Article courtesy of TheGrio.com
Washington (AP) — A weary Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation to avoid the economy-threatening “fiscal cliff” of middle-class tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts hours before financial markets reopen after the New Year’s holiday.
The bill’s passage on a 257-167 vote late Tuesday night in the House of Representatives sealed a hard-won political triumph for the president less than two months after he secured re-election while calling for higher taxes on the wealthy.
Moments later, Obama strode into the White House briefing room and declared that he will sign the law “that raises taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans while preventing tax hikes that could have sent the economy back into recession.”
“A central promise of my campaign for president was to change the tax code that was too skewed towards the wealthy at the expense of working middle-class Americans,” Obama said before flying to Hawaii to resume his holiday break. “Tonight we’ve done that.”
He spoke with Vice President Joe Biden at his side, a recognition of the former senator’s role as the lead Democratic negotiator in final compromise talks with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Passage of the bill came nearly 24 hours after a decade’s worth of tax cuts enacted during President George W. Bush’s administration expired with the stroke of the new year, technically raising taxes by more than $500 billion in 2013 alone.
Those tax increases — plus $109 billion in defense and domestic spending cuts that were to be automatically triggered Wednesday — became known as the “fiscal cliff.” Economists warned that their combined impact would hurl the economy back into recession, but Obama’s signature on the bill would prevent the “cliff” from taking hold.
Obama can sign the bill remotely using a machine called an “autopen,” or the bill can be flown to Hawaii for his signature.
The bill would boost the top 35 percent income tax rate to 39.6 percent for incomes exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples, while continuing decade-old income tax cuts for everyone else. In his re-election campaign last year Obama had vowed to boost rates on earnings at somewhat lower levels — $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families. The bill would also raise taxes top earners pay on dividends, capital gains and inherited estates.
It would stop $24 billion in spending cuts set to take effect over the next two months, although only about half of that total would be offset with spending reductions elsewhere in the budget.
While it’s not the grand deal she was hoping for, Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore is nonetheless pleased Congress was able to move forward with a deal that ensures tax rates won’t go up on the middle class and the most vulnerable of our nation–the poor.
“I am particularly pleased that this deal included provisions that will extend unemployment insurance and ensure the wealthy pay their fair share both on their annual as well as investment-related incomes,” Moore said in a statement.
But the deal won’t solve all of the nation’s problems, Moore stressed, noting that in two months Congress will once again have to debate raising the debt ceiling and address the automatic spending cuts included in the sequestration.
“It is my sincere hope that the GOP does not try to take a hatchet to the much needed social programs that will be necessary in keeping our economy moving forward.
“Make no mistake our economy is growing, but that growth cannot be sustained on the backs of the middle class and he poor. We have already cut nearly $1.5 trillion to critical programs.”
Moore said Congress must take the necessary steps towards closing tax loopholes and taking common sense steps to resolve the debt crisis and continue to move the economy forward.
“I will continue to do all in my power to continue to work on behalf of the least of these. Those whose voices have been ignored time and time again by this Republican controlled ‘do-nothing Congress,” the congresswoman said. “Let’s hope the New Year brings new beginnings for the way that we govern on behalf of all Americans.”
Scores of Republican lawmakers voted for the measure, reversing a quarter-century of solid opposition by their party to boosting any tax rates at all.
The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 89-8 less than 24 hours earlier, and in the interim, rebellious House conservatives demanded a vote to add significant spending cuts to the measure. But in the end they retreated.
Had the House inserted those budget cuts and the Senate refused to consider them, the legislation could have died. That left House Republicans worried that voters might blame them for a huge, sweeping tax increase and for any swoon the nation’s financial markets might take when they reopened Wednesday.
House Speaker John Boehner took no public stance on the measure before the vote. But he guided the Senate bill to the House floor for a final vote.
Boehner voted for the bill, an unusual step because speakers seldom vote, and he was joined by Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate in the November election. Voting “no” were the other two top Republican House leaders, Reps. Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy.
