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Film Review: The Birth of a Nation

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By Dwight Brown (NNPA Wire Service Film Critic)

Finally, a filmmaker unearths one of the biggest secrets in American history: slave revolts. It’s a lesson rarely mentioned in history books, though it’s common knowledge to anyone who has taken a Black History course. Kudos to actor-turned-director Nate Parker for shepherding this ambitious project from the kernel of an idea to the completion of an inspiring and evocative film that is nothing less than a masterpiece. There are many facets of this movie that are groundbreaking, historic, monumental and unique.

In the evolution of the American film industry few films have ventured into the subject of slavery. Some have misleadingly romanticized the era (Gone With the Wind). Some have made fun of it and belittled its tragic consequences (Django Unchained). Some have eloquently captured the suffering (12 Years a Slave). Some have revealed rebellions from a White man’s perspective (Free State of Jones). None have captured the spirit and emotion of the time, the courage and bravery of resistance and the calculated planning and execution of a rebellion from the viewpoint of African American culture. Until now.

Southampton County, Va., is filled with cotton plantations. A young slave boy named Nat (Tony Espinosa) and his family work on a farm run by the Turner family. Nat is thought to be a chosen child by friends and family: “This boy has the holy markings of our ancestors.” He is friendly with the slave owner’s son Samuel (Griffin Freeman). That boy’s mom Elizabeth (Penelope Ann Miller) notices that Nat has a knack for words and she helps him learn how to read, using the Bible as a learning tool.

Years later, Nat (Nate Parker) is a young Reverend. His stature among the slaves is high. The Turner family seems to not be too apprehensive about their slave who seems to be intelligent and a leader. Samuel (Armie Hammer), now a young man too, is in charge of a farm that is failing to make money. As talk of rebellious slaves sweeps through the county, Samuel gets Nat to become a traveling pastor who “tames” the nerves of slaves on other plantations, for a fee that is paid to the Turner Family.

Traveling around to other farms gives Nat a general of sense of other slaves’ wretched conditions. Several intensely brutal incidences, involving him, friends and a vicious assault on his wife Cherry (Aja Naomi King) by white men, bring things to a head. The time to act has come. Nat: “We’ll destroy them all.” How will it be done? Who will join him? How will this insurrection end?

Throughout the film, the script by Parker and Jean McGianni Celestin establishes and maintains a spiritual destiny that never wanes. There are moments that the Nat Turner they have created has Christ-like, martyr-like attributes. How much of this is based on fact or is manufactured to produce a character that audiences will root for is up for debate. One thing for sure is that the real Nat Turner was a courageous man who gave his life for freedom, and the one on-screen takes over that mantle very well.

For a first-time filmmaker, Parker makes no huge gaffes. He finds and keeps a tone, pulls Oscar-worthy performances from his cast and sets everything in motion in a thoroughly engaging manner that is sustained for 118 minutes. With the skill of directors with ten times his experience, he blends drama, psychodrama, romance, spirituality and action into a relentless, uncompromising classic.

By most epics’ standards, this is concise storytelling (editor Steven Rosenblum) that is perfectly set in the 19th century (Jim Ferrell, set decorator; Geoffrey Kirkland, production designer). The characters wear clothes that looked lived in (Francine Jamison-Tanchuck, costume designer) and when they are injured their cuts and bruises look scarily real (Randi Owens Arroyo, makeup artist). And every element is captured by a very perceptive lens (Elliot Davis, cinematographer).

It is a miracle that Parker can write the script, produce the movie, direct the proceedings and still turn in what has to be one of the most difficult and emotionally complex performances of the year. His character evolves from jovial, young man, to preacher with guilt, to loving protective husband and father, to angry rebel seamlessly. Every feeling he exhibits seems authentic.

Parker’s portrayal peaks in a pivotal scene when Cherry lies on a bed of white sheets, bludgeoned, and he assures her that everything will be all right, even though life couldn’t be worse. The two actors cry and hold each other in a way that creates an indelible moment. Before, and more now, the audience is waiting and ready for Turner to take matters into his own hands. And so is Cherry: “If the Lord has called you to fight, you fight for me. You fight for all of us.”

