EXCLUSIVE! Broadway Legend Lillias White’s Upcoming Get Happy Album

By Michael P Coleman

“This new album is a balm. It’s a salve. It’s something that will hopefully get people back on track, to be loving, and to find the sunshine through the rain.”

Read MPC’s EXCLUSIVE feature on the upcoming album, Get Happy.   Lillias White promises that it’ll cure what ails ya! 

Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP

 

by Michael P Coleman

I believe that business owners have a right to deny service to anyone who would threaten their lives by walking into their shop during a global pandemic — and a period during which California coronavirus cases are on the rise — without their noses and mouths covered. Just yesterday, I was shocked to find unmasked customers in a small Subway restaurant ordering dinner from a woman who was wearing a mask.

A couple of months ago, as the gravity of COVID-19 was becoming clear, California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris provided one of the early voices of reason, with a playbook for managing coronavirus. With the state’s new face covering mandate, it was time for an update.

Read freelance writer MPC’s full feature, and hear what the good doctor has to say about face coverings in public!

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Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP

 

Juneteenth. It’s the Kwanzaa of 2020

by Michael P Coleman

I’m as tired, angry, frustrated, pummeled — you pick the adjective — as the next black man, weathering a global pandemic, open season on black men, and a maniac in the Oval Office.

But Juneteenth? A “holiday” to commemorate a 1865 event? I’ll save you the Google search: a white general rode into a town in Texas to tell the African American enslaved people there that they’d been freed two years before that, with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

I mean, I’ve heard of CP time, but that pony ride was 155 years ago.

Juneteenth, like most historical events in African American history, was not taught in schools that most of us attended. Juneteenth has not been a part of our collective consciousness. And Juneteenth did not hold much relevance for anyone I know…  until a maniac in the Oval Office decided to hold a campaign rally on that day.

There’s a renewed push to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Just what we all need: another Monday furniture sale.

I would only be a strong advocate for making Juneteenth a national holiday if we replaced Independence Day with Juneteenth. I’ve always felt that July 4, 1776 was a tad premature for the celebration of freedom and independence. In 1776, you see, most of my direct ancestors were owned by white people like the folks who wrote the beautiful, legendary line “All men are created equal.”

Seems kinda hypocritical, doesn’t it? I will never forget the day, at Woodson Elementary School in Inkster, Michigan, when this writer pieced that timeline together!

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Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP

COVID Convos — Sacramento County Is Relaxing Restrictions, So There’s A Bed and a Ventilator Waiting For You

by Michael P Coleman

Sacramento County has just amended the Public Health Order that is related to coronavirus restrictions, effective at 11:59am Friday, June 12. The amended Health Order supersedes previous orders.

Businesses like bars and wineries, hotels, campgrounds, gyms, pools, family entertainment centers (including zoos, museums, movie theaters, and day camps), and tribal casinos are able to open to the public, provided they have implemented the required health and safety protocols.

Businesses MUST include a policy for face coverings, and provide face coverings to staff when six feet of social distance is not possible.

The relaxing of restrictions means just one thing to me: there’s a bed and a ventilator waiting for me if I wind up in the hospital with COVID-19. I plan to do what I can to avoid that.

Read MPC’s full column, and the county’s amended Health Order.

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Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP

George Floyd Was Murdered. And We Looted A Target.

by Michael P Coleman

I’ve been staggered by the video footage of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Yes, I said murder. From what I can see, it shouldn’t be called a “killing,” as it’s being called by national media. I killed a bee that stung me a couple of evenings ago. I routinely kill plants that I forget to water.

Floyd was murdered when a police officer, someone who had been charged with protecting citizens like Floyd, held his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

The officers involved have been fired, and Minneapolis’ mayor is calling for formal charges to be filed. I’m all for that. I don’t know how many more George Floyds I can take. Or how many more this country, or this world, can take.

But as heinous as Floyd’s murder was, and as pained as I and every other man who looks like Floyd is today, I cannot understand the looting and destroying of a Target and numerous other businesses in Minneapolis — including a public housing community — after peaceful community protests turned into less than peaceful, destructive riots.

This country has a centuries-long history of unlawfully killing black men. My father fled the Jim Crow south under the shadow of black bodies swinging from trees, so I grew up hearing the stories. My dad had a childhood friend who didn’t come home one night. That friend was never seen again. He was lynched in rural Mississippi in the late 1940s.

George Floyd was lynched in Minneapolis in 2020. In broad daylight.

Read MPC’s full column. 

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Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP

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by  Michael P Coleman

As communities nationwide are tip-toeing into various reopening “plans,” I realize that I’ve been getting quite good at this sheltering at home thing. It’s really a remarkable feat for an extreme extrovert like me.

