All Articles Tagged "Harlem"
Well look at what we have here: Jay-Z is being sued…again.
This time, Dwayne Walker, a clothing designer in New York City, is suing Jay-Z, Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke (who just started serving a 5 year prison sentence for drug trafficking charges) for $7 million in unpaid royalties, according to the lawsuit filed on Thursday. Walker says back in 1995, he saw the idea Dash was trying to come up with for the Roc-a-fella logo and told him he could do something better. He claims he created the finished design which features the letter “R,” a record and a champagne bottle and should be paid handsomely for the logo which was featured on everything associated with Roc-a-fella Records.
Soooo you waited 17 years to file this lawsuit, Mr. Walker? I could understand if he’d waited until like the early 2000s to file the suit; you know, wait until the label has money rolling in and cash out. But no, not only did he not ever ask for payment upfront (I mean, you have to be pretty naive to believe they’re going to pay you something “eventually,” if that’s what happened), but he then waited until Roc-a-fella was basically defunct to try and get a check. Did he forget that he created and realized it was his whilst looking through old Roc-a-fella cds? Cds that he’s probably owned since 1995?
On the other hand, Damon Dash has always been known as a hustler and so I must say, hearing something like this doesn’t surprise me. If Mr. Walker did, in fact, create the logo, he should have given the guy some money upfront so that this wouldn’t ever come up again (especially if there was some paperwork on it but I know that may be too much to ask for that time period of these dudes who were just tying to “make it”). He could have hooked the young designer up with unlimited concert tickets or something if that would have made him happy.
I suppose we’ll see how this plays out and if there’s any truth to it, Mr. Walker might get a settlement. Either way, I hope that since he is labeled as a clothing designer, he’s smartened up about the business and is making good decisions. By the way, Universal Music Group now owns Roc-a-fella Records.
What do you think? If true, should the former owners be made to pay millions of dollars? Would you ever wait that long to file a lawsuit regarding something this big?
Feeling the spirit of the Apollo theater, President Obama briefly broke into a verse of “Let’s Stay Together” before speaking to a crowd at the Harlem fundraiser yesterday.
Al Green performed before the president took the stage and once Obama finished his line, the crowd broke out into cheers as he said “Those guys didn’t think I would do it, I told you I was gonna do it.
The president can actually carry a little tune, which may be why, as he said, “the sandman did not come out.”
Check out the clip below and tell us what you think.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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These days, the US wedding industry brings in nearly $40 billion a year and the 2011 American Wedding Survey estimates that the average cost of a wedding in the US is $26,500. In such a lucrative field, The Uptowner reports that Harlem is standing on its own, attracting couples to host their wedding in its unique cultural venues.
“Harlem is often overlooked as a destination to have a city wedding,” wedding coordinator DiAnne Henderson told the Up Towner. Wedding planning is her part time passion; she’s worked with Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem for 17 years and done more than 200 weddings. Henderson notes that while the black community has plenty of African American designers, there simply aren’t enough wedding expos.
Four years ago she helped launch the Bridal Expo and Fashion Show to highlight local vendors and Harlem brides. The event recently took place at Alhambra Ballroom with 25 vendors and about 100 participants to showcase a wide selection of dresses from traditional white to patchwork halter-style African print dresses.
“Everyone can’t have a $40,000 or $50,000 wedding so we try to work with the person’s pockets,” Henderson said.
In Manhattan weddings generally top the national average cost and carry a heavy $70,730 price tag. But Henderson says her average wedding costs around $12,000.
“I have the chance to speak with people and encourage them,” she says of her work.
Wedding designers like Henderson must have a creative eye to plan the wedding of each bride’s dreams. Harlem businesses make finding the perfect venues easier. There’s Sylvia’s, the well-known Lenox Avenue restaurant that specializes in soul food. It hosts a free space for wedding parties under 45 guests or $500 an hour for bigger parties. Their special event coordinator estimates the restaurant serves about 30 weddings annually.
Alhambra Ballroom specializes in hosting wedding receptions and has been called by some brides one of the most affordable options in the area. There’s also Riverside Church, which has two wedding sanctuary rents from $3200-3500.
Despite the efforts Harlem hasn’t reached its pinnacle of wedding success. Wedding Coordinator Angela Gregory tells The Uptowner that few couples chose to wed at Riverside Church. Photographer Chad Pennington says that most of his work is done in downtown Manhattan. Last year, he only photographed two Harlem weddings.
Harriette Cole, author of “Jumping the Broom: the African-American Wedding Planner,” tells The Uptowner that she still foresees Harlem could be a big player in the wedding market.
“I imagine that Harlem can become even more of a player in the world of weddings, thanks to more restaurants being developed and additional event spaces,” she said.
