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Archive for July 13th, 2012

Madigan, U.S. DOJ reach $175 million settlement with Wells Fargo over discriminatory lending

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Settlement of Attorney General’s 2009 Lawsuit Provides Millions in Restitution for African-American, Latino Borrowers Steered Into Subprime Loans

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced a $175 million joint settlement with Wells Fargo over discriminatory lending practices. The settlement resolves allegations that the lender and its brokers steered African-American and Latino borrowers into risky subprime loans more often than similarly situated white borrowers and charged minority borrowers more for their loans during the nation’s housing boom. With this settlement, Madigan is the only state Attorney General to bring and resolve a fair lending lawsuit against a national bank.

“Wells Fargo’s discriminatory lending practices were illegal. They helped destroy a generation of wealth in African-American and Latino communities in the Chicago metro area,” Madigan said of the allegations in the state’s lawsuit. “Today’s settlement holds Wells Fargo accountable and requires the bank to invest in and help revitalize the same communities it helped to destroy.”

The announcement concludes Madigan’s 2009 lawsuit that alleged illegal discrimination by Wells Fargo in its lending practices against African-American and Latino homeowners. The settlement provides for at least $15 million in restitution to Illinois borrowers whose loans were originated between 2004 and 2009.

At least 3,300 Illinois borrowers are so far estimated to be victims of discrimination by Wells Fargo brokers, whether they were steered into subprime mortgages or charged higher fees than white borrowers. Illinois victims will receive at least $8 million in relief in cash payments. On average, steering victims are expected to receive a payment of $15,000, and pricing victims will receive an average $2,000 payment. However, actual damages will depend on individual circumstances, and consumers may receive more or less than the averages. Wells Fargo also agreed to identify additional victims who were discriminated against by its employees and will provide similar relief for those borrowers.

An additional $7 million will fund down payment assistance for Illinois borrowers in need.

In addition, the settlement provides for an independent administrator, who will contact identified borrowers and distribute compensation payments. Individuals who believe they were victims and have questions about eligibility also can email wellsfargo.settlement@usdoj.gov for more information.

Madigan’s 2009 lawsuit alleged Wells Fargo established highly discretionary lending policies and procedures with weak oversight that permitted Wells Fargo’s employees and brokers to steer African-Americans and Latinos into subprime loans. Madigan’s complaint cited Wells Fargo’s compensation structure that rewarded employees for placing borrowers into high-cost mortgages. The complaint also alleged that African-Americans and Latinos paid more for their mortgages than whites with similar credit profiles. For example, the complaint notes that in 2007, Wells Fargo charged an African-American prime wholesale customer in Chicago an average of about $2,937 more in broker fees than a white borrower on a $300,000 loan, and a Hispanic borrower was charged an average of $2,187 more.

Combating the Housing Crisis on Many Fronts

Throughout the housing crisis, Attorney General Madigan has taken actions to hold the country’s biggest mortgage lenders accountable for unlawful misconduct. In late 2011, Madigan and the U.S. Department of Justice reached the largest national fair lending settlement in history of $335 million to resolve allegations that Countrywide – now owned by Bank of America – employed similar discriminatory lending practices against minority borrowers.

Madigan has taken multiple actions against both Countrywide and Wells Fargo. She led an earlier lawsuit against Countrywide that brought about a national $8.7 billion settlement in 2008 regarding the company’s predatory lending practices, and she reached a $39.5 million settlement with Wells Fargo over the bank’s deceptive marketing of extremely risky loans called Pay Option ARMs.

In addition to these efforts, among her most recent actions, Madigan joined U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and her counterparts in February to announce a $25 billion settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers over allegations of widespread “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents and other fraudulent practices while servicing loans of struggling homeowners. The settlement will provide more than $1 billion in relief to assist people in Illinois who have lost their homes, are underwater or at imminent risk of defaulting on their mortgage. The deal also calls for overhauling mortgage servicing standards to prevent future abuses by lenders.

The Attorney General also continues to hold accountable market participants that contributed to the housing bubble and subsequent collapse. Earlier this year, Madigan filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s, alleging the company compromised its independence as a rating agency by doling out high ratings to unworthy, risky investments as a corporate strategy to increase its revenue and market share.

