Homebred Tap o’ Noth Lands Cape Guineas

The well-fancied Tap o’ Noth (SAF) gave trainer Vaughan Marshall his fifth victory in the 1,600-meter (about one mile) Forus Cape Guineas (G1), the start of South Africa’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.

Tap o’ Noth overcame the outside barrier draw in the 14-horse field at Kenilworth Park in Cape Town and settled in midfield one horse off the fence, before he was produced by jockey MJ Byleveld to take the lead a furlong and a half from the finish.

He drew clear and had enough to comfortably hold out the fast-finishing White River (SAF), a son of 2000 Vosburgh Stakes (G1) winner Trippi. Like a Panther (SAF) also closed strongly from well back to finish third.

Tap o’ Noth started a 4-1 favorite for the Cape Guineas after he won the Highlands Stud Langerman (G3) and the Cape Classic (G3), both at Kenilworth Park. The Cape Guineas was the bay colt’s fourth win in five starts.

The homebred for veteran breeder Alec Foster became the 15th group 1 winner for his locally-bred sire Captain Al (SAF), a son of the U.S.-bred Al Mufti (Roberto), a leading sire in South Africa. Captain Al was the leading sire in South Africa in 2014-15 and has been the leading sire of 2-year-olds in South Africa eight times. He died of laminitis in July.

Marshall won the race last year with William Longsword, another son of Captain Al.

Tap o’ Noth’s dam, Wintersweet (SAF), is a daughter of Western Winter (Gone West), a U.S. stakes winner who earned grade 1 placings in the Metropolitan Handicap and the Carter Handicap. Wintersweet also produced Strathdon (Silvano), who took the Mahala TV Cape Summer Stayers Handicap (G3) on Saturday’s card at Kenilworth. Wintersweet’s full sister Grace Me Guide produced the Greyville KZN Guineas (G2) winner Black Arthur (Silvano) and the Arlington East Cape Derby (G3) winner Robert the Bruce (Jallad).

South Africa’s Triple Crown is a little unusual, in that there are alternative races that count as the first leg: the Cape Guineas and the 1,600-meter Gauteng Guineas (G2), held in March at Turffontein in Johannesburg. The Cape Guineas was added as an alternate race to encourage Cape-based horses to participate in the series.

The second leg is the 1,800-meter (about 1 1/8 miles) South Africa Classic (G1) at Turffontein, and it is rounded off with the 2,450-meter (just more than 1 1/2 miles) South African Derby (G1) at Turffontein.

Just three horses have completed the treble: Horse Chestnut in 1999, Louis The King in 2014, and Abashiri in 2016.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Supervisor London Breed becomes acting SF mayor upon Ed…

She was the native San Franciscan raised in the housing projects who had somehow escaped the violent fates that befell family and friends and was climbing the ranks at City Hall.

Now London Breed is the city’s acting mayor.

As president of the Board of Supervisors, Breed was the legal successor to Mayor Ed Lee, who suffered a heart attack while grocery shopping late Monday night and died early Tuesday morning. Breed, 43, could serve as acting mayor until a June 2018 election. The supervisors could also name her interim mayor or choose another candidate.

It seems more likely that Breed, who has led the Board of Supervisors since 2015, will be confirmed as interim mayor by her colleagues in spite of the political discord between moderate liberals like Breed and the more progressive supervisors. If the supervisors take no action, Breed would remain acting mayor.

Prior to the mayor’s unexpected death, it was widely speculated that Breed would be among a handful of mayoral hopefuls running to replace the termed-out Lee in 2020. Although the list of potential candidates is long, only Mark Leno, a former state legislator and city supervisor, has announced his candidacy.

Now, instead of preparing for a 2019 election, hopefuls have only weeks to decide whether to fight for the job in this summer’s primary election.

“It’s an extraordinarily fluid situation,” political analyst Jim Ross said. “Breed already has the job. Now she has to get confirmed. And then she has to decide if she wants to run for mayor in June. Moving forward, someone will really have the power to shape the direction the city is headed.”

Probably the first constituent to greet Breed as acting mayor was her houseguest, Errol Hall. The 79-year-old is staying in Breed’s two-bedroom apartment in the lower Haight.

“Congratulations. I’m the first to address you as Madame Mayor,” he said to her Tuesday morning. He added, “She’ll be an excellent mayor. She knows the city. She knows the government. She’s smart as a whip.”

Breed acts out of a deep sense of service and justice, and commitment to the people she grew up with in some of the city’s worst public housing, according to interviews with more than a dozen of her friends, colleagues and adversaries.

She grew up about half a mile from City Hall in a housing project that was later razed by the city. She often speaks in public about growing up poor and surrounded by violence. Her brother is in prison and her younger sister died of a drug overdose. At a recent toy drive, she spoke about how her only childhood Christmas gifts were school clothes until the Fire Department started its toy-collection efforts.

She was larger than life in the projects, said Lateefah Simon, who serves on the BART Board of Directors and grew up with Breed. There, she was known as Big Paul’s sister, Queen B and “a homegirl from the Fillmore.”

When Breed, after graduating from San Francisco’s Galileo High School, got into UC Davis — where she earned a bachelor’s degree before receiving her master’s degree in public administration at the University of San Francisco — Simon said no one was surprised.

“I was in the juvenile justice system and didn’t have any friends going to college,” Simon said. “I was like, ‘London is going to Davis?’ I cried, I was so happy for her. She has been a shining light for so many girls in our neighborhood of what is possible.

“London has to walk down the street every day in front of generations of people who knew her and her grandmother. Her accountability is the fact that she was a kid playing double dutch on the sidewalk here. She feels that deeply.”

