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…that you can see ‘Black Panther’ for free?

‘Tis true: Black Panther is back in hundreds of theatres for free across the country–including in West Palm Beach–for Black History Month. Beginning today through February 7, the Academy Award-nominated film will be free to view at 250 AMC Theatres, including AMC CityPlace 20. The Walt Disney Co., which distributed the film, announced the package on its website earlier this week. To be sure the movie is accessible to all, according to the Disney website, tickets are free for everyone and there will be two showings per day at each participating theatre. Walt Disney at the same time announced it is also giving $1.5 million to the United Negro College Fund in honor of Black History Month.

Black Panther was a global phenomenon that shattered box office records; it was the most-viewed film of 2018 worldwide, earned an astounding $1.3 billion and has been nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture. For free tickets to the showing here (and around the country), click here and scroll down to the state of Florida. The movie will play twice a day at 4 and 7 p.m. in CityPlace today through Thursday, February 7. Get there: ‘Wakanda Forever.’

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…that the Nation of Islam has a chapter in Palm Beach County?

It does, and it has meetings three times a week in West Palm Beach under the heading ‘Self Improvement: The Basis for Community Development.’ The NOI is an international African diaspora-focused political and religious movement that was founded in 1930 in Detroit, Mich. It’s current spiritual leader: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. And while its headquarters are, today, in Chicago, it has more than 100 chapters across the country, plus the Caribbean, a few African countries and, even, the United Kingdom and Canada. Here in Palm Beach County, NOI members meet at their center of operations, CitySide Suites, a co-work space located at 401 N. Rosemary Avenue. Those three meetings? They’re held each week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at CitySide; there, attendees can get the Final Call weekly newspaper, books, CDs–and a clear sense of what the NOI is and what it believes. (And those bean pies? Available for sale upon request.) Visit the coco calendar to see the weekly events listings. The meetings are free and open to the public and led by Brother Phillip Muhummad, the study group coordinator. Information? Call 561-951-8810 or 561-209-2770. And to learn more about the NOI itself, click here.

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…that the oldest person in America is a man of coco?

Well, we should say was, since Richard Overton died December 27 in Austin, Tex., where he was born and lived most of his life. The 112-year-old was also the United States’ oldest living World World II veteran, who served in Pearl Harbor, Okinawa and Iwo Jima in the U.S. Army’s segregated 1887th Aviation Engineer Battalion. He enlisted in 1940; read more about him here. President Obama invited him to the 2013 Veteran’s Day celebration in Washington, pointing out that “his service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home.” Eventually, he would receive the honors he earned, including a street named for him in Austin, but the main question: What’s the secret to living more than 100 years? According to Mr. Overton, it is simple: cigars, whiskey and, every night, ice cream. And not just any ice cream. “I eat butter pecan,” he said in a documentary about his life, titled ‘Mr. Overton.’ “If you want to buy any, you better buy butter pecan.”

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…that two of Florida’s 67 counties now have black mayors?

Palm Beach County (PBC) is one of them, thanks to the unanimous selection of County Commissioner Mack Bernard(District 7) by his six colleagues on the Commission last month. The other? Orange County, where 62 percent of its voters elected Jerry Demings during the midterms, also in November. PBC’s mayor is a ceremonial position while Orange County, which includes Orlando, is an elected position and the county’s top executive post.

Commissioner Bernard, besides also being the first Haitian selected for the post, is a former Delray Beach city commissioner and served two terms in the state House of Representatives. A lawyer, Commissioner Bernard was elected to the County Commission in 2016. As for Mayor Demings, he is also the first African-American to be elected county sheriff and the first African-American to serve as Orlando police chief. (Picture: Bernard on left, Demings on right.)

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…that the first black woman to sit on the Florida Supreme Court is retiring?

Justice Peggy A. Quince was jointly appointed to the state’s highest court in December 1998 by the soon-to-be late Governor Lawton Chiles and Governor-elect Jeb Bush; they were both on her team. A native of Norfolk,Va., Justice Quince will be honored at a retirement celebration on January 12, 2019, in Palm Harbor in Pinellas County. A 1970 graduate of Howard University with a degree in Zoology (!), she earned her law degree from the Catholic University of America in 1975 and started working in her field of study right after. She moved to Florida in 1978 and her stellar career in Sunshine State jurisprudence began, including  service as a rental accommodations hearing officer; an attorney in private practice; an assistant attorney general in the criminal division and, in 1993, her first judicial appointment came, to the state’s Second District Court of Appeal, which is headquartered in Lakeland. Then, in 1998, came the appointment to the Supreme Court, where she served as chief justice from 2008 to 2010. Interested in attending her celebration? Click here; the event will also celebrate all African Americans who have served in Florida’s judiciary. Wonderful!

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…Who his Daddy is?

One of the candidates for state attorney general is the son of the first black chief justice on the Florida Supreme Court. That would be Democrat candidate Sean Shaw, a lawyer who currently represents the Tampa area in the Florida House, and his father, Leander Shaw. The elder Shaw, who died in 2015 at age 85, earned his law degree from Howard University, taught law at FAMU and practiced law in Jacksonville before then-Gov. Bob Graham appointed him to the state District Court of Appeals in 1979 and, in 1983, to the state Supreme Court. He served as chief justice from 1990 to 1992 before retiring.
“When I was growing up, he was just my dad,” candidate Shaw said in a recent interview with the Miami Herald. “We went fishing and tinkered around in the shed. The older I got, the more I realized how big a deal he was.”
And learn what a big deal his son–lawyer, former insurance consumer advocate, current state Representative–is, too, here, and what he plans to do to fill his father’s big shoes.

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…Who created MoviePass?

Did you know…that the founders of the wildly successful app MoviePass are two men of coco? ‘Tis true. Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt created the subscription-based service in 2011 because, as Mr. Spikes said in an Apple Store interview, “Streaming is huge, but people still enjoy going to the movies. Some things are just meant to be seen in theatres with a bucket of popcorn.”

For a flat monthly fee and a onetime setup charge, MoviePass subscribers can see a standard 2D film each day at theatres anywhere across the country. Every, single, day. Today, the app has 1.5 million subscribers. To read more about this coco duo, click here.