August 7 - August 20, 2014

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Bodybuilding for Men Only?

lisa scott jonesBodybuilding is for men! Period.  At least that is how many people look at 49-year-old Lisa Scott Jones when she attends social events.  “I get strange looks from people when I go out with my friends.  I started training in my 30s. I was self-conscious during the first couple of years of my fitness training, but now I don’t care. This is my passion and I enjoy it,” says the 2012 International Natural Bodybuilding Federation title holder.

Female bodybuilding has gained significant attention in the past few years.  In 2010, at age seventy-three, Ernestine Shepherd garnered the Guinness World Record for Oldest Female Body Builder.  In March 2014, CNN covered her monthly community walk at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, Maryland where 125 people came out to get moving and inspired to improve their health.  “Ernestine is my idol,” added Jones. 

But even with Shepherd and Jones’ successes, bodybuilding still comes with a stigma for women.  As Jones puts it, some say “Women are not supposed to be muscular.  And women who do not participate in body building competitions think that no man is going to want (them as) a female body builder.”  However, Jones even admits that being a bodybuilder puts a damper on her social life.  “As I have gotten older, I continue to come across men who have never dated a female body builder or a woman who likes to lift weights.  I’m constantly hit with the question, ‘Why are you trying to look like a man?’” 

A lack of time limits Jones’ dating opportunities.  A liability claims supervisor by day, Jones’ trains after working hours.  Her typical training session is two to four hours per day, Monday thru Saturday.  She alternates training heavy muscle groups including her legs, abdominals, chest, and arms each day.  And after spending six days creating a sculptured body, she rests on Sunday.

With bodybuilding challenging her social life, one would think that strong-minded Jones must have had the support of friends and family to keep her spirit tough. That was not true.  “The first reaction from friends and family was that I was too small to body build,” she recalls.  It was only after friends and family understood Jones’ “natural” focus did they change their opinions.  “Once people saw that I was competing with other natural bodybuilders (builders who do not use performance enhancing aids or supplements), did they start to show support,” Jones says.  Even still, it took some time for Jones' dad to weigh in with his support.  “He saw me as daddy’s little girl and being a bodybuilder didn’t support that image,” she continued.

Bodybuilders are often viewed as the epitome of perfect health. Nonetheless, Jones also admits that her health issues ended her training for a period even though weight training is generally good for one’s overall health. In 1995, she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammation of the large intestine that can cause internal bleeding.  Jones had surgery to remove her large intestine, but a second attack of the illness triggered a series of heath conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and the development of an ulcer on Jones’ right ankle.  She was physically unable to train for five years while she recovered.

Even with the ups and downs of bodybuilding, Jones says she has only one regret:  “My only wish is that I had started bodybuilding sooner."

champion services travel - group travel

ObamaCare was RooseveltCare

theodore rooseveltThe first president to propose national health insurance was a Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. He was also a trust-busting, pro-labor, Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist.  He first proposed a system of national health insurance during his unsuccessful Progressive Party campaign to retake the White House from William Howard Taft in 1912.

U.S. Election 2014

election 2014Black participation in off-year elections (elections when there is no presidential race) have generally been increasing:  it was 37.1% in 1994, 39.6% in 1998, 39.7% in 2002, down to 38.6% in 2006, and back up to 40.7% in 2010. On the national level, there will be elections for all 435 House of Representative seats and 33 of the 100 Senate seats, Tuesday, November 4.

“This is one of most exciting things I’ve ever seen,” Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. said at the USA-Africa Summit. “To think that the son of an African man is hosting this event in a house built by African slaves...”

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Jonathan French Wins Award
photos by Jonathan French

Port Of Harlem contributor Jonathan French is the winner of the third annual East of the River Distinguished Artist Award. French has contributed such wildly popular travel articles such as Three Distinct Afro-Colombian Communities and Surviving the South Pacific and its accompanying stunning photographs. The award includes a $5,000 cash award.

Three Distinct Afro-Colombian Communities
Photos and story by Jonathan B. French

During the summer, I visited the village. It is famous for being the first free town of Cimarrones, enslaved Africans who had escaped from their Spanish masters and lived as freemen. Benkos Bioho (above) established the town in 1605.

