This week I visited the Benedum Center in Downtown Pittsburgh and The August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Downtown Pittsburgh, The Improv in Homestead, Glenn Campbell’s Celebration Cookout in the Hill District and the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty. My first stop was at the Benedum Center where Groove Productions presented the Classic Soul Music Festival starring Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band, Con Funk Shun, Artistree and comedian Cool-Aide. This event was sold out and everyone was dressed to impress as they enjoyed the soulful sounds of Charlie Wilson. He sang all his old hits and some of the new ones and he shared how God has rescued him and turned his life around. It was a great time for everyone. The Charlie Wilson dancers representin’ at the Benedum Center.
Monthly Archive: May 2010
(NNPA)—Dear Gwendolyn: Six years ago I got engaged. Since that time I have been saving money for our wedding and hopefully to purchase a house. We do not live together. He has always lived with his mother. He has never been married but has nine children by four different women. I love him, but I am growing tired of waiting for him to find employment. He was laid off from his job three months before proposing to me.
Bang. Click. Those are the sounds you’d hear. The first, a judge’s gavel coming down, sealing your fate for life. The second, the sound of handcuffs going around your wrists, leading to a chain around your waist. That’s what you’d hear if you were convicted of a felony. Maybe you’d be guilty. Maybe you’d be innocent. For sure, you’d be scared. In cities all over the country, African-Americans—particularly men—face unbalanced rates of incarceration when compared to prison time served by Whites. In the book “The New Jim Crow,” author Michelle Alexander likens this travesty to slavery and more.
Thursday 27 Opening night The University of Pittsburgh’s Kuntu Repertory Theatre presents “Radio Gulf” by August Wilson at 8 p.m. at Alumni Hall, 7th floor Auditorium, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. This is the last play of the 2009-2010 Season and ends with the final play in Wilson’s 10-play Cycle chronicling Black life in the 20th century. The play is about successful entrepreneur Harmond Wilks, who aspires to become the city’s first Black mayor. But when his past comes to life, his campaign is put in jeopardy. The show will run through June 12. Admission is $20 for adults, $13 for senior citizens and $5 for students. For more information, call 412-624-7298 or visit http://www.kuntu.org.
If small businesses are the harbinger of economic recovery, then western Pennsylvania shows clear signs of hope. That was the message African American Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Doris Carson Williams had for those attending the chamber’s May 19 annual meeting and luncheon. BIG BUSINESS —Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg warns that attempts to tax large nonprofits like Pitt could cripple the only growing business sector in the region. “For the chamber, the good news is that we grew our membership by 7 percent,” she told the 500 guests in the Omni William Penn ballroom. “The bad news is we lost 4 percent, and they were in the small capacity business category. But our new members are larger firms, and several existing members have increased their capacity and membership levels.”
Though many objected to the Big Brother “we know where you live” tone of the first advertisements promoting Pennsylvania’s Tax Amnesty program, it got people’s attention—and that was the point. The state is trying to recover as much as it can of the $2.1 billion in eligible delinquencies as possible to address a budget shortfall. Its goal is to collect $190 million by the June 18 program deadline. To do so, the amnesty program will waive 100 percent of any penalties, and will cut the interest owed by half. “This is really a golden opportunity,” said Department of Revenue spokesperson Stephanie Weyant. “It’s a rarity. The last time the state offered tax amnesty was 14 years ago. So this is quite an opportunity for taxpayers and for us. Hopefully we’ll be able to collect a large amount of money in a short time.”
“Nielsen. The TV ratings people, right?” “Right! But, we’re so much more. The Nielsen Company is the largest marketing research company in the world. Beyond television we also measure and analyze trends and consumer behavior around the globe in the mobile, online and consumer packaged goods industries.” That’s pretty much the way the conversation goes whenever I share with anyone that I work for Nielsen.
I recently received a phone call from a friend of mine. He was stressed out, confused and scared. He recently went through a divorce that resulted in his accumulating more than $60,000 in debt. As if the events leading up to the divorce weren’t overwhelming enough, he’s now dealing with the mounting pressure of trying to make payments on this new debt in addition to paying the rest of his bills and expenses, eating and having a life. The pressure was getting to him. Things were tight! He needed some wiggle room in his budget and he needed it fast. He thought he found the “magic pill” to his problem when he saw a commercial on television offering debt negotiation services. The pitch was: “Cut your debt in half! Pay off all your unsecured debt in under five years with minimum payments! Don’t trash your credit report by filing bankruptcy! Allow our law firm who specializes in “debt settlement negotiations” to work on your behalf. Never deal with a creditor or collection company again!
Having free will, we are in constant conflict between our needs and our wants. The battle continuously rages for our resources, our time and our relationships. The enemy is omnipresent and constantly attacks us. We are being subjected to a war within ourselves and we don’t even know who we are fighting. The casualties of these inner personal wars are all around us. They can appear as the financially overextended or even bankrupted; they can be either stressed out, chemically dependent or even mentally ill; they can be in a family feud or divorce court or even end up on the police blotter. The war zone is in our head, with our needs on one side and our wants on the other.
Business series MAY 27—The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will host their Business Program Series at 12:15-1 p.m. at the Downtown & Business branch, 612 Smithfield St. The topic is “Get Your Portfolio on Track in 2010 and Beyond.” Robert Fragasso, chairman and CEO of Fragasso Financial Advisors, will discuss the necessary investments to build a strong financial future—how to prepare for retirement and not outlive one’s money, the effects of inflation and how creating a balanced and allocated portfolio can reduce the risk. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 412-281-7141.