port of harlem magazine


June 28 - July 11, 2012



ivan brown realty


Going Home for Good

Every prisoner dreams of that moment the front gates open and he walks out of the gates as a free man. The dreams often come after years of unfeigned self-examination, long suffering and momentous preparation. This feeling is something Thomas Jones knows all to well as he anticipates his release from Jessup Correctional Institution in July.

For five years, 46-year-old Jones has lived the consequences of his negative behavior, which led to a 50-year sentence. He appealed the initial sentence and won a lesser one. Nevertheless, the cost of freedom was steep for the two time offender. “Foremost, I disappointed my grandparents who raised me,” Thomas lamented. “I was hard-headed and I did not listen to them,” he continued.

There are many variables, such as family structure and physical environment, that factor into shaping a person’s characteristics. Jones accepts this notion, but does not blame his upbringing for his situation. He blames his downfall on his addiction to crack. “Drugs had me not thinking right,” he admitted.

After acknowledging he had a drug problem, Jones took steps to engage in activities that would transform him. While there are those who criticize “jail house religion,” Thomas believes his first step, seeking help from God, has made a profound impact on him. “Jesus taught me to be a man, humble, peaceful and happy. I thank God for opening my eyes to Jesus,” he said.

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Government Small Business Contracts Conference

During the day long American Express Open – Victory in Procurement Government Contracts conference at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in DC, participants attended several workshops from Developing Effective Teaming Relationships to Powerful Capabilities Statements and have 10-minute one-on-one sessions with buyers from government agencies ranging from Homeland Security to Social Security. The one-on-one sessions gave small business sellers the opportunity to pitch their capabilities and the value they can add to the agency’s missions.

The luncheon speaker Andre Grudger suggested that defense contract seekers check their new site that projects their needs for the next three years. American Express creates this and several workshops to help business grow through earning their share of government contracts.

African Ancestral Honor Celebrate 20th Anniversary

The African Diaspora Ancestral Commemoration Institute (ADACI) celebrated its 20th anniversary with a libation ceremony at the Anacostia River followed by an awards dinner at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Melvin Deal of the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers led the libation walk from the dancer’s studio on Good Hope Road to the Anacostia River. At the ceremony at the embassy, Donna Smith, who graced two print issues of Port Of Harlem, explained the purpose of ADACI and presented the traditional alter to our ancestors that ADACI displayed at the ceremony attended by many long term African diaspora advocates including Ambrose Lane (WPFW), Askia Muhammed (The Final Call /WPFW), Jeanette Carson (Black Memorabilia), Betty Gibbs (traveler and wife of POH contributor CR Gibbs), and Egyptian historian Tony Browder (Egyptian historian). (See a short interview with Smith by clicking video).

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Election 2012

President Obama on Administration Plans to End Young Deportations:
"It makes no sense to expel talented young people who are for all intents and purposes, Americans."

When the President is Disrespected, He Shows Civility --Again
After being interrupted the second time by the same reporter, the president added: “I didn’t ask for an argument. I’m answering your question.”

  • CNN reports that 54% of the people in Massachusetts have a negative feeling for their former governor, Mitt Romney.

Mandated Life Terms

The high court struck down laws in 29 states that mandated a life term for murderers, including those under age 18. The Court did not categorically ban juvenile life without parole in all circumstances. In 2005, the Court banned the death penalty for juveniles who commit aggravated murder. Then, in 2010, the justices held that juveniles found guilty of non-homicides could not receive life without parole. African American children are 10 times more likely than their White peers to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

  • Mitt Romney will speak at the NAACP national convention, which will be July 7-12 in Houston.

The Gambia’s Rodent Slayer

So why did Tyrone Glen Phillips move from his south side Chicago, Illinois neighborhood of Englewood to Kerr Serign, a town south of Banjul, the capital of the West African nation of the Gambia? “It’s more peaceful here,” he says from his office 30 minutes from Banjul.

Phillips’ adventures to the Gambia began as a tour guide in 1992. Besides showcasing the country’s culture, he says, “I just liked the people and the environment.” In 1994, he married a local woman; they traveled between the United States and the Gambia and had children. By 2005, they decided to raise their children in the Gambia. “I wanted my kids to have things that I didn’t have growing up including the ability to speak more than one language fluently, see more of the world and have more discipline and knowledge," he continued.

While the Gambia has had a great impact on his life, Phillips has brought some Americana to Africa’s smiling coast. Phillips, whose legal name is now Macumba Nyass, started a jazz educational program on City Limits Radio (96.3 FM) – Serrekunda, The Gambia (Saturdays from 10p to 12a in Gambia (Sundays, 2a – 4a EST)). “It’s a jazz education program where we feature jazz artists--telling their life stories and featuring their music,” he says with a prideful smile.

