The Older the Better

by Kelly Koblacki

Oct 2000-

On Tuesday, October 3, at Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, in Harlem on West 116th Street, hundreds of people of all ethnicites gathered together to celebrate the birthday of a man; who brought these people hope for a brighter future, Reverend Al Sharpton.

Before the ceremony had started, the camera crew from Harlem Live and I spoke to some of the general public, looking to find out how they were feeling about this joyful event. A 26 year old accountant named Melba Hurly from 105 St Manhattan was glad to say AlSharpton is one of the greatest politicians because he’s more than proud to stand up for what he believes in. 

Once Reverend Sharpton walked in the room with his wife and two daughters, the crowd immediately stood up and cheered with excitement! The moment was so ecstatic. It was easy to feel the vibes, they were nothing but good! 

There were many dignitaries there to speak highly of Reverend Sharpton, such as Denise Richardson from WLIB, Brenda Blackman from UPN 9 news, Isaac Hayes from 98.7 Kiss FM, Mr. Johnny Cochran, Reverend Martin Luther King III, and many many more! People were laughing , smiling, having a great time and cracking jokes, especially comedian Dick Gregory. “If you dream it, you can be it! A perfect example of that is Al Sharpton” said Denise Richardson. Al Sharpton’s got your back. We’re all safer and better human beings thanks to Reverend Sharpton,” says Johnny Cochran.

It was plain to see that everyone was more than happy to be a part of the Reverend’s birthday celebration. Everyone held hands as a female deacon thanked the lord for Reverend Al Sharpton. We are all grateful for his beliefs in stopping police brutality, standing up for human rights, good deeds, courageous acts and social and economic justice. “If there was no Al Sharpton, we’d have to invent one!” said Denise Richardson.

Rapper Accused

by Tameeka Mitchem

(Oct. 2001). Recently, Rapper Jay-Z was arrested and charged with stabbing record executive Lance “Un” Rivera at the Kit Kat nightclub in Lower Manhattan. Rivera was allegedly accused of selling pirated tracks from Jay-Z’s new album “The Life and Time of S. Carter”-Vol 3. An eyewitness who saw the stabbing take place reported that Jay-Z approached Rivera and asked him a question. The conversation got loud, and an altercation broke out. Then allegedly Jay-Z leaned in closer to Rivera and pushed something into his stomach. Rivera was rushed to a local hospital, treated for a stab wound and released. Jay-Z has been charged with attacking three people, Rivera and two spectators that were near the incident. Jay-Z was released on 50,000-dollar bail after he was arraigned on three counts of assault.

We asked HarlemLivers what they thought about Jay-Z’s recent arrest: 

Kerly: Despite the fame Jay-Z is a very influential person in our society and I think what he did was wrong. Rappers need to realize that people, specifically kids follow in their footsteps. Beyond that as an adult he should have handled the situation different. I lost a lot of respect for him. 

Blanco: Even though this situation does not state he is the culprit, It still ruins his image. I listen to Jay-Z’s music and he has a lot of things to say that are both positive and negative. I believe that he was not responsible, but I can not judge him until I hear the whole story. 

Lamont: Rappers are always in the media, mostly when they’ve done something wrong. As to whether or not Jay-Z did the stabbing, I don’t care. If his people did it, then he should not be with them. Maybe Jay-Z should start hanging out with positive people. 

Rich: It was unfortunate to hear about a stabbing during what was suppose to be a celebration of “Amplified” Q-tip’s new album. It’s hard to form an opinion without so few details. I hope everything will be ok. Folks need to have more love. 

Khalid: I think Jay-Z has a lot of problems. He keeps getting in trouble and this is not the first time something like this has happened to a hip-hop artist. Jay-Z just needs to get his life together and stay out of trouble. 

Boxing Popularity A Question Mark

by Kuamel Stewart

It would be pretty hard to believe that one could infer that Boxing’s popularity and relative success is amongst the bottom compared to major sports. Now that it seems that it’s not even improbable because some experts have concluded that Boxing does not have the exposure, growth and economic success as other major sports.

Justin Blare, who is the owner of Church sty. Boxing, is an esteemed boxing figure in his community. He commented on the controversial topic. “Boxing is suffering terribly. It’s not as popular as the other sports we have and it lacks organization. It has been in the same state for decades and needs help. Somehow we have to find a way to attain more media attention. We need more organization. If things keep going the way they have, then I see Boxing in the same state as it is now if not worse. 

