Archives for : NEW YORK

Majorie Harvey: New York Fashion Week

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Neiman Marcus: New York Edition

 

 

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Earlier this week, Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group announced plans for New York City’s first Neiman Marcus store in the Shops at Hudson Yards. The celebrated luxury brand also owns Bergdorf Goodman, but has never had a Manhattan flagship. Though the store won’t open its doors until 2018, renderings released by the company are enough to pique public interest for now.

Occupying 250,000 square feet, the flagship presents a glittering, three-level glass façade that overlooks the Hudson Yards plaza, designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Thomas Woltz, and the High Line beyond.

The Culture Shed, which hopes to become a contender to house New York Fashion Week once Hudson Yards is completed, will also be visible from the store, placing Neiman Marcus patrons at the intersection of the best in New York fashion, shopping, and design.

 

Happy 350th Birthday New York!

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Today New York City celebrate its 350th Birthday!

Yandy & Co: Baby On Board?

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Allegedly Mandeecee’s of Love and Hip Hop New York has another child on the way, but it’s not with his current girl Yandy Smith!

Diana Ross: New York Doll!

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Rodney “Skip” Bryce:Joy & Pain

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Rodney “Skip” Bryce aka Dj EZ Rock Hip-hop Royalty.

 

A Spectacle in Color: The Lesbian and Gay Subculture of Jazz Age Harlem.

 

 

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A Spectacle in Color: The Lesbian and Gay Subculture of Jazz Age  Harlem.

Eric Garber

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a homosexual subculture, uniquely  Afro-American  in substance, began to take shape in New York’s Harlem. Throughout the so- called Harlem  Renaissance period, roughly 1920 to 1935, black lesbians and gay men were  meeting each  other. street corners, socializing in cabarets and rent parties, and worshiping in  church on  Sundays, creating a language, a social structure, and a complex network of  institutions. Some  were discreet about their sexual identities; others openly expressed their  personal feelings. The  community they built attracted white homosexuals as well as black, creating  friendships  between people of disparate ethnic and economic backgrounds and building  alliances for  progressive social change. But the prosperity of the 1920s was short-lived, and  the Harlem gay  subculture quickly declined following the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the  repeal of  Prohibition, soon becoming only a shadow of its earlier self. Nevertheless, the  traditions and  institutions created by Harlem lesbians and gay men during the Jazz Age  continue to this day.

The key historical factor in the development of the lesbian and gay  subculture in Harlem  was the massive migration of thousands of Afro-Americans to northern urban  areas after the turn  of the century. Since the beginning of American slavery, the vast majority of  blacks had lived in  rural southern states. American participation in World War I led to an increase in  northern  industrial production and brought an end to immigration, which resulted in  thousands of  openings in northern factories becoming available to blacks. Within two  decades, large  communities of black Americans had developed in most northern urban areas.  So significant  was this shift in population that it is now referred to as the “Great Migration.”  Black communities  developed in Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo, but the largest and most spectacular  was Harlem,  which became the mecca for Afro-Americans from all over the world. Nowhere  else could you  find a geographic area so large, so concentrated, really a city within a city,  populated entirely by  blacks. There were black schoolteachers, black entrepreneurs, black police  officers, and even  black millionaires. A spirit was in the air-of hope, progress, and possibilities- which proved  particularly alluring to the young and unmarried. Harlem’s streets soon filled with  their music,  their voices, and their laughter.

They called themselves “New Negroes,” Harlem was their capital, and  they manifested a  new militancy and pride. Black servicemen had been treated with a degree of  respect and given  a taste of near-equality while in Europe during the World War; their experiences  influenced their  expectations when they returned home. Participation in the war effort had given  the entire black  community a sense of involvement in the American process and led them to  demand their place  in the mainstream of American life. Marcus Garvey, the charismatic West Indian  orator, had  thousands of followers in his enormous black nationalist “Back to Africa”  movement. W. E. B.  DuBois and his National Association for the Advancement of Colored People  (NAACP), with its  radical integrationist position, generally appealed to a more educated, middle- class following,  as did Charles W. Johnson’s National Urban League, but were just as militant in  their call for  racial justice. A variety of individuals and organizations generated Afro-American  pride and  solidarity.

The New Negro movement created a new kind of art. Harlem, as the New  Negro Capital,  became a worldwide center for Afro-American jazz, literature, and the fine arts.  Many black  musicians, artists, writers, and entertainers were drawn to the vibrant black  uptown  neighborhood. Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway,  Bessie Smith,  and Ethel Waters played in Harlem nightclubs. Langston Hughes, Zora Hurston,  and Countee  Cullen published in the local newspapers. Art galleries displayed the work of  Aaron Douglas and  Richmond Barthé. These creative talents incorporated the emerging black urban  social con  sciousness into their art. The resulting explosion of self-consciously  AfroAmerican creativity,  now known as the “Harlem Renaissance,” had a profound impact on the  subsequent  development of American arts.

