COVID-19 has not affected all industries and businesses equally, with some experiencing a huge spike in sales during the pandemic. Cannabis is just one of the markets that have seen sales surge with more Americans staying home and sparking up.
To the Cloud Vapor Store (an online retailer that sells cannabis vaporizers) has experienced a 75 percent growth in sales over the last three weeks, with a 200 percent increase in sales to metropolitan areas under mandatory quarantine, such as New York and San Francisco.
Tyler Browne, the owner of To the Cloud Vapor Store attributes this to a few factors: With more time spent sitting inside more people are smoking and drinking.
Cannabis dispensaries remain open, but smoke shops are closed. Online retailers who sell goods such as cannabis vaporizers — products that many would otherwise purchase at local smoke shops, are being bought online.
Cannabis vaporizers emit much less of an odor compared to the conventional consumption methods of smoking. This permits someone inside on quarantine to smoke without worrying about stinking up their apartment complex or house with kids.
To the Cloud Vapor Store offers rentals and lifetime buybacks, which allow customers to return their vaporizer after use. We have seen a vast amount of inquiries about renting a vaporizer to use in quarantine.
There’s more to homeownership than the cost of your down payment. Learn about — and prepare — for the true cost of ownership.
The decision to go from renter to homeowner can be exciting. But there’s more to homeownership than your down payment, closing costs, and any other upfront expenses you’ll need to cover — like the cost of moving, and fees to set up or transfer your utilities. To make a financially healthy decision about homeownership, plan ahead for the true cost of ownership before buying your new home.
Know the regular fixed expenses
After purchasing the home, there are ongoing fixed costs, such as:
Mortgage payment (principal and interest)
Private mortgage insurance (if applicable)
Homeowners association and other community fees (if applicable)
Though the payments for these items may come at different times (e.g., monthly, quarterly or annually), you should add up the monthly cost of each to understand how they’ll affect you on a day-to-day basis. Make sure to factor these costs — including the monthly amounts you’ll have to save for your annual payments — into your monthly spending plan. Doing this will help you avoid buying a house that you can’t afford, which can happen even if you’ve been approved for the mortgage. You’ll also be able to fully grasp how much you’ll have left over for flexible and discretionary expenses. The Hands on Banking® website has more resources on making a spending plan.
Plan for ongoing maintenance and repairs
Owning a home also means planning for ongoing maintenance and repairs. Homeowners may need to budget 1% to 2% of the purchase price of their home on maintenance each year, though that may vary based on the condition of the home. Remodeling rooms or the entire home would cost considerably more.
It’s always a good idea to put money aside in an emergency fund to protect against surprise situations. But some home maintenance and repairs aren’t really emergencies, because you can count on features eventually reaching the end of their useful life — things like the roof or appliance replacement.
Instead of dipping into your emergency fund for these costs, it’s best to set aside a certain amount of money every month specifically for them. You can use a savings account to save for home-related costs, like repaving your driveway or renovating parts of your house. That way, you can reserve your emergency fund for truly urgent situations, such as medical needs or sudden unemployment.
Buying a home can be both rewarding and challenging. Doing your homework will ensure that homeownership is as stress-free as possible, both during and after the purchase.
More information is available on Hands on Banking, a great place to start educating yourself about these costs.
After more than 20 years in development, the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) is ready to open its doors to music lovers of all ages. The 56,000 square foot facility located in the heart of downtown Nashville will officially open to guests on Thursday, September 3, 2020 kicking off a Labor Day weekend packed with grand opening events that will help introduce NMAAM to Nashville and the world. Advance tickets can now be purchased from the NMAAM website with general admission ticket prices ranging from $13 to $24.
“We’re extremely excited to announce our September grand opening date for all of the music fans who have been anxiously awaiting the debut of this museum,” said H. Beecher Hicks III, NMAAM President and CEO. “This museum is a unique place that tells a special story. Our hope is that no matter your age, race or preferred music genre, within this museum you can find something that stirs your soul, pleases your ears and moves your feet. We encourage everyone to start planning their 2020 trips to Nashville and purchase your tickets to this first-of-its-kind institution dedicated to celebrating incredible people and moments in American history.”
