Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Arts and Culture

By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter
New Journal and Guide

The   Board of Directors  and other leaders  of the Virginia Beach African-American Cultural Center  (AACC) have hired a team of consultants to conduct a feasibility study on its design and  cost.

Webb Management Services, a leading provider of cultural facility planning services, will orchestrate a Town Hall meeting  February 21 to solicit ideas and suggestions from the African-American community, the cultural community, educational, religious, political and business leaders on the design and amenities inside the facility.

The Community Town Hall meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 21, from 6:30-8 p.m. at Enoch Baptist Church, 5641 Herbert Rd.

The following day,  February  22 at the Sandler Center at Virginia Beach’s Towne Center,  the consultants will meet individually by appointment only with leaders and representatives   from various  arts, business and civic organizations, beginning at 8 a.m. to hear their ideas for the proposed facility.

According to Dr. Amelia Ross Hammond, the Project Director  for the center,   the consultants will compile all of  the ideas during these meetings to determine not only the size of the facility and the facilities inside of it, but the overall cost.

“We are hoping that  it will be a museum and a community center to display African-American culture and history,” said Hammond. “There should be public space enough for the exhibition of arts, for performance and education, including an auditorium inside and a historic trail outside.

Ross-Hammond said the projected size of the center will be 25,000 square feet and  cost nearly $10 million.

Ross-Hammond, a former Virginia Beach City Council member,  said that the city donated the 4.89 acres of land at 705 Hampshire Lane which faces Newtown Road.

The AACC would be one of two in the region once built. The African-American Historical Museum facility is located on the campus of Hampton University.

She said the   African-American Cultural Center, Inc. is a Nonprofit 501 (c) (3) Non-stock Corporation with   an 11-member Board of Directors and Advisory Committee.

She said the AACC’s leaders will  launch a capital fundraising campaign once the consultants have made their assessment of  overall design of the facility and cost.

“This is why the two days of interviews and communication  with the general public and people who are experts and are running such facilities is necessary,” said Ross Hammond. “We want the community to have a hand in the planning and design of the center. We want to know what they want in a facility of this  kind.  Not only are people from Virginia Beach invited, but from the entire region, because it will impact all of Hampton Roads.”

Dr. Linda Bright is the President of the AACC’s Executive Board of Directors and the President  and CEO of Health Care Services of Hampton Roads, Inc.

“You just can’t call it a museum,” said Bright. “This will also be a place  to tell our story in Princess Anne County, Virginia Beach and the region. It will show the diversity of our community, not just

African-American cultures but all of them.

Bright said that when she arrived in Hampton Roads in 1969, she learned that most of the land in the Virginia Beach Oceanfront from Oceana was owned by  Black people.

“People don’t know that history,” said Bright, who first moved to Lake Edwards when she arrived  in Virginia Beach.  “I applauded Mrs. Hammond for working so hard on this project, because it’s her vision  to provide such a facility not only for the Beach  but the whole region.

Once built,  the facility will be supported by the city’s departments of Museums, Parks and Recreation  and the public schools system, which will  help with cultural and educational programming.

Last September 24, on the day the National African-American History Musuem opened in Washington, D.C., a special program  was held at the site of the  proposed center. Dr. Ross-Hammond      said there was a “Blessing of the Land” by a group of religious elders, jazz and gospel music performers, and art work was  on display to give the community a taste of the kind of programming which will be provided once the AACC is built.

Ross-Hammond said she hopes   even if the facility is not up and running by 2019,   a special event will be planned for some time that year which will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first  Africans on the shores of  North America.

The museum planners hope the facility will establish Virginia Beach as another hub for African-American historic sites and cultural activities in the region.

Once the facility is up and running,  Ross Hammond said that the organizers of the facility will be soliciting art work  and historical artifacts  from the community to be on display.
“We will be asking people to go to their attics and closets  and retrieve and donate artifacts which tell our  history and contributions to Princess Anne County and Virginia Beach.”

