Art + Soul Fifth Anniversary Celebration of the PAMM Fund for African American Art

Don’t miss a festive evening of cocktails, food, and music at the Art + Soul Fifth Anniversary Celebration of the PAMM Fund for African American Art. This celebratory event will offer three unique opportunities to support PAMM’s efforts to build a diverse collection. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Fund. The Knight Foundation has generously agreed to match the event’s fundraising efforts dollar for dollar. She-J Hercules of 99 Jamz will join patrons as the DJ for "The Celebration" portion of the evening.

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Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon: Danai Gurira, Tiffany Haddish, Tessa Thompson and Lena Waithe

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NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- ESSENCE, the preeminent brand for African-American women, has announced the honorees for its prestigious "Black Women in Hollywood Awards." The highly anticipated annual Oscar-week celebration—which returns as a daytime luncheon—will be held on Thursday, March 1st, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA.

ESSENCE's annual event puts the spotlight on Hollywood's most innovative and accomplished visionaries, and this year will honor four game-changers who are taking the culture higher, including: Emmy-award winning writer/actress Lena Waithe; actress/award-winning playwright Danai Gurira; actress/activist Tessa Thompson and comedian/award-winning actress Tiffany Haddish.

"As the modern feminist movement continues to gain prominence during Awards season, women are emboldened to not only speak up, but to stand together," said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca. "ESSENCE proudly salutes Lena, Danai, Tessa and Tiffany for being remarkable artists shining beyond the screen, and raising their voices to benefit all women."

ESSENCE's March 2018 Black Women in Hollywood issue (on newsstands February 23rd) showcases each honoree in a captivating Oscars-themed package. Highlights include:

  • Tiffany Haddish on Having Fun While Performing: "'When you're onstage, you need to be having fun.' That's the advice Richard Pryor gave me. No matter what I'm doing or where I am, I live by that philosophy…If I'm not having fun? Well, that's when I end up getting arrested..."
  • Danai Gurira on Creating Opportunities for Women of Color: "Creating opportunities for Black women, women of African descent and other women of color is a big part of my mandate because I want us to shine. I understand that being on TV as Michonne and in films like 'Black Panther' help Black girls feel validated. I don't take that lightly…"
  • Lena Waithe on Winning an Emmy and Telling Our Stories: "Being the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing was just amazing, but I don't want to be the last. It's about our industry, our society, taking a big leap forward. It's about my ancestors, the women comedy writers and queer communities of color. I shared that moment with them…"
  • Tessa Thompson on Breaking New Ground With Her Roles: "I feel as if I'm breaking new ground and providing more representation for women of color around the globe. But even if it wasn't me, I'd still look at those projects and if I saw a woman who looked like me, I'd think, Wow!"…

Stay tuned to Essence.com for highlights and behind-the-scenes access to the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @essence #BlackWomeninHollywood. Join in the discussion on Facebook.

The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards is presented by The Ford Motor Company and sponsored by AT&T, Geico, L'Oréal Paris and Walmart. 

 

 

2018 ESSENCE Festival Initial Line-Up Announced July 5-8 In New Orleans

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NIGHTLY CONCERT SERIES SPOTLIGHTS WOMEN--WITH ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCES BYJANET JACKSON, MARY J. BLIGE, FANTASIA, XSCAPE, H.E.R., THE ROOTS FEATURING ERYKAH BADU, JILL SCOTT AND SNOOP DOGG

PLUS MIGUEL, DANIEL CAESAR, IDRIS ELBA AND MORE

GRAB YOUR SQUAD AND PLAN YOUR TRIP!

