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CHARLES W. CHERRY, SR. 1928-2004

Hart to be special guest at Florida Classic Page B1


VOLUME 21 NO. 47






President Obama’s week included awarding medals to friends, memorializing John F. Kennedy, negotiating with Iran, apologizing for Obamacare problems, and fighting the GOP to confirm judges. Here’s a summary of presidential activity. Clinton, a recipient, and their wives headed to Arlington NaOn Wednesday, 50 years after tional Cemetery for a JFK ceremothe Presidential Medal of Free- ny at the eternal flame that marks dom was established, President the gravesite. Obama presented the nation’s highest civilian award to 16 Amer- Civil rights heroes icans from diverse fields. The group of winners was, in The award, created by President a way, also a commemoration of John F. Kennedy to replace the Medal of Freedom established by Obama’s Chicago ties as well as President Harry Truman in 1945, his debt to the African-American kicked off a day of memorials to civil rights movement. Two of the winners were noted Kennedy, slain by a sniper’s bullet in Dallas 50 years ago on Nov. 22. civil rights leaders, including the From the medal ceremony, late Bayard Rustin, who won fame Obama and former President Bill as an organizer for events such as



President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to civil rights leader Rev. Cordy Tindell ‘C.T.’ Vivian at the White House on Wednesday. the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He was also openly gay and paid a price in abuse from opponents and from some other Black leaders who were allies on racial issues. The Rev. Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian is the living civil rights leader, minister and author who was also honored.

Chicago links Oprah Winfrey, the Chicago journalist who rose to stardom as an actress, activist and a talk show host, was honored. Her early support of Obama in 2006 and her active campaigning helped propel him to early primary victories. See OBAMA, Page A2


Celebrating the best

DALLAS – Deeply divided by culture and language, Blacks and Hispanics in the early 1960s often were at odds in their struggle for civil rights. But both groups found common ground when it came to the person they believed might offer them a national voice in their fight for equality: President John F. Kennedy. The nation’s 35th president held an esteemed place in their hearts – and living rooms – right alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and even Jesus Christ. More than anything, Kennedy offered hope. So when an assassin’s bullet silenced that voice in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, many Blacks and LaPresident tinos thought it John F. had shattered Kennedy their dreams, too. “Back in the day, in households in Alabama where I’m from, his portrait was on the wall along with King and Jesus Christ,” said Dale Long, who works for the city of Dallas.

Blacks ‘doomed’


More than 500 people attended the ICABA (Identify, Connect, Activate the Black Accomplished) gala last week at Florida International University in Miami. Thirty-two Black professionals were recognized as a Professional of the Year or a Rising Star in academia, medicine, sports, law, and other fields. The organization also saluted Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes and Attorney George Knox as ‘Living Legends.’

Long was 11 when Kennedy was killed. He was a member of the Birmingham, Ala., church where a bomb killed four little girls during Sunday school only two months earlier. “After watching the March on Washington in August, the church bombing in September and then his assassination in November,” Long said, “I thought Black people were doomed.” Hispanics lost a man they saw as a friend, said Ignacio Garcia, author of “Viva Kennedy: Mexican Americans in Search of Camelot’ and a Latino-history professor at Brigham Young University. “Kennedy was from an ethnic group, so he understood the politics of relationships,” Garcia said. “It translated well with Mexican-Americans, and they felt they had a relationship with him. They liked him. The martyrdom solidified all those images.” See JFK, Page A2

Florida congressman pleads guilty to cocaine possession room, Radel said he has entered COMPILED FROM WIRE REPORTS an outpatient addiction-counselWASHINGTON – Southwest ing program in D.C. and will enFlorida Congressman Trey Radel ter an inpatient treatment facility pleaded guilty Wednesday to pos- in Naples. session of cocaine and was placed on supervised probation for a year ‘Hit bottom’ and required to pay a $260 fee. “I apologize for what I’ve done,” Radel, a 37-yearRadel said in a packed courtroom. old Republican freshman House “I think in life I’ve hit a bottom member and tea where I need help, and I have agparty favorite, had gressively sought that help.” District of Columbia Superibeen charged with or Court Senior Judge Robert Timisdemeanor possession of cocaine gnor accepted the congressman’s stemming from an guilty plea and imposed the proOct. 29 purchase of bation with what he described as U.S. Rep. $250 worth of co- light monitoring. Trey Radel Tignor also ordered Radel to pay caine during a lawenforcement un- $250 into a victim’s compensation dercover operation in Washing- fund. Radel could face a 180-day ton. jail sentence and a $1,000 fine if he In a District of Columbia court- violates terms of his probation.


The House Ethics Committee is expected to conduct a preliminary investigation. However, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the matter will be “handled by the courts” and eventually “his family, and his constituents.”

Not the first time According to a summary presented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nihar Mohanty, “confidential informant” sources sometime during this fall tipped off investigators that Radel had “on several occasions purchased, possessed and used cocaine.” Federal investigators then organized a sting. At about 10 p.m. on Oct. 29, Mohanty said, an undercover investigator and an “acquaintance” of Radel met with the congress-

man at a restaurant in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Radel said that he had cocaine back at his apartment and the undercover officer then offered to sell Radel more of the drug, Mohanty said. Radel agreed. The undercover officer and Radel then adjourned to a car outside the restaurant, where Radel handed over $260 and the undercover officer handed over 3.5 grams of cocaine. When Radel exited the car, federal officers approached and he dropped the cocaine to the street, Mohanty said.

Michael Doyle of the McClatchy Washington Bureau / MCT and the News Service of Florida contributed to this report.


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Remembering November 22, 1963 On Nov. 22, 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, I was a 23-year old editorial reference clerk working in Time Inc.’s biography files. The job, among other things, required my responding to calls from Time, Life and Sports Illustrated reporters for files on individuals about whom they were writing. The afternoon of the assassination created an absolute deluge of ASAP requests from frantic reporters for the huge number of bio files on President Kennedy, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson, Jackie Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and dozens of other political and public figures even remotely connected to the Kennedy administration.


As I remember, we worked throughout the night under hectic but not chaotic conditions. My initial reaction to the assassination was wonderment at how a U.S. president could be so boldly shot down in broad daylight. I must admit that I was not then and am not now among those who were dazzled by or impressed with the Kennedy administration.

Booed JFK One of my most lasting

memories from that time was the day I loudly booed President Kennedy as he was driven away after a speech at the United Nations. I had positioned myself at a turn where I knew his limousine had to slow down. As it passed by, while most of the crowd applauded enthusiastically, I booed as loudly as I could. This resulted in hard stares from members of the Secret Service and numerous threats from onlookers, including Black ones. I quickly exited my spot, feeling satisfied about taking advantage of an opportunity to show my anger at the failure of the Kennedy administration to do more to protect the lives of Black folks who were being repeatedly bru-

talized by predatory white supremacist terrorists who opposed the demand for equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity in this country. Ten of 40 names on the civil rights memorial in Montgomery, Ala. are those of people killed by terrorists during the Kennedy administration. It was several decades before any of them were arrested for those heinous crimes. The 10 included Medgar Evers and four young girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing.

Not alone I didn’t believe 50 years ago and still don’t believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only person involved in the assassination of Presi-

dent Kennedy. Once, as a young man, I complained to my grandmother about something that was bothering me. When I asked her advice on what to about it, her response was “Boy, use your common sense.” My common sense won’t allow me to believe the official position on the Kennedy assassination. And the possibility of anyone ever persuading me to change my mind was shattered forever when Oswald was fatally shot by Jack Ruby while in the custody of the Dallas police. The assassination, in my opinion, was not the action of a zealot passionately promoting or defending a cause or of someone striving for the limelight since Oswald denied his involve-

JFK Didn’t push

OBAMA from A1 Ernie Banks, now 82, played for 19 years with the Chicago Cubs, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility. Known as “Mr. Cub,” his enthusiasm was so contagious that fans often overlooked his team’s lackluster performance. Other winners: feminist writer Gloria Steinem; federal judge Patricia Wald; the late Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; the late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii; Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton University scholar of psychology; former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar; chemist and environmental scientist Mario Molina; jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval; former University of North Carolina basketball head coach Dean Smith; former executive editor of the Washington Post, Benjamin Bradlee; country music star Loretta Lynn; and Clinton.

Nuclear talks resume International negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program resumed in Geneva, Switzerland on

Contact A. Peter Bailey at, or 202-716-4560. Click on this story at to write your own response. He tried to do two things at once that were mutually incompatible, which was push civil rights and still hold on to the votes of Southern Whites.” “Like most White men, John Kennedy thought we should go slow and not push and be patient,” said Johnson, the 68-year-old Dallas civil rights veteran. “There was a generation of kids like me who were in college, especially in the South, who said we aren’t going to go slow.”

from A1 Several civil rights experts say Kennedy, a Democrat, faced a political quandary. Intellectually, he opposed segregation. At the same time, the issue represented political quicksand. During the 1960 presidential election, many prominent Blacks – the ones who could vote – were Republicans. Moreover, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who garnered nearly 40 percent of the Black vote in 1956, had helped his party’s cause by ordering federal intervention in the desegregation of Little Rock, Ark., schools. But in one of the tightest elections ever, a simple phone call may have won Kennedy the presidency and the gratitude of Blacks across the country. Leading up to the election, King was arrested in Georgia during a sitin. While other protesters were quickly released, King was held on a minor traffic charge and sentenced to hard labor. Many of his supporters feared for his safety, and they reached out to Kennedy and his Republican opponent, Richard Nixon. Nixon made some nebulous behind-the-scenes calls, and Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother, called the judge in the case. It was JFK, though, who personally reached out to King’s family, including making a brief phone call to his wife, Coretta. King’s father, M.L. King, Sr., who had backed Nix-

ment to the bitter end. I believe it was plotted and executed by cold-blooded professional killers with no desire for the limelight. Whether Oswald’s cohorts were members of the FBI or CIA, pro-Castro Cubans or anti-Castro Cubans, members of the Mafia or rightwing white Americans, I don’t claim to know. I just believe he was working with someone else and those forces, as far as it is generally known 50 years later, have gotten away with successfully assassinating a president of the U.S.

