[Memphis, TN] If you appreciate culture you more than likely have art hanging on your wall. If you are like me you treasure great work but have run out of wall space or money? However, just when you thought you had enough art you come across a piece that you must have.
On the 50th commemoration of the day Dr. King was assassinated, Judith and I were trekking down south Main street near Talbot avenue, which is down the street from the National Civil Rights Museum and came across this artist who was just setting up. We now know his name is KOLONGI. Once he pulled out his prints, all manner of being broke as a belglade Indian or being financially embarrassed disappeared, as we knew this was a special piece which we had to have.
It is a remarkable piece. It has an African-American theme and Kolongi calls it, “Summoned by the Ancestors.” However, regardless of your ethnicity if you too appreciate art, history or culture I would encourage you to add this to your collection.
It depicts President Barack Obama during a meeting. He was summoned by the ancestors to discuss issues of importance to the African American community and the best path forward for our people. The ancestors that summoned him were Marcus Garvey, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali.
I asked Kolongi what was his inspiration for creating this masterpiece? He indicated, “I always look for things which are unique and because so many people appreciated Obama and what he represented I wanted to create a piece featuring him while calling on the ancestors for guidance.”
I was happy to hear the large supply of prints Kolongi made sold out within hours and I am glad we had sense to scrape up enough money to grab it and have it framed.
Ta-Nehisi Coates “We Were Eight Years in Power – An American Tragedy” is a must read for those who desire to stay informed in our current environment.
“We Were Eight Years in Power” showcases Coates’ voice who is a Gen X’r but offers credible perspectives as seen through the African-American lens, or at least from those such as his. The book weaves eight essays and demonstrates a new thought of how our world is changing. The notion of Barack Obama running for president, let alone thinking he could get elected seemed like a lark, if not an impossible reality to so many. Yet, people like Coates and later generations such as millennial’s write with pride as Obama defied the odds to become President and successfully completed two terms. Starting as a Blogger, Coates joined the team at the Atlantic and in a short period has taken off.
The content of the book takes you on a journey of historic reality. Some may be troubled from how Coates portrays racism and how it has shaped our culture. He admits there has been progress but while so many dismiss the gains as we are “so better off,” his point is to remind you of the vestiges created from the notion of using race as a benchmark.
Regardless of whether you agree with some of Coates perspectives or not, the book is chalk-full of personal examples and other documented facts which allow you to better appreciate his writing style. He is unapologetic and reminds you how African-American’s have risen to tremendous levels of success, despite the barriers of how life is conducted in the United States.
Through his credibility as a journalist/writer he was given the opportunity to be in the company of Barack Obama. The first meeting morphed into a relationship where then president Obama invited him to the White House for more robust discussion centered around race and progress. Coates writes how much he treasured the invite and subsequent relationship.
The chapter “My President is Black” came from an essay which received international acclaim. Despite your feelings of Barack Obama, Coates allows you to better understand the rise and how he and first lady Michelle took the notion of being the first African-American president with pride and conducted themselves impeccably.
As this review is being written, Coates is concluding his book tour. Also, the recent elections of November 7, 2017 which brought a solid rebuke to Donald Trump, his politics and the rhetoric he spews is a point Coates makes, still in disbelief the voting public elected him as the 45th president is very interesting. The book references this point with a unique twist. Coates brings it home by helping the reader understand the dilemma and pressures Obama had to contend while, while Trump with just the reality of being a “white man” desiring to be president never had to deal with the continuousness. His primary issue was brought on by his own actions, not from systemic racism.
Coates admits not trying to be a “voice” for people or causes, but through his writing and how he has penned this book you quickly are thought to elevate him to a credible voice, which will be prominent for years to come.
The book which is a tad under 400 pages is a quick read. The good news is each chapter is its own separate essay and does a very good job of referencing how Coates saw things during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. It is a worthy investment for your library, especially if part of your frequent communication is on politics and race, and you truly desire a different perspective.
Today, Donald Trump appointed Jerome Powell as the next chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system (Fed) replacing Janet Yellen. The announcement was expected as Powell must now prepare himself to go through the gauntlet called confirmation. Since he is already part of the board there should be no surprises and he is expected to be in place when Yellen’s term ends in February.
“I congratulate my colleague Jay Powell on his nomination to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Jay’s long and distinguished career has been marked by dedicated public service and seriousness of purpose. I am confident in his deep commitment to carrying out the vital public mission of the Federal Reserve. I am committed to working with him to ensure a smooth transition.” Janet Yellen, 11/2/17
Yellen was appointed as chair by President Barack Obama in 2014 and her term officially ends February 3, 2018.
Prior to taking over the chair’s functions she was second in command under then Fed chair Ben Bernanke. Many in the financial sector applaud her tenure as being a steady force in guiding the United States monetary policy. Even though the position is supposed to be non-partisan, her primary criticism came from those on the opposite side of President Obama who took fault with anything and everything he proposed. Yet, like most things history has the final say and the economy is in much better shape as she exits – stage left!
Not fake news
Her critics and several others have short memories or blatant amnesia as they forget about a decade ago, the United States economic condition was becoming quite perilous and eventually exploded in 2008 resulting in hardships for millions of citizens and people around the globe. It was through focus and commitment that Bernanke and his team as well as the leadership of President Obama who accepted the daunting task of stabilizing the markets. The rest is history and the residual effect is an economy which has regained its footing, including a stock market which has grown to unprecedented levels.
Fed rate remains unchanged
Yesterday the Fed’s Monetary Committee met and decided to maintain the fed discount rate, although it is still projected to increase before the end of the year. The concern conveyed by members was acknowledgment the economy is moving is a positive direction.
As Yellen is preparing to move on the one concern being voiced is the GOP’s proposed tax reform bill. Monetary policy is a methodical process and it takes extreme discipline to not allow partisan politics to be the guiding force to ensure normalization.
“That task could be complicated by the GOP plan to inject huge stimulus into an already-healthy economy. Doing so may force the Fed to more aggressively raise rates to prevent the economy from overheating. “
Some of you may have seen this hour clip from David Axelrod’s latest venture; “The AXE files.” It featured a great interview with the iconic John Lewis, who is the Congressman from Atlanta.
The interview was conducted at the King Center in Atlanta, GA and gives you an idea of how Lewis got involved in the civil rights movement as well as his admonishment of Donald Trump’s behavior. Interestingly, it also covers how he and George W. Bush developed a positive relationship which led to the opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.