Tito Jackson named honorary citizen

Tito Jackson, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and former member of the Jackson Five is now an ambassador to Kenya. The honor was bestowed in California recently by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga. The African leader named the entertainer honorary citizen of the nation and ambassador to represent the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation (JOOF).

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be named JOOF ambassador and honorary citizen of Kenya by Prime Minister Odinga. I look forward to tackling the important issues of health and education in this east African country, I am extremely proud and grateful to be part of this lifesaving foundation,” Jackson said.

His duties will include fundraising and promoting the ideals of JOOF.

JOOF is a non-profit organization that conceives, develops and facilitates philanthropic and welfare programs for the disadvantaged in Kenyan society. Established in 1995 JOOF is committed to preserving and promoting the legacy of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga – a teacher, leader and statesman who devoted his life to the service of Kenya and the people of Africa.

“We are absolutely delighted to honor Tito with this prestigious ambassadorship,” April Sutton, JOOF board of trustees member said. “We couldn’t think of a better individual to represent global unity and global awareness for the children of Kenya and we look forward to what he will be able to contribute to JOOF as a world-class entertainer, humanitarian and now an official ambassador.”

Earlier this year, Jackson released “So Far So Good,” his first solo album. He plans a summer tour to promote the CD and has already announced a fundraising concert to benefit JOOF.

Remembering Marley 30 Years After His Death

Reggae icon Robert Nesta Marley will be regaled on the 30th anniversary of his untimely death.

In Jamaica and in many nations throughout the world, this month a series of tributes will commemorate the life of the Jamaican Rastafarian legend.

On the May 11 anniversary date, Belgium’s Nostalgie TV will air a 52-minute documentary recently shot in Jamaica.

On his birth island numerous musical celebrations will mark the occasion.

Here, Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones of Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church will teach a class on May 8 with focus on the topic “Bob Marley’s: Mysticism: What Christians Can Learn.” Rev. Bozzuti-Jones grew up in Jamaica and said he will share with his parish some of the inspiration he said he gleaned from Marley’s music. In a January sermon the pastor said he described the song “Ambush In The Night” ‘in the light of the angels and dreams of Matthews Gospel.’

On April 25 he blogged about his favorite Marley songs which include: “Buffalo Soldier,” “Bad Card,” “Natural Mystic,” and “Ambush In The Night.” The class is slated to begin at 1:00 p.m. and is open to the public.

A second class is also slated for May 11 at 7:00 p.m.

“Bob Marley and Scripture” will provide topical discussion for the course study.

Charlotte’s Place, 109 Greenwich St. is the location for another Marley memorial celebration. There the theme “Celebrating the Life of a Natural Mystic” will recall the music and message of the celebrated icon.

Marley died at a hospital in Florida on May,11 1981 from cancer.

For more on the classes, call 212-602-0800.

Philly’s Death Row Inmate Spared

Mumia Abu-Jamal will have another date in court. A three-judge panel made that decision last week by overturning a previous decision that sentenced the former Black Panther Party member to death for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

In 1982, a jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict after three hours of deliberations. The jury also agreed unanimously that Abu-Jamal should be sentenced to death. Since that time there have been many appeals with pleas from international agencies, political officials and sympathizers for reversal of the decision.

Last week a panel said the jury was wrongly instructed. They ruled that jurors may have been confused and may have “believed wrong that they had to be unanimous on mitigating factors.”

The decision overrides previous sentencing. The court will reschedule a new trial in six months.

Of the decision District Attorney Seth Williams said he does not know what to make of the decision. He also said he has not decided if he would make an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Abu-Jamal celebrated his 58th birthday on April 21.

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