Brooklyn Legends Week in Review – My Magnificent 6

Dear Readers,

Time.com

Content.Time.com

Last month President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

I was delighted to see 6 women among this highly esteemed group and 2 are Brooklyn natives. For me it just doesn’t get any better.

It is truly an honor to salute:

Major Bonnie Carroll (Retired US Air Force), a public servant who has devoted her life to caring for our military and veterans.

Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (posthumous), the first African-American woman elected to Congress, the first major-party African-American female candidate to make a bid for the U.S. presidency and Brooklyn resident.

Gloria Estefan, one of the first mainstream Hispanic artists to crossover between English and Spanish language music paving the way for countless other Latin artists to follow.

Katherine G. Johnson, a pioneer in American space history and a NASA mathematician whose computations have influenced every major space program from Mercury through the Shuttle program.

Senator Barbara Milkulski, who became the longest-serving female Senator in 2011 and the longest-serving woman in Congress and the first female Senator to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2012.

Barbra Streisand world-famous singer, actor, director, producer and songwriter and one of the few performers to receive an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony.  Ms. Streisand was born in Brooklyn, NY.

Brooklyn Legends is pleased to join the world in saluting all of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, especially My Magnificent 6. To learn more about this year’s honorees, please follow this link.

Fondly,
Monique

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Credits:
The White House Briefing Room

My Thanksgiving Playlist #6 – “Home”

Dear Readers,

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your day.  I am pleased to share the 6th song on my Thanksgiving playlist, Home by the amazing Ms. Stephanie Mills. She is also a Brooklyn native.

The title of the song says it all – Home. During the holidays we all long to be surrounded by  family and close friends in the comfort of home.  For me this is one of the greatest joys around.

Fondly,
Monique

My Thanksgiving Playlist #3 – “I Believe in You and Me”

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to share the 3rd song from my Thanksgiving playlist – I Believe in You and Me by Whitney Houston. There are days when I still cannot believe she is no longer with us. Whitney’s voice was legendary and her delivery was spectacular.

This is my last post for today, but you will be hearing from me tomorrow. For now, please enjoy the fabulous Ms. Whitney Houston.

Have a great evening.

Fondly,
Monique

Brooklyn Legends Brunch With the Arts – The Wiz is Coming!

Dear Readers,

Happy Saturday and welcome to Brooklyn Legends Brunch With the Arts.  If you haven’t heard the news, The Wiz is coming to NBC on Thursday, December 3rd and I am so excited.  I have fond memories of my mother taking me to see The Wiz twice during its Broadway run. Each time we sat close to the front and I was ecstatic to hear Stephanie Mills sing her heart out (as my younger self-described it). She was awesome. After my second visit, I knew that I wanted to be just like her. There was one huge challenge – I could not sing; but I could dream. Stephanie’s performance in The Wiz catapulted her onto the world stage. Today she is an accomplished award-winning singer, actress and songwriter. I am also pleased to add that she is from Brooklyn, New York.

The Wiz Logo- NBC.com

The Wiz Logo- NBC.com

This week I have seen brief clips of The Wiz and what I’ve heard is pure magic. Stephanie Mills stars as Auntie Em and beautiful rising star Shanice Williams stars as Dorothy. I was so impressed to see Stephanie serve as a powerful mentor to Shanice throughout this production.

This newly created version is filled with star power. I know that we can count on Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, David Alan Grier, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Uzo Aduba, Amber Riley, Common, and Cirque du Soleil to shine brightly in their roles. What a wonderful way to usher in the holiday season.

For today’s post, I am pleased to share clips from The Wiz for you to enjoyThank you for spending part of your day with us.

Fondly,
Monique

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Credits:
NBC – The Wiz

 

Brooklyn Legends Reading Room – Vintage Black Glamour

IMG_0121Dear Readers:

In late September, I arrived home from work to find my copy of Vintage Black Glamour waiting in my living room. This was truly a welcome treat after a stressful week. As a follower of the Vintage Black Glamour blog, I could not wait to peek inside.  The book was printed in London, so it took some time to reach the United States but it was truly worth waiting for.  I love everything about it.

