captures the quality of a place of infinite possibility and wonder. What’s your take on how much Dorothy might want to remain in Oz, versus returning to Kansas?

GASH: I think it’s like the Scarecrow says to her near the end of the play, “As long as you have the silver slippers, you could always come back.” The brilliance of The Wizard of Oz as a story, and in particular the brilliance of The Wiz, is that Dorothy goes on this extraordinary journey and throughout the journey she keeps discovering things that evoke home, or that evoke strengths from her aunt and uncle. She realizes that home is actually wonderful, and she always has that with her and in her. Just like all of us, as African Americans, if we experience the great love of our families, that’s always with us. She experiences great love and support in her adventures in Oz.

I think one of the reasons why the last scene of the piece is so moving is that she has made great friends of the Scarecrow, and of the Lion, and of the Tin Man, and they’ve all been through something together. They all learn that they’re more resilient, and more courageous, and more passionate than they ever dreamed they could be. She’s learned that, too. She’s given that to them, they’ve given that to her. They will all always carry those things. Oz is as much a state of mind and a state of being, as it is an actual place. That’s something that great cities and great human experiences give you.

The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg

MW: There’s a strong current of contemporary pop culture that runs through this particular production. How do you choose your spots for mentions of things like Wakanda and Siri?

GASH: A lot has been written about little references to Wakanda, and Siri. I want to be really clear that those things are little grace notes that have only been added where it specifies in the script, “There’s an ad lib here.” In 1975, there were ad lib references that were current and that connected the piece, or gave a little wink, to the time they were performing in. Those little references capture the spirit.

Ninety-nine percent of what we’re doing is the original play as it was done in 1975. So much of the heart and soul of the play is as it was in 1975, about this wonderful adventure that this brilliant young girl goes on, who doesn’t even know that she’s brilliant and magical.

The other thing that we have tried to do is tease out and really use all of the references and celebrations of great black music, and entertainment, and culture, and style. Black people have brought so much style, and music, and creativity to American life, and to the international perception of culture. We’ve changed music, we’ve led fashion in so many ways. Even now, the preeminence of something like Black Panther, some people have been surprised by that. Actually, I’m not. I’m not surprised by it at all. We’ve been on this path and this trajectory for some time.

MW: The character of the Wiz himself reflects this really well. He’s cut from a similar cloth as Prince or Rick James, pioneers who disseminated black culture to a mainstream audience. Were you deliberately going for that with this concept of the character?

GASH: Well, yes. I think we did tease that out. I do think there are suggestions of Prince, James Brown, but also Little Richard, Michael Jackson, even Louis Jordan, who was the first great black rock-and-roll pioneer. These references have all become part of world culture. Black music, soul music, rock-and-roll, disco, rhythm and blues, jazz — we’re accessing all of them in this glorious score, all of those songs. We really took our cue from the music. If you listen to “Y’all Got It,” even on the original Broadway cast recording, Andre DeShields sounds a lot like James Brown performing at the Apollo, circa 1975. We took our cue from James Brown to Prince, back to Little Richard, forward to Rick James. They’re all connected, and we’re all connected to all of them. That’s the music we’ve grown up with. That’s the music we’ve lived through. Those artists still have a reach in popular music, in popular culture, to this day.

MW: Speaking of Michael Jackson, it seems that regardless of what a cast and director do with The Wiz, ever since the ’78 film adaptation it’s virtually impossible to watch the show without thinking of Jackson, Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell. Is that something you lean into?

GASH: That film, when it came out originally, was not critically well-received. It actually didn’t do so well at the box office. For those of us who loved and knew the Broadway production really well, there are great, wonderful flights of imagination in the film. But there are also some things that were genius in the original production that, sadly, didn’t make it to the film, that they changed. I think it’s interesting the love that has come over time for the film. Look, it’s directed by one of the great American filmmakers in history, Sidney Lumet, who is really a genius on so many levels. He was a genius at recognizing talent. One of his main reasons for making the film is that Lena Horne, who played Glinda, was his mother-in-law. He wanted to give her one more great film role. For many of us, that sequence in the film is the most beautiful and most heartfelt, because Lena Horne is just magnificent as Glinda. She’s magnificent.