The social and sexual attitudes of Harlem’s new immigrants were best  reflected in the  blues, a distinctly Afro-American folk music that had developed in rural southern  black  communities following the Civil War. Structurally simple, yet open to countless  subtleties, the  blues were immensely popular within American black communities throughout  the 1920s. They  told of loneliness, homesickness, and poverty, of love and good luck, and they  provided a  window into the difficult, often brutal. world of the New Negro immigrant.

Homosexuality was clearly part of this world. “There’s two things got me  puzzled, there’s  two things I don’t understand,” moaned blues great Bessie Smith, “that’s a  mannish-acting  woman and a lisping, swishing, womanish-acting man.” In “Sissy Blues,” Ma  Rainey  complained of her husband’s infidelity with a homosexual named “Miss Kate.”  Lucille Bogan, in  her “B.D. Women Blues,” warned that “B.D. [bulldagger] women sure is rough;  they drink up  many a whiskey and they sure can strut their stuff.” The “sissies” and “bull  daggers” mentioned  in the blues were ridiculed for their cross-gender behavior, but neither shunned  nor hated. “Boy  in the Boat” for example, recorded in 1930 by George Hanna, counseled “When  you see two  women walking hand in hand, just shake your head and try to understand.” In  fact, the  casualness toward sexuality, so common in the blues, sometimes extended to  homosexual  behavior. In “Sissy Man Blues,” a traditional tune recorded by nurnerous male  blues singers  over the years, the singer demanded “if you can’t bring me a woman, bring me a  sissy man.”  George Hanna’s “Freakish Blues,” recorded in 1931, is even more explicit about  potential  sexual fludity. The blues reflected a culture that accepted sexuality, including  homosexual  behavior and identities, as a natural part of life.

Despite the relatively tolerant attitude shown toward homosexuality by  Afro-American  culture, black lesbians and gay men still had a difficult time. Like other black  migrants, they  soon learned that racism crossed the Mason-Dixon line. Economic problems,  unemployment,  and segregation plagued black communities across the North. High rents and  housing  shortages made privacy a luxury for Harlem’s newcomers. Moreover black  homosexuals, like  their white counterparts, were continually under attack from the police and  judicial systems. In  1920, young lesbian Mabel Hampton, recently arrived in Harlem from Winston- Salem, North  Carolina, was arrested on trumped-up prostitution charges and spent two years  in Bedford Hills  Reformatory.  Augustus Granville Dill, distinguished business editor of the  NAACP’s Crisis and  personal protégé of DuBois, had his political career destroyed when he was  arrested for  soliciting sex in a public restroom.  Black gay people were also under attack from  the  developing psychiatric institutions; Jonathan Katz cites a tragic case in which a  young black gay  man was incarcerated for most of the 1920s at the Worcester (Massachusetts)  State Hospital.  But in spite of racial oppression, economic hardship, and homophobic  persecution, black  lesbians and gay men were able to build a thriving community of their own within  existing Afro- American institutions and traditions.

Private parties were the best place for Harlem lesbians and gay men to  socialize,  providing safety and privacy. “We used to go to parties every other night…. The  girls all had the  parties,” remembered Mabel Hampton. Harlem parties were extremely varied;  the most common  kind was the “rent party.” Like the blues, rent parties had been brought north in  the Great  Migration. Few of Harlem’s new residents had much money, and sometimes rent  was hard to  come by. To raise funds, they sometimes threw enormous parties, inviting the  public and  charging admission. There would be dancing and jazz, and bootleg liquor for  sale in the kitchen.  It is about just such a party that Bessie Smith sang her famous “Gimme a Pigfoot  and a Bottle of  Beer.” On any given Saturday night there were scores of these parties  throughout Harlem, often  with those in attendance not knowing their hosts. The dancing and merriment  would continue  until dawn, and by morning the landlord could be paid. Lesbians and gay men  were active  participants in rent parties. The New York Age, one of Harlem’s newspapers,  complained in  1926:

One of these rent parties a few weeks ago was the scene of a tragic  crime in which one  jealous woman cut the throat of another, because the two were rivals for the  affections of a third  woman. The whole situation was on a par with the recent Broadway play [about  lesbianism,  The Captive], imported from Paris, although the underworld tragedy took  place in this  locality. In the meantime, the combination of bad gin, jealous women, a carving  knife, and a rent  party is dangerous to the health of all concerned.