Victoria Pannell is the focus of the latest episode of NewOne’s original video series, “On The Corner.” The 12-year-old is the National Action Network’s (NAN) Northeast Regional Director of the Youth, and on Friday she led a march and rally at Wright Brothers Playground in Harlem to discuss taking back the neighborhood which has been overrun by illegal activity.
In the video clip, Pannell talks about not being allowed to go to the small park where gang violence and drug activity have run rampant. The handful of New Yorkers who attended the rally denounced the activities that take place there and the National Action Network also announced two new initiatives to help improve the neighborhood: the national Shake-Off the Violence tour and coast-to-coast cease fire, coordinated by NAN’s Youth Movement and the Youth in Action group.
Some cynics have been quick to point out that marching does little to actually provoke change, but I think it’s admirable that Victoria is active in her community at such a young age, and it speaks volumes about the influence she’ll have on the youth as she grows older. Earlier this year, she was was named the first national leader for Youth Move, a branch of Rev. Al Sharpton’s civil rights group for kids.
Check out the footage of Victoria at the rally here and tell us what you think about the young social advocate.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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“A shame is all I know it to be right now. We’ll see what they end up putting up there. I just hope that whatever it is, it ends up showing some sign of respect for the history … Because this ain’t nowhere. This place meant something. And people should know.” – a Harlem resident who preferred to remain anonymous
These days, it’s easy to pass by the red brick walls that span the block on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. between 137th and 138th streets in Harlem without taking note. One could look at the falling bricks, or peek between the locked fences at the rubble filled lot, and never know the significance of what once stood there: The Renaissance Casino and Ballroom.
Vacant since it closed in 1979, the site which is owned by The Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC), is lined on any given weekday with a couple of tables on the sidewalk from which vendors sell containers of cold cut watermelon and pineapple. On Sundays, more vendors come out, offering everything from jewelry, to artwork, food, and music to the line of tourists waiting to get into the nearby Abyssinian Baptist Church on 138th Street. The line to get into the church often wraps around the old site, spanning the entire block, ending across the street from another significant Harlem church on 137th St, Mother AME Zion. But none of this activity addresses the long-standing lack of development on this historically significant location, or how this disrepair may be facilitating nearby crime.
Garfield Gayle, a 51-year old superintendent of two nearby buildings on 137th St. was quoted a few months ago in The Daily News saying “This is one of the hottest blocks in Manhattan right now.” He wasn’t talking about the block’s close proximity to prominent Harlem institutions like The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture or Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, the oldest Black church in New York State (also known as a “Freedom Church” for its participation in The Underground Railroad). Instead, Gayle was responding to the recent bust of two Harlem youth gangs running a violent crack- and gun-dealing operation on the block.
Personally led by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., the investigation of “The 137th St Crew” resulted in the arrest of 14 alleged gangbangers, nine of whom were 18 or younger. The crew was said to have terrorized the neighborhood into silence over a period of years, and recruited young girls to carry guns for them. “I wouldn’t want to raise no kids on 137th St.,” Gayle told the press.
When most of us were seventeen, we were preoccupied with flirting with boys, going to our first little college parties and enjoying our first tastes of freedom. But that wasn’t the story for Yumnah Qadar.
While many of her peers were off enjoying the last bit of their teenaged years, Yumah was creating a business and a brand.
As a child Yumnah enjoyed painting but she hadn’t painted since her days as an elementary school student. It wasn’t until she was a junior in high school that her art teacher, Ms. Foster, motivated her to start painting again.
Impressed with her work, Ms. Foster encouraged Yumnah to create a portfolio and apply to the Pratt Institute’s design school. During this process Yumnah started looking for big and bold accessories. But she couldn’t find anything to match the vision in her head.
Inspired by nature and other famous painters, Yumnah began creating her own jewelry and eventually launched her own line, “Yumnah Najah.” That was just last year, when Yumnah was seventeen.
But “Yumnah Najah” is more than just a hobby for Yumnah. In addition to her coursework, Yumnah enrolled in jewelry making classes to ensure that she was using the best materials for her pieces.
Often times we hear about parents discouraging their children from pursuing creative occupations but Yumnah’s parents were nothing but supportive of her dream. As a business major, Yumnah’s parents were excited for her to apply what she was learning in school to a real life business.
“My dad worked as a carpenter his whole life but he’s always been passionate about entrepreneurship that would give back to community,” Yumah says.
Her father encouraged Yumah and her other six siblings to do something that would allow them to give back to their Harlem community.
It’s this community aspect of her business that has allowed her budding business to thrive. Yumnah has found some helpful resources within her own neighborhood.
