Metropolitan Black Bar Association Highlights Achiever’s At 32nd Annual Awards Gala

Board Members of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, 2016 Gala Image Credit: DosOjosMedia.com

Board Members of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, 2016 Gala
Image Credit: DosOjosMedia.com

 

At a time where people in our community are looking for examples of achievement, every event that is publicized is a morale boost. This past Friday, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association held the 32nd Annual Awards Gala at Chelsea Piers. On a Friday evening in downtown Manhattan, I was fortunate to attend, and witness the spirit of collective affirmation. The MBBA is an organization that began in the city, and has grown to be among the largest organization of Black lawyers in New York State. The theme for this year’s gala was Advocates for Inclusion: Leading With Courage, Commitment, and Conviction.

At this event, those qualities were recognized and lauded. Since attorneys often find themselves concerned with diversity in the field, they can at times be activists. The purpose of the gala was to raise funds for community outreach efforts, advocacy, and working to lessen the barriers for those interested in entering the legal field.

Sandra Bookman of WABC was this year’s mistress of ceremonies. The five people who were recognized were as follows:

Donahue Peebles, Founder, Chairman and CEO of The Peebles Corporation, who received the award for Trailblazer of the Year

Kathlyn Card Beckles, General Counsel for Card Services J.P. Morgan Chase, for Corporate Counsel of the year

Honorable Marguerite Grays, Eleventh Judicial District and Presiding Justice – Commercial Division, Jurist of the year

S. Jeanine Conley, Partner, Littler Mendelson, P.C. , Private Practitioner of the year

The Honorable Carl Heastie, Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Public Servant of the year

Congratulations to all of the award winners, and to the MBBA for hosting a successful gala.

About the MBBA:

The Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) is a unified, citywide association of African-American and other minority lawyers. Founded on July 5, 1984, MBBA is one of the largest organizations of Black attorneys in New York State. Providing a voice for Black legal professionals in the communities it serves, the purpose of MBBA is to advance equality and excellence in the pursuit of justice, aid the progress of Blacks and other minorities in the profession and address legal issues affecting the citywide community. To learn more visit: https://www.mbbanyc.org

“America Was Never Great”Cap Causes Controversy

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America Was Never Great

In a direct jab at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again”, Krystal Lake of Staten Island counters with a hat saying otherwise. Cutting through the dense, racist nostalgia, this hat  says more in four words than Trump has for his entire campaign. Thumbs down on  erasure, and being ahistorical about the experiences of people of color, women, and pretty much everyone else who Trump doesn’t have a use for. Lake, who is also a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, wanted to make a statement about the 2016 election. Well done.

What the streets want to know is when the fitted version of this cap comes out. Sticker on it, and all. Because, Harlem. Immortal Technique need to rock that at his next concert. With the Urban League recently releasing a report about how Black Americans are locked out of Education, Jobs, and Justice, it’s a little hard to see this great America that once existed.

The myth making business is the American way, and who better to play on it than a reality show creator?

Seventh Year Blogiversary

Good evening my readers. I’d like to take the time to say thank you to those who came out tonight to Calabar Imports in Harlem to commemorate the seventh year anniversary of Polite On Society.

Thanks for asking your questions, and asking what is next. I have no intention of stopping, despite whoever might have an issue with it.

If it wasn’t for the support I received here initially, I wouldn’t be poised to take the direction I am going in now. Over  the course of seven years has come two books, four awards, numerous panel discussions, and a visit to the White House. An interesting journey indeed… and it ain’t over.

We’ll see what the future holds. I will be just as surprised as y’all are. Lol. Thanks again, and good night.

-Marc

A Response To “Harlem Pretenders” Article by Black Press Radio

POLITE ON SOCEITYGood evening folks. I hope everyone is doing alright this evening, and unwinding from this Monday. As you can see from the title above, this article is in response to something that was written about yours truly. When you have been in these social media spaces, it emboldens people to say things about you that may or may not be true. I been doing this for seven years as of tomorrow, and I have had a few people come at me. People may feel like they can say anything, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let it slide.

On Saturday evening, DC Livers of Black Press Radio decided to jump in my Twitter mentions referring to me as a “Harlem pretender” and a “money hog” with a link to an article titled: Obama’s Black Card in Jeopardy as Harlem’s Pretenders Caught Slipping

I linked to it, because I want you to read this for yourself. Go on ahead. By the way, Jeopardy is spelled wrong in the post and the article headline and the link, and it only gets more peculiar from there. Several people were included on this blog post, but I will only address what was said about me. The other folks can speak for themselves.