February 18
Seatack Civic League Will Honor Four For Black History
The Seatack Community Civic League will host its 3rd Annual CITYWIDE BLACK HISTORY PROGRAM on Saturday, February 18, 2017 from noon to 2 p.m.

Four Honorees will receive the “Life Time Achievement Award” to include Presiding Bishop Ted Thomas – National Board of Bishops Church of God In Christ, U.S.A.; Deputy Chief of Police (Retired) John L. Bell, Jr. – first African-American to rise to the level of “Deputy Chief of Police” in the City of Virginia Beach; Ms. Edna Hawkins-Hendrick – Author of the First Black History Book of Princess Anne County / Virginia Beach – Citywide Historian; and Ms. Brenda H. Andrews, “for your many years of service to the citizens of historic Seatack, Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads as the Owner and faithful Publisher of the New Journal and Guide Newspaper.”

The program will place at the Joseph V. Grimstead, Sr. – Seatack Recreation Center, 141 South Birdneck Road in historic Seatack, Virginia Beach.

E. George Minns, NAACP President-Elect Virginia Beach (5th term 2017), is the Presiding Officer of the Seatack Community Civic League Administration.

Navy’s First African American Seal To Be Awarded During Brunch
The Oakmont Community Development Corporation will hold its 1st Brunch on Saturday, February 18, 2017 where it will celebrate the achievements of Retired, U.S. Navy Master Chief William Goines The event will take place at The Murray Taste ‘N’ See, 455 East Brambleton Ave., Norfolk, Virginia 23510.

Master Chief William Goines is officially regarded as the first African-American Navy SEAL member, a feat he achieved in the early 60s.

Goines, a native of Lockland, Ohio, lives in Virginia Beach with his wife, Marie, of 51 years.

On September 24, 2016, two weeks after his 80th birthday, Master Chief William Goines was honored at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on its opening day. President Barack Obama was a part of that ceremony.

As a youth, Gaines taught himself how to swim at a local creek, a skill that would be crucial when he joined the Navy in 1955.

In 1962, when President John F. Kennedy formed the first two SEAL teams, Goines was one of 40 men selected, the only African-American.

Gaines completed 43 different training schools where he learned such survival skills as Judo, Aikido, and skills for escape and evasion; jungle warfare, skydiving and weapons training; how to capture enemies and how to rescue fellow seamen; and how to escape from plane and helicopter crashes over water. 

In 1976, he was selected to become part of the Chuting Stars, a U.S. Navy Parachute Demonstration Team. He performed 640 jumps during his five years on the team. 

In 1987, Goines retired from the Navy after 32 years of service. After leaving the Navy, he went on to become the chief of police for the school system of Portsmouth, Virginia. He said that job was harder than combat. After 14 years, he retired from Portsmouth school system and began recruiting SEALS for the Navy.

February 19, 26
Black History Film Series Being Shown At Central Library
A three-week film series for Black History Month continues Sunday February 19 and Sunday February 26 at the Central Library auditorium at 3 p.m.

Each film is about one hour in length and will be followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Virginia Beach History Museum staff.

On Feb. 18, African-American Film Series: Freedom Summer, will be shown. It details the 10 memorable weeks in 1964 known as Freedom Summer, when more than 700 student volunteers traveled to Mississippi to challenge racial segregation. Students from around the country joined organizers and local African-Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states.

On Feb. 26, African-American Film Series: The Road to Brown, will be shown. The Road to Brown tells the story of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling as the culmination of a brilliant legal assault on segregation that launched the Civil Rights movement. It is also a moving and long overdue tribute to a visionary but little known Black lawyer, Charles Hamilton Houston, “the man who killed Jim Crow.”

The series opened on Sunday, February 12. There is no registration.

February 20
Hampton History Museum To Hold Discussions On Virginia Civil Rights
The Hampton History Museum will host three public conversations on the history of civil rights, beginning Monday Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. The free oral history project will focus on civil rights demonstrations that have occurred statewide.