Ensemble acting is rarely this flawless. Usually one actor overdoes it, or one is not up to snuff. Not here. Hammer as the friendly, then cold, Samuel makes you never question his motivation. Colman Domingo as Nat’s cohort gives depth to his role in ways that deserve acclaim. Aunjanue Ellis as the mother and Esther Scott as the grandmother, are stoic. Penelope Ann Miller, through the character of Elizabeth Turner, aptly conveys a sense of nurturing, confusion, shock and fear. Villains come and villains go, but Jackie Earle Haley’s interpretation of Raymond Cobb, a “paddy roller,” a White man who monitored and enforced discipline upon Black slaves, is one of the most vile you will ever see.

A rebellion and a subsequent massacre happened in the backwoods of Southampton County, Va. on August 21, 1831. Those events foreshadowed the Civil War. And now millions have the chance to learn a part of Black history that few know.

It is so fitting that the brilliant Nate Parker has called his great opus “The Birth of a Nation.” If there is justice in this world and the afterlife, D.W. Griffith, the racist director of the 1915 propaganda film of the same title, is turning over in his grave.

This is a story that had to be told. And must be retold again and again.

Dwight Brown is a film critic and travel writer. As a film critic, he regularly attends international film festivals including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and the American Black Film Festival. Read more movie reviews by Dwight Brown here and at DwightBrownInk.com.

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Freddie Allen is the Editor-In-Chief of the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Focused on Black people stuff, positively. You should follow Freddie on Twitter and Instagram @freddieallenjr.

Freddie Allen is the Editor-In-Chief of the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Focused on Black people stuff, positively. You should follow Freddie on Twitter and Instagram @freddieallenjr.

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FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival celebrates 25 years at Atlanta’s historic Tabernacle

ATLANTA VOICE —

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Photo by: Electrick Baby Photography | FunkJazz Kafe)

By Martel Sharpe

With its 25th anniversary on the horizon, Atlanta’s FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival is celebrating a quarter-of-a-century of artistic Black culture on Saturday, August 10 at The Tabernacle.

Just as vibrate as its creator and curator, Jason Orr, FunkJazz Kafé has survived throughout the years with 49 events under its belt, making its 25th anniversary the 50th.

“Essentially, FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival is about cultural prevention, cultural sustainability, cultural education, and cultural innovation,” Orr said. “We focus on various artistic disciplines as opposed to music performances. We are not a concert.”

“We just happen to have a cache of exceptional talent.”

Though FunkJazz Kafé is more than just a typical music festival, the event procured a host of iconic artists over the years including Goodie Mob, Outkast, Janelle Monae, Arrested Development, Soul II Soul, Jill Scott, Cee Lo Green, Erykah Badu, India Arie, Public Enemy, and more.

“We want to preserve the legacy of Black excellence in every artform whether its culinary arts or fashion pattern designing. We want to sustain those cultures and not let people take it from us as they have in the past, and we want to innovate upon it. Innovate upon these cultural legacies and educate the generations behind us about it,” Orr said.

The 48-year-old Atlanta native started FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival back in 1994 with its inaugural event taking place at Atlanta’s historic Royal Peacock on Auburn Avenue.

“It was awesome,” Orr said. “We had multiple vendors. We had great performances from Arrested Development, who in 94’ was like Anderson Paak. Then there was also Bone Cusher and leaders of the New School.”

According to Orr, what he has turned into a 25-year legacy started with a typical day for him, while working for the City of Atlanta at the time and managing a band.

“I got into the Royal Peacock because the guy gave it to me for free,” Orr said. “I was a tax collector for the City of Atlanta and the guy came in to pay his taxes, and he said, ‘I own this club you should come check it out.’”

