The kick off of political season was not holiday parties, toy and coat drives but a celebration of the most important and impactful man of our era—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the Mayor’s annual MLK clergy breakfast to a non-stop day of community service activities, church programs and the highly attend Rainbow PUSH and PUSH Excel Scholarship breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Nearly 900 attendees traveled through the snow and sleet to support Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.’s annual ‘who’s who’ in the building. This year was exceptionally special because we are two months away from the statewide and county primaries. So, you know what that meant? Every table was SOLD OUT. Besides, who wants to be the one to turn down Rev. Jackson for a great cause? But more so, who will be the one to miss an opportunity for a media shot and a prime seat in the room full of corporate heads, big funders, business owners, faith and community leaders.
Prior to the breakfast, a press conference was led by Rev. Jackson surrounded by public officials and those running for office to discuss Trump’s most recent racist remarks (we really can’t keep up at this point), but it has garnered more soundbites to raise eyebrows. Without missing a step certain Republican legislator who met Trump along with Sen. Dick Durbin deny they heard exactly ‘what had happened’ when 45th called Africa and Haiti sh*hole countries. Really? Really? Well, we weren’t having it, and neither was the man behind the biggest boycott behind Coca Cola. So, let’s see how many people we can gather to boycott Trump.
Meanwhile, powerful speech by attorney Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative) who was the keynote speaker in making sure to understand ‘we must not forget’ those who lost their lives—nearly 5,000 reported lynchings in the South.
This year will be the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination and a beautiful commemorative booklet recognized the legacy of King’s work being the mission of Rainbow PUSH Coalition today. It is a reminder that our work is not done and now is the time to guide and prepare the next generation of leaders.
During Chicago Restaurant Week, there will be a special pop-up restaurant beginning January 26. Bronzeville Bistro is bringing a special dining experience to the historic Blues District. Executive Chef Cherese Rollin, owner of CheSa’s Gluten Tootin Free Food Truck and Catering Services will be providing a unique menu with something for everyone with a gluten free touch. For more information, visit: www.bronzevillebistro.com
The 49th NAACP Image Awards aired on Monday night and it was one of the best awards shows to hit the airwaves in a long time. Star of ABC’s black-ish, Anthony Anderson did a superb job as the show’s host and it was a delight to witness some Black folk receive their due in the field of expertise. The collage of both the arts, politics, philanthropy and community service is what sets the NAACP Image Awards apart from other primary arts and performance shows—where ordinary yet extraordinary individuals are treated in the same high regard as celebrities.
Congrats to director, Ava DuVernay securing Entertainer of the Year and chick flick with twist, “Girl’s Trip” winning for Outstanding Motion Picture of the Year. The ‘high-five’ and ‘you still can’t touch me’ award goes to Power’s Omari Hardwick who won for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series. The series was recently cancelled on the Starz network and if you were as disappointed as me—an online petition to move it to another network is A MUST!
The prestigious honor of the NAACP President’s Awards was earned by a film screen favorite, actor Danny Glover.
For a full listing of NAACP Image Award winners, visit: www.naacpimageawards.net
Only in Chicago
Where else can you party on a Sunday afternoon, pop in for the best tacos at an upscale Mexican food restaurant and party with a group of members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. all before 10pm?
R&B and soul singer, Estelle lit up Untitled for the invite-only Red Star Access Heineken day party. With music by Mark Flava and DJ Toure, the venue was popping with a mock casino room featuring a roulette, black jack and craps table. Great fun and of course produced by Juan Teague of Juan and Only Events.
Crossing the street, Mercadito’s tables were filled with people coming from the snow and warming their bellies with some of the best tacos in town.
Shout out to Catrice Armstrong of PR-Werks for inviting me to kick at the AKA pre-Founders Day party at the Soundbar. A proud member of the sorority, Catrice is the sweetest person and one of my favorite PR people in the game. Happy Founders Day to all of the wonderful members of the Divine 9 for their continuous community service and commitment to young people.
A special Frankie Knuckles Tribute was also part of the pre-MLK activities and it was a stellar line-up of some of the best House music DJs in the country. Benefiting the Frankie Knuckles Foundation (FKF), the party was held at the Smartbar nightclub. Great music spun by Michael Serafini, Mike Dunn, and Derrick Carter to name a few.
Birthday Shout-Outs and Celebration
Say goodbye to Capricorn season so we save the best for last! Happy Birthday wishes to music veteran and former MCA Records rep, Chuck Arrington; and publishing guru with too many platinum plaques on his wall, Livio Harris on Jan.15. Special hug to my friend and one of my favorite DJs, Jorge ‘DJ Play’ Londono; the BEST entertainment and business accountant, Jerry Catalano; and event promoter, John Jointer who rock it out on Jan.17. This is the week of awesome DJ birthdays, much love to Edwin “Bear Who” Rios; Stepper King, DJ Sam Chatman; and past NAACP Image Award winner, Coodie Simmons on Jan.18.
Kicking off the Aquarius season is filmmaker and writer, Dani Jackson; Washington Park Chamber of Commerce Director, Donna Hampton-Smith; and Senior Marketing Executive, Ella Britton Gibson celebrating on Jan.19. One of the best ears in the biz, DJ Hugo H.; super dope sound engineer and event producer, Phil Strong; music vet and talent manager, Rawle Stewart; and the fabulous author, Ytasha Womack turning up the volume on Jan.22.
Got a scoop? Send birthdays, career moves, anniversaries, memorials or just plain good ole dish. firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Mary L. Datcher on Twitter. @globalmixx