Uncertain legacy


Pallbearers carry the casket of President John F. Kennedy to his grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 25, 1963. on, publicly came out in support of Kennedy. King was released and Kennedy, with widespread Black support, narrowly edged Nixon in the election. “It was a very historical thing for these calls to come to Mrs. King,” said the Rev. Peter Johnson, a Dallas civil rights leader. “The Black media spread the word about the phone call. It was very important.”

Popular with Hispanics Many factors, experts say, might explain Kennedy’s popularity with Hispanics. Wednesday, with the U.S. team under growing pressure to deliver an interim deal as soon as possible. Ten days after the last round broke off, Americans joined representatives of five other world powers and Iran in talks that are scheduled to run at least through Friday – after the Florida Courier’s press time late Wednesday night. The six powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – are preparing a deal that offers Iran limited relief from international sanctions crippling its economy in return for limits on its nuclear program. Many countries fear Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability, despite its denials.

Strong opposition Though U.S. officials insist that they do not feel pressure to quickly deliver a deal, another inconclusive meeting could provide an opening for the many foes of the potential agreement, who are circling impatiently. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, fresh from lobbying Congress to block the unfinished diplomatic product he calls a “bad deal,” arrived in Moscow with the same message for Russian officials.

He was Catholic, he served in World War II – as did up to 500,000 Hispanics – and he was married to a glamorous woman who spoke Spanish. But mostly, they say, Hispanic politicians saw Kennedy as someone their people would rally around, someone who was somewhat sympathetic to their cause. “This generation had a connection with Catholicism,” said Marc Rodriguez, director of the Civil Rights Heritage Center at Indiana University South Bend. “I’m sure that some of their efforts were effective because they went Democrats in the Senate have apparently succeeded in delaying for at least two weeks a vote to impose additional sanctions on Iran, following White House warnings that the move could sink diplomacy and start a “march to war.” But some senators have prepared a sanctions amendment to the annual defense authorization bill, which is to come up for consideration in December.

What website problems? On Tuesday, an Obama administration technology expert who worked closely on the development of the federal health insurance exchange told a congressional panel that he was never privy to an independent report in March that warned of potential problems with the project – even though many of his colleagues and White House staffers were. Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told House Energy and Commerce Committee members that even though he was interviewed for the report by McKinsey & Co., he saw its analysis for the first time Tuesday morning after the committee had provided a copy to The Washington Post. The report, based on in-

through churches, and priests were hammering away at the pulpit saying voting for Kennedy was helping a Catholic take office in the White House.” It also didn’t hurt that the future first lady recorded a Spanish ad in 1960 reminding Hispanics to vote and ending with MexicanAmericans’ own campaign cry, “Que viva Kennedy!”

Hope fades Kennedy frequently talked about the need for equality in America, and he had friendly conversations with non-White leaders. And while he was unterviews with contractors and administration officials working on the project, highlighted possible security and organizational structure problems in the development of the insurance marketplace and its portal,

Site incomplete In his testimony before the commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations, Chao also said that upward of 30 percent of the insurance marketplace website hasn’t even been built yet, including systems for providing consumer subsidies to insurers. But Julie Bataille, the communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that part of the system won’t be needed until mid-January and work is on track to have it completed by then. Meanwhile, President Obama continued to offer apologies for the administrative and political havoc that the botched rollout of the website has created. “I think we probably underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should,” he told the annual meeting of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. “We should have antici-

easy about the March on Washington in August 1963, he made it a point to invite civil rights leaders back to the White House afterward. But by then, the 1964 elections were on the horizon and Kennedy knew the obstacles he faced. “In that last year of his presidency, a lot of the Southern Whites were turning against Kennedy because of civil rights,” said Dr. David M. Barrett, a political science professor at Villanova University. “He didn’t want to lose Texas. He wanted to win Florida. He wanted to win part of the South at least. pated that that would create a rockier rollout than if Democrats and Republicans were both invested in success,” Obama said.

GOP blocks nominations For the third time in as many weeks, Republicans in the Senate blocked a vote on one of President Obama’s nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, spurring Democrats to renew their threat to change long-standing filibuster rules. As expected, the Senate voted largely along party lines, 53-38, to end debate on the nomination of Robert L. Wilkins, currently a U.S. district judge, falling short of the 60 votes needed to proceed to a confirmation vote. Last week, in a similar vote, Republicans blocked the nomination of Cornelia “Nina” Pillard, a Georgetown law professor. Patricia Millett, a Washington attorney who worked in the Office of the Solicitor General, was blocked on Oct. 31. Caitlin Joan Halligan, another Obama nominee, withdrew from consideration in March after Republicans voted against her nomination for a second time.

Many young Blacks and Hispanics today may revere Kennedy only because their parents and grandparents still hang his portrait on the living room wall, next to religious icons and family pictures. And historians and civil rights leaders say no one will ever know if Kennedy would have advanced civil rights causes in a second term. In 1963, he gave a civil rights address that has been seen as a heartfelt push for the Civil Rights Act. But it was Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas who saw the legislation through shortly after the president’s death. Scholars point to Johnson as the one who ultimately championed equality and appointed non-Whites to ambassador and judicial positions. Still Kennedy, Hispanic and Black leaders say, first offered them hope. “His image created this sense of community in a national election,” said Garcia, the Latino-studies professor, “and gave them a sense that they could participate and win.”

Back and forth Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaking before Monday’s vote, slammed Republicans for rejecting another “exceedingly capable nominee” for what he characterized as “blatantly political reasons.” Republicans accused Democrats of having used similar tactics to deny President George W. Bush the ability to fill the same vacancies in his second term. They accused the Democratic majority of engaging in a “political exercise” on judicial nominations to distract from issues with the new healthcare law. “There is no crisis on the D.C. Circuit, because they don’t have enough work to do as it is,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “But there is a crisis occurring right now all across this country as a result of Obamacare.”

Michael Muskal and Katherine Skiba of the Chicago Tribune; Paul Richter, Ramin Mostaghim, and Michael A. Memoli of the Tribune Washington Bureau; and Tony Pugh of the McClatchy Washington Bureau (MCT) all contributed to this report.




Big money for gubernatorial race already coming in Scott has $3.9 million in contributions for his re-election campaign; Crist showed $872,000 on committee website BY JIM TURNER THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

TALLAHASSEE – The financial floodgates have started to open now that former Gov. Charlie Crist has officially waded into the 2014 gubernatorial campaign. Crist’s campaign committee has received $872,000 in contributions since the Republicanturned-Democrat opened his campaign at the start of November, according to a list posted on the committee website last week. Meanwhile, the “Let’s Get to Work” campaign committee backing Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election has countered by posting $3.9 million in contributions so far this month. “There are a few things we can say with some degree of accuracy. This is going to be a very expensive race,” said Florida Atlantic University associate professor of political science Kevin Wagner, whose expertise is in current affairs.

Difficult for Nan Rich Entering November, the “Let’s Get to Work” committee had raised $13.9 million, according to the state Division of Elections website. Scott has pledged to spend more than $25 mil-

lion “defining” Crist during the first part of 2014. Meanwhile, Crist has asked supporters for help in combating the $100 million price tag Scott’s campaign has reportedly put on keeping the governor’s office in GOP hands. The glut of money for Crist and Scott will make it difficult for Democratic Nan Rich, a former Senate minority leader from Weston, to effectively get her message out statewide, Wagner said. Rich has struggled to raise money since opening a campaign account last year. With Crist now an official candidate, Wagner expects the contribution numbers, particularly for Scott who sunk about $70 million of his own money into the 2010 gubernatorial contest, to continue to grow quickly. “I’d expect that Gov. Scott will have an advantage in financing, not just from his own resources, but as a sitting governor he has both the visibility and position that leads to large contributions from interested parties,” Wagner said. “Crist has been a good fundraiser, but Democrats have been out of power long enough that they have a harder time reaching the same groups and lobbyists.”

Crist’s contributors Contributors to the former governor’s committee, “Charlie Crist for Florida,” included the Coral Gables-based Grossman Roth law firm, $250,000; Venice retiree Rosalie Danbury, $150,000; and retired Coral Gables philanthropist Barbara Stiefel and Coral Gables attorney William Andrew Haggard, $100,000 each. Republican lobbyist Da-


Former Gov. Charlie Crist is shown with Florida Sen. Chris Smith, left, and Rep. Alcee Hastings at the funeral of the Rev. Dr. Mack King Carter of New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 10. vid Rancourt, who once worked for former Gov. Jeb Bush, chipped in $50,000. The “Charlie Crist for Florida” committee is chaired by former state Democratic Chairman Bob Poe, who also contributed $25,000.

Scott’s contributors Meanwhile, Scott’s big contributors this month have included health care executive Mike Fernandez, who donated $1 million; the William Edwards Trust, $500,000; Lawrence DeGeorge of Jupiter, $500,000; the Florida Chamber of Commerce Alliance, $350,000; Florida Power & Light, $250,000; and the corrections company Geo


Gov. Rick Scott speaks during a Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Summit at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando on Aug. 22. Group, and Geo Care LLC, a combined $150,000. Associated Industries of Florida gave $25,000 this month to the Scott committee. Also, the electioneering communications organizations Voice of Florida Business and Committee for Effective Representation, both chaired by AIF President Tom Feeney, gave


clAssic! The crowd-pleaser of the year.” FOX-TV

“Delightful AnD heArtwArming. ‘The Best Man Holiday’ is a must-see.” MOVIEFANATIC

Askari Muhammad was set to be put to death Dec. 3 with new legal drug cocktail

Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince, Jorge Labarga and James E.C. Perry. Those five justices often form the majority in 5-2 splits.


Ruling coming

TALLAHASSEE – A divided Florida Supreme Court put the execution of a convicted murderer on hold Monday to consider claims that the three-drug cocktail used to put inmates to death could cause unnecessary suffering. By a 5-2 ruling, justices ordered the state to hold off administering the death penalty to Askari Abdullah Muhammad, who was sentenced to die by lethal injection for the October 1980 murder of a state correctional officer while Muhammad was on Death Row. Muhammad, 62, stabbed Officer Richard James Burke to death with a sharpened spoon. He was set to be put to death Dec. 3 using a new comAskari bination of drugs that inAbdullah cludes midazolam hydroMuhammad chloride instead of pentobarbital sodium as part of the cocktail. The drug, the first of three injections, renders the inmate unconscious.





Serious harm?


Crist’s entry into the race that featured Democratic politicians attacking the former Republican governor. Scott has said he’s running for re-election but has yet to open a personal campaign account. Crist opened an account Nov. 1, but will not have to file a report until next month.

Supreme Court stays execution to consider drug argument

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$150,000 and $104,500, respectively, on Nov. 12. The same day Floridians for a Stronger Democracy, a political committee chaired by AIF lobbyist Ryan Tyson, gave $125,000. The “Let’s Get to Work” committee spent $832,505 so far this month, of which $727,996 went into airtime for a commercial linked to

But Muhammad’s attorneys have argued that William Frederick Happ, who was executed last month using the new mix, was conscious for an unusually long time while being put to death and moved his head – showing that Muhammad might experience pain while being executed if the new drugs are used. “We conclude based on the allegations in Muhammad’s ... motion that he has raised a factual dispute, not conclusively refuted, as to whether the use of midazolam hydrochloride in Florida’s lethal injection protocol will subject him to a ‘substantial risk of serious harm,’ “ said Monday’s court opinion signed by five justices. The ruling was supported by Justices

The opinion orders a circuit court in Bradford County to hold a hearing and rule on the issue by Nov. 26. The Supreme Court would then review that ruling, with oral arguments scheduled for Dec. 18 if the justices choose to hear the case. In a brief dissent, Justice Charles Canady said Muhammad had not demonstrated that a stay of execution was warranted. “Under the current protocol, if the injections of midazolam hydrochloride do not promptly render Muhammad unconscious, the execution will be suspended and Muhammad will not be injected with the second and third drugs until he is unconscious,” Canady wrote. “Muhammad does not allege that the Florida Department of Corrections revised these safeguards, nor does he allege any reason to suspect that the movement of Happ’s head was a voluntary expression of pain, rather than an involuntary movement made while unconscious.” Chief Justice Ricky Polston joined the dissent.

Hard to get The new drug combination used by the Department of Corrections was prompted after Denmark-based manufacturer Lundbeck, which makes pentobarbital sodium, decided to refuse to sell the drug directly to corrections agencies for use in executions and ordered its distributors to also stop supplying the drug for lethal-injection purposes. States have since been struggling to maintain stockpiles of pentobarbital sodium. Muhammad, who was known at the time as Thomas Knight, was initially convicted of kidnapping and killing Sydney and Lillian Gans in 1974. He also escaped from the Dade County Jail while awaiting trial and was involved in a liquor store robbery in Cordele, Ga., where two clerks were shot, with one killed.




The mis-education of Black people To borrow from the title of Carter G. Woodson’s famous book, it is shameful and quite sad to hear and read some of the things, in reference to Black people, are purported to be facts. In many cases we are our own worst enemies because we promulgate much of the nonsense that takes hold in our neighborhoods, and we suffer tremendously for doing so.  As the saying goes, we are entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts, and our penchant for being “experts” in everything not only makes us look silly and ill-informed, in many cases it causes us to play right into the negative self-fulfilling prophecy of subordination and subjugation.  That’s a sad state of affairs, especially in light of the “fact” that Dr. Woodson did his best to warn us about the dan-


gers of being mis-educated.

Check the facts Take economic empowerment, for instance; we hear so much information about what we need to do to achievement it, what we need to have to obtain it, and how we can overcome our third-class economic position in this nation. Admittedly, there are quite a few Black people in this country that have achieved very high levels of individual economic empowerment, and they should be commended.  However, our collective economic position is in

great jeopardy, one of the main reasons for which is mis-information and mis-education. I encourage folks who read my column, watch my television show, and hear me on radio programs, to always check out what I say. Do your own research and study to determine if what I assert to be “facts” is true.  That’s really the only way we can be truly informed; additionally, checking for ourselves many times leads to a stronger collective position and a more acceptable economic strategy – long term and short term.

Sound bites for stories Take a look at political empowerment and ask yourself why we lack real power in the halls of Congress, on the Supreme Court, and yes, in the White House. Much of our condition in that arena can be attributed to the messages and



Random thoughts of a free Black mind, v. 195 U.S. Rep. Trey Redel – Want to see how hypocritical and power-hunger House Republicans are? Redel, a self-described “hiphop conservative” and tea party darling, won’t resign from Congress after pleading guilty of coke possession. GOP House leadership won’t make him because they won’t cross the tea party. Lucky he bought some blow in D.C., where it’s a misdemeanor. It’s a felony in his Naples hometown, and he would have lost his civil rights to vote and own guns in Florida. Since he’s a White man, there’s always a way out. And why is a self-professed alcoholic busted buying coke, then going to rehab for alcoholism and not drugs? Because being a drunk is more politically acceptable than being a self-professed cokehead or crackhead… Generational mistakes – Last week, I criticized my generation, Baby Boomers, for relaxing and focusing on ourselves. Let me continue. Mama ‘nem said, “All money ain’t good money,” but my generation never saw a dollar we didn’t like. We passed that “get paid” attitude to the hip-hop generation, many of whom seem to have a sense of entitlement, little sense of the necessity of

quick takes from #2: straight, no chaser

Charles W. Cherry II, Esq. PUBLISHER

struggle, limited knowledge of Black history and culture, the inability to resolve conflict, and a focus on money, power, and “respect.” When folks like the late C. Deloris Tucker warned us about the impact of violent, misogynistic music on the minds of our kids, we ignored her and played the “clean” versions in our car while we bobbed our heads to the music. When Bill Cosby told us we could do better, we cut our eyes at him like he was a crazy uncle. Yes, more next week…

Contact me at; holler at me at ccherry2 and ‘like’ the Florida Courier and Daytona Times pages. Follow the Florida Courier (@flcourier), the Daytona Times (@daytonatimes) and me (@ccherry2) on Twitter.

Opinions expressed on this editorial page are those of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of the newspaper or the publisher.

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sound bites we get every day from political pundits many of whom have no real interest in educating Black people; they simply adopt an agenda that someone has given them and regurgitate it to us, thus, further mis-educating and mis-leading our people. And by the way, they get paid very handsomely to play that role. Every election cycle Black people are bombarded with all the clichés about why we should vote, how our vote is very powerful, and how others died for the right to vote. All of that is well and good, but how can a people that rallies, registers, and makes such a big deal about voting be so ill informed?  How can we always be at the end of line when the perks are handed out, if we are the ones who put the most energy in the political process?   Are we that naïve?  Or, are we just mis-educated

and uninformed?

Carefully select who leads Quite frankly, I don’t have all the solutions to our dilemma (I wish I did), but I do know a couple of things: We must change our behavior toward ourselves and others; and we must select our  “leaders” very carefully.  Otherwise, we will surely continue to find ourselves at the bottom of the economic and political ladders.

Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, also is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his website, Click on this story at to write your own response.

Democracy going down for the count in Detroit The post-Civil Rights era vision to consolidate Black Power through purely electoral means in the major cities of the United States has all but evaporated. Wherever possible, capital has reclaimed the urban centers for upscale white habitation, most often with the active collaboration of a venal Black political class concerned primarily with its own upward mobility. Always eager allies of high finance, the aspiring Black elite shares the general White assumption that concentrations of lower class Blacks are pathological, by definition. This Black Misleadership Class never conceived of building great Black cities – only of great individual careers that could be launched on the voting strength of de facto African American majorities in the wake of Sixties white flight.

