port of harlem magazine

August 11 - August 24, 2011


ivan brown realty

On the Dock for this Snippet


mark duggan and his girlfriend, semone wilson

Police killed him.  England on fire. 

What the BBC Will Not Replay.

pictured:  Mark Duggan and his girlfriend, Semone Wilson.

Dr. Gates, Edwards, Moats, Grant, Louima, White, Diallo

Black Women Historians Blast "The Help"


The Help, the newest film sensation, distorts, ignores and trivializes the experiences of Black domestic workers. The Help’s representation of these women is a disappointing resurrection of Mammy—a mythical stereotype of Black women who were compelled, either by slavery or segregation, to serve White families.

michelle obamaThe popularity of this most recent iteration is troubling because it reveals a contemporary nostalgia for the days when a Black woman could only hope to clean the White House rather than reside in it.

Both versions (film and book) of The Help also misrepresent African American speech and culture. Set in the (American) South, the appropriate regional accent gives way to a child-like, over-exaggerated “Black” dialect. In the film, for example, the primary character, Aibileen, reassures a young White child that, “You is smat, you is kind, you is important.”

We do not recognize the Black community described in The Help where most of the Black male characters are depicted as drunkards, abusive, or absent. Such distorted images are misleading and do not represent the historical realities of Black masculinity and manhood.

rosa parksFurthermore, African American domestic workers often suffered sexual harassment as well as physical and verbal abuse in the homes of White employers. For example, a recently discovered letter written by Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks indicates that she, like many Black domestic workers, lived under the threat and sometimes reality of sexual assault. The film, on the other hand, makes light of Black women’s fears and vulnerabilities turning them into moments of comic relief.

In the end, The Help is not a story about the millions of hardworking and dignified Black women who labored in White homes to support their families and communities. Rather, it is the coming-of-age story of a White protagonist, who uses myths about the lives of Black women to make sense of her own.

Written by the ABWH members Ida E. Jones is National Director of ABWH, Assistant Curator at Howard University and Port of Harlem contributor. Daina Ramey Berry, Tiffany M. Gill and Kali Nicole Gross are associate professors at the University of Texas at Austin. Janice Sumler-Edmond, is a professor at Huston-Tillotson University.

Theo Hodge, Jr. M.D.

Holiday Home Make Overs in July

sherry waysIf you are thinking about updating your dining room, powder room or kitchen to prepare for the laughter and warmth of the upcoming holidays, now is the perfect time to start your project. Here is my top 10 list of high impact spruce-ups for holiday entertaining.

1. Update your powder room with a new mirror, lighting, paint color, or wallpaper for a quick and easy make over. Here is one of my favorite wall coverings.

angela adams wall coverings


Angela Adams eco-friendly wall covering

2. Change your kitchen counters and install a new sink and faucet. Think about adding a hot water dispenser and filter for instant hot chocolate or tea.
3. Install under and over cabinet lighting on dimmers for dramatic ambiance.

4. Enhance your views, both inside and outside, with custom-designed window treatments in your dining room and family room. Trends are moving toward simpler and sleeker styles with understated hardware.

5. Rearrange your furniture, rugs, and accessories and add decorative pillows that express your personality like these eco-throw pillows by Anna Sova.

anna  ova pillows

Anna Sova eco-throw pillows

6. Change your wall colors with updated shades for fall.

7. Replace your dining room chandelier, reupholster your dining room chairs and purchase a neutral textured rug to create a more relaxed space.

8. Be voted the most fabulous host by adding special touches to your guest bedroom and bathroom. Update your bedside lamps with new three-way bulb lighting for reading, add an iPod docking station, a carafe and glass, a vase for fresh flowers, a guest book for special memories of the visit and crisp new bed linens and draperies. Stock the guest bathroom with special bath salts, aromatherapy scents and fluffy new towels.

9. Hardwood is the ever-popular flooring choice for dining rooms, so consider a fabulous new floor to show off your new rug.

10. Add a small wet bar in a space close to your entertaining areas with a fabulous Sub-Zero Wine refrigerator with drawers for soft drinks and mixers, a warming drawer for snacks and a small dishwasher for convenience.