NEW YORK/PRNewswire/ -- ESSENCE wants you to grab your squad and plan your trip as it announces its exhilarating initial talent line-up for the 2018 ESSENCE Festival, taking place July 5-8 in New Orleans. The nightly concert series keeps the spotlight on women, featuring electrifying headline performances from Janet Jackson; Mary J. Blige; a headline set featuring Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, with special guests Snoop Dogg and many others in a special curation by The Roots; Xscape; Fantasia and Miguel*Additional acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

This year's Festival will feature chart-topping names and inspiring experiences across four days of music, culture, empowerment and entertainment. The electric nighttime concerts will feature more than 40 acts and will take place across five stages at the Louisiana Superdome—including the Festival's renowned Mainstage and four intimate Superlounges. For the first-time, the Festival will also feature an ESSENCE Superlounge with a unique DJ-curated experience—with offerings by actor/DJ Idris Elba, MC Lyte and more. Also, for the first-time, the Festival welcomes an interactive music experience with The Read's Kid Fury and Crisslehosting a Superlounge.

*Artists scheduled to perform at the nightly ESSENCE Festival concerts over Fourth of July weekend at the Louisiana Superdome include: Janet Jackson; Mary J. Blige; Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, along with Snoop Dogg and more in a special curation by The Roots; 112; Daniel Caesar; D-Nice; Doug E. Fresh's Legends of Hip-Hop Show featuring Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee and more; DVSN; Fantasia; H.E.R.; Idris Elba; Kelela; Kelly Price's For The Love of R&B featuring Dave Hollister and Vaughn Willis; Kevin Ross; MAJOR.; Mali Music; Marsha Ambrosius; MC Lyte; Miguel; Mykia Jovan; Ro James; Teddy Riley's New Jack Swing Experience featuring Wreckx-n-Effect, Blackstreet and Guy; The Read's Kid Fury and Crissle; VICTORY, Xscape and many more to be announced soon. Mainstage host: Roy Wood, Jr.

"In 2018, women are at the forefront of a seismic shift reverberating across the cultural landscape, and this movement comes to life for our community at the ESSENCE Festival," said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications. "Some of the most iconic female artists and powerhouse performers of this generation—Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia and others—embrace ESSENCE and the Festival as a sacred space to entertain, inspire, revel in culture and be renewed."

Weekend ticket packages are on sale now with prices starting at $150. For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE Festival® visit EssenceFestival.com.

Join the Festival community: Follow us on Twitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of Festival on Facebook. The 2018 ESSENCE Festival® is presented by Coca-Cola®State Farm is a major sponsor. ESSENCE Festival is executive produced by Essence Communications Inc., and produced by Solomon Group with the ESSENCE® Empowerment Experience executive produced by GeChar.

*Artists subject to change.

 


Village of Palmetto Bay Recognizes Alpha Phi Alpha for Community Service

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From left to right, Village of Palmetto Bay Commissioner Larissa Siegel Lara, Village Clerk Missy Arocha, Iota Pi Lambda Chapter Vice-President Leslie Elus; Mayor Eugene Flinn; and Commissioner David Singer present proclamation to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
 
The Iota Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was honored by the Village of Palmetto Bay Commission for the organization's years of service to Miami-Dade County. Mayor Eugene Flinn highlighted the fraternity's national programs and the chapter's local initiatives hosted throughout the county. The Village Commission joined the Mayor to applaud and support the chapter's continued civic and philanthropic activities.
 
 

Miami Jackson Alumni Hall of Fame Induction March 3, 2018

The Miami Jackson Generals Alumni Association has announced their 2018 class of inductees into their Hall of Fame.

2018 Miami Jackson Senior High School Hall of Fame Inductees:

ATHLETICS - Nick Ferguson, Tim “Ice” Harris and Carmen Thomas Jackson

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT/PUBLIC SERVICE - Rodney Adkins, Bertha Watson Henry, Brian Person and Ronetta Williams Taylor

EDUCATION - Debra Mason Reddick and Rennina Taylor Turner

ENTREPRENEURSHIP - Tammi King-Miller and Isaac “Ike” Woods. Jr.

HEALTH AWARENESS - Dr. Rubin Thompson

JUSTICE - The Honorable Miguel de la O

RELIGION - Rev. Dr. Anthony Tate

CAROL WHITEHEAD LEGACY - Evangeline "Angie" Canty

The induction ceremony and dinner will be held at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 3, 2018, in the Miami Jackson Senior High School Gymnasium, 1751 Northwest 36 Street, Miami, FL  33142.