“I wanted to create something that highlights other artists and musician. I knew a lot of fashion designers, I knew a lot of visual artists. People who did sculptures, people who did water-based paintings, people who did acrylic paintings, people who did pottery and handcrafted jewelry.”

As FunkJazz Kafé continued to grow, the mission stayed the same even though the venues changed.

Orr says that, in the past, the festival set up shop in some of Atlanta’s most notable locations including The Science & Technology Museum of Atlanta (SciTrek) which closed in 2004, Atlanta Stage Works which is now Krog Street Market, Nexus Contemporary Art Gallery which is now Atlanta Contemporary Art Gallery, the Nike Pavilion and World Club which was on Marietta Street.

“I would make venues,” Orr said, “It didn’t even have to be a venue, long as they had bathrooms and were approved for food and beverage, and fire permits, we were good.”

However, returning to The Tabernacle for its 25th anniversary is special for FunkJazz Kafé since it was the first event that ever took place within that space.

“We opened The Tabernacle in 1996 as it was the House of Blues,” Orr said. “FunkJazz Kafé did a partnership with Dallas Austin’s Rowdy Records. And we did the first event in what is now called The Tabernacle.”

Since then, FunkJazz Kafe has expanded, further tackle its mission to preserve Black culture and innovation through its award-winning film, “FunkJazz Kafe’s” Diary of A Decade” and producing the FJK Documentary Film Festival & Music Conference.

Beyond celebrating the arts, Orr also mandated that the festival would have a civic service initiative, creating a positive impact in the community.

“At the first one, we started our civic service initiative,” Orr said. “We were taking food donations for the homeless for a reduced price. It was $12 to get and we would take $5 off if you brought a canned good.”

“We kept that tradition and all the way up to today we’ve donated almost a million plates of food, (approximately) 900,030.”

However, Orr says that he plans to top himself this year with the 25th anniversary featuring various suites to festival-goers to enjoy.

These suites will feature various art forms including poetry, health and wellness, fashion, and different genres of music.

He’s very excited about the “House Party” suite which will simulate a 1980s house party and will change its music every 15 minutes to all people to enjoy hip-hop, reggae, afrobeat, house music, and more.

Additionally, the festival will have a vegan food court and up to 40 vendors participating in its marketplace.

And though it’s FunkJazz Kafé’s tradition to keep its roster of musical guests a secret until the day of, Orr says that he has a lot of great performers lined up and ready to go.

“We’re going to introduce new people that some people don’t know and we’re going to celebrate with some of our musical icons,” Orr said.

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Voice.

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Afro

Black Fatherhood Shines in New Animated FIim

THE AFRO — For the most part, Historically, stories about Black fathers in mainstream media often carry a misleading, yet pervasive tones of absenteeism, hyper masculinity, insensitivity, and irresponsibility, monolithic. But this week, the beauty of Black Fatherhood debuts. But this is narrative does not fairly represent the role of the Black fatherhood.

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The picture book “Hair Love” was released by Kokila Books/Penguin Random House releasing on May 14, 2019, and became a New York Times Bestseller. (Courtesy Photo)

By AFRO Staff

For the most part, Historically, stories about Black fathers in mainstream media often carry a misleading, yet pervasive tones of absenteeism, hyper masculinity, insensitivity, and irresponsibility, monolithic. But this week, the beauty of Black Fatherhood debuts. But this is narrative does not fairly represent the role of the Black fatherhood.

Hair Love is a heartfelt animated short film that centers around the relationship between an African-American father, his daughter Zuri, and the most daunting task a father could ever come across – doing his daughter’s hair. The short, a passion project from Matthew A. Cherry, will be making its theatrical debut in North America on Aug. 14.

Directed by Cherry (executive producer, “BlacKkKlansman”), Everett Downing Jr. (animator, “Up,” “WALL·E”), and Bruce W. Smith (creator, “The Proud Family,” animator, “The Princess and the Frog”), Hair Love is a collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation that was launched as a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 with a fundraising goal of $75,000. Strong support led to the campaign amassing nearly $300,000, making it the most highly-funded short film campaign in Kickstarter history.

