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Las Vegas Arrest Complicates Flavor Flav’s NY Court Case

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Rapper and entertainer Flavor Flav leaves a Nassau County courthouse, Tuesday, June, 23, 2015, in Mineola, N.Y. Flav's arrest last month in Las Vegas on allegations he was speeding and driving under the influence has delayed an expected settlement in a New York case on similar charges. He has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of driving with a suspended license. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)

Rapper and entertainer Flavor Flav leaves a Nassau County courthouse, Tuesday, June, 23, 2015, in Mineola, N.Y. Flav’s arrest last month in Las Vegas on allegations he was speeding and driving under the influence has delayed an expected settlement in a New York case on similar charges. He has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of driving with a suspended license. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)

FRANK ELTMAN, Associated Press

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — What happened in Vegas apparently is not staying in Vegas.

Entertainer Flavor Flav’s arrest last month in Nevada on allegations he was speeding and driving under the influence has delayed an expected settlement in a New York case on similar charges.

“I’m just a little disappointed because I thought this was gonna go away today,” said the rapper and reality TV star, sporting his trademark clock around his neck as he left a Long Island courthouse. “But it’s OK. I just gotta come back.”

Flav, 56, whose real name is William Drayton, has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of driving with a suspended license, along with a speeding violation and two misdemeanors stemming from his January 2014 arrest on Long Island while driving to his mother’s funeral.

One of his attorneys indicated before Tuesday’s proceeding that his client was considering a guilty plea to settle the New York case. But prosecutors raised concerns over his arrest in Las Vegas and said that rather than considering a plea deal, they were inclined to proceed to trial and would be seeking a six-month jail sentence if he is convicted.

Last month, Drayton was pulled over on a freeway on-ramp near McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after police say he was traveling 73 mph in a 45 mph zone. He also possessed a small amount of marijuana, the Nevada Highway Patrol says. Formal charges have yet to be filed in the case; prosecutors say they are still waiting for the results of blood tests.

Neither New York prosecutors nor his defense attorney discussed specific details Tuesday of a potential plea agreement.

“We’re getting very close to resolving this matter but because we’re dealing with different states we have to determine whether or not a plea in this case in New York will affect his ability to travel and go on tour,” said attorney Michael DerGarabedian.

The lawyer would not say if his client would accept a plea that includes jail time. “I think that he thinks the district attorney is going extra hard on him,” DerGarabedian said. “Granted he didn’t help his position by getting re-arrested a couple of weeks ago, but if this matter was resolved in a timely fashion that would have been Nevada’s problem.”

But Shams M. Tarek, a spokesman for the Nassau County prosecutor’s office, said, “This defendant is being treated the same way any defendant with a history of aggravated unlicensed operation convictions and a new arrest for driving while impaired by drugs would be.

“Every delay and adjournment has been requested by the defense,” he added.

The current legal issues are not the first for Drayton.

A Nevada judge closed a criminal case against him last August after he completed a required domestic violence counseling course. The rapper pleaded guilty to attempted battery and battery constituting domestic violence, misdemeanors, for wielding a kitchen knife during a home argument with his longtime girlfriend’s 17-year-old son.

And last week, Las Vegas prosecutors said they would not pursue charges against Drayton for allegedly having an illegal fireworks display at a July Fourth party last summer.

The Long Island native who currently lives in Las Vegas was inducted in 2013 with the rap group Public Enemy into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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

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IN MEMORIAM: Robert Farris Thompson, Renowned Professor of African American Studies

Prolific Professor Robert Farris Thompson truly embodied the term ‘Maestro de Maestros.’ He was an absolute giant in the field of Afro-Atlantic history and art, respected by his peers for his groundbreaking work and multiple major articles and publications, particularly the seminal “Flash of the Spirit” (1984) and “Faces of the Gods” (1993).

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Robert Farris Thompson. Yale University photo.
Robert Farris Thompson. Yale University photo.

TRIBUTE

By John Santos

We’ve lost a Rosetta Stone.

Prolific Professor Robert Farris Thompson passed in his sleep Monday morning due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease and having been weakened by a bout with COVID-19 at the beginning of the year. He would’ve completed his 89th year on December 30.

Born on Dec. 30, 1932, Thompson was a White Texan who spectacularly disproved the fallacy of White supremacy through his pioneering and tireless elevation and clarification of African art, philosophy and culture. He removed the blinders and changed the way that generations of international students see African art.

A U.S. Army veteran, he went to Yale on a football scholarship and earned a B.A. in 1955. He joined the faculty in 1964 and earned his Ph.D. in 1965. He remained on the faculty until 2015.

‘Master T,’ as his students and friends often referred to him, was the Col. John Trumbull professor of the History of Art and professor of African American Studies at Yale University.

Thompson was also an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

He curated game-changing national exhibitions such as “African Art in Motion,” “The Four Moments of the Sun: Kongo Art in Two Worlds,” and “Faces of the Gods: Art and Altars of Africa and the African Americas.” The latter had a run at U.C. Berkeley in 1995 when local practitioners of African spirituality and musicians — including myself – demonstrated the powerful knowledge of tradition.

