Monday, July 30, 2007

OUT 229--NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE CONFERENCE At AMERICA'S CENTER--JULY 25-28, 2007--SHARPTON panel BADU/ MARIE CONCERT/DEMS CANDIDATES/EXHIBIT HALL

HERE ARE PICS FROM SOME OF THE EVENTS THAT OCCURRED AT THE 2007 NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE CONFERERNCE THAT WAS HELD AT THE AMERICA'S CENTER IN ST. LOUIS JULY 25-28(PICS BY MA'ATOLOGY UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


From the Presdiential Forum on Urban Issues held at The Ferrara on Friday. . LEFT: The Honorable (Senator) Barak Obama addressing the crowd as Moderators NUL CEO Marc Morial and veteran journalist George Curry look on.


RIGHt: In his speech, Obama addressed issues including a new energy, broadband access, no child left behind policies and an Inner City bank.


LEFT: The highlight of Obama;s speech was during the moderator's Qand A segment when Morial asked Obama hypotheticlaly, if he was elected in Jan. 09 what would be his actions and Obama raised his hand as though he was under oath and Morial was swearing him in! (Photo by Lois Ingrum photolov@sbcglobal.net )









RIGHT: The audience got a chuckle at the impromtu moment also to Obama taking a joking stab at the fact that he had to wait 45 minutes after the Honorable Hilary Clinton's time which took longer than the 20 minutes to alotted to the candidates.










LEFT: Another shot of that now classic moment!


A long shot of Obama with one of the two big screens. The event also was televised live for public televsion.











Morial and Obama in a brotherhood handshake after Obama's speech.








RIGHT: That photo op moment after Obama endorsed NUL's 10-point plan LEFT: the Honorable (Senator) Hilary Clinton and the same photo op before her endorsing the plan..
























RIGHT: Clinton adressed such issues as universal pre-K for 4 year olds, Hurricane katrina survivors, and correcting the problem of unemployed and undereducated inner city males.












Clinton also talked more speifcially about her beginnings as a young law student and working with civil rights attorney Miriam Wright Edleman.














After her endorsing the NUL's 10-point plan, Moriel and Clinton did a high five for the action (Photo by Lois Ingrum)












Clinton was the highlight of the event as she provoked many "wedge" issues and a speech style that African Americnas in the crowd could relate to. She also got all into her speech. So much, that she went over her time an extra 20 minutes.
















A long shot of Clinton and Moriel.














The Honorable (Senator) John Edwards focused on the problem with having Two Americas: Big Corporations and Rich Folk and Everyone else. He also alluded to the constant jabbing between the top two Dems candidate hopefuls Clinton and Obama.













Edwards also focused on having a universal health care system and if elected Dem candidate elect, appoint judges to the Federal courts who believe in real equality.























Some Obama supporters outside of the Presidential forum in one of the lobbies who were making signs.






















RIGHT: Former KMOV-TV personality Mary Cannon listening intensely at the Presidential Forum





















An audience member at the Forum taking notes.

















Democrat candidate the Honorable (Representative)Dennis J. Kucinich focused on every day issues like a 24 hour day care program, more New deal-like programs and attacking pharmacuetical industry that use their lobby power to get bills passed in Congress.
























Photo op.




















Moderator George Curry addressing the crowd before the Forum began and told the crowd that the four Dems candidates would have 20 minutes to talk about their vision of the urban frontier.























Urban League participants after the forum























The forum was the most attended as you see from this pic.










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The Exhibitors Hall , one of the free events at the conference was a place where people could purchase wares from vendors.































More vending.


























Inside one of the halls was the larger hall where the Career Fair was going on that was also free to participants.






























The Geico booth.






























People also had a chance to try out some of the new technological advances in computers at the event.






























NASCAR was one of the companies at Career Fair.
































Mr. Will, one of the top chefs in St. Louis was serving free pork loin to particpants.

































Outside and across from the America's Center, there was much love for Hilary Clinton.



































More Hilary support.