“To see this project go from a Kickstarter campaign to the big screen is truly a dream come true,” said Cherry. “I couldn’t be more excited for ‘Hair Love’ to be playing with ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ in front of a wide audience and for the world to see our touching story about a Black father trying to figure out how to do his daughters hair for the very first time.”

“Hair Love” features the voice of Issa Rae (“Insecure”) as the young girl’s mother. The short is produced by Karen Rupert Toliver, Stacey Newton, Monica A. Young, Matthew A. Cherry, and Lion Forge Animation’s David Steward II and Carl Reed. Peter Ramsey (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”) and Frank Abney (animator, “Toy Story 4”) serve as executive producers.

“This is such a special story that means so much to us,” added Ramsey, “Matthew has rallied an insanely talented group of people to get this short made, and to be able to share it with the world is a gift. We hope that audiences can feel this team’s dedication up on the big screen, we are incredibly proud of it.”

The short’s co-executive producers include Jordan Peele, Andrew Hawkins, Harrison Barnes, Yara and Keri Shahidi. The short’s associate producers include N’Dambi Gillespie, Gabrielle Union-Wade & Dwayne Wade Jr., Gabourey Sidibe, Stephanie Fredric and Claude Kelly.

Physical production of “Hair Love” has taken place at the Los Angeles-based animation studio, Six Point Harness (“Guava Island”).

The picture book “Hair Love” was released by Kokila Books/Penguin Random House releasing on May 14, 2019, and became a New York Times Bestseller.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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The 5th Annual Black Alumni Ball is back in the Nation’s Capital Striving to Advance, Unify and Uplift in the name of Black Excellence

WASHINGTON INFORMER — In its fifth year, the Black Alumni Ball is gearing up to be an impactful evening of celebration with nearly 2,000 Black Alumni on August 10, 2019. The ball will be held from 8 PM-2 AM at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. It will be hosted by The Massive Host, King Flexxa, with the soundtrack being provided by Nate Hopp and Jerome Baker III and LIVE entertainment will be delivered by Johnny Graham & the Groove. In addition, the VIP reception will be sponsored by Hennessy.

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Black Alumni Ball (Photo by: washingtoninformer.com)

By Cherrelle Swain

Washington, DC – August 9, 2019 – In its fifth year, the Black Alumni Ball is gearing up to be an impactful evening of celebration with nearly 2,000 Black Alumni on August 10, 2019. The ball will be held from 8 PM-2 AM at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. It will be hosted by The Massive Host, King Flexxa, with the soundtrack being provided by Nate Hopp and Jerome Baker III and LIVE entertainment will be delivered by Johnny Graham & the Groove. In addition, the VIP reception will be sponsored by Hennessy.

In 2018, the Black Alumni Ball team debuted the Inaugural class of their Influencer program with 15 dynamic individuals who are shining examples of being a game-changer, an individual who is shifting the culture and being an example of excellence. In 2019, the class will grow with the addition of 17 individuals being inducted.

They are as follows: Christian Brown (Howard University Alumna, Owner of Rise Enterprises LLC), Christian Howard (Clark Atlanta University Alumna, Psychotherapist Consultant), Jessica T. Ornsby, Esq (Georgetown University Law Center, Founder of A+O Law Group), Marcus Goodwin (The University of Pennsylvania Alumnus, Founder of The CEO Program), Charles Gussom (University of District of Columbia Alumnus, Community Development Manager, Martha’s Table), Byron Westbrook (Salisbury University Alumnus, Former NFL Player, Head Coach, and Podcaster), Lilybelle Davis (University of Maryland/Columbia Law School Alumna, Corporate Law Attorney), Carrington D. Barbour (Palomar College Alumnus, CEO, JustCarrington), Deanna Collins (Morgan State University Alumna, Founder, The Pretty Girls Guide), Shanae McFadden (Delaware State University Alumna, Blogger, Owner of Sensational Statements, and Podcaster), Dr. Amber Robins (Xavier University of Louisiana Alumna, Board Certified Family Medicine Doctor), Sydney Mikel Pearsall (Delaware State University Alumna, Owner, Part & Parcel, and Podcaster), Chauntay Mickens (University of Connecticut Alumna, Co-Founder and President of Lunchbag Social), Shelly Bell (North Carolina A&T State University Alumna, Founder, Black Girl Ventures), Rontel Batie (Florida A&M Alumnus, Lobbyist), Anwaa Kong (Morgan State University Alumnus, Founder, MVEMENT App & Serial Entrepreneur) and Matt Aaron (Howard University Alumnus, Founder, Aaron Financial)