Still, House Republicans voted against the measure by a 151-85 margin. It is rare for leaders to bring a bill to the House floor that will be opposed by most lawmakers from their own party, and the decision underscored the pressure Republican leaders felt to approve the legislation.
House Democrats, including their leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, voted by an overwhelming 172-16 for the agreement.
Supporters of the bill in both parties expressed regret that the bill was narrowly drawn, and fell far short of a sweeping plan that combined tax changes and spending cuts to reduce federal deficits. That proved to be a step too far in the two months since Obama called congressional leaders to the White House for a post-election stab at compromise.
The bill also prevents an expiration of extended unemployment benefits for an estimated two million jobless, renews tax breaks for businesses and renewable energy purposes, blocks a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat elderly Medicare patients, stops a $900 pay increase for lawmakers from taking effect in March and head offs a threatened spike in milk prices.
Even with enactment of the legislation, taxes are on the rise for millions of Americans.
A 2 percentage point temporary cut in the Social Security payroll tax, originally enacted two years ago to stimulate the economy, expired with the end of 2012. Neither Obama nor Republicans made a significant effort to extend it.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the measure would add nearly $4 trillion over a decade to federal deficits, a calculation that assumed taxes would otherwise have risen on taxpayers at all income levels. There was little or no evident concern among Republicans on that point, presumably because of their belief that tax cuts pay for themselves by expanding economic growth and do not cause deficits to rise.
The relative paucity of spending cuts was a sticking point with many House Republicans. Among other items, the extension of unemployment benefits costs $30 billion, and is not offset by savings elsewhere.
“I’m embarrassed for this generation. Future generations deserve better,” complained one Republican foe of the bill, Rep. Louie Gohmert.
The automatically triggered “fiscal cliff” spending cuts were put in place last year as an incentive to both parties to find ways to reduce the deficit. That solution grew out of the two parties’ inability in 2011 to agree to a grand bargain that would have taken a big bite out of the deficit which has averaged about $1 trillion a year.
For all the struggle involved in the legislation to avert the “fiscal cliff,” even its passage would merely clear the way for another round of struggle about taxes and spending almost as soon as the new Congress convenes.
With the Treasury expected to need an expansion in borrowing authority by early spring, and funding authority for most government programs set to expire in late March, Republicans have made it clear they intend to use those events as leverage with the administration to win savings from the Medicare health care program for the elderly and other government benefit programs.
In a statement after the vote, Boehner said, “Now the focus turns to spending. The American people re-elected a Republican majority in the House, and we will use it in 2013 to hold the president accountable for the ‘balanced’ approach he promised, meaning significant spending cuts and reforms to the entitlement programs that are driving our country deeper and deeper into debt.”
In his White House remarks, Obama said that while he was open to compromise, he would demand deficit-cutting savings from added revenue on the well-off, not just spending cuts.
He also pointedly said he would “not have another debate with this Congress” over extending the federal borrowing limit.
“If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic — far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff,” he said.
Archives for January 2013
Thousands were fed on Christmas Day by 1290 WMCS and the Salvation Army during the radio station’s 23rd annual Christmas Family Feast held at the Delta Center downtown, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. Santa was on hand to greet children with a host of volunteers–that included notables from the areas of government, business, education and the faith community–helping to serve those in need and make sure a joyous and wonderful day of fellowship and community for all who attended and served. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)
by Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
For a number of years, new Black leadership and media pundits such as radio talk show host Warren Ballentine has emerged preaching the gospel of economic self-reliance; a “let’s do it ourselves” philosophy of economic self-empowerment that requires us to do business with each other to uplift the race.
Chicago businesswoman Maggie Anderson decided to put the philosophy into action several years ago. In the process she and her family made history and dominated national media headlines by applying self-help economics in the Black community.
The Anderson family lived exclusively off Black business and talent and bought only Black made products for an entire year. It was an experiment the Andersons called the Empowerment Experiment (EE) and resulted in a landmark study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.
