Marcus Samuelsson, Chef and face of Harlem's Red Rooster
By: VICTORIA HORSFORD
THE 2012 ELECTION
When you read that the GOP wants tough talk about President Obama’s defeat in November at its August 27-30 Tampa convention, you can put some of the recent Mitt Romney talks in perspective. Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has made a number of seemingly racist remarks on the campaign trail last week, saying that President Obama “should take (his) campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.” Almost every day last week Romney talked publicly about President Obama as an “angry man” and full of “hate.”
Please note key words “angry” and “hate, which he repeated as though they were mantras. Romney was implying angry Black man, a term which strikes fear in white minds, especially those devoid of critical thinking. If this is the tone of the pre-Convention chatter, I fear what will be broadcast on the airwaves at the Convention. Is it tough racist talk that will dominate GOP Convention talks? Last week, MSNBC-TV host, Toure, said on air that Romney’s recent Obama comments are about the ‘niggerization of the campaign.” Toure really sparked GOP outrage and vindictive. He publicly apologized for his word. He was right on, but the language!
And the media continues with speculative pieces about President Obama. Read New Yorker Magazine piece, THE SECOND TERM: What Would Obama Do If Re-Elected, by Ryan Lizza. One recommendation is that Obama has to change the psychology of Congressional Republicans. The current New Yorker includes a piece “SCHMOOZE OR LOSE; Obama Doesn’t Like Cozying Up to Billionaires, Could It Cost Him the Election,” by Jane Mayer. My favorite story is the NY Times piece, “Investors in Health Care Seem To Bet On Incumbent.” Health care insurers and many private equity firms are scared manure-less of Romney rhetoric about repealing Obamacare. Their investments support the Obama culture, in ways large and small. Time Magazine’s political pundit Mark Alperin’s Between The Line column says. Team Obama has been energized by the addition of Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket. He lists 10 factors “smoothing the President’s path to re-election, an thoughtful, practical read.
The Haiti Recovery seems to be a disaster comparable in scale to the January, 2010 earthquake which gave birth to it. The United States faces an obstacle course in its attempt to rebuild Haiti, now a 2 ½ year work in progress. Medicine and clean water, permanent housing, energy needs are in short supply. And the finger of blame is pointed at the paralysis of the new Haitian government, poor coordination between the government and the US recovery team. Almost 25% of the $1 billion pledged by the US to Haiti has been used for debt relief. Again, I suggest that more Haitian Americans be pressed into service for the Haiti recovery. Bill Clinton needs to convene a group of US-based Haitian Americans.
South African police fire at striking Black mine workers, killing 36 and wounding others. Workers were striking for higher wages. Killed workers worked for Lomnin Platinum Company, the world’s third largest, which threatened post-massacre striking workers with job loss, if they failed to meet a return to work deadline it issue. Many strikers relented. This massacre is redolent of the Apartheid era.
Many Harlem-based businesses owned by Africans, outside of the West 116 Street strip, known as Petit Senegal, are successfully competing in an ever-changing Harlem marketplace. are flourishing and show growth potential. Most of the businesses have opened since 2000. The liquor store on Lenox at 114 Street is owned by a Ghanaian family. Eritrea-born Berihu Mesfin, owns Freeland Liquor and Wine at 183 Lenox Avenue. Gran Piatto D’Oro is co- owned by Ethiopian Amie. Ethiopian Leah Abraham and her husband opened Settepani Ristorante, at 196 Lenox Avenue, a favorite of upscale, al fresco diners. The Senegalese owned Jacob’s Restaurant, located at 373 Malcolm X Boulevard (Lenox)is weigh-the food take out also offers catering services. Les Ambassades, American/French bistro, which opens soon at 341 Lenox at 127 Street, is co-owned by Senegalese Gorgui Ndoye. The Red Rooster, at 310 Lenox Avenue, is co-owned by Ethiopia-born Marcus Samuelsson. Ethiopian Kenock Kejela, opened a new pizza parlor, 1 Forno Pizza, at 135 West 116 Street, between Lenox/Seventh Avenues.
Marcus Samuelsson, 41, one of America’s top chefs, a one-man conglomerate and the face of Harlem’s Red Rooster brand, is unstoppable. Marcus and his business, the Marcus Samuelsson Group were the subject of an 8/6 NY Times business section essay, A CHEF, A BRAND, AND THEN SOME, which chronicles his ambitious business plan which includes, 6 restaurants, a cookware line for Macy’s , a new line of teas, two websites, four cookbooks, and the launch of a new Table Cafe and Bar by Marcus Samuelsson, which opens next month at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center next month. His new book YES, CHEF is already on the NYT Book section top seller list.
The Honorable Donna Christensen, USVI Congresswoman is the keynoter at the Virgin Islands United Inc. special Town Hall meeting and Job Fair at Sylvia’s Restaurant, in Harlem, on August 31, from 5:30 -8:30 pm. Job applications will be available for those interested in employment in the Virgin Islands. Event is open to the public and reservations are required. Call 212.713.5787
A management consultant, Victoria Horsford is a NY based journalist and pop culture historian. firstname.lastname@example.org