Collectively, the Black Alumni Ball team states, “We can’t believe we are in our 5th year of the Ball. We are so grateful to have the unwavering support within the Black Alumni community, and we are looking forward to continuing to celebrate Black Excellence! It is our goal to create a dialogue on the importance of uplighting one another and wanting to unify as a unit to help one another advance in the future.

The Black Alumni Ball is an annual event whose mission is to bring black alumni from all universities throughout the nation, including both PWI’s (Predominantly White Institutions) and HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), for a night of sophistication, style, and fun. In addition to a magical evening, a portion of all proceeds will be provided to a Non-Profit Organization in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area from the Black Alumni Ball Scholarship Fund.

This post originally appeared in The Washington Informer.

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Attendees on What They Thought of City’s Inaugural Freedom Fest

BIRMINGHAM TIMES — The festival offered a balance of entertainment and education. Performers included Birmingham talents Ruben Studdard and Alvin Garrett as well as Huntsville hip hop artist Translee. Others included gospel artist Kristen Glover, neo soul artist Love Moor, soul group Midnight Star, hip hop soul artist Musiq Soulchild, and hip-hop duo 8Ball & MJG.

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From left: Kenneth Marbry II; Kenneth Marbry III; Amariya Marbry and Patrice Marbry during Freedom Fest (Photo by: Ameera Steward | The Birmingham Times)
From left: Kenneth Marbry II; Kenneth Marbry III; Amariya Marbry and Patrice Marbry during Freedom Fest (Photo by: Ameera Steward | The Birmingham Times)

By Ameera Steward

Local resident Marie Dixon got exactly what she was looking for when she attended the inaugural Birmingham Freedom Fest last weekend in Kelly Ingram Park.

“As a vegan I was worried I wasn’t going to find anything to eat,” said Dixon. “I had a …black bean burger it’s so good…[and] amazing.”

Dixon moved to Birmingham from Maryland 17 months ago and said the festival gave her a chance to interact with the community.

“I don’t come out as much as I should, so this has been a great opportunity to mix and mingle…,” she said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to be a part of the civil rights [institute] and all of the history that Birmingham has.”

The Freedom Fest drew thousands of people for a day long series of entertainment and empowerment in the heart of the Civil Rights District in downtown.

The festivities began at noon beneath a bright sun that illuminated colorful tents and food trucks that sold goods to the diverse crowd around Kelly Ingram Park.

The festival offered a balance of entertainment and education. Performers included Birmingham talents Ruben Studdard and Alvin Garrett as well as Huntsville hip hop artist Translee. Others included gospel artist Kristen Glover, neo soul artist Love Moor, soul group Midnight Star, hip hop soul artist Musiq Soulchild, and hip-hop duo 8Ball & MJG.

There was also an online contest where the residents of Birmingham voted on “Birmingham’s Emerging Artist” – Chrinway, a Bessemer city rapper.

The fest also gave attendees a chance to hear leaders and innovators in business, technology, beauty, the arts, and urban planning during seven empowerment sessions held in places like the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Panel discussions included the “Justice, Empathy and Advocacy” panel with Mayor Randall Woodfin, U.S. Senator Doug Jones, and Prison reform advocate Anthony Ray Hinton.