Since the completion of the experiment, Anderson has become the voice of American consumers of all backgrounds who want to make sure their buying power positively impacts struggling minority communities.
Anderson, the author of “Our Black Year,” which chronicled their “Buy Black” journey, was recently the keynote speaker for the 53rd annual Milwaukee Urban League’s Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon held at the Pfister Hotel.
During her address before the community’s and city’s business leaders, heads of community based organizations and civil rights activists, Anderson preached her gospel of economic self-reliance, discussing the Empowerment Experiment and what it was like to live by the pledge to support Black owned businesses, talent and products.
Anderson said the death of Black businesses and consumer support was integration, which she called the perfect storm that ended Black people doing business with each other.
Noting White businesses saw that money was plentiful within our community began to cater to Black consumers using advertising with Black faces, Anderson said we became brand loyal consumers who ignored products made by Black companies.
Also contributing to the demise of Black businesses and Black on Black consumerism was the aggressive recruitment (and Black pursuit of) talented Black people by white corporations.
“Getting a job with a big white company was the dream,” Anderson said during a recent interview with Black media after her address.
“Our parents instilled in us the message of working for someone else…white,” she continued. Anderson said Blacks are now seen as consumers, not business owners.
Plus, Anderson noted the Civil Rights Movement and its leadership made the mistake of focusing solely on civil rights and ignored “silver rights”—economic development of our own community and people.
The “Black flight” to the suburbs and the subsequent abandonment of Black communities created a economic vacuum that was filled by other ethnic groups: Latinos, Asians, Indians, Pakistanis and Arabs.
Instead of doing the Empowerment Experiment for a year, Anderson suggested doing it for a week for no other reason than to raise your consciousness.
Anderson said what impedes Black people from utilizing Black owned businesses is the mentality that “only white ice gets cold; we distrust Black businesses.
Black businesses are seen as inferior by Black people.
While Anderson did encounter some bad Black businesses, her first encounter doing the experiment was awful, most of her experiences were positive.
“If you do business with three Black businesses and two are bad, don’t say, ‘all Black businesses are bad.’ You don’t say that about White businesses. Such an attitude is detrimental for good Black businesses.
Anderson suggests Black consumers keep going to good, quality Black businesses in order to break down the negative stereotype Black businesses are burdened with.
She also suggests aspiring Black business people focus on newer markets and industries not stereotypically associated with the community like low-end, hold-in-the-wall soul food joints, candy and liquor stores, barber and beauty shops.
Such businesses—where the owner has little to no business training and no investors—are too common and offer substandard services that reflect the attitude it has towards a clientele with low self-esteem and poor.
“What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2013?”
Photos and question by Yvonne Kemp
Johnnie Johnson: “I want to help my son with his new business, MJ Welding Service.”
Ray Gilbert: “I want to improve some of the things I did last year. Be a better role model to the community.”
Andreal Howard: “I want to be a better mother for my three kids in 2013.”
Chavonne Smith: “To have a peaceful year. Stay healthy and keep in shape.”
Wisconsin State Sen. Glenn Grothman has outdone himself this time. The West Bend hard-right Republican legislator with a penchant for saying racially offensive, outrageous and insulting things about people of color and our institutions (he called the Martin Luther King Birthday holiday nothing more than a paid vacation that we don’t seriously celebrate), has decided to attack Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is an African American holiday created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chair of African studies at California State University, Long Beach. First celebrated in 1967, it is a week-long celebration that starts the day after Christmas (Dec. 26) and ends January 1.
Each day of the holdiay celebrates a principle. The principles are called the Nguzo Saba. They are (in order): Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).
In the almost 40 years since its inception, Kwanzaa has grown in popularity in Black America, with celebrations large and public (as what happened here in Milwaukee with several organizations and institutions in our community sponsoring and observing one of the seven Kwanzaa principles–that drew hundreds!) or observed in the privacy of ones home with family and friends.
Grothman recently composed and sent out a press release calling for…get ready now…an end to Kwanzaa.