The attire is dressy. Tickets are $50 each and the deadline to purchase is February 25, 2018. For ticket information contact Karen Duty at  305-206-8847 or knette@att.net or Rubye Howard 305-343-5072 or rubye17@bellsouth.net.

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What we can learn about being Black and Latin from Love & Hip Hop: Miami

“We get caught up in where the ship dropped us off versus where the ship picked up us.” - Laz Alonso

It’s Black History Month. Let’s explore a controversial topic that has captured the attention of Black America, especially the millennials. That topic is colorism in the Afro-Latino culture.

This season’s cast of the Love & Hip Hop: Miami includes a young American woman of African-Dominican descent who has been in the Latin-American entertainment industry for most of her life. Her name is Amara La Negra, born Dana Danelys De Los Santos.

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Amara La Negra, breakout star of Love & Hip Hop: Miami

Amara is a beautiful dark-skinned woman with a signature big Afro hairstyle similar to political activist Angela Davis in the 1970s. Her look is different and refreshing. Most Black women in the public eye choose to wear their hair in straight, Eurocentric hairstyles rather than their natural hair which could be curly, wavy, kinky or nappy. So when Amara is told by a music producer that she needs to be a “little bit more Beyoncé and a little less Macy Gray” social media exploded.

 

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Beyoncé and Macy Gray

The producer, Young Hollywood, is of Puerto Rican descent. He was roundly criticized and called racist. It didn’t help that he referred to Amara as Nutella Queen and called her psychotic.

Ignorance of colorism and racial discrimination in the Latin culture continued to prevail when Amara was interviewed on the nationally-syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club hosted by DJ Envy, Charlamagne Tha God and Angela Yee. Charlamagne and Envy tried to invalidate Amara’s struggles with colorism. They even went so far as to insinuate that she is delusional. As expected, Black Twitter dragged them for a few days. 

 Actor Laz Alonso, a Howard University alum of Cuban descent, broke down the Afro-Latino issue and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the most succinct and intelligent manner.


At the end of the day, White supremacy is real. Its effect is still seen and perpetuated today. Like calling straight hair “good” and kinky hair “bad”, let’s stop with the ignorance and understand that people can be Black and Latin. After all, life began in Africa. We are all African.

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“Too Black to Be Latina- Too Latina to Be Black”

Ascellia M. Arenas
Ascellia M. Arenas

First, we must define the difference between race and culture. We are all members of the human race, our cultural practices help define us. Culture is defined as follows:  

“the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively."

"20th century popular culture"

synonyms:

the arts, the humanities, intellectual achievement; literature, music, painting, philosophy, the performing arts

"exposing their children to culture"

I grew up in Pembroke Pines, FL. My parents purchased a house in Pembroke Pines in 1974. We were one of five Black families living within the ten mile radius. There were many different cultures present in the neighborhood: Irish, Jewish, Italian, and Hispanic/Latino. I am identifiably Black. My skin is caramel  brown my hair is springy and fuzzy, not straight enough to be considered the acceptable version of “curly” not kinky enough to be demoralized for having “bad hair” (which I feel is an ignorant assessment, no matter what curl pattern is being described-all hair is “good”). Whenever the topic of race and multiculturalism was mentioned my white friends believed that the fact that they befriended me and that I was, and I quote, “pretty for a black girl,” meant that their perception and ideology was not inherently racist. I’d attempt to explain how it wasn’t really a compliment, but I understood anyway, and then they’d call me too militant.

My Hispanic/Latino friends thought it was funny when I spoke my broken Spanglish with them. They would quickly code switch because they believed that I wasn't Latina enough to even make an effort to speak our language. That caused me to be insecure. I’ve always been able to fluently read and comprehend the Spanish language; but, I would get nervous about proper use of verb tenses, other grammatical issues, my not knowing idiomatic phrases (slang) and whether or not my accent was correct. I’d answer in English so as not to cause a fuss or be embarrassed when corrected. That insecurity has been latent in my psyche since childhood. It is only until recently that even attempted to have full conversations in Spanish. I’m still not where I want to be but I speak intelligently enough to have conversations about life and things that truly matter. 

