February 27, 2014

By Zenitha Prince

Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper

 

Maya Angelou, one of America’s leading poets, wrote a moving tribute to Nelson Mandela that has recently been published. (Photo Credit/Dwight Carter)

Maya Angelou’s moving tribute to fallen South African leader Nelson Mandela, called “His Day Is Done,” will be preserved in book format just in time for Black History Month.

“I’m delighted, honored, pleased and just over the moon,” Angelou told theAFRO of Random House’s decision to publish the slim tome.

When news of Mandela’s declining health first made headlines nearly two years ago, Angelou said she was contacted by the U.S. State Department and asked to write a tribute to the beloved African leader on behalf of the American people. They wanted to be prepared for his possible death, they said, and asked her to keep the request and the poem secret until at least 48 hours after his passing.

“I knew President Mandela; we had met 50 years ago in Egypt [and] over the years we had developed a close friendship [and] we had great respect and affection for each other,” the acclaimed poet recalled. “It was very hard to write about this person who I liked and adored as if he were dead.”

But she set herself to the task—pouring the thoughts, memories and feelings in her heart and head onto the page before snipping and tucking them into poetic form.

As the wife of South African freedom fighter Vusumzi L. Make of the Pan African Congress, Angelou was often present at gatherings of Mandela and other activists—who were a rowdy lot, she said.

“But among those loud, boisterous voices he [Mandela] was as gentle…and he was generous,” she said. “He spoke to everybody; he had time and a kind word for everybody from the doorman to the housekeeper.”

She hailed his strength, writing in the poem that Mandela was the world’s “David armed with a mere stone, facing down the mighty Goliath” of apartheid. And, after 27 years of imprisonment on Robben Island, this “hope of Africa” burst through the prison doors with “His stupendous heart intact, his gargantuan will hale and hearty.”

She honored his grace, which he demonstrated when he gave his former jailers seats of distinction at his inauguration.

“I think that was one of his great gifts to us—he taught us how to forgive,” Angelou said. “He was a great friend to the world.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 27, 2014

 

ARIES

Finding a way to do it better than others is not going to be hard this week. Share your wisdom with other seekers. All who receive your word will benefit this week. Happiness rules! Don’t waste a moment of this perfect week on any negative thoughts. Soul Affirmation: I give myself a chance to see all the good I can see in others. Lucky Numbers: 36, 38, 55

 

TAURUS

Strong vibrations bring a series of dramatic interactions with others this week. Practice your charm. Let it come from the heart, and let your energy carry you upwards to your best, highest self. Keep emotions calm. Let the warmth from inside of you touch others and thereby make your world better. Soul Affirmation: I go within and find what I’ve been searching outside myself to find. Lucky Numbers: 13, 29, 34

 

GEMINI

You’ll be energizing and inspiring others this week as you speak what’s on your mind regarding spiritual matters and masters. The quality of your thoughts is very pure; write yourself a love letter. Move slowly with explanations.  Others will not understand as quickly as you think they should. Soul Affirmation: The truth that finds me is the truth I’ve been seeking. Lucky Numbers: 20, 27, 31

 

CANCER

Rev up your engines. This is a fine week for making progress with projects that you’ve got in the works. Your energy is high and your mind is clear. Use every advantage this week to finish up your works. Look for love in the right places. Know the difference between love and lust. Soul Affirmation: I forgive and set myself free. Lucky Numbers: 19, 26, 39

 

LEO

Educate those around you in the area of personal growth. Their improvement will bring benefits to you. Humor in communication is the key. Humor in introspection is a must. Soul Affirmation: Success that has been following me is trying to catch up. Lucky Numbers:   16, 30, 39

 

VIRGO

This week romance is begins to percolate.  Enjoy your feelings and let your brain relax. Suspend all judgments of others. Being stern won’t work for you this week. Soul Affirmation: I go along to get along. Lucky Numbers: 1, 6, 19

 

LIBRA

Romance will find you this week. Don’t be looking the other way. Your “rap” is especially strong. Make as many of those important phone calls as possible. People will respond. They are waiting to be receptive, Soul Affirmation: Friendships are shock absorbers on the bumpy roads of life. Lucky Numbers:  11, 13, 20

