Deirdre Childress Hopkins explores the world, entertainment and sports

The Oscars

Today is one of those days that cinephiles mark on their calendars months in advance.

I love the Oscars and I was fortunate to cover them in person back when I lived in L.A.

Now, I edit other folks copy on them, but I am having a lot of fun today.

I want to give a shout out to a local crew for “Hell and Back,” nominated as a documentary feature and produced through a crew at Temple University.

Second kudos to Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and “The Help” because those are three other nominees of color in this year’s Oscars.

And my last hurray goes to Melissa McCarthy and “Bridesmaids”. Thanks Academy for recognizing a comedy that women enjoy!

It’s here and I am ready for it.
Everyone always seems to have so much fun – with alcohol or otherwise –  with the Golden Globe Awards.
Right, Madonna? Or should we call you Madge of the tight bodice?

Anyway, now it is time for the Oscar nominations, this Tuesday.

And next Sunday we get the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I want to thank that group for sending me the following “by the numbers” info today:

• Lay 15,872 square feet of red carpet in the arrivals area, edged by 585 lineal feet of hedges
• Accommodate 300 fans in three-row six-foot high bleachers placed along an 180’ section of the red carpet arrivals area
• In the event of rain, protect the red carpet from the elements by 23,530 square feet of tenting
• Post five 10’ Actor® statues along the red carpet and onstage.
• Lay 11,800 square feet of black carpet in the interior Shrine entrance and the showroom.
• Drape the interior Shrine entrance with 4,575 square feet of charcoal/silver shimmer fabric
• Post three 10’ Actor® statues along the red carpet.
• Cover the showroom walls with 15,000 square feet of black drape to create a neutral background and block sunlight.
• On the stage, install 700 feet of steel tubing to support 120 running feet of 22’ high set walls punctuated by eight gold and platinum fluted columns and a central radiating backlit golden sunburst. Two stepped deco arches will be accented by 30 feet of translucent etched fins. Crowning the stage will be 400 feet of gold-leafed and copper-leafed deco molding, illuminated by 400 feet of warm white neon tubing.
• Float a 20’ wide “silver screen” framed by a platinum and gold screen-surround illuminated by 80 feet of embedded LED lights at center stage in front of 200 running feet of 30’ high fiber-optic star cloth.
• Line the stage floor with 150 ‘4’x8’ sheets of black Formica.
• Above the stage hang a 5-foot square crystal beaded art deco chandelier that will be echoed by the four chandeliers hung from the Expo Hall’s ornate ceiling.

• Place over 3,600 Opus champagne, wine and water glasses, 2,400 pieces Scalini silver flatware and 1,200 square glass dinner plates, on 86 rectangular dinner tables and over 2,400 glasses at two 16’ beverage bars and two wine tasting bar.
• Create custom table coverings from 1306 linear yards of gunmetal crinkled organza, complemented by 1,200 silver satin matte lined napkins
• Soften 1,200 Silver “Simply X” Chameleon chairs with 1,200 black suede seat cushions
• Create a stunning visual setting through the use of florals. This year’s inspiration is a return to the roots. It is an organic approach using the various elements of foliage creating a textured landscape in shades of greens. The compositions incorporate thousands of stems of various foliage, green dianthus, various grasses, calathea, equisetum highlighted with hundreds of succulents, complimented with over 3,000 blossoms of miniature green cymbidium orchids and 4,000 white miniature cala lilies. Each of the arrangements is made in a glass container lined with frosted glass adding a slightly contemporary look to the textured landscaped style. It is the look of a newer Hollywood.


Guests will dine on antipasto plates conceived by James Beard Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin, deliciously prepared and artfully arranged by Lucques Catering, consisting of:

• Slow-roasted salmon with yellow beets, spicy carrot salad and raita
• Roasted root vegetables with quinoa and persimmon salsa
• Grilled chicken breast with black rice, pea shoots and tangerine vinaigrette

• Spicy carrot salad with yellow beets, cucumber and black mustard seeds
• Roasted root vegetables with quinoa and persimmon salsa
• Black rice salad with english peas, pea shoots and tangerine vinaigrette

Because how the famous eat is no different than you and I right?

It’s funny but what George Lucas is saying about Hollywood’s familiar to fund his new film, “Red Tails,’ brings another all-black, or let’s say – the lead roles, to mind.

Today on the Jon Stewart show, Lucas talked about trying to get $58 million together to produce one of the greatest black history moments – ever. Tough sell with the movie studios.

