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It’s cold out here in these streets and that’s saying it mildly. In all of my years in the music business and now taking on the responsibility of covering politics in my hometown—the beef out here makes Tupac and Biggie’s look like a squirrel fight. With less than 57 days to go before the Illinois primaries, candidates are going for the “jugular.”

NBC commentator, Carol Marin

The first televised Democratic Gubernatorial debate on Tuesday evening was the best exchange between the candidates thus far. After a series of public forums hosted by various organizations over the last few months, each candidate’s message was lost in translation in a repetitive pool of political boredom. But, NBC political reporter and moderator, Carol Marin did a superb job in keeping the candidates on their toes and sticking to the hard-hitting and necessary issues at the forefront.

There were several elephants in the room from Pritzker’s$250,000 tax appeal  break to install “a couple of toilets” to the heated exchange between the billionaire and Biss’ legislative voting record. But, the ‘shade award’ goes to Chris Kennedy for his dramatic response to Pritzker’s compliment towards the Kennedy family work on behalf of the Special Olympics.

The son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy said he cannot find any flattering thing to say about someone who is the “poster child” of Illinois political corruption. Ouch! We all felt that sting!

Former Ceasefire Executive Director, Tio Hardiman never missed a beat with his occasional ‘commercial break’ banter of saying, “And that’s why you should vote for Tio Hardiman for Governor”. There were so many valid points made throughout the debate and clearly Carol Marin made sure the candidates understood to “HAVE YOUR PLAN TOGETHER.” In all his genuine approach to reason, Biss seemed a bit shaken when his signature intros leading up to an actual point was rushed to get to the DANG POINT MAAAN.

I had the pleasure of enjoying the debate from the screening room at the Chicago Urban League headquarters where it was great to see other people’s responses to the candidate’s answers. The question is who won this round?

On having an idea on how to deal with some of the problems that working class people are faced with—Tio Hardiman has done his homework.

Understanding across-the-board issues that will enable a strategy put in place and executed by both he and his Lieutenant Governor—J.B. Pritzker who continued to praise Julianna Stratton.

Hitting on the uncomfortable topics of discussion that most politicians avoid in order to appeal to a broader base—Chris Kennedy did not hold back.

Candidate for IL State Rep. (5th) Lamont Robinson

The most recent Ken Dunkin “sell-out” radio ads by Democratic 5th District State Representative candidate Lamont Robinson is blazing the airwaves—making it clear, the gloves are off. But while the Cook County Democratic Party backed candidate is making this his campaign script—polls are showing favorable numbers for the former Illinois legislator.

Which means, there is an unfamiliarity issue among voters with the other candidates. Word around the senior homes is that the intensity of the last election of “mudslinging” wore down some serious nerves. A repeat may backfire in this race, as opposed to focusing on each candidate’s plan to help their constituents deal with access to quality healthcare, a better budget for our school districts, helping small businesses receive the necessary financial resources to build their neighborhoods and growing property taxes.

Dem Gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss avoids the finger-pointing approach rolling out television ads showing his sensitive side as a caring dad and former educator who helps his son with homework. Will this angle work? Well, it does break up the repetitive anti-Rauner/anti-Pritzker ads that have consumed our morning airwaves. But, don’t put up the Vaseline just yet…

All That Bark…

Trump signs bill funding through Feb. 8, which will put a band aid on a bleeding gunshot wound called DACA. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic minority floor leader, made it very clear on the party’s priority in order to maintain residence for nearly 800,000 Dreamers who were granted refuge by the Obama administration as young children. The three-day government shutdown kept all eyes on Washington, D.C. with “Mister Twitter hands” trying to shift the blame to Dems while whipping boy GOP majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to Dem senators proposing to continue military payments during the shutdown. While there is no commitment from Trump on an agreement on DACA protection, border security seems to be on the table for the “great wall of 45.”

Are there cracks in the façade of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart? While many have praised the sheriff on his attention of the mental health problem that plagues the streets of Chicago and its transition to the County jail, there are consistent problems that raise eyebrows. The Chicago Defender broke the story on discrimination and sexual harassment in 2015 among Cook County jail correctional officers, which was ignored and challenged by Dart’s office. There is currently a lawsuit filed by the female officers listing various complaints. While these complaints went ignored by supervisors, brushed aside by at least one Cook County Commissioner and a familiar community faith leader who happens to be a county vendor—these brave Black women pushed through the drama. But, rumors persist of an alleged domestic dispute at the Dart household last October? I wonder who came out with the “black-eye?”

Bruce Willis in “Death Wish”

Hollywood Fiction, Chicago Reality?

