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Welcome the Season with a Harvest Brunch at Wave Hill

SOURCE:  Wave Hill

Photo Courtesy:  Wave Hill / Wave Hill Mother s Day May 2009 credit Joshua Bright-57

Photo Courtesy: Wave Hill / Wave Hill Mother s Day May 2009 credit Joshua Bright-57

On November 2, delight in the abundance of autumn with a harvest-themed brunch at Wave Hill. Enjoy a beautiful spread of delicious brunch dishes both spicy and sweet—from caramelized, apple-flavored French toast to chard and jalapeno infused shakshuka—in the gorgeous setting of historic Armor Hall. Other enticing options include autumn leek and mushroom bisque, butternut squash bread pudding, soft scrambled eggs with local goat cheese and apple confit tart. Bring your family and friends, and celebrate the fruits of fall’s labor in culinary style!

Round out the day with one (or more!) of Wave Hill’s fantastic weekend programs. Renew body and spirit with Hatha Yoga at 10AM, or quiet the mind with a guided Meditation session at 11:45. Little ones in tow? Don’t miss the Family Art Project —from 10AM to 1PM, and learn how to craft your own jewelry using plant materials! At 2PM, get a closer look at Wave Hill’s world-renowned gardens on a Garden Highlights Walk .

Seatings for Harvest Brunch are available at 11:30AM, 12PM and 12:30PM. Reservations required; please email by October 30. For registration and fee information for weekend programs, check

What: Harvest Brunch at Wave Hill

Where:  Armor Hall at Wave Hill, West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx, New York

When:  Sunday, November 1, 11:30AM, 12PM and 12:30 PM

Pricing:  $45 per adult excluding tax and gratuity/$40 Wave Hill Members. $25 per child (age 3 to 11).

The Family Art Project is generously sponsored by Target, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Sustaining support is provided by the Sally and Gilbert Kerlin Endowment for Environmental Science and Nature Education. Wave Hill, Inc. is an independent, non-profit cultural institution governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The buildings and grounds of Wave Hill are owned by the City of New York. With the assistance of the Bronx Borough President and Bronx representatives in the City Council and State Legislature, Wave Hill’s operations are supported with public funds through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Grant Program administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The Power of Natural History:  Historian Lukas Rieppel in Conversation with Recapturing the Scenic Wilds Artists

SOURCE:  Wave Hill

Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center located in the northwestern corner of the Bronx, is delighted to welcome cultural historian Lukas Rieppel , Assistant Professor of History at Brown University, for an afternoon of broad-ranging, provocative conversation. Dr. Rieppel opens the afternoon with a presentation about his work on the development of the natural history museum. Following his presentation, he is joined by Richard Barnes , Hugh Hayden and Lori Nix, three of the artists exhibiting work in Wave Hill’s fall exhibition, Recapturing the Scenic Wilds , for a panel discussion that will touch upon theWave Hill Natural History intersection of science, art and history.

Presentation: An authority on the intersection of the history of science and the history of capitalism, and especially the life sciences in the 19th and 20th centuries, Dr. Rieppel’s research into dinosaur displays has revealed that they functioned as a kind of “mixed-media sculpture,” freely combining plaster replicas with real fossils. The 19th–century natural history display raised important issues of authority, such as the cultural obsession with the predatory power of dinosaurs, and authenticity, including, for instance, the balance between theatrical dioramas and scientific fact. Dr. Rieppel’s presentation will touch on the role that cultural elites of the time, figures such as former Wave Hill resident Theodore Roosevelt, played in the invention of the natural wilderness as we see it today.

Discussion: Using Dr. Rieppel’s presentation as a springboard, scholar and artists will engage in a conversation that considers the historical and theoretical concerns underlying the discipline of natural history—and the contemporary art practices that this complex field inspires.

