Daily Archive: May 25, 2011



CEA focus on positive Black males

After a yearlong hiatus, Community Empowerment Association resurrected its Brother 2 Brother roundtable discussion and breakfast. Together with elected officials and government representatives, the organization opened its doors to men and youth of all ages. “We saw there was a demand. So many Black men said ‘what happened to the Brother 2 Brother breakfast that gave us a chance to network,’” said Rashad Byrdsong, CEA founder. “A lot of the concerns and challenges we mentioned (today) have to do with us. The reason we want to have this initiative this year more than anything else is because we’re in dire straits with the economy. Another thing is looking at the political landscape, we saw the need to really begin building resources from the ground up.” RASHAD BYRDSONG While the men took turns offering testimony at the breakfast on May 21, the most startling comments came from youth as young as 12 years old. The youth in the group painted a picture of their peer culture where selling drugs is thought of as “cool” and treating women disrespectfully is the norm.


Casino mogul Barden passes

Don Barden, the self-made Detroit entrepreneur who once tried to buy the New Pittsburgh Courier and who surprised people across the state by winning Pittsburgh’s first casino license, has died. Barden lost his battle with lung cancer May 19. He was 67. Barden always bucked the odds, as he told a luncheon audience in Pittsburgh just weeks before beating out two competitors for the Pittsburgh casino license in 2006. He said anyone can follow his path to success. DON BARDEN “The key is to put yourself in the ballpark and establish a track record so that when an opportunity arises, you are already poised to seize it,” he said. In his case, opportunity arose when he was selling homes and leasing rooms in Ohio to GIs returning from Vietnam. He learned the Army needed space for a recruiting office. So for $500, he took an option to buy an old record store, took the option and his plan to the bank and got the $25,000 needed to buy the building.


Homewood coalition formed

Now that his city council race is over, Rev. Ricky Burgess can move on an initiative he announced just before the primary election, the Homewood Planning and Development Collaborative. “There are resources in and around the city that need to be marshaled to move development in Homewood,” he said. “This gives us a funnel to target those resources to specific tasks. It’s the missing piece the community needs, the liaison.” UNIFIED FRONT—Joseph Preston and Rev. Ricky Burgess hear from their constituents.(Photo by J.L. Martello). During a pre-election press event, Burgess, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and representatives from City Planning and the Urban Redevelopment Authority announced funding plans for the new organization and highlighted its community partners—Operation Better Block, the Homewood-Brushton Comprehensive Coalition Organization and the Community Empowerment Association.


New WAMO? Urban radio station comes to city

As of May 21, WAMO, the radio station and once the heart of the Black community, is now back in Pittsburgh and on the air. The station, which is WPYT-AM and is based in Wilkinsburg, can be found at 100.1-FM and 660-AM. The station was purchased by Martz Communication Group Inc., of San Francisco, and is a cross-brand transition of the reportedly 1400 watt 660-AM station. The old WAMO was an approximate 50,000 watt station. Martz operates five other stations, which are located in Detroit and New York. Their other stations are dedicated to smooth jazz, country, contemporary and classic hits, and alternative rock. This will be the only urban station they have. The AM station will only broadcast during the daytime, but the FM station will broadcast 24 hours. Several attempts were made to reach Tim Martz, of Martz Communication, but he could not be reached for comment in time for publication.


Perry’s ‘For Better or Worse’ to air on TBS

TBS has ordered 10 epi­sodes of the new series Tyler Perry’s “For Better or Worse” from Tyler Perry Studios. The dramedy, based on Perry’s hit “Why Did I Get Married?” films, marks the third Tyler Perry series to come to TBS, which is also home to Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.” FOR BETTER OR WORSE—A scene from “Why Did I Get Married?” Michael Jai White, center, in confrontation with his babies’ momma, left, and wife, right. Tasha Smith, right, co-stars as his wife in the upcoming series. As with “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns,” syndication will be sold by Debmar Mercury. The series follows the ups-and-downs of married life for Marcus and Angela, two characters who originated in the feature films “Why Did I Get Married” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?” Michael Jai White (“The Dark Knight,” “Spawn”) and Tasha Smith (“Couples Retreat”) are set to reprise the roles of television anchor Marcus and salon owner Angela. Additional cast members to be announced. The series marks a new direction for Tyler Perry’s television properties. Unlike his family-oriented sitcoms, this series will target young adults. Production on the series is slated to begin this summer at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.


Community Calendar

Women Leadership Awards MAY 25—The YWCA will host the Tribute to Women Leadership Awards Luncheon from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Westin Hotel, 1000 Penn Ave., Downtown. Peggy Finnegan of WPXI will be the Mistress of Ceremonies and the honorees include Eva Tansky Blum, Yvonne Cook, Claudette R. Lewis, Janet Sarbaugh, Bonnie W. VanKirk, Rona Nesbit and Valerie Patrick Ph.D. Reservations are requested. For more information, call 412-255-1261 or visit http://www.ywcapgh.org.


This Week In Black History

Week of May 28 to June 3 May 28 1936—Betty Shabazz, the widow of Black nationalist leader Malcolm X, was born on this day in Detroit, Mich. Shabazz was born Betty Jean Sanders and raised by foster parents. She attended Tuskegee Institute (now university) and became a registered nurse. In 1994, she created a national controversy when she linked Nation of Islam leader Min. Louis Farrakhan to the assassination of Malcolm X. However, she and Farrakhan reconciled in 1995 and she spoke at the historic Million Man March. She died June 23, 1997 as a result of injuries received in a house fire set by her grandson. BETTY SHABAZZ, COUNTEE CULLEN


Fall of the Black Panthers

by C. A. Haywood (NNPA)—“So the concept is this basically: The whole Black nation has to be put together as a Black army. And we gon’ walk on this nation. We gon’ walk on the racist power structure. And we gone say to the government: “Stick em’ up motherf****r, this is a holdup. We’ve come for what’s ours”—an excerpt from the 1995 DVD “What We Want, What We Believe: the Black Panther Party Library.” ANGELA DAVIS It’s been more than three decades since the collapse of the Black Panther Party (for Self Defense), as it was originally titled. After a historic campaign of militant demonstration and persisting community activism, the grassroots alliance that was, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described, “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,” finally crumbled under the relentless pressure of external opposition in 1970.



Councilman Burgess’ image can rise high

There are those of you who criticize Councilman Burgess and in part I agree with some of the criticism. However, we should never forget the verse that states, “There is none perfect, no not one.” Allow me to put the victory of Councilman Burgess in perspective, because it was a total victory. How? He defeated six Democratic chairpersons, five unions and four sitting Pittsburgh Council people. Councilman Burgess’ intellect in my estimation has never been questioned, it is what I perceive as a lack of people skills, which I believe can be corrected. Those outside forces that sought to remove Ricky Burgess absolutely do not have the best interest at heart when it comes to the residents of the 9th council district. Over the years we the voters have complained that we have failed to make our elected officials responsive to the Black communities.


Don Barden: A great Black entrepreneur passes on

(NNPA)—Last week on May 19, we lost the Hon. Don Barden who was a trailblazer for economic empowerment in our communities. Don was born in Inkster, Mich., a Detroit suburb, which was the home of the first Black owned radio station, WCHB, and was also the abode of the great Stevie Wonder. He was the ninth of 14 children and shared a bed with three of his brothers. It was there that he resolved he would become an entrepreneur. He rejected the common option of working in an auto plant and went off to college at Central State University in Ohio. He soon ran out of money and took $500 in savings and opened a record store in Lorain, Ohio (a Cleveland suburb).