We kid you not!
Grothman called Kwanzaa a “fake holiday” conjured up by Dr. Karenga, who he called “a racist,” and “hard-core liberals;” and that it was put forth to “separate Americans.”
The senator goes on to say that “almost no Black people care about Kwanzaa–just White left-wingers who try to shove this down Black people’s throats in an effort to divide Americans.”
Grothman…obviously…does not understand–let alone care about–Kwanzaa, a celebration designed to bring Black people together to celebrate principals grounded in African traditions, history and culture that we as a people should celebrate all the other 51 weeks in the year so as to lift us up economically, educationally, collectively, spiritually and culturally.
It would not surprise us if Grothman’s comments received tacit approval from other small minded individuals in our state, especially in West Bend (after all, they keep reelecting him to office).
Simply put, Grothman is an unapologetic racist who feels justified in his ideology given the current climate in our state and the nation in which the saying “take our country back” sounds erriely like a call to non-people of color to take the country back from various non-white groups whose customs and practices don’t jive with the mainstream.
Contrary to Grothman’s claim that Dr. Karenga created Kwanzaa because he “didn’t like the idea that Christ died for all of our sins,” and felt Black Americans should have their own holiday–hence Kwanzaa, the holiday is not religious. Anyone, from Christians to Muslims, Hindus and Buddists, can celebrate the holiday. Its principles are universal and can be applied by anyone.
Well, everyone but Sen. Grothman. What would possess him to make such statements only he can answer! Is the legislator so comfortable with his bigotry and believes his constituents and those in his party and fellow legislators will support him?
We hope not! We hope–and demand–that his fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle will refute and condemn what he has said about this holiday!
We hope Milwaukee’s legislative delegation will speak out and condemn Grothman as well; perhaps going as far as to seek some sort of censure for his gross and offensive comments.
by Perry Bacon Jr.
Some liberals were disappointed with the agreement President Obama accepted to avoid the fiscal cliff, which included dropping his pledge to raise taxes on all income above $250,000 and not including a provision to raise the debt ceiling, giving the GOP a chance to start another fiscal crisis in less than ten weeks.
But the actual details of this agreement were almost entirely in the president’s favor. Moving off of his desired numbers on taxes allowed the president to get billions of dollars in programs for the working poor and unemployed Americans that Republicans would only agree to as part of a larger compromise.
The deal includes $30 billion to help Americans who have been unemployed for longer than six months, as well about $120 billion spread over five years to keep in place increased child tax credits for low-income families with children and those paying for college that were in the 2009 stimulus and scheduled to expire.
While cuts may come later, there are actually almost no new spending reductions in this agreement. (The cuts from the 2011 debt ceiling negotiation will still eventually occur.) Obama successfully fought a Republican push to include Medicare or Social Security reductions in this deal.
Most importantly, almost every Republican senator and more than a third of House Republicans voted to raise taxes. Yes, Obama has proposed this years, but Republicans have opposed any increase ON ANYONE for two decades. Obama not only forced them to take a tax increase now, but is promising more during the rest of his tenure to balance the national budget.
And for both everyday Americans and Obama, “going off the cliff” for days or weeks would not have been ideal. If no agreement had been reached, tax rates would have went up immediately, taking away funds from people who live paycheck to paycheck. (And the difference would have been noticable, as a payroll tax cut from the last two years has already been eliminated) And no president can govern in the midst of a Wall Street meltdown, as could have happened if no agreement was reached.
“Look, there are a lot of conservatives in the Republican caucus in the House who hate the bill for good reason. This is a complete surrender on everything,” conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer declared on Fox News, as Politico reported.
To be sure, this is far from a perfect agreement for the White House. It sets up another fiscal battle, likely less than two months away, on the federal debt ceiling. Republicans are planning to use that one, as they did in 2011, to push for major spending cuts. And Obama won’t have the leverage he had in this debate, when he could threaten a massive tax hike would happen if Congress did nothing.