Friends and critics describe Breed as brash and bold — the kind of woman who was raised by a strict grandmother. But Breed’s style nearly cost her her early political career. During her 2012 supervisorial race, Breed posted an expletive-laden diatribe that cost her the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

“She lost control of her temper,” said Breed’s longtime campaign manager, Maggie Muir. “As a campaign, we had to figure out how to deal with it. There was a divide between those who felt like it was awful and those who appreciated it. That’s London. She says what she thinks.”

Her frank style has historically been polarizing, ruffling both colleagues and opponents, though she has tempered her public rants and channeled the brashness into enforcing parliamentary procedure at board meetings.

“I expect that she will work in her own direction, period,” said former Supervisor John Avalos, who frequently clashed with Breed. “It’s important to be open about what the different possibilities are here, even in regards to London. Anyone who is in that position has a tremendous opportunity to create a vision for the city.”

It would have been difficult to predict such a change in political fortune months ago when Breed was challenged from the left for re-election. Her district, which includes the Haight-Ashbury, Hayes Valley, Fillmore and Western Addition neighborhoods, has traditionally been one of the most liberal in San Francisco. Frustrations among voters focused on issues like the scarcity of affordable housing and a perception that City Hall’s moderate wing, Breed included, caters to tech companies and gentrifiers.

She won with 52 percent of the vote, but the same issues that made the race competitive will follow whoever fills Lee’s office.

If Breed is ultimately elected mayor, her path will be akin to how Feinstein became acting mayor in December 1978 after the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Feinstein was elected by voters the following year.

Lee himself was named acting mayor by the Board of Supervisors before he was elected by voters in November 2011. He was named to the position upon the recommendation of then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, who left office in January 2011 after being elected California’s lieutenant governor.

Breed will mark a change from the mild-mannered Lee.

“Ed was always very understated,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who served on the board with Breed. “He had a real personality, but it often didn’t come out in public. London has a much bigger personality. She’s very effusive and warm. They’re very different people.”

Breed has historically prioritized public housing and other issues concentrated in her district, drawing criticisms from some that her policy interests are too myopic.

She got her start in politics working as an intern for the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services under former Mayor Willie Brown, now a Chronicle columnist. She worked for Brown’s campaign and was later hired at the Treasure Island Development Authority.

For a decade, she ran the African American Art & Culture Complex, a city-funded but privately managed cultural center, overseeing millions of dollars in renovations. She was widely credited with helping turn the complex around.

During Breed’s stint at the development authority, she met Debbie Mesloh, a longtime political operative and former adviser to now-U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

“London doesn’t have time to waste,” Mesloh said. “She assumes others don’t either. She wants to get stuff done in the time she has. She’s a strong, strong person. I think we need that as a city. And she’s San Franciscan to the core.”

San Francisco Chronicle Editor in Chief Audrey Cooper and staff writer Sam Whiting contributed to this report.

Lizzie Johnson is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: ljohnson@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @LizzieJohnsonnn

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The story behind Kendrick Lamar’s Gordon Parks exhibition

This summer, Twitter was awash in skepticism when California rapper Kendrick Lamar released the music video for his song Element.

Some of the music video’s scenes were staged replicas of photographs by Gordon Parks, a pioneering African American photographer who documented the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

In one shot, a group of black Muslim men train for self-defense, which is based on a 1963 photo Parks took in Chicago. In another, a bloodied black man from 1957 is a victim of police brutality.

Now, these photos and more are on view in a photo exhibition entitled Element: Gordon Parks and Kendrick Lamar at the Gordon Parks Foundation in Pleasantville, New York, which runs until 9 February.

Even though Lamar’s music video pays tribute to Parks, some questioned the integrity of its artistic samplings when it was first released.

“Some people said ‘its appropriation,’ others asked, ‘is it allowed?’” said Peter Kunhardt Jr, the director of the Gordon Parks Foundation.

“But the thing is, Gordon would have loved this. It’s a pop culture artist showing a new generation the impact of his story, race in America and the fight for social justice.”

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Parks, who grew up in Kansas in the early 1920s, was a self-taught photographer. He bought his first camera from a pawn shop, didn’t finish high school and let his camera lens lead him throughout his high-spirited life. He became a hero to young black artists by giving them something to identify with. A charming man who wore dapper suits and had a handlebar moustache well into old age, some of his most memorable photos include maids with mops and Malcolm X.

“I could have just as easily picked up a knife or a gun, like many of my childhood friends did, most of who were murdered or put in prison,” Parks once said, “but I chose not to go that way.”

As the first black photographer to work for Life and Vogue magazines, Parks was also the first black film director to shoot major Hollywood films, pioneering the blaxploitation genre with his 1971 film Shaft.

In the exhibition, there are 15 images by Parks, including shots from his Segregation Story series from 1956, where he followed the lives of black families living in the segregated South; from black classrooms to billboards which read: “For Sale, Lots for Colored.”

Black Muslims Train in Self-Defense, a 1963 photograph from Gordon Parks.

Black Muslims Train in Self-Defense, a 1963 photograph from Gordon Parks. Photograph: Gordon Parks Foundation

There are also images from his Harlem Gang Leader series, which captures the life of “Midtowners” gang leader Leonard “Red” Jackson. The exhibition also features a portrait of Ethel Sharrieff, the daughter of Islamic leader Elijah Muhammad, who remained a close friend of Malcolm X.

Parks saw his camera as a weapon “against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs”, he said.

Lamar has become a fan of Parks and owns several photo books, which were initially released by the foundation, says Kunhardt. The exhibition also features stills from Lamar’s Element music video, which was directed by Jonas Lindstroem and The Little Homies.

“Kendrick went to all kinds of depths to find really unknown photos by Parks to show all aspects of his career,” said Kunhardt. “The photos he chose are his creative way of expressing how he feels about things today in America.”

Gordon Parks in 1966.

Gordon Parks in 1966. Photograph: Adelaide de Menil/AP

Parks may have captured the racial divide in America, but how exactly he did that can only be answered in his relentless approach to hit a nerve.