I had the pleasure of meeting several of the Tuskegee Airmen last year and I can tell you they are real black history and it’s too bad it did not go easy for Lucas. The airmen were cordial, polite and some of the smartest gentlemen I’ve had the pleasure to meet. They signed a book and passed it along the row for me. I know when a piece of history is being handed to me – and with a smile.

Truth: I have assigned two stories on this film and now we are waiting for a film review. I am doing what I can because sometimes a project is just plain worthy, something that needs to be shared with everyone.

So, yes, if this lack of respect is familiar, I am right there with you. It’s happen to us for year but there was one time it felt acute, like a heartache. I had to turn away from my beloved Oscars for a moment.

Remember Steven Spieberg’s  ‘The Color Purple” and how the Oscars gave it no love? How many people remember any lines from “Out of Africa” which won the Oscar that year?

But hey, I’m not advocating someone hand Miss Celie a razor, but…..

Today I want to send my readers over to the pages and work of my friend Chika Onyeani of the Africa Sun Times.

See the report below:

Video Clip: Click to Watch

Saturday, December 31, 2011 – A major thrust was undertaken today, in an impromptu parley, by the African Union Commission’s Director of its Citizens and Diaspora Directorate, Dr. Jinmi Adisa, when he met with the President of the National Conference of Black Mayors, the Hon. Mayor Robert Bowser of East Orange, in a more determined effort to enlarge the reach of the African Union in ensuring a faster process in achieving the goals and objectives of the Union in recognizing the African Diaspora as the 6th Region of the continent. The meeting took place at the home of Dr. Chika and Mrs. Loretta Onyeani of East Orange. Onyeani is the publisher and editor in chief of the award-winning African Sun Times and Chair of the Celebrate Africa Foundation, whose goals are the positive promotion of Africa and rewards African countries with good governance with the “Best Country of the Year Award.”

The parley was a result of a thorough briefing on Friday, December 30, between Onyeani and Dr. Adisa and his three-person team on issues affecting the African Diaspora and the upcoming Global Diaspora Summit, taking place on May 25, 2012 in South Africa. After their discussions, Onyeani then briefed Dr. Adisa on his recent visit to Senegal with the National Conference of Black Mayors to the World Summit of Mayors Leadership Conference, organized by Dr. Djibril Diallo, Coordinator, U.S. African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, and Senior Advisor to the Executive Director UNAIDS New York.

During the course of the briefing, Onyeani expressed how he was impressed with the work that the National Conference of Black Mayors had accomplished, and how the Conference could be a faster conduit through which the African Union would be able to achieve its goals of the African Diaspora as the 6th Region of the African continent. The Mayors are better situated in reaching out and bringing together a wider amalgam of the African Diaspora, especially in the U.S., where they are really the first tier of black leadership. Dr. Adisa became thoroughly excited by the prospect and expressed a desire to meet with Mayor Bowser, President of the National Conference of Mayors.

After Dr. Adisa’s request, Onyeani sprang into action, contacted Mayor Bowser and arranged today’s 12 noon 3-hour meeting. Both Dr. Adisa and Mayor Bowser expressed genuine excitement at meeting. Accompanying Dr. Adisa from the African Uncion Commission were Ms. Nadia Roguiai, Expert, ECOSOC; Mr. Wuyi Omitoogun, Expert, Diaspora Relations; and Mr. Ahmed al-Bashir, Head Diaspora Division. Dr. Adisa informed the Mayor of his belief that the NCBM could play and should be playing a major role with the African Union. He would welcome a meeting between the NCBM and the highest level of the African Union Commission in the nearest future, and foresaw the role for the NCBM in the AUC’s roadmap towards the Global Diaspora Summit, especially the attendance of their leadership at the Summit.

On his part, Mayor Bowser welcomed the idea of his Conference playing a significantly wider continental role. He spoke about how the Conference has benefited from their experience at the recently concluded World Summit of Mayors Leadership Conference in Senegal and praised President Abdoulaye Wade for making it possible for his group and other well-known African Diaspora leaders to participate in the Summit. He spoke of the programs they intend to start with their Senegalese counter-parts, and how these could be expanded on a continental-wide basis. He had no doubt that his Conference leadership, through its Executive Director Ms. Vanessa Williams, would be very happy to participate in the Global Diaspora Summit.

