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B.B. King’s Family Loses Bid for Control of His Affairs

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Patty King, daughter of B.B. King, cries while leaving Clark County Family Court Thursday, May 7, 2015, in Las Vegas.  A dispute over B.B. King's health and wealth has been tossed out of court by a judge in Las Vegas who says two investigations didn’t find the blues legend is being abused. Thursday’s court ruling keeps King’s longtime business manager, Laverne Toney, in legal control of King's affairs. King’s doctor says the 89-year-old musician is in home hospice care. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Patty King, daughter of B.B. King, cries while leaving Clark County Family Court Thursday, May 7, 2015, in Las Vegas. A dispute over B.B. King’s health and wealth has been tossed out of court by a judge in Las Vegas who says two investigations didn’t find the blues legend is being abused. Thursday’’s court ruling keeps King’s longtime business manager, Laverne Toney, in legal control of King’s affairs. King’s doctor says the 89-year-old musician is in home hospice care. (AP Photo/John Locher)

KEN RITTER, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Noted blues man B.B. King — his health failing at age 89 — is in the middle of tug of war between some of children and his longtime manager.

Three of King’s 11 surviving children in a bid to take control over their father’s affairs said they suspect the blues legend’s manager of stealing his money and neglecting his medical care while blocking them from seeing him in home hospice care.

But a judge in Las Vegas tossed the dispute out of court Thursday, saying two investigations found no evidence King was being abused and that King’s longtime business manager, Laverne Toney, should remain in legal control of his affairs.

Toney and King’s lead attorney, Brent Bryson, deny the allegations by three of King’s children, Karen Williams, Rita Washington and Patty King. They say the children can schedule visits just like they always have been able to do.

King’s personal lawyer, Arthur Williams Jr., and his physician, Dr. Darin Brimhall, said outside the Clark County Family Court hearing that they saw no neglect or abuse.

King, who suffers from diabetes, did not attend.

Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim said police and social services investigations in October and April uncovered no reason to take power of attorney from Toney.

“There is no evidence of need for guardianship,” Norheim said. “Mr. King has counsel. I don’t have anything here that says he lacks capacity. He has some serious health issues. But he has counsel. If he feels like he’s being taken advantage of, he has remedies.”

Norheim said he could not consider daughter Karen Williams’ petition to take over as King’s guardian until all of King’s children and grandchildren get legal notice.

Williams and a family-nominated guardian, Fredrick Waid, want to wrest power of attorney from Toney.

They said in an April 29 petition seeking appointment as temporary co-guardians that more than $5 million in assets was at stake.

Bryson said he couldn’t comment on King’s estate, which is also expected to include intellectual property rights and royalties.

The petition alleges Toney blocks King’s friends — including musicians Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton — from visiting him.

They also say Toney put her family members on the King payroll, and that large amounts of money have disappeared from King’s bank accounts.

“The family has been unable to account for what is reported to be in excess of $1 million,” the court document says.

The judge’s ruling doesn’t prevent King’s children from returning to court to press their claim once all family members have been legally informed of the action.

“We lost the battle, but we haven’t lost the war,” Karen Williams vowed.

King was hospitalized a week ago after police were called to his home in a dispute about his condition between Toney and King’s daughter, Patty King. No one was arrested and King returned home to hospice care shortly afterward.

King, born Riley B. King in the Mississippi farm town of Itta Bena, toured and performed almost continually until October, when he canceled the remaining shows in his 2014 tour after falling ill in Chicago with dehydration and exhaustion.

Las Vegas police were called to King’s home in November on allegations of elder neglect and abuse. Officer Jesse Roybal said that case remains open, and no details were available.

King is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a 15-time Grammy winner. He has released more than 50 albums and sold millions of records. He is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

His guitar, famously named Lucille, has soared and wailed in songs ranging from “Every Day I Have the Blues” to “The Thrill is Gone.”

King was married several times and had 15 biological and adoptive children. Four have died.

His eldest surviving daughter, Shirley King, who tours as “Daughter of the Blues,” said the dispute between family members and Toney has brought disrespect to her father’s name and memory.

“I’m not too sure things are right. But my dad would never want this,” Shirley King said by telephone from her Chicago-area home.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bay Area

Vice Mayor: Business Group Wants to Buy Coliseum, Attract WNBA Team

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

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Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan.

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said a local business group has made serious inroads to buy the city’s 50% stake in the Oakland Coliseum complex and to bring a WNBA team to the city.
Kaplan’s office shared a news release Monday about the effort by the African American Sports and Entertainment Group.

Kaplan said the group is in negotiations with the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority, has submitted a formal proposal to WNBA officials, and has submitted a term sheet to the city, which the City Council’s rules committee recently voted to advance to the full council for a vote.

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

“I am pleased that there is such great interest in doing an important development at the Oakland Coliseum that will provide jobs, revenue and community positivity,” Kaplan said. “My goal is to help this process move forward before the summer recess.”