“Gordon was not one to snap photo from the sidelines, he was on the frontlines, continually taking pictures,” said Kunhardt. “Gordon said ‘You have to get in there and make things uncomfortable.’ He always worked with his subjects, got the story and told the truth.”

There are photos of black families, community groups, protests with placards that read “We Are Living in a Police State”, as well as shots of impoverished homeless children.

“He was able to combine an artistic and humanitarian quality together, not many people can do that,” said Kunhardt. “These are beautiful photos but they’re historically important for our country.”

While Parks was at the center of the civil rights movement, this exhibition reveals not much has changed 50 plus years later.

“In America, we are living in an unsettling time and there have been steps backwards,” said Kunhardt. “Our job is not to necessarily comment on the social and race inequalities that are still going on, but to show the photos of Parks, which shed light on what can be done differently.

“Gordon’s story is so powerful in terms of social justice and race, his legacy is continuing on.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

“Cool People, Dope Books, Great Coffee…”

ABOVE PHOTO:  Marc Lamont Hill proudly stands in front of the cafe’ honoring his late uncle…Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books.  (Photo: Robert Mendelsohn)

Through Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, author, academic and CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill hopes to create a space where everyone can connect.

By Denise Clay

Thanks to Amazon.com and other online book outlets, there are fewer places to buy a book, curl up in a chair, and read it while grabbing a cup of coffee. Those spaces are even less prevalent in traditionally Black neighborhoods.

So when Marc Lamont Hill decided to add opening Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books to a dance card that includes a professorship at Temple University, writing books, and appearing on CNN as someone who sometimes helps us understand a strange political world, everyone took notice.

Named for the uncle that inspired Hill’s love of reading, Uncle Bobbie’s is a place that’s warm, inviting and knows exactly where it’s coming from.

The SUN met Hill at the education center next door to the coffee shop to talk with him about his latest venture, the idea behind it, and the connections he hopes it fosters.

Patrons are already enjoying the reading selections at Uncle Bobbie’s.   (Photo: Robert Mendelsohn)

SUN: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. What were the things that inspired you when creating this space?

MLH: I honestly just felt like it was time. I’ve always wanted to have a cool place for Black people to hang out. There was a place that I used to go to called the Crimson Moon.

SUN: I think we all went there. It was really popular and a nice place to hang out. When it closed, it made no sense to a lot of us…until we found out her rent was raised…

MLH: It was really unfortunate. But (the owner) Koko created something special there and it left a mark on me. The other part of it was the Black bookstore tradition. So Crimson Moon left a mark on me but so did Hakim’s on 52nd Street. So did Basic Black Books, Mahogany Books and the other Black bookstores in the Gallery. They left a mark on me, and I knew that I had an opportunity to recreate something and to create something new. And so, I said what would it mean to mean to mean to mash that stuff up, right? To take the best of Crimson Moon, the great coffee experience and great gathering spot and take the best of the Black bookstore tradition, the best of Hakim’s and Black and Nobel and all these places and put them together, but try to create a sustainable business model, so that I’m not just the cool spot for a week or two weeks, but something that people can enjoy for some time. That’s what I wanted.

SUN: Why did you decide to do this on Germantown Avenue?

MLH: We deserve cool stuff.

SUN: Of course we do…

MLH: But I feel like sometimes our business choices don’t reflect that. If I opened this near Chestnut Hill, people would be like,‘Yeah! Of course! Chestnut Hill!’If I opened it downtown, it would be like “Oh, yeah! 20th and Chestnut next to the clubs.’ But, Germantown deserves fly stuff. And Germantown has a need for it. You shouldn’t have to go to Chestnut Hill to get a great cup of coffee. You shouldn’t have to go to Amazon.com to get the book you want…You shouldn’t have to live in Rittenhouse to get a good book. So I said, let’s do something here. I live in Germantown. So why not build where I am? Isn’t that the Temple way? Acres of diamonds in your own backyard? Let’s dig, you know? So I thought that this would be a dope spot, and when I saw that this particular corner was open, it spoke to me. There were other places down the street, but that building, those windows and that corner spot? I walked in there and said‘I need to do this now!’ It wasn’t like I spent a year scouting for bookstores. I was perfectly fine doing TV and teaching and writing books and hitting the road. But I swear to God, I walked in that place and I was like‘That’s the spot that I need. This is where my bookstore is going to be. Bookstores are cool and it’s good for community education and learning and I think that we can do something special there.’

I also ran the numbers and I said that that this place doesn’t stand up without some serious revenue streams coming in. Coffee for me was a business choice, but it was also an ideological and political choice. I could have sold other things and it would have made sense. I could have sold pizza. I could have sold water ice. I could have sold other stuff, I could have serve alcohol and done other things to make people spend money because bookstores are a tough business.

SUN: Because people don’t read anymore, as sad as I am to say that…

MLH: They read differently. They read on the internet. They get their newspapers for free. They download books on Kindle. They watch the video of a lecture instead of going to it. There are all these ways in which our experience is just different. Literacy looks different. I don’t think that we consume less literacy or that we engage in literate activity any less. I think it’s that literacy looks different and it doesn’t present in a way that makes it easy to have a bookstore.

So I thought that I need to sell something else. That I need to do something else to create a functional model. But coffee was also deeply political and ideological. I travel around the world and I spend a great deal of time in the Middle East when I’m not here. And coffee is also the centerpiece of political discussion. It’s also something that connects many cultures from the Middle East to Africa, to Latin America to here. Coffee is part of people’s experience and coffee’s a community building tool, just like a book is. So why not coffee? Coffee and a book go so well together. Coffee and politics go so well together. So let’s do it! So I did that and I said now’s the time because I don’t know of any time where we needed community more.

SUN: Why is community so much more important now?

MLH: We’re in the Era of Trump. We’re fragmented. People are hurting. People are trying to figure the world out. People are vulnerable, and they’re disconnected, right? Social media is a great thing, but it also means that sometimes…If someone asks you if you’ve talked to someone, you can say ‘Oh, yeah! I talk to them all the time!’ On Facebook, we’re always online and it’s great to connect people. But it also means that I don’t get to physically experience people; I don’t get to experience community in the same ways. And there’s a great need for physical proximity. There’s a need to connect with people. The internet takes people who are really far apart and brings them closer together and takes people who should be close together and pulls them apart. So I wanted to make something that could bring us together and to maybe advance something bigger.


SUN: When you say that, what do you mean?

MLH: Community building, but also community education. Our slogan is ‘Dope People, Cool Books, Great Coffee.’ The first thing is cool people. I’m trying to advance this idea that we can…connecting and affirming each other’s value and doing it in real time. To me, that’s important. I think that makes us stronger. I think it helps us do better in resisting a dark moment. Black joy is resistance and creating Black joy is part of the political work we do. I hope that Uncle Bobbie’s creates some Black joy. But also community education. The room we’re in now is a community education center. The political work that I want to do in here is about community education. I want to create a place where the community can be empowered. To get ideas. To learn. You can go next door and get some books that I think may make your life better. But it’s not just about selling people books. You can come over here and get financial literacy. We’re going to do first-time homebuyers classes on a regular basis. We’re going to do financial literacy on a regular basis. We have youth poetry slams here. I am trying to help nurture the next generation of young poets. This will become a space where you can come in and experience art. Free films on Fridays for the community on topics that I think are interesting and engaging. We’re going to do author readings here. We’re going to have forums here and community groups can come here and meet. Grassroots organizations can meet here for free.

Philly jazz guitarist Monnette Sudler stops in for her coffee at Uncle Bobbie’s. (Photo: Robert Mendelsohn)

SUN: Are you surprised that it’s been as successful as it has?

MLH: I wouldn’t have opened it if I didn’t think it would be successful, but it has exceeded my expectations. Not everybody, but nine out of 10 people I talked to about this thought it was a bad idea. They thought it was a terrible idea. Because they didn’t think that Black people buy books. Bookstores are closing. You can’t beat Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. They said Black people won’t support it. We don’t support our own businesses. Everything you would think. I just saw it differently.

SUN: So basically, you got every possible objection thrown at you…

MLH: Yeah. But it’s early. I’m not claiming victory, but what I thought would happen in terms of Black people supporting and expressing their hunger for books and community, all those things have happened. They’ve just happened faster and more intensely that I expected. And to be honest, every day when I walk in here, somebody walks up to me and says‘Thank you.’And I’m saying hey, I’m thanking y’all for coming and patronizing this business and they’re like thank you for building something that we can come to. Thank you for building a space to hang. Thank for building something where we can build with people and meet with people and share ideas and just feel like we’re at home. And I didn’t expect that.

SUN: My experiences with gentrification have always been that there are two ways that I can tell that I’m about to get priced out of my neighborhood: I see a coffee shop and I see a lot of people with dogs. Those are usually the indicators that tell me that I need to start looking for another place to live. The fact that you’re doing this here, in a neighborhood that’s kind of in-between…are you concerned about that?

MLH: I made a decision to make a space that everybody can come to, but that is clearly a Black space. If you look at my logo on the window, the cup with the mug with the kind of Black Arts Movement-style writing, the kind of DIY flavor, it adds a certain aesthetic. The big sign with my Uncle Bobbie’s face on it does not fit that aesthetic. I made a conscious choice to use that logo on Germantown Avenue so there would be a Black face on Germantown Avenue, marking it to some extent as a Black space. The books we choose, the fact that sweet potato pie is the primary dessert, that kind of stuff is…

SUN: That’s as Black as you can possibly get…

MLH: That’s unavoidably, unabashedly, unashamedly Black. And that’s how I wanted it. White people come in, and they’re welcome. And they’re having a great time and they’re feeling the community and enjoying the experience as well. But I wanted it to be clear that I wasn’t building a space so that gentrifiers could come in and swallow it up. The prices here are marked so that you can come in here and pay a $1.85 and get yourself a cup of coffee. I‘m not charging $8 for a slice of pie or $6 for a slice of pie like I could downtown or in Chestnut Hill. And if I priced it like that, I could change who comes in right away; you know, and make the same money, maybe more. But it was important for me to make everything from the menu to the pricing to the books to the music, I wanted it to feel like home to the locals to people who are indigenous to Germantown and indigenous to Philadelphia.

SUN: You named this bookstore after your late Uncle Bobbie, who inspired your love of books and learning. Do you think he’d be happy?

MLH: Yeah. Yeah, I do. Uncle Bobbie was born in 1917, there’s so much he didn’t get to see. He died in 1994, and I think about the things he didn‘t get to see. He would have wept at [President Barack] Obama’s election. He would have marveled at some of the achievements of Oprah Winfrey, or [outgoing American Express CEO] Ken Chenault. It would have been stunning to him to see some of the extraordinary things that have happened.

He was a hopeful person. I think he always thought the world could get better, but he had a critical eye, a critical analysis of the world. And I think that he would be happy to see that we’ve nurtured a space that advances the next generations of dreamers. The next generation of freedom fighters. The next generation of thinkers. He may have been a little uncomfortable with his face on the wall. He wasn’t vain in that way. I don’t think he would have needed for it to be called Uncle Bobbie’s. I think he would have been happy if it was called something else. He just wanted to see a space where Black people could be together and leave the world better than they found it. And to have a little joy while doing it. That would have made him happy.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Sky’s the Limit Entertainment Releases “Bad Gyal” by its First Afrobeat Artist Ziggee Boy

Designed by Eddie Harris

Single Features Billboard Charting Pop Artist Eddie Jones; Mixed by Suka Sounds, Distributed by Tuff Gong International

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, December 16, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — Today, Sky’s the Limit Entertainment released “Bad Gyal,” a mid-tempo rhthymic Afropop song written and performed by its first Afrobeat artist Ziggee Boy and featuring and co-written by its Billboard charting Pop singer/songwriter Eddie Jones. The song, which Ziggee Boy co-produced with the label’s senior producer and co-owner Art Powell, aka Art The Great, represents Ziggee Boy’s debut release that was mixed and engineered by renowned sound engireer Suka Sounds based in Nigeria and distributed by Tuff Gong International (through Blachawk Records). The song is now available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and other major digital music platforms.

