Showing posts with label Southeast Washington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southeast Washington. Show all posts

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Remembering Linda Pollin

I grew up in the Linda Pollin Memorial Housing Projects.  First of all, I did not know that it was built in memory of Abe Pollin's daughter.  In fact, I didn't even know the name, Abe Pollin.  I was a child, so I thought it was just a name given to the apartments.  At the time, my siblings and I had no idea that we lived in a housing project.  Well, the complex had a swimming pool, and the grounds were well kept. Also, it didn't resemble the well known surrounding projects like Valley Green, Condon Terrace, or Wahler Place. The manager was Ms. Royster who was sort of a no-nonsense type of landlord based on the conversations I heard from grownups.  However, she seemed nice; plus, we all played with and knew her son, John.

Well, although Mr. Pollin passed away back in 2009, I would still like to thank him for building the "LP" as we used to call it.  When I became old enough to learn that it was built by Mr. Pollin to honor his daughter, I sometimes felt bad.  I felt bad because of what Linda Pollin Projects became in the early 80s and throughout the 1990s.  It was part of Washington's pandemic of crime, murder, and drugs.  It also became quite a quandary for the Washington, D.C. police department in trying to apprehend suspects.  There were so many buildings, rooftops, and back hallways that suspects always had a chance to get away.  The LP Memorial Housing Project became a cesspool of debauchery and criminal activities; it was also a favorite subject on the 5 O'clock News.

Nevertheless, it was home and I do have some fond memories of the place.  I think that Mr. Pollin's initial gesture was well received, but nothing last forever.  Eventually, the symptoms of poverty and substance abuse would surface and thwart those divine intentions. Well, thanks again Mr. Pollin and please understand that LP was at one time a good place to live, and although it has been torn down and erased from sight, it will never be erased from the memory of so many families who grew up in old LP.  Peace~

Note:  Find out more about Linda Pollin Projects and Abe Pollin by watching the above YouTube video.

Article on subject:  Pollin's generosity...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Fort Dupont Park Summer Concert Series 2012

Every year I look forward to the concert series at Fort Dupont Park in Washington, D.C.  It has become widely popular and it tends to be very crowded.  However, there is nothing like the visual of a huge crowd [mostly African American] of people from the DMV getting together to celebrate music from the soul.  It is really a celebration and expression of culture -- American culture.  This years promises to be a nice one.  I hope to see you there this summer.  Concerts are free and opened to the public.

Note:  Shows are every Saturday as indicated below and usually start around 8:00 pm; however, get there before the time because places on the lawn fill up fast.  This is especially true in front of the stage. 

Check out the 2012 lineup:

July 14
  • American Noiz': A celebration of American Music featuring a Motown review by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington; Accompanied by Joel Coleman, Dr. Guy Ramsey, Juliet Jones, Victor Provost & Scott McCormick  
July 21:
  • Heatwave
  • Nu Era  
July 28:
  • Secret Society  
Aug. 4:
  • DC' Best Funk 'n R&B Night
  • In Gratitude: A tribute to Earth Wind & Fire
  • Featuring the Graingers, Jared, WaWa LaGrande, Gene McBride
  • Mousey Thompson & James Brown Experience
  • Jeffrey Walker  
Aug. 11:
  • DC's Legends 'n Soul Night
  • Al Johnson & his A Team
  • Peaches & Herb
  • Skip Mahoney & the Casuals
  • HALO

 Aug. 18:
  • KLYMAXX featuring Bernadette


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fort Dupont Park 2010 Summer Schedule

It just doesn't seem like summer without spending at least one summer evening at Fort Dupont Park in Southeast Washington, DC. It's a beauitful amphitheater and park set in historical Fort Dupont Park. The crowd is always nice and the shows are always a treat. The best thing about it besides the huge friendly crowds is that it is FREE! I've been going since I was a boy and the memories just keep builiding. Check out the 2010 line up listed below:

July 17th
Opening: Cops Come Knockin’

July 24th
Opening: Brian Lenair

July 31st
Opening: Motown Philly Fantasy Featuring H.A.L.O

August 7th
Opening: Clones of Funk

August 14th
Opening: Be’la Dona

August 21st
Opening: Kinda Blu

Note:  To find out more about what's going on in and around Washington, D.C. visit the National Park Service website at:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ellington's on Eighth

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of live bands play at Ellington’s on Eighth. Ellington’s on Eighth has been located on 8th Street in Southeast Washington near the Marine Barracks since Mother’s Day in 1998. Saturday’s performances were by Nigerian singer and songwriter, Kuku and South African band, Mahala featuring the magical guitar on Mongezi “Chris” Ntaka. It was a real treat. Now, top that off with an international buffet featuring West African/Caribbean cuisine and great conversation, then you have a typical evening at Ellington’s on Eighth. This cozy little champagne lounge and garden café was started by two sisters from Iowa name, Marsha and Annette Martin. They saw Ellington’s as an opportunity to serve and give back to the community. As a matter of fact, Ellington’s staff was chosen through referrals from places like DC Central Kitchen. This fit in well with Annette’s background in Social Work. She could serve the community as a business owner and continue her mission as someone who loves to help others. I’ve never met Marsha Martin, but Annette Martin is a wonderful person. Her warm manner and ready smile reminds me of an auntie or older sister. On any given day she could be seen talking and laughing with the customers. I’m sure that she has often been mistaken for a waitress or server because she is always among the patrons making sure they are comfortable and being served. Unfortunately, Ellington’s on Eighth closed its doors after nine years of serving the Capitol Hill community. Family, friends, and patrons said their goodbyes this past Sunday on their 9th Anniversary. Ellington’s on Eighth will be missed…but only in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Annette Martin assured me and others that she and her sister are considering other locations in the DC metropolitan area for a future location. So, all is not lost on this journey and perhaps the Ellington name will reemerge on another street closer to you or me. I hope so and I hope it’s soon. So, thank you Annette and Marsha for nine great years on 8th Street. Annette, thank you for taking the time to talk with me and for showing me your book on African Americans in Iowa. I'd also like to thank your very funny and talented staff for their service and wonderful hospitality. I wish you the very best. Peace~

Clarification and message from Annette:

"one clarifiication ... of the employees you met on Saturday ... two were from DC Third and EATS (Community Family Life Services), one from Ballou High School and another from CSOSA. I have also been fortunate to employ a number of people from the HOMELAND .... AFRICA ... this has given be great HAPPINESS . I have grown so much. Ellington's on Eighth is a special place ... I am glad to have met you."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Lil' Stevie's Question on Crime

[Stevie arrives home from school. His mother is in the kitchen making dinner.]
Stevie: “Hey, momma!”

Momma: “Hey Stevie! How was school today?”

Stevie: “It was okay.”

[Stevie slumps into the chair at the kitchen table]

Momma: “What’s wrong baby? Is everything all right in school?”

Stevie: “Momma, didn’t you always tell me that if somebody put their hands on me that I should make sure that they don’t do it again?”

Momma: [Mother rushes to look at Stevie closely] “Yes. Why, did somebody put their hands on you today?”

Stevie: “No, but
Officer Friendly was at our school today.”

Momma: “Oh, that’s nice. I used to love it when Officer Friendly came to visit our school when I was a little girl. What did he share with the kids today?”

Stevie: “Momma, he said that more and more young black men are dying by the hands of another black man every day in America before they reach the age of 21. Officer friendly said that kids are dying by the thousands!”

Momma: “Yes child…it’s a mess out there. A young boy was just killed over on 4th Street just the other day, but what does that have to do with what I told you?”

Stevie: “Well, I was thinking. There must be a lot of mothers out there telling their sons the same thing that you told me.”

Momma: “Hmmm…what makes you say that?”

Stevie: “Well, I was thinking...there are thousands of young black men who will never get a chance to put their hands on anybody ever again.”

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thinking About The 80's

“Back in the days when I was young…I’m not a kid anymore but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again.” ~Ahmad
I’m going to take you back to 1985 when I was in the twelfth grade. A senior! I was one of the coolest brothers in high school. Yes, I was cool. You should've seen me! I was sportin’ my favorite burgundy Lee jeans with all white, shell top Adidas. You know I had to have my striped burgundy and grey fat shoelaces and steel taps on my heels so that you could hear me coming down the hallway. If I was outside I had on my burgundy and grey pull over windbreaker and cap with the words, “Stevie B” written in gold across the front. As I said before, I was cool. *smile* My best friends were Roby Rob, “Kiterio” Jay-rapping-Al, and AJ (aka Boot). My music was R&B, DC Go-Go music and the beginnings of Hip-Hop on a national level. In DC we were listening to Go-Go legends like Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers, Experience Unlimited (EU), Trouble Funk, Rare Essence, Pump Blenders, Shady Groove, Ayre Raid and the list goes on.

I was sent to North Carolina by the time I reached high school and folks in the Carolinas were following the New York music scene. Eventually, so was I. We were jamming to Afrika Bambaataa & The Zulu Nation, U.T.F.O and taped cassettes of Kool DJ Red Alert on WBLS. I remember the first time that I heard “The Show” with Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh. I can’t describe how I felt when I heard it for the first time. It was amazing!

I can’t forget R&B! I was seriously on some New Edition. However, some of my favorite R&B artists were from the UK. I actually didn’t know that there were black people in the UK until I saw them on television (Solid Gold) speaking with a British accent. I was like WOW!! I’m thinking of groups like 5 Star , Musical Youth, and Loose Ends (Hanging on Strings, Contemplating)…“I’m not your play thing.” Yes, those were the days! Well, I’m going to stop here. I just wanted to share with you all and reminisce about a time that is gone forever, but remembered. Peace~

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fort Dupont Park: Old Skool Saturday Nites In DC

Washington, D.C. has many attractions that are east of the river. Wait. I should clarify by saying that this is east of the Anacostia River. Specifically, east of the river in DC means the gentrified remains of George Clinton’s version of “Chocolate City” (i.e. The Hood). Some of you may not realize that DC had/has a thriving Black community that has been here since the turn of the 20th Century. My family has been here for about four generations. The city is changing now that some poor blacks are being forced to leave because of new developments (condos, cafes, etc.) and others are choosing to leave for more yard space in the suburbs. Besides, we do love our BBQ’s and family gatherings. Then, there is Fort Dupont Park, The rock on the ridge located in the heart of Southeast Washington. For the past 30 years, Fort Dupont has been a place where family, friends and lovers can go to listen to the best in Jazz, Blues, Soul, and R&B. The best thing about it is that it’s FREE!!!! Yes, FREE and sponsored by the National Park Service. We had a nice spot not too far from the stage. I was accompanied by my wife, aunt, uncle, and extended South African Family. We had plenty of fruit, chips, water, and juice between us. We had a great time and the weather was nice once that hot azz sun began to set.

Highlight: The best musical moment of the show (besides my wife shouting “Yes!” to one of the performers on stage) was the performance by DC’s own William DeVaughn. You should have seen him! He was dressed to the T with a sky (hat) to match. He looked like a straight up “Mack.” He sang his now ghetto anthem, “Be Thankful.”

You know the words, “…Diamond in the back sun roof top…digging the scene with gangsta lean Hooo Hoooooo oooh!!!”

The entire crowd was singing along and dancing. I love Fort Dupont Park! It’s one of the few remnants of the DC that I remember growing up in old DC (A.K.A Chocolate City).

This is the remaining line up for Summer 2006:

Fort Dupont Park
July 8
Regina Belle
Opening: Exquisite
July 15
WPFW Night “D.C. Juke Box Review”
Featuring Al Johnson, William DeVaughn, Sir Joe Quarterman, Mark Green & Captain Fly & Friends Opening : Hardway Connection
July 22
The Impressions
Opening: Style Band
July 29
Midnight Star
Opening: Clones of Funk
August 5
Opening: Jeffrey Walker Band
August 12
Blue Magic
Opening: Phaze 2
Click the following link for Fort Dupont's Summer Schedule and other concerts in the Washington Metro Area

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Too Bad For Barry: The Cocaine Chronicles

Marion Barry has always been under the microscope of the media long before his
exposé in January of 1990 when he was caught on camera smoking crack cocaine. In recent news, the 69 year old former mayor tested positive for cocaine once again. His response to all of the accusations and media hype was, "write what you want to write." The Washington Post and other newspapers did just that. They reported the information that they received from anonymous sources.

Something positive about Marion Barry before the "pipe":

The Barry that I remember as a teenager was a champion of the poor. The one program that I remember most was the Youth Summer Job program that he established for teenagers in the inner-city. That Summer Job Program kept a lot of teens off the streets and a little change in our pockets. In March of 2005 the DC Council voted to substantially increase the number of youth jobs by 2006. Marion Barry is currently serving on the Council for Ward 8 in D.C. The Youth Summer Job program hasn't been seriously looked upon in 15 years.

Take care Mr. Barry.

Sources: and The Washington Post