NMAAM will open to guests on September 3 as the anchor tenant of the Fifth + Broadway development. Fifth + Broadway is one of the largest mixed use developments in the region that includes retail, residential and office space right at the center of downtown Nashville on historic Broadway.
Upon opening, guests who visit the museum will be immersed in generations of musical history created and inspired by the work of African Americans. NMAAM features seven content galleries—six permanent and one rotating—that chronicle Black musical traditions from the 1600s up to the present day. More than 50 genres and sub-genres of American music are explored from spirituals and gospel, to jazz, blues, hip-hop, R&B and more.
First multi-genre Black music museum scheduled to open early September in ‘Music City’
Advance tickets for general admission to the museum are now available online from the museum website, www.nmaam.org. All admission tickets are timed, with tours scheduled every 30 minutes. The first tour group will enter at 9:00 a.m. and the last tour block will be sold at 4:00 p.m. with the museum closing at 5:00 p.m. daily. Guests will be able to select their time slot based upon ticket availability.
General admission ticket prices are as follows: individual/adult ticket (18 years and above) is $24.95, youth ticket (7-17 years) is $13.50, senior ticket (65 years and above) is $18.75, student/educator/military ticket (must show I.D.) is $18.75 and children’s ticket (6 years and below) is free when accompanied by a paid adult. Guests who wish to spend more than one day in the museum may purchase a multi-day pass for up to three days for $37.50 at all levels. Guests can also explore becoming a museum member to receive unlimited entry for a year and access to exclusive content and museum discounts. Memberships start in the range of $25 to $50 per individual. For additional information, please visit the Membership section of the website or call 615-488-3310. Please note that listed ticket prices do not include local taxes and fees and prices are subject to change.
Group rates are available for parties of 15 or more people. Anyone interested in tour group pricing should contact email@example.com to coordinate their group’s visit.
The full list of grand opening activities for NMAAM and Fifth + Broadway will be released in the upcoming months. Be sure to follow @TheNMAAM across all social media to stay up-to-date on the latest details.
About the National Museum of African American Music
The National Museum of African American Music, set to open in Labor Day weekend 2020, will be the only museum dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the central role African Americans have played in shaping American music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to honor Black musical heroes of the past and the present. For more information, please visit www.blackmusicmuseum.org.
Official Trailer “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas.
It’s lyrical. Like an extended poem with waves of emotion, heady rumination, love proclamations and lost souls gathering around a common issue.
Some will recollect the true-life story of Bonnie and Clyde, but they gained fame for crimes and robbing banks. A closer comparison is Thelma & Louise, two feminist icons who were pushed into rebellion. Yet their story never involved an intimacy between the two that included sexual attraction and love.
Queen & Slim is on its own path. Groundbreaking for its rich, layered storytelling (Lena Waithe, Emmy-winner TV’s Master of None), stylish direction (Melina Matsoukas, Grammy-winner Best Music Video Beyoncè: Formation), provocative contemplations on race and police abuse and two performances that will redefine how black men and women are portrayed on screen.
They meet at a diner in nowhere Ohio. She, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith TV’s Jett), is an aloof and exacting criminal defense lawyer, with braids down her back and a disposition more sour than a lemon. He, Slim (Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out), a salesclerk, is her polar opposite. Congenial, funny, sardonic sloppy. He chews his food with his mouth open, making noises that could wake the dead. It annoys her. He’s completely oblivious. Fate didn’t bring these disparate souls together. Blame it on Tinder.
Driving home from their rendezvous, a siren flares, red and white lights flash and his porcelain-colored Honda Accord is pulled over by a very white and overly aggressive cop (Sturgill Simpson, Grammy-winner Best Country Album “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth”). The car is searched. Nothing is found.
(from left) Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) in “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas.
