From what we understand, this picture of Andre Cammock, 27, and his daughter, three-year-old Jazmine, are typical: they’re always together, always happy, always, well, cute. They are shown hanging out at the Hope Botanical Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica. The picture was sent in by Jada Brown of West Palm Beach, who is friends with the young Dad and his young daughter and sees them on her visits to the Caribbean Island. “He always talks about how much he loves his daughter,” Ms. Brown said. “Her mother died when she was born and, ever since, it’s been just the two of them.”
It is confirmed: the locally produced play ‘Black Wall Street’ is a hit! West Palm Beach-based Producer/Director/performer Hallie Balbuena–we call her The Drama Queen–learned last week that the play will perform January 11-12, 2019, at the Black Heritage Festival in Tampa. The statewide draw makes sense. The play sold out each of the three times it played this year in Palm Beach County–in March and in July–and people are still talking about it, Ms. Balbuena says, because the story resonates. “We are so excited,” she says, adding, “I’m also focused on the Kravis Center for 2020 or even 2021 for the 100-year anniversary of the massacre.” The story certainly remains relevant: a white mob destroyed the wealthy black business district in 1921 in Tulsa, Okla., that came to be known as ‘Black Wall Street’ and, just last week, the Tulsa Mayor announced efforts to further unravel the covered history of the attack. Read about that here. The good news: the story is being told. And about that Black Heritage Festival in Tampa Bay? It’ll be held from January 10-20, 2019, and features a wide variety of entertainment, community discussions and, as we now know, at least one hit play. Click here to learn more.
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) is a coalition of hard-working, well-connected mostly former students from the formerly segregated Roosevelt High School in West Palm Beach. They have been working for more than a decade to ensure the school site itself is not only saved, but converted into a community uplift center with a focus on learning, cultural enrichment and history. That is of critical importance, says Debbye Raing, a now-retired longtime educator who is also an AARLCC charter member. “In order to move forward, you have to look back,” she said.”Our past shapes our future.” People are getting it: for one, the nonprofit has a multi-million dollar commitment from the School District of Palm Beach County to support their dream. For more information on their work and their plan, contact Vice President Donald Gibson at 561-758-2313 or email@example.com. The nonprofit meets on the first Monday of each month at Gaines Park in West Palm Beach.
For the last three months, people have been praying in front of Riviera Beach City Hall, at 7 a.m. every Sunday. Religiously. Why? “Because we know this city,” says Pastor Ronnie Felder of Transformation Church of the Palm Beaches, which is located on the campus of JAY Outreach Ministries in the city. “We know that, no matter what, this city is strong, favored and good. We are re-connecting that to City Hall. Every Sunday, before the start of the work week.” Want to join? Simply show up, Pastor Ronnie says; all are welcome. Call 561-842-4276 for more information.
The list of honorees has not been fully made public, but but we do know who is receiving a Circle of Fathers’ ‘Trailblazer Honors’ award from the Trayvon Martin Foundation: young activist minister Bryce Graham. Prophet Bryce, as he is known, will receive his recognition at the event, which starts at 7 p.m. tonight at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Fort Lauderdale. The Trailblazer Honors were created by the Foundation to honor men in south Florida for contributions to social justice and minority empowerment. Prophet Bryce, who lives in West Palm Beach, is the central Florida regional director of the National Action Network, founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton. For event tickets and other information, click here. To learn more about the Foundation and its work, here and, to learn more about Prophet Bryce, here. And remember: the six-part documentary created by business mogul Jay Z, titled ‘Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story,’ comes on at 10 p.m. every Monday on the Paramount Network. It premiered July 30.
The provocative news that Tony T. Brown was shot in the head at his Fernandina Beach home last week–allegedly by a wife upset at his tone of voice as he directed her to perform a computer search–has flown across the country from newspapers in New York and Atlanta to even, Fox News. But let’s not forget who Tony Brown is. Though he grew up in the projects in Ohio, he has had an esteemed 30-year career in banking, economic development and finance, including executive roles at the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bank of America and, from 2010 to 2016, the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. Under his leadership, the Riviera Beach Marina began its long-awaited $350 million redevelopment; Phase 2 is about to start. Tony Brown is whip smart, fun and hardworking. He is also alive.
There were quite a few Career Days at PBC schools last month–including at Lincoln and Washington elementaries in Riviera Beach. And our elected officials showed up. Riviera Beach City Councilman Terence ‘T.D.’ Davis spoke to fourth and fifth grade classes at Lincoln on May 24, while Riviera Beach Councilwoman Tonya Davis Johnson, PBC Commissioner Mack Bernard and state Senator Bobby Powell visited Washington Elementary on May 23. Washington, by the way, was home to the School District of Palm Beach County’s 2017-18 Principal of the Year, Sandra Edwards. In February, she was appointed to lead Carver Middle School in Delray Beach.
The mother, Terrion Nelson, is an accomplished singer while the father, Ray Nelson, played drums for the FAMU Marching 100; both are also longtime educators. Their three kids are achieving as well: Ray, II, a professional, college-educated drummer who recently returned from an Asian tour with Grammy-nominated singer Kehlani; Reneir is a third-year student at FAMU, studying music, playing in the band and teaching at the drum camp; and Reche’, who studies dance with the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in New York City and will work in Los Angeles this summer. The family’s nonprofit, week-long Synergy Percussion Drumming Camp, starts today and ends Friday. Even if this camp is missed, the family’s story is compelling and their nonprofit has a simple mission: using music to inspire and teach students ages 8 to 18. Registration ends today at 10 a.m. Classes are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the fee is $150 per student, which includes daily breakfast and lunch, the camp uniform, classes, instruments and more–such as the rich history of a creative family that achieves and wants to share it with our community.