For years, Richard Barnes has used his lens to capture natural history museums in moments of repair or closure. Often his images suggest punishment, torture or imprisonment for the taxidermy subjects. Hugh Hayden works with animal patterns and coverings, whether fur or feathers, to subvert the narrative of the great American wilderness through references to contemporary urban life. Lori Nix builds and photographs fictive museums of “unnatural history” with a rich sense of humor and invention.

The afternoon concludes with an in situ tour of the gallery with the artists and Dr. Rieppel. This event is free with admission to the grounds. Reservations strongly recommended; visit to reserve a seat.

Recapturing the Scenic Wilds , closing December 7, is inspired by the naturalist legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, a former resident of Wave Hill House who had a lifelong passion for discovering and collecting specimens for public exhibit. Featuring work byRichard Barnes, Mark Dion , Hugh Hayden, Liselot van der Heijden, Alexa Hoyer, Dana Levy, Ruth Marshall, Lori Nix and Jessica Segall , Recapturing the Scenic Wilds investigates—and complicates—the notion of the natural history display.

What: The Power of Natural History: Historian and Artist Panel

Where:  Wave Hill, West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx, New York

When:  Saturday, November 15, 2PM

Fee:  Free with admission to the grounds. Reservations strongly recommended.

Support for the Visual Arts Program at Wave Hill is provided by the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation; The New York Community Trust; the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. The Institution’s operations are made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


SOURCE: Dr. Umar Johnson /

Nationwide — Recent comments made by Raven-Symoné may have been ignorant and self-depreciating, but were not, by any stretch of the imagination, uncommon. On national television she stated, “I’m an American, not an African-American. I don’t know where my roots go (in Afrika), I don’t know how far back they go, and what country they go to… but I do know that I have roots in Louisiana.” As if this wasn’t insult enough to her ancestors, and all self-respecting Black people in this country, this African-American actress, who is undeniably of African ancestry, goes on to say, “I’m an American, and that’s a colorless person… I have a lot of things running through my veins.” Increasingly we are seeing more and more politically under-educated and self-hating African-Americans attempting to dis-identify from their Blackness.

However, this behavior is not without precedent. Historically, even esteemed scholars such as W.E.B. Dubois

Dr. Umar Johnson.  Photo Courtesy:  Dr. Umar Johnson /

Dr. Umar Johnson. Photo Courtesy: Dr. Umar Johnson /

have, at one time or another, attempted to dis-identify from their Blackness, ridiculously claiming that they were the sum total of far too many different racial genotypes to affirmatively identity with their predominate Afrikanity. Although dis-identification has been a problem for Blacks since the end of slavery, we have seen a dramatic increase in this strategy since the election of President Obama and the birth of the alleged, and definitely hypocritical, “post-racial society.” How can a society that proclaims to be post-racial explain the record-breaking suspension and expulsion rate of kindergarten Black boys, or the highest incarceration rate in the world that disproportionately targets Black men and women.

The belief that anyone in this country will cease to identify you with your particular race just because you hate your membership within that particular group is ridiculous. All politics in America are race based. Every job and dollar spent is in neglect of, or support for, one racial group or the other. Raven-Symoné, and other Negro victims of white supremacy haven’t the slightest clue about the true significance of race in this country. However, their frequent comments, expressing their desires not to be Black, only adds to the argument on whether “Blackness” is still relevant in a society with a Black president, and millions of African-Americans who prefer not to be identified with their most obvious physical and biological characteristic, their racial background. The question on whether Blackness is still relevant in a society based on white privilege is rather ridiculous in a country where White police officers kill at least two unarmed Black men a week, without probable cause, and aren’t even brought in for questioning. If you think America is post-racial then go ask the parents of Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown their opinion. Still further, visit anyone of America’s prisons where a plethora of Black men and women await life sentences for no other reason than not having enough money to hire a decent attorney.