When my family members who do not share the same Hispanic/Latino heritage and culture would talk about me they would say, “she’s crazy,” “she thinks she’s white because she lives in Pembroke Pines,” and “you ain’t a real Cuban like them Hialeah Cubans, you Black.” Imagine that, my own family wanted to minimize the legitimacy of my home culture, life and heritage. At home, my father would speak Spanish with us. My mother prepared traditional Cuban cuisine with ease because it was so similar to other traditional Caribbean cuisine; which are all originally from Africa: beans, rice, plantains (platano), stews with seafood, stews with beef, and chicken: arroz  con hibichuelo, arroz con pollo, bisteak con arroz blanco y frijoles negro, rabo, paella, picadillo, you name it!  My father prepared Cuban coffee every single day, in his little metal coffee pot that you can only purchase in bodegas or Sedanos Markets. I learned all styles of dances, salsa, merengue, ballet, tap, and Jazz because my parents owned a school for the performing arts in Opa Locka called: CITOPA (children’s international theater of performing arts). I have been dancing and performing since I was six years old. 

My sister had a traditional quince, I did not. Hers was super fancy with gowns and tuxedos. My parents wanted to have mine in the community center in Pembroke Pines which I felt looked like a barn. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be as fancy as my sister’s quince: so, I told them to not worry about it. Besides, they were paying my tuition to attend St. Thomas Aquinas, they didn’t need that extra expense. 

Very early on I developed a keen interest in understanding myself, my culture, and who I wanted to become, as a woman. I didn’t have very many examples of Afro-Latinos  in mainstream media because they were forced to identify as Black American. I was named after Celia Cruz but, she was a far fetched example, most kids my age didn’t have an appreciation for music, like I was raised to have. So, using Celia Cruz left my friends even more confused about my culture and heritage. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I learned that Alphonso Ribeiro, and Tatyana Ali, from the TV Show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” were Hispanic. When I explained how it was possible to have black/brown skin and be legitimately Hispanic/Latino, they were my go-to examples. 

Throughout my life I have been called aggressive and combative because I say what I feel is my truth. I had to speak up for myself, I am both Black and Latina. I was raised to be proud of who I am and why my “different” made me special. I would not allow people to downplay me because of their own lack of knowledge and experience. I always knew that I was more than a “cute” little brown skinned girl who’s father speaks Spanish. I’ve always accepted that I am BLATINA. I am of African origin, as are all of us. My father’s family heritage and linage can be traced back to Spain, Cuba and Africa. I probably know more about who I am and where I’m from than most people. Yes, I am Afro-Latina and I am completely #woke. 

 


New Showtime drama, THE CHI, is must-see TV and stars Miami's Alex Hibbert [VIDEO]

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Miami's Alex Hibbert graces the advertisement for the Showtime drama, THE CHI.

If you enjoy watching quality television, you owe it to yourself to check out Showtime’s THE CHI. It airs Sundays at 10 PM EST. Subscribers can also view episodes on demand on the Showtime app.

THE CHI chronicles the lives of residents of the South Side of Chicago. It humanizes people who have been dehumanized because of the numerous reports of death due to gun violence. As in many, urban, predominantly-black neighborhoods demonized by crime statistics and poverty, there is a beautiful side that is rarely shown. As one-sided as the South Side of Chicago is typically portrayed, THE CHI doesn’t shy away from its ugly side of crime, drugs and poverty.

