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Officials Say Jeffrey Epstein Case Will Move Forward

Jeffrey Epstein's death ruled a suicide, but many are skeptical

The last time we talked about Jeffrey Epstein, he was denied bail and was sent to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in NYC, which is a federal correctional facility. He attempted suicide, was put on suicide watch, was released from suicide watch, a short period later, he’s dead, no one in the facility could tell exactly how it happened, US Attorney General William Barr is steaming, and then finally, the NYC Medical Examiner ruled his death a suicide with broken bones in his throat.

The Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 Coming to NYC

The National Book Foundation’s Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 focuses on building a new audience for books

The National Book Foundation is hosting the Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at the Frank Sinatra School of Arts in Long Island City, NY.

The theme this year is Why Reading Matters: Building a New Audience, and the conference will feature a full day of presentations focused on building a new audience for books.

Check, for more information


  • Published in Authors

NYC’s Easter Parade of Images As Narrative?

When New Yorkers Tell Their Stories: From Top Hats & Bonnets to Kooky & Outrageous

When I was a child, I thought Easter was one day: Easter Sunday, when I was decked out gloriously with new dress, shoes, and hat. Such finery, of course, was to be worn only once -- on that special Easter day. As with so many things in life, I've come to understand Easter as being more expansive. Indeed, rather than being limited to only one day, Easter is a season. In the liturgical calendar, the season of Easter lasts seven Sundays, beginning on Easter Sunday and spanning to the Day of Pentecost. That adds up to 50 days of Easter!

Of course, we humans have found ways to express not only our faith or spiritual traditions of Easter, but also to express our joy and playfulness as Spring returns. Enter, the Easter Parade!

After a New York winter that was especially challenging , seeming never to end, we may have been even more excited than usual to shed our protective, multiple layers of clothing. And, what better way to show off our bright new Spring outfits -- topped off with spectacular bonnets and sophisticated top hats -- than to strut down Fifth Avenue in the Easter Parade on Easter Sunday? Perhaps strutting our finery in procession for all to see and admire is a way we choose to tell our story of joy – even exuberance – about Spring's arrival, at long last!

In my new, more expansive view, perhaps each of us becomes the author of our Spring or Easter or whatever story we choose to tell, as we gather with thousands of other "storytellers" in the Easter Parade. As you can see, even the most outlandish hat-creations are part of the story. I'm guessing that it's just these kind of broad-ranging, diverse expressions I find in the procession every year that keep me coming back.

At about 11:00 am or so, a group of friends and I head to 49th Street & Fifth Avenue, decked out in our bonnets. I make certain to look for Fred Moody, a gifted photographer, who's always in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral at about that time. This year, at 53rd Street & Fifth Avenue, captured my bonnet along with Marie Pierre; Lisa McFadden; Twila Perry; Paula Pelliccia and her fashion designer daughter, Lisette Ffolkes, who works for Tracy Reese; and many others. It's taken us about an hour to walk four blocks!

Marie Pierre-at-Easter-Parade-on-NYC-Fifth-Avenue Derrick-Davis The-RootMarie Pierre at the Easter Parade on New York City's Fifth Avenue  Photo credit: Derrick Davis for The Root

lisa-mcfadden-at-Easter-Parade-on-NYC-Fifth-Avenue Derrick-Davis The-RootLisa McFadden at the Easter Parade on New York City's Fifth Avenue  Photo credit: Derrick Davis for The Root

twila perry-at-Easter-Parade-on-NYC-Fifth-Avenue Derrick-Davis The-RootTwila Perry at the Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City  Photo credit: Derrick Davis for The Root

Paula-Pelliccia Lisette-Ffolkes Photo Derrick-Davis 600x338Paula Pelliccia and her daughter, fashion designer, Lisette Ffolkes. Photo credit: Derrick Davis for The Root

Lana-Turner-of-Harlem-at-the-2015-Easter-Parade 20150405 133117 600x883Lana Turner, Harlem real estate broker & fashion-setter, at  NYC's  2015 Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue. Photo Credit: T. Perry

As my friends and I slowly make our way to the Parade's end at 57th Street & Fifth Avenue, we're stopped dozens more times by other Easter paraders – or professional photographers -- who want to take our photo. However, we're not merely subjects; we are active participants in these "stories," as we also ask even more folks to pose so we can capture their Easter creativity with our cameras and smartphones.

Indeed, there's no such thing as an on-looker, because even those who aren't decked out in Easter bonnets are part of the Fifth Avenue procession. Maybe you'll consider this pageantry as narrative. Maybe you'll join in next year's Easter Parade on "The Avenue"!

Each month, I’ll share images of books and authors that I come upon in unexpected places. It’s all to inspire you to experience, as if for the first time, the wonder of books and their creators.

  • Published in Images

NBA All-Star 2015 Meant More To New York City Than Basketball

When it was announced last year that the NBA All-Star 2015 would be held in New York City, fans from across the world were excited that one of the largest basketball events would be coming to the Big Apple. With the new Barclays Center in full effect located downtown Brooklyn, minutes from the Brooklyn Bridge and a new and improved Madison Square Garden, it was no question that the best city in the world could handle three days of NBA festivities. The remaining question that lingered going into NBA All-Star is whether or not Madison Square Garden is still the Mecca of Basketball and, perhaps, by extension, is New York City still the Mecca of Basketball. With the Knicks struggling to win games and the Brooklyn Nets remaining a team of overpriced players with a seemingly disconnected owner, there was only one New York born and partially raised player that made it on the All-Star roster—Carmelo Anthony. Yet despite the politics of basketball, it became evident that the events were more than just basketball.

The city had been recovering and healing after news spread on November 14 that Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African American man who was shot to death by a NYPD officer in the stairwells in the New York City Housing Authority's Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn. The rookie officer, Peter Liang who was patrolling the dark, unlit stairwell, fired his gun, resulting in a bullet ricocheting off a wall, striking Gurley in the chest. If that wasn't enough for the city to handle, a grand jury decided on November 24 not to indict Officer Darren Wilson after fatally killing Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. Then two weeks later, here in New York, a Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD cop in the chokehold death of Eric Garner after the attack was caught on video. Garner was arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. To top an already bad ending to 2014, two uniformed NYPD officers were shot to death in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn execution style in the line of duty after a gunman's mission revenge for the deaths of Garner and Brown.

The NBA has always been an organization in which players were allowed to express their voices, and due to the protests over the grand jury's decisions in the Brown and Garner cases, players like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Brooklyn Nets players Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams wore T-shirts that read, "I can't breathe," the final words of Garner before he died in the chokehold. The players were responding to the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture that had been a worldwide slogan due to the deaths of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. During media day for NBA All-Star, Miami Heat Dwayne Wade spoke about the importance of the NBA coming together during the course of these tragic events.

Dwayne-Wade-at-2015-NBA-All-Star-Media-Day 650x650Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade at the 2015 NBA All-Star Media Day

"I think the individual guys have done a great job of [taking] a stand or getting behind on whatever they believe in. Nowadays it's obviously a lot easier because of social media...for your voices to be heard," he said. "The NBA supports us doing that....When we leave here (New York), we are obviously going to do something in the community."

Additionally, Wade revealed that he constantly talks to his sons about being "aware."

"My kids...are shielded from the real world. This doesn't happen to every kid in America or across the world," he said. "You try to show them as much as possible. I am an open book with my kids. I don't try to hide them from what's going on in the world; I try to educate them and hopefully one day if they get into a situation they know how to or what not to do." Wade's comments made it clear that NBA All-Star came at the perfect time.

New York City is labeled as one of the greatest cities in the world because the people have proven that they can and will always overcome adversity. The city has undoubtedly produced a lot of basketball talent, and the argument is still up in the air on whether or not it's still the Mecca of Basketball. However, what the NBA All-Star 2015 did do was help to unify a broken city, if only for a short while.

Big Daddy Kane, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Caz, Rakim, Roxanne Shante

WATCH VIDEO: Rap pioneers come together for a celebration of 40 years of Hip-Hop culture at Central Park Summerstage

On a blazing hot day in August, What's The 411TV's correspondent Cristina Twitty could care less about the heat, as she basked in the glory with other hip-hop heads celebrating 40 Years of Hip-Hop Culture at Central Park Summerstage.

Cristina came to 40 Years of Hip-Hop Culture at Central Park Summerstage to speak specifically with Big Daddy Kane, but as it turned out, there were more than enough people willing to talk about hip-hop and its pioneering artists.

"I kinda got wind of this this week," admitted Jay Crush of Zulu Nation and hip-hop aficionado. "I actually came here to promote this (pointing to a CD), which is going to be a big banger. From what I know Rakim and Big Daddy Kane are going to be here, so basically that's who I came to see."

"Today is really momentous," said Erika Elliott, Events Director, Central Park Summerstage. "Hip-hop culture has been super important in my career and life personally and to be able to work with someone like Herc to bring his vision into Central Park and SummerStage is kind of like a big moment in my life."

The love in the audience couldn't compare to the love onstage. A visibly emotional Kool Herc, the Father of Hip-Hop, praised Rakim because he always remembers to pay homage to Herc and the legendary DJ, Red Alert.

"...Big ups to Kool Herc for starting this...and you saw Red Alert and said big ups to Red Alert," Herc said to Rakim, as the crowd applauded. "Nobody did that in this business...I love you man, you don't forget where you come from."

Rakim responded with a big man hug.

Grandmaster Caz, a pioneering hip-hop MC and DJ, proudly took credit for spawning Rakim and Big Daddy Kane and by extension all the Jay Zs (rappers who came later and benefited by the pioneers).

When asked by Cristina who he came to see perform and touch the stage, Caz responded, "Of course the god Rakim and my son, Big Daddy Kane. Alright, those are my direct influences, (my influences) go to straight to them, you know what I mean. They are the people who eventually led to the Jay Zs and when you follow the rap lineages, it all traces back to me."

Fan Jason Jacobs echoed Grandmaster Caz's sentiment, as he told Cristina who he was there to see.

"Big Daddy Kane all the way, Little Rakim, as well," Jason said.

Jason further explained why he loves these artists, "It takes me back to my childhood, man; pure hip-hop, great lyricism, and just awesome beats and a good time."

And, a display of that pure old school hip-hop with great lyricism, awesome beats and a good time came right on time when two hip-hop pioneering MCs took the stage, Big Daddy Kane and Rodney C.

Next, Cristina met up with the man of the hour, Big Daddy Kane.

"I am here with a pioneer in hip-hop, legendary MC, Grammy award-winning Big Daddy Kane, how are you?," Cristina says as she introduces Big Daddy Kane.

"Oh, no, keep on selling it, baby, I like that, keep on selling it," Kane responded with a laugh.

They talked about Big Daddy Kane's longevity in hip-hop; his sold out "Ladies Only" concerts at the Apollo Theatre; and his musical influences from James Brown; Marvin Gaye; Barry White; Teddy Pendergrass; and Al Green.

When Cristina asked Kane if he still has a close relationship with Biz Markie and Roxanne Shante from the Juice Crew, Kane perked up.

"Yea, I just saw Shante and her crazy self, walking around in a Louis Vuitton shirt and a big Afro wig; man, that's my girl for life," Kane said with a chuckle. "She was very supportive and helpful in the beginning stages of my career. Plus, you know, Biz Markie was the one who brought me into the industry. Shout out to everybody else in the Juice Crew: M.C. Shan; Kool G. Rap; Master Ace; Craig G; everybody."

Speaking of Roxanne Shante, the audience loved her; as they participated in call and response with her rhymes.

Lastly, Cristina ran into AJ Calloway, former host of BET's 106th and Park. You know Cristina had to find out who AJ came to see.

"Everybody that has been on that stage so far is a hip-hop legend and I came to see everybody, from Soul Sonic Force to Kool Herc to Big Daddy..., everybody," said AJ trying to be politically correct.

AJ also refused to pick a favorite album or a favorite artist.

"So what does it mean to be here at the 40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop Culture," asked Cristina.

"I owe everything to hip-hop, so I had to come here to tip my hat, stand to the side and watch my heroes on stage," AJ added.

"I actually enjoy that hip-hop more than the ... hip-hop now and I'd love to see hip-hop go back to its roots," he continued.

What do you think is missing from hip-hop now?

"Substance," replied AJ.


Editor's note: Dr. Dre of hip-hop duo, Ed Lover and Dr. Dre fame, makes an appearance in the opening video montage

Videography by Alexis Williams

Justice for Trayvon Martin Rally – NYC

WATCH VIDEO: Trayvon Martin Trial Outcome Protest in NYC

Not even the scorching sun and oppressive July heat could stop demonstrators from gathering in New York City to protest George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The protest was organized by Occupy Wall Street just hours after the jury handed down the verdict.

Justice-for-Trayvon.Still019 Father with Kids resized 600x338

While some, like Valerie Greene, were surprised by the verdict, "I think it's an absolute appalling travesty of justice. I'm shocked." 

Justice-for-Trayvon.Still013 older white woman resized 290x163Valerie Greene

Others like Anyah Jones were not, "I wasn't surprised I know where we live, this is the country we live in. This is the country we've always lived in. I feel like the trial was for show."

Justice-for-Trayvon.Still020 AnyahJones-resized 290x163Anyah Jones

Demonstrators met in Union Square at 6pm to share their frustration over the case and to demand justice for Trayvon. By 6:30pm this reporter joined hundreds of protestors who took to the streets, marching, chanting and calling for those on the sidewalks watching to join them. Some of the most enthusiastic and biggest chants came from the littlest protesters. Four girls, ages 5 through 10 enlivened the marchers with chants of "I am? Trayvon Martin, We are? Trayvon Martin."

Justice-for-Trayvon.Still018 Young Children RESIZED 600X338Ten year-old Hailie Perez (second from right) with her sister and friends at Justice for Trayvon Martin Rally in New York City, July 14, 2013

When asked why she chose to spend a sunny afternoon fighting for justice, 10-year-old Hailie Perez said "I have a father and a little brother at home and they could be in the same situation as Trayvon Martin and I never want that to happen." Check out the video for more reaction, reasons for protesting and why the Trayvon Martin case just might be "our civil rights movement!"

Photo Credit: Kizzy Cox/What's The 411 Networks

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