Most provide an explanation for this is due to the products of Boxing. Unlike other major sports, Boxing does not have apparel such as sportswear and accessories that are attractive and easily accessible. The little that they have is not really favored by consumers. Other sports are able to advertise heavily because they have full three or more full schedules in which there games are viewed on TV and listened to on radio. Compared to other sports, the boxing fights that are considered “must see” or spectacles come around maybe 4 or five times a year. Boxing receives its buzz on these rare occasions compared who get the same viewer response on a nightly basis. One can already infer what that does for marketing. 

Also, the other major sports are team sports, which induce the sports to organized play and more of a spectacle. Boxing however is an individual sport in which the fighter hires promoters to sell the fight, conventionally making there own commission. 

Boxing isn’t designed to produce financially for the sport because all the money that is gained is distributed to its participants and workers. Boxing isn’t a sport that sells itself. It sell’ its prized fights with paperview, advertising and promotional viewing. The fights that an average fan would calla regular season basketball fan would call a regular season basketball game are exhibitions. Unfortunately about 70% of boxing is “under cards”. Most big money fights take place after the up and coming or champion has solidified them self as a seller for a huge fight. Most of those fights happen maybe 4 or 5 times a year with significant time in between expended which leaves boxing to be forgotten. 

Rick Stevenson who commentates exhibitions at Church street boxing was very open on the topic. “Look. We have to accept it for what it is. Boxing is a great sport. It is unique in its own way. Because of how it is conducted, it can significantly be separated from other sports. But Boxing does not get the publicity that other sports do and its true. And in the same token, Boxing has not done anything to make people want to see it more. It’s a horrible thing because it’s a great sport, but its true. 
John “Punisher” Wright, who is a local participant at Church st., boxing believes that boxing is in a good condition. “Yeah it’s not like the other sports where you see a lot of commercials and what not. But its not like no body watches it. I’m pretty sure when big fights come on, millions of people watch it. It cold do better but I think its doing fine”

Richard Munson who goes by the name Richie has been a trainer at Church st. Boxing for almost ten years. He has never trained someone whom the public has significantly recognized. But he is very knowledgeable about the sport. “Yeah I think boxing is on the decline.

But I don’t think its because of the publicity of the sport. I think its because of the diminished talent we have. Over the years we have lost great prospects. We don’t even have someone who represents the heavyweight division contently. And that’s the most esteemed division in boxing. That just goes to show where boxing is. We need more great fighters and less people are becoming interested in the sport because of quality. Once we get more fighters, we’ll be back on our feet.

In a summation, boxing is really yearning to be desired. But on a positive note, it is content with its current standing because of the conditions in which it is viewed. Its not like the sport is going into recession. It’s not resorting to new market strategies to attract viewers like hockey and the MLS. It’s a formidable sport; it’s just not exposed as much as the other sports.

Taking Wax to the Max

by Tiffany Santiago Photos by Johnny Holmes

On December 7, 1996, Angel Colon, Johnny Holmes and I visited the first and only African American Wax Museum of Harlem. The founder and owner is Mr. Raven Chanticleer. Mr. Chanticleer lives next door to the museum with his wife. 

Raven Chanticleer was born to a prominent family. His mother was born in Barbados, and his father in Haiti. He has one sister and one brother, his brother was born in Haiti. His father was a principal. 

Some of the wax figures he has made includes David Dinkins and Martin Luther King. It takes Mr. Chanticleer about one month to finish a figure. He uses paper mache and plaster from the feet up. 

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr and Honorable David Dinkins, former NYC mayor

Raven Chanticleer made a lamp out of popsicle sticks and it took him about a month to make it. Besides running the museum, he writes for a newspaper. He used to teach at a college but found it more interesting to teach younger kids. He is now writing a book called “Taking Wax To The Max”. 

Raven Chanticleer

Mr. Chanticleer’s dream is to make his museum bigger and to install a computer room. Right now he is working on a figure of Bob Marley. He says that making wax figures and art objects is what he always wanted to do, that this was his calling.

Janet Jackson: Mommy?

by Keisean Marshall

November 2005

The Jackson name is in the news once again, and again it’s 39-year-old Janet Jackson. It is rumored that her and her former hush-hush husband James DeBarge has a secret daughter. The 18-year-old daughter is named Renee.

This latest scandal was un-covered on New York City’s WQHT-FM (“Hot 97”) last Friday by Young DeBarge- the brother of James DeBarge. It took her a week for her to even deny or confirm this rumor which leaves me skeptical- but the pop star is never in a rush to confirm or deny a story, it took her years to acknowledge that she was actually married to DeBarge; it wasn’t until choreographer Rene Elizondo filed for divorce that it was revealed. 