Visitors came away pleased by what they saw and heard. To some the festival was reminiscent of the past and for others it was a look into the future of Birmingham.

“I think this is a great event and it being the first year, I just wanted to come out and show some support,” said Dixon, who added she was glad to see the diverse crowds. “It’s about all of Birmingham and not just the African-American portion of Birmingham.”

“I was really proud to be in Birmingham on Saturday,” she said. “I was touched by the history of the Civil Rights District and proud to see how far Birmingham has come.”

LaTonya Roy, 47, originally from Anchorage, Alaska and who now lives in Birmingham said she was attracted to the fest because of the word “freedom…freedom of expression, freedom to connect with a diverse group of people.”

Roy said she was looking forward to “the entertainment, the panels, and the good weather that we’re having.”

“I love it,” said Jeremy Scott, 24, of Birmingham. “It’s brought out everybody in Birmingham, I hope they continue doing it so we can do this for years to come. I know it’s the first annual, I want it to be annual.”

Scott said he and his friends saw the event on Facebook and seeing a music festival in Birmingham was something different.

“We haven’t had a festival here in a long time,” he said. “The last time I came out for a music festival was [City Stages] so it’s been a while since I’ve seen…live talent in Birmingham but it’s been amazing.”

Scott said his favorite part was seeing Midnight Star, “I’m a big funk musician fan so I’m digging it right now.”

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Panel Discussions

Patrice Marbry, 39, of Chelsea, Ala. said she enjoyed the empowerment sessions.

“I like the idea of having the musical artists as well as the informational sessions,” she said.

Marbry is a board member of STREAM Innovations, a nonprofit organization that helps students develop and explore their passion for Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STREAM).  She attended the “Cracking Codes: The Power of STEM” panel discussion, held in St. Paul United Methodist Church to support the organization’s CEO, Dr. Adrienne Starks.

One thing she learned was the challenges faced by people of color who drop out of their PhD programs.

It was encouraging for young people to see people who look like them on the panel with PhDs  in front of their names, she said.

Another favorite was the “Justice, Empathy and Advocacy” panel, said Marbry, a regional middle school instructional coach at the University of Montevallo.

“Anthony Ray Hinton (was wrongly convicted of the 1985 murders of two fast food restaurant managers in Birmingham, sentenced to death, and held on the state’s death row for 28 years) called a lot of things the exact things that they are. As an educator I have been inclined to believe that education should be at the forefront of the Social Justice Movement.”

Scott attended the “She Decides: A Courageous Conversation about Women’s Rights” panel held in Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and said it was informative and it opened his eyes.

“I was kind of in the dark about everything but…I’m looking around and seeing what we need to change in the state, in the country, everywhere,” Scott said.

Jay Williams, 25, of Birmingham, also attended the “She Decides” panel. “We get to see what happens when women empower each other,” he said.

“I have been encouraged by seeing the turnout…I think that opportunities like this should come more to Birmingham [because] it’s just an opportunity for us to show what we have,” said Williams.

Leah Parker, 39, visiting Birmingham from Atlanta, Ga. said she enjoyed both the panels and the music.

“It’s nice to see everybody come out and just enjoy great music; everybody has been so friendly and positive,” she said. “And seeing what our city can really do . . . it’s great energy out here.”

“The music is great, you can’t beat it, live music, outside everybody is up dancing, everybody is having a memory when a song comes on, it’s been great,” she said. Her favorite part was “running into old friends and meeting some new friends.”

Vivian Davis, Alabama State Senator, said on the “She Decides” panel that women need to support one another.

“The more you share with others and you give up yourself to others the more your blessings will repeat the light onto you,” she said.

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.

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Newest ‘Chopped’ Champion to Open BBQ Pop-up at Shops at Hilltop

OAKLAND POST — Oakland chef and restau­rateur Rashad Armstead, who last week was crowned the Food Network’s newest Chopped Champion, is set to open a pop-up BBQ shop at the The Shops at Hilltop in Rich­mond starting Aug. 1, it was announced today.