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THE ERYKAH BADU/TEENA MARIE CONCERT At THE FERRARA THEATRE THURSDAY, JULY 26
















ABOVE: Veteran R&B signer Teena Marie rocked the house who is now looking more like a schoolteacher these days than a sexy R&B rocker!









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Marie and her background singers were very active on stage!








































Marie did not disapoint her fans of old and new!










































Marie doin what she does best with the guitar!

































Lady T perforing one of her biggest pop hits, "Lovergirl"






































One of the highlghts to her show was her extended performance of one of her classic ballads, 'Portuguese Love" as she does the Portuguese dance with her guitar player.











































Check out the tatt on her back!









































She was all over the place. Here, she was on the congas.













































The other highlight was when she walked throughout the crowd as she sang her classic hit, "Ooh La La"









































She was a class act!


















































Her and them glasses !










































Badu came out first to perform after a late start on stage.












































Some of the audience members looking at the concert


















































Badu was very "impromtu" on her set as she sang a ditty called, "Annie Don't Wear No Panties." Maybe it was a sneak preview of her upcoming Cd in the fall.
















































Badu had to feel what the crowd wanted her to perform but got back on point when she took it back to her first hit, "On and On."



















































A long shot of her, her band and her background singers, one of whom was Keisha Jackson (left) , Millie Jackson's daughter.


















































Badu was doin her usual ritual of drinkin hot tea from her cantern on stage along with playing her synth drum.
























































A close up of Miss Badu.



















































Badu took off her sequinned moo-moo and exposed another attire (another one of her stage antics) which comprised of some stilleto thigh boots.


























































Here is a better shot of those boots!

















































Badu also performed her No. 1 hit, "Bag Lady" but , to much of the crowd's disappointment, didnt perform her classic hit, "Tyrone."



























































Some fans walked up to the front of the stage to greet Miss Badu before she bid adieu to the crowd.
























































Some of the crowd in the front row.

























































Here is a shot that I like.





























































Another good shot.




























































The crowd givin Badu a standing O.



























































The packed crowd.




















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Host Clear Channel's Steve Byes.
























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Comedian Johnathan Slocumb warmed up the crowd before the concert began.


















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Anhueser Busch veep Johnny Furr, Jr. addressing the crowd before the show.

















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Sponsor reps at the show Bob Billingslea (left)of the Walt Disney Corp, Furr,Irv Miller of Toyota and Alonzo Byrd of Enterprise.











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Backstage was chaotic. Therr is Miss Badu and Miss Marie (hidden) taking pics with the media. BTW, both divas share the same zodiac--Pieces.







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Badu getting escorted from backstage.












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Morial, Teena Marie, Furr and his wife backstage.














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Marie preparing to go onstage.





































































The shot of the crowd in the nosebleed seats.













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Some of the Urban league participants gettin their party on during intermission.








































































Concert DJ Soundz takin a break to pose for a shot.

















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A brother selling Teena Marie t-shirts after the concert.








































































The front of the t-shirts.






































































The back of the t-shirts







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HERRE ARE PICTURES FROM THE First PLEANRY SESSION of the conference , "WILL THE BLACK VOTE AND OUR ISSUES BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED IN THE '08 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION" AT THE FERRARA THURSDAY, JULY 26










Morial addressing the crowd.


















































































ST. Louis County Board Executive Charlie Dooley addressed the crowd welcoming the particiapnts to St. Louis.
















































































Featured speaker The Rev. Al Sharpton addressed the issue at hand. He mostly spoke on matters in regards to the Republican candidates not coming to the conference and giving the impression of taking the African American voting community for granted.












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Sharpton also spoke on that it won't be another Urban League or NAACP conference before the the primaries and that it was now or never. He
also made the comparison wittingly of the matter to his days in high school when he didnt have a choice of the girl he wanted to date in high school and the girl whom he actually got. Other panelists on board were Tara Reid (right of Sharpton) , Dir. of U.S Dept. of HHS, The Rev. Joseph Watkins, political analyst MSNBC and DeWayne Wickham, Columnist for USA Today. The others were Paul Brathwaite of the Podesta Group and Shannon Reeves, Chairman of the African American Leadership Council , Republican Committee.