Too Black Some cities, including New Orleans and Detroit, were, in the words of Public Enemy, “too Black, too strong,” with African-American majorities of 67 and 80-plus percent, respectively. Hurricane Katrina brought those numbers down to manageable size, creating the conditions for near-instantaneous Disaster Capitalist renaissance, in 2005. That same year, in Detroit, the so-called “Hip Hop Mayor,” Kwame Kilpatrick –

municipal bankruptcy proceeding. Until just days before he announced his proGLEN posal to cut pensions on FORD June 14, Orr pretended that he both respected those proBLACK AGENDA REPORT tections and thought there was only a “50-50” chance actually the spoiled, moral- that he would try to pull the ly degenerate spawn of the bankruptcy trigger. historical Black Misleadership Class – strapped the A vermin’s day Black metropolis into a sui- in court cide vest wired with interest Even Judge Rhodes rate swap derivatives. Simi- thought he smelled a rat, allar devices are embedded in though that doesn’t mean the fiscal structures of cities he won’t rule for the roaround the country, ready dents. He asked Jones Day to bring down what’s left lawyer Bruce Bennett – who of home rule so that capi- is, in this Alice in Wondertal can feast on the public land legal world, acting as space, unconstrained. Detroit’s lawyer and, therefore, the lawyer for former Financial nightmare Jones Day employee Kevin This summer Orr, acting Orr – if Orr hadn’t acted in as the one-man embodi- bad faith by misleading the ment of Detroit’s now-pow- retirees. erless executive and legisSounds like what a Virginlative branches, request- ia plantation owner would ed that the city be declared say about selling his excess bankrupt. Federal Bank- slaves “down the river” to ruptcy Court Judge Ste- Louisiana’s cane fields. He ven Rhodes finished hear- might claim to feel their ing testimony last Friday pain, but is entitled to maron whether Orr, possibly ket his property. Detroit’s the most hated man in De- new owners’ “good faith” troit, has met all the criteria goes no further than that. It for Chapter 9 law, including is an antebellum relationhaving negotiated in good ship, dressed up for the new faith with its creditors. millennium. These include the city’s BAR executive editor retirees, whose pensions are protected by Michigan’s Glen Ford can be contactconstitution and, therefore, ed at Glen.Ford@Blackdo not consider themselves Click “creditors” who can be on this story at www.flforced to take a “hair cut,” to write your in Wall Street parlance, in a own response.

Chicago, New York struggle for economic justice Bill De Blasio is garnering national attention for his landslide election in the New York City Mayor’s race. De Blasio campaigned on a populist agenda, highlighting the stark contrast between the poor and the mega-rich in New York’s “tale of two cities.” De Blasio’s analysis is sadly true for cities across the country, which too often feature two worlds, one of privilege and wealth, another of poverty and despair. In Chicago, for example, the contrasts are stark between the affluent North Side and the impoverished south and southwest. On the Near North Side, the average income is over $87,000 a year; in West Englewood, it is $10,599. Almost half (44.4 percent) of the households in Englewood are below the poverty line; in the North Center neighborhood, 7.4 percent are poor.

tim in Lincoln Park or Lin-

Rev. coln Square, and three in Jesse L. the Loop (last updated July Jackson, 2, 2013). De Blasio swept to victoSr. TRICEEDNEYWIRE.COM

There are no hospitals in West Englewood and only one in Englewood. The professional standard for an ambulance run is 20 minutes or less in Chicago, but 43 percent of trauma-related hospital runs in Englewood take longer than that. Chicago closed 50 public schools this year, the largest single wave of school closings in U.S. history. The great bulk of these were schools in the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, poverty, unemployment and poor services bring misery. Since 2008, nearly one in five homes in Englewood (18.2 percent) have suffered foreclosure; only 1.6 percent were foreclosed in affluent Lincoln Park. There are No banks, more than 1,000 vacant cityno hospitals managed lots in West EngleUnemployment is 35.9 wood, but only six in afflupercent in West Englewood, ent Lake View. compared with 4.7 percent in Lincoln Park in the north, Stark difference or 4.8 percent in the Loop, the central business district. in violence There have been at least In poor neighborhoods, people are deprived of ba- 50 shooting victims this year sic services. There’s no com- in Englewood and at least munity bank in Englewood 47 in West Englewood, but or West Englewood. not a single shooting vic-

ry in New York City by decrying these disparities and promising to do something about them. He has vowed to end the racially biased stop-and-frisk policies that were trampling the rights of young people of color. In cities across the nation, poor neighborhoods struggle with school and hospital closings, dangerous streets, high unemployment and crushed dreams.

Justice requires opportunity For years, politicians have promised to get tough with mandatory sentences, three strikes and you’re out, stop and frisk. But these are reactions, not remedies. They treat symptoms, not underlying conditions. De Blasio’s victory suggests the possibility of a new, more promising direction. Peace requires some sense of justice. And justice requires opportunity. The cities that refuse to learn that may well end up envying those that act on it.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is president/CEO of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. Click on this story at www. to write your own response.


Cutting food assistance more than morally wrong U.S. Gross Domestic Product (the value of all goods and services in the economy) figures show GDP per person is $53,211. That’s per person, not per family. Those figures also show we annually spend $2,797 per person on food-that’s $233 per person a month. After netting out imports, we sell nearly $14 billion in food overseas. Clearly America is a wealthy nation that is fully food secure.

Distribution of resources skewed So the issue is not America’s resources of income and land, it is our choices in the distribution of our resources. Presumably, this value proposition was settled when President Lyndon B.  Johnson signed the 1964 Food Stamp Act into law, with support from the labor movement. To be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a family must have a total income (including any other federal assistance) that is less than 130 percent of the poverty line (except in six states with limits up to twice the poverty level); for a family of two adults and one child, that means income below $25,389 a year. The maximum benefit for a family of three fell from $526 to $497 a month on Nov. 1. Low-income families tend to be either old or


young. And young families happen to be where most of America’s children live. So, there are some 21 million children who currently are fed, in part, by SNAP benefits. That is almost one in four U.S. children.

House Republicans have voted to cut SNAP, shifting the blame for the weak economy onto young workers and the weight of the costs on our children by ignoring policymakers’ failures to get the economy running. In a nation so rich it can export food, this is morally wrong. Rather than pass plans to hire teachers to restore our children’s classroom sizes, or hire construction workers to fix our broken roads and bridges, Republicans argue it is better to cut federal spending on things like SNAP to get the federal budget in order. These same Republicans fought President Barack Obama hard to keep tax cuts in place for the wealthiest people on the planet, ignoring that those tax cuts make the federal deficit larger. And no moral calculus says we should starve our children of food and education today to save them as weaklings for the future.

In 2009, when Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it boosted the maximum SNAP benefit to help families during the worse labor market since the Great Depression. But that boost was set to expire at the end of October 2013, in hopes the labor market would have recovered. The labor market has not recovered. There are still 1.5 million fewer payroll positions in America today than in January 2008. This means that unemployment is real; it is not the result of people being lazy in looking for work. And young people-in particular- Bad economics have been hit hardest. Among the This is more than morally wrong. key age groups for young parents, It is bad economics. The Consumthe share of 20- to 24-year-olds er Expenditure Survey gives a who are employed is at 61.8 per- deep view of America’s consump-


Watt’s participation in the “ole boy network” is part of the problem with the nomination. However, a former African-American CEO of Fannie Mae also figures prominently into the equation. On December 21, 2004, Franklin Raines accepted what he called “early retirement” from that position while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators alleged accounting irregularities. Raines was accused by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, the regulating body of Fannie Mae, of abetting widespread accounting errors, which included the shifting

of losses so senior executives, such as himself, could earn large bonuses. Fannie and Freddie have been “honey pots” for Raines and his predecessors to the tone of scores of billions of dollars. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) now oversees mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with combined debts and obligations totaling $6.7 trillion. It was put into government conservatorship at the start of the 2008 financial crisis and its direction and future is a subject of intense Congressional debate. During the early days of the financial crisis, the federal government took control of Fannie and Freddie. Fixing these mortgage giants remains the largest single piece of unfinished business. A change of leadership at the FHFA could have a broad impact

Blame the victim There are chilling parallels to the Trayvon Martin case. All we know about the murderer is that he is a homeowner. But already the character assassination of Renisha has begun. Her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. She may have had marijuana in her system. She may have, but that’s not definitive. So why has that information been leaked when no one has leaked a murderer’s name. If Renisha were drunk as Cootie Brown and high as a kite, she did not deserve



tion patterns. An interesting fact in that data is that among families in the income range to qualify for SNAP, they all consume on average $20,000 to $25,000 a year. This makes sense, as it would be hard to imagine how someone could eat, be clothed and have shelter and not spend at least $20,000 a year. This means at that income level, they do not save, they spend every dollar. Cuts in their SNAP benefits mean they will have to cut something else to continue eating. This is not a cut simply to families struggling with an economy that is not producing enough jobs and wages that are barely keeping pace with inflation. It means pulling millions of dollars out of the

economy. This means less sales revenue for small businesses selling clothes or shoes or children’s books. And fewer buyers mean less need for sales clerks, meaning fewer jobs. The current economic policies of lowering the deficit by half, boosting corporate profits to record highs and breaking Dow Jones average records for stocks has not meant relief on Main Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard or César Chávez Way. We need to strengthen policies that help everyone.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @ WSpriggs.  Click on this story at to write your own response.