At another Harlem rent party, satirically depicted in Wallace Thurman’s 1932  Harlem  Renaissance novel Infants of the Spring, a flamboyantly bisexual Harlem  artist proudly  displayed his new protégé, a handsome, bootblack, to the “fanciful aggregation  of Greenwich  Village uranians” he had invited.

Gay men could always be found at the literary gatherings of Alexander  Gumby. Gumby,  who had arrived in Harlem near the turn of the century, immediately became  entranced with the  theatrical set and decided to open a salon to attract them. He worked as a postal  clerk and  acquired a patron, eventually renting a large studio on Fifth Avenue between  131st and 132nd  streets. Known as Gumby’s Bookstore because of the hundreds of books that  lined the walls,  the salon drew many theatrica and artistic luminaries. White author Samuel  Steward remembers  being taken to Gumby’s one evening by a lesbian friend and enjoying a delightful  evening of  “reefer,” bathtub gin, a game of truth, and homosexual exploits.

Certainly the most opulent parties in Harlem were thrown by the heiress  A’Lelia Walker.  Walker was a striking, tall, dark-skinned wondan who was rarely seen without  her riding crop  and her imposing, jeweled turban. She was the only daughter of Madame C. J.  Walker, a former  washerwoman who had made millions marketing her own hair-straightening  process. When she  died, Madame Walker left virtually her entire fortune to A’Lelia. Whereas  Madame Walker had  been civic-minded, donating thousands of dollars to charity, A’Lelia used most of  her inheritance  to throw lavish parties in her palatial Hudson River estate, Villa Lewaro. and at  her Manhattan  dwelling on 136th Street. Because A’Lelia adored the company of lesbians and  gay men, her  parties had a distinctly gay ambience. Elegant homosexuals such as Edward  Perry, Edna  Thomas. Harold Jackman, and Caska Bonds were her closest friends. So were  scores of white  celebrities. Novelist Marjorie Worthington would later remember:

We went several times that winter to Madame Allelia [sic] Walker’s Thursday “at-homes” on a beautiful street in Harlem known as,Sugar Hill….”  [Madame Walker’s]  lavishly furnished house was a gathering place not only for artists and authors  and theatrical  stars of her own race, but for celebrities from all over the world. Drinks and food  were served,  and there was always music, generously performed enthusiastically  received.

Everyone from chorus girls to artists to socialites to visiting royalty would  come at least  once to enjoy her hospitality.

Another Afro-American institution that tolerated, and frequenty encouraged,  homosexual  patronage was the “buffet flat.” “Buffet flats were after-hours spots that were  usually in  someone’s apartment,” explained celebrated entertainer Bricktop, “the type of  place where gin  was poured out of milk pitchers.”

Essentially private apartments where rooms  could be rented  by the night, buffet flats had sprung up during the late 1800s to provide  overnight  accommodations to black travelers refused service in white-owned hotels. By the  1920s, buffet  flats developed a wilder reputation. Some were raucous establishments where  illegal activities  such as drinking, gambling, and prostitution were available. Others offered a  variety of sexual  pleasures cafeteriastyle. A Detroit buffet flat of the latter sort, which Ruby Smith  remembered  visiting with her aunt, Bessie Smith, catered to all variety of sexual tastes. It was  “an open  house, everything goes on in that house”:

They had a ****** there that was so great that people used to come there  just to watch  him make love to another man. He was that great. He’d give a tongue bath and  everything. By  the time he got to the front of that guy he was shaking like a leaf. People used to  pay good just  to go in there and see him do his act…. That same house had a woman that  used to . . . take a  cigarette, light it, and puff it with her pussy.  A real educated pussy.

In Harlem, Hazel Valentine ran a similar sex circus on 140th Street.  Called  “The Daisy  Chain” or the “101 Ranch,” it catered to all varieties of sexual tastes, and  featured entertainers  such as “Sewing Machine Bertha” and an enormous transvestite named  “Clarenz.” The Daisy  Chain became so notorious that both Fats Waller and Count Basie composed  tunes  commemorating it.

