CARIBBEAT: Longtime civil rights leader Roy Innis dies at 82

Roy Innis, the Caribbean-born activist who led one of America’s foremost civil rights organizations from a radical black power stance in the turbulent 1960s to an opposing conservative position decades later, died in New York last week at 82.

According to his son Niger Innis, the national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, Innis died Last Sunday of complications from Parkinson’s disease. A strong leader, Innis led the organization from 1968 until his death, serving as national director.

Born in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, he burst into national prominence in the U.S. as the head of CORE in the 1960s, touting a militant black power philosophy. But, over the decades under his leadership, the civil rights group became a conservative-leaning organization.

One example of Innis' right-wing leanings can be seen in his close relationship with the conservative and politically powerful National Rifle Association. He served on NRA’s Board of Director for more than two decades, was a lifetime NRA member and the organization's hierarchy mourned his passing.

“Roy's passing leaves a huge void for the NRA and his many good friends among the NRA family. Rest in peace, my friend," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a NRA Institute for Legislative Action article about Innis' death, which said the CORE leader’s pro-NRA sentiments developed after two of his sons were killed in shootings.

In 1988, Innis made headlines for two on-air TV scuffles — pushing Rev. Al Sharpton to the ground during the “Morton Downey Jr. Show” and chocking white supremacist John Metzger of the White Aryan Resistance on Geraldo Rivera's TV show, “Geraldo.”

Innis, who moved to New York with his widowed mother, graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan before studying chemistry at City College of New York and working as a research chemist.

EVERYBODY’S MAG TURNS 40

Herman Hall, the publisher-founder of the Caribbean-American magazine Everybody’s Caribbean American Magazine’s publisher/founder Herman Hall is marking the publication’s big 40th anniversary by praising supporters and looking to the future.

“The first issue went on newsstands on Jan. 3, 1977,” said Hall, recalling a cover story on Barbados-born then-TV producer Cathy Jessamy. Other articles in the inaugural year featured “The Quality of Reggae Music” and the late Jamaican sound system pioneer Winston (Merritone) Blake.

Hall said invaluable aid from the “late editor Pat Boothe, photographer Ken Chandler, distributor Richard Holder, writer Cheryl Byron and others who departed this life” helped maintain the magazine. He also praised noting decades of support from these individuals and countless writers, photographers, graphic artists, subscribers and advertisers.

In addition to running Everybody's, Hall was written "Belvidere Estate - Fédon's House," a memoir about a famous Grenadian estate, which includes an 18th-century rebellion. His next book project, "Great Caribbeans Who Changed America," is due next year.

Hall kicked off the start of this anniversary year by taking a sip of mauby before his ritual swim in the chilly waters off Coney Island, Brooklyn — part of the annual Polar Bear Club's annual New Year's Day Swim benefitting special needs children. He dedicated his swim to Grenada 400-meter runner Kirani James' impressive 2012 and 2016 Olympic performances.

To subscribe to Everybody’s, visit www.everybodysmag.com/magazines.

TRINIDAD'S JAZZ TRUMPETER ON TOUR

After a recent Harlem performance, busy and vibrant Trinidad- born jazz trumpeter, composer and arranger Etienne Charles will return to New York as part of his touring schedule.

Music fans got a good helping on Jan.7 of Charles’ latest “San Jose Suite” album and his “Creole Soul” release at Ginny’s Supper Club, the speakeasy-style venue downstairs from Harlem’s Red Rooster restaurant.

Charles — assistant professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University and a Juilliard alumnus — will join the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra as guest conductor for performances on Feb. 22 at Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit http://bit.ly/charlesjiulliard.

And Charles is due back in New York in May to participate in Carnegie Hall's Musical Explorers program, which brings musical skills to city students by using genres found in their neighborhoods — from bluegrass and Sudanese to hip-hop and calypso.

Learn more about Charles at www.etiennecharles.com.

ART BY HAITI’S ERIC GIRAULT

“Le Rêve Aux Couleurs Resilientes — Resilient Dreams,” an anticipated exhibition by veteran Haiti-born artist Eric Girault, starts Wednesday at Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba, 214 E. Second St. (at Avenue B) in the East Village.

An opening reception will be held next Sunday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the show, which runs through Feb. 25.

“My work depicts the humbleness of everyday life. Life is everywhere; sweet, simple, and sincere in direct vibration with nature," said the 79-year-old artist, who began demonstrating passion and skill for art at an early age.

Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, call (212) 674-3939. For more on the artist, visit www.ericgiraultstudio.com.

MONTY ALEXANDER'S MUSICAL MEMORIES

Under the theme “Looking Back,” Grammy-nominated, award- winning Jamaican jazz pianist and band leader Monty Alexander is coming to Manhattan's Jazz Standard nightclub to perform musical tributes to some of his past jazz collaborations.

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Alexander revisits his Impulse! LP "That’s The Way It Is" by teaming up with vibraphone Warren Wolf and tenor saxophonist Ron Blake. The original Milt Jackson Quintet album was recorded live at Shelly Manne’s Manne–Hole in Los Angeles and featured Jackson, Alexander, Ray Brown and Teddy Edwards.

The series continues on Feb. 2 when Alexander musically recalls Jazz at Philharmonic/Montreux 1977 and greats Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson and Norman Granz.

And Alexander and his Harlem-Kingston Express bring the series back to the pianist's Jamaican roots by recalling the island's reggae music superstar producers Clement (Sir Coxsone) Dodd and his legendary Studio One record label.

The Jazz Standard is at 116 E. 27th St. Show times are 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 for per show from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, and $40 per show for Feb. 3 and 4. Visit www.jazzstandard.com for tickets and information on the shows. Check out www.montyalexander.com for more on Monty Alexander.

MUHAMMAD ALI ART SHOW

"Muhammad Ali: A Visual Depiction of Courage and Confidence," an art exhibition celebrating the life of the legendary boxer and activist, opens Thursday in Brooklyn at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St.

Works from respected artists Khalif Ausby Jimmy James Green Bianca Dorsey, Jamila Jennings Ausby, Lem Peterkin, Sadikisha Saundra Collier, Diane Ifill, Verna Hart, Bianca Dorsey, Jewel Golden, Doba Afolabi and Larry Weeks have been assembled for the show.

The opening reception, being held Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., features guest poet Abiodun Oyewole, a founding member of "The Last Poets" spoken-word group.

The exhibit — sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Inspirational Arts — is curated by Collier and runs through Jan 27. To RSVP, call Brooklyn Borough Hall at (718) 802-802-3718.

MLK DAY BUSINESS FORUM

The Martin Luther King Jr. Business Empowerment and Networking Forum will be held tomorrow at the Brooklyn Christian Center, 1061 Atlantic Ave.

The event, which will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., will also feature a special presentation by Rev. Dennis Dillon. There will be a networking reception starting at 6 p.m. and an empowerment session begins at 7 p.m.

Seating is first-come, first-serve without. To RSVP, call (718) 638-6397 or send email to rsvpchristiantimes@gmail.com.

VIVA VEGAS CARNIVAL!

It's a long way from the Caribbean and Latin America, but the multi-layered "Las Vegas Taste of the Caribbean" food festival is bringing the cuisine, beverages, arts and crafts, music and hospitality from those regions back to the popular American southwest city on April 22.

The Arts District in downtown Las Vegas is the venue for the event, which features live musical performances, dance groups, cultural costumes and other attractions. The April event is actually an appetizer leading to the preview to Las Vegas Latin Caribbean Carnival in October. Both events are presented by the Las Vegas Latin Caribbean Festival Inc. which was founded by organization CEO Leonie Blackshire.

“Las Vegas Taste of the Caribbean is a journey”, said Blackshire. “The experience of attending the Taste of The Caribbean will take you to Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Grenada, El Salvador and Mexico to name a few,” said Blackshire about the April event.

Blackshire also noted that the both events also pay tribute to the sizable number of Caribbean and Latin American immigrants who live and work in the Las Vegas area.

To become a sponsor or vendor and get more information, visit www.lvcaribfest.com or email lasvegascaribfest@gmail.com.

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