National Association of University Women comes to Atlanta for 2012 convention

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — The National Association of University Women., Inc. has chosen Atlanta, Georgia as their 68th National Convention location. The convention will convene at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta where 400 women are expected from July 31 – August 5, 2012. NAUW will host its Public Meeting on July 31st from 7 PM to 10 PM.

According to National Publicity Chair, Evelyn Wright, “the convention will serve as a wonderful time to collaborate, network, meet new friends, tour the beautiful city of Atlanta and strategize about the vision, focus and growth of this illustrious organization”.

NAUW’s mission is to serve women, youth and the disadvantaged in communities and developing countries by addressing educational issues, advancing the status of women’s issues and strategically partnering with allied organizations. The National Association of University Women has a long and rich history of service to the disadvantaged in communities throughout the United States. This service began when Mary Church Terrell, Sara Brown, Winifred Brown, and Mary Cromwell formed the College Alumnae Club in the District of Columbia in 1910. Having recently celebrated its Centennial Anniversary, members of the organization pride themselves on being Progressive Women: Redefining Community Service for the 21st Century.

The convention will be hosted by the NAUW-Atlanta branch which services the Atlanta Metro Community. For more information about the convention, email the chairpersons Eurtistine Holt and Winifred Elam at eurtholt@aol.com or wmelam788@yahoo.com.

For more information about NAUW, visit www.nauw1910.org

The RLJ Companies announces formation of small business investment company in cooperation with the Small Business Administration

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

RLJ Credit Opportunity attracts investments from major banks to lend money to small businesses

 

Bethesda, MD (BlackNews.com) — Robert L. Johnson, Founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies, today announced that RLJ Credit Opportunity Fund, an RLJ portfolio company, has received a license from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to operate as a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC).

“The launch of the SBIC is a continuation of The RLJ Companies’ strategy to become a preeminent business in financial asset management,” said Johnson. “I am delighted that leading banks – Deutsche Bank; SunTrust; Wells Fargo; and Northern Trust – have invested in RLJ’s fund, which is designed to provide much needed access to financing for minority and small businesses across the country. The relationship with our partner banks demonstrates that banks are willing to invest in minority companies that can generate superior returns and help meet their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) goals. The fund, under the leadership of Trevoir Gregg, will undoubtedly provide positive lending benefits to minority and small businesses and support the SBA’s lending objectives,” Johnson concluded.

The fund will launch with approximately $70 million of committed capital, with the goal of raising a total of $225 million in capital to deploy.

“The SBIC program is an attractive partnership between the government and the private sector, promoting the health and competitiveness of the U.S. economy by utilizing efficient capital market solutions,” said Trevoir Gregg, Managing Partner, RLJ Credit Opportunity Fund. “We are delighted to have such strong partners as the SBA and our initial group of major banks,” he concluded.

About The RLJ Companies:
The RLJ Companies, founded by Robert L. Johnson, is an innovative business network that provides strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of companies. Within The RLJ Companies portfolio, Johnson owns or holds interests in businesses operating in a publicly traded hotel real estate investment trust; private equity; financial services; asset management; insurance services; automobile dealerships; sports and entertainment; and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming. The RLJ Companies is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, with affiliate operations in Charlotte, NC; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; San Juan, PR; and Monrovia, Liberia. Prior to founding The RLJ Companies, Johnson was founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET). For more information visit www.rljcompanies.com.

About RLJ Credit Opportunity Fund, LLC:
RLJ Credit Opportunity Fund makes senior debt and subordinated debt investments in lower middle market companies. RLJ Credit provides flexible capital solutions to facilitate buyouts, recapitalizations, refinancings, and growth financings. The Principals of RLJ Credit have extensive experience partnering with middle market companies, across a broad range of industries, to support growth and create value. They successfully partner with private equity firms, investment banks, and operating executives to deliver our full range of financial and strategic resources.

Maynard Media Critique: Mainstream Media tend to ignore Blacks’ mental health problems

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

By Joshunda Sanders

 

 

From Metta World Peace to Rudy Eugene, African-Americans confronting mental health challenges are often portrayed as isolated examples of crazy or deranged people rather than members of a marginalized community suffering an illness.