Ziggee Boy, a Washington, DC area resident, is from Sierra Leone where he first developed his passion for music, particularly Afrobeat music that originated in West Africa and has gained immense popularity in recent years within the U.S. and global music scenes. He describes “Bad Gyal” as Afropop because it fuses traditional Afrobeat sounds with Pop elements well known in music originated in the U.S. On Bad Gyal’s theme, Ziggee Boy says the message of the song, which celebrates the beauty of a woman’s body, is universal for those worldwide who appreciate the beauty of the female form.

For this release, Sky’s the Limit Entertainment is pleased to partner with Afropolitan Cities, a preeminent U.S.-based organization dedicated to building a united and dynamic global Diaspora network and connecting and empowering Diaspora communities, businesses, and professionals around the world for opportunity creation and socio-economic development.

Stephanie Powell
ASP Management/Sky’s the Limit Entertainment
email us here

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Urges the Family of a Diagnosed Electrician or Plumber in Iowa To Call Them for On the Spot Access to The Nation’s Top Attorneys for Compensation Results

Before you hire a lawyer or law firm to assist with a mesothelioma compensation claim for a diagnosed person in Iowa please call us at 800-714-0303”

— Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA, December 14, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center says, “We are urging the wife, or the adult son, or daughter of a person who has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Iowa to call us anytime at 800-714-0303 for extremely honest advice about why it is absolutely vital to have some of the nation’s most skilled and experienced mesothelioma attorneys working on their financial compensation claim.

“Before you hire a local car accident law firm with little to no experience-please call us at 800-714-0303 for direct access to some of the nation’s most capable and experienced mesothelioma attorneys.” http://Iowa.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

The Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center is especially focused on assisting an electrician, plumber, a construction worker or a Navy Veteran with mesothelioma because they have so much experience dealing with these types of people. As an example, commercial or residential construction worker in Iowa prior to 1980 would have been exposed to asbestos. Frequently construction, repair or renovation work involved installing or removing insulation, and or working in unventilated places where asbestos was everywhere. In many instances these types of workers would re-exposure their family with asbestos because the worker’s clothing was covered with asbestos when they came home from work.

If the Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center had one vital tip for an individual in Iowa who has just been diagnosed with mesothelioma it would be: “Most of the nation’s most skilled, experienced and capable mesothelioma attorneys will want to assist a person with mesothelioma in Iowa and as a rule these remarkable attorneys will produce the best possible financial compensation results for their clients. Before you hire a lawyer or law firm to assist with a mesothelioma compensation claim for a diagnosed person in Iowa please call us at 800-714-0303. Furthermore-please don’t allow yourself to get financially shortchanged when it comes to mesothelioma compensation.” http://Iowa.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

The Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center’s unsurpassed services are available to a diagnosed person anywhere in Iowa including communities such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, Waterloo, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, or Dubuque.

For the best possible mesothelioma treatment options in Iowa the Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center strongly recommends the following three heath care facilities with the offer to help a diagnosed victim, or their family get to the right physicians at each hospital. Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Iowa City, https://uihc.org/primary-and-specialty-care/holden-comprehensive-cancer-center.

Individuals with mesothelioma in Iowa could have been exposed to asbestos while serving in the US Navy, or while working at a power plant, as a plumber, a boiler technician, an insulator, as an auto repairman, as an electrician, or in the construction industry. In most cases, the exposure to asbestos caused mesothelioma at one of these types of workplaces and the exposure took place in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, or 1980’s. Mesothelioma typically takes three to five decades to develop. http://Iowa.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

The states with the highest incidence of mesothelioma include Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, West Virginia, Florida, Wyoming, and Washington. However, mesothelioma does happen in Iowa as the Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center would like to explain anytime at 800-714-0303.

For more information about mesothelioma please refer to the National Institutes of Health’s web site related to this rare form of cancer: https://www.cancer.gov/types/mesothelioma.

Michael Thomas
Iowa Mesothelioma Victims Center
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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Demetria McKinney: It’s Not As “Easy” As You Think

Demetria McKinney has become one of the most recognizable faces between the small screen and her first passion—music. Her range of television credits are active from her role on Syfy’s “Superstition” with Mario Van Peebles; the drama series “Saints and Sinners;” BET’s popular “The Quad” and Tyler Perry’s sitcom “House of Payne” returning for another season in 2018.

But, if you didn’t have a chance to catch her on all of the above television shows airing on several different networks—just turn on the radio because her hit song “Easy” is a major hit.

While she was traveling on the Fantasia Christmas After Midnight Tour, The Defender sat down to discuss how McKinney balances her successful career.

You have a great deal of projects happening? How do you balance it all?

It’s funny, it’s just a testament to what’s for you in God’s time. It’s also about not being upset or stressed out about stuff—it’s human. But you got to kind of let things go.

Congratulations on the success of “Easy.” How did you come up with the concept and who wrote it?

It’s an amazing love song. What I love about “Easy” is that they’re gravitating to the message. It’s great to see that in the midst of reality television where everybody is like ‘Yes, I’ll do this for that or I’ll do this for a shirt or for a car,’ people are saying ‘I’m worth love, I’m worth substance, I’m worth the mindset that agrees with mine.’

Who wrote the song?

Courtlin Jabrae, Devin Horton and myself. It was a collaborative effort.