Thompson truly embodied the term ‘Maestro de Maestros.’ He was an absolute giant in the field of Afro-Atlantic history and art, respected by his peers for his groundbreaking work and multiple major articles and publications, particularly the seminal “Flash of the Spirit” (1984) and “Faces of the Gods” (1993). If he did not coin, he certainly standardized the term ‘Black Atlantic.’ He was a brilliant presenter, writer and teacher. But unlike many if not most academicians, he was also loved, revered and respected by the musicians, artists and communities about whom he wrote.

Initiated in Africa to Erinle, the deity of deep, still water, Thompson was hip, quirky and totally immersed in African and African-based music, dance, language, art and history. His lifetime of research, immersion and visionary work formed a bridge between Black America and her African roots.

Countless trips to Africa, the Southern U.S., the Caribbean and Central and South America informed his passionate work. He wrote about sculpture, painting, architecture, dance, music, language, poetry, food, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, African history, stolen antiquities, African spirituality, African retention, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, Black Argentina, New York, México, mambo, tango, jazz, spirit possession and so much more. He recorded African drumming. He befriended giants of African diaspora music such as Julito Collazo, Babatunde Olatunji and Mongo Santamaría.

I first saw his writing around 1970 on the back of the classic red vinyl 1961 Mongo Santamaria LP, Arriba! La Pachanga (Fantasy 3324). They are inarguably among the deepest liner notes ever written.

He told me that he used our 1984 recording, Bárbara Milagrosa, by the Orquesta Batachanga, to demonstrate danzón-mambo to his students. I nearly burst into tears when he invited me and Omar Sosa to address and perform for his students at Yale, his alma mater, where he was a rock star. It was an unforgettable occasion for me.

He wrote wonderful liner notes on our 2002 Grammy-nominated production SF Bay, by the Machete Ensemble. He went out of his way to support and encourage countless students and followers like me. I was highly honored to count him as a friend as well as mentor.

He will be missed.

John Santos is a seven-time Grammy-nominated percussionist and former director of Orquesta Batachanga and Machete Ensemble and current director of the John Santos Sextet.

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Art

Poet Laureates Provides Poetry That Heals the Soul

The City of Richmond’s 2021– 2023 Poet Laureate, David Flores was joined by fellow poet laureates including Eevelyn Mitchell of El Cerrito, Jeremy Snyder of Vallejo, Ayodele Nzinga of Oakland and Tongo Eisen-Martin of San Francisco to celebrate Flores’ installation. Each poet shared some of their work with the audience. A laureate is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field.

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The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft.
The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft.

By Clifford L. Williams

Poetry is a universal language…it’s the song of the heart that feeds the soul.

That was the message shared by five poet laureates from the Bay Area last week at a gathering to introduce the City of Richmond’s 2021– 2023 Poet Laureate, David Flores, during an Open Mic event at CoBiz Richmond, in collaboration with Richmond’s Arts and Cultural Commission.

Flores was joined by fellow poet laureates including Eevelyn Mitchell of El Cerrito, Jeremy Snyder of Vallejo, Ayodele Nzinga of Oakland and Tongo Eisen-Martin of San Francisco to celebrate Flores’ installation. Each poet shared some of their work with the audience. A laureate is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field.

Flores, an 11-year former schoolteacher for the Richmond Unified School District, submitted a few poems and some of his writings to a panel of commissioners last May, who reviewed his work and eventually selected him as the city’s newest poet laureate.

“To me, this is an opportunity to really highlight poetry as an art form accessible to everyone in our city,” said Flores. “I will use this appointment to actively engage young people and adults to allow them the opportunity to not only hear art but to also inspire them to share their work.”

Flores said that since COVID 19, people have been disconnected and now need community bonding to express themselves through art and poetry. “As a poet laureate, I want to grow as an artist and share my work,” said Flores. “It’s fulfilling as a shared humanity to connect and inspire people and a way to spark communication with one another. Once you have that experience, you feel confidence and there’s no going back.”

The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft. Laureates help to bring awareness of poetry and literacy through the arts to their respective communities during their two-year appointments. Each laureate goes through a process involving several steps, outlined by a panel of commissioners, who make the final selections.

“One of the main things we do as poet laureates is to encourage unity within our community through the arts,” said Mitchell. “Our specific responsibilities are to highlight poetry as an outlet to allow people to express themselves.

“As poet laureate, we put on events to encourage our community to become more involved and aware, and to be more unified in bringing awareness, unity, respect and love within the community. Because of the pandemic, we are all trying to figure out our new norm.

“With everything that has been going on for the past two years, I firmly believe it’s important that we as a community, and I as a poet laureate, need to bring harmony back into our lives,” she said. “It is my quest and priority to promote that. We are neighbors, we are friends, we are a community, and we need each other to survive.”

The general public can learn more about their city’s poet laureate events and activities by contacting their Arts and Cultural Commission.

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Bay Area

Skyline High Girls Volleyball Team Makes History

The team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match.

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The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team
The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team.

As the season comes to a close for the Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team, the members are celebrating that they went farther than any Skyline or OUSD/OAL volleyball team ever has. On the final day, November 19, the team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match. Skyline fell short 3 games to 1, coming in as runner-up. The photo above shows the team posing with their trophy after the match.

 

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