More broadly, this perpetual cycle of fiscal battles is a major challenge for the administration. The White House wants to use the State of the Union to make a major push on immigration reform, as well as try to advocate for gun control laws while the public is still focused on the issue in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Traditionally, the president can deliver a series of speeches on an issue and help focus and perhaps even persuade the public to back his ideas. But that’s extremely hard to do in a environment with countdown clocks warning of the latest budget calamity.
The deal also keeps in place a long-term budget fallacy: the federal budget can be balanced simply by reducing spending and raising taxes on the wealthy. This deal locks into place historically low tax rates for most Americans, who will eventually either pay more or accept fewer government services over the long-term.
But in the short term, this is a major accomplishment for Obama. More than anything else in his 2012 campaign, he ran on a pledge to reset Washington’s budget-making process to include the consideration of major tax increases. Less than two months after winning re-election, he succeeded.
by Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt
For the record, yes that was me discussing the movie ‘Django’ with conservative radio talk show host James T. Harris on WTMJ radio last Friday.
And yeah, I did challenge him on the authenticity of various aspects of the Quentin Tarantino epic slave drama starring Jamie Foxx. Those inconsistencies aside, the basic premise of the movie was correct: The movie accurately displayed slavery in America as the cruelest, most inhumane, and sadistic form of bondage known to human kind.
Despite its flaws, ‘Django’ did an adequate job of allowing the world to see bigotry at its worst. Whether the slave owners and other proponents of that ‘peculiar institution’ justified their actions on false biblical principles, or falsely claimed racial superiority, or just plain old devil induced evil is irrelevant. They were the lowest form of scum—including presidents and so-called founding fathers of this country—and deserved to be subjected to the same punishments (castration, mutilation and rape) that they inflicted on an innocent people whose only crime was their being born Black.
That statement off my chest…yes, yes, yes, I did acknowledge to James T. that I repeatedly scanned the audience throughout the movie to observe up close and personal the reactions of White folks every time the word ‘nigger’ was uttered, and then again when Foxx would shoot a White bigot en route to rescuing his wife. (Left behind, his wife was first seen butt naked in a torture box, being punished for not willingly accepted being raped.)
And oh yeah, early in our discussion last Friday, I made note to James T. (who was substituting for a vacationing Charlie Sykes) that I took my 22-year-old son, and 17-year-old grandson (both of whom are college sophomores) to see the movie.
I told them before hand that the movie would provide many ‘teaching’ moments. And it did, beyond the reaction of the audience to various scenes.
For reasons I don’t fully understand, James T. didn’t want to focus on ‘that’ aspect of our conversation, even though I tried to explain my problems with the movie and how I used scenes to instruct my ‘boys’ on being better human beings, and brothers in the on-going struggle. In other words, proud Black men who stand under the shadow of African culture versus the cloud of slavery.
But instead, James T. kept harping back to a statement made by Foxx prior to the movie’s release. Apparently (I never saw the telecast) while accepting an award for something, Foxx thanked the fans and his ‘Lord and Savior…Barack Obama.’
I don’t know the full circumstance beyond that idiotic statement, and can only assume that like to many Colored folks, Obama is considered a modern day ‘savior’ of sorts—not politically and culturally, if not spiritually. Either way, Foxx’s statement was blasphemous, ill timed and irrelevant. Just like James T’s references to Obama as the ‘Black Jesus or Messiah,’ some time ago.
“So let’s drop that aspect and get back to the movie James,” I said.
No, I didn’t fully understand the “political” controversy surrounding the movie and the idiotic assumption that Black folks vicariously applauded the killing of Whites in the movie as some form of retribution for evil deeds past and present. And that Foxx’s character symbolically represented Black America’s long held rage and hatred of Whites who represent satanic forces. Some conservatives even theorize that “Django” is the match that’s going to ignite a racial war of retribution (which explains why guns sales are at an all time high in America.)