It’s as if the police officer is extra pissed because he can’t find drugs or alcohol. His anger grows. Slim is calm. Queen, as attorneys can be, is indignant. The situation escalates. A gun is drawn, and shots are fired. Queen and Slim go on the lam, driving down endless highways, trying to escape. He’s not sure what to do. She: “Keep running until we come up with a better plan.”
In the first five minutes the tension between the two draws you in. Contrary personalities, yet common cultural threads. Conversations about the movie Love Jones and other Black pop knowledge banter set their personae: They are hip, smart, modern African Americans. People you may have known in college, on your 9-5, from a dinner party… They’ve got urbane exteriors. Underneath they are scarred and vulnerable. You want to watch them court and spark. You want them to survive.
Bokeem Woodbine as Uncle Earl in “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas.
This is the mark of brainy, sensitive and socially aware screenwriting that will likely propel Lena Waithe from TV gigs to steady feature film work. Her mixed bag of indelible characters include: an ex-con uncle (Bokeem Woodbine, Jason’s Lyric); the con’s ladyfriend (Indya Moore, TV’s Pose); a good-willed sheriff (Benito Martinez, TV’s 13 Reasons Why); and a war vet (Flea, bassist for The Red Hot Chili Peppers).
Police aggression in the black community ignites a journey that’s laced with intrigue, thrills, narrow escapes, family drama and a romance that goes from highly unlikely to sensual bliss. All of it keeps viewers guessing what’s next—right until the end. For good measure, provocative dialogue expresses the characters’ subjective attitudes. Queen: “Nothing scares a white man more than a black man on a horse.” Slim: “Why?” Queen: “Because they have to look up to them.”
(from left) Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine), Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Naomi (Melanie Kalfkenny, standing) in “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas.
Taking a script that is as rich and descriptive as a Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon) or Bernice McFadden (Gathering of Waters) novel and turning it into eye-catching cinema requires the talent of a gifted director. Music video turned cable TV director Melina Matsoukas (HBO’s Insecure) is up to that challenge. Action sequences have verve. Dramatic scenes are well staged and crafted. Romantic moments duly erotic.
Between intense conversations, conflicts and deaths, Matsoukas gives the footage time to breath, with carefree moments: Queen sits on the windowsill of a gold-colored Mercedes-Benz station wagon, as it travels down a two-lane road. Sun on her face, wind in her hair. In endless sequences of supreme tension, it’s an oasis moment. The kind video directors imagine freely, when other filmmakers do not.
Daniel Kaluuya as Slim in “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas.
The keen eye of cinematographer Tat Radcliffe (’71) frames scenes perfectly and makes chocolate skin look incandescent. The creations of production designer Karen Murphy (A Star Is Born) make a stately Georgia home and a mechanic’s shop equally impressive. An engaging playlist includes the most modern neo soul music and old gritty blues. Shiona Turini’s costumes steal the show. To her credit, Slim’s borrowed wine-colored velour track suit and Queen’s tiger-striped mini-dress and reptile skin white boots could become iconic film garb.
Jodie Turner-Smith as Queen in “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas.
Daniel Kaluuya is a photographer’s gift. The camera lens loves his guy-next-door face, large eyes, full lips and dark complexion. He plays Slim completely understated, tender in the right moments, brave in others. His is a subtle performance, fueled by inner strength. Turner-Smith’s character arc shines as she takes Queen from the impervious, to the needy, to the courageous. In the beginning her long braids weigh her down, just like her cranky disposition. Later, when she’s shorn, it’s as if a duck has left and a swan arrived. Happier. Adaptive. In the mood for love. With a beauty that would shame a goddess.
It’s been a minute sense Bokeem Woodbine was in a film that properly displayed his talents. It’s as if his career has come full circle. Moore, Flea, Simpson, Colby Boothman as a convenience store clerk and Jahi Di’Allo Winston as a young martyr complete a compelling supporting cast that turns in superb ensemble acting.