Kaplan said the group has the backing of more than 30 community groups of faith-based institutions, labor organizations, civic leaders, and job development organizations. She did not name the groups

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Books

Marcus Books at 60, the Oldest Black Bookstore in the U.S.

You can check out the titles they have in stock by visiting https://www.marcusbooks.com/ The store is open Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00-4:00 p.m.

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Image provided from Marcus Book Store Facebook page

Marcus Books is a Black-owned bookstore located at 3900 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland, CA 94609. Named for United Negro Improvement leader and author Marcus Garvey, the store was founded by Tuskegee College graduates Julian and Rae Richardson in 1960. In the ensuing decades they have sold books produced by Black, independent publishers, authors, poets, and artists and hosted talks by a who’s who of Black writers ranging from the late Toni Morrison, to Michael Eric Dyson and Sistah Soldier. There is a substantial collection of books for children as well. Online shopping is also available. You can check out the titles they have in stock by visiting https://www.marcusbooks.com/ The store is open Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00-4:00 p.m.

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Art

In Colorizing the Characters in ‘Hamilton,’ Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda Whitewashes History

But he should also make sure we all know Hamilton was no hip-hop hero, just another founding slave holder. Miranda’s color change doesn’t change history, nor make it less distasteful.

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Photo of Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton courtesy of cinemablend

Is there any doubt that Ishmael Reed is Oakland’s writer of conscience and consequence?

He was my teacher in graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. From him I learned a number of truisms about writing. Like, for me, when in doubt, put in the Filipinos. Don’t take them out!  Another one was career advice. The more money you make, the less you get to say. Conversely, the less you make, the more you get to say. And that brings me to the topic of this column.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “In the Heights,” opened the movie version of the musical last week. It’s a gushing hydrant of diversity. It should make a lot of money. But when I talked to him a few weeks back I wanted to talk about his other monster hit, “Hamilton,” where Miranda applied what I call a little affirmative action. He put the Black and the Brown actors in the white parts.

The Founding Fathers got “Hamiltoned.” Revolutionary?

“Well, it’s interesting,” he said. “The idea when I picked up the book was it’s an R&B hip-hop musical so, of course, Black and Brown actors would play those roles. As I’m reading the book the first time, I’m picturing which of my favorite hip-hop artists should play Hercules Mulligan or George Washington. They were always people of color, and the music reflects that…I was sort of more surprised that everyone was surprised when we finally came out.”

“I think it kicks open the door,” he added. “Why are we so literal when it comes to this stuff? And you know, I see Shakespeare with people of every ethnicity playing the roles. Why can’t that be the case with our founders? We know what they look like – they’re on our f***ing money. So, like, let’s move forward here. But I think once you see a show that has had the diversity that we have on stage, it’s very hard to go back to sort of these all-white productions because you’ve got to ask why, what stories aren’t we getting when you see that?”

You still have to ask what you’re getting. Miranda got comfortable enough to cuss and didn’t like the term “affirmative action.” But was he rehabbing Hamilton, making him and the others better than they were by applying the hip-hop beat?

It was the perfect opening to ask a question about Reed, the MacArthur ‘genius’ award-winning novelist, satirist, and playwright who last year wrote  “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda,” a play that takes Miranda to task for the failure to highlight the real history of Hamilton.

Hamilton and his in-laws, the Schuyler family, were slave owners.

Miranda may have given the actors some tone, but the historical soul remains the same. Just obscured. Reed sees Miranda as duped by the Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow, which Miranda used as the main source for his skin-deep musical that glosses over our racist founders.

“I think seducing thousands of children and even the inaugural poet Amanda Gorman into believing that Hamilton and the Schuyler girls were ‘ardent abolitionists,’ must rank as a cultural crime,” Reed said to me.

As I asked Miranda my question about Reed, the PR rep cuts in: “We are actually out of time.”

Then Miranda says, “I got a long schedule, sorry. Thank you.”

It would have been interesting to hear his answer, with “Hamilton” beginning a new tour in August.

But this is megabuck showbiz, and the PR juggernaut must go on.

So, Miranda wiggled his way out. He could have answered. I gave him a shot.

Then again, Miranda’s got this new property to sell that’s a lot more cleansing and joyful. “In the Heights” is the feel-good movie of the post-pandemic, you know. All the fire hydrants are gushing.

But he should also make sure we all know Hamilton was no hip-hop hero, just another founding slave holder. Miranda’s color change doesn’t change history, nor make it less distasteful.

In fact, the 2021 tour for “Hamilton” is coming to San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose for multiple-week runs in August through October.

Will he come clean by then? Or come up with a new song? In the meantime, you should read Reed’s “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda.”  There’s no music to wash away the truth.

Emil Guillermo is a veteran Bay Area journalist and commentator. He vlogs at www.amok.com Twitter @emilamok

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