 

SCORPIO

This week should bring an opportunity to further your education, don’t pass it up. Pay special attention to details at work. A friend needs your support. Find joy in giving it. Soul Affirmation: All things work together for good. Lucky Numbers:  26, 35, 43

 

SAGITTARIUS

You and your mate should increase your saving for the future this week. Future plans should be spotlighted. A relationship is likely to take a serious turn. Be open to making an unusual purchase. Soul Affirmation: I can see clearly now the rain is gone. There are no obstacles in my way. Lucky Numbers:  10, 30, 50

 

CAPRICORN

Don’t take any big gambles this week, the time is not right for a flight into the unknown. A newfound harmony is in store for you and your mate. Your mate will understand your fears. Soul Affirmation: New insights create new directions and a new cast of characters. Lucky Numbers:  6, 48, 51

 

AQUARIUS

The air can be cleared easily. Admit your need for help. Seek understanding. You’ll help another by seeking help from them. Communication problems will smooth themselves out. Soul Affirmation: Moving slowly might be the fastest way. Lucky Numbers:  33, 52, 54

 

PISCES

You and your partner are on the same wavelength. If you are presented with a contract this week, it’s an ideal week to reach an agreement. Make the important phone call to set things up. Soul Affirmation: What I’ve been waiting for has been here all along. Lucky Numbers: 4, 6, 33

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 27, 2014

By Kam Williams

 

At first blush, “The Bag Man” reads a lot like “The Transporter,” the 2002 action film about a courier hired by a mobster to deliver a mysterious package without opening it. After all, the title character of this adventure has been asked by a crime boss to pick up a bag for him without examining its contents.

However, besides sharing that basic premise, the two pictures don’t have all that much in common. Where The Transporter is a special-effects adventure peppered with car chases and pyrotechnics, “The Bag Man” is a relatively-cerebral affair, a multi-layered mystery featuring unpredictable twists and turns as a well as a femme fatale with inscrutable intentions.

At the point of departure, we find a powerful gangster named Dragna (Robert De Niro) aboard his private plane where he’s giving very precise instructions to the protagonist. Jack’s (John Cusack) assignment is to take possession of an ostensibly priceless satchel and then wait for Dragna inside Room 13 at a seedy motel located somewhere in the country.

Of course, this proves easier said than done, when a cornucopia of colorful characters commence to covet the very valise he’s been asked to protect. The fun starts when Jack’s shot in the hand by Bishop (Danny Cosmo), the gangster who just handed him the package.

Then, while checking in, he alarms the paraplegic desk clerk (Crispin Glover) by assuming the suspicious name “Smith” and by paying in cash. Next, he has to deal with curious cops who have decided to stake out the premises.

But his biggest challenge of all is presented by Rivka (Rebecca Da Costa), a gorgeous damsel-in-distress on the run from a couple of goons herself. Will the scantily-clad stranger in need of a knight in shining armor be Jack’s undoing?

That’s the burning question for the balance of the madcap, high body-count adventure once the two opt to join forces.

An intriguing enough whodunit to keep you guessing, thanks to a decent script and game performances by De Niro, Cusack and newcomer Rebecca Da Costa.

Very Good (2.5 stars)

Rated R for violence, sexuality and profanity

Running time: 108 minutes

Distributor: Cinedigm Entertain­ment

To see a trailer for The Bag Man, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKBLfwVEKP8

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 27, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

New York, NY – Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) held its 2014 Vision 2014Gala on February 25th at Cipriani 42 in New York City.

As Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrates its 45th Anniversary, this year’s gala was themed “Live the Moment” and raised $700,000, $75,000 of which resulted from the entertaining live auction conducted by Audrey Smaltz,with the proceeds benefitting the DTH School’s Next Generation and Community Engagement Funds.

Honorees were Grammy Award-winning recording artist Patti LaBelle with the Arthur Mitchell Vision Award; dance educator and arts advocate Jody Gottfried Arnhold with The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Medal; and Goldman, Sachs & Co. senior partner Valentino D. Carlotti with the inaugural Virtuoso Award.