 

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, established in 2008 in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, an acclaimed author and mental health advocate. But beyond the black blogosphere and social networking events, the dismal state of black mental health treatment and awareness hasn’t been covered by mainstream print, online and broadcast media.

 

Before she died at age 56 in 2006, Campbell was an advocate for mental health awareness through organizing and her writing. Her children’s novel, “Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry,” was given the 2003 Outstanding Media Award for Literature by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is about a girl who learns how to cope with her mother’s bipolar disorder.

 

In 2005, Campbell wrote “72 Hour Hold,” a novel focusing on an adult daughter, the onset of mental illness and challenges faced by mentally ill African-Americans in America’s health care system. The book is believed to have been inspired by the experience of her daughter, actress Maia Campbell, with mental illness.

 

Journalists, writers and experts cite many reasons why the mainstream media don’t cover African-American mental health responsibly or consistently. Among them are racism, lack of context about how African-Americans interact with the health care system and stigmas that remain entrenched in the black community and discourage those who struggle with depression, schizophrenia or other mental health problems from discussing them.

 

“Mental health in general has been a sub-beat in the mainstream media,” says journalist Amy Alexander, co-author with Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint of the 2001 book, “Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African-Americans.” Rarely do mainstream media outlets have the luxury of assigning a reporter to cover only mental health since most are now responsible for several beats simultaneously.

 

A prominent exception was Clifford J. Levy, now a New York Times editor. He won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, and a George Polk Award, for a three-part series exposing sometimes fatal neglect of the mentally ill in privately run adult homes regulated by New York State.

 

Alexander says, “It used to be that no one would write about mental health, and the way it would be covered would be piecemeal in the context of a report coming out from the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] or the National Institutes of Health. Or you would see a story pop up around a horrific event.”

 

Since Alexander’s and Poussaint’s book was published, little has changed. The bizarre case of Rudy Eugene, 31, an African-American in Miami who chewed off a homeless man’s face in May before being shot to death, made “bath salts” a buzz phrase nationwide.

 

Eugene took his clothes off along the MacArthur Causeway from Miami Beach before attacking Ronald Poppo, 65, in what The Miami Herald called a “ghoulish, drawn-out assault in plain view on a city sidewalk captured by a Miami Herald security camera. Eugene was shot by a police officer who found him chewing chunks off Poppo’s face.”

 

The head of the Miami police union publicly speculated that “bath salts,” synthetic stimulants believed to be the cause of psychotic episodes elsewhere around the country, prompted Eugene’s actions. But, according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s office, only marijuana was found in his system.

 

More likely, Kristen Gwynne wrote for the online magazine AlterNet, is that Eugene had a history of mental illness. “But pinning a tragedy to a drug scare is easier (and perhaps more lucrative) than explaining a non-existent safety net for the mentally ill,” she wrote. “Bath salts, the mainstream media naively believes, can be banned and eradicated. Treating mental illness is a far more complicated story.”

 

Other than sensationalized portraits of individuals, the only consistent coverage of mental illness in the black community focuses on the psychological fallout of depression and other mental health issues facing black celebrities.

 

These portrayals are opportunities for mainstream media to explore larger questions about the escalating suicide rate among black men, the entrenched stigma of appearing weak and vulnerable in the black community by seeking help and the dearth of African-American mental health professionals. Instead, stories focus on the unique narrative surrounding individual celebrities and not mental health problems of a broader community.

 

When “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February at age 75, far more media attention was given to his legacy than his mental state. Instead, his stoicism was noted in a New York Times obituary. During divorce proceedings in 2009, James C. McKinley Jr. wrote, Cornelius “mentioned having ‘significant health problems’ but did not elaborate.” Another friend of Cornelius’s simply described him as being “very private.”

 

When World Peace, a Los Angeles Lakers player formerly known as Ron Artest, has spoken honestly and publicly about his therapy for mental health issues, reporters have mocked him. In September 2010, a year before Artest changed his name, Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke referred to him as “the looniest Laker” even as Artest was addressing middle schoolers, urging them to communicate to health care professionals what ails them psychologically.

