Friday, August 7, 2015
At this time in Washington D.C., with all the buzz about corporate investment (Walmart, etc.) finally coming to the River East districts, I find myself looking at our own Capicostia and wondering...where are the Afro-American owned and run businesses?
It was a family-owned business, one that hired Afro-Americans and others, that sent me to good schools and kept food on our table, when I was growing up. With more family-owned businesses, like ours, ..there might be no unemployment in River East or anywhere else in our great nation. If the most revolutionary thing a black man or person can do in the United States of America is to get up and go to work for himself, in his community, ..certainly, the District's predominantly black, River East communities (like Capicostia) are no exception.
Be they Afro-American, Ethiopian, Trinidadian or Dominican doesn't matter. The enterprises of one individual, group or family will ultimately benefit all, removing as many African-descended people from the game board of socioeconomic exclusion, disenfranchisement and exploitation, as are within reach to do so, ..until the exclusion no longer matters. That, and not lobbying American institutions for fair inclusion or attempting to co-opt the political power of well-intentioned whites, must be our community's primary objective - not our singular objective, ..but, our primary objective.
Anything else is a waste of time.
I think it's long past the time, in the District of Columbia and throughout our beloved country, to fulfill the promise that our ancestors, true, freedom-loving Americans, have labored, suffered and died for: free enterprise.
God bless America.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Penn Branch Center merchants have confirmed that SEVEN ELEVEN will be opening a new store, between PB Center’s old, broken down escalators and the H&R Block, in a space that will soon be vacated, by Beltway Beauty and Barber Supply - that's just four doors down from the CVS Pharmacy.
Furthermore, SEATTLE'S BEST COFFEE will not be moving into that space, as previously scribbled on this blog. In fact, the opening of a Seven Eleven almost guarantees that PBC will NOT be getting a Seattle's Best, Starbucks, Cosi, Peet's or any other proper coffeeshop, in the immediately forseeable future.
Everyone in Penn Branch is talking about this, but, no one is reporting it. No one. Not sure why that is, ..but have a look at the Post article, anyway.
7-Eleven is taking over Washington, one hot wing at a time - The Washington Post
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Pride. This Mexican American of African descent - fourth generation in the U.S. - who has never even been to L.A., has nothing, but, pride, over here...
Friday, June 12, 2015
I like coffee, and THIS is the BEST COFFEE in the entire WESTERN WORLD!
I wrote a review of Zed's Café and One Big Living Room, many years ago, on a now defunct WordPress blog, and I might have described little else, but, the coffee, ..which is phenomenal. So, this time, while there is much to praise about this legend of Silver Spring hospitality, I don't want to diminish that one, indisputable fact. Phenomenal coffee! Go anywhere else, where you are poured a cup of coffee, and the quality of the coffee that you will find at Zed's Café will surpass it, every time and at every hour of the day. How does proprietor, Zed Mekonnen, do it?
He has a gold standard.
Zed's Café, in Downtown Silver Spring, delivers the promise of what a cafe serves, coffee, and that standard is never compromised. Ever. The quality of the coffee - a cup of Nirvana, every time - and the paninis and wraps and French, Swiss and Italian pastries and the cheesecake (my favorite) is always deliciously, sensually exceptional. What brings me back to Zed's, however, is more than fine coffee and cheesecake and beautiful, Ethiopian and European women. Yes, these are considerations, ..but, what Mr. Mekonnen has created here - what the local press has consistently lauded - is an experience. Zed's Café is an experience, ..and that, in my opinion, has always been the mark of the most celebrated bistros, bars, and restaurants.
The first thing that strikes you about Zed's is the decidedly Bohemian décor, which is classic coffeehouse vibe - a funky, eclectic mix of mismatched steel-frame dinette chairs, vinyl easy chairs, tufted wingback chairs, elegantly appointed mahogany chairs and tables ..and broad, cushy, soul-hugging loveseats. Wi-Fi is free. The genius of local artists is exhibited on the walls, mixed in with small, framed paintings of exotic places, around the world. There are books, everywhere - shelved on every wall, resting on cocktail tables and end tables, between chairs. Between and around the books, there are colorful figurines and other knick-knacks, scattering the scene, ..as if by a favorite uncle. Somewhat on the small and cozy side - it's not a kiosk, at Safeway - Zed's Cafe looks and feels lived in and loved, as if it's been here, forever, ..and welcoming you to drop by, whenever!
Peep in, at any time of the day, and you will find silver-haired friends chatting, yuppies and bootstrappers tapping away on laptops and flawlessly beautiful East African women doing something, ..beautifully. It's where community groups meet. It's where young couples cuddle. It's where new mothers take a break, with their babies. It's where brilliant protest poetry is written and LIVE blues, jazz and indie music is played. It's where college buddies quietly argue over what's going on in a comic book. The 'friend', whose generosity they've all gathered to enjoy, ..more than the ruggedly handsome bloke, quietly pouring coffee, behind the counter, ..is an authentic feeling of belonging and being welcome, in a familiar place...
And that is a stroke of commercial genius.
Whoever you are, you will not be kept waiting for what you came for, because service, here, is consistently fast and efficient - another standard that is never compromised.
More than Starbucks, and with none of the corporate, mass-marketed artificiality of Starbucks's wannabees, Zed's Cafe is an authentic experience ..that can be as brief, intimate, memorable, amusing or lazy and irreverent, as you like. Whether you are sending in kids for carryout coffee, while you're double-parked on Georgia Avenue, ..or you are digging in, with friends, for light eats and live music, ..you leave Zed's, feeling glad that you dropped by.
Isn't that how dropping by a friend's 'Living Room' should feel?
Zed's Café and One, Big Living Room is located at 8225 Georgia Avenue, in Silver Spring, Maryland, ..at the very gateway of the Downtown district. Go. Linger. Double-park. Carry-out. Taste. Love.
Friday, June 5, 2015
Give our young Penn Branchers a sense of pride and purpose, the foundation for true self esteem, by enlisting them in the work of keeping our neighborhood clean and beautiful, ..and they will appreciate, as much as we do, what a special place Penn Branch is to all of us. They have a right to feel proud of where they live ..and the hard work it takes to keep Penn Branch worthy of that pride.
I grew up in Penn Branch, ..and I am still very, very proud of that.
Bring your kids to Memorial Park Spring Clean-up. God bless all of you.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
It's happening with Russians, Dominicans, Italians, Irish, Koreans and Mexicans. This has been the trend with so many ethnic groups, over the years - especially, black pe...ople from the West Indies, Latin America and the Continent - coming to America in the past hundred-plus years. Afro-Americans, some of whom are survivors of ..and proud descendants of survivors of abduction and enslavement in the United States, have faced a unique array of challenges, when we have attempted to create a viable, economically independent reality, here in America - challenges that other ethnic groups have not faced and may find difficult to understand.
Look up the 'Greenwood riots' of Tulsa, Oklahoma (admittedly, an extreme example), if you want to understand that better.
I think the time to set a new standard is now. The socioeconomic reality of Afro-Americans must change, ..and that is what I hope 'PowerTalk Two' will be about. If you are tired of hearing all of the reasons that River East can't be better, ..you need to quit whining about all of the above and join me, Carl Nelson, Baba Dick Gregory and Dr. Claud Anderson (author of Black Labor, White Wealth), on June 19th and 20th, at Power Talk Two.