My album is comprised of a couple of different writers—some of them are known and some of them are not, but they all speak my language. I really wanted to tell stories from my point of view. This “Easy” moment came from being tired of being approached at the bar and they think they can come at me with that same line that same thing and the minute I say ‘no’— ‘she stuck up and she got an attitude’.  I have high expectations—damn right! I deserve because I give. And sometimes as women, I feel we kind of diminish everything that we give, and we take the scraps because it’s what is available. No, you wait for the right thing and make them give it to you.

Since you have so many irons in the fire, have you had time to enjoy your personal time for yourself?

I would really love to take this wig off and sit it on the headrest as if it were my bestie. [she laughs]

But those moments where I used to be able to of walk out looking any kind of way, being any kind of way and acting silly in public, I have to be aware of this.  To understand there’s consequences, and everything that comes with fame comes with a consequence. There is no way around it. Michael Jackson led a very private life for a reason. Beyoncé is private about her life for a reason because you still want to shield those things that are super important to you.

As an independent artist, we’ve seen a great deal of changes in the music business. Does it help to still have a major label in your corner?

Having a partner in radio and in finance is great, but I still had to make sure that everybody understood I am a partner. I struggled with that within my own team for a while until I had to weed out some folks who couldn’t let me be at the helm of my boat. With EOne, they ask me what would I like to do; they offer their opinions about things, but ultimately, they’re very gracious in letting me take the lead on my project.

SUPERSTITION — Pictured: (l-r) Demetria McKinney as May Westbrook, Mario Van Peebles as Isaac Hastings — (Photo by: Mitchell Galin/Xlrator Media/Syfy)

I had to build from scratch and I was building for 10 years before “Easy” really hit. I was doing A&R while I was on the road with R. Kelly and while I was out with Charlie Wilson. On tour with Fantasia right now, I’m still learning, I’m still growing because these are people who came up. They are willing to lend advice to me. I think that the biggest difference as an independent artist signed to a small label is that I get the best of both worlds.

As a Black artist, do you feel there is a dominance of White artists taking over R&B music without due respect to our culture and significant contribution?

I feel we’re in a good place and I’m going to say why. When you have an artist like an Adele who can sell the kind of records that she’s sold—who can sell out arenas and who can utilize what she’s seen of our culture—I have no problem with that. As long as you own it– if we can say I listened to James Brown. I listened to Etta James. I listen to this person and those are my influences. Ultimately in the body of work that you are doing, you are celebrating our culture and the people who started it. Now, the problem I have is when we can’t get a look because they’re doing it and they’re claiming it like it’s their own.

Follow Mary L. Datcher on Twitter

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Five things to know about acting San Francisco Mayor, London Breed

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Following the death of Edwin M. Lee, the first Asian-American mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, became acting mayor of the city on Tuesday.

As family, friends, and colleagues mourn the sudden passing of Lee, all eyes are now on Breed. A native of San Francisco, Breed joined the board of supervisors after winning her first campaign in 2012. Three years later, she was chosen as board president. After a re-election campaign in 2016, she was unanimously selected as board president again.

Now that she has assumed the responsibilities of mayor, there are questions surrounding her future and what happens next for the city. Here are five things to know about Breed, who could become the permanent mayor of San Francisco.

1. Her role as acting mayor is temporary

According to City Charter, Breed will hold the position of acting mayor and board president for now, unless the San Francisco Board of Supervisors selects a successor before a special election that will be held June 5, 2018. At that time, voters will select an interim Mayor to serve out the remainder of Lee’s term, that would have ended Jan. 8, 2020. It is not known if she will run for the position, but if she does and wins, she could serve two additional four-year terms.

2. She is the second woman and third person of color to be Mayor of San Francisco

Breed joins an exclusive club of African-American women to serve as chief executive of a major metropolitan city. In her current role, she is the first African-American female mayor of San Francisco. The city elected its first ever mayor in 1850. Since then, San Francisco has had only a few mayors of color including Willie Brown (1996-2004), Lee, and now Breed. She follows Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as the second woman to hold the position, who became acting mayor after Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978. Feinstein was board president at the time.


3. She is a community leader

Breed has been active in the San Francisco community through her work with the African American Art & Culture Complex, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, and as a San Francisco Fire Commissioner. She served as the chief executive of the AAACC for nearly a decade and has been credited with stabilizing the finances and operations of the organization.

4. She understands what it is like to live in public housing

Public Housing has been her top priority since becoming a supervisor. During the press conference on Tuesday, Breed commented that she and Lee both shared a commitment to public housing due to their experiences of living in public housing. In 2016, she wrote in an Op-Ed that she considered herself a “life-long renter” and shared details of her experiences with housing insecurity.

5. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis

Breed graduated from the University of California, Davis with a major in public service and a minor in African-American studies. She also had a master’s in public administration from the University of San Francisco.

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

New leader, new ethos at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre

In an era when the fate of identity-specific theater remains uncertain, the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre’s new interim artistic director Aldo Billingslea has only optimism for the 36-year-old company, which makes work by and for blacks and other people of color.

The Hansberry, he declares, is “back on its feet and back in the ring to fight.”

Still, Billingslea’s term begins as other identity-specific theater companies — such as a Traveling Jewish Theatre (also known as the Jewish Theatre San Francisco) and Asian American Theater Company — have folded, though others such as Bindlestiff Studio and New Conservatory Theatre Center flourish. In the case of the Jewish theater company, Executive Director Sara Schwartz Geller told The Chronicle in 2011 that one factor in the company’s decision to close its doors was the question of “whether there is still a need for a specifically Jewish theater in the Bay Area.”

Billingslea rejects the notion that similar questions apply to the Hansberry. This is despite the fact that the plays of August Wilson — which the company used to produce frequently — now appear regularly on major mainstream stages such as Cal Shakes and Marin Theatre Company. It’s also in spite of the fact that Cal Shakes and Berkeley Rep this year shattered their box office records with shows featuring large all-black or mostly black casts — “Black Odyssey” and “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” respectively.

