Embracing The 1619 Project and CRT


Nikole Hannah-Jones makes an appearance in Lancaster in April 2022. Photo by Leon Laing.

On the heels of The 1619 Project docuseries, I examine how The 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory tug at the heartstrings of people in Central Pennsylvania and beyond. Some groups view books about these topics as eye-opening. Others deem the texts as controversial. Continue reading ‘Embracing The 1619 Project and CRT’

Singer swims in success

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Teddy Swims. Photo by Leon Laing.

A whopping two million people follow Teddy Swims on Instagram.

So it was no surprise tickets sold out for Nov. 11 concert, which was held by Harrisburg University Presents. The YouTube sensation from Conyers, Georgia, performed at XL Live in Harrisburg. Continue reading ‘Singer swims in success’

Juneteenth events embrace black empowerment

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Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Photo by Leon Laing.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson 
On June 14, I returned to Harrisburg Area Community College, one of my college alma maters.

I wasn’t attending class, but it sure felt like it.

Aside from making his lecture feel like an African American Studies class, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, the keynote speaker, took the audience to church. And I hung on his every word. Continue reading ‘Juneteenth events embrace black empowerment’

Free Juneteenth concert draws many

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Keri Hilson. Photo by Leon Laing.

The Keri Hilson and Shad “Bow Wow” Moss show reminded concertgoers of the 106 & Park TV-show era. The Juneteenth concert, held at XL Live in Harrisburg on June 18, was sold out, but attendants had to request a ticket for the free event. Continue reading ‘Free Juneteenth concert draws many’

Barnette takes bronze in GOP Senate race

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Kathy Barnette. Photo by Leon Laing.

Kathy Barnette may have conceded for the U. S. Senate race, but she earned the third-most votes among her Republican counterparts. And she clinched her spot without spending as much money as Dave McCormick and Mehmet Oz, the two front-runners. Continue reading ‘Barnette takes bronze in GOP Senate race’

Rocky and N.O.R.E. reminisce about Harrisburg


A$AP Ferg (left) and Rocky at State College in 2011. Photo by Leon Laing.

The A$AP Rocky Drink Champs interview aired on May 12. During the interview, both Rocky and co-host N.O.R.E. mention their link to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Rocky once lived here, but N.O.R.E. talked more about his experience at the state capital. Continue reading ‘Rocky and N.O.R.E. reminisce about Harrisburg’

Famous writer visits neighboring state

Nikole Hannah-Jones. Photo by Leon Laing.

After earning the Pulitzer Prize for The 1619 Project last year, Nikole-Hannah Jones is having a banner year in 2021, too.   

Time magazine named her one of the most influential people of 2021. And today, her highly anticipated book, “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” hits the bookstores. “Born on the Water,” a book authored by Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson will also be released that day. The 1619 Project “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative.” Continue reading ‘Famous writer visits neighboring state’

Friend of Midtown

Kota the Friend (left) and Drew Tyrell. Photo by Leon Laing

By opening his first brick and mortar store in Harrisburg next week, rapper Kota the Friend is the third-famous Brooklynite to have ties to Harrisburg. Old Dirty Bastard and Michael K. Williams also have links to the city.

Kota will hold Fltbys Weekend in Harrisburg. Fltbys (pronounced Flight Boys), located at 263 Reily St. in Midtown, is a hip-hop and skate clothing line created by Kota in 2008. The rapper said he was inspired by Pharrell Williams’ Billionaire Boys Club clothing brand.

“I love how original he was,” Kota said about Williams.

Continue reading ‘Friend of Midtown’

Kanye collaborator visits area

Malik Yusef. Photo by Leon Laing.

When Lancaster-based rapper Terian Mack recorded at a studio in California, he would also forge a relationship with Malik Yusef, a music industry heavyweight.

Then on Sept. 8, Mack held a listening party for his upcoming album Independence Day at Tellus 360 in Lancaster. Mack told vigoronline that he’ll drop the album soon; the release date is tentative. Yusef and Rockie Fresh are some of the celebrity features on Independence Day. Continue reading ‘Kanye collaborator visits area’


Michael K. Williams (left) and his sister Michelle Lomax-Chambers in Harrisburg, Pa. Photo by Leon Laing.

This never-before-seen photo of the late Michael K. Williams is one of my favorites for a number of favorites for a number reasons: I took the photo with my Minolta Maxxum 7000, a film camera my dad gave to me. This marked the first time I met Williams — but because he has ties to my hometown of Harrisburg, Pa. — it wouldn’t be the last time. And I took the photo during Barack Obama’s town hall meeting at The Forum on March 30, 2008. Obama would go on to become the first black president of the United States.

Continue reading ‘MKW and ODB’