Daily Archive: November 30, 2011



Not nerve, just strong conviction

This was a week that I had no idea what I would write about. However, I was unfortunate to allow myself to engage in a conversation with several colored males that took a very negative direction. The original discussion had to do with the belief that President Obama would have a difficult reelection, but he will be victorious. I happened to suggest to them that maybe they were placing too much emphasis on national elections and ignoring the local elections, and I elaborated on the fact that there was an upcoming election for the mayor of Pittsburgh. The discussion took on a totally new direction, because the original conversation was about the reelection of a Black man. However, this group of colored males began to list a number of possible candidates for mayor and they included Pittsburgh Councilman Peduto, Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb, current Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner. The common denominator was they were all Democrats and White males.


Fitting the ­description

In some circles, Pittsburgh has been described as the most livable city in America. In others, it has been described as the most racist city in America. As a native Pittsburgher, who has also lived and worked elsewhere, I may have given both descriptions of this city, depends on when I’m asked. Last Friday, if anyone had asked, I would have voted for the latter, not the former. I was downtown, running errands, headphones on, quite oblivious to most of the goings on. I passed through the T-Station triangle at Liberty Avenue, and headed out Seventh Street side, through the revolving doors. Suddenly, the doors stopped revolving, and I looked behind me to see what the obstruction was, and there was a slight young man holding the door.



What about the children?

After reading and listening to all the hoopla about the Penn State mess, one thing comes to my mind. What about the children? Being a big time sports fan myself, I can appreciate the greatness of Joe Paterno. He’s without a doubt one of the greatest football coaches who ever lived. And as Franco Harris and many others have said, he has been instrumental in helping hundreds of young men, many if not most Black boys, become productive men over the years, which is more than most can say. I don’t think anyone is trying to take anything away from his greatness and his contributions to society as a whole, while helping young Black boys in particular. But what about the young Black boys who were allegedly raped by Jerry Sandusky and he didn’t do anything about it. He made a mistake, a huge mistake.


My whereabouts were found in Steveland

The night before I was to embark upon a four-hour drive at 5:30 a.m., my daughters Kennedy and Morgan were listening to “American Wedding” by Frank Ocean. From a semi-conscious state I recognized the song as a rip-off of “Hotel California” by the Eagles. I informed them of this and they immediately Googled the song and played it. “Dangit, Dad, why did you ruin it for me. I actually thought there was a great song out there that was written today,” said Kennedy in mock disgust.


Cutting into the bone

One of my least favorite things to do after Thanksgiving dinner is carving all the uneaten meat off the carcass of the turkey. I leave this task to my husband. And every year, it’s the same old thing. I tell him to cut off all the greasy, fatty parts, and then I tell him there is more meat to cut and then he tells me he is cutting into the bone. Well, that is exactly the same situation with the Allegheny County Budget. For years, County Executive Dan Onorato has done a good job in cutting the fat, or waste, out of county government. But a year or two ago, as revenues decreased and expenses continued to rise, we began cutting into the meat of some programs. This year, the proposed 2012 county budget actually cuts into the bone.


Kuntu splits from Pitt

<!–IMAGE images/stories/_entertainment/2011/11_2011/11-30-11/VernellLillierot.jpg IMAGE–>Despite a move from the University of Pittsburgh campus and a cutback in funding, Kuntu Repertory Theatre is still providing the African-American community with the works and voices of some of the greatest Black playwrights. “Our productions are now being held at the Homewood Brushton Library,” said Dr. Vernell Lillie, 80, founder and artistic director of Kuntu Repertory Theater. “We thought how wonderful it is to be in a specific neighborhood. The library is wonderful. It has 350 seats and they redid the auditorium and the sound system. It’s nice.” DR. VERNELL LILLIE Kuntu, which has been a fixture on the Pitt campus since its inception in 1974, moved from the university landscape in August due to funding cuts from its sponsors including the PA Council on the Arts, the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Heinz Endowment and the Regional Asset District.


Easton: From reporter to literary agent

We may not see Kimberly Easton on the TV screen as a reporter anymore, but that doesn’t mean she’s disappeared from a career in media. The former WPXI-TV news reporter/anchor has taken some time away from the camera to focus on family and an exciting new communications project. One of Easton’s main concerns today is raising her teenage daughter and caring for her father, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease in a Hospice program in their family home in Indianapolis, Ind. She is able to visit there often, assisting her sister in caring for their father. She feels as the eldest of three, that it’s her duty. KIMBERLY EASTON Easton’s father, Julius, had lived with her in Pittsburgh for the past four years, but “it was my father’s wish to return to our family home, so he could be with the rest of our family,” Easton explains. “Caring for an elderly parent as a single mother with a full-time job is just tough no matter who is doing it or where.”


Carnegie exhibit showcases legendary Pittsburgh Courier photographer

by Kevin Begos PITTSBURGH (AP)—Charles “Teenie” Harris had a photographic mission: going beyond the obvious or sensational to capture the essence of daily African-American life in the 20th century For more than 40 years, Harris—as lead photographer of the influential Pittsburgh Courier newspaper—took almost 80,000 pictures of people from all walks: presidents, housewives, sports stars, babies, civil rights leaders and even cross-dressing drag queens. THE GREATEST—In this 1963 photo taken by Pittsburgh photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris, and provided by the Carnegie Museum of Art, boxer Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) lifts his mother, Odessa Grady Clay, in his room at the Carlton House Hotel in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Charles “Teenie” Harris via Carnegie Museum of Art). Now, a new exhibit and online catalog is showing the depth of Harris’ work, an archive showing a major artistic achievement that influenced people around the country.


Arts & Culture Calendar

Thursday 1 Harris Exhibition The Carnegie Museum of Art presents “Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story” at the museum’s Heinz Galleries, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. This is an exhibit about famous photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris and features thousands of his classic and historic photos. There will also be life size projections combined with a newly commissioned jazz soundtrack. The exhibit will run through April 7, 2012. For more information, visit http://www.cmoa.org.


East End eatery offers royal treatment

Owen Benhail Crownie, affectingly known as Ben has had an affliction for food since a young age. The Jamaican native’s first interaction with food was on a farm and from the amazement with his grandmother’s creative cooking. As a teenager he lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., where his interest grew as a result of his decision to abstain from eating meat. A student of the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, Crownie began his career there as a cook and became a manager after attending the KFC training program. IT’S IN THE HERBS—Chef and owner of the Royal Caribbean, Ben Crownie uses ingredients from all over the world. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels) By popular demand Crownie is a restaurant owner. In 1986 he opened what he classifies as the first full-fledged Caribbean grocery store in the Homewood community. A Pittsburgher since 1977, he traveled back and forth to New York City on a regular basis bringing Caribbean food and items back, always sharing his products with others. Often cooking his meals from the back of his grocery store he began selling it to customers and soon opened a community kitchen in the rear. Taking the suggestion from his customers he opened a restaurant on Broad Street in East Liberty.