The Family That Plays Together
City Paper Online
Some might say it all began at Security Square Mall in the summer of 2001, when The Baltimore Times hosted its annual Uplifting Minds talent show. Sisqó, the flamboyant, red-haired member of the Baltimore-bred R&B group Dru Hill, was in attendance and heard the Featherstone boys sing one of their own songs. They didn’t win first prize, but Sisqó was impressed with their sound and gave them his phone number. When he was slow in getting back to them, tenacious father Lurenda Featherstone took matters in hand. He placed a quick call, leaving a message on the singer’s answering machine: “I heard your last album wasn’t so good–you better call me back if you want a hit.”
Maybe it was Dad’s boldness or his sons’ arresting sound, but Sisqó called right back. “After my husband called him, Sisqó came over to our little house,” says Mom Tegra Featherstone. “I was in the kitchen cooking–my daughter was scared of him and she was hiding under the table. He told us he really liked the song and wanted to record it for his album.”
The day before Thanksgiving in 2005, Aricka Westbrooks, 35, CEO of Jive Turkey, was sleeping on a wooden stool, leaning against the wall of her 1,500-square foot store in Brooklyn, New York. She and her staff were exhausted from frying turkeys 24 hours a day for four days straight.
When Westbrooks finally opened her eyes at 7 a.m., she noticed several faces peeing into her storefront window. She walked outside to discover a long line of customers-some from as far away as Califormia. The early birds were lining up to buy Westbrooks’ famous deep-fried turkey for their Thanksgiving dinners.
Andy Rooney On His Workplace
The Wall Street Journal
— WHO: Andy Rooney, 79-year-old columnist, author and commentator for CBS “60 Minutes.”
— WHERE: 524 W. 57th St. in Manhattan at the news offices of one of the CBS buildings.
— WHAT YOU SEE: Mr. Rooney’s office is not in a separate building from the rest of the “60 Minutes” staff because of his caustic personality. Rather, it stems from his need for independence. He needs time alone to think of ideas for the show while working at his Underwood typewriter that was built in 1919, the same year he was born.
Mr. Rooney sits behind a walnut desk that he made himself in his workshop. A stool he also built is used for the cameraman to sit on when taping him. A sketch of John F. Kennedy sits behind him, given to him by the late Harry Reasoner, a former “60 Minutes” correspondent. Nearby books include “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” as well as copies of his own efforts: “My War,” and “Word for Word.” He also has a copy of “The Collected Work of Keats,” although the volume is actually a faux book where he keeps petty cash for emergencies. Mr. Rooney has three phone lines, and personally answers the one that friends and colleagues are likely to use. The commentator reserves the two others for strangers. He is not particularly interested in talking to them, so his assistant answers those.
The Private School Crisis for Black Parents
Eric Singletary didn’t need saving. He was a straight-A student at Kelly Miller Middle School in one of the most neglected wards in northeast Washington, D.C. When his recreation league coach Calvin Woodland, offered him and a few other young people a chance to hang out with George F. Kettle at his riverfront resort house for the weekend, he went. Kettle later became a well-known philanthropist working with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation to offer low-income children the opportunity to go to college. Kettle saw academic promise in Singletary and offered him an opportunity to meet with administrators at Sidwell Friends School, an elite independent private school in northwest Washington. Singletary impressed his interviewers, passed all the required tests and was admitted. Kettle paid his initial tuition.
Upon entering Sidwell, Singletary immediately faced cultural differences. The students lounged intermittently on the carpets by the lockers in between classes. They spoke of “vacationing” overseas for the summer and winter. Many of them drove themselves to school in sports cars rather than taking city buses as Singletary did.
Column: Play Action, ESPN, The Magazine: http://sports.espn.go.com/ espnmag/story?id=3356560
Distant Relatives–Interview with Nas and Damian Marley–WaxPoetics.com, Summer, 2010 (coming soon)
Dedicated: Microphone Fiend Rakim Is Back–WaxPoetics.com, Fall, 2009 (coming soon)
The Wire–No One Lives Forever–UptownLife.Net, May, 2008 (coming soon)