Just think back to the days when ladies were exquisitely put together from head to toe.  Her hair was neatly coiffed, her dress was pressed, her makeup was perfectly set and her gloves were always close by.  With just one look, it was easy to see the quiet, elegance that each woman conveyed.

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Artfire.com

This isn’t an admonishment to the ladies we see today; this was simply a different period in our history — yet it really wasn’t that long ago.  I was a little girl who was trying to figure out how to remove my gloves when I got to church without causing too much trouble. After a few stern looks I knew what to do.  Now that I am an adult, I cannot stop looking at pictures from those days.

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Keeping this era of elegance alive for us today is Nichelle Gainer, author of the book Vintage Black Glamour.  It rests on my coffee table, along with a few other favorite items.  Among the pictures of the beautiful women featured in this book, you will find performing legends Lena Horne and Josephine Premice who were born in Brooklyn.  A biography is also included with each entry.

If you are looking for a great holiday gift, or that perfect coffee table book to add to your collection, I highly recommend this one.  For those of you who are close to me, you can guess what you will be receiving for the holidays!

Happy Reading.

Monique

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Credits:
Vintage Black Glamour by Nichelle Gainer

Quintessential Elegance – In Memory of Ruby Dee

Dear Readers,

Another beautiful Legend has made her transition, the elegant Ms. Ruby Dee.  I am so heartened by the many posts about her life and talent.  She was truly one of the giants of stage and screen.  If I live to be 91, I certainly hope that I age as gracefully as she did.

My fondest memory of this Grand Dame was her performance in one of my favorite plays – A Raisin In The Sun, which premiered in 1961.  Ms. Dee starred as Ruth Younger, a steadying presence for her husband Walter Lee Younger, portrayed by Sidney Poitier; her mother-in-law Lena Younger, portrayed by Claudia McNeil and her sister-in-law Beneatha Younger, portrayed by Diana Sands.

A Raisin In The Sun addressed the ever-present civil rights issues of that time – racial discrimination in housing and impediments to economic advancement due to limited employment opportunities.  Despite these challenges, there were three aspects of this story that I am most fond of: the family’s decision to move into their new home in the Lakewood section of Chicago despite attempts to dissuade them, Beneatha’s dream of becoming a doctor, which was rarely seen on film during that time in our history and the prominent status given to each of Beneatha’s male suitors.

Ms. Dee’s appearance in this play (and movie) did not come as a surprise to her family, friends and colleagues.  Like her husband, Ossie Davis, she took an active role in the fight for civil rights and used her status to promote the cause of African-Americans in the entertainment industry.   In 1963 this dynamic couple served as Masters of Ceremonies for the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  When the world said goodbye to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she and her husband were there.  Similarly, when the world bid farewell to Malcolm X, they were also present.  These are just a few examples of their many contributions to the cause of racial and social justice.

Brooklyn Legends joins the world in saluting the life and legacy of the great Ms. Ruby Dee.  She was truly a woman of style and substance.  For me, she had a quintessential elegance that I will always remember.

I would like to close this post with a quote from her daughter: Nora Davis Day:

We gave her our permission to set sail.
She opened her eyes, closed her eyes and away she went
.”

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Fondly,
Monique

Brooklyn Sounds & Brooklyn Sights – “Born For This”

Dear Readers,

Last month, we made two new additions to our homepage, Brooklyn Sounds and Brooklyn Sights.  Today we have made an update to our Brooklyn Sounds gallery.  Our featured artist is Ms. Stephanie Mills, singing one of my favorite songs  Born For This.

I know that many of you follow our posts on a smart phone or tablet, however these features are best viewed when using a computer.  When you visit our site, you will see both galleries on the left side of the page.  As always, thank you for stopping by.  Please remember to tell us what you think.

Monique