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Theo Hodge, Jr. M.D.

Things to Do

Day of Atonement
H Street Playhouse
1365 H St., NE
Washington, DC

Thu-Sat Jun 28-30, 7:30p
Sun, Jul 1, 2:30p, $25

Liberian and American Quilt Show and Sale
Anacostia Art Gallery
2806 Bruce Place SE
Washington, DC
Sat, Jun 30-Sun Jul 1, 1p-6p, free

Warriors with Words:
How the Black Press & Freedom Narratives
Fought Slavery & Oppression

C.R. Gibbs Lecture
Greenbelt Library
Greenbelt, MD
Tue, Jul 3, 7p, free

African/Caribbean International Festival of Life
Washington Park
Chicago, IL
Wed, Jul 4-Sun, Jul 8
Noon-10p, except Thu/Fri July 5&6,3p-10p

Black and White Ball
(Cancer Awareness Fundraiser)
Largo Community Church Ballroom
1701 Enterprise Road
Mitchellville, MD
Sat, Jul 7, 6p-10p; $

The Scramble for Africa
C.R. Gibbs Lecture
Greenbelt Library
Greenbelt, MD
Tue, Jul 10, 7p, free

to Feng Shui

Workshop 2:
Jul 10, 7p-9p

Workshop 3:
Aug 4,10a-12p

337 Brightseat Road
Suite 220
Landover, MD
301-500-5061, $30.00

Interior Design 101

Workshop 2:
Jul 21, 10a-12p

Workshop 3:
Aug 2, 7a-9p

337 Brightseat Road,
Suite 220

Landover, MD

301.500.5061, $30.00

Immediate Family
(directed by Phylicia Rashad)
Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn
Chicago, IL
Through Sun, Jul 8

½ Gary Southshore Railcats tickets
every Mon-Thu home game
U.S. Steel Yard
Gary residents box seats $5

Fancy Food Show

More than 15,000 people attended the 58th Fancy Food Show, this year held in Washington, D.C., to visit the more than 2,300 exhibitors at the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages in North America.  The exhibitors presented more than 180,000 current, newly released and soon to be released products from 80 countries and regions.

The sampling of the food was a feast for the eyes and stomach.  The food show donated all the food not eaten during the show to the World Central Kitchen and DC Central Kitchen.

Some of the most intriguing products were from Korea including Jinro Soju, the world’s number one distilled spirit. The drink is lighter than vodka and made from tapioca, rice and other grains. However, the biggest revelation for me was the emphasis Koreans place on healthy eating.  

For short video interviews with ten exhibitors from around the African world including: Brazil, Gambia, Jamaica, Uganda and Maryland, New York (Ethiopian cuisine) and North Carolina USA (including a traditional West African drink), click the Video links below:

Another popular Korean product was fermented black garlic that producers age for 45 days. According to the Ui-Seong Black Garlic Farming Association, Koreans prefer it because it has seven times more calcium and twice as many antioxidants than regular garlic, and the process removes its sharp odor. I never knew raw garlic could taste so good.  

Also popular was rice bran oil which the Koreans claim is high in Omega 3 and 6, has a high smoke point and is absorbed less by food during the cooking process. Many of the Korean beverages on display were also made of aloe, however, scientist have not consistently confirmed its claimed medical benefits.

An avocado oil producer warned that olive oil can be bad for your health when it begins to smoke and that avocado oil is superior to rice bran oil and like rice bran oil, it also has a high smoke point.

Another interesting product from the east was Japanese aged tofu. One Italian company, Italian Volcano, sold its bottled lemonade and other fruit beverages with the claim that they taste better because they grow their fruits in Mt. Etna volcanic ash.  From Bozeman, Montana USA, WayFare had some interesting dairy-free cheese, sour cream and pudding bits that tasted a little bit better than their typical vegan counterparts. The company claims that the difference in taste comes from their adding grains to their products.

From the homeland, Zena, a company whose jelly I often purchase at the Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport in Dakar, Senegal, was present.

The show also included after parties including one featuring food from Poland. The Polish dishes would look very familiar to traditional soul food lovers - - there were no shortages of pork dishes. One very unusual serving was a dessert called Sekacz or tree cake. Poles make the cake on a grill by pouring batter on a turning spindle as the batter cooks.


While the food show is geared toward restaurants, distributors and foods stores, the producers of the fancy food show also has a consumer website, it provides an insider's look at specialty foods and the companies, entrepreneurs and artisans behind them.

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Port of Harlem YouTube Channel

You can quickly find any video POH created and posted on Snippets on the new Port Of Harlem YouTube channel including the videos included in this Snippets covering the African Diaspora Ancestral Commemoration Institute’s (ADACI) 20th anniversary celebration and the ten Fancy Food Show exhibitors from the around the African world.

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