More judicious cutting (editor Pete Beaudreau, Beast of No Nation) could have trimmed the 2hr 12 min. run time. Scenes at the uncle’s house could have been shorter. Chopping off a couple of road sequences might have made the film tighter. But it’s doubtful the target audience will complain about the movie’s rhythm or compass.
The mix of racial/social hot-button issues may make some squirm. Crime/drama/thriller elements will likely keep viewers engrossed. The love story and carnal scenes could inspire couples to hold hands.
These engaging qualities should attract and satiate urban audiences and romantics looking for a unique, soul-searching allegory hidden inside a crime getaway film. Queen: “I’m scared.” Slim; “I’ll be brave enough for the both of us.”
Visit NNPA News Wire Film Critic Dwight Brown at DwightBrownInk.com and BlackPressUSA.com.
2020 also marks sesquicentennial of 15th Amendment
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” — The 19th Amendment:
This year marks the 100th anniversary celebration of American women’s right to vote. The passage of the 19th Amendment was won after a 72-year long struggle led by a number of prominent women, including one Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913).
Tubman, a former slave and a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad for eight years, was also an abolitionist and political activist. She became a passionate suffragette, attending local meetings and national conferences.
When asked if she believed in women’s suffrage, she said “I suffered enough to believe it.”
Ernestine (Tina) Martin Wyatt is a great-great-great-grandniece of Tubman. An artist and activist, Wyatt’s work is featured as a permanent collection in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.
Wyatt joined other descendants of historical Blacks — Fredrick Douglass and Ida B. Wells — who were featured on the city of Pasadena’s float, “Years of Hope, Years of Courage” during the Rose Parade last month. The women’s suffrage centennial float was designed as a symbolic reminder of the responsibility to vote, and to continue the fight for equality and inclusion.
The day after the parade, Wyatt received a commendation from the office of County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, which read:
“As an innovative and ground-breaking educator, co-founder of Harriet Tubman Day and the Celebrate to Educate program in Washington D.C., you continue in her (Tubman’s) footsteps to inspire youth and educate young people about her many historical achievements during the underground railroad, civil war, emancipation and through the American suffrage movement.”
Wyatt’s great-grandmother worked alongside Tubman and also lived with her for a short period. Wyatt’s grandmother saw Tubman as just another aunt.
“We knew what family meant to her,” Wyatt said in a Focus features interview when the movie, “Harriet” debuted last November. “Her love of family was one of the things that was perpetuated. The other thing was her faith, a belief in taking yourself out of the center in order to serve the needs of other people. That is really something that has been passed down from aunt Harriet to my great-grandmother to my grandmother to my mother and now to me. And I am passing the same beliefs down to my children and my grandchildren.”
Black men gained their voting rights with the passage of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1870. Wyatt understood why Tubman would join the fight to pass the 19th Amendment.
“It only takes one person to change things,” Wyatt said. “It is like a domino effect — what we do and how it affects others in a positive way.”
Michelle Duster is an award-winning author, speaker, historian and writing professor at Columbia College in Chicago. She is the great-granddaughter of prominent journalist, abolitionist and feminist Ida B. Wells (1862 – 1931). Wells was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation and went on to lead an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890’s. She also co-founded the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in 1896 and was on the front lines of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
Duster has written, published and contributed to a total of nine books, two of which include the writings of her great-grandmother: “Ida in Her Own Words” and “Ida from Abroad.” She gives presentations about her work to make sure that Wells’ legacy does not fade from public memory.
“I learned at an early age that my great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells, was a force to be reckoned with,” Duster writes in one of her articles. “At the end of the 19th century, as an investigative journalism pioneer, she uncovered and documented in meticulous detail the violence of lynching.”
In 1913, Wells founded the Alpha Suffrage Club, the first African American women’s group that advocated for the right to vote. The club aimed to give a voice to Black women who had been excluded from other suffrage organizations. Although women in Chicago were granted the right to vote in 1910, Whites tried to ban Blacks from voting altogether.