The conversations will feature three moderators: Hampton author Linda Holmes; Emma Edmonds, who will talk about demonstrations in Danville; and Jerrold Roy, associate dean of the School of Education at Norfolk State University.

“The goal is to have a people learn from the history, and use this as a framework to have a conversation about the legacy of the civil rights movement,” said Luci Cochran, executive director at the Hampton History Museum. “Does it have any meaning for us today? Can it inform things today that we want to deal with? It starts with the history.”

The second monthly civic dialogue will be held on March 20. The third will be held April 23.

“It is a conversation with the community,” Cochran said. “The talks are going to look at the civil rights movement, especially in Hampton, from the perspective of the past, the present and the future. We want people to be involved. It’s really about giving some information and then having a frank, productive, problem-solving conversation.”

The series is made possible by a $6,000 grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

March 4
‘Experience Ghana’ Event To Be Hosted By Norfolk Sister City
“Experience Ghana” will be presented on Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 4-6 p.m. at The Murray Center: Taste N’ See, 455 Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, VA. It is being hosted by the Tema, Ghana Committee of Norfolk Sister City Association (NSCA).

The evening of family fun will feature a delegation of Ghanaians who will be visiting Norfolk as part of NSCA’s international program.

Samplings of traditional Ghanaian cuisine and culture will be offered. Events include an African Attire Fashion Show, Raffle of African Artifacts, Traditional Music and other entertainment.

Tickets are $10 (for NSCA members) and $15 (non-members). Children 12 and under are $5. Tickets may be purchased at
For more information call (757) 627-0530

Two presentations at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island will examine the heroic story of the all-black Pea Island Lifesaving Station and that crew’s important example of positive race relations and diversity.

On February 19, NCARI and the Pea Island Cookhouse Museum will present “Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes: The Unique Story of the Pea Island U.S. Lifesaving Station,” in observation of Black History Month and the rich and dynamic history of the Outer Banks.

Between 1880 and 1947, the men at Pea Island worked hand in hand with white crews of neighboring stations to save hundreds of lives from the perils of the sea. How did these groups of men set aside their differences and join forces to help save lives? What lessons do their stories continue to teach us?

Descendants of the Pea Island Lifesavers, Joan and Darrell Collins of Roanoke Island, will join costumed historic interpreters James Charlet and Linda Mallory from Hatteras Island to present a glimpse into this fascinating story and explore what it can still teach us today. The program will be followed by a question and answer session to illustrate the importance of these lifesavers’ trailblazing example.

Presentations of “Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes: The Unique Story of the Pea Island U.S. Lifesaving Station,” will take place February 18 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in NCARI’s Neptune’s Theater. The presentation is included with regular aquarium admission.

The aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission: ages 3–12, $8.95; ages 13–61, $10.95; ages 62 +, $9.95. Children 2 and under and North Carolina Aquarium Society members are admitted free of charge. More info at

Hello and welcome to the Tidewater Bridge Unit (TBU).
YOU are invited to play in the American Bridge Association’s Nationwide Game on March 1, 2017. Every participant wins points!!!
In our last article, we examined/explained rebids by opener. Today, we will cover rebids by responder and “overcalls.”
Rebids by opener and responder. There are three types of opening hands and three types of responding hands: minimum, invitational, and game forcing. Here is what the hands look like:

Strength – Opener – Responder
Minimum 12-16 6-10
Invitational 16-18 10-12
Game-forcing 19+ 13+

Minimum calls by responder are:
1. Rebidding your suit cheaply
1Diamond – Pass – 1Heart – Pass – 2Diam. – Pass – 2Hearts

2. Raising opener’s second suit cheaply

3. Rebidding No Trump cheaply

4. Showing a preference for partner’s first suit cheaply 1H-P-1S-P-2D-P-2H
5. Passing partner’s minimum rebid 1D-P-1H-P-2H-P
6. Bidding a suit lower than your first after partner rebids 1NT 1D-P-1H-P-1NT-P-2C

Invitational rebids by responder are:
1. Jumping in your suit 1D-P-1H-P-1N-P-3H

2. Jumping in partner’s suit 1D-P-1H-P-1S-P-3S

3. Jumping in No Trump 1D-P-1H-P-1S-P-2NT

4. Taking any action over a minimum suit raise 1D-P-1H-P-2H-P-2S or 2NT, 3C, 3D, and 3H

Responder’s game forcing bids are:
1, Jumping to game 1C-P-1H-P-2H-P-4H.