There were also buffet flats that particularly welcomed gay men. On  Saturday nights  pianist David Fontaine would regularly throw stylish flat parties for his many gay  friends. Other  noted hosts of gay male revelry were A’Lelia Walker’s friend Caska Bonds,  Eddie Manchester  and the older Harlem couple, Jap and Saul. The most notorious such flat was  run by Clinton  Moore. Moore was an elegant, light-skinned homosexual, described as an  “American version of  the original … Proust’s Jupien.” Moore had a fondness for celebrities, and his  parties allegedly  atracted luminaries like Cole Porter, Cary Grant, and society page columnist  Maury Paul.  Moore’s entertainments were often low-down and dirty. According to Helen  Lawrenson,

Clinton Moore’s . . . boasted a young black entertainer named Joey, vho  played the piano  and sang but whose specialty was to remove his clothes and extinguish a lighted  candle by  sitting on it until it disappeared. I never saw this feat but everyone else seemed  to have and I  was told that he was often hired to perform at soirees of the elite. ‘He sat on  lighted candles at  one of the Vanderbilts’,’ my informant said.

Somewhat more public-and therefore less abandoned-were Harlem’s  speakeasies,  where gays were usually forced to hide their preferences and to blend in with the  heterosexual  patrons. Several Harlem speakeasies though, some little more than dives,  catered specifically  to the “pansy” trade. One such place, an “open” speakeasy since there was no  doorman to keep  the uninvited away, was located on the northwest corner of 126th Street and  Seventh Avenue. It  was a large, dimly lit place where gay men could go to pick up “rough trade.”  Artist Bruce  Nugent, who occasionelly visited the place, remembered it catering to “rough  queers . . . the  kind that fought better than truck drivers and swished better than Mae West.”   Ethel Waters  remembered loaning her gowns to the transvestites who frequented Edmond’s  Cellar, a low-life  saloon at 132nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Lulu Belle’s on Lenox Avenue was  another hangout for  female impersonators, named after the famous Broadway melodrama of 1926  starring Leonore  Ulric. A more sophisticated crowd of black gay men gathered nightly at the Hot  Cha, at 132nd  Street and Seventh Avenue, to listen to Jimmy Daniels sing and Garland Wilson  play piano.

Perhaps the most famous gay-oriented club of the era was Harry  Hansberry’s Clam House, a  narrow, smoky speakeasy on 133rd Street. The Clam House featured Gladys  Bentley, a 250- pound, masculine, darkskinned lesbian, who performed all night long in a white  tuxedo and top  hat.  Bentley, a talented pianist with a magnificent, growling voice, was  celebrated for inventing  obscene Iyrics to popular contemporary melodies. Langston Hughes called her  “an amazing  exhibition of musical energy.” Eslanda Robeson, wife of actor Paul Robeson,  gushed to a friend,  “Gladys Bentley is grand. I’ve heard her three nights, and will never be the  same!”  Schoolteacher Harold Jackman wrote to his friend Countee Cullen, “When  Gladys sings ‘St.  James Infirmary,’ it makes you weep your heart out.”

A glimpse into a speakeasy, based in part on the Clam House. is provided in  Blair Niles’  1931 gay novel Strange Brother. The Lobster Pot is a smoky room in Harlem,  simply furnished  with a couple of tables, a piano, and a kitchen, where white heterosexual  journalist June  Westwood, Strange Brother’s female protagonist, is first introduced to  Manhattan’s gay  subculture. The Lobster Pot features a predominantly gay male clientel and an  openly lesbian  entertainer named Sybil. “What rhythm!”  June comments to her companions.  “And the way  she’s dressed!” Westbrook finds the atmosphere intoxicating, but abruptly ends  her visit when  she steps outside and witnesses the entrapment of an effeminate black gay man  by the police.

Decidedly safer were the frequent Harlem costume balls, where both men  and women could  dress as they pleased and dance with whom they wished. Called “spectacles in  color” by poet  La Igston Hughes, they were attended by thousands. Several cities hosted  similar functions, but  the Harlem balls were anticipated with particular excitement. “This dance has  been going on a  long time,” observed Hughes, “and . . . is very famous among the male  masqueraders of the  eastern seaboard, who come from Boston and Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and  Atlantic City to  attend.”  Taylor Gordon, a noted concert singer, wrote in 1929:

The last big ball I attended where these men got the most of the prizes for  acting and  looking more like ladies than the ladies did themselves, was at the Savoy in  Harlem…. The  show that was put on that night for a dollar admission, including the privilege to  dance, would  have made a twenty-five dollar George White’s “Scandals” opening look like a  side show in a  circus.

The largest balls were the annual events held by the Hamilton Lodge at the  regal Rockland  Palace, which could accommodate up to six thousand people. Only slightly  smaller were the  balls given irregularly at the dazzling Savoy Ballroom, with its crystal chandeliers  and elegant  marble staircase. The organizers would obtain a police permit making the ball,  and its  participants, legal for the evening. The highlight of the event was the beauty  contest, in which  the fashionably dressed drags would vie for the title of Queen of the Ball.

Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler’s classic 1933 gay novel The  Young and Evil  suggests that these balls were just as popular with white gays as with black.  Julian, the white  protagonist, dons a little makeup (just enough to be “considered in costume and  so get in for a  dollar less”), leaves his Greenwich Village apartment, and sets off to a Harlem  ball. Once there  he greets his friends, dances to the jazz music, gets exceedingly drunk, flirts with  the band  leader, and eventually exchanges phone numbers with a handsome stranger.

But drag balls lacked the primary allure of the buffet flat: privacy. These  cross-dressing  celebrations were enormous events and many of those who attended were  spectators, there to  observe rather than participate. It was not unusual to see the cream of Harlem  society, as well  as much of the white avant-garde, in the ballroom’s balconies, straining their  necks to view the  contestants.

The costume balls, parties, speakeasies and buffet flats of Harlem provided  an arena for  homosexual interaction, but not for the development of homosocial networks.  One area where  black lesbians and gay men found particular bonds of friendship was within  Harlem’s  predominantly heterosexual entertainment world. While some entertainers, like  popular  composer Porter Grainger and choir leader Hall Johnson, kept their homosexual  activities  private, others were open with their audiences. Female impersonator Phil Black,  entertainer  Frankie “Half Pint” Jaxon, and singer George Hanna used elements of  homosexuality in their  professional acts and were still highly respected within the entertainment  community. Both  Black and Jaxon wore women’s clothing while on stage and Hanna even  recorded his “Freakish  Blues” without fear of censure.

For black lesbians, whose social options were more limited than those of  their male  counterparts, the support offered by the black entertainment world for  nontraditional lifestyles  was especially important. After leaving her family home in North Carolina, Mabel  Hampton  worked with her lover as a dancer in a Coney Island show before landing a  position at Harlem’s  famed Lafayette Theatre. By entering the show business life, Hampton was able  to earn a good  income, limit her social contact with men and move within a predominantly  female social world.  Many bisexual and lesbian black women, including Bessie Smith, Gladys Bently,  Jackie  “Moms” Mabley, Alberta Hunter, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Josephine Baker and  Ethel Waters  found similar advantages in the show business life.

Nearly all these women adopted a heterosexual public persona, most  favoring a “red hot  mama” style, and kept their love affairs with women a secret, but a few  acknowledged their  sexuality openly. Gladys Bentley, of course, was one exception. Another was Ma  Rainey.  Rainey was a short, squat, dark-skinned woman with a deep, earthy voice and a  warm, friendly  smile. She was the first vaudeville entertainer to incorporate the blues into her  performance and  has justifiably become known as the “Mother of the Blues.” Though married, the  flamboyant  entertainer was known to take women as lovers. Her extraordinary song, “Prove  It on Me  Blues,” speaks directly to the issue of lesbianism. In it she admits to her  preference for male  attire and female companionship, yet dares her audience to “prove it” on her.  Rainey’s defense  of her lesbian life was quite remarkable in its day, and has lost little of its  immediacy through  the years.

Lenox Lounge: Then & Now

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Lenox Lounge was a long-standing bar in Harlem, New York City. It was located in 288 Lenox Avenue, between 124th and 125th. The bar was founded in 1939 by Dominic Greco and served as venue for performances by many great jazz artists, including Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. Harlem Renaissance writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes were both patrons, as was Malcolm X.

 

The bar deteriorated through the middle of the 20th century. Alvin Reid, Sr. purchased it in 1988 and restored the original Art Deco interior from September 1999 to March 2000, during the only closure in the bar’s history.[

 

The Lenox Lounge was voted “Best of the Best” by the 2002 Zagat Survey Nightlife Guide and by the 2001 New York Magazine.

 

In 2012, a rent increase threatened to shutter the establishment. In December 2012, it was announced that it would close at the end of the year.However in January 2013 Reed said he was reopening at 333 Lenox Avenue and that it would have its iconic neon sign there.Richard Notar, who owned the Nobu Restaurant chain and who took over the lease on the original 288 Lenox location, said he would maintain the decor of the original 288 lounge which does not yet have a name

 

Onyx:”Bacdafucup”

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On this day in 1993, Onyx released their debut studio album, “Bacdafucup”, to critical and commercial success. Their single “Slam” hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. ‪#‎DefJam30‬

Diana Ross: Trend Setter!

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Liv Warfield: New York State Of Mind!