League – support Watt to replace FHFA’s current acting director Ed DeMarco. Many of the groups signed a joint letter citing Watt’s experience in housing fiBiden agrees nance – including 20 years with Obama as a member of the House The White House, real es- Financial Services Committate industry trade associa- tee. tions and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are Republicans in Watts’ corner. “Mel Watt is absolutely, totally quali- not buying it fied,” said Vice President Republicans don’t see Joe Biden. These groups are Watt’s experience as a plus “alleging” blatant racism in and are displeased that the Republicans’ actions. the White House nominatThe CBC said it would be ed a politician to head the the first rejection of a long- FHFA. The agency’s direcstanding sitting member in tor has tremendous power good standing since 1843. over the multi-trillion-dolCBC Chair Rep. Marcia lar companies, and RepubFudge (D-Ohio) weighed licans don’t like the idea of in on the hot-button issue. a “political person” running “This has only occurred the two companies based once in the history of this on their long history of beCongress.” ing manipulated for politiNo sitting member of cal purposes. Congress has been denied Many Republicans prea Cabinet position since fer DeMarco’s plans for the 1843. Civil rights and hu- agency and criticize Watt’s man rights groups – in- past support for Fannie and cluding the National Urban Freddie. Republican reon the mortgage market since Fannie and Freddie currently back about twothirds of new mortgages.

Who will defend Black women? All Renisha McBride wanted to do was to go home. She had been in a car accident, her cell phone was dead and she needed help. She knocked on a couple of doors in the suburban Detroit neighborhood where she was stranded, but it was well after midnight and people weren’t opening their doors. Finally, she found a homeowner who opened his door, but instead of offering the help she so desperately needed, he shot her, saying he thought she was going to break into his home. He didn’t shoot her at close range; he shot her from a distance. He might have simply shut the door, or he might have shut the door and called 911. Instead he shot 19-year-old McBride in the face. Law enforcement officials have said that Renisha’s death is a homicide and her family is waiting to see if the 54-year-old homeowner will be charged.


Shift of blame

Watt denied director post Many Blacks are saying “shame on” the U.S. Senate Republicans for the recent blow they dealt to President Barack Obama’s efforts to install his own nominee as regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The GOP blocked the effort to confirm North Carolina Congressional District 12 Rep. Mel Watt to the post. With Obama’s approval ratings dipping, Black voters are still “standing by both men,” saying “The Republicans will not let him have the people he needs to run the government.” Blacks are livid about the Republicans’ resistance to Watt and his qualifications. This vote doesn’t completely end the Watt nomination. The White House says it is “absolutely not” giving up on the nomination. Democrats could bring it before the Senate again. Shift losses, earn bonuses


cent, down from 69.3 percent in January 2008; and for those 25 to 34, the share holding down jobs has fallen to 74.6 percent, down from 79.6 percent in January 2008.


Cuts made at inopportune time


sembled a flawed legal team, the same prosecutor who believes in the Stand Your Ground laws. That is, except for Marissa, who stood her ground against an abusive husband and hurt no one. With domestic violence an epidemic in our country, it seems unfathomable that a woman who wanted to prevent it is charged with a crime. While the civil rights community has surrounded Marissa, I am not aware of women’s organizations or domestic violence organizations that have been similarly supportive. E. Faye Williams of the National Congress of Black Women says that her organization has been active in assisting Marissa, and that’s a good thing.

to be killed. Why didn’t the “54-year-old homeowner” call 911 and tell them there was a drunken woman on his porch? Why did he shoot? Renisha McBride’s murder bears attention for several reasons. First of all it reinforces the unfortunate reality that young Black people are at high risk for violence, often because too many shoot first and ask questions later. Secondly, in the cases that are highly publicized, usually it is the massacre of a young man that is at the center of a case. It is important to note Black women that young Black women are vulnerable too often at risk. And it is imMarissa Alexander’s inportant to ask what we plan carceration and the murto do about it. der of Renisha McBride have something in common. They The case of illustrate the vulnerability of Marissa Alexander Black women, both in the leMarissa Alexander didn’t gal system, and in the public want to take another beating. perception of race and genHer husband Rico Gray is an der. Black women are not afadmitted abuser whose bru- forded the privilege of standtal beatings of his wife were ing their ground against batdescribed as “life threaten- terers. Black women can be ing”. She fired a warning shot shot at far range because a into the ceiling to warn off 54-year-old homeowner was her abuser husband. She was so frightened that he had to charged with felony use of a shoot. firearm and sentenced to 20 years in jail. Dr. Julianne Malveaux The prosecutor in this case, is a D.C.-based economist Angela Corey, is the same one and writer, and president who only reluctantly charged emerita of Bennett College George Zimmerman in the for Women. Click on this massacre of Trayvon Martin, story at the same prosecutor who as- to write your own response.

sistance has centered on a view that the leadership of FHFA is better suited to a person with technical rather than political expertise. Most Republicans hope the president withdraws Watt’s nomination and names a technocrat instead. Conservative groups oppose Watt’s nomination because of his call for more federal involvement in the home mortgage industry. This is the second FHFA nominee that President Obama has put forward. The previous nominee was former North Carolina Banking Commissioner Joseph Smith, who withdrew his nomination in 2011.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup. org. Click on this story at to write your own response.

Are poor Floridians used as pawns in Scott’s health care war? There are times when Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature make decisions because they have a grudge against President Obama and the federal government. Their goal is to make sure that the president fails and they don’t care who in the state they hurt. This behavior is counter-productive, and the most vulnerable and the poor suffer in the state. By not agreeing to the Medicaid expansion, Florida is losing $210 million each month, according to the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Our governor would like everyone in the state to think that our economy is recovering, but no state in the country can afford to leave millions sitting on a table earmarked for our state. Florida has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country and it would be logical for the political leaders to accept a program that will cover over a million uninsured citizens. There are also another 800,000 residents in a “coverage gap,” where they earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for tax credits. All our legislators and governor have to say is “yes,’’ and millions will be covered by the insurance provisions in the law.

Any advocates for children?


“After six years as a member of Florida’s Senate committee and one year as president of the Senate, I’ve learned that there is one rule with no exceptions. That rule is health care will always cost more next year than it cost this year,” says Senate President Don Gaetz.

Overseas competition rising At one time this thinking was plausible, but with the new Affordable Care Act, competition is driving the cost of certain medical procedures down, and this is just the beginning of these innovative programs. A small but growing number of U.S. corporations such as Walmart are offering their insured employees certain procedures at highly ranked health systems across America at almost no out– of-pocket cost to them. These programs involve a large corporation negotiating a bundled rate from a health system for certain services. These bundled services are saving the company thousands of dollars and they pass these saving on to the employee. It makes no sense to walk around with grudges and hurt low and middle income residents’ health care. Florida officials must begin to think outside of the box and stop leaving million of dollars in Washington that we can use in the state. It is time for Floridians to put pressure on our governor and our representatives, and get Medicaid expansion approved.  

There also are 500,000 uninsured kids in the state, where 66 percent are eligible for insurance immediately, but very few organizations are talking, and advocating for Florida’s children. KidsWell Florida is a collaborative of many stakeholder groups working together to ensure our children receive quality health care. Our children’s health should be a top priority in the state for all children, including lawfully residing immigrant children. But is it? Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Since Scott has taken office, the state’s labor force has been cut and our chil- Point Media Group in Orlando. Click dren and parent’s health care has slipped on this story at to write your own response. through the cracks.

TOj A6



IFE/FAITH Blacks lead in online search for employment See page B3


November 22 - November 28, 2013


Winfrey: Obama disrespected because he’s Black See page B5




A weekend of competition and comedy Kevin Hart will be special guest at game and after party FROM STAFF REPORTS


he largest football game between two historically Black Colleges in America takes place this weekend in Florida. The annual Black family reunion weekend featuring Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU and Florida A&M University (FAMU) kicks off Friday in Orlando. The Classic has surpassed the Bayou Classic between Grambling and Southern in New Orleans as the top-attended game in NCAA Division I-AA as well as the nation’s largest football game between two historically Black college/university (HBCU) schools. The 2 p.m. Nov. 23 football game at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando will complete the regular season schedule for both teams. The game will be carried live on ESPN Classic, later to be shown in replay on ESPNU.

Gridiron, band competition


Top: Kevin Hart is expected to make an on-field appearance at the game.

Bethune-Cookman’s team is now 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. FAMU goes into the game with a 3-8 season record and 2-5 in MEAC play. If B-CU defeats FAMU on Saturday, the Wildcats would get MEAC’s automatic berth into the FCS Playoffs. This year’s Florida Blue Florida Classic features an exciting weekend of activities surrounding the game. In addition to the on-field showdown between the Rattler and Wildcat football teams, the weekend will once again feature the FAMU Marching 100 meeting the BCU Marching Wildcats in the McDonald’s Halftime Show. Entertainer Kevin Hart, comedian and star of BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood,’’ will be in attendance at the game and will make a special on-field appearance. In addition, DJ Khaled and up-and-coming singer B. Smyth will perform during the pregame FanFare, which takes place adjacent to the stadium on Tinker Field. FanFare begins at 9 a.m. and continues until the Florida Blue Florida Classic kickoff at 2 p.m. Admission to FanFare is free. Hart also is scheduled to host the official Classic postgame after party at the Majestic Events Center, 801 N. John Young Parkway. The event begins at 9:45 p.m.

