December 11 December 24, 2014

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Hi, Mom! I Love You!

omar tyreeIt seems like we’ve been hearing these classic, “Hi, Mom,” shot-outs from college and professional athletes forever. After a big play, they look straight into the television cameras from the sidelines and let it fly. But as a proud father of two teenaged sons who have participated in multiple sports, I would feel some kind of way if I didn’t get an acknowledgment on camera along with my wife. However, a large number of Black athletes have never had a father around to acknowledge.

According to recently released statistics, 68% of African-American children are born to single mother households. That number is down from 71% a decade ago, but it remains much higher than the 43% of Latina, 26% of White, and 11% of Asian-Americans in similar situations.

So in year 2014, it’s fairly safe to assume that the new sports family has become a blessing and savior for many of these “my father is not in my life” kids, with more coaches accepting positions as surrogate fathers and role models.

Hundreds of kids have even began to move in with coaches and surrogate families ala “The Blind Side,” including Jeremy Maclin, the Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver out of Missouri, who inspired me to write this article. While being raised as the youngest of three sons in a bleak area of St. Louis, Maclin’s mother, Cleo, made the tough and faithful decision to allow her youngest boy to move in with his Pee Wee football coach Jeff Parres and his family for high school.

Years later, Maclin started the Mother’s Day Miracles foundation, where he awards athletes being raised by single mothers an opportunity to give their mothers something special for the hard work they’ve done to raise them without fathers.

Maclin chose the first five Philadelphia-area boys aged 12 or older in May - - who excelled academically in school - - with loaded gift packages that included flower bouquets, spa visits, dinner certificates, self-designed collages, and, of course, family tickets to the Eagles’ games.

Out of thousands of Black athletes who are able to tell similar single-mother household stories of success and survival, Maclin’s proactive generosity reminds me of one of my favorite all-time running backs Warrick Dunne and his story.

Dunne was born to and raised by Betty Somthers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He was the oldest of five children of the former police officer and security guard.  She was killed by two armed robbers just two days after Dunne’s 18th birthday.

After her untimely death, the determined young athlete and Florida State recruit pledged not only to raise his four younger siblings, but pledged to help as many single-mothers as possible afford a home for their families via his Home for the Holiday’s Program. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Tampa Bay Buccaneers community initiatives, NFL Charities, and Aaron’s Inc., Dunne has helped more than a hundred families for 14 years in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, and recently New Jersey. He has also started Betty’s Hope, a foundation that empowers youth to manage the grief of losing or living without family members.

Dunne and Maclin have not married nor have they fathered children. However, if they ever father an athlete, I am sure  their kids will be inspired to give a classic shot-out to their dads. 

Tyree is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist, and NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Fiction. He also authored with the late Marion Barry, Jr. "Mayor For Life; The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr. for Life"

Middle Passage Donations Via Amazon Shopping

middle passage 
Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP) is now associated with through Amazon Smile.  Once you register and designate MPCPMP as your charity of choice, 5% of any purchases on Amazon through AmazonSmile will be sent to the Middle Passage Project.  For MPCPMP to receive credit, you must log in through AmazonSmile when you shop.  The 5% donation is tax-deductible.

From Our Archives:  Middle Passage Project Documents Progress

NEW: Money Section

 nicolas abrams
Nicolas Abrams
Port of Harlem has added a new department, Money.  The lead contributor for this section is Nicolas Abrams, who is also a regular guest on Morgan State University’s WEAA (Baltimore 88.9 FM) Wealthy Radio.  Abrams, who is Certified Financial Planner and is founder and CEO of AJW Financial Partners, LLC. , has offices in Columbia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

The first story appearing in this section is about Antonio and LaShawn Lindsey and their creation of the small business Perfume Chick.

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The Perfume Chick

 perfume chick
The scents are pleasant.  Good. The presentation is over-the-top.  Exciting! “That’s where she comes through,” says Antonio Lindsey speaking of his wife and business partner’s personality.

Antonio and LaShawn have owned and operated The Perfume Chick on Suitland Road, across from the massive U.S. Census Bureau building, for four years.  It’s an unlikely location for a Bath & Body Works type of store admits Antonio, but it works. 

Though Suitland is often considered a challenged area, Blacks, Indian-American, and Hispanics have invested in the business strip to form an eclectic array of shops that include a Hispanic bakery, two Hispanic restaurants, and two Hispanic grocery stores.

Before adding to the mix on Suitland Road near Silver Hill Road (near Brown’s Market and Kay Cee Medical Equipment), Antonio sold candy from a kiosk in the old Landover Mall and later oils on K Street in D.C.  As they moved into soaps, the couple fused their interest, his in oils and soaps, hers in fragrance in more elegant bottles and shea butters in jars.  “But the company is modeled after her,” he insists as I looked over at the wing-armed, Victorian couch and the modern-day, plush chairs that punctuate the sales floor.