The recent movement spurred by many Blacks to dis-identify from their race has inadvertently supported the rise in attention being paid to the political agendas of other minority groups, who don’t have a problem being who they are, most notably, gays and Latinos, both of whom are aggressively championing their causes on the local, state and national level. The American social order has definitely done its part to confuse the descendants of enslaved Afrikans by recently adding to the legal nomenclature additional racial categories, such as bi-racial and multi-racial, which gives 21st century Blacks a false belief in the so-called “post-racial America.” These new racial descriptors do nothing more but sow even more dissension within a group of people whose only solution lies in their identification and unification as a distinct racial group. The psychological consequences of calling oneself biracial and multiracial lie in the false sense of separateness it gives the victim from the rest of their African-American in-group. Still further, it promotes an attitude of “less Black” and “more White,” which spells disaster for internal racial harmony amongst African-Americans still suffering the vestiges of Post-Traumatic Slavery Disease (PTSD) and light-skinned supremacy. Not to mention the fact that for hundreds of years White Americans paid to attention to the bi-racial parentage of neither its free or enslaved Afrikans, which begs the question as to why they claim to be so concerned about mixed parentage all of a sudden.

If running away from being Black is impossible, if one’s racial identity is biologically fixed at birth, then why do so many Blacks try anyway? The answers to this question are too numerous to be addressed here, but for the sake of discussion, we will reduce it to two simple answers: self-hatred and political deception. Let it not be lost on you that Blacks are the only people in the United States who are actively trying to be what they are not. African-Americans are the only active proponents of integration and a color-blind identity, and both are the logical consequences of a people not wanting to be unashamedly who they really are. In her conversation with Oprah, a confused Raven-Symoné stated “I don’t label myself, I have darker skin, I have a nice interesting grade of hair. . .” These comments reveal her obvious hatred for self, and yet her simultaneous approval of Eurocentric standards of beauty, which is usually at the core of most Black persons’ reasoning for wanting to escape their Blackness in the first place: notably not being physically attractive according to White standards, and also not being socially desired by White people.

Since the beginning of human history most groups have valued their cultural-historical uniqueness, and most still do. When was the last time you found an Anglo-Saxon, European Jew, Asian, Arab, East Indian or Native American trying to be something other than themselves. These are very proud people who represent and identify with their collective racial experience wherever they go. Only because of self-hatred is the Afrikan trying to be what he or she is not. In the past, African-Americans would deal with racism by confronting it dead on. However, in the Obama era, rather than fight against racial oppression, many Blacks have simply chosen to dis-identify from being Black altogether. The politics of racial invisibility and color-blindness is certainly a welcomed change of tactic by the United States government as it would help to expedite their agenda of wholesale mass incarceration and extermination of African-American people.

The entire purpose of the “Post-Racial America” Campaign is to convince the foremost victims of white supremacy, American Blacks, that their skin color, or more accurately that their cultural-genetic uniqueness, is no longer considered a threat to European ambitions, in hopes that they forego their racial identity so that it can be conceptually amalgamated into the larger imaginary political construct of simply being an “American.” This would be quite an anomaly since every other American’s identity in this country is afforded a cultural prefix that anchors them somewhere else in the world (i.e., Italian-American, Chinese-American, Arab-American, etc.) For the American Negro to eliminate their cultural prefix would eliminate them from the map of human geography and would paradoxically justify America’s neglect of them as the only people in the country who have no clue as to where they come from, and just how they arrived in America. “Historical amnesia” as a strategy, postulated by Raven-Symoné and other Blacks, seeks to forget one’s history and culture as a strategy for being accepted by American Whites will not work for one primary reason: self-respecting people who embrace their culture and history cannot respect another people who do not. That is to say historical amnesia would ironically increase the contempt that America has for the Black man or woman, and not lessen it, as it underscores racist antebellum beliefs about Blacks that have existed for centuries, chiefly that they are animals who have no history or culture.

