Warner Saunders (Ch. 5) and Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) will reign over Africa International House’s 19th Annual Chrysler Financial African Festival of the Arts as Grand Baba and Grand Yeye, titles bestowed on elders in our community for enriching our lives by supporting arts and culture. Held over the four-day Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, the fest, which is for many the traditional way to close out summer, features performances by local and international artists, fine art, handmade jewelry, sculpture and clothing by artisans from around the world and more; so, so much more!
Washington Park (enter at 51st and Cottage Grove Ave.) will be transformed into an authentic African village with global music from jazz to blues, Latin to gospel and African to World Music on three stages; an African marketplace of authentic art and culture; African, Cajun and soul cuisine, cultural pavilions (film, fine arts, book-author, spirituality, health-fitness, family fun), a beer and wine garden and the first-ever AFA youth tennis clinic and tourney. Also, fest guests can trace their ancestry and roots via DNA testing. On stage: Kool & the Gang, Rachelle Ferrell, Diblo Dibala, Nicholas Payton, Big Daddy Kane, Trinity Women’s Chorus (look for Teesee!), Les Nubians, Spirit, Black Sheep and just added, soul/R&B/funk vocalist Jean Knight, best known for her 70s hit, "Mr. Big Stuff." The Fest is titled "Nuah Woo," which in the Kpelle language of Liberia, translates as Voice of the Community. In 1989, Patrick Wood tor, Africa International House president, with his late wife, Dee Parmer Woodtor, historian and genealogist, produced the first African Fest as a community event to honor African culture/tradition. Call (773) 955-ARTS (2787) or visit africainternationalhouse.org.
Celebration & Dedication–“With faith, thanksgiving and gratitude,” Kwame Nkrumah Academy’s Board of Trustees and Trinity United Church of Christ dedicate and celebrate the opening of its new school created under the Chicago Public Schools’ 2010 Renaissance Program on Saturday at 901 E. 95th St.
The mission of the global teaching and learning center, grounded by principles of African centered educational excellence, is to prepare future leaders by equipping them with “a superb integration of academic and leadership skills, a strong sense of personal identity and a sound understanding of global ethics,” say Dr. Iva E. Carruthers, trustee board president, and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., vice president. The community celebration begins with tours at 12:30 p.m., then the dedication at 2 p.m., and more tours. Ch. 5’s Art Norman will emcee. Other trustees: Dr. Carol Edwards, Sydneye Wilson, Samuel Akainyah, Keith Bevans, Georgette Greenlee Finney, Yvonne R. Jones, Lester H. McKeever, Rev. Otis Moss III, Tyra M. Newell, Hoyett W. Owens Jr. and Dr. Wayne D. Watson. The academy, opening in September, is built on a 40-acre site in the Roseland community for new retail, commercial and residential development. It will serve pre-school through eighth grade. Future plans include a high school designed with all green and sustainable building technology with energy efficient tech niques. KNA includes classrooms, administrative offices, language labs, a media center, gymnasium, cafeteria and full-scale athletic field. Johnson & Lee (Phillip Craig Johnson and Frank Chris topher Lee) is the architectural/planning firm.
Newsy Names–Congrats to Judge David Atkins. He’ll take the oath as president of the Illinois Judicial Council on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency. Celebrating Nat King Cole, presented free by the Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs on Thursday, 6:30 p.m., at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, is part of the popular music series, "Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz." On stage: Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra with singer Audrey Morris and Nat’s brother Freddy Cole, whose suave, elegant and articulate vocals are among the most respected in jazz, play tribute to the dancing fingers and velvet voice that wooed millions of listeners the world over. Hats off to Peggy Montes, who unveiled her state-of-the-art Bronzeville Children’s Museum this week at 9301 S. Stony Island. The dedication/celebratory grand opening is being planned for the not too-distant future. TV news commentator, Donna Brazile, the Democrats’ political activist and strategist and the first African American to direct a major presidential campaign (Al Gore in 2000), keynotes the Third Annual Convention of the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce, Thursday-Saturday, at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel. George Curry, former "Emerge" magazine editor, heads the Black Media Panel. Larry D. Ivory is ISBCC president. Visit www.ilbcc.org.
Denver & The Democrats–Off to Denver next week for the Dem’s National Convention when our own U.S. Senator Barack Obama is nominated for President of these United States? A barrage of “A-list” folks will converge on Denver’s Marriott Hotel on Wednesday for the Illinois delegation’s “Nomination Celebration” (by invite only!) co-hosted by Ill. Senate President Emil Jones Jr., Ill.; Sen. Mattie Hunter and Ill. Sen. James Clay born. Corporate hosts: Astellas, Chrysler, Com-Ed, Ford, GlaxoSmith-Cline, Illinois Hospital Association, Midwest Generation and Nicor.
On tap: Performances by fave vocalist Terisa Griffin and Grammy-winning drummer Paul Wertigo; dancing, food, cocktails, high-fives, fist-daps and “special surprise guests.” Who?, you ask. Perhaps “First Lady Michelle” and her internationally famous hubby! Now, if you weren’t invited, don’t even try it! Or, you might want to call Dionne Williams, (708) 389-0021, in an effort to get on the RSVP list. Lotsa luck!
Speaking Up!–Rev. Jesse Jackson responds publically for the first time since footage of him making controversial off-air comments about Barack Obama surfaced and caused a media firestorm. Rev. Jackson reportedly used the dreaded “N-word” and accused the presidential hopeful of “talking down to Black people,” which sparked backlash and strong criticism from the press, the African American community and even his own son, Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr., according to PRNewswire. In a candid interview with essence.com, Rev. Jackson breaks his silence.
On Obama: “It should not have happened. What was private talk became public controversy, and I am embarrassed by that.
“There is no virtue in that kind of talk, and it should always be discouraged. My appeal even then was that responsibility is a significant message, but our needs require real government intervention and private sector incentives to address the issues, such as unemployment, building affordable housing and making education even more affordable, which really was my point. It was a very painful period for me to have gone through that.”
On son Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s response: “He’s free to express himself, and it does not bother our relationship as father and son at all. He was taught to give his opinion in our household, and he did it in love. He’s tough. He’s smart. He has a future in politics. He didn’t want the impression to be that that my faux pas was his faux pas because it is not. I respect his right to express himself.” On Obama’s campaign: “I think we have an outstanding candidate. We have the burden now to fully register and vote. There are still maybe six to eight million Blacks unregistered who should not miss this hour, this opportunity. Now that we have a who, let’s focus on the what.”
For the full article, Jesse Jackson, On the Road, log on www.essence.com.
Dance Fever–Local dance companies take the stage to raise both awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs. Saturday’s annual Dance for Life at the Harris Theatre features Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, River North Chicago Dance Co., and Thodos Dance Chicago. Two world premieres will be featured to garner funds/support for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago Recovery Alliance and The Night Ministry. Cocktails, 5 p.m.; curtain up, 7:30 p.m. For $75-$500 tickets, call (312) 922- 5812 or visit www.danceforlifechicago.com.
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