Referring to the recent sale of property owned by Dance Theater of Harlem, the writer of the piece inexplicably targeted me for “indifference” I’ll point you to the following excerpt:

“Was “blogger for people” Marc W. Polite, who claims to be a political blogging watch dog for Harlem, was too busy tooting his own horn and focusing on his efforts to climb the blog ladder to care about an influential plot that for the past FOUR DECADES was required to only house cultural nonprofits and was owned by the Dance Theater of Harlem?”

First of all, what gives you the right to throw my name in this story all random? Second of all, are you sure you are upset with the right people? Shouldn’t your investigation into this matter start with, oh, I don’t know.. the folks who run the Dance Theater of Harlem? You’re exclaiming, “how could they not know” when apparently, you don’t have an inside track either. Pretty pointless.

Third of all, if by “focusing on his own efforts..” you mean continuing to cover a myriad of other political issues, then I own up to that. What you fail to understand is that this latest land grab is just the most recent expression of gentrification, an issue that I have been discussing on here for years. Had you been paying attention, you would have realized that. Don’t act like you forgot how to use a search function within a blog. Be for real.

I don’t need a lecture on how gentrification effects the Harlem community from you. Especially, when you have come all late to the struggle, don’t even know who the activists are on the scene, and have your facts wrong on top of it.

Let’s go to another excerpt, shall we?

“After all, where were these “defenders” when Harlem’s Hip Hop Cultural Center and the community’s only Black-owned bookstore, Hue-Man, were both forced to close their doors to make room for the biggest Buffalo Wild Wings (BW-3s). Think about that: Black culture and books were replaced by chicken wings.”

What? You are really going to fix your mouth to allege that I among many weren’t concerned about the Hue-Man Bookstore, when I was part of the book club there? Really? I guess you missed all the posts on here about the store, or maybe you didn’t read them at all. Also, you are 100 percent wrong on your assertion: Hue-Man Bookstore, was not the only Black owned bookstore in Harlem. There is also Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center which is still in operation right now. If you were as “on your job” as you purport to be about Harlem, you would have known that too. At least bother to get the facts straight for the sake of your readers. Letting your readers think that there are no Black bookstores in Harlem does them a disservice, especially for a site called Black Press Radio.

This is exactly the kind of johnny come lately journalism that keeps people in the dark. We have been known that entities like Columbia University play a role in gentrification. Whether people like it or not, the church does as well, as I posted about in a past piece about the sale of the East Harlem Pathmark by Abyssinian Baptist Church. Where have you been? After the fact analyses don’t help us much in the context of a live struggle.

Welcome to the anti-gentrification struggle, and thanks for finally paying attention. Before you attempt to come at me talking about what I am doing or not doing, get your facts straight and drop this lateral hostility nonsense. It’s not a good look.

 

 

 

“Doughboy” Comes To Harlem; Review

Doughboy Poster

Doughboy Poster

 

“I make dough, but don’t call me dough-boy.” -Ice Cube (Check Your Self)

Rapper Ice Cube distances himself from the iconic character he played in “Boyz N The Hood” , but the circumstances that are faced by the generations coming up after still affect many. The 1991 film is a classic, and resonates 25 years after its release.

Doughboy is a play loosely based off of the life of the classic character from “Boyz in The Hood”. Written by Paul “PJ The Closer” Johnson and Stanley Fritz, Doughboy is the acting debut of Aulton Hargett. Produced by Rainy Dayz Films, it is a commentary on many issues, from the vantage point of the 19 year old character.

Interspersed with humor, the play talks about the cradle to prison pipeline, and the cycle of violence that befalls people in under-served communities. There are no shortage of traps to be navigated, and some of the best ways to show that is to poke fun at the hypocrisy of ostensibly expecting excellence, but intentionally setting up youth to fail.

At this viewing, I thought it was pretty well balanced with commentary, but not done in a preachy way. There was a strong anti-religious streak, in support of critical thinking and introspection that is at times discouraged in environments of worship. In showing how problematic Christianity can be, I am sure it may be off putting to some, but it’s important to understand why there is a “belief gap” between Millennials and people from earlier generations.