“You don’t realize how many people, who are so close to you, have so many talents. A lot of the older women in my neighborhood and a lot of my dad’s friends who were accountants helped me. When you’re young, people are very supportive.”
Through the help of mentors, supportive parents and her own initiative “Yumnah Najah” has enjoyed significant success to be such a young brand.
Aside from this major nod, “Yumnah Najah” will be featured in several boutiques this upcoming holiday season.
Yumnah’s success hasn’t come from mere luck. This young woman is out here hustling. Not only does she paint everything by hand, herself, she’s steady on the grind attempting to bring more exposure and awareness to her wearable art.
“We all deserve success. You really have to believe that and not let anybody let you think otherwise. That’s a crazy thought to think that you’re not worthy of success. It’s a matter of pushing yourself forward to actually get there.”
Now that she’s achieved this level of success, Yumnah is attempting to teach other young adults to pursue careers in entrepreneurship. She volunteers with an Urban Roots program that seeks to foster inner city students’ desires for entrepreneurship.
“Growing up in Harlem is such a unique experience. There’s this really deep cultural side. Then you have the violence and the lack of proper education. It’s been a major driving force in my desire to have my own business and hopefully employ other people.”
With a strong belief in her own abilities and a willingness to help her community we expect nothing but great things from this young entrepreneur. We look forward to seeing what Yumnah will be able to create and who she’ll be able to inspire in her future endeavors.
You can check out Yumnah’s collection below and on her website at YumnahNajah.com.
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I could probably do without it, but whatever works…
Following in the footsteps of Hollywood’s current love affair with remakes, the 1976 film Sparkle, a movie inspired by the story of the Supremes, could be making its way back to theaters (or straight to DVD…). While we first talked about the remake possibly being done in Detroit and who should be cast, we can now say that the film has its cast set. And on top of confirmed new cast members including “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, comedian Mike Epps, alleged “it girl” Tika Sumpter, actress Carmen Ejogo and actor Derek Luke, Whitney Houston has also been confirmed to play a big role in the film as well. Sources are saying she will play the mother, Effie in the remake. In addition to all this, “The Game” writer, Mara Brock Akil wrote the film’s script, and her husband, Salim Akil, will direct the feature.
If you didn’t know, Sparkle is supposed to be a period film (late 50s and early ’60s) set in Harlem about a girl group full of sisters (led by Sparkle Williams) who become famous, and then of course, fall apart behind the scenes. And while Curtis Mayfield put together the soundtrack for the film back then, according to reports, R.Kelly will be leading the soundtrack this time around. Interesting. And the girls are already at work bonding. The ladies sent out Twit-pics a couple of days ago of their first rehearsal together in LA, a la, the above photo.
The cast sounds promising for the most part, and I wouldn’t mind looking at Derek Luke for an hour or so, but I’m going to need something else to get me oodles and noodles of excited. Especially since this will be Jordin Sparks’ first acting role, and I haven’t seen Mama Whit Whit do any acting since the TV-movie Cinderella with Brandy. But if the previews look interesting enough, get your duckets together and support your people!
(Wall Street Journal) — Several Harlem streets remain closed after a parts of a five–story building collapsed onto a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus traveling along 125th Street Tuesday morning. No serious injuries have been reported, but 18 people–including two police officers–suffered minor ailments, said Cas Holloway, deputy mayor for operations. The building had at least one complaint of falling bricks on Sept. 7. That was followed up with a problem-free inspection, said Holloway. But BJ Group, owner of the Danice clothing store next door, said his employees have complained of pungent fumes and “unusually strong vibrations.”
(Huffington Post) — Outside the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, a line starts forming at about 9 o’clock every Friday morning. Unattended shopping carts stretching 50 feet down the sidewalk stand as placeholders, cordoned off by dirty yellow twine held up between two stanchions. Across from the carts in the shade of the church’s eave, senior citizens occupy fold-up chairs they have brought with them for the wait. Some read. One person plays a scratch card, while another woman in a purple sweatshirt and wool hat sits and sings hymns from the bible. They are waiting for donated food, and there now are more people lining up than anyone can recall — a sure sign of troubled times. The weekly food pantry at First Corinthian Baptist has been part of the church’s community service programs for well over a decade, but over the last two years, the lines have gotten longer, and the people coming for help have gotten younger, staff members say, due to the unemployment crisis.
Celebrity Ethiopian/Harlem chef and owner of Red Rooster, Marcus Samuelsson, breaks down his original and unique fashion style, and how much Harlem, his family and eclectic formative years influence his style decisions to this day. This master chef and style icon sat down with our sister site Styleblazer to chat about food, fashion (he prefers the word style) and famous leaders who love his work.
Check out this entertaining interview over at Styleblazer.com.