A new film hits the theatres on Feb. 2 that shines light on Chicago violence but in Hollywood fiction. Bruce Willis returns to the big screen playing a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of Chicago violence as it’s rushed into his ER – until his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter (Camila Morrone) are viciously attacked in their suburban home. Taking matters into his own hands after waiting for the police’s slow investigative process—the doctor hunts for his family’s assailants to deliver justice. As the anonymous slayings of criminals grabs the media’s attention, the city wonders if this deadly avenger is a guardian angel…or a grim reaper. Award-winning actress Kimberly Elise also co-stars in this film. This film may hit home harder than we know.

R&B singer, musician and songwriter, Rapheal Saadiq

Oscar Nominations Are In

Congratulations to Grammy-award winning producer and songwriter Raphael Saadiq on his Academy Award nomination for “Best Original Song” for “Mighty River’ from the Netflix movie Mudbound. The founding member of the R&B group Toni, Tony, Tone co-wrote the song with Mary J. Blige and Taura Stinson.

Mary J. Blige is the only Oscar nominee with a double nomination for her Best Supporting Actress for her role in Mudbound. Way to go to the girl from Yonkers, New York.

Tom Burrell

Advertising Guru Honored

Founder and advertising architect, Tom Burrell will be the center of a special PBS documentary in the works, Burrell: Advertising Revolution which will air during Black Music Month this June. Filmmakers, Denise Pendleton along with award-winning commercial television directors, Daryl Manuel and Phil Lee will produced the film which features some key players in the building the most influential Black owned agencies in the country. On Thursday, June 25, Tom Burrell will be joined by former colleagues, marketing executives, friends and press at a private reception where Co-CEO of Burrell Communications Group McGhee Williams Osse; Eugene Morris, Sarah Burroughs, Tony Gregory, Alvin Hawkins, Bill Mason, Andrew Bozeman and Anna Morris will be in attendance. For more information, contact: burrelldoc@gmail.com

XFINITY Store opening in Hyde Park

Drum roll….on Thursday, Comcast will finally unveil the grand opening of the XFINITY store in Hyde Park, 1322 E. 53rd St. The ribbon cutting event will invite media and community leaders for a private tour, but on Saturday, Jan. 27 from noon-5 p.m., there will be an afternoon of live entertainment and fun. Hosted by WGCI FM’s Tone Kapone with live entertainment by The Morning Takeover host and comedian Leon Rogers along with a performance by jazz musician Thaddeus Tukes—expect a drop-in by four-time NBA Champion and analyst Horace Grant.

The 5,400-square-foot space will provide Southside customers access to the latest products as well as on premise iPads for visitors to explore Xfinity’s Android and iOS apps. In addition, customers will be able to pay their bills, and pick up and return equipment. The store has hired 15 full and part-time employees.

Black Creativity Gala

It’s that time again to begin the round of Black History Month festivities. The 35th annual Black Creativity Gala takes place Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Museum of Science and Industry. While we suck in our stomachs under a layer of spanx and fellas endure a few hours of extricating pain in those brand-new Stacy Adams—we still love dressing up for this special social event kicking off BHM. Nearly 700 attendees will enjoy the Juried Art Exhibition, which will display some incredible art by Chicago’s finest while they chat and sip cocktails, followed by dinner and musical entertainment by the Englewood Children’s Choir and DJ Nick “Nonstop” Nicholson. It’s a great launch to a month-long program at the museum celebrating the achievements by African-Americans while elevating interest about science and technology among our youth.

Columbia Records Executive, Cynthia ‘CJ’ Johnson

Birthday Shout-outs

There is nothing like waking up to another year feeling blessed and highly favored. Happy belated birthday to political advisor and outreach director for Commissioner Richard Boykin, Anthony Beckham; real estate agent Anita Knox-Halsey; veteran event promoter Leon Deniz; and Jackie Holsten, Executive VP of Holsten Real Estate Development, who all celebrated on Jan. 23. Digital Vision’s CEO Tenille Jackson and our one and only Professor Robert T. Starks, who celebrate on Jan. 24. Everyone’s favorite former George’s Music Room store clerk and  DJ Paul Harrington blow out candles on Jan. 25. Radio programmer and Chicago native Kathy Brown and business woman Cheryle Robinson Jackson kick up their heels on Jan. 26. One of my favorite record label executives Cathy Carroll will be shouting to the rooftop on Jan. 27. Chicago Soul music singer Nanette Frank celebrates Jan. 28. Columbia Records’ executive and our very own Cynthia ‘CJ’ Johnson along with dancer/choreographer Andrea Kelly throw their hands in the air on Jan. 29.

Got a scoop? Send birthdays, special celebrations, promotions, events and memorials to mdatcher@chicagodefender.com

Follow Mary L. Datcher on Twitter. @globalmixx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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