Obama As Comeback Kid

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Last Tuesday night into Wednesday morning was a feel-good moment for African Americans among others. 

Barack Obama, like the phoenix, was reborn in North Carolina. And he’s back on track in search of the US Presidency. Both local and national media abandoned him after Senator Clinton’s Pennsylvania primary and Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s meet-the-press interlude. For a fortnight, Obama was like a battered warrior.  

National polls, like Senator Hillary Clinton concurred that he could not close a deal, and he was an elitist who could not connect with white working class. Most of them were wrong.  Obama has staying power and is the real comeback kid. I especially enjoyed viewing Obama in NC on Tuesday night as he delivered his victory or was it acceptance speech, with a million cameras poised on him and his background supporters, who, to a man, were ordinary-looking, working-class white people, possibly Reagan Democrats? The visuals spoke volumes.

Re: Road to the Presidency coverage, I am giving up on public service television, cable TV news et. al. Last Sunday, on MEET THE PRESS, Tim Russert devoted 15 minutes of the show to Rev. Wright while interviewing Obama. Wasn’t that supposed to be behind Obama? 

While Obama answered questions, the NBC crawl read D –L?  What does that mean, Democratic Liberal? Left? I wonder if ABC’s THIS WEEK did the same with Hillary that morning. Effective immediately, I am going to restrict my incoming information to the printed word.  I recommend 5/19 The Nation magazine review/article OBAMA UNBOUND by Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the book “The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.” 

Coates’ piece brings an intelligent, thirty something African-American male perspective to the Obama phenom. Coates observes that “Obama’s handshake is a sort of dap- a little English in the wrist and one-armed hug – that black males spend much of their adolescence perfecting;” that “Obama sports a flawless Caesar demonstrative of the razorwork native to only one side of the tracks;” and that Obama’s favorite TV series is “The Wire.”

Coates is comfortable with Obama’s Black bonafides, something which White America is not. Along the way, you learn that Coates’ Obama becomes a metaphor for Black America as he cogently analyzes Black America and White America’s perception of same. Coates has coined some interesting acronyms like the Civil Rights Industrial Complex (CRIC), who are Hillary supporters who early on put a wedge between Obama and African Americans.  

Midway through the piece, the reader discovers that it is a review of Shelby Steel’s book A BOUND MAN: WHY WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT OBAMA AND WHY HE CAN’T WIN, which the reviewer slams. However, the reader of the review is empowered and informed. He concludes that Steele “lacks the nuance to approach black America not as an idea but as a collection of actual thinking, breathing, contradicting (and self contradictory) human beings. That is why so much of what’s been said about Barack Obama and African Americans has been so shockingly wrong!” 

Back to Obama, the math, the stars and destiny are conspiring to make the US Presidency palpable for him. On Saturday, May 10 Barack Obama is launching “VOTE FOR CHANGE,” an unprecedented six-month, 50-state voter registration and mobilization drive. In New York, the kick-off campaign begins with a rally, including special guest attractions, to be held at Harlem’s Mother AME Zion Church on 137 Street and Lenox at 12 noon. EVERYONE IS INVITED!

FOR YOUR INFO:  NYC, A recent Department of City Planning Study revealed that is a shortage of supermarkets exist in Harlem, eastern Queens and northeast Brooklyn and the Bronx.  Guess who lives in those areas, yes, New York’s people of color, predominantly African Americans and Latinos.  Less than 25% of food retailers sell fresh food in those neighborhoods, which are plagued by disproportionately high resident occurrences of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.  Chelsea and midtown had best access to fresh groceries. Guess who lives in those neighborhoods. Using 110 Street as the gateway to Harlem; on Eighth Avenue, the first supermarket is on 129 Street; on Seventh Avenue, the first supermarket is on 130 Street, on Fifth Avenue, the first supermarket is on 132 Street.   

Not a single district in the Bronx nor Brooklyn achieved New York City’s recommended levels of grocery store footage relative to population density.   A few days ago I read that a Bronx supermarket would close by year’s end. New developer, Vornado, who bought recently brought that property on Bruckner, plans to increase commercial rents exponentially, when leases expire, to cover acquisitions costs. Vornado is the real estate behemoth who is developing the space on Park and 125 Street, who plans to lease space to major league baseball and Inner City Broadcasting.

Effective May 12, the U.S Postal Service will increase postage stamp rates to $.42 per ounce.  Consumer conscious individuals are encouraged to buy “Forever” stamps series before that date and to post mail ASAP.  Yes, the “Forever” series are good for the period stated and legitimate regardless of postage rate increases.

LOVE, MARRIAGE AND $$$: It seems official that Beyonce and Jay-Z became man and wife of April 4. What’s not official is the prenuptial agreement signed by the lovebirds, which was initially published in the National Enquirer. As you know, Beyonce’s worth about $100 million and Jay-Z’s (nee Sean Carter) worth about $400 million. The alleged terms of the prenuptials follows: If Jay-Z divorces Beyonce within the first two years, she gets $10 million.

For divorce in subsequent years, she gets an additional $1 million for each year with a cap of $25 million for 15 years. In the event of divorce Beyonce retains access to the private jet and fleet of cars. Jay has committed to another $5 million for each child she bears for him for loss of income during pregnancy and child rearing years. True or False?! Rumor mill also says that she is with child.

HARLEM HAPPENINGS: West Harlem NYS Senator Bill Perkins will host his Re-Election Birthday Party on Thursday, May 8 at Minton’s Playhouse at 208 West  118 Street, between Adam Clayton Powell Blvd and St. Nicholas, from 6-9 pm. On May 8, you are invited to the  Montgomery and Melba Love Harlem party, featuring Leonard David, author of Black Americana, at 2312 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, on 136 Street, from 5 – 9 pm This will be a fashionista event showcasing  Montgomery’s clothes and will be catered by Melba’s Restaurant.

CULTURE STUFF: The first Annual Williamsburg “Buzz Willi-B” night, a Real Happening, showcasing works by 30 visual artists, including local household art cognoscenti Lorenzo Pace, Danny Simmons, Tafa, Makudy Sall,  Silvia Huerta and James Kendred, with live jazz by Bill Bang Trio. This opening night reception/exhibition will be held at 300 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn.  For more info, call 718.388.0125.

Vocalist Baby Washington performs, at Harlem’s Lenox Lounge on Mother’s Day.  

Columnist Horsford can be reached with news tips and tidbits via

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