All Articles Tagged "washington d.c."
Obama and the rest of DC are gearing up for his inauguration on January 21. This time around, when President Barack Obama takes the oath of office, there will be a marked difference in turnout. It will be a much smaller affair, with officials estimating that attendance will be fewer by half, reports Fox News.
The first time around, some 1.8 million people packed onto the National Mall to see the first black President of the United States being sworn in. Now, hotel occupancy is weak compared to 2009, when you could not find an empty hotel room for miles. The special hotel packages aren’t being booked like before, Kate Gibbs, spokeswoman for Destination D.C., a nonprofit corporation that promotes D.C. travel and tourism, told Washington Whispers blog in US News And World Report. Back in 2009, hotel occupancy was 98 percent with guests paying more than $600 that night, according to hotel tracking firm STR, reports Fox News.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is also expecting less congestion with 800,000 fewer people using the rails, compared with 1.54 million users in 2009.
There are fewer official events as well. There will be only two official balls, versus six in 2009. The Inaugural Ball is expected to draw more than 35,000 people at the Washington Convention Center. The Commander In Chief’s Ball, which honors U.S. troops, has actually doubled in size from 2009 and will host about 4,000 participants at the convention hall. The events will, of course be star-studded — performers include Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, Usher, Alicia Keys, and Brad Paisley. Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor will perform at Obama’s signing ceremony.
Separately but equally interesting, President Obama will use two bibles for this swearing in, reports The Root. One of the bibles was used during the first inauguration in 2009, and was also used by Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration. The second bible will be one used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to a news release from the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
“On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we’ve made as a nation,” Steve Kerrigan, president and CEO of the committee, said in the release.
The MLK bible was actually Dr.King’s “traveling bible.” According to The Root, Dr. King’s children announced, “We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the Oath of Office using his bible. His ‘traveling bible’ inspired him as he fought for freedom, justice and equality, and we hope it can be a source of strength for the President as he begins his second term.”
In a private swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Jan. 20, the President will use a bible from the First Lady’s family. “The Robinson Family Bible was selected specifically for the occasion. The bible was a gift from the First Lady’s father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother’s Day in 1958,” writes The Root. “Mrs. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore and she used the Bible regularly.”
Will you be there? MadameNoire recently reported on nine reasons to attend.
Rodney P. Hunt made a name for himself by becoming one of the most successful black-owned government contractors in the country. And he wasn’t shy about it; he let everyone know about his success, talking up the lavish $23.1 million mansion that owned on the riverfront in McLean, VA. We say “owned” because the house is scheduled to be sold at auction on September 27, reports The Washington Post.
At one point, Hunt’s wealth was estimated at $265 million. The co-founder of RS Information Systems, a tech company launched in 1992, he sold that company in 2007. His son was featured on MTV’s Teen Cribs (you can watch a clip via that Washington Post link), his company employed 1,700 workers at one time and RSIS stayed on the Inc. 500 list for years.
But despite his actual success, Hunt felt the need to exaggerate, inventing college degrees, a partial ownership of the Washington Nationals baseball team and even a visit from President Obama when he was a candidate on the campaign trail four years ago. Now, he’s in default for $9.4 million on his lavish Potomac River mansion, owes $10 million for loans and bad investments and hasn’t responded to media inquiries. He has a music label, RPH Entertainment, that reps a number of little-known acts and one, Big Pokey, that WaPo says you might know.
In case you’re shopping for some property, the McLean mansion is equipped with a bowling alley, indoor basketball court and a 15-car garage. Hunt at one time said it covered a total of 53,000 square feet. (He also called his son Bradley, aka rapper Kid Named Breezy, “The Chosen One.” Yikes.) You would need a $100,000 certified check in-hand to purchase.
After the huge success of his tech business, it sounds like Hunt got a little too big-headed and is now paying the price. No one wants to hear a story about someone losing their home or livelihood, but it is a cautionary tale.
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By Makula Dunbar
If there’s anything natives and tourists know in Washington D.C., it’s a distinguished lingo. Phrases like, “Oh my gaw yung, on urrything you a bama!” aren’t uncommon. At some point — on Georgia Avenue or within your circle of friends — you’ve detected a “bama.” A word without one staple definition, Tamika Myers, co-founder of the nail polish line Studio85 says, in the case of an old school female bama — she’d know what color nail polish is best fitting.
“Fifteen years ago, lot’s of people didn’t wear green nail polish boldly. It made you a bama, Myers said.
“We just thought of the weirdest color, something kind of awkward that would match the name of what it meant,” added Myers’ sister Tiffany Burriss —explaining how they came up with the name for their turquoise nail gloss “Bama,” which is part of their District of Columbia collection.
“And,” said Myers, “We added some flakes, how ‘bout that!”
Burris along with Tammi Allen make up the trio of sisters/co-founders of Studio85, which apart from a nail gloss line is also an events, art and apparel shop located in Washington D.C.
“We were in our parents’ hometown of Lancaster, South Carolina at a coffee house we go to all the time. One of us had on a cute color that we said our aunt would love, so we thought what she would call it,” said Burriss elaborating on how it all began.
“We were like, ‘She’d call it 2tat2,’ and that opened up a world of names. Since we started, our aunt passed away so that’s how we pay homage and that’s what jump-started Studio85.”
“Big Chair Brown,” named after a landmark in Southeast D.C., “Roc Creek,” “Go Go,” “Mambo Sauce,” “Yung,” and “1600” are all colors in the District of Columbia collection. Studio85’s 48-color catalogue also includes the City Girl, Southern Girl and Stay Beautiful collections, in addition to a 12-color crackle collection sold only in-store.