In terms of the impact of the film on our production, we all have things about the film that we love, but you can’t do on stage what you can do on film, and vice versa. We wanted to capture the spirit and imagination — particularly the visual imagination — that went into some of the film, but our truest inspiration for this production was to stand on the shoulders of the creative giants who made the original [Broadway] production: Jeffrey Holder, George Faison, Charlie Smalls, Tom H. John, Tharon Musser. What they did originally was genius, and we really took our inspiration from them. They really seemed to capture lightning in a bottle. Endless invention, beautiful costume after beautiful costume. With each entrance of each actor on stage, you couldn’t help but think, “Black people are beautiful and miraculous.” That’s really what I wanted to capture all night long. Black people are beautiful and miraculous, and it is a gift to be African-American.

The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg

MW: Going back to your childhood, was your family always supportive of your love of theater?

GASH: My family was intensely supportive of it. [My mother and father] took us to the theater all the time. They just felt we should be exposed to everything. They loved theater. They loved music. My dad knew a lot of jazz musicians. He made friends with a lot of jazz musicians. He knew Billie Holiday. He saw her not long before she died, in fact. We grew up with Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, and Ray Brown. They were all family friends. We grew up knowing them. There was always music in our house. We had a piano. We all had to study piano for at least a year as kids. Then if we wanted to play something else, we could, but they really wanted us to have music in our lives. Look, I thought growing up everybody grew up the way I did, for a while. Then I started to sort of realize, as I was getting older, “Oh, this is unique, how we’re growing up.”

MW: How did your father know Billie Holiday and all these people?

GASH: It’s interesting, my father, he’s no longer with us, but in Denver there was a huge and thriving black community in Denver.

MW: This is news to me, by the way.

GASH: I think it is to a lot of people. My parents were both born and raised in Denver, and my father was a very gregarious, outgoing, social guy. [Singers and musicians] would play concerts or clubs in Denver, but then they would go to the after-hours clubs in the black community. They would just hang out. My father would go to the concerts and then he would see them at these clubs, and begin to get to know people. If they were there for more than a night or two, he would invite people to the house for dinner, or invite people to our home on a Sunday, so they wouldn’t have to be just living out of a hotel and having to deal with that all the time. They could bring their laundry to our house and just kind of chill out, and have a home-cooked meal and spend some time outside of a hotel room. That’s really how he got to know people. He and my mom were both really friendly and open people. That’s how it happened.

MW: Along this journey from Denver, to Pittsburgh, to New York, and beyond, what have been the main challenges you’ve faced as an artist?

GASH: I think the main challenges stem from a couple of things. I think when I started as an actor, I was somewhat selfish. I was a lot younger, so I’m going to give myself a little bit of a break on that. But I think I was selfish in some ways. I actually think that’s why, while I may have been successful as an actor and I was able to make my living and sustain myself, and was able to do a lot of work that I was proud of, I don’t know if I was ever a great actor.

Now, as a director, I’m more interested in the dialogue and in the exchange between people, and in what and how a group of people can come together and create something. Whatever conversation I might be able to begin as a director, whatever creative conversation you begin, if it’s a genuine dialogue, then it’s totally informed by what everyone else brings to the table, and it has to be. I think as an actor, I was not as impacted, as affected by other human beings as perhaps I should have been. Where, as a director, I definitely seek out the richest possible collaborations, and that I think always improves the work.

I’m also much more curious now than I ever was before in my life. I think if you want to be an artist, you have to be much more interested in what you don’t know, rather than being interested in proving what you do know. If you know something, it’ll be self-evident, and that’s fine. We can all learn — and again this goes all the way back to Dorothy — something from every single human being we encounter. If you listen, if you’re open, if you pay attention, and if you’re more interested in someone else’s journey than you are in just regurgitating your own journey, if you want to really do anything that has any kind of impact, that has to be the conversation. That has to be what we’re on about.

Any other difficulties or adversities that I’ve experienced — and I’m not saying that I haven’t — I think sometimes there is still the underestimating of gifted people of color and of members of the LGBTQIA community. I think there can still be a sense that we are somehow less than. I would say that this has improved. Certainly, I don’t experience that as much. It also doesn’t surprise me when I still experience it — and I do. You can’t pay any attention to that. You can’t ignore it either, but the obstacle of that can’t become your sole focus. The way you overcome that obstacle is through excellence, and constantly striving for something beyond that.