The evening’s honorary chair was Billy Joel (not in attendance).
There were performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem School to “Over the Rainbow,” choreographed by School Director Endalyn Taylor; a preview of the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company’s forthcoming spring season at Jazz at Lincoln Centerwith an excerpt from “The Pas de Dix from Raymonda;” as well as a special tribute performance by the Company to Ms. LaBelle, choreographed by resident choreographer Robert Garland.

However, the surprise performance of the evening was from “Lady Marmalade” herself when she ended her acceptance speech with an acapella rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer,” with opera singer Jessye Norman joining her, along with the entire audience, in singing amen.

“I can dance, but they dance like angels,” said LaBelle during her acceptance speech, referring to the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company tribute performance. “This is my 52nd year in this business called show and to be honored by the Dance Theatre of Harlem for their 45th year anniversary, I feel so blessed, so honored,” she continued during a short dinner break in the program.

Nearly 400 corporate sponsors, supporters, friends, alumni and members of the board attended the event, including journalist Paula Zahn, Malaak Compton Rock, Kimberly Chandler, Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriwether, Isiah and Lynne Thomas; Miss New York City 2014 KiraKazantsev, philanthropists Samuel Peabody, Judith M. Hoffman, Jean Shafiroff, Beverly D’Anne and Guy Mognaz.

“It was a very special evening that brought together the tremendous talent and expertise of our Company dancers and the great potential in our DTH school students. What a perfect celebration of the past 45 years of Dance Theatre of Harlem, to see the legendary Patti LaBelle take the stage to receive the Arthur Mitchell Vision Award from our longtime board member Jessye Norman, and to say thank you to honorees Valentino D. Carlotti and Jody Gottfried Arnhold for all that they’ve done for Dance Theatre of Harlem, the arts and education,” says Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director.

Members of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Board of Directors were also on hand for the star-studded celebration, including Chairman of the Board Kendrick Ashton, Jr., Gala Committee Chair Leslie Wims Morris, along with board membersAlpha Mom’s Isabel Kallman, DTH Vice Chairman of the Board Michael Armstrong, Trey Muldrow, Kevin Cofsky, Zandra Perry Ogbomo, and AliyaLeeKong.

Among the Vision Gala’s sponsors were Jody and John Arnhold; Goldman Sachs & Co; American Express; Siris Capital Group, LLC; Isabel and Craig Kallman; GiftCards.com; CenterLight Healthcare; Disney; Fried Frank; and Akin Gump. The gala reception was sponsored by BET Networks. “We are thrilled and very grateful for the wonderful support shown by so many corporations and individuals,” remarked Laveen Naidu, Executive Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem.  “This gala helps make it possible for Dance Theatre of Harlem to continue making a difference around the world with our performances, community engagement and education programs.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 27, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

Paramount is in final talks to acquire domestic distribution rights to “Selma,” the long in-the-works feature drama about Martin Luther King‘s 1965 landmark voting rights campaign regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement, and Oprah Winfrey has boarded the project as producer.

Ava DuVernay, who came aboard the project in July, rewrote the original script by Paul Webb and slipped it to Winfrey, who sparked to DuVernay’s rewrite, according to Deadline.com.

This marks the second MLK project that Winfrey is overseeing. Her Harpo production company is also behind a seven-part HBO miniseries “America: In the King Years.”

According to Deadline, the plan is to get “Selma” in front of cameras as soon as possible. Lining up a domestic deal and a name of Winfrey’s caliber were key to getting the ball rolling, and when the deal goes through, production is expected to start right away. Pathe UK, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Christian Colson are already aboard as producers.

Winfrey’s presence both on and off the screen was a big reason “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” did so well overseas, according to Deadline. The film has grossed $167.7 million to date — more than $50 million of that internationally. This gives “Selma” a leg up on the other two major MLK features that are percolating. Oliver Stone last month saw a script rewrite on his King biopic rejected by DreamWorks and Warner Bros, and it caused him to back out of the project. Meanwhile, Paul Greengrass still isn’t ready to move on his biopic “Memphis” that he plans to make with Scott Rudin.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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