2. If there is possibility of slam, or you don’t 1C-P-1H-P-2H-P-2S know which game would be best, bid a new suit (unless partner’s rebid was 1NT)

Overcalls: In bridge, the pair that opens the bidding tends to win the auction most of the time. There are several reasons to overcall: 1) overcalling allows your side to get in on the auction when the opponents have opened first, 2) the overcaller can let partner know what to lead if partner has the opening lead, and 3) overcalling can obstruct your opponents’ bidding, making it a little more difficult for them to find their correct contract.

Requirements of an overcall: the overcaller should have at least 8 HCP at the one level and at least 10 HCP at the two level. On either level, 16 HCP should be the maximum for suit overcalls. The overcaller should have a good suit with at least five cards, and if less than 13 HCP, the suit should contain at least one of the top two (Ace, King) or at least two of the top four honors (Ace, King, Queen, Jack). A 1 NT overcall should have almost exactly the same hand as if you had opened 1 No Trump (15-17 HCP, no singleton, no void). As an overcall, the NT hand must have at least one stopper (Axx, Kxx, OJxx) in the opener’s suit.

Winning Pairs
February 7, 2017
Section A Game

Barbara Whitfield – Cindy Burrell-Jones
Delores J. Burney – Gloria Maddux
Betty L.Warren – Grace W. Setzer
Anthony Witherspoon – Sue D. Witherspoon
Rosemary Whitehurst – Oneida Lacey
Helen Lake – Elva N. Taylor

Winning Pairs
February 8, 2017
Section A Game

Olethia Everett – Harriet F. Goodrich
Elva N. Taylor – Harold M. Kiefer
Barbara Whitfield – Wilma Horne
Rosemary Whitehurst – Oneida Lacey
Delores J. Burney – Gloria Maddux

Happy Birthday To:
Mammie Cooper
February 17


Tuesday, Feb. 21
Cooke-Suburban Bridge game
10:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$4 – $5

Wednesday, Feb. 22
Bon-Ton bridge game
10:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$4 – $5

All activities are located at the Berkley Senior Center, 925 S. Main Street, Norfolk, Va.

For additional information on classes, games, or tournaments, please call Delores Burney at (757) 321-0825 or Lawrence Owes at (757) 553-2601.

By Lauren Victoria Burke
(NNPA Newswire Contributor)

On February 1, the first day of Black History Month, the National Museum of African American History and Culture premiered the Oscar-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” which features commentary by James Baldwin. The film is a tribute to the staggering contribution of one of America’s greatest men of letters.

Director Raoul Peck spent 10 years completing the film. The documentary was inspired by one of Baldwin’s unfinished manuscripts regarding his friendships and views on three of his friends: Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. None of the three would live to see their 40th birthday. Medgar Evers was assassinated in 1963 in Jackson, Miss.; Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 in New York City; King was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.

At the heart of the film, the jarring documentary provides Baldwin’s sociopolitical observations and showcases the writer’s eloquence and directness as a communicator.
Peck credits Baldwin with changing his life after he read “The Fire Next Time” when he was a teenager.

“The starting point of the movie are the words of a person, a great author, James Baldwin,” Peck said at the The Hollywood Reporter’s Documentary Oscar Roundtable. “My job was to put myself in the background. I knew those words since I was 15 years old.

“If I can summarize the essential part of Baldwin, it is the ability and obligation to always question whatever truth is put in front of you. Beginning with images, beginning with stories, beginning with cinema. This is something that I learned very early on,” Peck told a reporter last week. “And Baldwin gave me the words and the instruments to do that, to be able to deconstruct whatever was put in front of me – ideology, stories, narrative – very concretely.”