It is said that Janet Jackson and James DeBarge, of the family band DeBarge, wed in 1984 when she was 18 and he was 21. The marriage was said to have ended in annulment in 1985.

E! TV reports that. Brian Oxman, an attorney for the Jackson family, said the version he heard had Jackson’s record label urging the then- emerging star to keep the kid out of the picture. Since Oxman was in a position to ask if it was true, he said he did. “The answer was no way, no how,” he said Monday. “From the sisters to the mother, every last one of them never said it happened.”

E! TV did the math, a Jackson-Debarge baby who was 18 in October 2005, would have to been born in 1987, or late 1986. Either way, the timeline means the child would have been born after the couple’s reported break up, and during Jackson’s emergence as a superstar with her solo breakthrough “Control”.

The teenage daughter is said to be living with Janet’s sister, Rebbie Jackson, 56. Rebbie is the mother of three children with he husband Nathaniel Brown. 

In a brief statement to NBC’s Access Hollywood Janet Jackson said in response to these allegations; “I do not have a child and all allegations saying so are false.”

The question is why are all these accusations are coming out right now, is it because Young DeBarge has just released a new album that he is currently promoting and wants to boost sales?

Regular Guy: Lenny Santiago

by Keisean Marshall

Sept 2005 – After seriously deliberating on who should be our first feature story interview, I thought someone who worked in the music business would be ideal. I spoke to one of my family members who had a connection with this guy in the music business named Lenny Santiago. From the title of his business card read Vice President of A&R of Island Def Jam Recordings. I was very skeptical by doing this interview because I didn’t know who this guy was, and I really wanted to interview someone to the likes of Jay-Z or Beyonce.
Our Marketing Coordinator and I walked in to the Def Jam offices. We waited a few minutes before an intern or Lenny’s assistant came to us and told us that Lenny was in a meeting and that he will be with us shortly. 
We were later escorted to Santiago’s office certainly wasn’t what I expected. I was expecting a big office with one of those grand recling chairs in front of the New York skyline- you know what I mean? Instead of one of one with wall to floor windows of the Manhattan skyline with a grand reclining chair, Santiago’s office was simple, along with his attire, a gray Rocafella polo shirt with jeans and Bathing Ape sneakers. Along the walls were posters of Trina on the cover of Smooth Magazine and a very young Lil’ Kim- before her appointment with Dr. Nip-N-Tuck.

Starting his music career from the bottom in 1995, Bronx native Lenny Santiago worked for Bad Boy Records as a promoter- the guy who staples posters to the lightpost or hands out flyers. While at Bad Boy, Santiago set his sights on Rocafella Records. While at Bad Boy he had his eye on rapper Jay-Z. He looked at Jay-Z and saw someone who was going to a never lose popularity?]. 
Santiago was interviewed by rapper Jay-Z, Dame Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke to get the job at the Roc where he worked street promotion. Santiago was quickly promoted to head of Promotions and eventually head of A&R. Santiago left Rocafella Records for a brief time to go to Virgin Records, but then left to join Jay-Z at Def Jam.
HarlemLIVE: What is A&R and what does it stand for?
Santiago: Well… A&R stands for Artist Repertoire. I serve as an artist rep, for the label, meaning if we have someone like Ludacris- I serve as the manager. I help the artist record their album, get them to the studio, work out a budget to record an album and keep the artist within budget. I also help get a producer for a track. I tell artist what I think is hot and so on… A&R also signs artists’, we help put the album together, I try to go to as many show casing as I can to look for new talent. 
What do you think contributed to your skills while at A&R?
I always had someone who believed in me. I have that ear of music, when I was at the Roc, I sort of got tired of street promotion so I went to Dame and explained to him that I was getting restless so he hooked me up with an A&R guy named “Hip-Hop.” 
Who are some of the artists that you helped sign?
I found this kid named Stimuli from Brooklyn- he’s not out yet. Sometimes you find hot talent but sometimes the label doesn’t agree with you. While at Virgin Records, I came across this talented guy named Webbie from the New Orleans area but Virgin didn’t see what I saw. Webbie was picked up by Warner Brothers and now has a hit song out titled “Give Me That.”

