For many years the church has been a staple within the Black community. It was the place where people worshiped, socialized, where civil rights were advocated and even where political figures went to be elected. But a lot of that has changed; where the church was once the center of the community, it seems to have slowly lost its role within the Black community. Among the many denominations in Pittsburgh, the Baptist church is one of the largest religious affiliations within the city. With many issues being faced by the Black community, the New Pittsburgh Courier has begun to ask leaders of the various denominations about their views on the role of the church in Pittsburgh’s Black communities and its future. REV. MELVIN RIPPY
Daily Archive: June 17, 2011
After showing his popular short film “A War For Your Soul,” filmmaker and former teacher Reggie Bullock told of a student he’d lost to the streets years before, who was shot while slinging dope, retaliated and went to jail. After the film was put on YouTube in 2009, Bullock got a phone call. “Is the same Reggie Bullock who taught at Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut,” the voice said. “It’s me, Devon. I’m a preacher now. You can see me on YouTube, too.” SOUL SUPPORTER—Reggie Bullock fields questions after showing his film “A War For Your Soul” at a June 10 One Vision One Life meeting for youth and families on the North Side.
(NNPA)—Singer-actress Jennifer Hudson is set to release a tell-all memoir chronicling her dramatic weight loss, according to USA Today. The 29-year-old “American Idol” finalist, Grammy winning singer, and Academy Award winning actress shed nearly 80 pounds, reducing her dress size from 16 to 6 during the past year, with help from Weight Watchers. JENNIFER HUDSON
(NNPA)—Give conservatives credit: They have a loud echo chamber. It usually begins with a lie or, at best, a clever distortion, and the rest of the right-wing crowd are immediately off to the races. The most recent example is the assertion that President Obama made the economy worse. That point was advanced in a Wall Street Journal column by Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and, briefly, George W. Bush. She is the author of 10 books, including “When Character was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan” and “The Case Against Hillary Clinton.”
Most, if not all, African-Americans look at President Barack Obama as the ultimate symbol of the gains our people have made in the last several decades. Yes, there is still work to be done but we are, on the surface, doing better economically and financially than we were just a few generations ago. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find that huge disparities still exist. Health and healthcare are two of the areas you’ll find those glaring holes. According to the Center for Disease Control, African-Americans are affected by and die from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, HIV and homicide at disproportionate rates. Our infant death rate among is more than double that of whites. Heart disease death rates are 40 percent higher for African-Americans than for Whites and the death rate for all cancers is 30 percent higher for us than for Whites. The death rate from HIV/AIDS for African-Americans is more than seven times that for Whites, while the rate of homicide is six times that for Whites.
Who’s taking responsibility for Black leadership? The days of the “lone leader” are behind us. That being said, is it time the African-American community challenge those decisions makers with influence? It’s really easy for our community to point fingers at “them” or those outside of our community. Without effort, we blame others and place the burden of failure on “them”. Granted, we are highly disadvantaged due to the mega power lying in the hands of a select few. We know that slavery, Jim Crow and racism did and do leave us lacking in many rights. But when do we take a good, hard look internally and ask, are we in our way?
Last week, N.B.A. great Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement after 19 years of playing professional basketball. He stood 7’1” and weighed over 325 pounds (depending on the day of the week). He was one of the biggest people to ever play the game. He left Louisiana State University (LSU) after 3 years to join the N.B.A. He was picked as the number 1 player in 1992 draft by the Orlando Magic. He was chosen as the rookie of the year and went on to become one of the most dominant centers in the history of the game.
ATLANTA—To think that you could buy tickets to see a Grammy Award-winning, bonafide rock ‘n roll star for just $25 is unheard in this era of lofty concert ticket prices. But it’s true. The recent performance starring Raphael Saadiq at the quaint Variety Playhouse in Atlanta’s earthy neighborhood known as Virginia Highlands, was the anticipated performance we all expected. While R. Kelly’s upcoming Augusta tour at the James Brown Arena will command 75 bucks per clip, and the June 3 bill featuring Brian McKnight and JOE in Atlanta had an asking price of $134 per ticket—it’s the way of the industry and a sign of the economic times. I could go on. RAPHAEL SAADIQ
Many, many years from now, you’re going to be a major-league ball player. Or a concert pianist, maybe a ballerina, or a singer with a band. That’s because you spend a lot of time practicing. Though it’s sometimes hard and not always fun, practice makes perfect and you want to be as perfect as possible when you’re a ball player, pianist, ballerina, or singer.
(NNPA)—Dear Gwendolyn: I may end my friendship with a fellow female college alum whom I reunited with after working for 12 years in another town. After a year of reunion, I now believe we have irreconcilable differences. I must confess over the years I did not get to know her too well except with my own phone calls. Recently she sent me a series of emails that hinted at my current unemployment, lack of marriage and lack of children. As a result, I have written a letter that I may send her informing her of my decision to terminate my friendship and explaining why.—Ellen