Yet for Billingslea, the urgency of the Hansberry couldn’t be clearer. In a wide-ranging interview at his office at Santa Clara University, where this actor and director is a professor in the theater department, he cites Wilson’s 1996 speech, “The Ground on Which I Stand,” as one of the best arguments for black theater companies. In that speech, Wilson insisted that “black theater in America is alive, it is vibrant, it is vital. It just isn’t funded” — or it has to fight with myriad other historically oppressed groups for a single slot in a mainstream theater’s season.

Twenty-one years later, this description is “still true,” Billingslea says.

“There are still people who look at black theaters like they look at black history: They think that that’s somebody else’s.” In fact, he says, “black history is American history. And black theater is American theater.”

To help make that case, the company has new weapons in its arsenal, in addition to Billingslea: a playwriting competition designed to spur the creation of new plays with substantial roles for women of color, as well as the addition of an interim executive director position. In that role, Stephanie Shoffner, who started in July and who comes from a business background, plans a wider embrace of digital marketing, recruitment of younger board members and outreach to and development of a diverse audience, a need that’s especially urgent given the exodus of African Americans from city limits.

“We’re rebranding ourselves — that’s the goal,” Shoffner says. “It’s nice that we have a history, but things have changed, and so we have to come more into the 21st century.”

In short, the company shares similar goals with other small theater companies. But that’s a better position to be in than constant crisis mode, which often defined the Hansberry in the past. In 2010, it suffered what Billingslea calls “a devastating body blow” when its two founders, Stanley E. Williams and Quentin Easter, died within months of each other, and just three years after the Hansberry lost its longtime Sutter Street venue, accruing significant debt in the process. Billingslea’s predecessor, Steven Anthony Jones, who stepped down in June, eliminated the debt and kept the company afloat, but its artistic output remains greatly reduced. This season, it will mount just two or possibly three main stage shows, in contrast to the four or five it regularly produced in the early 2000s.

Billingslea stresses, however, that success shouldn’t be measured just by the number of productions but also by their caliber.

Billingslea is well positioned to achieve that metric. At 52, he’s at the top of his career, recently winning 2017 Theatre Bay Area Awards for acting (in Cal Shakes’ “Black Odyssey”) and for directing, (the Hansberry’s “Home”). In person, he combines an imposing figure — he played football in high school in Fort Worth, Texas, and then at Austin College — with a cool, thoughtful manner of speaking punctuated by the occasional jazzy inflection. (When he wants to tell a story about a colorful character from his life, he’ll introduce that person as “this cat.”)

“Everyone I spoke with raised their hand in kind of a fist bump when we heard that Aldo was appointed,” says L. Peter Callender, artistic director of African-American Shakespeare Company, which like the Hansberry is housed in African American Art and Culture Complex. He adds that Billingslea will “set the cornerstone” for hiring a permanent candidate whose name funders would be excited to see on a grant request.

Theatre Bay Area Executive Director Brad Erickson agrees that Billingslea “comes with instant credibility,” an asset the company can use to bolster its fundraising capabilities. He says it’s “not impossible” for an identity-specific theater to thrive in 2017, citing Golden Thread Productions, New Conservatory Theatre Center and Theatre Rhinoceros.

“There is a large enough African American population certainly in the Bay Area” — if not in the city alone — “to support both a Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and African-American Shakespeare Company,” Erickson says. The companies “just need to plug in with that audience … and frankly, with money. It’s difficult for everybody, but where is the support coming from beyond ticket sales?”

Billingslea is realistic about what he can expect to accomplish in his yearlong term. (And he confirms it will last just one year, coinciding with his coming sabbatical from Santa Clara University; joking with fellow professor Kimberly Mohne Hill, Billingslea says of the Hansberry position, “I’ve got an expiration date on my backside.”)

“It’s really sitting in the nest and trying to do a little bit of pruning until the permanent director can come in and make the renovations they want to really make it their own,” he says. To that end, he’s maintaining the company’s traditional holiday gospel concert, “Soulful Christmas,” which plays through Dec. 23 at African American Art and Culture Complex, as well as its nomadic “Bringing the Art to the Audience” staged reading series. For that program, the Hansberry will pursue collaborations with PlayGround, AlterTheater, Cal Shakes, Playwrights Foundation and Cutting Ball Theater, among others.

Billingslea’s one “bold and ambitious step” in the works for the company is the playwriting competition, which will have a prize of $5,000 to $7,000. Its goal is to help counteract the dearth of meaty roles for women, a well-known problem in theater, one that only gets worse when you take age and race into account. “The double standard of gender and age that we have in our business is pretty freaking awful,” Billingslea says. For him, there’s no better place to combat that disparity than at a theater named after Lorraine Hansberry, whose “A Raisin in the Sun” was the first play by a black woman to be performed on Broadway.

Any entry into the competition, which has yet to announce deadlines, “has to pass the Bechdel Test,” Billingslea says. (In other words, it has to feature at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.) Additionally, he says, a submission “must have at least two African American women in it. At least one of those women has to be over 40 years old. And it has to be hysterically funny.”

The Hansberry’s other show for the current season already reflects that ethos. Opening in May, the world premiere of Lisa B. Thompson’s “The Mamalogues” centers on single black mothers in the era of Black Lives Matter. Billingslea, who co-directs with Michileen Oberst, says he hopes the show will instill in audiences “a greater appreciation for what it is not just to be a mother, but to be a black mother in the United States. … The playwright’s vision of reality is that there is struggle — and there is joy, and there can be humor in the struggle.”

“What the Lorraine Hansberry has turned into now is more of a new play venue,” Callender says. That means “discovering the new classics, to see where the new Nambi Kelleys are coming from and the Lynn Nottages and the Suzan-Lori Parks — to create that new series of playwrights that the world will come to know.”

