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The hottest ticket in town this week was the Obama Foundation Summit being held at the newly opened Wintrust Arena in the South Loop. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama opened up the session with an empowering and moving dialogue with “The Fierce Urgency of Now.” It was just the adrenaline rush needed to get attendees to enjoy the breakout sessions. 

Mrs. Michelle Obama and Prince Harry share a moment with students at Hyde Park Academy High School. Courtesy of Obama Foundation.

Guess who surprised a group of students at Hyde Park Academy before heading over to the Marriott Marquis? Mrs. Michelle Obama and Prince Harry kicked it with 20 lucky high school students along with Principal Antonio Ross.

Afterwards Prince Harry joined Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson for a conversation in ways youth can be the drivers of the community.

The two-day summit concludes on Wednesday with non-stop programming that kicks off with morning meditation, more breakout sessions, a conversation with Mrs. Obama and the final event wraps up with President Obama and a concert featuring Chance the Rapper, Gloria Estefan and others.

Wish I can add more but media access was off limits to the breakout sessions. We understand various organizations were granted passes for their students to attend. For many, this was a once-in-lifetime experience that will stay with them forever and hopefully will spark community responsibility and engagement.

On the political front, former Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn has thrown his hat into the Attorney General race. Can you hear the crickets? Meanwhile, the Cook County Commissioner race in the 3rd District is stirring some interest with both Charisse Williams and Preckwinkle-endorsed William Lowry competing for Commissioner Butler’s seat. There will be some big shoes to fill and whoever is up to the task had better get to know the community “inside and out.” Williams is off to a good start as she makes the rounds with her “community talks,” inviting constituents to come out and discuss the issues that most concern them. She’s young, vibrant and her grind is there. Hopefully, some of the “old heads” won’t discourage her and encourage the next generation of leaders. Yeah…you know who you are.

Janet (L) and Randy Jackson, siblings of deceased pop star Michael Jackson, leave court after the opening day of Dr. Conrad Murray’s trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles September 27, 2011. REUTERS/David McNew (UNITED STATES – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT CRIME LAW)

As more candidates under 40 step forward to try their hand at public service—more folks who have held the same post for many years are being challenged. It’s petition time and it’s a test of who gets the most valid signatures to place on the ballot. Illinois politics are not for the weak, so candidates—button up because you will be left in the cold.

Big ups to Janet Jackson and Randy Jackson who made a trip to their family’s hometown of Gary, Ind. After rocking out two-nights at the Allstate Arena, the kids of Catherine and Joe Jackson surprised the students of Theodore Roosevelt High School. Both brother and sister talked with an intimate group of students in the school’s library. Later they went to visit the small house their family called home well into their older siblings’ teen years.

It was one of the highlights for many Gary residents who continue to feel a connection to the family in many ways.

Just when you want to throw your cable bill out the window, the folks at Comcast continue to give back to the community. Last Friday, Comcast Sr. Executive VP and Chief Diversity Officer David L. Cohen made an announcement to donate $250,000 to area Chicago Public Libraries to enhance their developmental technology labs. In attendance at the Harold Washington Library Center included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CHA CEO Eugene Jones; CPL Commissioner and CEO Brian Bannon and Internet Essentials program participants from Altgeld Gardens.

Internet Essentials program participants from Altgeld Gardens receive laptops from Comcast. PHOTO: Mary L. Datcher

The Internet Essentials is a great adoption program for low-income families, supplying households with high speed data for the affordable rate of $9.99 per month.

As an added surprise, the youth participants were surprised with laptops and six months of complimentary internet by the media giant. And…. you have a laptop and you have a laptop! It was a good day. S/O to Comcast VP of Communications Jack Segal for always laying out the red carpet for me!

Get ready for one of the funniest women to make her Saturday Night Live (SNL) debut this Saturday. Comedian/actress Tiffany Haddish (“Girl’s Trip”) will be hosting the show with musical guest Taylor Swift. Hopefully, Kanye won’t come out the woodwork on this episode, but I definitely can’t wait to check out Haddish stealing the show. SHE-IS-THAT-FUNNY. 

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds

The Chicago Urban League is prepping and making the final touches for the 56th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner benefit gala on Saturday, Nov. 4,  at the Hilton Chicago. R&B singer, producer and songwriter Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds will perform and Chicago comedian Damon Williams will serve as master of ceremonies. Beyond 100: Together We Matter highlights the organization’s entrance in its second century of service to Chicago’s African American community. This year’s honorees include James D. Montgomery, Sr. set to receive Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award and Senator Emil Jones, Jr., who will receive the Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Individual Service Award. Congrats to both men for their impeccable public service and historical contribution.

On Sunday, Nov. 5 LYNC Worldwide presents an Anti-Bullying Celebrity Charity Event at the House of Hope located at 752 E. 114th St. from 5pm-9pm. Featured guests will include former NFL player Julius Williams; two-time Superbowl NFL player, Anthony Smith; Atlanta Falcons’ Darion Griswold; Freeway Rick Ross and live performances from hometown talent. Proceeds from the event will go to benefit The Griffin Gives Foundation.

Darlena Williams-Burnett celebrate birthday Nov.1

Birthday Shout-Outs

Scorpio nation continues with happy belated birthday wishes to Empire show’s music director Jeff Morrow; music mogul Michael Maudlin; and Juggernaut’s Brian Nevado on Oct. 30. Double celebrations on Halloween include Stepper personality John Nance and music biz author Norma DeShields on Oct.31.  R&B singer Randy Malone and the first lady of the 27th Ward Darlena Williams-Burnett celebrate on Nov.1. The original hip hop cowboy from “The Links’ days”—Duro Wicks along with Hot Mix 5 Co-founder and member Kenny ‘Jammin’ Jason on Nov. 2. Singer and house music vocalist Jon Pierce jacks it up on Nov. 3. Black girl magic continues with Prinses Hemphill; House diva Toni Shelton; Aleta M. Clardy along with our awesome men—DJ Monte Wilson and Trey the Choklit Jok celebrating on Nov.4.

Got a scoop? Make sure to send us your special events, promotions, and mentions. mdatcher@chicagodefender.com

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