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NY! We can’t wait for this show. First time @bbkingsbluesny! We need you to come out and join us! ‪#‎theunexpected‬ ‪#‎blackbird‬ ‪#‎npghornz‬

L’Wren Scott:(April 28, 1964 – March 17, 2014)

10003017_731693843531134_826614175_n I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way. We spent many wonderful years together and had made a great life for ourselves. She had great presence and her talent was much admired, not least by me. I have been touched by the tributes that people have paid to her, and also the personal messages of support that I have received.

I will never forget her, Mick

Slick Rick:From Nyc To Miami!

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Andy Warhol:(August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) RIP

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A Tribute to Mr Andy Warhol who passed away this day in 1987

Philip Seymour Hoffman: The Herion Diaries…..

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According to the New York Times, Philip Hoffman “perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation…died Sunday at an apartment in Greenwich Village. He was 46.” The Times said, “Investigators found a syringe in his left forearm, at least two plastic envelopes with what appeared to be heroin near where his body was found in a bathroom, and five empty plastic envelopes in a trash bin, a law-enforcement official said.”
I spent a number of years in d…rug prevention work and learned why so many addicts tragically overdose. Whenever we place anything in our bodies, whether it’s food, liquid, or drugs, we exercise faith (trust).
However, the problem with illegal substances is that there’s no regulation.  Pushers can double or triple their profit by splicing heroin (or whatever) with another similar-looking substance. That’s what often causes the death of so many.
The news media are ready with their obituaries when an older celebrity dies, but they scramble when someone younger suddenly passes into eternity. They are ready because they probably believe the old maxim that only two things in life are sure: death and taxes. But that’s not true. Plenty of people avoid taxes. Nobody avoids death.

Damion ” World” Hardy: American Gangster Part I

LIL KIM

We all know that when the feds get a new case they construct it based on the lies, half-truths and insinuations perpetrated by rats, cooperators and snitches. It doesn’t matter if what the witnesses are saying out of their mouths is true or not. The feds just roll with it. There is no investigation or nothing substantial going on. The U.S. Attorneys just go by what their snitches are saying. The cooperator’s words become the universal truth that prosecutors base their case off of.  And in reality, the snitches are just saying whatever it is they think the feds want to hear, so they can get out of whatever jam they have managed to get themselves into. Whatever happened to the saying, if you are willing to do the crime be willing to do the time?

Nowadays these so-called hustlers, players and gangsters get themselves into a messy situation where they are facing the prospect of spending decades of their lives behind bars, due to the governments War on Drugs, the mandatory minimums and sentencing guidelines, and it seems they will say just about anything to get out of it. They’ll rat on their friends, their family and in some cases, even their moms. Basically they will tell the feds whatever it is they want to hear. There is no honor in the streets and when dudes flip they say, “Charge it to the game.”

These big multi-layered RICO act cases that the U.S. Attorneys crank out have become more a matter of the feds getting their snitches stories to fit the indictments they have concocted, and less a practice of justice or  looking for the truth. There have been numerous cases we have reported on and exposed here in this magazine that show how the U.S. government works. They are using statutes made to convict Mafia families and Colombian drug lords on inner-city drug crews, who are usually more unorganized chaos than organized crime. The feds have a tendency to identify the ultimate target of their probe before the investigation into their affairs has even started. If someone’s name is ringing in the street than they are a target. Especially in regards to the feds’ tough on crime policies as they apply to their war on minorities. Because let’s keep it real, black people account for 15 percent of the U.S. population, but 50 percent of the prison population. How can those numbers be justified?

The feds are putting cases on people, but let’s face it they aren’t doing it alone. And the snitches play along, doing whatever it takes to get that time cut. They say one thing in their proffers to get people indicted, but once they get on the stand they change the story up, doing whatever the prosecutor wants them to do so they can to get that 5k1 or Rule 35 sentence reduction motion. Ain’t nobody trying to do that 20 year sentence even for their so-called man. In the streets it’s every man for himself. Because the feds don’t play. Dudes get busted and talk that “Death Before Dishonor” shit, but when it comes down to it if they want to get that time cut you know what they are doing. And it has nothing to do with death before dishonor. The prosecutors are the same way; they don’t care what they have to do to get their convictions. They have no sense of honor and justice or right and wrong. They will literally do whatever it takes. The whole profession of attorneys is a pit of snakes and sharks.