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

“Soulful Christmas: A Holiday Gospel Concert”: Directed by Yvonne Cobbs. Dec. 14-23. $10-$30. African American Art and Culture Complex, Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton St., S.F. (415) 474-8800. www.lhtsf.org

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

How independent artists have changed the music industry

This year saw the rise of independent music. From Stormzy to Lady Leshurr, the otherwise socio-economically disadvantaged are emerging as the new profiteers and, more importantly, owners of their own culture. Previously, black music was owned by big business and its portrayal was delineated by those which it didn’t represent. But things are finally beginning to change.

The artist born Che Moran and know as AJ Tracey is from Ladbroke Grove: the same area of London where Bob Marley recorded his ninth album Exodus, and where Jimi Hendrix died. In October, Tracey’s fifth EP Secure the Bag! reached No.13 in the UK Album Charts, a considerable feat by a 23-year-old independent artist – and a clear example of the liberation of black culture. Fortunately, he’s not the only one.

Birmingham MC Lady Leshurr emerged onto the scene in 2009 and has since released nine mixtapes and four EPs. Despite being yet to release a debut album, the artist – born to Caribbean parents – has received over 100 million YouTube views. Her lyrical ability, deft flow and refusal to rely on her sexual appeal has established her credibility among both new listeners and grime’s esoteric community. And her supercilious approach towards performing has led to her being described as a “Queen” of the genre, attracting hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide.  

The British urban scene first struggled in gaining recognition in mainstream culture and has primarily depended on independent media to help it reach its audience. Platforms such as Link Up TV and GRM Daily galvanised the acknowledgement and appreciation of urban music; eliminating the various barriers that prevent those from disadvantaged backgrounds in pursuing musical careers. 

Saquib Butt, 22, is the A&R at GRM Daily and welcomes the shift in power. “The recent success of artists like Skepta, JME and Wiley has led to a resurgence in independent black music,” he explains. “They proved that rappers can have successful careers without the backing of a major label. 

“The growth in technology has helped too. Now artists can stream their music to millions and if they convert just a small percentage into paying fans, they’ve got a credible income. It’s a positive move in many ways. It gets young people off the streets and allows people from lives of hardship to make a change, while inspiring people in the process.”

But, there’s still work to do, he says, noting that grime is currently listed as a sub-section on the hip hop/rap page of iTunes: “However, the rise of the internet, social media and streaming means artists can now break the scene themselves.“

Music streaming services such Spotify, Apple, Google and Amazon have revolutionised the way in which artists are able to promote their music. The shift has decreased the reliance on more traditional industry methods such as signing record deals, releasing albums and securing radio play. The latest statistics show that 16 to 34 year olds account for the greater part of music streaming in the UK: ideal for the urban scene, as the majority of its listeners also fall into this demographic. Acts like Not3s, Hardy Caprio and US artist Chance the Rapper all accredit their success to streaming.

The urban scene has an abhorrence for authority and a belligerence for the mainstream. Its counterculture lyricism, aggressive rhythms and ability to articulate social issues means it has proven difficult to amass more traditional and commercial support. This, however, has led to collaborations, the rise of independent labels and media, as well as internal support from other artists. 

Veterans such as Akala, JME and Skepta have used their position to help the scene’s next generation. In 2012, Skepta took Krept & Konan on tour with him, which led to the infamous Tour Bus Massacre. The duo later thanked him on their track “My Story” for ‘fixing us’. As well as touring, prominent rappers have explicitly shown their support for upcoming acts like Stormzy, AJ Tracey and Dave. In a recent interview with The Independent, AJ Tracey cited JME as “one of the gatekeepers who supports people”, and received support for his EP on social media by other established artists such as Stormzy.

Hip-hop artist Akala, meanwhile, described an appearance on Question Time by rapper Dave as “phenomenal”. Both artists have always supported the independent route, using the internet to showcase their talents. 

The greatest benefit of the scene’s grip on independence is that it allows artists to own their culture and to not be subject to the political and social constraints which signed acts have had to abide by. The ever-increasing interest in British rap has led to major labels to make concessions in order to get artists on board. Universal Music Group for example – one of the biggest music labels in the world – created the subsidiary label 54 London, so that Stefflon Don would sign. The deal allowed Stefflon to sign her label to Universal, granting her full artistic control over her own music. 

The shift in power from the corporate world to independent artists has led to many acts openly stating that they’re not interested in getting commercial support. AJ Tracey said he wouldn’t join a major unless they could “do something which he couldn’t”, while rappers such as Bashy have spoken about not signing a deal as a positive thing.

Alternatively, one of grime’s best-known figures Stormzy – who pioneered a transformation of the genre from a once discredited excursion by the mainstream to an internationally acclaimed genus – partnered with Warner Music to distribute his debut album Gangs Signs & Prayer, which went on to become the first grime release to reach Number One in the UK Album Charts. However he is still viewed as an independent artist, and recently said majors “don’t know what to do with black artists” in an interview with the Evening Standard. 

So, what does it mean to be independent? “Independent basically means that you haven’t got a record deal. So, the artist has to front all the costs,” Butt says.

“Stormzy doesn’t have the public backing of any major. However, he did arrange a distribution deal for his album and in reality, without it, it would have been difficult for him to sell so many copies. That’s not to say that the distributors didn’t benefit too. Of course they did. Who wouldn’t want to distribute Stormzy’s album?

“The shift in power however, has had an effect on labels. Before majors would primarily offer 360 deals and literally take a percentage of everything an artist made. But now, they know that they have to be fairer because artists can do it without them.”

This year saw GRM Daily host its third annual Rated Awards, while artists such as Stormzy, Dave, Giggs and Stefflon Don continue to surpass industry constraints. If authorities on urban music are right, this could be just the beginning of a shift in commercial power. Leaving the onus of black culture on those who it’s supposed to represent. 

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment