A Day in the Life of Being a Leader

by Eddie Aung

I have been in HarlemLive for nearly two years. But before this summer, I had no idea what the real responsibility meant. Being a group leader can be the hardest job on earth; especially when the success of your whole group depends on your performance. Let me give you a little a short tour of a group leader’s one day life in HarlemLive. Yeah…… It’s just a short tour….

I bet that everyone has thought of what they are doing or where they are going to. Well, that is one of the daily jobs of mine and I want to say that it also should be one of the practices that a group leader should possess. A group leader should most of the time be thinking about something that pertains to the success of his group. 

Ideas are not hard to come up with, the hard part is to turn those ideas into stories and ask your group to actually go out and make those ideas come true. The whole group will have a meeting and everyone will be throwing ideas at each other and it will seem like the meeting was a success. Everyone including the leader learned something new after the meeting and believe that the group members will try hard to turn the ideas into actual stories. Well, you see…., only fairy tales end with a happy ending. 

Most of the problems start from the fact that not all of the people are motivated. So even an experienced group leader “MUST” have Plan B because there is a possibility that something might go wrong such as one of the group members not making an important phone call, missing a scheduled story, or just sitting on a chair and staring at a computer screen Instant Messaging their friends. 

My strategy to overcome those difficulties is to actually do some of the scheduling on my own and be ready with a story on days when there are no stories. I always keep track of what my group members are doing. Stories are important in an organization such as HarlemLive, but not all the members in my groups are writers or reporters. What I do is keep them busy with the work they are interested in. If someone likes to edit video. If someone likes mopping, well, that’s what they will to do. 

Since there are a lot of things going on and there are not enough people to cover all the necessities, I have to assign each person to take care of two different types of jobs such as a writer might take a journalism class or photography workshops. This put a certain amount of pressure on some group members especially when they are new. About 90% of the staff in HarlemLive for this year’s Summer Program are new. There is the trouble there. Some people think that taking care of two things is hard and some think that having two stories on one day is a lot. Well, what can you say? You are the group leader; you have to listen to your group because those are the people that make you the group leader. 

There are times when I feel like a lot of the things that I planned are not going as well as they should be. Managing a group is like a rubber band. If you pull it too hard, it will snap. If you don’t pull hard enough, you will it will not stretch as far as you would like it. You really have to understand people. A good group is the group where all the team members work together and know what they are doing. This will not guarantee that the group will have the most rewards because any group can reach its goals just by depending on a couple of good and hardworking people in the group. 

That is not what I expect from my group. So I try to teach my group to work together. And trust me, that is really hard because you are trying to combine a bunch of minds asking them to reach a certain destination. Everyone wants to choose his own path. 

Most of my hardest moments as being a leader is when my group members do not do things right. It is hard to keep track of what everybody is doing every time. When I don’t know what someone is doing, it is hard for me to plan ahead. Trying to find out what is going on in the group and planning ahead is really challenging for me, especially when things do go as I had expected. Finding right people for the right work is a hard thing for me. However, I’m happy with my position because you have a chance to learn and interact with people. They report to you what is happening and they share their ideas with you which I believe is a great thing. Even though sometimes I feel like there is a big rock on my shoulder, that feeling disappears when I see my group members working.

A Great Respect for Religion

by Nicole Farrow

I’ve never been a religious person, nor have I ever had the desire to be religious. I believe that religion is like a paradox. I simply cannot bring myself to believe that Jesus treads water or that Job managed to endure all those cruel and horrendous trials and still keep his faith. Religion allows one to test the grounds of the spiritual and physical realms. However, if this theory is valid, why do so many people believe in it and base their lives around it? 

I’ve never had an interest in becoming religious, at least not until I visited Vatican City in Rome, Italy. It was overwhelming to experience the love and faith of all the followers in the church, and in a way I felt as though I belonged. The artwork and the beauty of the church made me feel guilty for not believing as devoutly as the pious followers believe. I felt serenity as I walked passed the ancient and historic artwork. I was able to just sit back and absorb the experience and reflect on where I am now and where I am going to be. As I looked around, I saw that people have found peace through religion, and I wondered whether I would be able to find that type of peace if I were religious. 

However, religion is only effective if the person is a true believer, and I am not. I don’t find many aspects of religion unbelievable, and I don’t agree with many of the implications of the Bible. There are too many references that degrade women and blacks, and this prevents me from deeply involving myself in it. People have a tendency to neglect that aspect of religion. Certain followers pick and choose which aspects they want to believe, and that is something that I am not able to do. I cannot neglect one part of something and then embrace the other. I am in no way shunning or demeaning religion anyway, and I have full respect for all people who practice Catholicism. I am just stating the reasons why I personally cannot practice Catholicism. 

However, I must admit that Vatican City did allow me to understand why people believe and why people are so adamant about their religion. Vatican City really opened my eyes and allowed me to explore an aspect of life that I had never explored before. I confronted many of questions, and problems and I realized the power and the influence of religion. I¹m not saying that from now on I¹m going to go to church every Sunday, or even go to church at all, but I¹m definitely going to have a greater respect for Catholicism and for those who practice it.

