port of harlem magazine

January 22 – February 4, 2015

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Rehashing 1970?

nina simoneI remember sitting impatiently in my elementary school’s auditorium watching some follow students modern dance to Nina Simone’s “Young, Gifted, and Black.”  While Simone (pictured left) sang, “We must begin to tell our young,” I didn’t know there was anything wrong with being Black and that I needed some Black-directed motivation to do well.

It’s 40 years later and I am much more aware of the issues surrounding being Black in America and in the world.  My generation and at least four others have heard Simone’s message, but the 1970 issues still plague us.  What’s up with that?

Who in 1970 would think that with a Black president young Black boys would still need a role model to demonstrate that speaking standard English is not the same as being “White,” “punkish,” or even, “gay”?  

Who in 1970 would think that with a Black screenwriter, director, and producer (Shonda Rhimes, pictured below) ruling the Thursday night line up on the American Broadcasting System at 8p, 9p, and 10p EST, 40% of DC's 9th-graders won't graduate from high school on time?

shonda rhimesWho in 1970 would think with the nation’s first Black attorney general (top cop), scores of Black police chiefs and scores of Black cops, and Blacks who have the power to vote and Blacks who sit on police boards, that some Blacks would feel the need to resort to burning and looting their own town - - and increasing their insurance rates and limiting the number of jobs in their community - - to have their voices represented?

Who in 1970 would think after the release of the Kerner Commission report in 1968 that we would spin our wheels trying to figure out why Blacks are frustrated with the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and other unarmed Black men by White cops across the USA?  (Among other things, the Kerner report recommended for government programs to hire more diverse and sensitive police officers.)

Who in 1970 (or in 1974) would think when Diahann Carrol played Claudine, a domestic worker trying to provide for her six children in Harlem, that one Black woman , Susan Rice, would follow another,  Condoleezza Rice, and move beyond domestic issues and help mold American foreign policy? 

This is not 1970, with a more educated and connected Black America and more Black officials we can more easily force accountability than our grandparents and even parents on those responsible for solving or at lease easing these issues.  Sitting on the sidelines is not an option for officials or the public.

Even passing laws and changing images will not give us the freedom we seek.  As pan-Africanist Malcolm X once said, “Freedom is something you have to do yourself.” Or, as Dr. King once said, “If the Negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self-assertive manhood his own Emancipation Proclamation.”

black memorabilia show

40 Acres and a Mule –
149th Birthday

 thaddeus stevens
On February 5, 1866, Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens introduced legislation to give the once enslaved "40 acres and a mule," but Democrats opposed it, led by President Andrew Johnson.

Slavery and Remembrance

nat turner 
Five-hundred years of transatlantic slavery, slave trading, and their legacies cannot be understood through one lens. Slavery and Remembrance offers an ever-evolving look at how we view and portray a shared and painful past and its legacies.

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Hampton U Celebrates
Elizabeth Catlett

elizebeth catlett 
Hampton University welcomes “Elizabeth Catlett: A Celebration of 100 Years” and “Elizabeth Catlett and the Hampton Art Tradition” (a special exhibition) January 30 to November 14 and “To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade” (a historic vignette) February 7 to February 28.

In celebration of Elizabeth Catlett's 100th birthday (1915 – 2012), the Hampton University Museum will highlight works on paper from its extensive Catlett collection. Noted for having the largest collection of Elizabeth Catlett works on paper, the museum will exhibit some of their favorites that have been shown in Hampton or loaned to institutions throughout the United States, along with twenty-five pieces that have never been shown at Hampton.

The traveling exhibition panel “To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade” examines Virginia's role in the internal trading of enslaved people before the Civil War. Central to this exploration are two paintings by British artist Eyre Crowe, who witnessed the trade in Richmond and Charleston early in 1853 and created compelling images of what he saw.

Win Choir Boy Tickets
Studio Theater

choir boy at studio theater 
Five young men standing on stage taking showers and singing, “Sometimes I Feel  Like a Motherless Child” while naked may become the most talked about scene from Choir Boy, now playing at Studio Theater.  This scene was one of many that helped weave a story on homophobia and a bite of racism and classism in a very creative and novel way.

The coming of age play is set at a fictional Black preparatory high school that evokes the spirit of Morehouse College. The young men are in a gospel choir and unlike at an event I attended recently, the actors in Choir Boy really can sing.  Greatly adding to Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play was the set design by Jason Sherwood.


As written in the December 11 – December 24, 2014 Port Of Harlem, we have one pair of tickets for a lucky winner to see Choir Boy.  We will select the first person who sends us an e-mail by clicking here.

1 – the first entrant has 24 hours from the time we confirm by e-mail (today) that he or she is the winner to claim the free tickets by e-mail.

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

The tickets will be for a performance during the first week of February (Tuesday, 2/3 through Sunday, 2/8, excluding Saturday night).

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If Port Of Harlem Was Forwarded to You

facebook profile 2015We are grateful to the many readers who forward Port Of Harlem to their friends.  I invite those who are receiving us this way to subscribe now.   You will then get Port of Harlem sent directly to your e-mail box every other week on Thursdays at 11a.

We will not sell or share your e-mail address with any other person or group.  As we celebrate our 20th year, click here to subscribe now

Wayne Young

FOOD: Our Global Kitchen

Food: Our Global Kitchen closes Sunday, February 22 at National Geographic and is well worth the time and cost to experience.  The experience includes virtual smells of many spices that kids and adults will enjoy and novel cooking exhibits performed on an interactive three-dimensional screen that gives the look of a real cooking table.

While the exhibit is heavy on the foods of the United States and Native South Americans, the displays include smaller focuses on Senegal and Kenya including a wonderful tribute to Kenyan and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.

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 james early talks about cuba

Smithsonian's James Early Talks About Cuba

Washington, DC
Dissonance Dance: Wintersteps
The Jack Guidone Theater
Joy of Motion Dance Center
5207 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Sat, Jan 24, 8p, $15-$20

Rapture, Blister, Burn
Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Highway
Wed, Jan 28 – Sun, Feb 22, $

Cuba, Africa, and the World
(panel discussion includes James Early
of the Smithsonian and the U.S.-Cuba
Cultural Exchange)
Festival Center
1640 Columbia Road, NW
Sat, Jan 31, 3:30p (POSTPONED)

The Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic
The George Washington Masonic Memorial
101 Callahan Dr. 
Alexandria, VA
Sun, Feb 1, 3p, $2, 18 and under free

Bad Jews
Studio Theater
1501 14th Street, NW
3rd extension, through Sun, Feb 1 $

Choir Boy
Studio Theater
1501 14th Street, NW, $

Nigeria on the Brink
Foreign Affairs Committee Room
2172 Rayburn House Office Building
Tue, Jan 27, 2p

African Americans & WW1
Presenter:  CR Gibbs
Capitol View Library
5001 Central Ave. SE
Mon, Feb 2, 7p, free

Haiti's Forts of Freedom
Greenbelt Library
11 Crescent Road
Greenbelt, MD
Presenter:  Marvin Jones
Tue, Feb 3, 7p

Intro to American Sign Language
Old Naval Hospital Foundation
921 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Tue, Feb 3-Apr 7, 6:30p-8p, $265

Peacemaker (Play on Dr. King)
Gallery CA
440 E. Oliver Street
Starts Thu, Jan 29, Donations

obama praises bayard rustin
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