The Week That Was… From the National Urban League conference to Get Konnected!, from Jill Scott to the Roxbury International Film Festival, Lavell Crawford and more, Boston was ablaze in events!
|The Roxbury International Film Festival (RIFF) held its closing reception at Hibernian Hall on Sunday, July 31. In attendance were (from l to r) Rudy Hypolite, director of “PUSH: Madison versus Madison”; Bill Willis, producer/writer of “The Last Shot”; Lisa Simmons, director of RIFF; Terri Brown, program manager for RIFF; and James Cheeks III, director of “On The Grind.” (Colette Greenstein photo)|
State of Black Boston
The National Urban League came to town to celebrate the civil rights organization’s 100th anniversary. The convention began with a report on the State of Black Boston at the Hynes Convention Center and I arrived in time to hear Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.
The conference was a great networking opportunity, but what really caught my eye was keynote speaker CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. She was absolutely amazing, smart and very funny. From the moment she began speaking, she had the crowd in the palm of her hand. She spoke about growing up as one of six children of an Afro-Cuban mom and Australian dad of Irish decent and having to deal with what it meant to be unique and bi-racial in Baltimore in the 1960s.
Pursuing the heart’s passion was one of the topics that she discussed during her keynote address. To highlight its importance, she told the story about how her parents met. “My parents were both immigrants — my mother from Cuba, my father from Australia,” she said. “Both attended daily Mass at the church near campus. Every day my father would offer my mother a ride. Every day, she declined. Finally she said yes. One year later, the day after Christmas, the two of them were married.”
We could have sat for hours listening to O’Brien. I was totally captivated by her positive energy and spirit and as I looked around the room, so were the several hundred attendees in the ballroom. I left feeling inspired, motivated and definitely dazzled by the wonderful Soledad O’Brien.
Jill Scott’s summer block party
As she sashayed across the stage with her huge smile, Jill Scott kicked off her block party with her latest single “Shame”. Boston showed their love for Scott by rising to their feet. She absolutely turned it out at the Pavilion along with Anthony Hamilton, Dougie Fresh and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
The mood was infectious and all we needed to complete the theme of the night was some barbecued chicken and ribs, burgers, potato salad — well, you get the point. Nevertheless, it was a fabulous night out on the harbor! It was so much fun and folks were looking good, mingling and just plain ‘ole having a good time.
And let’s not forget Dougie Fresh getting the crowd hyped and dancing all night, especially when he showed the crowd how to really “Do the Dougie” and DJ Jazzy Jeff spun classic hip hop and R&B. This is the Boston I remember from attending all the concerts at Harborlights back in the day.
The 13th Annual Roxbury International Film Festival
The festival kicked off with the opening night reception at Hibernian Hall. It was a glorious night of food, drink and music with Pebbles from JAM’N 94.5 as emcee and a rockin’ performance by special guest Noel Gourdin.
And then it was on to the (sold-out) opening night film of “The Athlete” at the Museum of Fine Arts. First-time actor/director Rasselas Lakew was in the house for a post-screening Q&A and received much love from the Ethiopian community.
After that, our next stop was Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, where the celebration continued for a few more hours with more food and fun.
The fest featured some really good films, shorts and youth-produced works from talented filmmakers from around the world, including the United States, Spain, Brazil, the West Indies and the UK. Plus, we had some really good selections from our own backyard like Rudy Hypolite’s “PUSH: Madison versus Madison” and the basketball flick “The Last Shot” from Noah Christofer and his crew over at Beyond Measure Productions.
Overall, it was wonderful to see folks coming out to support the fest and the local films and filmmakers. Can’t wait until next year!
Lavell Crawford at The Wilbur Theatre
After attending the numerous events all week, I stepped out of the film festival a bit to get my laugh on with Lavell Crawford. If you’ve seen him on Shaq’s Comedy All-Stars, you know how truly funny he is.
His stories focus a lot on his weight and eating fast food (not a bad thing). One of his bits that made me crack up was when he said — and I’m paraphrasing now “Everyone in LA is in shape. People say to me, ‘aren’t you afraid to die fat?’ No, that’s my pallbearers’ worry.”
So simple, yet so funny.
Coming up …
Tonight R&B singer Musiq Soulchild performs at Showcase Live at 8 p.m.
The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) presents DJs on the Harbor beginning this Friday, Aug. 5 for a night of art, music and dancing, with this Friday’s theme of the Classic DJ Throwdown. The scratching, mixing and DJ battles all start at 7:30 p.m.
Also, this Friday is First Friday Boston at The North Star over by the Garden with DJ Reggie Beas spinning his original blends of old school, new school, house and top 40.
Every Thursday, Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge presents Latin Caribbean Night featuring a beginner/advanced beginner salsa class from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Following the class, stay for the free Latin Caribbean Dance Party from 9:30 p.m.-1a.m. featuring the area’s best DJs, spinning a great mix of Latin and Caribbean music.
Berklee College of Music and the ParkARTS program present the free concert Jazz at the Fort with Roxbury native and Saturday Night Live band member Tuffus Zimbabwe this Sunday, Aug. 7 at 5 p.m. at Roxbury’s historic Highland Park.
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