 

Journalist and author Ellis Cose says these examples explore “celebrities much more so than the black community.”In 1994, Cose wrote “The Rage of a Privileged Class: Why Are Middle-Class Blacks Angry? Why Should America Care?” and last year, “The End of Anger: A New Generation’s Take on Race and Rage.”

 

Neither the Cornelius obituary nor Plaschke’s column, for the most part, was linked explicitly to race. Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, did suggest that Cornelius’s death might launch a conversation about suicide prevention among blacks. “But his take was the exception rather than the rule,” Cose wrote in an e-mail.

 

Even when the topic is more about black celebrity than race, mental illness, particularly in famous athletes, is viewed as “evidence of a criminal character,” says David J. Leonard, author of “After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness.” He is an associate professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University.

 

“Media go immediately to focusing on the purported pathologies of the players themselves and don’t want to see what the broader context is,” Leonard says. “The history of race and mental health is a history of racism and the white medical establishment demonizing and criminalizing the black community through writing about their ‘abnormal personalities’ and being ‘crazy.’

 

“That history plays out in mainstream media coverage, but it also affects public discussions about mental health because it has so often been used to justify exclusion, segregation and inequality” in mental health treatment for African-Americans.

 

Online alternative media and black-oriented websites such as The Root, theGrio and independent blogs have reported more consistently and thoroughly on mentally ill African-Americans.

 

Danielle Belton, who blogs at blacksnob.com, has written for bp Magazine (bphope.com) about her perspective as someone with bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, according to webmd.com. Recently, Bassey Ikpi, a writer and blogger working on a book about her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2004, founded The Siwe Project, a global nonprofit, as a forum for African-Americans to share experiences about mental health in the black community.

 

To encourage dialogue about a topic rarely discussed publicly, Ikpi created No Shame Day on July 2. On social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, African-Americans worldwide shared stories of navigating mental health in a culture that actively discourages blacks from seeking talk therapy, she says.

 

“We didn’t get any mainstream media coverage for No Shame Day,” Ikpi says. “There were 80,000 mentions of No Shame Day and The Siwe Project within a six- to eight-hour period on July 2. No Essence, Ebony or Huffington Post. I think it’s changing a little bit, but mainstream media is not moving with the same speed as online publications.”

 

At least partial resistance to mainstream reporting on black mental health is tied to blacks’ historical stoicism and belief that religion can serve as a substitute for professional therapy or, when necessary, medication.

 

“We have survived Jim Crow, beating, lynchings and fire hoses,” says Mychal Denzel Smith, a mental health advocate, commentator and writer. “We pride ourselves on strength. I spoke at a high school, and the teacher said, ‘Black folks just don’t have time to be depressed.’

 

“Of all the things that we’re up against, mental health seems to be last on the list, but if you look at the totality of our experience in America, it can lead to mental illness. But it seems like the last thing you would need to address among all of the ills that plague our community.”

 

No Shame Day and The Siwe Project are important starting points for continuing a conversation outside mainstream media about the importance of self-care, Smith says.

 

“What Bassey did with No Shame Day was very proactive activism . . . it’s something she’s been planning for some time. It’s about taking control and being proactive in defining our narrative for us instead of waiting for other people to do it.

 

“That’s the thing about mental health that we have to know – not waiting for someone to diagnose us. We know that there’s something wrong in our community. There’s something wrong with that uncle that’s always drunk or the aunt that’s on drugs. We have to be more proactive in addressing these issues and making sure that we take our health into account.”

 

Joshunda Sanders writes media critiques for the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Her stories and other media critiques are available atwww.mije.org/mmcsi and can be republished free of charge. For more information, please contact Elisabeth Pinio at epinio@mije.org or 510-891-9202.

ABC 7 Chicago presents a special edition of “Heart & Soul”

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The program is hosted by Charles Thomas and Evelyn Holmes; Program recent winner of Illinois Broadcasters Award

 

ABC 7’s Charles Thomas and Evelyn Holmes will host the next installment of HEART & SOUL, a series of specials that tap into Chicago’s vibrant African American community; airing Saturday, July 21st at 6:00 pm.  Leah Hope and Hosea Sanders also contribute reports to this week’s episode.  An encore presentation will air Saturday, August 11th at 4:30 pm on ABC 7.