It was only eight months ago that the sisters found a space for Studio85. Including the input of the community, local designers and artists, the sisters made a conscious effort to create a store that not only sells nail gloss, but one that various creatives would take advantage of.
“We wanted to make it so it would translate into a space for events and apparel. We’ve had jewelry events, open mics, album release parties, birthday parties, social forums, in-store photo shoots and council-member candidate meet and greets, “ Burriss said. “Pretty much anything that can fit in the space we’re open to doing as long as it keeps up with the integrity if the brand.”
Were you dying to see the dedication of the Martin Luther King memorial but just couldn’t swing it? Of course there’s nothing like actually being there in the moment but the memorial’s going to be there. Until you can make it to D.C. to see it in person check out pictures from the dedication over at Black Voices.
Across the nation, black neighborhoods are being gentrified, soliciting many responses from community leaders and long-time residents about who has control over the rapid change awaiting their cities. But one community in particular has long been cherished as the crown jewel of black power and leadership in the United States. The New York Times claims that it is the end of an era for a black Washington, D.C., because “the country’s first [city] to have an African-American majority and one its earliest experiments in black self-government, is passing a milestone.”
Aside from the troubling and incorrect assertion that blacks had never governed themselves prior to their migration to Washington, the issue persists: as D.C. finally becomes the trendy and desirable city it has always had potential to be, will the blacks who created the city’s unique culture be around to enjoy the changes?
“Washington’s black population slipped below 50 percent this year, possibly in February, about 51 years after it gained a majority,” the Times reports. “The shift is passing without much debate, but it is leaving ripples of resentment in neighborhoods across the city, pitting some of the city’s long-term residents, often African-American, against affluent newcomers, most of whom are white, over issues as mundane as church parking and chicken wings.”
Surely, the writer could have used a less stereotypical example than chicken wings, but the essence of the issue resonates. Washington is struggling to retain the city’s culture amidst forced changes that better suit the desires of new, white residents.
“But race and class issues often overlap, and the city’s demographics shift – the white population jumped by 31 percent in the past decade, while the black population declined by 11 percent – many less affluent blacks say they are feeling left out of the city’s improving fortunes. In April the Census Bureau reported that Ward 8, in the city’s mostly poor and black southeast, had the highest jobless rate in the country,” the Times reports. “Some of these poorer residents saw revitalization as code for efforts to drive them out, and the building of dog parks and bike and streetcar lanes as efforts by affluent whites to rearrange spending priorities to suit themselves.
The gentrification narrative is often the same, but in D.C., where the black population once peaked at 71 percent, something bigger is at stake: “the face of the nation’s capital and who gets to shape it,” the Times reports. “That privilege has special meaning here in Washington, whose black-majority government has given jobs to African-Americans and a way into a middle class that they had long been shut out of.
Of course it is a favorite pastime of D.C. police to arrest the boisterous black mayors (remember Marion Barry?) but it is unclear why a peaceful protest would result in dragging the city’s leader away in handcuffs. However, Gray told the media that he is proud of arrest and that the budget battle between Congress and the city has only just begun. The cuts would affect the way local D.C. funds would be applied for organizations like Planned Parenthood.
“District residents are being treated as colonists of the Congress of the United States and we are absolutely outraged,” District Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said last week.
It is true indeed that a small, but audible uprising is brewing among residents of the nation’s capitol over a lack of congressional representation and the way the District’s governing is negatively affected by their non-statehood. Mayor Gray becoming a political prisoner will only deepen residents’ disdain for the federal government’s intrusion in District matters and strengthen the local cause to rally against them.
Gray was released from jail this morning.
Ahhh, to relive the spring breaks of my college years. Sandy beaches, non-stop margaritas, shopping with reckless abandonment…Okay, that was really the spring break I dreamed of. If you were on that Ramen Noodle diet like moi and had other bills to pay–you can’t pray away credit bills, believe me I tried–then spring break was a week with your momma and them, or crashing on a sibling’s couch. If you’re lucky enough to have a nine to five or just sacrificed and saved some change, then girl, it’s time for you to thoroughly enjoy your spring break, no matter what you wind up partaking in. Granted, if you’re out of college, folks frown upon calling it spring break, but a vacation is a vacation. And here are seven ways and places where you can come back with some interesting stories and a peace of mind.
(The Washington Times) – The three leading candidates seeking the Democratic Party nod to be the next mayor of Washington are black, yet the issue of race and racial divisions remains an inescapable theme in the campaign as voters prepare for Tuesday’s primaries. Polls show a deep racial divide in the electorate, with the city’s minority white population strongly favoring Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and blacks swinging toward D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. Mr. Gray is seen as the front-runner in the race.
(Washington Post) – Eric Mendel, sales manager for TechExpoUSA, discusses the demand for people with top secret clearances at the recent TECHEXPO top secret job fair in Reston, Va. As The Post’s Dana Hedgpeth reports today, there’s been a major increase in government jobs and contractor positions that require secret clearances since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Everything from janitors at spy agencies to specialized computer technicians and software developers.
(NBC Washington) – D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray has been dominating the playing field in his race against Mayor Adrian Fenty, winning straw poll after straw poll, endorsement after endorsement. But Fenty has retained one big advantage: money. At the end of the most recent reporting period, Fenty had about $2 million left to spend, while Gray had just $690,000. By that point, Fenty had already spent about $1 million on television advertising. Now Gray is at last up with his own first TV spot.