today in black history

March 20, 2018

Filmmaker and producer Sheldon Jackson "Spike" Lee was born on this date in 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia. Brings the Convention to the People!

POSTED: August 29, 2008, 12:35 pm

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The streets of downtown Newark, New Jersey were packed last night as celebrated its launch with a Community Convention, “ComCon ’08,” that brought 1,000 people to Commerce Street in the business district for a block party. Complete with convention signs and “delegate” credentials, the party goers joined the family and its news partners on a historic night as the nation witnessed the Democratic Party nomination acceptance speech of Senator Barack Obama. ComCon ’08 featured a giant video screen on which broadcast a satellite feed of the senator’s speech from Denver. is the first Internet search engine designed to identify and push Black, culturally relevant content to web users and was the official corporate sponsor of the launch celebration. Executive Editor Walter Fields kicked off the evening by bringing the family on stage with the family. He thanked the community for its support and introduced Johnny Taylor, President and CEO of Taylor acknowledged the partnership with and shared the RushmoreDrive vision with the crowd, noting the comparisons of the site to Google and telling the audience that instead of “googling it, they need to drive it” to find culturally relevant content on Rushmore Editorial Director Dr. Nsenga Burton shared the site’s editorial vision and explained why the partnership with made sense from a business and community perspective. Joining Taylor and Burton on stage were marketing team members Kevin McFall and Brad Gebert. Ali Sharif, Chief Creative Officer for, shared the “NorthStar” story and recognized the support of Shareefa Salaam and Deidre Knight in planning the event and their work coordinating the night’s program. Senior Legal Analyst Rob Tarver let the crowd know that was for the community and that its commitment is unwavering in being the voice of Black Americans.

Headlining the event was New York morning radio personality Jeff Foxx of 98.7 KISS-FM and leader of “The Jeff Foxx Band.” KISS-FM has been a staunch supporter of the family from its early origins as “The NorthStar Network.” partners Walter Fields and Ali Sharif recently appeared on the station’s “Open Line” Sunday morning public affairs program to discuss the launch of the website and discuss the Democratic National Convention. Walter Fields is also the station’s political correspondent. Foxx, host of “The Wake Up Club,” entertained the crowd with a variety of “old school favorites,” kicking off the evening with a salute to by playing the McFadden & Whitehead R & B classic “Ain’t No Stopping us Now.”

While the community packed the streets there was an invitation-only crowd of 300 that filled the adjacent “The Spot Bar & Lounge” where had a mini-studio and live webcast the night’s festivities. Throughout the evening Senior Legal Analyst Rob Tarver interviewed a number of guests, including President and CEO Johnny Taylor and Editorial Editor Dr. Nsenga K. Burton. Walter Fields sat down with legendary Newark political strategist, and father of Ali Sharif, Carl Sharif, who shared a historical perspective on the evening, shaped from his years on the ground in the city that precede the election of Ken Gibson, the city’s first Black mayor. Joining the family at “The Spot” were a number of community activists and personalities from Newark and the New York City metropolitan area. Guests inside the restaurant and outside were given t-shirts and baseball caps as souvenirs of the website’s launch.

As the evening wore on and the sun set, an inflatable jumbo video screen was activated and the satellite signal enabled to bring the live feed in from Denver as ComCon ’08 “delegates” filled the street with convention signs representing cities across America, and cheered wildly as Senator Obama took the stage in Invesco Field. The noise of both the crowd in Denver and in Newark was so loud at times that it was indistinguishable. Throughout the crowd in Newark, that included people of all races and ethnicity, and many children and young adults, there was a sense of history in the air, apparent on the faces of many whose cheeks were stained with tears as they watched Senator Obama speak from the podium at the convention. The applause of the crowd in Newark often drained out the audio from Denver as time and again they roared their approval. Perhaps the biggest cheer rose from the crowd when Senator Obama recognized the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington as the ComCon ’08 delegated hoisted their convention signs in the air in a salute to the work of civil rights icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As if on cue, Senator Obama concluded his remarks just minutes before the ComCon ’08 block party was set to end. As technicians deflated the video screen, the crowd in Newark roared and continued the party, with many filling “The Spot Bar & Lounge” for an after party into the wee hours of the morning.

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