Maxims like “Death Before Dishonor” and “Stop Snitching” don’t exist in the drug game and criminal underworld anymore, except in very rare cases. They are ideals of the past, held up in memory and supposedly cherished, but not honored in the present day. Most dudes in the streets are playing a dirty game. When that indictment comes down its literally every man for himself. It’s like the buffet, whoever is first in line gets the best deal. You heard Rick Ross talking about, “I caught a charge,” but nigga you didn’t catch no charge. The drug game to you is a fantasy, a hip-hop video where you fake it to make it. But this shit isn’t entertainment, this isn’t about fronting and stunting, this shit is real life. Dudes are doing life because these crab-ass busters can’t hold their weight. These dudes are talking about how gangsta they are these days but in truth they are suckers. They think it’s a music video or a video game, like they can walk off the set, change the song or hit the do over or reset button when the feds roll in. But there are no do over’s in life, homie. The drug game and life in the streets is not Grand Theft Auto. The truth and reality of it all is much more serious.

The brothers doing life in the pen know what we’re talking about. They are the ones doing hard time. They have lived the life, talked the talk and walked the walk. They are the real gangsters. The ones the rappers rap about and portray themselves to be. Their lifestyles are what the rappers pretend to flaunt. The reality is not MTV Cribs though. Imagine being locked down since 2005 and you haven’t even blew trial or been found guilty yet. Imagine that the feds consider you so dangerous, so gangster that they have held you in limbo, even though they know their charges won’t stick at trial. You’re probably saying this doesn’t happen in the USA. This can’t happen. It won’t happen. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, but we are here to tell you it can happen and it does. It’s not about justice it’s about Just-Us and in Amerikkka, the kkk mentality still pervades. Case in point, the Cash Money Brothers, straight outta Do or Die Bedstuy, Brooklyn, New York. The borough that brought us the Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, Big Daddy Kane and the part of the city that’s known for producing the most thorough gangsters, thugs and hoodlums to grace the streets of the Big Apple.

Cash Money Brothers was a crew formed in Lafayette Gardens Projects in Brooklyn in the early-90s by brothers Damion “World” Hardy and Myron “Wise” Hardy. With their homeboys and associates they allegedly held it down in L.G. and made a name for themselves across the city as a gangster and respected crew, but as various members including World went to prison on different charges the crew became inactive and remained just a legend on the streets of New York. But when a series of murders in the early 2000s were laid at the crew’s doorstep the feds stepped in.

On July 19, 2005, Roslynn Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced the filing of federal racketeering and narcotics charges against Damion “World” Hardy and 12 additional leaders, members and associates of the Cash Money Brothers or CMB, what they termed a violent Brooklyn street gang responsible for five murders, widespread crack distribution, the attempted murder of a witness, the kidnapping and attempted robbery of a drug dealer, assault and illegal firearms possession.

The charges and arrests followed an 18 month joint ICE, FBI and NYPD investigation coordinated by the U.S. Attorney’s office as part of an ongoing initiative to eliminate violent street gangs that erode the quality of life in many of the districts neighborhoods. “The arrests announced today strike a devastating blow to a drug gang responsible for spreading fear and violence in one of our communities,” stated U.S. Attorney Mauskopf. “When gangs flood our streets with drugs, assassinate rivals, attempt to murder witnesses and endanger the lives of innocent residents, we will mobilize all resources available, including federal prosecution, through the RICO statute. This case is the latest of several successful joint investigations that demonstrate our commitment to protect public housing from gang violence. We are determined to return control of these communities to their rightful law-abiding residents.”

The government’s investigation revealed that for more than 10 years, CMB members, led by Damion Hardy, controlled narcotics trafficking in the Lafayette Gardens Houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn through violence and intimidation directed against their drug trafficking competitors, innocent civilians and potential witnesses. Hardy, Eric “E-Bay” Moore, Dwayne “Thor” Myers, James “Popsie” Sessoms, Kenwayne “Stro” Jones, Robert “Troub” Footman, Carl “Big Jim” Davis, James “Jimbo” Farrior, Lamont “Sambo” Johnson, Zareh “Puff” Sarkissian, Abubakr Raheem, DJebara “DJ” McMillian and Isheen “Sha” Campbell were charged with conspiring between 1991 and August 2004 to distribute crack cocaine using apartments they controlled in Lafayette Gardens to cook, store and buy the drugs.

“This case is another example of the continuing resolve of the FBI and our partners to reign in gang violence,” FBI agent Mark Mershon said. “The lethal combination of gangs, guns and drugs can terrorize neighborhoods and victimize innocent people. Our purpose fundamentally, is to secure for all New Yorkers the right to be safe and out of harm’s way in their own neighborhoods, whether they live on Park Avenue or in public housing.” World was identified as the founder and leader of CMB with E-Bay, Thor, Popsie and Stro being named as the main members in charge of the crew. The feds also attributed numerous murders to CMB.

