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Jerk Fest to benefit Jamaican hospital

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Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans At Home (JAHJAH) are committed to medical missions to the island and this year their foundation plan to raise enough funds to aid in the renovation of Kingston Public Hospital’s emergency department.

The project is slated to be complete by January 2013, however, funds are needed to continue to that deadline. To that end, a July 14 fundraiser will be held in Brooklyn at the Crystal Manor.

There, an abundance of jerk chicken and jerk fish will delight taste buds and help raise awareness and monies to help the island’s premiere, capital city, public hospital.

For more info. Call 917-524-9517 or log onto www.jahjahfoundation.org

Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore To Close

Hue Man Bookstore & Café, a Harlem literary hot-spot will no longer operate from its current location after July 31.

According to its CEO Marva Allen Allen “the confluence of events, changing landscape, the end of our lease and the international expansion of our vision, closing our physical location was the only sensible decision we could make.”

She dispatched the information via email adding that “we find no viable alternative but to go back to the drawing board.”

“Closing our beloved bookstore, I assure you was a very hard decision for us.”

Not since Tree Of Life Bookstore closed on 125th has there been such displeaseure about the departure of a literary establishment in New York City.

When Hue Man Bookstore opened its doors in Harlem the August of 2002, its neighbors included a Disney Store and numerous corporate retailers.

Many of those stores quickly relocated and were replaced by new operators many times over with banks dominating the square block located a hop, skip and jump from the Apollo Theater.

Despite setbacks the small, independent store owner remained optimistic “We won’t get rich doing this,” she said back then, adding that along with her partners, and the eight staff people were spiritually enriched in their quest to build a reputable presence in the Black community.

“If I had a dollar for every person who comes in and thanks me for what we’re doing -- I would be rich.”

That the 4,000-square-foot space it occupied would invite U.S. presidents, celebrated athletes, movie stars, singers, fashion icons, and scores of African-Americans to its 124th St. location seemed unlikely back then.

And from the store’s opening party -- attended by singer Stevie Wonder, actor Wesley Snipes, rapper Jay-Z, and poet Maya Angelou – indications were widely optimistic that this would be no ordinary bookstore.

Former President Bill Clinton said his hand suffered cramping after signing books while promoting his 2004 publication, “My Life.”

“American Gangster” Frank Lucas returned to Harlem after Denzel Washington portrayed him in film to field questions about his character and flamboyant lifestyle. It was at the bookstore that reporters and critics met him for the first time.

For a time, Allen along with co-founders Clara Villarosa, filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, Rita Ewing, wife of Knick’s player Patrick and Celeste Johnson held firm with their enterprising venture.

But after a decade, a chapter ended and the store is destined for closing later this month.

“Closing the existing format of Hue-Man is forward thinking on our part and as we take pause to re-imagine the future of books and how to ensure that their purpose of entertaining, imparting knowledge and honing creativity is preserved.”

“There is no way to re-imagine the bookstore of the future in our current space. To try to do so would be a stop gap and a waste of resources.”

Allen said she wants to “reboot” the brand, and figure out a business model that embraces new technology.

“There are people who are going to want to read books, and there are people who are going to want to read e-books, and as an industry, I mean, it is the onus to try to figure out what is that balance,” Allen explained.

Hue-Man plans to offer an online store with discounted publications an incentive to start.

The store has also applied for a grant from Chase Bank that would allow it to reopen its physical location at a later date, if awarded.

She also said rising rent prices factored in the decision to close.

In order to remain she would have had to sign another 10-year lease at the Frederick Douglass Boulevard location.

Although book sales were up 37 percent during the first half of the year she said it was not feasible to re-sign a new lease.

“The gentrification of the neighborhood … doesn’t seem to take consideration of the small businesses in the neighborhood, and/or the people who have been in the neighborho­od,” she said. Leases in the location she said are “somewhat predatory.”

Catch You On The Inside!

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018:
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