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TRENDS, TRAVEL, FILM, HISTORY and BOOKS

Trends, Travel, Film, History and Books provide readers with information that might be off the beaten path of their traditional news sources.   Whether its innovation, unique travel, classic or new age films and documentaries, looking at history from a different perspective or discovering new and established authors, it brings a fresh look to things that are either old or new again.

bARKAY'S

SOURCE:  YOSHI’s Oakland

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The Bar-kays.. Photo Courtesy: Yoshi’s Oakland

The Bar-kays ran a string of their own hits pioneering a trail in the “Funk” music genre including, “SHAKE YOUR RUMP TO THE FUNK,” “ATTITUDE,” “MOVE YOUR BOOGIE BODY,” “SEX-O-MATIC,” “ANTICIPATION,” “FREAKSHOW ON THE DANCE FLOOR,” “HIT AND RUN,” “SHE TALKS TO ME WITH HER BODY,” “TOO HOT TO STOP,” and many other hit singles.

 

will downing

SOURCE:  YOSHI’s Oakland

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Will Downing. Photo Courtesy: Yoshi’s Oakland

Women love Will Downing. And men love the women who love Will Downing. In his two decade recording career, the Brooklyn native has carved for himself a solid career as one of the leading purveyors of unapologetic, unabashed romantic music. And while this has not translated to crossover success – or even to broad urban radio success – it has gained for Downing a solid musical legacy and a rabidly loyal following of, well…women.

Celebrating his new release Euphoria, Downing had his first national exposure as a popular backing vocalist in the 80s before signing with Island Records. He recorded two modestly successful albums and had a minor hit with a cover of “A Love Supreme” before releasing his breakout 1991 album A Dream Fulfilled. It was a marvelous disc that showed Downing not only possessed a fine baritone voice but that he was also was an excellent song stylist, deftly handling such diverse songs as War’s “The World Is A Ghetto” and Paul Davis’s “I Go Crazy” and providing a stunning, definitive version of Angela Bofill’s “I Try.” Both the “I Try” single and the album hit the Urban top 25, and critical acclaim for the disc abounded.

A Dream Fulfilled began a period where Downing found his musical identity and was the first of a string of successful albums that focused on smooth, romantic music, mostly ballads. Sometimes unfairly lumped with his friend Luther Vandross, Downing was actually creating his own brand of love music that was less urban and much jazzier. And though Downing’s songs were also more sensual than Vandross’s, he shared Luther’s sensibilities, singing to women on a truly romantic level that clearly went beyond the physical.

In the 90s and early 00s, Downing recorded frequently on multiple record labels. He became a regular at the top of the contemporary jazz charts and released a number of solid albums (perhaps the best of which was his album of duets with saxophonist Gerald Albright, Pleasures of the Night) with only one miscue (All the Man You Need, his lone album on Motown and an ill-advised attempt at an “urban” sound).  Read more..

SOURCE:  YOSHI’s Oakland / Youtube

Oprah Book Club 2.0

SOURCE:  OWN / OPRAH / OPRAH.COM

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Photo Courtesy: Oprah.com

Read This to Get Unstuck
We found it: the book that shows you how to break free from criticism that undermines your self-worth and ability to make lasting change. Take a look at the powerful (and practical) excerpt.

 

FEATURE FILM “ANGOLA 3” ABOUT THREE AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN HELD FOR DECADES IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT HEADS TO PRE-PRODUCTION

— One of the men, Albert Woodfox, having served 43 years in solitary, is still being denied freedom from the state of Louisiana. —

SOURCE:  Blacknews.com

Los Angeles, CA — Woodfox is the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3 – three African-American men held for decades in solitary confinement, two of whom were framed for the 1972 killing of a prison guard at Louisianas State Penitentiary at Angola. Woodfox, along with Robert King (released in 2001) and Herman Wallace (who died from terminal cancer in 2013, three days after he was released from prison) have all become a cause celebre for the gross injustices committed to them by the Louisiana penal system and the blatant disregard for black lives. Kings life story is the foundation for an independent feature film about the three men and their decades-long battle against institutionalized racial injustice and is now in pre-production.

Cinema Libre Studios Philippe Diaz has collaborated with Robert King on a feature-length script Angola, 1, 2 and 3, which provides an unvarnished look at the three black mens experiences in prison and how, as young black men in the south in the 50s and 60s, they were consistently railroaded by the penal and justice systems. They were further persecuted for their efforts to end systemic rape, cavity searches, segregation and corruption in Angola, as well as for being

Robert King with Philippe Diaz at Cinema Libre Studio in February 2015.  Photo Courtesy:  Blacknews.com

Robert King with Philippe Diaz at Cinema Libre Studio in February 2015. Photo Courtesy: Blacknews.com

members of the Black Panther Party. Each man has spent decades in solitary confinement, about which the UN has declared, Four decades in solitary confinement can only be described as torture. The film is on track to go into production in Fall 2015 and shares Kings perspective on the manipulation of evidence by the justice system, the fabrication of false testimonies, and the mental and emotional challenges of solitary confinement.

King spent 29 years in solitary confinement at Angola, accused in the murder of another convict, although all witnesses testified that he had nothing to do with it. King struggled for decades to prove his innocence but was forced to plead conspiracy to murder in order to be released even after his conviction had been overturned.

Released in 2001 at the age of 59, King has worked ceaselessly to build international support for the remaining two members of the Angola 3. He has spoken before the parliaments of the Netherlands, France, Portugal, Indonesia, Brazil and Britain about his fellow prisoners and about solitary confinement, which has been likened to torture in the US. He was invited by the African National Congress to South Africa where he met with Desmond Tutu.