The whipped wood-spiced, powder shea butter is their best seller.  However, the mango soap is my favorite.  Besides shea butter and soaps, their product line includes natural cologne, hair products and body scrubs, oil infusions, and mineral eye shadow.

Insurance Let Us Get Through a Health Crisis Together

 the evans get covered
Earnest, 59, and Sharon, 57, have been married 22 years. This is their story about what getting coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace meant to them.

Earnest: In July 2013, my wife Sharon was diagnosed with both lung and breast cancer. My immediate thought was that I would need to resign from my job as a vice president for sales of an education company in order to become a full-time caregiver.

Sharon: You have to understand: Both my parents and my only sister had cancer. My diagnosis was frightening news.

Earnest: The complication with my plan was that I would lose our health insurance from my employer. While we were in a position to afford insurance on the private market, no private insurance company would write us a policy due to Sharon's pre-existing condition.

We both had professional careers. We saved well. But if we didn’t have health insurance, these medical bills would have put a huge dent in our retirement savings.

But then I heard about the Affordable Care Act and the Marketplace. I was able to secure coverage for my wife and me through, that started January 1, 2014. The pre-existing condition issue was no longer an issue, and we had a choice of providers to choose from.

I retired from my job on December 31, 2013, knowing that our Marketplace insurance would kick in on January 1, 2014. The ACA allowed me to be by Sharon's side during her treatment, and I'm grateful for that.

Read More

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kaycee medical supplies

MetroStage's Upcoming Plays

  bessies blues on metro stage
The 30-year-old MetroStage continues with another biographical Black musical “Bessie’s Blues,” featuring the life of Bessie Smith, and “The Island,” which depicts the psychological and physical abuse suffered by Black political prisoners in South Africa. It will close the current season with “The Letters,” which takes place in an office in 1930’s Soviet Union.

While the theater company has eclectic seasons, the Virginia-based of group started creating its niche in the production Black-cultural plays in 1987 with “Blood Knot”. The play was about two half-brothers in apartheid South Africa, one Black and one who passes as White. “Both actors received Helen Hayes nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor,” recalls MetroStage’s Producing Artistic Director Carolyn Griffin.

However, it was not in 2002 that the theatre jumped into the Black musical business, again with the success of gaining Helen Hayes nominations. In that year, says Griffin, we “produced “Harlem Rose” based on the poems of Langston Hughes and the world premiere of “Three Sistahs,” both of which received Helen Hayes nominations for Outstanding New Musical.”


Look in upcoming Snippets to win tickets to see "Bessie’s Blues" and "The Island".  For these drawings, we will select:

1 – the first entrant, who will have 24 hours to claim the free tickets
2 – if the first entrant does not claim the free tickets, we will select the second entrant who must meet the same conditions.  We will continue the process until we have a winner.

Flu Shots at Grubbs

 flu shots at grubbs

Grubbs Pharmacy is offering seasonal flu and other shots on a walk-in basis.   You can also call for an appointment.   

The availability of any vaccines depends on the available supply from their distributors.  The wait time may be longer from 4pm - 6pm during weekdays, their busiest time of the day.

Flu Near You: See the number of reported cases of the Flu near you.

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imani winds

This Christmas Season in Harlem, the
word's most famous pan-African community

Bad Jews
Studio Theater
1501 14th Street, NW
through Sun, Dec 21, $

BZB Black Gift Show
Shiloh Family Life Center
Fri, Nov 28-Sat, Nov 29
Sats Dec 6, 13, 20
1510 9th Street, 10a-6p, free

Through A Lens Darkly

Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People
West End Cinema
2301 M Street, NW
Opens Fri, Dec 12, $

Reparations Study Group
(first of new series)
Southeast Public Library
403 7th St, SE
Mon, Dec 15, 6p-8p, free

Capitalism and Police Terrorism
All African People's Revolutionary Party
733 Euclid Street, NW
Wed, Dec 17, 6:30p-8:30p, free

139th Birthday Celebration of
Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Shiloh Baptist Church
1500 9th St, NW
Fri, Dec 19, 6p, free

Pre-Kwanzaa Ancestral Whirlwind
includes CR Gibbs
Davis Dance Center
6218 3rd Street, NW
Sun, Dec 21, 3p-6p, free

Choir Boy
Studio Theatre
1501 14th Street, NW
Begins Wed, Jan 7, 2015, $

Twenty From Ten: 20 Artists. 10 Years
New Door Creative Gallery
1601 Saint Paul Street
Reception:  Sun, Dec 7, 3p-7P, free

New York
Celebrate The Season
with Imani Winds Holiday Concert
Abyssinian Baptist Church
132 West 138th St
Wed, Dec 17, 7p, $20; $10 students & seniors
Video: Silent Night by Imani Winds


lupita nyong'o 
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