HEART & SOUL is the winner of the 2012 Illinois Broadcasters Association’s “Best Public Affairs Program” award.

HEART & SOUL spotlights writer and DePaul University Alum Paul Oakley Stovall. Stovall is currently working with renowned Actress Phylicia Rashad of ‘The Cosby Show’ fame in a new play titled “Immediate Family,” currently in production at the Goodman Theater. The play features Chicago native Cynda Williams, who throughout her career has worked with the likes of Spike Lee and Denzel Washington.  Hearyt & Soul got the chance sit down with Cynda to talk about the play and her latest project.

Next up, are the symphonic sounds of the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, a music institute that trains a diverse group of students interested in classical music. Performing at various venues all across the city, these musically inclined students compete on a local and national level, and interact with professional musicians associated with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

“This edition of Heart & Soul definitely has that wow factor,” says producer Rubye Wilson Lane. “Our viewers will be blown away by the talented kids from the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute who play the violin, viola and cello. These students sound like an orchestra well beyond their years even though they range in age from 3-17 years old. Hearing them brings joy to my heart.”

Heart & Soul also features students from Christ the King Jesuit School who have distinguished themselves as being the first senior class to graduate, all college bound. The show profiles two students from the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s West side.   For the past four years, they have been given the opportunity to work in a corporate setting, receiving valuable hands on experience.

Finally, the show looks at a high school in the Bronzeville community with an amazing accomplishment:  the school recently graduated three Bill and Melinda Gates scholars.  Their small senior class, with 120 students, was awarded more than $5 million in scholarship money.

HEART & SOUL is featured on-demand at abc7chicago.com.

HEART & SOUL is produced by Rubye Wilson Lane.

MWRD to staff booth at 38th annual DuSable Museum Arts & Crafts Festival and participate in the 22nd annual Westchester Fest, both July 14 & 15

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is participating in the festival for the first time and will donate two rain barrels. Stop by the MWRD booth to see one of the rain barrels or pick up some coloring books for the kids. Children and adults will have access to information about the MWRD’s history and current wastewater treatment operations, guides to proper disposal of pharmaceuticals and pet waste as well as general information about the MWRD’s efforts to protect the environment and the region’s water resources.

The DuSable Museum of African American History will host its 38th annual arts and crafts festival on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and visitors will enjoy fine arts and crafts, food, entertainment, a marketplace and a children’s pavilion.

The first DuSable Museum art festival was held in 1974 with eight artists and it has since grown to showcase the work of nearly 200 artists and craftspeople. The DuSable Museum describes the event as an “…exhibition of fine art and unique and hand-crafted work which features artists working in traditional, ethnic and experimental fine arts and crafts that relate to African-American themes, identity, history and culture…”

For more information, visit dusablemuseum.org.

Specifics:  

DuSable Museum and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

DuSable Museum Arts & Crafts Festival

740 East 56th Place, Chicago, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15, 2012

 

MWRD to participate in 22nd annual Westchester Fest

Representatives from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) will be participating in Westchester Fest on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday July 15, 2012 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will answer questions about wastewater treatment and stormwater management services.

This is the MWRD’s first year participating in the event, which will feature live bands, refreshments, and carnival rides. MWRD will be holding a rain barrel drawing each day. Participants can win by completing a one minute “Water Environment Pledge,” which encourages residents to take simple actions to help improve water quality and prevent flooding. Besides installing a rain barrel to capture and re-use stormwater, sample pledge items include: washing full loads of laundry or dishes, picking up pet waste, shopping with reusable bags instead of plastic bags and properly disposing of litter so it does not wind up in our waterways.

Admission to the festival is free. For more information, visit www.westchesterchamber.org.

Specifics:

Village of Westchester, Westchester Chamber and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Westchester Fest

St. Joseph High School, 10900 West Cermak Rd., Westchester

Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15, 2012 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s president awarded Woman of Excellence in Business

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D. Recognized as Trailblazer for Humanity                                               

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) announced that Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, received the Woman of Excellence in Business award by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

 

Dr. Scott received the award in Chicago during the Coalition’s 41st Annual Conference business luncheon in which the discussion centered around economic development and making small businesses more marketable.