Sherry Burton Ways is a Port of Harlem staff writer and founding principal designer of Kreative Ways & Solutions, LLC


Yard Advice

The one thing you cannot do with a bad haircut is uncut it, so you just have to wait for it to grow out before you can fix it. That is how expert gardener Carol Chernega views the art and science of pruning a shrub. If you trim it the wrong way, you’re only compounding your problems, but learning the right way is not nearly as difficult as going to cosmetology school.

Know What You’re Pruning - - Before you make your first cut, look carefully at your garden and identify what you are going to be pruning. Use the Internet to identify them if you do not already know. You want to learn how the shrub should look so you can prune it to maintain that natural shape.

• Cut Back to the Branch -- Always cut back to a bud or branching point. Never leave a long stub. A stub will not only look ugly, but it will also invite insects and disease that could cause long term problems.

• Cut the Dead Weight First - Before you cut anything else, cut out the dead or broken branches. Sometimes removing a dead branch will leave a big gap, so by doing them first, you will be able to tailor the rest of your pruning to compensate for that gap.

• Crossing Over - After you eliminate the dead branches, next you want to target crossing branches or branches that are likely to cross in the future. Once they start rubbing against each other, they will leave a wound that will invite insects and disease, so you want to eliminate that threat.

• Cut With the Flow -- Finally, cut out all branches that are not going in the natural direction of the plant. This is good for the health of the plant, as well as the look of your garden

Chernega, producer and star of the DVD Pruning Shrubs with Your Personal Gardener


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Private Brothas Announces Award Winners

Private Brothas host social and networking events for business professionals as an alternative to the club scene in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. They will host their first annual RAIFORD Award Gala with the following honorees:

  • Reggie Ray - Education
  • Rayceen Pendarvias - Community Impact
  • Michael Wills - Medical Services
  • Maurice Thompson - Community Impact

Yarde Noir will host the awards gala. Rahim Briggs of the Alsura Organization will serve as guest speaker. The event will include performances by Jobari Parker-Namdar and Jasmine Blue.

The RAIFORD Award honors individuals who have nurtured our youth and helped build and kept our communities strong and safe. The RAIFORD Award will also present a scholarship for tuition assistance to students currently enrolled in an institution of higher education.

The events takes place at The Double Tree Hotel, 1515 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20005, Sunday, August 14, 2011 from 7pm-10pm. Tickets are $40.00.

Nat Turner - 180 Years Ago August 22

It is believed that Nat Turner led the only successful slave revolt in American history 180 years ago August 22, 1831 in Virginia. The aftermath left more than 50 whites and hundreds of Blacks dead. Turner was convicted and executed.

The August 2011 release of The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part One: The Witnesses is the first of two novels by Sharon Ewell Foster to change and challenge what America knows about Nat Turner.

"What I found puts everything we believe about Nat Turner and what happened in the uprising in question. Burdened with the truth, I feel a responsibility to share what I found both good and bad. We've been laboring under a 180-year-old lie. This is an American story and the truth needs to be told. We are all witnesses. Nat Turner deserves his day in court," said Foster.


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port of harlem gambian education partnership

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News Anchor Bruce Johnson
The Heart Attack Survivor


bruce johnson

I am a heart attack survivor and I am now trying to get the word out about the world's leading killer, cardiovascular disease. I was able to recover, rehab, then run a marathon. Half the heart attack victims this year won't survive. My friends and I are trying to change these outcomes by getting people to change lifestyles NOW!

natural hair


Read a full except of Johnson’s experience in the print issue of Port of Harlem.

Visit Johnson's

From Surviving to Thriving:

The Power is in Our Stories

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Things to Do

clybourne parkClybourne Park
Woolly Mammoth Theatre
7th & D, NW
Washington, D.C.
through Sun, Aug 14,
$30 & up

c r gibbsTriumph of Freedom:
Slavery, Resistance, Emancipation
and the Civil War in D.C.
Lecture by C.R. Gibbs
Mon, Aug 15 6p, free
Daniels Public Library
1630 7th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

hill harperHill Harper
Signs his new book
The Wealth Cure
Tue, Aug 23, 6p, free
Hue-Man Bookstore
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd.


tony browder

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