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Morial asked each of the panelists what would be some of the issues that the Presidenital candidates should address in 08, Wickham focused on economics as one of the important issues.










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A long shot of the debate.



















































































Another long shot of the panelists.


EVENT-VIEWZ. Man, this past week was one for the record books in along time for St. Louis. It was so much goin on that I had to actually write out each step I made so I would know how to mediate from all the events that were happening in the Lou.
Before all the action, I made sure I got my press credentials for the Annual National Urban league conference that was going to held at the America's Center. It was projected that more than 10,000 particpants form acrsos thr country were going to be in the Lou for so I knew this was goign to be THE EVENT to be a part of so I contacted the local office a week ago for press cred and was told to go and get registered as media the day before and the day of the conference.
I got therre last Wednesday to get my press cred. I was told to go to the media room to get in contact with Pat Washington (fromteh Freeman Bosely junior Show). I got to the media room and ran into Pat. When I heard her talk, I knew it was her (she has a very raspy distinctive voice). So I walked up to her and asked, "Are you Pat?" She said YES and who are you? I said who I was and she grinnD from ear to ear and said, "I know you!' and kissed me on the cheek. I was relieved that she did know me cause it would have been embarrasing if she didnt. So when I got my press cred slip from Pat and went back to the front to the registration booths , I got my press pass and I was set for the conference.
On Thursday, I attended the first plenary session held at the Ferrara theatre involving Black people's vote being taken for granted in the upcoming Presidential election. The panelists included the Rev. Al Sharpton and USA Today Columnist Dwayne Wickham (the Rev. Jesse Jackson wa ssupposed to be apart of the panel but he wasnt able to attend this one, but he was rescheduled to another session later on that day). Before the panel, several dignitaries addressed the crowd inclduing NUL CEO Mark Morial (who was also the former Mayor of Nawlins) and the Honorable County Board Exec Charlie Dooley who jokingly told thewd, "Please spend some money--ladies please go shopping, we have many malls to choose from."
Overall, the discussion was enlightening (Most of the panelists were Republican interestingly enough). The highlight of course was Sharpton who got into the meat of whether the black vote would be taken for granted this upcoming year(The high school girlfriend analogy was hilaruious!) . He mostly said that the time is now for the Republcians to not take the black vote for granted. As far as the leading Dem candidates, he said that Hilary has mastered the Senate and has overshadowed her opponents, Joe Edwards has defined a theme about 2 Americas and he should try and resonate his theme to white voters and Obama is bright and he needs to lay out an agenda that is mauinstreeam and liberal. Also, Sharpton said that he has to deal with the people thinking he he didnt have long enough experience.
As far as the other panelists, the one that was most interesting was Shannon Reids who said that he was a Black Republican and it is a big difference between a black Republican and a Republcian who happens to be black.
I didnt stay for all of the panel cause I had to go into work.



Later on that day, I attended the Erykah Badu/Teena Marie concert at the Ferrara. herre is my review of it


DIVAS OF OLD AND NEW TURN IT OUT AT URBAN LEAGUE CONFERENCE


It was a night of divas old and new school at the Ferrra theatre last Thursday as Grammy award winning singer Erykah Badu and Grammy nominated R&B vet Teena Marie performed for their fans.
Marie pretty much turned it out as she was the headliner of sorts (due to her being the oldest in teh music game). coming out in a satin pants get up (and some schoolteacher glasses), Marie foled everyoen who thought her middle age would be a deterrent to her being the sparkplug of vanilla funk.
Marie , along with her six piece band and three energetic background singers, gave an hour plus set that ranged from rapping (She rapped "My name is Lady T" on a "It Takes Two" sample) old school grooves ("Behind the Groove," 'I Need Your Lovin" and 'Lovergirl")) and a couple of tunes from her new school comeback CD, La Dona ("Still in Love").
She also gave homage to her mentor, to late Rick James by indirectly having her bass player givin her a bass line (He began thumping a few notes from his classic, "Give it To Me baby") before she interrupted and said , No not that one, this one (Whick was her own thumper, "I Need Your Lovin.")