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Oakland chef and restaurateur Rashad Armstead. (Photo credit: Shops at Hilltop).

The Richmond Standard

Oakland chef and restau­rateur Rashad Armstead, who last week was crowned the Food Network’s newest Chopped Champion, is set to open a pop-up BBQ shop at the The Shops at Hilltop in Rich­mond starting Aug. 1, it was announced today.

Chef Rashad, who current­ly owns popular Grammie’s Down-Home Chicken & Sea­food in Oakland, will launch Crave BBQ, a new blues house concept featuring live music and authentic BBQ, on Aug. 1 for a limited time only.

The restaurant will open in a 4,952-square-foot space at The Shops at Hilltop, which is undergoing a transformation under new ownership at 2200 Hilltop Mall Road. Crave BBQ will be located in Suite D107.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Chef Rashad and his top-notch, nationally-recognized culinary talent to The Shops at Hilltop,” David S. Goldman, managing partner in charge of leasing for LBG Real Estate Companies, said in a statement. “As we continue our work to transform The Shops at Hilltop, the ad­dition of Crave BBQ not only further expands our growing food and beverage offering, but illustrates our commitment to bring the Greater East Bay marketplace a premiere, mul­ticultural shopping and enter­tainment destination.”

The Shops at Hilltop’s trans­formation plans include:

  1. a new outlet/value shop­ping component;
  2. an expanded collection of foodie-centric food and bev­erage concepts focusing on a wide variety of Asian cuisines along with other more tradi­tional offerings and;
  3. a variety of new, major entertainment venues and ser­vices.

Currently, the mall is an­chored by Macy’s, Walmart and 24 Hour Fitness.

In the longer term, a master plan for the 77-acre property called Hilltop by the Bay aims to add residential, office and hotels.

This article originally appeared in the Oakland Post. 

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Entertainment

Families and Friends Celebrate Special Occasions at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle Sunday Evening Jazz Concerts

OAKLAND POST — Every Sunday evening some patrons of Jazz and Blues celebrate special occasions– birthdays, family reunions and group parties at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Recently, while Monica Murphy was singing, Post Publisher Paul Cobb pho­tographed Kelvin Curry and members of the Murphy fam­ily who hail from Texas.

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l-r: 1) Kelvin Curry (Oakland artist), 2) his partner, Kathy Dorsey 3), Eric Murphy (photographer, curator, Alameda County arts commissioner and gallery ambassdor of the Joyce Gordon Gallery), 4) his brother Patrick Murphy (Oakland native visiting from Texas to celebrate his birthday, 5) Nancy Murphy (Patrick’s wife from Texas), 6) Patrick’s brother, Kista Murphy (Oakland), 7) Tyrreia Alexander, (Kista’s girlfriend), 8) his sister, Monica Murphy “ Lady Soul” (professional singer), from Richmond, CA, 9) Katrina McDonald, 10) and her husband, Carl McDonald (both also visiting from Texas). (Photo by: Paul Cobb).

By The Oakland Post

Every Sunday evening some patrons of Jazz and Blues celebrate special occasions– birthdays, family reunions and group parties at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Recently, while Monica Murphy was singing, Post Publisher Paul Cobb pho­tographed Kelvin Curry and members of the Murphy fam­ily who hail from Texas.

Patrick Murphy is the founder of Super EZ Forex, a financial investment group in the currency markets. He is also a relationship coach and founder of The Conflicts of Life, where he shares dating, relationship, and life chang­ing tips to thousands of people weekly through his live Face­book broadcast with his wife, Nancy. Patrick is also the au­thor of “Through the Eyes of a Failure.” Nancy Murphy is a life coach, author, trainer and educator. She is the author of the book “Conquering Rejec­tion: Loving Yourself When Others Choose to Throw You Away.”

She will be releasing her second book, “The Pros and Cons of Marriage: A Secret Guide to Know If Marriage Is Right for You.”

This article originally appeared in the Oakland Post

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