Also you shouldn’t look for approval from people who can’t see you. If you don’t see me, that’s fine, that’s whatever. I’m not investing time and energy in people that aren’t investing the same time and energy that I am, and that aren’t investing the time and energy in every human being and in every encounter. People who don’t see value in every human experience, I’m not investing time in them. I’m not.

The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg

MW: Speaking about LGBTQ influences or sensibility, how would you respond to anyone who called this production a very gay Wiz?

GASH: Look, there are gay people involved in creating it, just as there were originally. There is no moment where I, as the director, said, “Let’s do this because that would be really gay.” Kara Harmon’s genius costumes, Jason Sherwood’s surprising and exciting scenic design, where literally the stage gets turned upside down, the genius of the lighting of Rui Rita, and the projections of Clint Allen, and the unbelievable music direction of Darius Smith — I don’t think any of us sat down and said, “Let’s do this or that because it’d be really gay.”

I think that when you’re trying to tell a story, when you’re creating something, you bring all of your humanity into the room. You have to. I work with really inspiring collaborators, and so we bring all of ourselves into the room. I think Dell Howlett’s choreography of this production is every bit as great as George Faison’s original Tony Award-winning choreography. It’s different. Even though it stands on the shoulders of Faison’s work, so much of it is originally and completely Dell’s creation. I’ve never been prouder of a collaborator in my life, than I am of Dell’s work in this.

I think to your question, one of our guiding aesthetics and principles was, “Okay, if this is the first play you’ve ever seen and you’re five years old, or your 85-year old grandmother brings you to the theater, how do we make and tell a story that delights the child who is five and who is seeing a play for the first time? How do we endlessly delight and surprise that child? How do we warm the heart and delight the 95-year old grandmother, too, so that they both leave the theater exhilarated and feeling uplifted?” I think the theater is really about surprise, and awe, and wonder. If surprise, and awe, and wonder are a step away from being fabulous, and fierce, and gay, okay. Those things are pretty closely aligned. I don’t know if that’s intentional. It’s part and parcel of who we all are as collaborators, and part and parcel of what we bring to the making of the story.

Certainly, I think it’s the heart of the story that’s most important. The heart, the love, the caring, the generosity of Dorothy’s spirit — I actually hope that feels like it’s really part of the gay community too. That’s the stuff that keeps us all alive. That’s the best that we have to offer each other. If that’s what the gay community is offering, if that’s who we are and that’s what we bring, then yeah, it’s gay.

MW: What’s happening with the musical you co-wrote, Langston In Harlem, about gay Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes?

GASH: Walter Marx, who is a veteran Broadway composer and lyricist approached me about wanting to do a piece based on Langston Hughes’ poetry. I was like, “Yeah, sure. That sounds great.” We started working together on it. Through several versions and several iterations, we arrived at something that I think is attempting to understand how Langston matured into the man he became, through the work that he was doing. I have to say, I don’t know if our work on it is entirely finished. I think that it’s a piece that I want to do a better job with. I think at the time and for as far as we went, we did a lot of very good things, but I think Langston Hughes deserves a greater piece of work about his existence, and about his work, and about his contributions. It’s a piece that someday in my life I would very much like to revisit, and perhaps approach somewhat differently. I want to do it better. I suppose I feel that way about everything. You step away and you think, “Maybe that was pretty good, but how do we do it better?”

MW: So what triggers the notion when you’re working on something, “This is ready?”

GASH: That’s a dangerous question to ask a director. We never think it’s ready. You always see — even as it’s opening and it’s closing — something. Like at the closing night of Wig Out!, I thought, “That one little thing I could have made better.” This is life.

I think this is part of what makes us get up every morning. Aren’t we saying that about our own lives? Aren’t we looking in the mirror and thinking, “Well, what I’ve been doing so far, that’s okay, but, boy, today I could do this better. Today I could be a little kinder. Today I could be a little more compassionate. Today I could listen more than talk.” Aren’t we saying that with every waking breath? Aren’t we asking those questions all the time? This is why we stay on the planet for as long as we do, because hopefully the next day you’ll get it right, you’ll get the next relationship right. You’ll get the next conversation right. You’ll get the next engagement closer to something genuine and something true.

The Wiz runs to May 12 at Ford’s Theatre, 511 Tenth St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $73. Call 888-616-0270, or visit

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