Throughout the 1990s the government claims that Ivory “Peanut” Davis was one of CMB’s drug dealing rivals in Lafayette Gardens. On June 12, 1999, Davis’ nephew, Rumel Davis, shot and killed World’s brother Myron “Wise” Hardy during a so called turf dispute while World was locked up in the state. When World got out he investigated the circumstances of his brother’s death and the feds alleged that World and the other members of CMB retaliated by conspiring to murder Peanut and four of his associates. World, E-Bay and Puff were charged with the murder of Darryl “Homicide” Baum on June 10, 2000. This is the same Homicide rapper 50 Cent accused of shooting him nine times earlier that same year in May. 50 Cent also implied in his song Many Men that Hommo was killed in retaliation for shooting him. But like a lot of 50 Cent’s gangsta rap fantasies this tale has yet to be clarified one way or another. So in reality it’s up to the streets to decide.

Homicide was a Brooklyn stick-up kid and gun thug who counted boxer Mike Tyson as a close friend and employer. He was even living at Mike Tyson’s home when he was murdered. The feds concluded that World targeted Homicide because of his association with Peanut. They alleged E-Bay shot Homicide in the back of the head at the corner of Quincy Street and Marcy Avenue and fled in a get-away car driven by Puff. The feds implicated World, E-Bay and Abubakr Raheem in the August 1, 2000 murder of James “JR” Hamilton also. On World’s order E-Bay allegedly shot and killed JR inside a seafood restaurant that Hamilton owned at 102 Sarasota Avenue in Brooklyn. E-Bay than fled in a get-away car driven by Raheem. JR was supposedly killed due to his association with Peanut also.

According to the feds the CMB crew was not finished with their murder spree, more bodies had to drop. At 4:00 a.m. on the morning of August 10, 2000, E-Bay carrying a .40 caliber handgun that belonged to Thor, allegedly shot Peanut twice in the back as he sat in a car parked in front of Club NV, a nightclub on the corner of Spring Street and Hudson Street in Manhattan on World’s orders. Peanut sped away, but lost control of his car and killed an innocent pedestrian. Peanut subsequently died from his gunshot wounds. Both deaths were attributed to World. World’s and CMB’s revenge was complete but the killing continued.

On July 25, 2003, Homicide’s brother, Tyrone “T-Rock” Baum, who the feds alleged World believed was seeking to avenge his brother’s murder, was killed. On World’s order, Thor and Raheem located “T-Rock” by a construction site at Reid Avenue and Hancock Street in Brooklyn where “T-Rock” was shot three times in the head. “These arrests have dismantled a major criminal enterprise that has engaged in murder, kidnapping, extortion and narcotics trafficking. These criminals have threatened our citizens and the well-being of our communities. No more, today, they are off the streets and will be prosecuted for their crimes.” U.S. Attorney Mauskopf said. That is the feds’ line and they are sticking to it but during Raheem’s trial the government’s star witness Edward “Taz” Cooke didn’t testify because the government wouldn’t let him. The other witness Shelby “Moo” Henderson stated that Taz could have been the mastermind behind the murders of JR, Hommo and T-Rock because JR was running numbers and that was a business Taz was involved in, not World. And Hommo and T-Rock allegedly had something to do with Taz’s father getting killed. So Taz had revenge on his mind for Homo and T-Rock. And he wanted to get Brooklyn on lock with the numbers running so he got JR killed and once he got locked up he put the feds on World and got him locked up. Court records also relate that Taz was present at all three murders, not World.

Hall & Oates: Today In Music

Hall and oates

On This Day In Music: 1982, Hall and Oates went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘I Can Go For That, (No Can Do)’ the duo’s fourth US No.1, also was a number one hit on the R&B and Dance Charts..

I’m Rick James (2009) : Release Date?

rick james

The Rick James Story comes to the screen with all same unstoppable energy and outrageous humor that made him famous. It’s a non-apologetic celebration of the man and his music. The songs drive the journey, with many never before heard tracks and Rick’s hits like “Give It To Me Baby,” “Mary Jane.”

“Party All The Time” and “Superfreak.” The documentary is told by the people who knew him, partied with him and slept with him –from club owners in Buffalo to Hollywood’s biggest celebrities. But there’s a twist. Rick narrates his own life story.

From existing on camera footage Rick literally appears in the film, providing his uncensored opinions and commentary. Quotes from magazine and newspaper interviews are his narrative voice. So when Supermodel, Janice Dickinson, claims to be the inspiration for “Superfreak,” we’ll give you Rick’s take on what really happened that night at Studio 54. “Cocaine is a hell of a drug!” This is an autobiographical chronicle from the grave.  – Written by Downtown Movies

The De Blasios: New York New Family!

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Beyonce:Sydney- Halloween Edition ;-)

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