Before you totally dismiss that theory as far-fetched, there’s a scene in the movie where the lead slave owner character (played admirably by Leonardo DiCaprio) questions why, given the cruelties and inhumane treatment inflicted on the Black slaves, they don’t revolt? How many whippings would you tolerate? Rapes? Disfigurements? He implied. A real man would rather be killed fighting for his freedom than slowly tortured to death.
The answer, DiCaprio posited, was that Black people are intellectually and emotionally inferior. They are submissive and accepting of their role.
DiCaprio even uses the skull of a former slave to illuminate his point, pointing out that the area of the brain that regulated creative thought versus submissiveness was smaller than in Whites.
Hum…sounds a lot like the book “The Bell Curve” doesn’t it?
Now, for the record, many in the audience applauded, clapped or otherwise expressed satisfaction every time a White villain was killed. And that included White folks, who I observed as part of my research.
Most of us felt no sympathy for those killed; obviously, some of us rejoiced in it. But I also assumed most of us (them) looked at the movie in the same vein as Inglorious Bastards, another Tarantino movie where the villains were Nazis. Or one of those televisions shows where the villains are vampires or the walking dead.
Having studied history (versus the lies taught in schools today), I recognize the Civil War was fought to force America to follow the path of the New Covenant versus the Old Testament, although that amendment never passed legislative scrutiny. Slavery ended, but racism didn’t. There are still Whites in America we believe we are inferior, and that slavery, or at least second-class citizenship, is our rightful place.
But what the movie did—to a small degree—was force even the bigots to acknowledge that America’s brand of slavery was the most inhumane system of bondage in world history, and not the make believe world represented in Shirley Temple movies. Black folks died for talking back, for staring a white in the eye. They were cattle, our sisters and mothers raped at a whim, our brothers mutilated for trivial offenses. The devil controlled the South; there’s no other way to look at it.
So yes, when I scanned the audience, I felt a little better when the Whites understood those realities and cheered on the killing of the slave master and his subordinates.
But that wasn’t the teaching moment I spoke of.
My classroom opened up after the movie, when I explained to my boys why they should never use the adjective “nigger.” Its sting wasn’t any less painful when uttered by an Uncle Tom butler, or the slave overseer as he prepared to cut off Django’s testicles.
The movie does a fair job of showing how the handful of Black slaves with power (or freed coloreds) imitated the Whites by referring to their less fortunate brethren slaves as nigger. It apparently gave them a sense of power, but also ingrained in them a subconscious belief that they were somehow superior. That seed has been nurtured over the centuries. And today, without realizing it, those of us who refer to each other as niggers (spelled nigger, or negras, or nigga) believe ourselves to be those “superior” creatures without realizing the joke is on us. In essence, the shadow of slavery still hovers over all of us. We are those simple minded, inferior, uncivilized beings who were bred to work the fields and serve the master. As long as we refer to each other as “niggers,” we are all slaves.
That indeed was the most powerful image I left the theater with.
“Django” is a movie; a fantasy. It is make believe based on sensationalized historical facts and cartoon dramatization. And Jamie Fox—aka Django—was not Nate Turner. His motives in the movie were not rooted in the liberation of Black slaves. In fact, to perpetrate his character in the movie he actually promoted the murder of a ‘disobedient slave, who was in turn savagely eaten by a pack of dogs as the slave chasers looked gleefully on.
I would encourage folks to go see the movie, but more so to provide an opportunity for discussion than to cheer on a 19th century version of John Shaft or Slaughter. Think of the movie as a tainted history lesson and take heed to the words of Samuel L. Jackson (said in an interview before the movie’s premier), who played a classic Uncle Tom in the movie. “If Black folks aren’t mad at my character, then there’s something wrong with our race.”
With songs like “My Testimony,” “Tell The World” and “I Shall Leap,” Marvin Sapp, Lecrae and Le’Andria Johnson have been listed as some of this year’s top Gospel recording artists.