Above: The Rattlers and Wildcats are shown at a previous Florida Classic. Left: B-CU has won the past two Classic games. Below: Thousands will be cheering for their teams on Saturday.

Classic history Since its inception in 1978, the game has now seen over 1.5 million spectators attend the game (1,560,893). The series began in 1925, with Florida A&M winning 25-0. B-CU’s (then B-CC) first win came a year later, 12-0 in 1926. And since 1997, a total of 875,089 fans have watched the Florida Classic in the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, an average of 67,315 per year. By comparison, the total attendance for the 17 years prior to Orlando was 685,804, an average of only 40,341. Florida A&M holds a 20-10 edge in the meetings since the instate rivalry moved from a home-and-home scenario to an annual neutral site spectacular. Overall, the Rattlers lead the series, 48-15-1. BethuneCookman has made the series more competitive since 1973, winning 12 of its 15 series victories during that span, including a 58-52 overtime win in 2004, which was the first-ever three-game winning streak for the Wildcats. Since the game has been in Orlando, FAMU has won nine of 13 games against BCU, though the Wildcats have been victorious in four of the last eight. In 2005, the game made its debut on ESPNU and was televised nationally. The 24-hour college sports network broadcasted the game live as part of a multi-year contract with MEAC and a commitment to broadcasting HBCU games. The 2009 game was televised by ESPN Classic.


Florida Classic


When: Saturday, Nov. 23 Time: 2 pm kickoff Where: Citrus BowL, Orlando TV: ESPN Classic Tickets: start at $15

For more information on the game and tickets to all official Florida Blue Florida Classic weekend events, visit www. floridaclassic. org.




Zora! Festival 2014 will feature Lynn Whitfield and Avery Brooks in a production directed by Elizabeth Van Dyke. The festival in Eatonville is Jan. 25- Feb. 2. More information: www.


The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County will present Jazz Roots: A Larry Rosen Jazz Series – Big Band Holidays featuring Wynton Marsalis and Cecile Mclorin Salvant on Dec. 20. More information: PHOTO BY JOHN ABBOTT

FLORIDA COMMUNITY CALENDAR Tampa: The African Ambassadors will host its 10th Annual SanFest dance celebration on Nov. 30 at the Crowne Plaza Westshore. Tickets are $25. More information at tickets: www.africanambassadors. org. African Ambassadors is a local, non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to providing free medical services to the underprivileged in the community. Lakeland: The Mu Zeta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will host its annual Founders Day celebration and scholarship banquet on Dec. 6 at the Magnolia Building. For tickets and more information, call 863-834-6566 or email Tickets can also be purchased online at Jacksonville: A Night in Paris is scheduled Dec. 8 at the Knights of Columbus, 1509 Hendricks Ave. It will be hosted by V101.5’s Jo-Jo. More information: Call 904-2943397 or 904-401-5421. Tampa: The Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority will host its Sixth Poinsettia

Ball – Dancing through the Decades on Dec. 7 at the Tampa Airport Hilton Westshore, 2225 Lois Ave. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. More information:, call 813-778-5212 or email Tampa: Kanye West’s The Yeezus Tour with Kendrick Lamar makes a stop at the Tampa Bay Times forum on Nov. 30. St. Petersburg: “The Chocolate Nutcracker’’ is now “The Nutcracker Twist.’’ The performance is Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at The Mahaffey Theater. Orlando: Catch Janelle Monae at Hard Rock Live Orlando on Nov. 22 for an 8 p.m. show. Jacksonville: The Kinfolks’ Seventh Annual Soul Food Festival in Jacksonville on Nov. 30 at Metropolitan Park. Visit for more information or call 888-6950888. Orlando: Commissioner Samuel B. Ings will host his fourth annual District 6 Seniors Thanksgiving Concert Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. at El Bethel Temple of Jesus of Orlando, 3000 Bruton Blvd. Performers at the free concert will include Vickie Winans, Charlyce Simmons, Charles Curry and The Mime Boyz. 



Rev. Sharpton shares his life experiences in ‘Rejected Stone’ real” about his shortcomings. He does not address accusations that he has made anti-Semitic comments. Other than characterizing his “name-calling” and personal attacks on special prosecutor Robert Abrams as his “first miscalculation,” he does not discuss his role as spokesperson for Tawana Brawley, the upstate New York teenager who falsely accused a White police officer, among others, of sexually assaulting her.


The Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation,’’ claims he is a changed man. He has lost 150 pounds, doesn’t wear a medallion or a sweat suit or press his hair. Although he continues to lead marches to protest the shooting of Trayvon Martin, stand your ground laws, and restrictions on the right to vote, Sharpton believes he no longer has to be confrontational to get the attention of people in power. In “The Rejected Stone,’’ Sharpton draws on his own experiences, from his days as a boy preacher in Brooklyn, New York to his relationships with James Brown, Michael Jackson and Barack Obama, to draw life lessons for leaders. Each one of us, he preaches, should fight for high purposes and give to those in need. And leaders should be authentic, change and evolve, remain loyal to friends and family, stay focused and disciplined, beware of the danger of extremes, and practice what they preach.

Exercise in self-promoting Unfortunately Sharpton doesn’t go beneath and beyond these bromides. “The Rejected Stone,’’ alas, is more an exercise in self-promotion than in soulsearching. With the notable exception of Sharpton’s endorsement of gay marriage, the book is devoid of political content. Sharpton indicates that he does not agree with everything Minister Louis Farrakhan has said and done, but provides no examples. He notes that he endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, but says nothing about the policy differences between the two candidates. Sharpton implies that his decision was based on Obama’s decision to contact him directly,

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Pressures and privileges

Review of The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership. By Al Sharpton with Nick Chiles. Cash Money Content. 261 pages, $22. even though he mocks those who attack a politician because “he didn’t come by my fish fry.”

‘Tons of mistakes’ Sharpton also has a tendency to simplify and overstate. Michael Riccardi, who tried to kill Sharpton during a march in Bensonhurst in 1991 to protest the murder of Yusuf Hawkins, he writes, was carrying out “what they told him;” he does not identify who “they” were. There was “nothing strange” about Michael Jackson, he insists. Although the music establishment tried to “break” him, “more than anybody, Michael broke down the racial barriers in music.” Palestinian and Israeli leaders, he asserts, did not allow their differences to become personal or allow emotion to get in the way of their goals. Finally, and most distressingly, although he acknowledges that he has made “a ton of mistakes,” Sharpton does not “get

Sharpton describes, at times movingly, the “hauntingly lonely and complex life” of celebrities, and the pressures that lead some of them to make “bad moves.” A bit more self-serving, perhaps, is his claim (backed up by the story that he fed the hungry in Harlem before going to James Brown’s funeral) that he understands “the pain of great civil rights leaders trying to do things that are noble but knowing tomorrow’s paper is going to call them opportunists and hustlers, knowing they are really giving much more than they’ll ever get” – because “this role is the one I signed up for.” Because they appreciate his drive and purpose, Sharpton writes, many Americans do not begrudge him “the first class flights and the fancy hotels to which I now have access.” After all, he knows who and what Al Sharpton stands for. And now, for better and worse, so do we.

Dr. Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He wrote this review for the Florida Courier.




Personal Finance

Blacks lead in online search for employment Report cites need for digital, technology access in communities TRICE EDNEY NEWS WIRE

African-Americans are more likely than the public at large to use the Internet to look for a job, and particularly when it comes to using mobile devices and social media for that purpose, according to research unveiled this week by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. The report from the Joint Center, “Broadband and Jobs: African Americans Rely Heavily on Mobile Access and Social Networking in Job Search,” was released at a Washington broadband technology forum organized by the Institute and featuring remarks from Commissioner Mignon Clyburn of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The study, funded by the Joyce Foundation, explores the importance of Internet access to job search among African-Americans. It found that AfricanAmericans are more likely than other segments of the population to use the Internet to seek and apply for employment, and are also more likely to consider the Internet very important to the success of their job search.

Digital access paying off

employment tools that the Internet has to offer. This is particularly important given the high and ever-growing proportion of job openings that can be found only through online platforms. “This study not only underscores the potential of broadband and mobile technologies in driving policy solutions in economically distressed communities, but it also shows the success that AfricanAmericans are having in making the most of digital platforms in finding work.  It also tells us that ensuring digital literacy and broadband access and adoption in every community is a

worthwhile endeavor that will pay off in real terms,” said Joint Center President and CEO Ralph B. Everett.

