Late May is not always the best of times for African Americans. May 25 is the Anniversary of the murder of African American George Floyd by a white policeman in Minnesota, a heinous act that spawned one of the longest protest movements so social justice in American history. Americans and the rest of the world, confined to their homes by COVID-19 quarantine orders looked at the video on TV of the Floyd murder. We watched in horror as a white police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds while three fellow officers did not intervene. The rogue cop was indicted and convicted, awaiting sentencing.
In New York on that same day, Amy Cooper, a white “Karen” type called the NYPD saying that an African American man, Christian Cooper, threatened her life in Central Park, which a lie. Fortunately, neither was at the designated area when police arrived. The Cooper/Cooper encounter was videotaped. Once the facts were reviewed Amy suffered unexpected consequences like loss of job and faced criminal charges, unusual in Black/white settings and local police.
This year is the centennial of the Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Massacre which spanned two days, May 31 to June 1, 1921. Whites leveled a prosperous self-contained Black neighborhood in Tulsa, killing about 200 Blacks and destroying more than 1000 homes. There is no reference to the massacre in American history books. There is a tidal wave of interest in the massacre among historians, filmmakers and many Black Americans. See the reference to the History Channel documentary below. A tidal wave of interest in the massacre with historians and LeBron James who has financed a film about the massacre.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s DANCEAFRICA 2021 Festival is the nation’s largest celebration of African Diaspora dance, music and culture, returns with new content reimagined for the digital space will pay homage to the ancestral energy of Haiti, a metonym for Black liberation from May 29-31. Registration necessary for the Danceafrica events, mostly gratis. Visit BAM.org.
FILM/TV: The World Channel presents a documentary, THE CONVERSATION REMIX, which explores the present catharsis we are experiencing following the death of George Floyd on May 25. The REMIX includes three short character-driven films, FOR OUR GIRLS; LEARNING TO BREATHE: Conversations With young Black Men; and GOOD WHITE PEOPLE. The documentary will stream on worldchannel.org.
BOOKS/FILM: Audrey Edwards new book, “American Runaway: Black and Free In Paris In The Trump Years,” is an eminently readable memoir about America through the lens of two Baby Boomers, one deeply affected by the social changes that defined the nation during and after the Sixties, the other totally impervious to those changes, who was elected President. Edwards discusses her book on June 23, 2-3 pm, at a free online forum hosted by the NYU Institute of African American Affairs. A prolific journalist/author, Edwards co-authored the runaway bestseller, “The Man From Essence: Creating A Magazine for Black Women” about Edward Lewis, which has been optioned by HBO Max and filmed as a miniseries.
MUSEUM: Last week RAP legends LL Cool J, Nas, Fat Joe, and Grand Master Flash joined the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. for the groundbreaking ceremony of the long-overdue Universal HIPHOP Museum which will be part of a $349 million South Bronx development on the Hudson River.
TELEVISION: The History Channel produced the documentary, TULSA BURNING, The 1921 RACE MASSACRE to commemorate the centennial of one of American history’s ugliest chapters, the Black Wall Street Massacre set in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 31 to June 1, 1921, when white supremacists plundered a prosperous Black enclave, killing about 200 people, and destroying more than 1,000 homes. The documentary premieres Sunday, May 30 at 8 pm/7 pm Central.
MAGAZINES: Black girls are rocking and donning the June covers of two major American women’s magazines. Vocalist/actress Andra Day who appears in the title role of the highly acclaimed biopic, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday, is the INSTYLE cover girl. Actress/director Jo-Issa Rae Diop aka Issa Rae, of the HBO megahit series “Insecure,” who just signed a $40 million production deal with WarnerMedia, is Vanity Fair’s cover girl.
GUYANA, located on the northern tip of South America celebrates its 55th Independence Anniversary from the United Kingdom on May 26.
Guyanese diaspora celebrating the milestone. Guyana joins the oil-rich nations club and its attendant prosperity. A multicultural nation, the Guyanese population today is composed of equal numbers of people of either African or Indian origin.
MALI: The military detained members of Mali’s interim government leaders, President Bah Ndaw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, and Defense Minister Douleymane Doucoure, who were taken to a military base on May 24. The action was taken against the leaders after an August military coup that ousted the previous president. Mali is a Francophone government on Africa’s west coast.
RIP: A man for all seasons, Paul Mooney, 79, joined the ancestors, at his home in Oakland, California last week. The cause was a heart attack. He worked with great American comics and satirists of generations from late Richard Pryor to GenXer Dave Chappelle and a few dozen in between. Mooney’s writer credits include “In Living Color, the TV series,” the film “JoJo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling” Feature film”. His acting credits include “Bamboozled,” “The Buddy Holly Story,” and the Dave Chappelle Show. A member of The Black Pack, a group of edgy comedians like Eddie Murphy, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Arsenio Hall, and Robert Townsend, had plans for a movie/concert franchise.
African American Music Appreciation Month/Advent of Summer Solstice June 21/ Caribbean American Heritage Month/ NYC Democratic Primary June 22/JUNETEENTH, June 19/Father’s Day June 20/ LGBTQIA Pride Month
A Harlem-based branding curator, Victoria is reachable at email@example.com