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French’s interest in photography started 40 years ago. He is primarily a self-taught photographer and
has taken his personal and professional role of visual historian seriously for only 16 years. In addition to Port Of Harlem Snippets, French’s photography has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally; including exhibitions in various parts of Africa, the Caribbean, and Paris, France. However, he feels one of his greatest accomplishments is teaching photography to children in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba on a trip in 2004.

By day, French has been a catalogue technician at The Library of Congress for 26 years.

The award epitomizes the goals of the Arch Development Corporation and the Gautier Family, which sponsors the award and will host the award’s ceremony on Saturday, August 16.  The event is at Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Road, SE.  The free event starts at 6:30p.

Surviving the South Pacific
By Jonathan B. French as told to
Wayne A. Young

naturally blond black child

Over the years, I have read books about the South Pacific that contained pictures of naturally blond-haired Black children. Seeing people of color with naturally-blond hair intrigued me. It is their presence that initially lured me to the South Pacific.

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Next: TransPeople Rights?
Part I of II

This is a two part series that is built upon our November-April 2000 print issue.  In that issue we explored the diversity of human sexuality. The exhibit, “Is it a Girl or a Boy?  Gender Identity and Children’s Clothing” at Richmond’s Valentine Museum inspired the exploration. 

Since that release, America has evolved from discussing the diversity of human sexuality to codifying same gender loving rights along that of women, Blacks, the mentally and physically challenged, and others.  Now, the new frontier is codifying the rights of other sexual minorities.

In this series, we share the stories to two intriguing transpeople.

In the next Snippets we share the story of African-American Earline Budd, Male to Female,

Nigerian-American Dr. Rizi Timane
Female to Male

Nigerian-born Rizi Timane was 23 and studying for his master’s degree in London when his mother flew in from Nigeria. Timane recalls his mother demanding that “it was time for me to start planning to become "normal" and to plan on marrying a man by any means necessary.” He was not only opposed to an arranged marriage, but felt trapped in a woman’s body. “I was still in a female, body pre-transition at this point, and only attracted to women,” he told Port Of Harlem.

As his breast grew, he prayed to God that he would become a boy.

In “An UnSpoken Compromise,” Dr. Timane talks about his life’s journey and transition from female to male.  Timane recalls identifying as being male when he was six and by the time he was eight he had told his father. “The feeling had become so intense that I went into my dad’s room one morning and told him with absolute certainty that I was a boy,” Timane says.

As his breast grew, he prayed to God that he would become a boy.  But, by the time Timane was a teen, he began to settle in his body and just assumed he was a lesbian.

At 15, he went to London for studies and subsequently spent time in London and Lagos.  The confrontation with his mother when he was 23 caused him to have a nervous breakdown and like many sexual minorities, Timane dabbled into drug and alcohol abuse and contemplated suicide.

It was a counselor, with whom he confided, in London, who assisted him to the United States via a student visa.

“I came to LA and though I knew no one, I was very happy to be free. But of course, I wasn't really free because I was so hurt that I developed low self-esteem and internalized homophobia,” he says.  After a long break in communication,  Timane said of his family “they never intended to push me so far away that I would run away. It was at that point that we began our unspoken compromise where neither would talk about sexuality or gender issues to avoid another big fall out,” he recalls.

rizi timaneToday, after more than nine surgeries, including a bilateral mastectomy (the removal of female breasts and the creation of a male chest) and phalloplasty (the creation of a “normal” sized male genitalia), he is physically and spiritually a man.  He added, “I am happy to say that as of March 2014, my surgical transition became complete and I couldn’t be happier!”

With a doctorate in Christian counseling, Timane is contributing to the development of the United States by practicing his faith of affirming all and not the "involuntary religious-based abuse" Timane says he experienced. Now an American citizen, Timane is glad to be in the USA, “I do often miss being in Nigeria, but I would never trade living a free life in the USA for anything.”