Does your career affect your relationship with your family and do you bring work home?
Absolutely! It affects family a lot, only because at A&R we work hard—24 hours a day. I absolutely do not bring work home; I try to turn everything off including my Blackberry and pager. I started out by making Sundays my “no work day,” it’s a family day. This is a demanding business; you’re like a doctor you have to be on call 24/7. You have dozens of artist who have dozens of different schedules that you have to see or rep for them. This job can be very stressful. 
What do you think is the hardest part of your career?
Well…I think it’s to stay on top and not become what people call “Hollywood” or “Boogie.” A lot of people in this career often forget where they came from, and get big heads. I try and I have remained humble and I think that’s why a lot of people gravitate to me and want to deal with me. Where I am, some people may think I can let my ego run with it because Jay-Z is my right-hand man and because I’m working at Def JAM and with the Roc. But I don’t do that… I still chill with the public and go to show casings.
Do you have a greatest career moment?

Yeah, I have a few… My greatest moment was “The Jay-Z Fade To Black” concert at Madison Square Garden. That was just a triumph, it seemed that we won over everyone. I DJ’d for Jay, and to do something like that at the Garden was just an incredible night for me!
How do you think you have grown since you started?
I’ve matured. I’ve learned how to keep stable and how to be consistent. It’s important to treat people with respect. I believe as long as you give it, you’re going to get it back.
How has the music industry changed since you first were introduced to it? 
People don’t sell as many records as they once did. In the South, they [people who buy music] tend to support their favorite artists but in the north we don’t really tend to do that. If we had fifteen artists, ten of them would be selling great records. Now, we only have three or four, we have Jay, Nelly, 50 Cent and Eminem selling good numbers and the rest do just okay. 
Is that because of talent?
Maybe. A lot of these recording companies like to put their friends and family members on, I don’t feel like people are seeking talent. I am a strong believer of going out to see what’s new and hot- something that is going be a change. I like to sign a movement.
There aren’t a lot of artist from the North, why is that?
Well, a lot of them are very local, they speak of what their neighborhood knows. A lot of them don’t speak universally. They talk about their block, and their hood- they’re people in North Dakota, Miami, and California that you also have to relate to. Don’t get me wrong- some of them are very talented but I think that’s a problem.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
This job is very stressful, so I hope to be out of it by then. I just want to be the head of a record company. I even may do publishing, which is another division of music- they sign writers. I would like to deal with a variety of artists and not just one label. I would love to have signed an artist who have became huge and made a difference in Hip Hop.

Date with Destiny

Keisean Marshall

Aug 2005 – The Destiny Fulfilled and Lovin’ It Concert was the place to be this past Friday night. Destiny’s Child performed one of their last performances in New York City for their farewell concert. There were no special guest, no TI, no Lil’ Wayne, no Jigga which was sort of a disappointment. 

The group who came out with hits like “Survivor” and “Independent Women” officially announced their split on June 13 th in Barcelona. Michelle Williams, Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland thanked their fans for their love and support at the concert. They explained that they wanted to move forward and pursue personal goals and individual careers in music, theater, television and film. 

Destiny’s Child explained, “As a group, we’ve been blessed with success and the greatest fans in the world. We have been working together as Destiny’s Child since we were nine, and touring together since we were fourteen. After a lot of discussion and some deep soul searching, we realized that our current tour has given us the opportunity to leave Destiny’s Child on a high note, united in our friendship and filled with an overwhelming gratitude for our music, our fans, and each other. After all these wonderful years working together, we realized that now is the time to pursue our personal goals and solo efforts in earnest. This is a time of natural growth for all of us. No matter what happens, we will always love each other as friends and sisters and will always support each other as artists. We want to thank all of our fans for their incredible love and support and hope to see you all again as we continue fulfilling our destinies.” 

The Madison Square Garden concert was sold out with Amerie and Mario as the opening acts. Amerie was great; she’s not just a singer she can be also added to the list of entertainers. Her dancing and vocal routines were very intriguing and exciting. The drummers and dancers were off the meter- everything were perfect. Doing her performance of her hit single “One Thing” she pulled out rapper Fabulous to perform. 

Mario performed his hit songs “Let Me Love You”, “How Could You” and “Just a Friend.” It seemed as if Mario’s dancers took more of a shine than he did. Mario tried to regain his shine by taking his shirt off which had the female majority of the crowd go crazy. He performed for about a half and hour with two wardrobe changes. During Mario’s performance, I saw lack of originality, He ripped off his shirt and grinded on a female in her lingerie- something that we see during Usher’s performances. 