But yesterday, I had to venture out to the pharmacy to refill a couple of prescriptions, and what I found there was shocking.

Read MPC’s full column, and help talk him down after what he saw at Walgreens in Sacramento yesterday!

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Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP

COVID Convos — Meet California’s Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

by Michael P Coleman

COVID Convos is a series of original columns conceptualized to give you something else to think about as we manage the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, they will provide you with a different perspective about an issue related to the crisis… or a brief smile. Remember, with COVID-19: this too shall pass.

When faced with any battle, it is comforting to know that someone is on the inside, in the trenches, who has the knowledge, tools, temperament, and abilities that are required to get the job done and lead an army to victory.

In our fight against the novel coronavirus, we have that person in Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s first Surgeon General.

En route to a recent briefing with the governor, Burke Harris checked in to set the record straight on a number of pernicious COVID-19-related myths. During our wide-ranging interview, she also stressed the need to heed recommendations and guidelines from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention so that we can, ultimately, put coronavirus behind us.

“I will always be very transparent about what we know and what we don’t know,” Burke Harris assured. “We don’t have a lot of great data about the racial and ethnic breakdowns of infections and deaths related to COVID-19, but what we’re seeing in a few areas around the country is that African Americans are over represented in COVID-19 cases.”

“One of the worst legacies of our health care establishment’s history of inhumane treatment of African Americans is the persistent mistrust and doubt that [it] has created,” Burke Harris continued. “We worry that the lack of trust within the African American community may be putting the black community at greater risk. When people of color hear about current guidelines, much of their mistrust is rooted in the history of what has happened in this nation. It’s a history that we have to work very hard to repair.”

“At the same time, it’s very, very important for black communities, and communities of color in general, to be aware that this is not a hoax. There has been a myth circulating that black people don’t get coronavirus. That myth is totally false! If Idris Elba is not enough to convince folks that black people get coronavirus…we do! So stay home, and practice strict social distancing. It’s up to us to care for our communities by staying connected, but staying home.”

When Burke Harris gets fired up, it is easy to see how she has been so successful in transforming the lives of the individuals and families in her care. And she is as passionate about wearing face coverings as she is about social distancing — and following all of the CDC’s coronavirus guidelines.

Dr. Burke Harris will be the cover story of the upcoming Spring issue of THE HUB’s print magazine. If you can’t wait to hear what she’s got to say, read freelance writer Michael P Coleman’s preview to their EXCLUSIVE conversation! 

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Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP

EXCLUSIVE! CeCe Winans’ “Alabaster Box” — The Anatomy Of A Gospel Classic

by Michael P Coleman

Nothing beats a good gospel song when the going gets rough. For centuries, songs like “Amazing Grace” and “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” have proven their utility for getting music fans over the rough side of the mountain.

So as we combat both the realities of a global pandemic and a media barrage that sometimes seems as unrelenting as the novel coronavirus itself, music is a balm, and no song brings more comfort that CeCe Winans’ epic “Alabaster Box.” As Christians worldwide observe the most Holy Week of the year, it’s a perfect time to deconstruct that masterpiece, which was the title track to Winans’ fourth solo album, released in 1999.

Independent of your personal religious beliefs, there’s something powerful about hearing anyone speak their truth as earnestly as Winans does. As it turns out, “Alabaster Box” had quite an impact on the gospel music legend when she heard it for the first time.

“What a song,” Winans declared during a phone chat from her home in Nashville. “I was on tour years ago, and someone gave me a cassette tape and said it had a song on it that I needed to hear. I got into my bunk on the tour bus that night, and I put the song on, and a girl was singing ‘Alabaster Box’, all the way stripped down. I wept, and I wept, and I wept.”

Winans told me that she knew she had to record the song, but the time had to be right.

“I held that song for a few years, because it just had to be the right CD, the right time,” Winans continued. “It describes the meaning and the power of worship. There’s an anointing on that song!”

After hearing about Winans finding the song, and her connection to it, I had to track Sjostrand down. The songwriter and her husband co-pastor a church in Ohio. She grew up in Santa Ana, California and began a walk with Christ when she was just nine years old.

And just as Sjostrand vividly recalls her initial meeting with Jesus, she remembers writing “Alabaster Box” as if it were yesterday.

“I remember exactly when I wrote it,” Sjostrand shared by phone. “My father in law had gone back to his home church [to preach at] an alumni event, and I agreed to sing after his sermon. He began to speak on the woman with the alabaster box. That’s my personal testimony: I’ve always felt, since I was nine years old, like that woman with the alabaster box.”

Read MPC’s full feature, with more from his EXCLUSIVE conversations with CeCe Winans and the songwriter!

Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP