Archives for February 2014

Mission to Keep CIAA Tournament in Charlotte


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The CIAA Education Day kicks off for 5,000 students in the Charlotte area at the Convention Center.

It’s one of the many benefits of keeping the tournament in town.

Columnist Mary C. Curtis explains why the tournament is so sought after.

The crowds are expected to contribute up to $40 million to the local economy as they enjoy parties, concerts and basketball games. The city puts in about $1 million to host the tournament.

The CIAA didn’t renew the commitment to keep the tournament in Charlotte. They’re taking bids from cities, including Atlanta, Raleigh, D.C., Greensboro, Baltimore, and Brooklyn.

Cities want to host it because it’s the third largest tournament in the NCAA behind the ACC and Big East.

LGBT equality is an ‘American value’ — the theme of HRC North Carolina gala

CHARLOTTE – The scene looked like any formal event, from prom and beyond, with couples patiently waiting in line, ready to take a turn posing and smiling in front of a backdrop and getting that photo snapped to show they were there. On Saturday, that event was the Human Rights Campaign 2014 North Carolina Gala, and the more than 1,000 in attendance wanted to show they were there, supporting LGBT equality.

The star-studded crowd was a mix of politicians, celebrities — in the case of congressional hopeful Clay Aiken, a bit of both — visitors from across the country, many with North Carolina connections, and citizens of a Southern state that illustrates progress and challenges when it comes to working toward HRC goals.

The theme was how those goals reflect North Carolina and American values, as speaker after speaker emphasized.



Soledad O’Brien’s ‘Black in America’ town hall in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Soledad O’Brien poses the broad question, “What does it mean to be black in America?” It comes off the heels of the Michael Dunn verdict in Florida.

Columnist Mary C. Curtis was at the town hall meeting; it was a discussion that could have gone all night.

O’Brien discussed race issues in Charlotte. A panel included Urban League’s Patrick Graham.


No justice for Jordan Davis, more worry for parents of black children

Lucia McBath said she would pray for Michael Dunn and continue to wait for justice. She stood at the microphone, reacting to the news that a jury had deadlocked on the charge of first degree murder of her son, Jordan Davis, who would have celebrated his 19th birthday on Sunday. She was distraught and destroyed, but more composed than I could ever be.

When it was his turn, Jordan’s father, Ronald Davis, said it wasn’t in his nature to be stoic, but that his calmness through anger and grief honored the memory of his son. Then he reminded everyone that the son who was killed when Dunn shot into a car full of teenagers returning from the mall was a good kid. That he had to say out loud that Jordan Davis’s life mattered to a country that seems as undecided of that fact as the jury was also a crime.

What Does It Take to Be the Black ‘It’ Girl?

In some ways, Lupita Nyong’o fits the fashion-plate standard of beauty that’s changing, ever so slowly, but still frequently looks for a certain type: She’s thin and sculpted, with regal cheekbones and bearing to match. And her accent doesn’t hurt, either, in an America that’s still New World enough to be impressed by such things.

In a word, she’s gorgeous.

But in other ways, she’s something apart from the blond icons—from Jean Harlow to Marilyn Monroe to today’s ubiquitous Jennifer Lawrence—whom Hollywood normally presents as the ideal. Nyong’o—the 30-year-old, Mexican-born Kenyan who stepped out of the Yale School of Drama into fame and an Academy Award nomination—is dark-skinned, with a short, natural haircut, and no apologies.

Cash for teachers? Politics, money and education


CHARLOTTE, NC: Governor Pat McCrory announced an increase in base pay for new teachers. Washington Post columnist and local political writer Mary C. Curtis talks with Terrance Bates about why some are criticizing the Governor’s plan.

Shirley Temple, an optimistic icon who knew it was an illusion

Some things are best left to memory.

When I think of Shirley Temple – the child star, not the adolescent actress or grown-up American diplomat – she is always petite, dimpled and smiling. Hearing of her death Monday night at the age of 85, it was hard to imagine her as anything else.

Rand Paul’s Bill Clinton-bashing is political. But he has a point.

Rand Paul, the U.S. senator from Kentucky and an all-but-certain contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, is hitting Democratic Party claims to be the party for women with attacks on Bill Clinton’s infidelity with an intern in the White House.

Is it a political maneuver to tarnish top rival Hillary Clinton with guilt by association? Of course. Is Paul taking aim at a popular Democratic Party fundraiser, just as the former president is about to campaign for 2014 candidates, including Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Paul’s own state of Kentucky? You bet.

Clay Aiken is officially a candidate. And he thought ‘American Idol’ was rough

“I’m not a politician,” says Clay Aiken in the video announcing his candidacy for a U.S. House seat. “I don’t ever want to be one. But I do want to help bring back, at least to my corner of North Carolina, the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not.”

What is very clear in the compelling, nearly five-minute video released Wednesday, is that Aiken seriously wants to be the Democrat on the fall ballot facing Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers in North Carolina’s 2nd District. And though an Aiken win in the conservative district has to be considered a long shot, and he hasn’t even made it past the primary, the 35-year-old reintroducing himself and making his case wants you to know that he’s more than an “American Idol” runner-up.

A Month of Arts, Remembrance and Honors


February in Charlotte means a month of arts, remembrance, and honors.

Mary C Curtis is giving us a tour of where it’s all happening.

The Blumenthal Performing Arts helped produce ‘”The Mountaintop“, which is being performed at the Booth Playhouse through March 2. It centers around Martin Luther King Jr’s last speech before his assassination. At the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art the exhibition “Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory” features more than 200 objects; the show spans the 50-year career of internationally acclaimed architect Mario Botta, the designer of the Bechtler.

Also, props to Johnson C Smith University; they were named School of the Month by the Tom Joyner Foundation.