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Henrietta Hudson Hosts Fundraiser for Pulse Nightclub Memorial

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  Last night I happened to walk into Henrietta Hudson in Manhattan for a well-deserved cocktail, and found a fundraiser in progress benefitting the onePULSE Foundation. As we all remember, the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was the scene of a horrific massacre in 2016 in which 49 people were murdered and 53 more were wounded. The majority of the victims were LBGTQ, and as it was Latin Night, most were Latino and Latina. The club's owner, Barbara Poma, has begun a campaign to erect a memorial and museum on the site of the nightclub.  Barbara Poma "No one can dance there anymore," said Poma to the crowd at Henrietta's, as she shared the story of being invited to the White House to witness President Biden's signing of a bill naming the location of the massacre as a national memorial. Here is the  Statement by President Joe Biden on the 5th Anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting . You can contribute by texting Hudson to 50155, or by scanning the QR code abo

Chadra Pittman and Michelle Brown Present Nina Kennedy's Virtual Book Launch

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On Saturday March 19th, Chadra Pittman, founder and executive director of The Sankofa Projects , and Michelle Brown, founder and host of the weekly podcast Collections by Michelle Brown , presented a Zoom Event called "A Conversation with World Renowned Pianist, Filmmaker and Conductor NINA KENNEDY as she launches her 2nd book and talks about the women who shaped her life." People from all over the country joined the Zoom meeting, during which Nina read from her two books Practicing for Love  and Practice What You Preach . After a screening of the video of Nina's performance of Schumann's "Widmung,"  the discussion opened with an homage to Ella Sheppard, matriarch of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers founded in 1871. The Singers toured to raise money for the fledgling Fisk Free Colored School, known today as Fisk University. Nina's parents met when they were students at Fisk, and she stated that she probably would not be here today had it not been for Fi

Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and National Identity

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  Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski The other night I was watching Amanpour and Company , and happened to see the Polish ambassador to the United States being interviewed. Behind him were the Polish and European Union flags prominently placed, and the keyboard of a Steinway grand piano. It reminded me that one of Poland's greatest heroes was pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin. Frédéric  Chopin in 1849 During the interview, Christiane Amanpour repeatedly asked the ambassador what he thought about the United States' refusal to assist the Ukrainians by replacing Polish war planes sent to Ukraine with American planes, and flying them from NATO air space. The ambassador was as diplomatic as he could be, without directly accusing the United States of contributing to the death toll in Ukraine. Looking at history, Poland had rebelled against Russia in the November Uprising of 1830-31. Chopin was out of the country when the rebellion began, and wrote in his letters about being worri

Where Was James Baldwin's Boyfriend?

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James Baldwin As we are nearing the end of Black History Month, I find myself reading and listening to the words of James Baldwin. He became one of the most articulate voices of the Civil Rights Movement, yet it is hard to find any description or discussion - in his own words - of his life as a gay man. One could guess that he describes some of his gay life in the novel Giovanni's Room , which can easily be dismissed as a work of fiction. We know that he met the man who became the love of his life, Lucien Happersberger, in Paris in 1949, when Lucien was 17 and James was 25. The fact that Lucien was white could have served as proof that, at least in Baldwin's mind, black men and white men could love each other. But unfortunately, Baldwin chose to remain in the closet, using references to "... my wife" and "... my woman, my children..." in his interviews. The truth is, the most significant woman in his life was his mother, and the children he referred to were

Nina Kennedy Participates in Panel Discussion on the Negro Spiritual

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  Nina and Matthew Kennedy On February 24th, the Church of the Holy Spirit of Lake Forest, Illinois presented a panel discussion on "The History and Evolution of the Negro Spiritual." Panelists included former Fisk Jubilee Singers Delano O'Banion, George Cooper, Robert Denson, and E.J. Murray. Nina Kennedy was the only non-Jubilee Singer panelist, as her father served as director of the group from 1957 to 1986. The Reverend Mother Jihan Murray-Smith, Associate Rector at the Church of the Holy Spirit, - and also a former Fisk Jubilee Singer - served as moderator. The conversation included much history of the Negro Spiritual starting with its origins on American plantations during slavery, and the importation of African melodies during the Middle Passage. Several recordings were heard including those of Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson. Delano O'Banion While the famous portrait of the Fisk Jubilee Singers commissioned by Queen Victoria was on the screen, Nina Kennedy sh