Archives for February 2013

In her 100th year, is it time to take Rosa Parks off that pedestal?

Just the memory of Rosa Parks can still get the job done. In this case, 100 years after her birth, the late civil rights icon is bringing together the president and the Democratic and Republican leaders of both the House and the Senate. In the partisan atmosphere of Washington, D.C., that’s close to a miracle. The lineup of speakers was scheduled for Wednesday’s dedication of a statue in Parks’ honor in National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol.

As an image is being revealed, it’s past time to correct the false one in America’s imagination: That Rosa Parks was a meek, humble seamstress, who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus that day in 1955 – because she was tired – and spontaneously sparked a more than yearlong boycott and a movement. The Rosa Parks sold to the public was what was accepted for a woman, particularly a black woman, but it hid her full measure. She was the respectable symbol that was needed at the time, even though the flesh-and-blood activist was far more interesting.

Keeping It Positive: Try Something Different for CIAA Week in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) basketball tournament is in full force all around the Queen City! Both Charlotte and the association are hosting a number of events in honor of the annual event. Today’s Keeping it Positive explores the celebrations that not only involve games and parties but also observes Black History Month. Here are highlights of a few happenings around town that are rich in culture and enjoyable for all to attend.

The House now turns to the Violence Against Women Act

Even as most of the headlines coming out of Washington these days contain the word sequester, another bill is moving along, making progress without quite so much drama. But the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in the Senate and due for action in the House, is no less important.

House Republicans last week released their own version of the legislation and are prepared to take it to a floor vote this week. While House Republicans are confident of the effectiveness of their bill, it has not resolved disputed differences with the Senate proposal.

“I cannot say enough about the revolution that was the Violence Against Women Act,” said Sarah Tofte, director of policy and advocacy for the Joyful Heart Foundation. “Those of us who work on these issues, who care about these issues, see it as forming the core of our country’s response on violence against women and girls.



In North Carolina, a civilized gun debate fails to change minds

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a mostly blue city in a mostly red state, a crowd of several hundred filled a theater for a community conversation called “Voices in the Gun Debate.” It was cordial, which is more than you can say for much of the national dialogue that has NRA leadership and gun control advocates giving little ground in language or policy. But at evening’s end, there weren’t many conversions, either.

‘The Whipping Man’ sheds new light on slavery in America

In the program for “The Whipping Man” — a play that runs at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte through March 9 — a guide translates phrases from Hebrew and defines Civil War-era terms. So, what’s going on? The work grew from the discovery by playwright and Civil War buff Matthew Lopez of a historical document that mentioned Passover beginning just after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Through the story of two former slaves and their former master sharing Passover Seder while discovering the meaning of family, the Actor’s Theatre production lets audiences take a journey through a seldom explored aspect of the Civil War.

“It’s emotionally difficult but uplifting at the same time,” said director Chip Decker.

Keeping it Positive: Art Offerings in Charlotte Reach Way Outside the Box

Making art with salt at the Mint Museum? A CAST Carolina Actors Studio Theatre show set in a wrestling ring? Charlotte culture reaches way outside the box. My Keeping It Positive report on Fox News Rising:


Why Obama always returns to North Carolina

President Obama just can’t stay away from North Carolina, though after giving him hope and a victory in 2008, the fickle state cozied back up to the GOP in 2012. Being wooed with a national convention and a stream of visits from surrogates wasn’t quite enough to stem a statewide swing from blue to red. Yet there the president was on Wednesday, the day after his State of the Union speech, selling his ideas on manufacturing and the economy at the Linamar engine factory near Asheville, N.C.

Playing hard to get is irresistible.



Keeping it Positive: Romantic Soundtrack in Charlotte

Isn’t it romantic? Music for your Valentine, from opera to jazz to chamber delights.

Will the next pope in a new world change the Catholic Church?

The world and the Catholic Church have changed, or maybe they’ve just become more honest. In the pews of Roman Catholic churches around the world — less crowded than they used to be — there is devotion, but also doubt. Now there is also confusion about what kind of leader the next pope will be.

Gantt Center explores music, message of Fela

If you attend the award-winning musical “Fela!” during its Feb. 25 and 26 run at the Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the play’s infectious music and dancing will be more than enough to satisfy. But to add meaning to the music, you need to know something about artist and activist Fela Kuti, the subject of the high-energy show.

“Fela: From Abeokuta to Broadway — a Panel Discussion” at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture on Feb. 15, will explore the man behind the musical, a figure whose Afrobeat rhythms carried a message about the quest for social justice in his Nigerian home that resonated across the globe. “My generation lived on his music,” said Dr. Akin Ogundiran, chair of the Africana Studies Department at UNC Charlotte. “You can listen to it and dance, but when you really pay attention you don’t want to dance, you want to listen to the words. When it’s finished, you are either angry or you are sober.”