Amnesty International added the Angola 3 to their watch list of “political prisoners”/”prisoners of conscience.” In July 2013, Amnesty International called for the release of 71-year-old Herman Wallace, who had advanced liver cancer. Although he was released October 1, 2013, he was re-indicted on October 3, 2013, and died the next day before he could be re-arrested. With regards to Woodfox, Amnesty International has called for Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to “stop pursuing a campaign of vengeance by trying to re-indict a man who has already spent more than four decades in cruel confinement, after a legal process tainted with flaws.”

The Angola 3 members have been the subject of three documentary films, 3 Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation (2006), In the Land of the Free (2010), and Hermans House (2013) as well as a music video and numerous public interest pieces.

Philippe Diaz, founder of Cinema Libre Studio, a production/distribution company known for controversial social impact cinema, will produce the film. We cheered when we heard the news of Alberts possible release. But seeing how the Louisiana justice system has been allowed to deny justice to this man, and is still trying to do so, it may take months or years for Albert to be freed. In the last 20 years, the state has become the world’s number one prison capital, with a for-profit system that incarcerates people at 5 times the rate of Iran and 13 times the rate of China. We feel its essential to make this film now so that social pressure increases to aid Alberts release and so that it never happens again.

 

UNIQUE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN TO PUBLISH PHENOMENAL BLACK HERITAGE

SOURCE:  Blacknews.com

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How newly freed slaves amassed 57 million dollars in nine years after emancipation. Photo Courtesy: Blacknews.com

Bronx, NY  — Velma McKenzie-Orr, director of The Bookstore At Grace and former director of the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, has announced that only ten days are left to become one of the backers that will unveil a legacy so amazing that only one group, in the history of humankind, accomplished it. Yet most descendants of Americas 57 million dollar freedmen dont know that their ancestors emerged from 249 years of slavery and amassed $57 million in the Freedmens Bank, in less than 9 years, between 1865 and 1874, until Finding Americas $57 Million Freedmen: In Search of 40 Acres and a Mule.

McKenzie-Orr cites W.E.B. Du Bois, who described their feat as phenomenal, as the first to write about their accrual of $57,000,000 but notes that few descendants of this history have read his book published in 1935.

Finding Americas $57 Million Freedmen: In Search of 40 Acres and A Mule is a nonfiction saga that explains a history so astonishing that not even a screenwriter could have come up with a more captivating scenario, said McKenzie-Orr who serendipitously, stumbled upon their accomplishment while fulfilling a challenge from her mentor, the late Westley Wallace (W. W.) Law, to research the history of 40 Acres and A Mule and share it.

This riveting venture begins with Major General William Sherman on the march to the sea from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia. Readers are taken back to the only meeting between the United States government and twenty Negro ministers where they discussed the future of soon-to-be freed slaves. Four days later, Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, now called, 40 Acres and a Mule. The order set aside 400,000 acres of land for freed slaves and freedmen to have a place to exist in freedom.

McKenzie-Orr questions whether the meeting which resulted in Shermans order was an attempt at reparation or damage control for an act initiated by the Union Army that resulted in the death of hundreds of emancipated slaves at Ebenezer Creek.

Backers that pre-order the limited, first edition book, exclusively available for Kickstarter backers will have their names printed in the book to acknowledge their support to publish this important history. Anyone can participate at the Kickstarter campaign link by June 25, 2015 at:

www.kickstarter.com/projects/338543610/finding-americas-57000000-freedmen

www.bookstoreatgrace.org/blogs/news

HARLEM BOOK FAIR ANNOUNCES WHEATLEY LEGACY AWARD RECIPIENTS POET NIKKI GIOVANNI AND CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATOR JERRY PINKNEY

SOURCE:  Blacknews.com

New York, NY — The QBR Wheatley Book Awards recognizes the best African-American books and writers in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Children’s books. The Wheatley Legacy Award is given to deserving authors whose body of

Nikki Giovanni and Jerry Pinkney.  Photo Courtesy: Blacknews.com

Nikki Giovanni and Jerry Pinkney. Photo Courtesy: Blacknews.com

work transcends time, race and culture. This years recipients are poet, writer, activist Nikki Giovanni and award-winning childrens book illustrator Jerry Pinkney. The Wheatley Book Awards will take place on the campus of Columbia University on Friday, July 17th from 7p.m. to 9 p.m. Seating is free but reservations are required. Reservations can be secured by visiting Eventbrite.com.

About the 2015 Legacy Award recipients:

Nikki Giovanni gained fame in the late 1960s as one of the foremost authors of the Black Arts Movement. One of the world’s most well-known African-American poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator, Ms. Giovannis work includes poetry anthologies, poetry recordings, and nonfiction essays, and covers topics ranging from race and social issues to children’s literature. She has won numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal, the NAACP Image Award, and has been nominated for a Grammy Award. Influenced by the civil rights and Black Power movements of the period, her early work provided a strong, militant African-American perspective. Over subsequent decades, her works discussed social issues, human relationships, and hip-hop.

Jerry Pinkney won the 2010 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing The Lion & the Mouse, a version of Aesop’s fable that he also wrote. He also has five Caldecott Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, four Gold and four Silver medals from the Society of Illustrators, and the Boston GlobeHorn Book Award for John Henry. For his contribution as a children’s illustrator, Pinkney was the U.S. nominee in 1998 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition for creators of children’s books. In 1977, the United States Postal Service commissioned Mr. Pinkney to create the first nine postage stamps for the Black Heritage stamp series.

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