For Blacks to fall for this dangerous ploy would give the government the chance to erase Black people, and their critically important issues, from public discussion altogether. This scenario has already played out as a consequence of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill that saw the inclusion of the words “minority” and “gender” as a replacement for “Negro” and “Black” as it related to the groups that would be protected within the scope of the soon to be new law, at that time. By allowing the public discussion to include all non-white peoples under a general descriptor of “minority,” rather than continuing to assert they were fighting exclusively for the rights of Black people, Negro leaders gave consent to the stealing of rights and incentives away from their own Black communities in deference and preference to Asians, Mexicans and other groups. Still worse, none of these other racial groups did anything to advance the cause of Blacks during the civil rights struggle. In fact, upon arrival in America, many of these ethnicities fought for the right to identify as white people, and away from Black people. Trying to blend in with other groups, all of whom practice their own unique form of prejudice against the African-American, is no solution to the Black man’s problem in America.

Simply stated, America wants the Black man and woman to abandon their racial identity in order that Black issues can be removed from the public agenda. This has been the primary purpose of biracial and multiracial campaigns: to get enough Black people to dis-identify from being Black in preference of some new socially acceptable racial designee so as to render Black people and their issues irrelevant altogether. Any student of military history knows that a propaganda campaign against a particular group in public is always the precursor to a military campaign against them physically. Black people who hate being Black are playing right into the extermination agenda of the United States government that seeks to remove Black issues and Black people from the political landscape altogether. Now is not the time for African-Americans to hide behind an elusive and indescribable “American” identity that has never, and will never, apply to them. Now is the time to stand up unapologetically and proclaim their uniqueness as a people, and the uniqueness of the Black plight in America!

Umar Johnson is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology and Certified School Psychologist. He is the author of “Psycho-Academic Holocaust: The Special Education and ADHD Wars Against Black Boys.” As a special education expert and consultant he helps Black parents around the world advocate for their children. He is amidst a $2-Million-Dollar fundraising campaign to acquire the HBCU St.Paul’s College in Virginia to be purchased and re-opened as the Frederick Douglass & Marcus Garvey (FDMG) RBG International Leadership Academy for Black Boys.



The Bastard Child by Sean P. Hoggs.  Photo Courtesy:

The Bastard Child by Sean P. Hoggs. Photo Courtesy:

Columbus, NJ – Sean P. Hoggs learned at an early age that we cannot allow our socioeconomic background or tough start in life to define who we are – and he should know! At age 16, he set out to change a life riddled with drugs and crime, moving from one friend’s house to the next, determined not to end up in jail or, even worse, dead!

The Bastard Child: A Story of Hope, Resiliency and Perseverance (Author House Publishing) is Hoggs’ remarkable and long-awaited autobiography that tells the compelling story of growing up on the violent inner city streets of Central New Jersey, abused and often homeless. Through hard work, perseverance and fortitude, he became a success and ascended onto the national and international stage through his many humanitarian and mentoring efforts. For anyone trying to overcome personal hardship or dealing with any of life’s challenges, this inspiring story is a must read.

Enduring an abusive and turbulent childhood with little chance of ever getting a helping hand, let alone a word of encouragement, would have made it easy for Sean Hoggs to go through life a victim, but this was never an option. Instead, he chose to serve as a humanitarian and mentor, advising at-risk youth that fame and fortune in sports and entertainment is a highly unlikely prospect while a life filled with love and family is something achievable and worth having – living proof that everyone, regardless of age, race, socioeconomic background, or station in life, can fulfill their dreams through determination, education and hard work.

“It is simply a story of hope,” Hoggs says. “After all, the odds are against becoming a professional athlete or music star. However, with an education, the percentages are in your favor to accomplish anything you want in life.”

Sean P. Hoggs is a decorated retired military veteran of over 24 years. He has served as both an enlisted service member and commissioned officer (after earning a Presidential appointment for his years of exceptional enlisted service) in the United States Air Force. In 2007 he was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans and is a noted mentor and role model to inner city youth. An internationally recognized humanitarian, he is also proud to be a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee at the Plainfield, NJ High School.