Onyeani will be coordinating the activities between the African Union and the Diaspora Mayors and legislators. His newspaper, the African Sun Times, will be producing a special edition of the newspaper in a magazine format for the Global Diaspora Summit. A website, is being constructed.

About Chika Onyeani:

Chika A. Onyeani is acclaimed author of the internationally-acclaimed No.1 bestselling book, “Capitalist N—–: The Road to Success – A Spider Web Doctrine,” the blockbuster novel, “The Broederbond Conspiracy” (aka The Black James Bond), and the first in a series of African Folk Tales for children, “ODUM: The Lion.” He is the Publisher/Editor in Chief of the award-winning African Sun Times, acclaimed by the African Union as champion of the African agenda in America. He is well known consultant on African issues and has traveled to many African countries on paid speaking engagements on the economic empowerment of black people.

Celebrate Africa Foundation (CAF) is the continental-and Diaspora-wide organization with a dual mission. First is that of celebrating Africa and to promoting a positive image of the African continent and its people by highlighting the best practices in good governance, sound management of public funds, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Secondly, Celebrate Africa Foundation believes that Africa must celebrate its achievements in order to upgrade its image throughout the world; and that it is incumbent upon all of us who love Africa to do our best in promoting this great continent.

First Url: Story on African Sun Times Official Website


Second Url: African Sun Times Home Page



To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critcs and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded- Bessie Stanley

Film preservation

Every week, my partner and I ask ourselves which movies should we buy? How can we get more classic films on tape?

Our collection is getting better. We also care about the quality.

It is with anticipation that I await Thursday night’s PBS screening of “These Amazing Shadows.” which will talk about film preservation. Who knew “The Godfather” already needs to be preserved?


See a youtube link here –

Deirdre in Dakar

These students assisted us and always made me comfortable. I learned from them in a few short days.

The dateline should really be Dakar, Senegal as I am home but still taking it all in. I went to Senegal on a five-day trip and had one of the most incredible experiences as a journalist thanks to friends and colleagues.

This is just the second step of a long trip – my life – in trying to understand the globe and specifically Africa. Yup, I have been overseas but this is different.

Last time I wrote a travel piece about the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in December 2010. I tried to give it a little heft. Today, I am thinking about more of an essay style because the more I learn, the more complicated it is.

In these short days, I shook the hand of a president, interviewed the Vice President of Colombia and the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal. Amazing.

More to come.


DAKAR, Senegal – Interesting morning spent with a few journalists and the Vice President of Colombia, Angelino Garzon. He granted us a 45-minute interview through the efforts of Miami Herald World Editor John Yearwood who is responsible for assisting journalists attending the 2011 World Conference of Mayors here in Dakar.

Garzon spoke, through an interpreter, about the common goals of human rights, the fight against HIV/AIDS and discrimination against people of African descent.

One topic we did not address – the war on drugs.

Garzon was a charming ambassador for his country. His own record was one of working within workers’ unions for the last 20 years.

He had his own goals for attendance at the conference – seeking the leadership post of the ILO. He wants the support of President Obama and the Prime Minister of Canada, after receiving support here from Senegal’s President Wade. See the definition below from Wikipedia –

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the International Labour Office. The organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.[1]

DAKAR, Senegal (Dec. 15) – Today the World Summit of Mayors convened, bringing together mayors from the United States and across the world with the goal of meeting the initiatives of the African Renaissance.

 The meeting at the Le Meridien President Hotel came almost one year to the anniversary of the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture. The sessions bring members of the National Conference of Black Mayors together with city representatives from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

 The Summit is hosted by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. He also facilitated the signing in June of an agreement between 12 African-American and 12 Senegalese mayors for twinning cities and to include other partners to create linkages to the Diaspora.

 The conference has four dimensions – education, culture, Pan African intellectuals and mayors and municipalities. These groups are led respectively by Professor Leonard Jeffries of City University of New York, actor Richard Gant of Los Angeles, Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey, and Robert Bowser, president of the National Conference of Black Mayors.

Opening ceremonies were held Thursday and were to be followed by a reception at the palace of Wade. However, the reception was cancelled because of a death in the family of a high-ranking official.

The Friday agenda includes discussions on decentralized cooperation, followed by tours of Goree Island with its Door of No Return on Sunday with a trip to the African Renaissance Monument, and sessions with a focus on education scheduled for Monday.

(Deirdre M. Childress is the immediate past Vice President-Print of the National Association of Black Journalists.)