There were a half and hour delay before the start of Destiny’s Child performance. The group was introduced by a video documenting all of the CD’s and magazines they were in, it was a nice intro. What some people call “the greatest R&B Groups of all time” represent women empowerment and what a woman should be, sexy and strong. From the way they strut the stage- you can tell the ladies owned the stage and demand respect. The first set of songs were classic hits, where they talked about men paying their bills in “Bills, Bills, Bills” and they also told their men to say their name in the hit “Say My Name.” 

Choreographer, Frank Gatson who choreographies Beyonce’s dance routines for her tours and videos like “Naughty Girl”, “Baby Boy” and “Crazy in Love” worked with the group for this tour and his work was amazing. Destiny’s Child’s dance moves for every song were just right. Beyonce did some “J.Lo” style moves and she even danced out her 5 inches pumps. Michelle who had a little incident back in November where she fell while strutting herself on countdown show, “106 and Park” proved to the audience that she was something to look at. 

Each of the girls had a solo performance where they performed their own songs from their solo CD’s. Kelly sung, “Dilemma”- her hit song with rapper Nelly. She came out with a purple dress and feathers. She hit every note in the song with passion causing the crowd stand up and sung every word with her. 

Michelle was next to perform, she appeared on a circular stage in which turned into steps. In her flowing gown she performed her gospel song “Do You Know?” It was very different to listen to a gospel song at a pop concert. Many people seemed unfamiliar with the song but by the end it had people standing and clapping with approval. In a BET interview, her band mate Beyonce stated, “She can make the worst sinner, a believer in God and not want to sin.” 

Beyonce performed “Baby Boy” in which she came out wearing a white outfit as if was in an African Tribe. The small group made their way up a revolving staircase in which she performed “Baby Boy” and later “Naughty Girl.” 

  In their song “Soldier” they wore skintight leather garments from Beyonce’s new Clothing Line, “House of Dereon set to launch in the fall. Before the concert it was expected that Beyonce would have been the shinning star at the concert, but I have to say all of them were stars. Beyonce wowed the audience during her verse when she made the diamond sign with her hands in reference to Jay-Z in which she is romantically linked with. 

During the Cater 2 U segment of the show, the three pulled up three guys on stage to be serenade. They all seemed stiff and nervous (wouldn’t you be.) The guy Kelly picked went straight to Beyonce’s chair, Beyonce quickly said, “UnHuh, Brother- She picked you, keep moving.” This serenade wasn’t as jaw- dropping as the BET Awards early this summer. 

Beyonce came out again to perform Dangerously in Love in a long gown. She really didn’t change her dance routines from what she did on the MTV Video Music Awards or her other tours. After performing Dangerously in Love she ripped off the bottom part of the gown exposing booty shorts to perform “Crazy in Love.” 

At the end of the concert was a show of harmony; in breakup songs like “Free”, “Bad Habit” and “Through With Love” showed how a woman alone could still rely on her girlfriends. During the “Loose My Breath” the girls hit the stage with white T-Shirts and blue jeans under a cascading waterfall.

Celebrities Go To School

by Keisean Marshall

How would you feel if you walked in to your classroom and saw a famous celebrity; like Madonna, Snoop Dog, Cameron Diaz or even Bill Gates? This is the case for some colleges around the nation. 

Courtesy of MTVu; a network dedicated to all aspects of college life both on and off campus. 

“Stand Up” [the program] brings the class to life in a way that few would ever imagine,” said Stephen Friedman, MTVu’s general manager. 

The network had envisioned a series where colleges would compete to hear a celebrity speak. But that proved too time-consuming to organize and when its second speaker, Marilyn Manson, nailed his appearance at Temple University, MTVu knew it had a better format. 

The goal of this program is to make the classroom fun, entertaining and make the class more interacting. 

Colleges and the network try to keep the program under-wraps- they manage to keep this serious secret by telling fibs to students who may wonder about the cameras when they show up to class. 

Hunter College in New York City participated in the program last week, a film class was told it was screening Madonna’s new documentary, “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret,” and discussing it with the film’s director. With an endless stream of adults- including big colossal bodyguards walking in and out of the room during the movie, smart students figured out what was happening. 

Student, Pinar Noorata, a junior film major said, “Since there were security guards all lined up I figured she was coming,” “That was kind of a dead giveaway. But I think everybody was still surprised. It was kind of surreal.” 

MTV and Viacom is considering giving “Stand In” some exposure on the main network, Friedman said, and is also mulling making extended versions of the appearances available on the Internet.