Doughboy had a good supporting cast, although it was mostly a one man show. Aulton Hargett brought the West Coast to Harlem by showing the range of emotions as Doughboy grew through the situations he was placed in.

This play was edgy, but not in a forced way. It was edgy in the sense that it had an irreverent attitude towards official politics, Reagan, Clinton, drug wars, etc. The mention of so many Bush-isms made for an entertaining reminder, yet ugly portent about what kind of dense statements we may be in for come after November.

These are issues that people tend to not want to hear discussed, so how one does it is important. Doughboy was an cool play, and I would like to see what else Rainy Dayz Films has in store.

 

 

Bronx Book Fair 2016

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The Bronx Book Fair 2016 was this past weekend. A gathering of readers, writers, authors, and artists at the Bronx Library Center for the second year in a row. As I experienced before, it was an event to reach out and discover what others are reading. I was fortunate to be accepted as a vendor again this year to promote my work.

Other authors like Dara Marsh, Taneeka Wilder, Angela Williamson, Kalisha Buckhanon, Shanika Sealy, and Sonya Harris were also there. When we were not speaking to fair attendees, we were talking among ourselves about what motivated us to write and publish our books. Feel free to check out a great set of photo’s over at Shanika’s blog: Positivealicious Bronx Book Fair 2016 photo slide

Talking with a few people. Me being a political writer, I got more than a few interesting questions.. including one about my opinion on immigration matters. Also discussed were promoting strategies, and thoughts on the logic of respectability politics and if there is any connection to behavior and Black oppression. You know, with me being me, there was no escaping the controversy. When it comes to how people conceptualize society, I enjoy answering questions from a number of different angles and engaging people.

I came away with knowing how serious this is to me. After waking up at 6am the morning of, prepping the various items you see in the picture on the table below, that’s how you know its real.   Choosing how to do something is important. Choosing your messaging, approach, is critical. My greater purpose is to do this.

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Author Marc Polite set up shop at Bronx Book Fair 16

It’s May 10th, and my spring tour is coming near it’s end. It may be a quiet summer from the looks of things, but it was a fun ride. The last event I have coming up before the June 3rd show at The Shrine is my 7th year anniversary celebration for this very blog next week. I hope y’all will come out for that. I am up here trying to figure out what I am going to say next week. I am sure I’ll come up with something.

Thanks to everyone who came by to see me at the Bronx Book Fair this past Saturday. Take care y’all.

-Marc

 

 

 

Trump Stands Alone

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And then there was one. After the Indiana primary Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is the last man standing. Ted Cruz dropped out last night, and John Kasich followed suit this morning. Not exactly anything to be thrilled about. It’s kind of like hearing that Mothra lost a fight with Godzilla.  Here we are, with one part of the race.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders took Indiana. Even after the MSM said he was done. It’s interesting that it is May and Sanders hasn’t been put away by the powerful Clinton machine. Indiana was “feeling the Bern”

What would be a better match up, unfortunately looks unlikely. Our only choices that are shoved in front of us is a hawkish neo-liberal, and a candidate who may mess around and initiate the New Founding Father’s of America in 2017 after he wins. Gotta love American politics.

Clinton vs. Trump Pretty Much Assured; Sanders Campaign Winding Down

Marc Polite FB Banner

*Full Disclosure* The author of this piece, supported Bernie Sanders in the NY primary*

Good evening folks. As we have all seen from a combination of the results in last weeks primary in New York and the primaries held in 5 states Tuesday, a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump match up in the general election is pretty much guaranteed. Oh, the joy.

As I sit here, thinking about the conversations and online interactions that I have had about these 2016 presidential primaries, I have to say that this outcome is disappointing for principled progressives. Bernie Sanders is pretty much wrapping up with very little chance of securing the nomination, laying off staffers and concentrating on California. A Sanders-Trump match up would have been interesting. Now, we will see a match up between a center-right Democrat and a billionaire real estate mogul.

The fact of the matter is that despite what many on the progressive side have said, Sanders did not push Clinton to the left at all during the primaries. Clinton was able to secure wins in several states without having to account for the Goldman Sachs speech transcripts, and getting away with whoppers about her record. To say that she was pushed left, is delusional.