More key findings African-Americans rely on social media and on mobile devices for job search at higher rates than the general population; 50 percent of AfricanAmerican Internet users said the Internet was very important to them in successfully finding a job, significantly higher than the 36 percent average for the entire sample; 46 percent of AfricanAmerican Internet users

used the Internet at some point when they were last looking for a job, either by online search, emailing potential employers or using social networking sites. This compares to 41% for all respondents; 36 percent of AfricanAmericans said they applied for a job online the last time they were in the job market, compared with 26 percent for all respondents; and 31 percent of AfricanAmericans said social networking sites are very important to job search, which is seven percentage points greater than the entire sample (24 percent).

Closing gaps essential “With so many employers insisting that job seekers apply for jobs online, online access is essential to finding work. Closing broadband adoption gaps becomes more urgent when society expects people to carry out tasks using the Internet,” said the study’s author, John B. Horrigan, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow at the Joint Center.  “At the same time, stakeholders must close gaps in digital skills among all online users so that the Internet can help people turn opportunities into

positive outcomes.” Copies of the report are available at the Joint Center’s website, The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation’s leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African-Americans and other people of color.

Trim: 9.89"

Trim: 9.89”

In addition, the report found that confidence in one’s own digital skills correlates with a higher likelihood of using the Internet for job search, suggesting that efforts to improve digital literacy would allow more people to take advantage of the dynamic


Sonja Glover, a former military medic, is shown using the Internet at a Texas library to search for jobs.

This story is special to the Trice Edney News Wire from Target Market News.

*Source: American Booksellers Association Indie Impact Study Series survey of independent, locally-owned business owners, conducted by Civic Economics, July 2012–Sept. 2013 © 2013 American Express Company.



When you shop small and local, more than half the money you spend stays in the community, helping to support all sorts of local services, like the parks department.* It’s part of building a stronger, more vibrant neighborhood.


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NOVEMBER 22 – NOVEMBER 28, 2013 salt and sugar. Continue stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add herb sprigs, if using. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side down. Add more water if the turkey isn’t completely submerged in the liquid. Place the bucket in the refrigerator for at least 10 to 12 hours or overnight. Two hours before you plan to roast it, remove the turkey from brine and discard the brine. Rinse the turkey well, inside and out, under cold water for several minutes. Place the turkey on a tray and pat it dry well with paper towels. Let it sit out for 1 hour so the skin dries further, which helps crisp the skin. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a V-rack in a roasting pan. Add about 2 cups of the chicken broth. Place the turkey breast side up on the rack. Brush the turkey with the vegetable oil or rub with softened butter. Season the turkey with salt and pepper or favorite seasoning. Place it in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Baste the turkey with the pan juices, and add more chicken broth to the pan if needed. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue roasting another 2 to 2 1/2 hours, basting with the pan juices every 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. If the breast seems to be browning too quickly, cover it with foil. Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer it to a platter. Cover it with foil and let it rest at least 15 to 30 minutes before carving.

Turkey suggestion:

Brine, then roast or grill


Honey brown, crisp skin with meat that’s tender and juicy. That’s a cook’s goal for the holiday bird. Pictured is orange brined roast turkey with pan gravy. BY SUSAN M. SELASKY DETROIT FREE PRESS (MCT)


oney brown, crisp skin with meat that’s tender and juicy. That’s a cook’s goal for the holiday bird. At Thanksgiving, a myriad of turkey techniques and methods are suggested. There’s the roasted turkey. Grilled or fried turkey. Turkey in a bag. Turkey with the back cut out and flattened — it cooks in half the time. But in the Free Press Test Kitchen, we are set in our ways. Our recommended method is brining (wet or dry) and roasting or grilling. Brining gets the juices flowing, and we know it works. We also like grilling (on a kettle-style grill) because it frees up much-needed oven space. Brining recipes increas-

ingly use different liquids and seasonings other than the basic salt water solution or plain salt. Wet brines can include fruit juices, ciders, beer and wine and can be seasoned with sugars (white or brown), aromatics, herbs and spices. Dry brines can include other seasonings and herb s along with the salt. Our turkey recipe today uses orange juice in the brine.

Basic guidelines Here are food safety tips from the Free Press Test Kitchen and the USDA: Thaw the turkey if frozen. If you haven’t yet taken it out of the freezer, do it today. Allow almost 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey. A 12- to 16-pound turkey will take three to four days to thaw in the refrigerator. If you forgot to thaw your turkey in advance, place it

These savory holiday sides go beyond the expected BY SUSAN SELASKY DETROIT FREE PRESS (MCT)

Thanksgiving is the one time of year when roasting a big turkey is not enough. As cooks, we wrestle with also having to prepare a string of side dishes to please guests. Trouble is we’re often in side dish rut. And too often we try to make complicated sides. For example, don’t make risotto, unless you have time. Risottos need constant stirring and adding of liquids for at least 45 minutes. Who has time for that on the biggest cooking holiday of the year? But if you’ve never tried vegetables like Brussels sprouts, now is your chance. And if you can’t sway from mashed sweet potatoes, try and vary them a little. Our Double-Stuffed Potatoes is fine and flavorful with a mix of sweet potatoes and baked and mashed potatoes. There are no set rules of how many side dishes to have. Just don’t overdo it. One or two sides to along with mashed potatoes and stuffing are perfectly fine.

in a sink in its orginal wrapper and fill with cold water. Change water every 30 minutes. A 12- to 16-pound turkey will take six to eight hours. The USDA does not recommend rinsing or washing your turkey first, which is a step in many recipes. The splashing water can contaminate other nearby foods and utensils. Several years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered the safe cooking temperature for the overall turkey to 165 degrees. Invest in an instant-read thermometer. Make sure the thermometer you have is working properly. To roast your turkey, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan. Below are the USDA’s recommended roasting times for a stuffed or unstuffed turkey.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CARAMELIZED PEARL ONIONS AND MAPLE SYRUP Serves: 10 / Preparation time: 12 minutes / Total time: 25 minutes ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (adjust for desired sweetness) 1 teaspoon salt, divided 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, discolored leaves discarded, stems trimmed, quartered 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen pearl onions, slightly thawed ¼ teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon cider vinegar Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them about 10 minutes or until fragrant and a few shades darker. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together 1 tablespoon of the butter, the maple syrup and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the maple glaze to the hot nuts and toss to coat. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and saute them about 5 minutes. Add the onions to the skillet, stir, cover and continue cooking until the onions are slightly golden and the Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover, add the black pepper and vinegar and saute, stirring about 2 minutes. Add the nuts and any glaze in the baking pan and saute, stirring 1 minute more. Serve.

ORANGE JUICE BRINED TURKEY Serves: 10 to 12 / Preparation time: 30 minutes (plus overnight brining) Total time: 3 hours BRINE 4 cups orange juice 3 quarts water 2 cups kosher salt 1 cup sugar Herb sprigs (rosemary, thyme, parsley), optional THE TURKEY 1 fresh or frozen turkey (12 to 15 pounds), thawed 4 to 6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter Salt and pepper to taste To brine the turkey, start with a large, clean bucket. Make room for the bucket in your refrigerator — adjusting shelves if necessary. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey, and reserve them for another use. In the large bucket, stir together the orange juice, water,

Note: The nuts can be toasted and glazed a day in advance. Store them covered at room temperature. The Brussels sprouts can be quartered a day ahead and kept in a plastic bag lined with paper towels in the refrigerator. Adapted from Gourmet magazine, November 2003 issue. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. 156 calories (57 percent from fat), 11 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 14 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 272 mg sodium, 12 mg cholesterol, 47 mg calcium, 4 grams fiber. DOUBLE-STUFFED POTATOES Serves: 12 / Preparation time: 1 hour 20 minutes / Total time: 2 hours Cook the potatoes one day in advance; cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh. Store them in the refrigerator in separate plastic bags or containers. You may substitute canned pears (packed in juice) for the cooked pears. 2 pears 1 lemon, halved 3 medium sweet potatoes, baked and cooled 4 medium baking potatoes, baked and cooled ½ cup 2 percent milk, heated 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1 large egg, lightly beaten ¾ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

BASIC PAN GRAVY Makes: About 6 cups; about 1/3 cup per serving Preparation time: 30 minutes Total time: 30 minutes Pan drippings from the turkey 4 to 6 cups turkey stock or broth or chicken broth, heated ¾ cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup Madeira or dry sherry, or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, optional Butter, optional Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a heatproof glass bowl or fat separator. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then skim off and reserve the fat that rises to the top — you should have about ¾ cup fat. If not, add melted butter to equal ¾ cup. Add enough heated turkey stock to the skimmed pan drippings to make 6 cups total. Place the roasting pan over low heat on two burners of the stove and add the skimmed fat. Whisk in the flour, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the pan drippings mixture and Madeira or dry sherry, or balsamic vinegar. Cook, whisking often, until the gravy has thickened and is lump-free, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a gravy boat and serve. Variation: For a wild mushroom gravy, soak 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup hot water until rehydrated. Strain, reserving the liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.