But, he has not forgotten those in his homeland. “My constant thoughts and prayers are with my remaining LGBT family, so to speak, who continue to live in Nigeria where only recently a harsh and draconian law which violates all LGBT civil rights was passed which was followed by outburst of violence against the community. I will continue to do what I can to advocate for change.” 

Also See: What's Next TransPeople Rights - Part II of II?

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amar group


Marcus Garvey Day
Embassy of Ethiopia
3506 International Drive, NW
Sat, Aug 16,2p-6p. $27

"The Illegal Occupation of Palestine”
Pan-African Community Talk Series
Emergence Community Arts Collective
733 Euclid St. NW
Wed, Aug20, 6:30p-8:30p, free

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
Martin Luther King Library
Panelists include:
Retired Howard University
administrator Dr. Ella Kelly; and
activist Chris Hager; Journalist
and Malcomite A. Peter Bailey;
and LGBT activist Paul Kuntzler
Martin Luther King Library
9th and G, NW
Wed, Aug 20, 6:30p

Pan African Film Festival
Thu, Aug 7 - Sun, Aug 10, $

New York
Dance Theatre of Harlem
2014 Summer Street Festival

Everett Center for the Performing Arts
466 W 152nd St
Sat, Aug 9, noon-7p, free

Sugar Hill Market X Maison D'Art
259 West 132nd Street
Sun, Aug 17, nonn-6p, free

Maryland Congressman Threatens Democracy

randy harris 
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD),  the congressman elected by the people of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, moved successfully in June to attach a provision to the District of Columbia budget a provision that would block the city’s new marijuana decriminalization law - - voted on by D.C.’s elected officials.  Harris is allowed to do so according to his interpretation of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress complete authority over District affairs. Harris went further by saying in a radio interview that, for D.C. residents, “Congress is their local legislature.”

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and activiist has since stated their preference that people not vacation on Maryland's Eastern Shore. “If you care about D.C. equality, we ask you to not patronize vacation destinations in Rep. Harris’ district,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said in a statement. “We might not be able to vote in Congress, but we can all vote with our wallets.” In protest, many District residents have been calling his office (202-225-5311) with their local complaints about an array of things from garbage pick-up, pot hole repairs, and billing errors to stop signs requests, speed camera issues, and bicycle lanes.

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Akon Speaks – US Image of Africa


Grammy nominated Aliaune “Akon” Thiam participated in the Brookings Institute’s panel,  A Changing Dynamic:  Africa’s Image and U.S. Perceptions in the 21st Century.   The Brookings Institute created the event in conjunction with President Obama’s USA-Africa Summit.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Akon says his parents strategically had their children born in the U.S. so they would not have a problem entering the United States as they did.  However, the Wolof speaking, multi-platinum selling artist spent his first seven years in Senegal.

While traveling back and forth between the U.S. and Senegal, he noticed that unlike things in America, things in Senegal moved very slowly.  I will go back to Senegal, he says, and “the Coke bottle is still in the (same) corner.”  He also spoke for the need for democracy in Africa and the need for recurring leaders to bring in new ideas and new ways of doing things.

Akon says that when he first tried to break into the music industry, some would not accept that he was a Continental African doing rap or even R&B.  Even BET said he was not “urban enough.”  To break the barriers, he began to tell this story:  “I was born in the ghetto, I am from St. Louis, and I was locked up.”

He expressed much hope in African youth and believes that the needed change will not come from the current generation.  He hopes that the youth will take more responsibility at leading. ”If Africans themselves don’t rebuild their own country, we will have a million more summits.”

Also on the panel was Amadou Mahtar Bah, co-founder of AllAfrica.Com; Helene Cooper,  Liberian-born New York Times correspondent; and William Wallis, African affairs writer at the Financial Times.  Cooper concluded with Akon’s parents in that she too became an American citizen to avoid having to deal with getting a VISA when traveling.

church money 
The Most Popular Page and Searched Word
on the Website for August, to Date 
facebookThe Most Poplar Posting on our Facebook Page Since the Last Snippets

eric garner 

Funeral Held for Eric Garner, Man Who Cried “I Can’t Breathe” Before He Died in Police Custody 

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