Futhermore, what needs to be said is this: It already looks like Sanders is staying in the race to keep people engaged when he wont win. The purpose is to convince his supporters to fall in line and support Clinton in the general election. He is already toning down his rhetoric for that purpose. While I can respect what Bernie Sanders has done in the context of this election in putting issues at the forefront, this is where I get off.

Sanders may have to “play ball” and still support the Democrats in the Fall, but I as a voter, do not. I do not owe Hillary Clinton my vote. To pivot away from principle, and support a centrist Democrat after witnessing a strident and unabashed left wing populist win millions of votes runs counter to most of what I support. Sanders was derided throughout these past months as “too far to the left” when some of the proposals he put forward were exactly what we need at this time. To the most reactionary elements of our society, even those who advocate reforms can sound like revolutionaries. Don’t think that its a coincidence that the only state that Sanders won last night was Rhode Island- the state with an open primary.

Now here we are, with millions of people alienated. Bill Clinton attacked millennials for not voting in the 2010 elections, and President Obama told Black Lives Matter to “stop yelling” The unmistakable intent of both the former Democratic president and the current president condemning their own base is tell the young voter to shut up, and to silence the activists. The point, is to hush, and vote Dem. Regardless if the person running has any intention of working to alleviate any of the issues people are facing as citizens.

The harsh reality is that today millions of people feel as though their window of opportunity for a decent life is slipping away. Whether it be un-affordable housing, crushing school debt, or wages that struggle to keep pace with prices, so many areas of people’s lives are under duress. For those who want to gloat about about Clinton’s win, I hope you like neo-liberalism. You are certain to get more of it. As for this writer, my vote will not be held hostage. Jill Stein of the Green Party is getting my vote this fall. Some folks may like their neo-liberalism as long as it co-opts the language of intersectionality, but I am not going for it. I know, of course many people won’t agree with this outlook, but it is what it is.

I will be talking more about this on my radio appearance on Independent Underground Radio and News on Thursday, April 28th, 2016 at 9:15pm. Peace.

-Marc W. Polite

 

 

 

 

Polite On Society Seventh Year Anniversary Celebration!

Polite On Society

Polite On Society

Good evening my readers! As you know, I have been doing this blogging thing for a hot minute. I look up, and next month it will be 7 years. On May 17th, 2009 to be exact was when I first started Polite On Society. Over the past years, POS has grown, and has been a platform for independent Black authors, publicizing information for the Harlem community, and contributing to the literary scene of NYC. It’s been such an interesting journey, and I would like for you to share the moment with me if you’re able.

In collaboration with Calabar Imports, I am having a 7 year anniversary event on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 from 6pm-8pm

If you plan on coming, please do register via the Eventbrite page: Polite On Society 7th Year Anniversary

Also, here is the FB page for the event too: 7th Year Anniversary of Polite On Society Celebration

I will be talking about the blog, what motivated me to start it, and having a question and answer session for people who are interested in picking my brain about the ins and outs of social media. I will also have my books available there, so I guess it will also be part of my Spring tour. Did I mention it’s free admission?

So yeah. I am looking forward to this. I want to say thanks to everyone for the support, and hope to see some of my day one supporters there. Yes, the site is named after me, but it’s not just about me. (That don’t stop folks from going to Huffington Post or Drudge Report, just saying *smile*) The journey continues, and I have no intention of leaving folks hanging.

Just had to share this news. It’s going to be an interesting May. Peace, until next post!

-Marc W. Polite

 

Why Harriet Tubman on A $20 Is Just Symbolic

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

Good afternoon folks. Maybe I am a contrarian, but I have to come out and say that this latest news about Harriet Tubman being put on a 20 dollar bill isn’t that big of a deal for me. If I have to be one of the few to say it, then I will.

The fact that this kind of symbolism keeps happening shows that real change is hard to fight for. We can get Harriet Tubman on a 20 dollar bill, but can’t put away a cop for killing an unarmed Black person. Okay, America. When I say that, I mean no disrespect to the legacy of Harriet Tubman. Don’t put me in that Russell Simmons category.  It’s just that I can’t get “happy” about this when Akai Gurley’s murderer got off yesterday with 800 hours of community service and 5 years probation. I can’t bring myself to celebrate a symbolic “win” Talk about the commodification of the struggle. That’s a thought piece just waiting to write itself.