Baldwin was an American social critic, novelist, essayist, playwright and poet. His essays, as collected in “Notes of a Native Son” (1955), explore issues of race and class differences in a poignant, sometimes provocative way. His books include “The Fire Next Time” (1963), “Giovanni’s Room” (1965), “No Name in the Street” (1972), and “The Devil Finds Work” (1976).

There hasn’t been anyone who has been able to duplicate the power of Baldwin since his death at 63 in France in 1987. Baldwin confronted the “moral monsters” of racism in the United States and dealt with the complex social and psychological pressures confronting Black people in America.

Baldwin often challenged White Americans on the question of racism.

“It does matter any longer what you do to me,” Baldwin said in an interview in 1965. “The problem now is how are you going to save yourselves?”

Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership. She is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and Connect with Lauren by email at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

Special to the New Journal and Guide

The ICONs of Chesapeake, a vision implemented by Rev. Glenda P. Murray-Kelly in 2016, exists to acknowledge individuals during Black History month in the city of Chesapeake. While there are many African-Americans who have contributed to the city’s enhancement and development, each year a select number of individuals will be acknowledged. The 2016 ICONs were recognized and acknowledged by the City of Chesapeake, Office of the Mayor.

Last year’s more than 200 people attended the inaugural event in February at Impact Worship Center, Chesapeake, VA, where Rev. Dr. Brennetta Williams is Pastor.  During the service, persons acknowledged were Dr. William P. Ward, Dr. Ella P. Ward, Mrs. Florine R. Clarke and Mr. Lessie Smith.

This year, there will not be formal celebration, due to time and the observance of the Presidential Volunteer Awards MLK Drum Majors for Service which was hosted on January 14, 2017 in honor of the 44th President Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thirteen individuals were acknowledged while receiving letters from the offices of the governor, senator and mayor for their volunteer services. That event was hosted at New GWC, Chesapeake, VA, where Rev. Dr. Toney D. Saunders is Pastor. Assisting in presenting the awards were Mr. Lessie Smith, President, Chesapeake Democratic Committee and Congressman Robert Bobby C. Scott.

The 2017 ICONs of Chesapeake are Mr. Kenny Easley, most recent selected as 2017 NFL Hall of Famer; Deacon  March Cromwell, former President, Chesapeake, NAACP, member, New Galilee Baptist Church, Chesapeake; Rev. Dr. Dwight S. Riddick, Pastor, Gethsemane Baptist Church, (Transformation Place), Newport News, and President of the Hampton University Ministers Conference; Rev. Dr. Bernnetta Williams, Pastor, Impact Worship Center, Chesapeake and special tribute to the Honorable Congressman Robert Bobby C. Scott. VA, 3RD Congressional District, Washington, D.C.

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from

Kevin Hart, the comedian, is getting serious.

Hart will host “Kevin Hart Presents: The Black Man’s Guide to History,” featuring lesser-known African-Americans, including Matthew Henson, the first American to walk on the North Pole, and Robert Smalls, a slave who commandeered and piloted “Planter,” 300-ton Confederate armed vessel and presented it to the Union Army during the Civil War. The History Channel will broadcast the two-hour special on a yet-to-be-announced date this year.

Hart will star and executive produce the two-hour program from Hartbeat Products and Comedy Dynamics, reports Variety.

Henson walked on the North Pole on April 6, 1909, but the credit for the feat was given to U.S. Navy Commander Robert E. Peary.

Henson’s story is told in the biography “Dark Companion: The Official Biography of Matthew Henson,” by Bradley Robinson with Matthew Henson.

Smalls was named a “wheelman” aboard “Planter,” a heavily armed ship. As a wheelman, he knew how to navigate the waterways around Charleston, S. C.

On May 12, 1862, with the white crew on the shore, Smalls stowed his family and other slaves aboard the “Planter” and sailed into Union territory. He received $1,500 and was named a lieutenant in the U.S. Colored Troops.

