The month of April brought bursts of laughter to the scene as local and Hollywood comedians took center stage at comedy clubs throughout the nation’s capital. NBC’s Last Comic Standing Season 8 winner, Rod Man, debuted April 15-17, 2016 at the DC Improv at 7:30 p.m. in northwest DC, with sold out shows. Rod Man’s confused-like personality coupled with a southern accent and laid back delivery, produced a unique and hilarious stand-up routine. The Inaugural 202 Comedy Festival took place April 13th through April 16th in various venues across the city. The Festival showcased the past, present, and future of Washington DC’s incredible stand-up scene with 18 shows over 4 days, featuring more than 100 DC comedians. The festival culminated with The Big Show at the Black Cat with DC native Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s “Guy Code”), Aparna Nancherla (NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers”), and Seaton Smith (FOX’s “Mulaney”).
Residents of the District of Columbia and tourists had the opportunity to observe the DC Emancipation Day parade on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 1 p.m. along Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest. The event, which was made an official holiday in 2005, featured educational and commemorative activities that celebrated the end of slavery in the nation’s capital. Participants included DCPS and College marching bands, dancers, all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, balloon floats, local officials, community associations, and DC Statehood organizations. Proceeding the parade was a concert and fireworks display at Freedom Plaza. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation on April 16, 1862, which granted freedom to 3,100 enslaved persons in the District of Columbia. The act passed nine months before Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation, thereby granting freedom to citizens living in the District of Columbia, and making it the country’s first freed from the institution of slavery.
The Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square in northwest DC was transformed into a Japanese-inspired event to closeout the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 16 from 6 p.m to 2:00 a.m. Attendees could partake in a sushi and sake workshop, view live painting and a cherry blossom inspired art show. The gathering also featured an outdoor ESA gaming lounge, a Hyperfest USA drift car competition, anime fashion show, an Otakon cosplay (custom and play) competition, and a dance party for patrons 21 years and older. [read more…]
About 500 DC Statehood activists gathered in Freedom Plaza Friday morning to rally for DC Statehood and protest the payment of federal income taxes without the benefit of Congressional representation. Friday was April 15th, traditionally the day income taxes are due. Since DC Emancipation Day fell on a Saturday this year, DC government took Friday as a holiday for Emancipation Day, and many DC children were off from school and came to the rally. The rally affirmed DC residents’ longterm struggle for DC Statehood. After listening to speeches and music, the marchers gathered in the southeast corner of Freedom Plaza to march up Pennsylvania Avenue. More people joined the march as it moved up the avenue and got closer to the Capitol. They arrived at the US Capitol to the welcoming people of Democracy Awakening who are in DC this week to protest money in elections. More speeches were made in front of the Capitol calling for DC Statehood. Statehood Activists are in it for the long haul, and know the struggle is far from over.
In continuation of Chevrolet & NNPA’s journalism fellowship program launch at Howard University, several fellow students who were selected by the university’s faculty were surprised with a brand new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu as their new means of transportation for reporting tasks. The fellows thought they were just taking a walk with the Dean of School of Communications Gracie Lawson Borders, little did they know Rapper MC Lyte, President & CEO of NNPA Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr, NNPA Chair Denise Rolark Barnes, Michelle Matthews-Alexander of Chevrolet were all waiting outside with a camera crew ready to surprise them with their new set of wheels Friday, April 15. Photos by Travis Riddick.
Attorney Jack Olender hosted his annual Washington Informer Spelling Bee reception at the Jack H. Olender & Associates, P.C. office in Northwest, DC, awarding the top four winners with cash prizes of different denominations and a certificate for their participation in the 34th Annual Washington Informer Spelling Bee Thursday, April 14. Photo by Travis Riddick
Some of DC’s top food and pastry chefs came together to provide more than a hundred homeless men a delectable 5-course meal at the New York Avenue men’s shelter, Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Northeast. The event was spearheaded by R&B artist Raheem DeVaughn, founder of Love Life Foundation, and Jasmine Crowe, chief change maker of Black Celebrity Giving. What began as an idea in 2013 to provide men, women and children experiencing homelessness with a hot, home-cooked meal complete with volunteers and classic old school music, soon transformed into a Sunday Soul Pop-Up restaurant two years later, that provides a 5-course meal, restaurant style for the homeless. Guests feasted on a variety of appetizers, soup and salads, chicken, fish, and vegetarian entrees, followed by an assortment of desserts such as cupcakes and bread pudding. Sponsors for the event included MAGIC 102.3 radio station, Wegmans, 7 the Barber, Chef Jordan 24/7, Kitchen Cray, and the Akoma Foundation. Sunday Soul also takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, where dates are given in advance. Volunteers have to stay alert for the location, which gives an element of surprise to the highly attended community gathering.
Thousands gathered on the grounds of the Washington Monument in celebration of the Annual Cherry Blossom Kite Festival, one of the most highlighted events during the National Cherry Blossom season. Although this year’s kite flying got off to a slightly slower start compared to past years due to the minimum rainfall, that didn’t discourage the masses from coming out and celebrating for hours on Saturday, April 2. Photos by Travis Riddick
THEARC on Mississippi Avenue in Southeast D.C. was lit up with blue lights in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm. Ward 8 Council member LaRuby May joined residents and guest speakers from Autism Speaks of the National Capital Region to educate the community about the neurological disorder that affects more than 1 in 68 children in the U.S. Attendees received literature on how to recognize the signs of the disability, complimentary blue light bulbs, water bottles, wrist bands, and were served blue ice cream. Students from the Malcolm X Elementary School drum line and pom pom squad provided the entertainment.