Award-winning Chicago natives Lena Waithe (Emmy - Master of None) and Common (Academy Award - Selma) have presented a cinematically beautiful well-acted and well-written drama. Waithe made history as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Comedy Writing. It’s 2018 and we’re still celebrating Black “firsts” but let us not digress. The Chi cast includes Jason Mitchell (Brandon); Tiffany Boone (Jerrika); Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (Ronnie); Jacob Latimore (Emmett); Yolanda Ross (Jada); Sonja Sohn (Laverne); and Miami’s own Alex Hibbert (Kevin).

You might remember Alex from his award-winning film debut as “Little” in the Miami-based and Miami-focused movie Moonlight which won multiple awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture. In Moonlight, Alex was incredibly expressive just using his eyes and body language. That same compelling quiet energy is evident as he portrays Kevin in THE CHI.

Since THE CHI has been renewed for a second season, we look forward to seeing more of Alex Hibbert on THE CHI next year. Episode 5 is scheduled to air on February 11 so you have plenty of time to binge watch the first four episodes to catch up with the storyline.

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From Episode 1: Alex Hibbert (left) as Kevin in scene with Jason Mitchell as Brandon, in hit Showtime series --- The Chi.

 

 Related Links:

Official Series Website - The Chi

More Than Moonlight: Alex Hibbert is a Child Actor Worth Watching

 


CALL TO ACTION! - The Shameless Assault on Public Education in Florida Continues with Dirty HB 7055

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Florida's Republican leaders are at it again. If you are not following the shenanigans in Tallahassee during this Legislative Session, please take a moment to listen to comments by Rep. Shevrin Jones (Dist. 101) and Rep. Kionne McGhee (Dist. 117) regarding the very bad education bill — HB 7055. These are just a few points of which we should be aware. Recognize this for what it is. The continued dismantling of public education, redirecting public dollars to private entities, destruction of public schools in predominantly black neighborhoods, and assault on the middle-class and poor in Florida. Please commit to helping concerned parents and citizens put a stop to this madness.   

 

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CALL TO ACTION from the Florida AFL-CIO (adapted). HB 7055 will go before the Florida House on Wednesday, February 7 for questions and Thursday, February 8 for vote and debate.  HB 7055 is a massive last minute education bill full of poorly vetted policies aimed at defunding public education in our state and busting up teachers unions. 

Call 855.235.2469 and enter your zip code NOW to be connected with your local Florida Representative. Leave them with the message that they need to stand up for our public schools, our students, and our teachers by voting NO on HB 7055.

Hidden in this legislation is the same public union-busting language that House leadership rammed through the process last week. HB 7055 specifically strips our state’s educators and staff from having a voice on the job.

HB 7055 also sets up a system that tells children who have been bullied to simply leave their public school and go somewhere else. Rather than focusing on programs that directly combat the problem of bullying in Florida schools, House leaders are using this issue as another means to please their donors and expand the unaccountable for-profit charter school industry in our state.

At over 200 pages, this bill is so big that it also includes provisions to divert hundreds of millions of tax dollars to private, for-profit schools, reduces accountability for student performance, and hurts programs for struggling students.

Call 855.235.2469 NOW and leave your local representative with a message to vote NO on HB 7055. This bill would spell disaster for the future of public education in our state. We need the Florida House to say NO to this massive scheme to bully our students, our schools, and our teachers.

Still Not Convinced? - WATCH THIS

 #SayNOtoHB7055   #SaveOurSchools #Dirty7055

 


Thank You Desmond Meade and the FRRC! Almost 2 Million Floridians Are One Step Closer to Having their Rights Restored!

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Congratulations to Desmond Meade and the team of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition for leading the movement that has gotten 1.68 million disenfranchised Floridians one step closer to having their voting rights restored. Shout out to all of the grassroots organizations and dedicated individuals who made a seemingly unreachable goal a reality. Now the amendment needs at least 60% approval from the voters. Start now encouraging your family and friends to vote YES on  Amendment 4 on the November 2018 ballot. 

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 6pm until 10 pm, South Florida will celebrate the Second Chances Voting Restoration Amendment making the November 2018 ballot. RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/148648512464863/.

  

#SayYEStoSecondChances   #Redemption