During Reconstruction, Smalls was elected to Congress from South Carolina. He also helped write South Carolina’s constitution in 1868, according to Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience. He remained in Congress until 1886 when Reconstruction reforms subsided.

Hart will also profile Mae Jemison, the first Black woman astronaut, and Henry “Box” Brown, a slave who in 1849 mailed himself in a wooden crate from Richmond, Va. , to Philadelphia. The journey took 27 hours, Africana reported.

Hello and welcome to the Tidewater Bridge Unit (TBU).
In our last article, we examined/explained opening bids and responding to opening bids. Those guidelines established for opening a hand and responding to partner’s opening bid will help us discover the correct contract and the level of play. Today, we will cover more of the vocabulary in the colorful language of bridge. Also, let’s look at rebids by opener. In our next article, we will cover both rebids by responder and “overcalls.”

Point count is the most widely used tool for game evaluation.
Game is usually reached if the combined strength equals.

26 points for major suit (10 tricks) or no trump (9 tricks)
29 points for minor suits (11 tricks)
33 points for a small slam (12 tricks)
37 points for a grand slam (13 tricks)

Contract points are those points awarded for each trick (above 6) successfully.
Made during the play of the hand. It takes 100 contract points to make game.
Contract points are awarded as follows:
Each minor trick = 20 points. It take 5 diamonds/clubs to make game (5×20=100)
Each major trick = 30 points. It takes 4 spades/heart to make game (4×30=120)
Frist trik in no trump = 40 points and each subsequent trick = 30 points. It take 3NT to make game (40+30+30=100)

Rebids by opener and responder. There are three types of opening hands and three types of responding hands: minimum, invitational, and game forcing.

Here is what the hands look like:
Strength         Opener      Responder
Minimum         12-16            6-10
Invitational      16-18           10-12
Game-forcing  19+              13+

Minimum rebids are:
1. Opener rebidding his suit cheaply
1Diamond (opener) – Pass (opponent) – 1Heart (opener’s partner) – Pass (opponent’s partner) – 2Diamonds (opener’s rebid)

2. Opener raising responder’s suit cheaply

3. Opener rebidding no-trump cheaply
1D-Pass-1H-Pass-1N (denies 4 spades)

4. Opener bidding a new suit that is lower than the one opened.

5. Opener bidding a new suit at the one level

6. Opener passing a minimum raise

Invitational rebids are:
1. Opener jumping in opened suit

2. Opener jumping in partner’s suit

3. Opener jumping in No Trump

4. Opener bidding a suit at the 2 level that is higher than the suit opened

5. Opener bidding again after a minimum suit raise
1H-Pass-2H-Pass-2S or 2N, 3C, 3D, etc.

Game forcing bids are:
1. Opener jumping to game

2. Opener making a jump-shift

Happy Birthday To:
Helen Lake – February 10
Peggy Willet – February 11
Sammie Cooper – February 17


Tuesday, Feb. 7
Cooke-Suburban Bridge game
10:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$4 – $5

Wednesday, Feb. 8
Bon-Ton bridge game
10:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$4 – $5

All activities are located at the Berkley Senior Center, 925 S. Main Street, Norfolk, Va.

For additional information on classes, games, or tournaments, please call Delores Burney at (757) 321-0825 or Lawrence Owes at (757) 553-2601.

By Dwight Brown
NNPA Newswire Film Critic

James Baldwin, the intellectual, civil rights activist and renowned author, left behind some biting and enlightening words about racism and the status of the Black community that are just as relevant today in this age of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Baldwin was born in Harlem in 1924. He moved to Paris around 1950, eventually taking up residence in the south of France. At some point in his self-imposed exile, he came to the conclusion that he had to turn his attention back to his home country. “I could no longer sit around Paris discussing America. I had to come and pay my dues,” said Baldwin.

In 1979, Baldwin started working on his book, “Remember This House.” The manuscript focused on the lives, views and assassinations of his three friends and colleagues: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, at the time of his death he had only completed 30 pages.