As Wells stated in her autobiography: “We (women) could use our vote for the advantage of ourselves and our race.”
Kenneth B. Morris Jr., is the great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) and the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915). His mother, Nettie Washington Douglass, is the daughter of Nettie Hancock Washington (granddaughter of Booker T. Washington) and Dr. Frederick Douglass III (great-grandson of Frederick Douglass).
Morris contributed to the afterword to “Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American.” He also wrote the forward to the 2017 centennial edition of the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave,” which the Library of Congress named one of the 88 books that shaped America.
Douglass, whose biography was published in 1845, escaped slavery as a young man and devoted his life to ending it through his abolitionist speaking engagements. He became an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln. Later, he used the platform of his newspaper, the North Star, to enlist petitioners to sign the declaration supporting women’s rights.
A believer in the equality of all, Douglass was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention, held in upstate New York, where he spoke in favor of women’s suffrage.
Morris now carries the abolitionist torch of his ancestor’s legacy with his work in the fight against modern day slavery and his co-founding of the Atlanta-based non-profit Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI), which has its mission to advance freedom through knowledge and strategic action.
He began his activism when a buddy passed along a magazine.
“The cover story was of 21st century slaves and I reacted the way I think most people do,” Morris said. “Slavery didn’t end with the work of Frederick Douglass, and I have two teenage daughters, who at the time were 12 and 9 years old. I got up and walked into my girls’ room and I found that I couldn’t look them in the eyes and not do anything.”
The FDFI teaches children about the 27 million people currently enslaved worldwide.
“As Frederick Douglass said, it’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men,” said Morris.
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News
This year’s focus on accomplished women was not totally overlooked at the African Union Summit, despite its preoccupation with the president of Sudan, migration, xenophobia and other pressing issues.
An awards banquet was hosted by the African Union/Diaspora African Forum at the five-star Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton City, Johannesburg, Friday.
The presentation categories were the Living Legends Award, in recognition of the elders who have paved the way, and the Women of Excellence Award.
Recipients of the the Living Legends Award were Nigerian business magnate Dorothy Anyiam-Osigwe; President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, the first female head of state on the continent; Joyce Banda, former president of the Republic of Malawi; Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, current AU chairperson; and Winnie Mandela, South African anti-apartheid heroine and former wife of the former president of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela.
Recipients of the Women of Excellence Award were Saida Agrebi of Tunisia, Nardos Bekele-Thomas of Ethiopia, Dr. Arikana Chihombori of Zimbabwe, Graca Machel of Mozambique, Justice Victoria Okobi of Nigeria, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of Ghana, Sama Salifu of Ghana and Dr. Julieti Tuakli of Ghana.
Speaking at the opening of the Second African Union High Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace said more than 70 percent of women in Africa are victims of financial exclusion.
“African women face many barriers in accessing financial services, including the constraints of time and mobility, illiteracy, legal and cultural constraints and sexual discrimination,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma observed that African women continue to labor in the 21st century with outdated means, such as the hoe, the machete and the pestle and mortar, as well as the grinding stone.
She expressed the commission’s vision that in 2015 and beyond, African women should have access to new technologies and work in a modernized and mechanized agricultural sector to fulfill the commitment and vision of the African Union, namely, that the hand-held hoe should be relegated to agricultural museums.
Consequently, the AUC, on June 14, launched an advocacy campaign during the summit by handing tillers symbolically to all 54 AU member states, signifying the commitment of the countries to mechanize agriculture and reduce the physical suffering of African women.
Mandela expressed gratitude for her award, saying, “I was almost reduced to tears when I got this invitation, but my tears dried up during the brutal times of apartheid.”
Graca Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela, said her award made her remember the women who suffered every day through abuse and rape. She dedicated her award to struggling women in rural areas and the 32 million girls in Africa who did not have access to education.
“This is also for the Chibok girls, who were simply targeted for seeking education,” Machel said. “We have to do much more than celebrating, because we are privileged and privilege comes with responsibility.”