One of the highlights was when she performed some of her classic ballads back to back inclduing "Deja Vu" and and an extended version of "Portuguese Love." The latter was accompanied by her doing an energetic Portuguese dance (with a rose in her mouth) with her bass player.
She also spoke on her love of black music: "Thsoe who know my history now that about 13, I fell in love with Smokey Robinson. I would rush to the record store in Venice (California) to get his records. I bought 'Ooh Baby baby' and Mary Wells and Temptations and I would study every word, every melody, every nuance Smokey said and I hoped to grow up and write the same beautiful songs."
After her testimony, she sang, "Ooh la La" which was, in Teena's words,"my first #1 record and it got Smokey Robinson's all up in it." Soon after, she beckoned security so she could serenade and shake hands with the audience.
Her finale song was her staple jam, "Square Biz." Missing in the act were "Out on a Limb' and unfortunately, "Fire and Desire."
Opener, Erykah Badu's set started off strange as her band and background vocalists came out to perform the first song, but for some reason she was five minutes late. When she finally came out on stage (in the fright wig and a satin moo-moo ) the crowd appluded her entrance.
Her first words were, 'Peace, love yall. How ya'll feel? Sisters how ya'll feelin? brothers how ya'll feelin." Then she said for the crowd to call her, "Sarabellum" and Low down Luella Brown."
Afterward she began singign songs unfamilar to the over 25 crowd inclduing an "impromtu" ditty called, "Annie Don't Wear No Panties." Soon after her experimentaions, she said, 'Ok St. Louis I know what you want me to do" alluding to the crowd's wondering of her odd choices of unfamilar songs to begin her hour set.
Then she relaized what she needed to do, so she went to her laptop( that was next to her canteen of hot tea and cup) and programmed her hits including her first one, "On and On" that got the crowd back . She also did a jazz version of her hit, "The Other Side of the game"
Close to the end of her set she took off her moo-moo exposing a summery tan outfit with sliletto thigh boots and apologized for being late and that it was almost time for her to leave the stage. Afterward there were some hecklers who wanted her to sing her now famous song, "Call tyrone" and she respionded saying, "Tyrone ain't here tonight."
But she regained the crowd again by performing her hits, "Bag Lady" and "Didn't Cha Know" as well as an empowering version of "Believe in Yourself" from "the Wiz."

Missing in the act was her biggest hit, "Love of My life," and Diana Ross' "Love Hangover" from her acclaimed performance at this year's BET Awards.
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Opening up for the concert was comedian Jonathan Slocum who is mostlty a Gospelesque comedian had the concert espcially after she parodied the church ("Look over to your neigbor and say neighbor....you need a Tic-Tac.") and nursery rhymes (inclduing a ganstga Mary Mack.) He aslo told the crowd that he has a bit part in Tyler Perry's upcoming film, "Meet the Browns." The host was Clear Channels' Steve Byes and Sponsor reps of the show also spoke inclduing Johnny Furr, Jr. veep of Anhueser Busch.
Backstage was chaotic. Both Erykah Badu and Teena Marie were taking pics with the sponsor representatives. I barely got some shots. I just raised my camera and pointed and shot hoping some of them came out. It was definitely like a papaprazzi frenzy to get the perfrect shot.


Friday's event with teh Presidential candidates was the event that people were mostly coming to see (The badu/marie concert was a distant second) and wondering if Barak Obama, Hilary Clinton and John Edwards were going to show up for the forum. Well, they showed up (as well as Dem candidiate Rep. Dennis Kicinich). it was well reported that teh candidates of both the Dems and the GOP were invited since November of last year to attend and only four Dems confirmed.

The forum was to be used for the candidates to talk about the Urban issues and their endorsing the NUL's 10-point plan for the upcoming election (hows that for politics and lobbying opps). each candidate would have 20 minutes to speak on such matter and the moderators (George Curry (who quipped, "This will be the frist time in history that a Latino, an African American and a woman will be running for the highest office in thw United States")and Mark Morial would rep the crowd in regards to asking questions to the candidates.
First up was Kicinich who came off as an everyday man who mostly talked about his humble beginnings moving from one home after the next (even living in the family's car) until he was 17.
He also quoted Langston Hughes saying that his life (was), "ain't no crystal stair."

If elected, he said he would focus on things like a 24-hour daycare program, non-for profit life insurance and how the nation should fund federal rehab prgrasm for thso who are incarcerated.
Curry asked him how he would deal with pharmaceutical industry who are heavy lobbysist in Congress in regards to having a non-profit health care plan. Kucinich said he woudl do liek FDR did with New deal like plans.
Next was Edwards who said that the system was rigged, the two Dems canddiates are already at each other and not dealing with the issues (talking about Clinton and Obama), increasing the minimum wage, and that we have two Americas--big corperations and rich people and everyone else. He said the solution is a universal health care system, stand up against insurance and drug companies and college for everyone.
Morial asked him if he supported the NUL 10-point plan. He said YES. And he won the Presidency, what would be on his agenda. He said universal health care , electing judges to the Federal court who believe in real equality and making sure that his administartion was diverse.


Then the star power began.
Hilary Clinton got a rousing applaus eand standing O before she even spoke. She staretd off giving a shout out to Vernon Jordan and respects to the late Ron Brown. She said her focus would be on the 1.4 million young black men ages 16-24 who are out of school and unemployed and make them future workers and role models , her 35 years as an advocate for children and families(she even gave some history on her law life clerking with famed civil right sattoey Miriam Wright Edleman) , a universal Pre-K program for 4-year-iolds, appointing Attorney generals that beleive in civil rights, theres not being enough done for katrina victims and she gave some fo her 10-point plan.
She even quoted some James Baldwin and talked about the Get Up programs which had the crowd cheering. She got caught up in her speech that her time was out, but she said to Morial, "let me please finish I'm on a roll here" which got the crowd cheering even more.
Her role as president if she was chosen was mostly on the items that were mentioned.
Lastly, Obama got just as much applause and a standing O (A stage assistant put a notebook on the podium just minutes before he came to the podium!) he talked about no child left behind programs. energy policies, his experience as a civil rights attorney, broadband access for all.
Just as the 20 minutes was about over Obama quipped, "Please just five more minutes. I waited 45 minutes so I should have at least five more minutes" which caused the crowd to clap loudly.

He went on to talk about a nurse and families partnership, an inner city bank and having an opportunity to make big changes.
The highlight came when Morial asked him what he would do if he was elected as President. Then Obama, off the cuff, raised his left hand as though he was getting sworn in causing an uproar of laughter and claps from the crowd. Then he said he would have regular visits to schools and talk about the opportunity gap and encourage students to excel, promote justice in the Justice dept and have press confernces as they come up.
BEHIND THE SCENES SCOOP: I heard that the forum was running late because Hilary Clinton had yet to arrive from the airport (yet the TV stations reported that she was already in the STL the day before) and there was much discussion as far as the order of the candidates speaking.
As far as who "won" the forum, I would have to say Clinton becasue she seemed more prepared and engaging and she really got into her speech by focusing on issues that mostly effect black people (especially the young black youth angle). Obama was OK. He seemed very uncomforable and stiff (He was reading his speech from a notebook and wasnt looking too much into the crowd). Edwards was "presidential" looking, circa John/Bobby Kenendy. He engaged the audience and was giving that winning attitude. Kicinich was more of the guy on the corner guy. He was personable and was a pleananst surprise of his openness.

Who will win? I think if the Dems vote was today, I would say Edwards cause Clinton and Obama would probably split the female and black votes.





































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