I hope you are all hanging in there, keeping cozy and warm, now that we are in the grip of old man winter.
Hail to the chief, as now President Barack Obama’s re-election is official. As many of you know, I would follow Obama to the ends of the earth; but I have to say little Miss Sasha is a candidate for charm school. No, she didn’t yawn during her father’s inauguration speech and not cover her mouth. Tsk, tsk. As for Beyonce lip-syncing, who cares, I don’t. Actually, I would have preferred to see a Latina like Jennifer Lopez sing, if only to round out the diversity tip. Beyonce sang at the last inauguration–enough already.
Moving ever onward and upward, February is almost here with all of its delights. In addition to ushering in celebrations of Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day and Mardi Gras, it is Black History Month. Among the many events bringing awareness to the cause this month is the documentary “Woke Up Black.” This film by Mary F. Morten covers a two-year period in the lives of five B lack youths ages 16-21. The film follows the day-to-day events, as well as the major milestones, in the lives of the cast, which includes Rosalee, the first in her family to attend college; Carter, a student athlete adopted by a gay couple when he was 10; Morgan, an engineering student from a predominantly white suburb; Ace, a self-identified gender-queer activist whose family has difficulty accepting her identity; and Sheldon, a community organizer and new father. Each character, though different, represents the struggles, dreams and aspirations of youth today. Interestingly, though times have changed, certain challenges confronting this age group remain the same from generation to generation.
There will be three screenings throughout the month, at three different locations, each of which will be followed a panel discussion with director Morten, two of the documentary subjects, and local youths. The first screening is on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the Langston Hughes Auditorium at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (515 Malcolm X Blvd.). Admission is free. Doors open at 5:30. On Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m., the film will be screened in the Middle Collegiate Church Sanctuary (112 Second Ave. at Sixth Street). There is a suggested donation of $10 at the door. The final screening is on Monday, Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m., at Maysles Cinema, 343 Malcolm X Blvd., 127th Street. Admission is $10. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Don’t stop that party rock: The Red & Black post-Valentine bash will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the Kappa Castle Brownstone, 472 W. 141st St., between Convent and Amsterdam avenues; formerly known as so many places, I can’t even remember. However, it will be the place to be on this night, if you want to paaaarty. Rocking and slamming the beats are DJ TallGuy and Howie D. Four levels, four dance floors, free buffet, a 50/50 raffle, happy hour from 9 to 11 p.m., for the over 30/40 people. Your host for the evening is Mark Alston. What everyone really wants to know is, how old are you, Mark–over 30 or over 40? Doesn’t matter; if you fit the bill, then check it out.
Just to give you a heads-up, while you are updating your social calendar, Hale House will host its Spring Gala on April 3 at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Yes, they are still around, and bigwigs chairing the event are staying around as work on the event is in full swing. Have you heard that Kyla McMullen has just become the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan? Congrats, I know that was hard work.
Happy birthday to Johann Sebastian Bach, who would have been 325 years old had he lived this long; to Elinor Tatum, who no, is not 325 years old; Joy Cooke (with an “e”); and my mom, Harriet DeLaney; neither she nor Joy is 325 years old, either. Condolences to the family of the Hon. Bernard “Bernie” Jackson, who recently passed away. Bernie was a familiar face at all of the social events. The guys out in Sag Harbor would look forward to going over to his house to play tennis as he let them use his court every Saturday. Of course the girls complained, as the guys were turning it into a guy thing and the girls wanted to play, too. You know how that is. A memorial service is planned for sometime in the spring.
Guess everyone is staying in these days, as few people were seen at any of the recent gala benefits, including the art auction benefit hosted by ArtWorks. ArtWorks uses proceeds from the benefit to provide access to creative and performing arts programs to children diagnosed with serious illnesses. Believing that the arts are a means for encouragement, healing, communication and self-expression, ArtWorks is dedicated to making it happen.
The Playground Partners of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy hosted its annual ice skating event to thank all of its supporters and raise funds to continue providing free after-school skating and hockey lessons to underserved children; Elizabeth Wilson, Cassandra Miller, Benita Wilson and youngster Sydney Torres did, however, make it to that one. There was face painting for the kids and they all looked so cute, skating around the rink in their festively painted faces. Well, they had plenty of hot chocolate to keep them warm.
As we swing on into February, don’t forget to check if the groundhog sees his shadow, to light a candle on Feb. 2 in honor of Candlemas Day and to get some sweets for your sweets–or at the very least to say, “I love you.”
Until next week … kisses.