 

CBCF’s Board of Directors named Dr. Scott to her position in February 2007. She had served as interim president and CEO since July 2006, and joined the Foundation in 2005 as vice president for research and programs. Dr. Scott is responsible for CBCF’s public policy, research, educational and fund raising initiatives, most notably, the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), a much-anticipated, four-day event held each September in Washington.

 

In addition, Dr. Scott has overseen the successful launch of several CBCF projects that have broadened and elevated the influence of African Americans in the political, legislative and public policy arenas, as well as their overall condition and well being.

 

Prior to joining CBCF, Dr. Scott served as deputy commissioner for training for the New York City Police Department and executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). She has also held senior and supervisory roles in the police departments of Detroit and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has taught political science, urban studies and criminal justice at Howard, Rutgers, Central Florida and North Carolina Central Universities.

 

Long before her role as president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Dr. Scott was a trailblazer for women everywhere. She has been blessed with the ability to see beyond herself and help the lost, the least and the left out. This award is being presented to her because not only does she deserve it, she has earned it! She models for us the very essence of the words: ‘Woman of Excellence in Business,'” said Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Coalition.The Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change.

 

A native of Louisiana, Dr. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., a master’s degree in political science from the University of Iowa, and a doctoral degree in political science from Atlanta University.

 

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., established in 1976, is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy, research and educational institute intended to broaden and elevate the influence of African Americans in the political, legislative and public policy arena.

Long Beach Jazz Festival celebrates 25 years of Jazz and Beyond

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Jazz, R&B and Neo-Soul Featured Performances at the 3-Day Anniversary Extravaganza


Long Beach, CA (BlackNews.com) — Some of the world’s most celebrated international Jazz and R&B artists will perform at the 25th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival, August 10-12, 2012. The star-studded line-up includes: The Dream Tour featuring David Sanborn and Brian Culbertson, Jonathan Butler, Poncho Sanchez, Dianne Reeves, Ronald Isley & The Isley Brothers, Keith Sweat, Chrisette Michele and more. The 3-Day anniversary extravaganza will take place at the Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach, California.

This year’s milestone event is presented by US Bank, celebrating the theme “Jazz and Beyond!” and features performances by iconic Jazz artists and chart-topping R&B and Neo-Soul singers. The event includes VIP seating in a cool outdoor setting with an array of cuisine options, art and much more. The festival has also added a second stage in the pavilion for their anniversary celebration. This year’s headliners include Ronald Isley & The Isley Brothers, The Dream Tour featuring David Sanborn and Brian Culbertson, and Soul of Summer featuring, Jonathan Butler, Warren Hill & Maysa.

Ronald Isley & The Isley Brothers will headline this year’s opening night festivities setting the bar high for the rest of the 25th Anniversary performances. For over half a decade, The Isley Brothers have continued to enjoy one of the longest, most influential and diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music. Grammy Award winning Latin Jazz bandleader Poncho Sanchez, known beyond his vocal and conga skills, will grace the stage Saturday with his renowned band. Soul of Summer featuring, Smooth Jazz greats Jonathan Butler, Warren Hill & Maysa will close out the festival Saturday night. The Dream Tour featuring legendary saxophonist David Sanborn and Contemporary Jazz favorite multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson will round out the final night of the 25th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival.

Poncho Sanchez performed at the inaugural Long Beach Jazz Festival in 1987 and said, “I am looking forward to performing once again and to be part of The 25th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival: Jazz and Beyond with my band Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band… The Long Beach Jazz Festival is one of my favorite all time festivals.”

For more than a quarter century, the Long Beach Jazz Festival has been attended by more than hundreds of thousands of music lovers from all around the word and is one of the longest running Jazz festivals in the western United States. “In 1978 while sitting with some friends at my club (Jazz Safari), we started talking about putting together a show that would feature several Jazz artists like the one in Rhode Island. That idea birthed the first Southern California Jazz fest. The name at that time was the Queen Mary Jazz Festival; It was done on the Queen Mary. We produced it for several years before losing our lease to Wrather Corp. At that time we moved to Rainbow Lagoon Park. I never envisioned the success lasting this long. It seems as if the festival is entering its fiftht year not the 25th year. This year promises to be a great one, with some surprise guests as well as this great line-up,” says Jazz musician and Long Beach Jazz Festival Founder Al Williams.
Festival Schedule:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012 (Gates open at 5:00 p.m. and show begins at 7:00 p.m.)
The Blackbyrds
Ronald Isley & The Isley Brothers
Eric Darius