Trusted music publication Billboard revealed its “Best of 2012” list earlier this month, listing all three acts and fellow inspirational recording artists including Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Tamela Mann, Kirk Franklin, Jessica Reedy and Isaac Caree on the Best Albums and Songs charts.
Following the compilation effort “Wow Gospel 2012,” Marvin Sapp is listed at no.2 on the Gospel Albums chart with “I Win.”
Led by the breakthrough song “My Testimony,” the album is his fourth (solo) studio album.
Lecrae follows Marvin Sapp at no.3 on the chart with “Gravity,” his sixth studio album. Released through Reach Records, “Gravity” includes efforts like “Mayday,” “Tell The World” and “Lucky Ones” (as well as contributions from Mali Music and Rudy Currence).
William McDowell (“Arise”), James Fortune & FIYA (“Identity”), Fred Hammond (“God, Love & Romance”) and the Joyful Noise soundtrack round out the top seven respectively.
“Sunday Best” (BET) winner and recent Grammy Award winner Le’Andria Johnson comes in at no.8 on the Gospel Albums Chart with “The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson.” Led by the single “Jesus,” the album also features inspirational and moving songs like “I Shall Leap,” “He Was There” and “Struggle Not.”
Mary Mary (“Go Get It”) and Tamela Mann (“Best Days”) round out the top 10.
The year end “Best Of” chart is “ranked by radio airplay audience impressions as measured by Nielsen BDS and sales data as compiled by Nielsen Soundscan” according to Billboard.
(Washington, DC) – On Sunday, January 20, 2013 in Washington, D.C., a day prior to the second-term inauguration of President Barack Obama, a diverse roster of gospel talent will trace the Civil Rights journey through song at the “Second Chances Inaugural Concert & Prayer Service” (SCIGCPS). The performers are: 2011 Stellar Award Female Vocalist of the Year, the dynamic Beverly Crawford, Earl Bynum & The Mount coming fresh off a tour in Italy, vocally versatile military veteran John Butler, the youthful Brandon Camphor and One Way, and returning from a hiatus on the national scene, Monique Walker Davenport will sing the classic “God of A Second Chance” and more. Presented by Vote With Authority, the faith-based voter advocacy coalition, the event starts at 7:00 p.m.
Accessible to all, the SCIGCPS is uniquely a party with a divine purpose aimed at bringing churches and people of faith together to pray, praise, acknowledge and applaud the faith-based electorate. The program will consist of prayers from clergy aimed at ushering in the new administration with a spiritual covering and spirit-filled performances, followed by a VIP meet and greet and reception (for deluxe ticket holders).
Throughout the socio-political challenges and waves of racial flux in America’s history faith, music and the Black Church have always been a source of inspiration, strength and guidance for African Americans and the Black Church has celebrated its own in times of peril or progress. It is in the spirit of this tradition that the SCIGCPS will stand tall as the only faith-based entertainment of the inauguration season that focuses solely on the political contributions of people of faith.
Additionally, as the inauguration pivots during a time of momentous Civil Rights events, organizers have planned special tributes to reflect on the historical significance of the 50th anniversary of the deadly bombings at 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963, the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the year 2013 marking the time the landmark Voting Rights Act that protected Blacks for voter disenfranchisement will be challenged before the supreme court and the symbolic timing of the second swearing in of President Barack Obama on MLK Day.
An awards segment will complete the program. In recognition of the life and legacy to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the “Mountain Climbers Award” will be presented to stalwarts of civil rights, organizations, and avid voting advocates that exemplify an outstanding commitment to freedom and equality on a grassroots or national level. Honorees are TBA.
Tickets are available for purchase by phone by calling 703-986-3464 or online at www.gospelinaugural.com starting at $25. Group rates are available to churches, large groups and civic organizations.
Pastor Cora Parchia (far left), Eld. Alvin Morris (second from left) and Pastor Monica Parchia (far right) of Mt. Zion Assembly Healing Temple, recently presented one of several boxes of items to Larry Walles of the Salvation Army to be given to the families of the children and educators who were victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)