Backstage Pass at the Apollo as B.E.T. Arrives in Harlem

By Jianna Caines Photos by Oscar Peralta

BET Studios has arrived in Harlem. To celebrate the occasion, they decided to throw a slammin’ concert and a block party. The new studios are located right in the Mecca of the Hip-Hop empire of the world, New York City. Many of the world’s most dynamic entertainers have originated from the streets of this exciting and flavorful city. (For those in the Harlem community, the new studios are in our neighborhod at 106 Street and Park Avenue).

In order to make a spectacular entrance, BET choose their debut to be at the world famous Apollo theater located on 125th Street. Considering the phenomenal stage setting, the large Harlem crowd and the all-star talent line up, the Harlem Block Party was definitely a night to remember. MusicÕs hottest Kings and Queens splashed on the scene with the energy and skill that blew the crowd away. This Royal line-up included artist such as Lil Kim, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, L.L Cool J, and many more. 

BETÕs presence is greatly appreciated by the people in the Harlem comunnity, mainly because there is so much talent that exists here. Also, because this will definetly mean more jobs and opportunies that will allow more cultural growth that we can share with America. 

On the night of the Block Party, the streets were filled and many people from all over the New York area came out to support BETin their efforts to spread more love and talent. It was a true family event. 

The people of the community are not the only ones who have an opinion about BET’s presence in Harlem. Coming in our following reports we will have the reactions of the previously listed Royal line up. Stay tuned to see what Lil Kim, Fat Joe, Eryka Badu and others have to say about New YorkÕs future now that Black Entertainment Television is in the mix. 

Peace out!!

Culture and Devotion at the Pan Caribbean Dance Theater


by Jianna Caines / photos by Khalid Muhammad

Marie Brooks splashed into the room with a phenomenal presence that immediately captured the attention of all her students. “5,6,7,8!” was all you heard as everyone rose to their feet. Then I knew what kind of power she had.

Born and raised in Guadeloupe, this sista knows what Caribbean life is about. Brooks is the sole founder of Pan Caribbean Dance Theater. All of the dancers who dance at the Pan Caribbean agree that Brook has played a major role in the cultural development of New York City’s youth. Moat Johnson, a fifteen year old student of John Brown High School in Queens, makes it her priority to attend these classes, all the way in Harlem. She states that Brook has provided her with knowledge beyond the skill of dance. They learn about life and how people interact with each other. Brook feels it’s very important to know that “None is Greater or lesser than.” Everyone,according to Brooks, should make an effort to identify and understand each other because we are all equal. 

The hard wood floors, bookshelves and brownstone surroundings will give anyone who enters an at home feeling. In school students use textbooks and museums to learn about their culture and other cultures, BORING. Imagine if you could learn about other countries hands on. Brook takes it one step forward, straight to Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. Right to where it all started. The students, who range from ages three to sixteen years of age, study abroad and meet politicians of these countries. In the past Brooks was asked if she takes a lot of adults on her trips? Brooks replied “If I had to watch you IÕd know before I take you”..Any given day the former president of an African country can drop by. The president of Uganda did just this.

While having a rap session with the dancers he stresses a point that happens to be shared by Brooks which is: “People of color should try to understand each other more.”

Orange, lime, hot pink, mixed with African drums. The vibrant dresses dance in the air and flow to the beat of the music. It is evident that these dancers know their ABCÕs when it comes to technique. On the other hand, Brooks says, “What is the point of knowing your alphabet if you canÕt tell a story.” Picture one of their concerts. They already have the most flavorful music, costumes, and dances by far. She knows that the key to an earth shaking performance is to add the flavor of rap, poetry and or spoken word. This mixes with some contemporary music, that teens of the Hip-hop community completely identify with. This includes Beenie Man, Lady Saw, and Red Rat.

All of these wonderful things would not be possible if Marie Brooks did not devote herself, mind, body, and soul, to her students. The Pan Caribbean Dance theater offers the whole package: a family environment, travel, mentoring, talent, culture. Devotion is the only way to describe the Pan Caribbean Dance theater. With all of this in mind there’s no question of why they are invited to events, such as the the opening ceremony of the centennial Olympic games. The youth are really appreciative of Brooks. Devon Nyngs from the High School for leadership and Public service says “I feel privileged to have such a good teacher.”

Leon Pryer – Web Editor

July 2006 –
Hi my name is Leon Pryer. I go to Martin Luther King Jr. High school (Arts & Technology). Im going to the 12th grade. When I graduate I want to go to college, and the college I want to go to is School of Visual Arts. what I want to do
in life is be a cartoonist / video game designer.

I have a small family, I live with my mother, grandmother,uncle, and brother in a three story house. I have a backyard with a hoop I got for my thirteenth Birthday. when I come home After doing my homework I shoot around for fun
during saturdays I hang out with my friends we chill at my friends house.

Some of my hobbies are drawing,and palying games. I draw when I have free time or when I get board. I play my game on sunday because that the day I
have nothing to do.

During afterschool I signed up for after school programs. the most recent after school program I was In was the Achievers Academy. Thanks to joining
the Achievers Academy I got this job through the T.A.S.C..

There were other after school programs I signed up for was Central Park Conservacy Youth Media Out Reach Program, Harlem Home Boys, and MInisink. To give me something to do instead of wasting my time. I always try to have my day full but always have time for me.