What is Jem?

 After walking by Jem a number of times, I had to satisfy my curiosity. When I walked, I saw aisles and aisles of colorful fabric from the ceiling to the ground. I loved the environment. Jem is not your typical fabric store.  Jem is owned and operated by a brother-sister team, Michelle Zahabian, who is 24 years old, and her brother David. Their father was the owner of Fabric Warehouse across the street. After his passing a year ago, Michelle and her brother opened JEM, continuing their family tradition and a downtown staple. Located at 355 Broadway in NYC.

When I asked Michelle to describe their first year and half in business, she said it has been ” a lot of mini-miracles along the way”. Support NYC small business.

Kobie Brown “From Fatherless To Fatherhood” (2012 Film)

 I along with millions of Americans have grown up “Fatherless”. And today 40% of American children live in a fatherless home raised by single mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other female caregivers. Kobie Brown’s 2012 film From Fatherless To Fatherhood explores the causes, effects and possible solutions to turning the corner on father absence. We met at Central Park for an unscripted, insightful conversation about the inspiration for the film, his family story and his goals. I love and support what Kobie is doing, solutions through dialogue.

“Before You leave this planet, it is important that you get in touch with what your purpose is and not be defined by what your job or career may be..but find out what it is you are suppose to do for the betterment of mankind and everything else will fall into place.” – Kobie during our Central Park conversation

Culture Critic Amy Linden on 28 yrs in Fort Greene, Rafael Saadiq & Obama

“Bitchin about what Brooklyn is now is like bitchin about what Hip-Hop use to be like..aint gonna happen..Paid In Full is not coming back out again.” Amy moved to Fort Greene 28 years ago from the Lower Eastside. We have been friends since  the 90’s when I lived in Fort Greene & Clinton Hill. After a stroll around my old neighborhood reminiscing about my Brooklyn days – my house parties, Brooklyn Moon Cafe,  Madiba, Franks, Mikes Diner, The Friendships  – I met up with Culture Critic-Substitute Teacher Amy Linden at the entrance of Fort Greene Park for an animated conversation on 28 years in Fort Greene, Rafael Saadiq, Charter Schools & Obama.


			

Extreme Hopscotch: “You got beat by an 8yr old!”

Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins..get your Extreme Hopscotch game up! Yesterday at a BBQ in Brooklyn, while filming the kids "hopschotchin", they challenged myself and my longtime friend Jon Cropper to try. He said "no way". I tossed him my camera and thought how hard could it be? Well, I got schooled by an 8year old and they filmed it. It happens. I am not going to let it get me down. LOL. But I will get my Extreme Hopscotch game up.

Harlem Teens Anti-Violence Protest April 15th @ 129th & Lenox (II)

(Part II) In Harlem last Friday, teens representing high Schools across Harlem came to speak, rap and lay down on the street for 5 minutes; thus, putting themselves in the place of someone who has been shot. Here is an additional edit of the teen’s speeches, rap and words from Iesha on “why we are here” prior to their demonstration https://mysmallstory.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/harlem-teen-ant-violent-protest-april-15th-129th-lenox/

Iesha of Street Corner Resources& Harlem renaissance High School brought Harlem community leaders from the NYPD, City Council, Teachers, Pastors and Jacob Restaurant provided the backdrop and much needed electricity for the sound system.

Harlem Teen Anti-Violence Protest April 15th @ 129th & Lenox (I)

(Part I)Young people are dying from gun violence at an alarming rate across America. But in Harlem last Friday, teens representing High Schools across Harlem came to speak, rap and lay down on the street for 5 minutes; thus, putting themselves in the place of someone who has been shot.
Iesha of Street Corner Resources& Harlem renaissance High School brought Harlem community leaders from the NYPD, City Council, Teachers, Pastors and Jacob Restaurant provided the backdrop and much needed electricity for the sound system. My flip battery ran out after filming the teen’s speeches; thus, I used my android phone to film the teens laying down but I wasn’t able to link the videos thus https://mysmallstory.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/harlem-teens-ant-violent-protest-april-15th-129th-lenox/

Toure on Upcoming Projects , Storytelling, His Story, Multicultural America & Book Recommendations

While checking my email at the Soho Apple Store, I ran into long time friend and very talented writer, Toure. Referred to as “a one-man media conglomerate” by The Daily Beast’s editor Tina Brown, the pop culture commentator has his hands in various media works, from penning articles for Rolling Stone, where the scribe has been a long-time contributing editor, to contributing to MSNBC and hosting the Fuse’s Hip Hop Shop. His TL is not short of tell-it-like-it is commentary. Touré is expecting the release of his fourth book, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? on September 13. These days Toure is Fuse’s pop culture and music insider Touré, takes on double hosting duties with two of the networks hottest shows, “Hip Hop Shop” and “On The Record with Fuse.”
In addition, Touré is the author of Never Drank the Kool-Aid, a collection of published articles, Soul City, a novel, and The Portable Promised Land, a collection of short stories. He is also a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone, formerly a host and correspondent at BET and was CNN’s first Pop Culture Correspondent. He has appeared on the “Today Show,” “the Paula Zahn show,” “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” “Topic A with Tina Brown,” “Anderson Cooper 360°,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” “Dateline NBC,” “Nightline,” and many others.

Iesha Sekou: She Has A Vision For Harlem’s Youth

She knows, loves and practices a vision of success for Harlem’s youth. Yesterday, I attended Harlem Renaissance High School’s “community feedback” meeting. It was an opportunity for the superintendent of schools to hear from parents, staff and activist “How do we improve Harlem Renaissance’s performance?” 100s of NYC schools are going through a similar process. Iesha’s speech (see video) and workshops at the HR high school is the kind of support that the next wave closing schools were not lucky to have.
She has an office at the school, visits the home’s of absent students with the principal, hugs the kids and more importantly, she only sees a vision of success for Harlem Youth. Support Harlem Renaissance. Iesha’s non-profit is http://www.streetcornerresources.org/…

Key Concerns: Harlem Renaissance was identified as Persistently Lowest Achieving by the New York State Education Department in Dec. 2010. Possibilities: Leadership change, Phasing the school out over time, Change in curriculum, staff changes and/or grade reconfiguration.

Dinosaur Hill: Building Blocks, TuTus, Puzzles, Rubber Duckys, Trucks & Staten Island Ferry

(Gift ideas for infants/young children) For over 27 years, Dinosaur Hill has been selling handmade wonderments, toys, clothes and gifts in NYC’s East Village. This is a visual walk through the East Village store with owner Pamela Pier. Items that are highlighted include: Building Blocks, Umbrellas, Tutus, Reading, Make-A-Plate, Tub Toys, Trucks & The Staten Island Ferry.

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