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 2012 (Gates open at 11:00 a.m. and the show begins at 12:00 p.m.)
Soul of Summer featuring, Jonathan Butler, Warren Hill & Maysa
Poncho Sanchez
Kirk Whalum
Diane Reeves
Leela James
Shilts

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12, 2012 (Gates open at 11:00 a.m. and the show begins at 12:00 p.m.)
The Dream Tour featuring David Sanborn and Brian Culbertson
Keith Sweat
Larry Graham & Graham Central Station
Rick Braun & Richard Elliot
Chrisette Michele
Al Williams & Friends
Jazz Search Winner
US Bank presents the 25th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival and sponsors include: Budweiser, Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, Long Beach Press Telegram, Long Beach Hilton, 94.7 The Wave, KJAZZ 88.1, and KJLH 102.3. The Long Beach Jazz Festival is produced by Rainbow Promotions, LLC, for ticket and event details visit www.longbeachjazzfestival.com.

Photo Caption: Ron Isley & The Isley Brothers

Steppenwolf Theatre Company announces additional casting for 2012/13 Subscription and Young Adults Seasons

Posted by Admin On July - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Steppenwolf Theatre Company Artistic Director Martha Lavey announced additional casting for the 2012/13 Subscription and Steppenwolf for Young Adults seasons. Will Allan, Keith Kupferer and Lusia Strus join previously announced ensemble members Alana Arenas, Mariann Mayberry and Molly Regan, completing the cast of the season opener, Good People. The cast of the Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of The Book Thief features ensemble member Francis Guinan with Patrick Andrews, Amy J. Carle, Rob Fagin, Rae Gray, Dennis William Grimes, Nikki Klix, Ian Knox, Anthony-Jon LeSage, Clancy McCartney, Andy Monson, Mark Ulrich and Nicole Wiesner. Other additions to the 2012/13 slate include Sandra Delgado, Sandra Marquez, John Ortiz and Gary Perez in The Motherf**ker with the Hat, and Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Glenn Davis and Jacqueline Williams in Head of Passes. Edward Torres has also signed on to direct the Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence (previously titled Oral Histories) with Artistic Consultant Kelli Simpkins.

Steppenwolf ensemble members currently confirmed for the 2012/13 Season include: Alana Arenas, Kate Arrington, Ian Barford, K. Todd Freeman, Francis Guinan, Moira Harris, Jon Michael Hill, Tim Hopper, Tina Landau, John Mahoney, Mariann Mayberry, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Austin Pendleton, Molly Regan and Anna D. Shapiro. Additional casting to be announced.

Season subscriptions and individual tickets to The Book Thief are currently on-sale at Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), by calling 312-335-1650, or by visiting steppenwolf.org.

 

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s 2012/13 Season

(All plays, artists and dates are subject to change)

 

Good People

By David Lindsay-Abaire

Directed by ensemble member K. Todd Freeman

Featuring ensemble members Alana Arenas, Mariann Mayberry and Molly Regan with Will Allan, Keith Kupferer and Lusia Strus

September 13 – November 11, 2012 in the Downstairs Theatre

 When Margie Walsh loses her job at a South Boston dollar store, she reaches out to old flame Mike, a Southie boy who left the neighborhood and became a successful doctor. Margie’s attempt to hit Mike up for a job takes on a threatening cast when she realizes the power a secret from Mike’s past holds. From Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire, Good People looks at the dangerous consequences of either choosing to hold on to the pass or to leave it behind.

 The Book Thief            

Based on the novel by Markus Zusak

Adapted by Heidi Stillman

Directed by Hallie Gordon

Featuring ensemble member Francis Guinan with Patrick Andrews, Amy J. Carle, Rob Fagin, Rae Gray, Dennis William Grimes, Nikki Klix, Ian Knox, Anthony-Jon LeSage, Clancy McCartney, Andy Monson, Mark Ulrich and Nicole Wiesner

October 16 – November 9, 2012 in the Upstairs Theatre

 Leisel Meminger is a young girl struggling to survive in Nazi Germany. Her life is filled with risk and danger but her love of books guides her through a brutal world. Death watches over her, fascinated by humankind’s will to live. The Book Thief looks at the terrible cost of violence, bearing witness to our compassion and complicity. When Death tells a story, you listen.

