The 44 Percent: Black joy, Overtown and Paul Mooney

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There’s something about Black joy that really makes me smile.

It can be something as simple as OGs communing under a tree in Liberty City. Or the smiling faces catching a meal at Lil Greenhouse Grill in Overtown. Or the various displays of pride on Haitian Flag Day in Little Haiti. There’s just something about their joy that’s contagious.

I wanted to start off this week’s edition by talking about Black joy because it’s something that doesn’t get discussed enough. A lot of times people think we only exist inside narratives about poverty, crime and discrimination. But what those same people fail to realize is that there’s beauty before, during and after the struggle; you just have to look a bit harder.

So, on that note, do yourself a favor and find that beauty.

Oh, and make sure you go down to Little Haiti before the end of May. It’s Haitian Heritage Month and I know a lot of you probably haven’t pulled up there in a minute.

INSIDE THE 305



A new day in old Overtown:

Though I’ve been here just a short while, the resurgence of Overtown has been amazing to watch.

And pardon my French but it’s about damn time. The once booming “Harlem of the South” has slowly but surely brought back some of those attractions that made the neighborhood so important. From new additions like Red Rooster and The Urban to mainstays like the Lyric Theater, Overtown is hotter than the Miami sun in mid-July.

“Very quickly what I’ve seen is Overtown is becoming a place to be. We have a couple of great magnets. Now we have to fill in the gaps. People are overcoming their fear and hesitation when they think a place is cool, and that’s what’s happening in Overtown,” said Chris Norwood, a lawyer by training and an art collector and curator by avocation who shows museum-quality work by Black artists at the Ward Rooming House. “But I don’t look at this as redevelopment, I look at it as a reclamation.”

A vote is scheduled for the renaming of the Dixie Highway/ US 1 to Harriet Tubman Highway. Traffic flows through the intersection of SW 224 Street and Dixie Hwy on Monday, Feb 17, 2020.
A vote is scheduled for the renaming of the Dixie Highway/ US 1 to Harriet Tubman Highway. Traffic flows through the intersection of SW 224 Street and Dixie Hwy on Monday, Feb 17, 2020.

Coral Gables mayor now all in renaming Dixie Highway:

After initially opposing the Dixie Highway name change, Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago is now singing a different song.

Lago recently revived the resolution that would rename the highway after Harriet Tubman. It’ll go before the city commission on Tuesday.

Of the 10 cities in Miami-Dade where approval was required, Coral Gables was the only one that struck down the Tubman designation which County Commissioners proposed in February 2020.

OUTSIDE THE 305

In June, people painted a #BlockTheHate mural that was constructed around the Confederate monument at the corner of Cotton Avenue and Second Street in Macon. The mural was created to block the statue from being defaced while also promoting a positive message of love and unity until the statue can be removed.
In June, people painted a #BlockTheHate mural that was constructed around the Confederate monument at the corner of Cotton Avenue and Second Street in Macon. The mural was created to block the statue from being defaced while also promoting a positive message of love and unity until the statue can be removed.

The rise and fall of Confederate statues in America:

Axios created an amazing graphic that shows when Confederate monuments were created and removed over the past 152 years. The fact that there are still so many standing blows my mind, though it’s somewhat encouraging that a lot have fallen in the past year.

Hundreds of Black Lives Matter marchers occupy the intersection of U.S. 301 and Martin Luther King Jr. Way Wednesday evening in Sarasota as part of a protest calling for police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Hundreds of Black Lives Matter marchers occupy the intersection of U.S. 301 and Martin Luther King Jr. Way Wednesday evening in Sarasota as part of a protest calling for police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Police reform bill unlikely to be ready soon:

It doesn’t look like Congress will meet the President Joe Biden-proposed May 25 deadline for a police reform bill.

In his April 28 speech to Congress, Biden laid out the first anniversary of George Floyd’s murder as the potential deadline for the legislation that’s meant to curb the number of Black people killed by police. Although The Washington Posts’ Mike DeBonis noted that talks have gone “productively,” it’s highly unlikely that a deal will be done any time soon.

One of the points of contention appears to be what to do with “qualified immunity” which protects police from civil lawsuits over misconduct. Democrats want it to be either completely removed or loosened while Republicans believe that doing so would cause officers to employ less effective tactics for fear of being sued.

“I can tell you, a lot of law enforcement agencies are very concerned about it and what it would mean for their bottom line,” Sen. Marco Rubio ­(R-Fla.) told The Post. “What they’re saying is we’re now going to get sued every time we pull somebody over. . . . We’re just going to have hundreds and hundreds of lawsuits, and we’re going to hire an army of lawyers.”

Key Democrat negotiators – from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) – have played down the importance of that late May deadline, saying they’re just focused on making sure the bill contains all the right elements.

“What’s important is that we’re on track to get it done right,” Bass said Wednesday. “The biggest holdup is that we just haven’t had enough time.”

HIGH CULTURE

Rest in power, Paul Mooney:

The world lost a comedic legend in Paul Mooney on Wednesday. Mooney wrote and/or appeared in everything from “Sanford and Son” to “The Richard Pryor Show” to “Chappelle’s Show.”

To honor his legacy, I hyperlinked an amazing Washington Post piece about how the SNL sketch with Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase that he wrote helped save what was once a fledgling series. If you haven’t seen the sketch, definitely check it out. I’m also a big fan of his “Ask a Black Dude” sketch from “Chappelle’s Show” but that’s just me.

I hope Mooney is somewhere in heaven making God laugh as hard as he made us.

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