For three years, Sean was Associate Professor of Aerospace Studies at Rutgers University where he spent countless hours teaching, tutoring and mentoring civilians and military members alike. A noted international ambassador, Sean has raised funds for orphanages around the world and provided critical items for those in need. His passion to help and serve others has made him a sought-after speaker, mentor and role model.



St. Louis, MO — An East St. Louis born-and-bred hip-hop impresario — who marched with protesters in Ferguson — has produced a YouTube music video that captures the fury, frustration and frenzy that exploded in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s murder. Through a dizzying montage, the video zooms in on Michael Brown’s execution and also on other innocents murdered at the hands of killer cops. The video also provides a historic overview of a disturbing pattern of similar atrocities.

Titled Hands Up! Don’t Shoot, the video is written and produced by Kenneth “Mo Skillz” Jones.

Because of its powerful message and images, the four-minute video is quickly becoming a rallying cry in the international outrage against white cops shooting/killing innocent black victims. With tensions mounting nationwide as evidenced by the fatal

Call To Action Video Puts Spotlight on White Cops Murdering Blacks .  Photo Courtesy:

Call To Action Video Puts Spotlight on White Cops Murdering Blacks . Photo Courtesy:

Wal-Mart shooting, and the recent shooting of an innocent black man by a white South Carolina state trooper, the video is being hailed as A Call to Action. At the same time, it is elevating Mo Skillz’ artistic stature as a skilled and sensitive chronicler of movements and messages.

The video shows defiant crowds with their hands raised yelling “Don’t Shoot!” There are also poignant scenes of memorials to the dead with crosses and flowers at the scene of the murders.

With Mo Skillz leading the “Don’t Shoot” refrain, the producers depict protesters of all ages hoisting signs and marching through the streets of Ferguson. The gripping video features raw footage of cops torturing and apprehending black youth including toppling a wheelchair bound youth and tackling a defenseless young woman.

With the staccato sounds of gunfire and the funeral dirge like refrain as a back sound, the video sparks powerful emotions and arouses deep-seated feelings. While the recent horror in Ferguson is at the center of the video, Hands Up! Don’t Shoot captures disturbing images from similar protests nationwide. It also pays homage to other victims gunned down by cops/wannabe cops including Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Kajieme Powell, Eric Garner, Kenneth Harding and John Crawford III.

Producer “Mo Skillz’ passion is authentic because these are his roots. He was born and bred in East St. Louis, Illinois a town in the vicinity of Ferguson. His family remains in the area, including a teenage daughter who attends the same school as Michael Brown. As a black man who understands the culture, and the pervasive evil of the area whose boundaries include Ferguson, he observed the mayhem from his current home in Atlanta. Watching with outrage, he knew he had to be there. He put all projects on hold and jetted to Ferguson. While marching in lock step with the protesters, the artist in him saw an opportunity to chronicle the passion through a music video. It is now hailed as the “Don’t Shoot Official Music Video.”

The recent destruction of Michael Brown’s memorial has triggered both a new wave of protests and a sense of urgency to release the video.

He says that the intent of the video is not to incite anger, but rather to use it as a platform to inspire peace.

“While the video shows the faces of anger and frustration,” says Mo Skillz, “I still want to promote peace. I want to use the format of the video as a call for good people to overcome evil.”

The video has won commendations from fellow artists and civil rights leaders including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.,President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Speaking on behalf of the organization, Chavis stated, “The NNPA resolutely supports the global demand for equal justice in the wake of the tragic, racially motivated murder of young, unarmed Michael Brown by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson. We endorse the creative genius of the production of the music video “Hands Up: Don’t Shoot” by Kenneth “Mo Skillz” Jones. Of course what is happening in Ferguson, MO is not isolated from a terrible pattern of racially motivated violent and deadly attacks by law enforcement officers on Black America. This video and Call to Action will help to sustain an effective national and international movement for freedom, justice and equality for all people.”

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