Sauté 8 ounces cremini mushrooms in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until soft. Add the porcini and sauté 5 minutes more. Add the mushrooms to the gravy and add some of the mushroom soaking liquid in place of the turkey stock. Adapted from “Thanksgiving 101” by Rick Rodgers (Broadway, $15). Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. 102 calories (80 percent from fat), 9 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 4 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 120 mg sodium, 10 mg cholesterol, 0 grams fiber . MAKE-AHEAD TURKEY GRAVY Makes: About 8 cups / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 3 hours (not all active time) Make this gravy up to 3 days in advance. You also can enhance it with pan drippings from your roast turkey. 4 turkey wings (about 3 to 4 pounds) 2 medium sweet onions, peeled, cut up 1 cup water 8 cups less-sodium, fat-free chicken broth, divided 1 large chopped carrot ½ teaspoon dried thyme, optional ¾ cup all-purpose flour 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a roasting pan, place the turkey wings; scatter onions on top. Roast 1 1/4 hours or until wings are golden brown. Put wings and onions in a large stock pot. Add water to roasting pan; stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom and add all to the pot. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), the carrot and thyme if desired. Simmer, uncovered, 1 ½ hours. Remove the wings and cool. Remove and discard skin, reserve meat for another ruse. Strain broth into fat separator or into a bowl. Let sit 10 minutes until fat rises to the top. Pour defatted broth into a saucepan. Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until well blended and smooth. Bring broth in saucepan to a gentle boil. Whisk in flour mixture and cook 5 minutes to thicken gravy and cook out the raw flour taste. Stir in butter and season with pepper. Cook’s note: Freeze the gravy up to 1 month. Thaw and reheat. You can add fatskimmed drippings from a freshly roasted turkey. Adapted from several recipes. Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per 1/4 cup serving. 26 calories (34 percent from fat), 1 gram fat (1 gram sat. fat), 3 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 258 mg sodium, 2 mg cholesterol, 0 grams fiber.


Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Pearl Onions and Maple Syrup ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided ¼ cup light brown sugar 3 fresh thyme sprigs Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Peel, core and roughly chop the pears; place them in the water. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water and add the lemon. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the pears are easily pierced with a fork — about 15 minutes. Remove the pears using a slotted spoon and set them aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop the cooked flesh into a large bowl, reserving 12 of the empty potato skins. Add the milk, butter and pears to the potatoes and mash until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg, salt, pepper, cloves and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and fill the reserved skin shells.

In a small bowl mix together the remaining 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and the brown sugar. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the potato tops and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until the tops brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with thyme and serve immediately. Cook’s note: To cook the potatoes, poke each twice with a fork. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack for about 50 minutes or until they are tender. Adapted from Country Living magazine, November 2004 issue. Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. 164 calories (30 percent from fat), 5 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 27 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 167 mg sodium, 31 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.




Meet some of



Staci Lyon has been doing professional modeling since the age of 7. She started out as a print and catalog model, which she continues to do, as well as runway, fashion and TV commercials. She has graced hundreds of runways both for agency bookings as well as charity events and has also walked in Mercedes Benz Swim Week as well as Miami Beach International Fashion Week. She plans to continue her modeling career in addition to studying fashion design and marketing. Contact Staci on Facebook at www.facebook. com/staci. lyon.7 or through Wilhelmina Models Miami at 305672-9344.

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Larry Ray aka Ray is a model, actor and dancer. The Kansas City, Missouri native moved to Miami last year to elevate his modeling and acting career which he has aspired for since a child. He says “this has not only been my dream but a mission that I must accomplish.” Ray considers himself to be a man of integrity and one who is not afraid to do the unthinkable. “From photo shoots to movies, I’m your man.” Contact Larry at larryvray@ or on Facebook at 
www. raytheactor.

Winfrey: Obama disrespected because he’s Black

Getting money for films with Black casts remains an issue



Oprah Winfrey recently sat down with BBC’s Will Gompertz and detailed how no one is above the racism that still exists in this world today … not even the President of the United States, Barack Obama. “There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African-American,” she said, according to The New York Daily News. “There’s no question about that. And it’s the kind of thing no one ever says, but everybody’s thinking it.” Winfrey, 59, used the example of Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouting out “you’re a liar” during a 2009 speech President Obama gave. “Remember that?” she asked Gompertz. The media mogul was promoting her movie “The Butler,” which debuted in theaters in the U.K. and Ireland on Nov. 15, and naturally the conversation turned to historical references of slavery and bigotry from the past and now. “It would be foolish to not recognize that we have evolved and that we’re not still facing the same kind of terrorism against black people en masse as was displayed with the Scottsboro boys,” she said drawing reference to the film “12 Years a Slave.” “It’s gotten better.” Still, she remarked that there are places all over the world from Africa to Russia to the South, where she was born and raised, that people are scrutinized simply because of the color of their skin. But unlike the past there are laws in place to try and protect people from that today. “If I’d been born five years earlier, none, not any of the benefits that I’ve been blessed to be successful with would have occurred,” Winfrey, who was born in 1954 in Mississippi, said.

Far from solved However, she pointed out that despite the progress the underlying problems of racism are far from solved. Movies like “The Butler” and “12 Years a Slave” don’t paint a picture of the racism that existed in the past to show us that everything is great today, she said. Instead those films define the root of the problem that sadly still runs rampant in our society. “That’s where it all started, this is how far we’ve come, and this is how much further we need to go,” she said. “Of course, the problem is not solved.” Winfrey feels that these dilemmas will remain unsolved until the deep-rooted bigoted thoughts of class and race and the just cause of human indecency that comes along with it and has been taught throughout so many generations fades away. “There are still generations of older people who were born and breed and marinated in that prejudice and racism and they just have to die,” she added.

It took 14 years to come to fruition, but “The Best Man Holiday,” writer-director Malcolm D. Lee’s sequel to his 1999 hit “The Best Man,” opened Nov. 15. Lee said that Universal executives were “hesitant” initially about the sequel, which takes Taye Diggs, Regina Hall and company in a more dramatic direction than the first film. “Too depressing,” Lee heard from the money. Too much of a “departure.” So Lee and his actors did what they do in theater all the time but rarely in the movies: They conducted a table read of the script to convince the money to back the movie. The money came away convinced. Says Lee, “I remember one of the executives saying: ‘Listening to Terrence Howard deliver dialogue live, out loud, can really turn people around.’” Would this film, a follow-up to a proven, tightly budgeted hit, have gotten serious green-light consideration a few years ago, in the years (roughly 2008-2011 in Lee’s estimation) the director refers to as “a Black movie desert”?

Solid hits In recent years, he says, “I’ve had many, many people declare that Black movies are dead. Except for Tyler Perry movies.” Now, he says, “we’re seeing a gaggle of ‘em.” Numbers never tell an entire story. But check this accounting, according to Box Office Mojo (boxofficemojo. com), of a random sample of AfricanAmerican-driven ensemble pictures spanning the first “Best Man” to the recent “Think Like a Man.” “The Best Man” cost about $9 million to make. It grossed nearly $35 million. Solid hit. “Barbershop” cost $12 million. It grossed $77 million. Big hit. “Jumping the Broom” cost $6.6 million and grossed $37 million. Modest success. “Think Like a Man” — the sequel arrives next year — cost $12 million and grossed $96 million. Big hit. (“The Best Man Holiday’’ debuted last weekend with a strong $30.6 million.) In Hollywood, success breeds encouragement, at least until the underperformers and disappointments and

The original “Best Man’’ cast returns for the sequel, which was a box office hit the weekend it debuted. belly flops (“Just Wright,” “Soul Men,” “Miracle at St. Anna”) arrive, and suddenly the greenlights turn red. “You can’t just put African-American faces in a film and expect people to come,” says producer Will Packer, who has four films due for 2014 release: “Ride Along” with Ice Cube, Kevin Hart and Tika Sumpter; “About Last Night” with Hart, Joy Bryant, Regina Hall and Paula Patton; “Think Like a Man Too”; and “No Good Deed.”

‘Tent pole mindset’ There was a time, Packer says, “when there was such a dearth, audiences just ate it up, whatever ‘it’ was, whatever the quality.” Now it’s different. He’s looking at a hearteningly full slate, but he knows he’s stating the obvious when he says the film business “is fueled by tent poles and grand slams, not singles and doubles. … Tent poles want to be all things to all people. That’s not currently the business I’m in. And America is such a diverse marketplace, you can’t effectively run a full-service Hollywood studio right now without having content that appeals to that diversity.” Los Angeles Times film reporter Steve Zeitchik put it to me this way: “The tent pole mindset, in general among many Hollywood executives, has caused the middle ground to erode. And there’s a perception, often incorrect, among some executives that a film aimed at a specific audi-

ence can’t break out in a wider way.” But look at the numbers for “Think Like a Man.” Consider the results for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which cost around $30 million to make and has grossed around $140 million. The audience is there, and the audience, really, is plural, though in the subgenre of African-American ensemble projects, both hits and misses are analyzed unduly, because there aren’t enough of them.

Out of the desert For Packer, the question is this: “Is there room for all of us to grow? And is there a ceiling? I need my films to work well in the domestic theatrical arena. That’s the bottom line. Studios will often ‘zero out’ the foreign distribution on these movies.” Until an exception rewrites the rules, the rule of thumb in Hollywood is this: Black movies do not travel. “If enough of these films coming out this year and next perform well, you’ll see more,” Packer says. He adds: “It’s a tough business economically right now. It’s tough to get any movie made.” And yet for now, at least for a while, we’re out of the Black movie desert. “I think we’re past the period when people would say, ‘These movies don’t work anymore. They’re not needed,’” Lee said.

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Florida Courier - November 22, 2013  

Florida Courier - Sharing Black Life, Statewide