Director Raoul Peck (“Lumumba”) took those few, initial pieces of Baldwin’s non-fiction tome and developed them into a searing documentary that examines the struggles of the 1950s and 1960s in a way that makes his thoughts on race incredibly poignant given today’s sociopolitical landscape in the United States.

Peck assembles archival footage, photographs and contentious TV clips (particularly the fledgling “The Dick Cavett Show” where discussions of the state of the “Negro” got heated). He adds in modern day camera feeds of demonstrators angry over police shootings. The results are a blistering indictment of race relations both old and new.

Voiceovers by Samuel L. Jackson verbalize passages from Baldwin notes. You hear the author chide oppressors, confront Hollywood and challenge the American government. His words recount the intimate relationships and mutual respect he had with the iconic civil rights legends Medgar, Malcolm and Martin, effectively humanizing these political/social deities. He candidly explores their differences and similarities. He reveals the absolute despair he felt each time he heard that one of them had been killed. His ruminations glow with a truth that is timeless.

Raoul Peck and editor Alexandra Strauss have masterfully fulfilled the arduous and artful task of pulling all the pieces of Baldwin’s contemplations together and forming a fiery narrative that makes audiences recalibrate their feelings about race in America. The musical score by Aleksey Aygi adds a piqued sense of urgency and gravitas.

Medgar Evers was killed on June 12, 1963. Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered on April 4, 1968. James Baldwin died of stomach cancer on December 1, 1987. Together, collectively, they left behind a tremendous sociopolitical legacy that finds its due respect in this very powerful and enlightening documentary.

In 93 thought-provoking minutes, I Am Not Your Negro poignantly connects the past to the present with no apologies.

Dwight Brown is a film critic and travel writer. As a film critic, he regularly attends international film festivals including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and the American Black Film Festival. Read more movie reviews by Dwight Brown here and at

Hampton Road’s own, Richard A. Love is a living Testimony.  He has been chosen for national recognition along with 27 other young, gifted and Black millennials who are redefining what it means to be Black in America today through their work and accomplishments.  

This February, NBCBLK, the African-American vertical of will reveal the second annual NBCBLK28 list to honor 28 game changers, all  28 years and younger, for 28 days. February 1st and each day following, NBCBLK will showcase an entrepreneur, policy maker, athlete, entertainer, activist, or artist. Some of them are household names like Von Miller, five-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl MVP and Chance The Rapper 2017, (Olympic gold medalist gymnastics, Simone Biles was recognized in 2016 as NBCBLK28) and others are some of our nation’s finest unsung heroes. 

This year Hampton Roads own youth advocate, artist, and mentor, Richard Love, the artist know as Testimony, is one of the NBCBLK28 heroes. His feature will air on February 16th.

At 12, Richard started his journey writing and performing as a peer leader addressing social justice issues involving AIDS, poverty, racism and diversity.  Richard has spent half his life ensuring marginalized youth are heard. Now, 25, he is Creative Program Manager Teens With a Purpose- creative youth development organization.  Testimony helps young people define and transform their lives and communities through the arts.  

Richard has always put his work with youth ahead of his personal aspirations; yet each day he has developed skills and impact in both.  This poet, musician and teaching artist focuses on creating dynamic, music that exudes love and challenges complacency.  

He combines spoken word poetry, vocals and eclectic guitar styles in his original brand of music.  Testimony cultivates teens’ passion for life, knowledge and purpose, helping them value the power of giving back as he helps shape young leaders who mentor one another.

Music has always played a role in his life. At 16, in his home studio, he started making beats and recording original songs, many of which were used in an AIDS role model story program for teens. To this day, Testimony continues to use art as his vehicle to transform lives.

All the honorees are leaders in their industry. They are breaking barriers and smashing stereotypes about the Black community/Diaspora, redefining what it means to be Black in America. They are young, gifted, and unapologetically Black.

Testimony’s goal is to show the world his soul through his undefined genre.  “I want my music to be THAT place, that sound, where the human group comes together.”   He is a Living Testimony!

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