 

The Motherf**ker with the Hat

By Stephen Adly Guirgis

Directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro

Featuring Sandra Delgado, Sandra Marquez, John Ortiz and Gary Perez

December 27, 2012 – March 3, 2013 in the Downstairs Theatre

Things are on the up-and-up for recovering alcoholic Jackie and girlfriend Veronica—until Jackie spots another man’s hat in their apartment and embarks on a sublimely incompetent criminal quest for vengeance. Fast-paced and uproarious, Mother asks probing questions about the havoc addiction wreaks. Ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro, director of the acclaimed Broadway premiere, returns to direct the Steppenwolf production. 

The Birthday Party

By Harold Pinter

Directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton

Featuring ensemble members Ian Barford, Francis Guinan, Moira Harris and John Mahoney with Sophia Sinise

January 24 – May 19, 2013 in the Upstairs Theatre

Petey, Meg and their long-time tenant Stanley live comfortably, if without particular flair, in a seaside boarding house in England. But their humdrum daily routine of cornflakes, newspapers and naps comes to a sudden end when two mysterious men appear, bringing with them menace, mystery and one overwhelming question: What exactly are they searching for? When the group gathers together to celebrate Stanley’s birthday, alliances are re-drawn, scandals are revealed and all are left teetering on a precipice. Lambasted by critics during its 1958 premiere, Nobel laureate Harold Pinter’s play has since gained a reputation as a twentieth-century dark-comic classic.

How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence 

By Miles Harvey                

Directed by Edward Torres

Artistic Consulting by Kelli Simpkins

February 26 – March 9, 2013 in the Upstairs Theatre
 
 
 
 

 

In recent years, violence has devastated the lives of countless young Chicagoans. In the first three months of 2012 alone, homicides in the city have risen nearly 60 percent. And despite extensive media coverage, we rarely hear from the people most directly affected by the problem—young people themselves. Woven together from interviews gathered by journalist Miles Harvey and his students at DePaul University, How Long Will I Cry? provides raw, truthful insight into the complexity of this epidemic. By giving voice to those who know the tragic consequences of violence first-hand—families of the victims, residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods and especially young people—How Long Will I Cry? inspires all of us to join together in search of a solution. 

 

Head of Passes

By ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney

Directed by ensemble member Tina Landau

Featuring ensemble members Alana Arenas, K. Todd Freeman, Jon Michael Hill and Tim Hopper with Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Glenn Davis and Jacqueline Williams

April 4 – June 9, 2013 in the Downstairs Theatre

The distant present, at the Mississippi River’s mouth. Shelah’s family and friends plan a surprise birthday party, but the festivities are overshadowed by revelations that point to a dark family secret. Ensemble members Tarell McCraney and Tina Landau—writer and director of Steppenwolf’s lauded The Brother/Sister Plays—team up again for this world premiere drama, told in McCraney’s sweeping, signature style. Head of Passes is the recipient of a Joyce Award.

 

Belleville

By Amy Herzog

Directed by Anne Kauffmann

Featuring ensemble members Alana Arenas and Kate Arrington

June 27 – August 25, 2013 in the Downstairs Theatre

Twenty-something American expats Zack and Abby live an enviably hip, do-gooder existence in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Belleville, Paris. But a single encounter one morning in the apartment they rent from their Senegalese landlords Alioune and Amina tips the scales of their relationship, revealing that the bubble they’ve built abroad is much closer to bursting than it appears. Dubbed a “thrillingly good” drama with elements of a “nail-biting psychological thriller” by The New York Times, Amy Herzog’s play asks unsettling questions about upheaval and the power of a lie.

Free post-show discussions are offered after every performance in the Subscription Season. Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Performances featuring American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning and audio description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America’s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces—the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and three repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, Garage Rep and Next Up. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and nine Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.

Currently on stage is Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, adapted by ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro (through August 26, 2012) in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). 

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