Happy birthday to you! The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King is still remembered, as he should and always will be. With marches professing peace and social justice for all, the upper school students at Manhattan Country School made their annual trek through the streets of Upper Manhattan to remind us, lest we forget, “No justice, No peace.”

For many parents with college-bound children, now is the time for visiting the campus for the schools of choice. The rule of thumb is to start with your first choice, followed by the second, and then moving on to the list of fallback schools, the schools where you know you’ll be accepted. One school that might be tops on everyone’s list is Howard University. The alumni association features several of its grads who have cut through the muck and mire, making great strides in their professions. One of the alumni featured in the Alumni on the Move column is Jenelle Coy. Since graduating from the Howard University School of Communication in 2014, Coy has become founder and managing partner of Coy +, an agency that helps marketers with digital strategy, creative development and event management. Among her accolades, she was recently named to Forbes 30 Under 30 List for Marketing & Advertising. With no outside funding, Coy has developed a roster of past and current clients that includes RCA Records, Procter & Gamble, ESSENCE Festival, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the State Department. As of 2017, Coy + has grown to nearly $1 million in revenue and has built a team of 16 employees with a footprint in seven cities across three continents. 

Howard University Department of Biology Assistant Professor Michael C. Campbell and an international team of scientists, led by respective lab members at the University of Pennsylvania, have identified new variants of genes that are responsible for skin color in modern humans. Now, this development is interesting. Does it mean that at some time in the future, humans could all be genetically rewired to have the same skin color? How then could racism continue to exist if people couldn’t be discriminated against because of the color of their skin?

Last but certainly not least, there is Howard University law alum, Charles D. King. King is the first Black partner in one of Hollywood’s leading entertainment agencies. In 2015, after securing funding in the eight-figure range from Apple heiress Laurene Powell Jobs, the executive left his coveted role at the William Morris Endeavor agency to start the multi-platform media company, MACRO. The company’s first major studio feature was “Fences” starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. The film grossed more than $64 million and garnered myriad nominations, including Golden Globe Award and Academy Award wins for Viola Davis. Following right on the heels of this mega release was the November 2017 releases of “Mudbound,” directed by Dee Rees, and “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” written and directed by Denzel Washington and Colin Farrell. To date, his firm has raised an additional $150 million in funding to further the production and financing of films and television programs with a multicultural bent.

Starr Jones, formerly of “The View,” is getting married again, this time to a lawyer from Chicago. Word on the block is he is a great guy. Jones, who is beaming, never looked better. Happy birthday, Harvey Young. I haven’t seen or heard from him in years, a great guy whose birthday I have never forgotten. If you know him like I know hm, then you know he never missed giving himself the greatest birthday bash ever. Fond of music and friends, put them together, which he often did, and you would have a party.  They just don’t do it like that anymore. The last Harvey sighting was in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. If anyone, anywhere sees hide or hair of him, be sure to say, “hey.”

The Brooklyn Music School presented the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute concert, hosted by renowned baritone and BMS advisory board member Lester Lynch. Inspired by Dr. King’s legacy and message, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of Hope,” the program featured selections from Lynch’s recent recording, “On My Journey Now: Spirituals & Hymns,” as well as performances by BMS faculty and students, and tickets were only $5.

Lynch, an established dramatic baritone, is making his mark in some of the world’s leading opera houses. Known for his charismatic portrayals and commanding voice, he receives rave reviews for mastering some of the most important baritone roles, from Scarpia to Rigoletto to Count di Luna. Lynch is currently under consideration for admittance to the Scarpia Preferred Pantheon, which sounds so impressive that you don’t have to be an opera aficionado to appreciate his accomplishments.

Lynch has been known by opera critics to “raise the hair on the back of your neck.” Among his most recent performances was the role of Crown in Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” with the Opéra de Montréal. Upcoming recordings include Iago in Verdi’s “Otello,” and Porgy in “Porgy and Bess.” His performance of Crown with San Francisco Opera’s production of “Porgy and Bess” was recently released on DVD. He has also appeared live with Placido Domingo and Larry Foster. Lynch has performed a wide and varied repertoire with orchestras across the world and has received many distinguished awards. Yet, he still finds time for volunteer work, including two engagements with the Harare International Festival of Art in Zimbabwe, where he produced a night of arias and ensembles with a group of his colleagues.

The Brooklyn Music School views music and performance the birthright of all people and an essential way for human beings to connect with others while exploring one’s creativity. The study of music has been demonstrated to enhance academic learning and helps to develop discipline and confidence that will serve children well throughout their lives. As part of the vision of reinventing the community music school for the 21st Century, BMS is dedicated to making high-quality musical instruction approachable and affordable to a wide range of students, with opportunities for student performances and cultural enrichment for the community. The school prides itself on representing a wide range of musical traditions, including European, African, Middle Eastern and American to represent the diversity of Brooklyn’s musical talent. BMS provides a warm and welcoming space for families and individuals to explore new talents and make lasting friendships. For more information, visit www.brooklynmusicschool.org.

Until next week … kisses.