Concierge Division: Luxury Giveaways!

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS:

1. New York vixen Cuban Link knows how to spoil her man. The hip-hop fitness model lights up her Instagram page with footage of her boyfriend/rapper 50 Cent showing off an iced-out ring she copped him. To make the ring more special, Link had it customized in honor of Fif’s  “For Life” series and its success.

2. Tiffany Haddish has joked that her head felt “kinda like a peen” when she got it shaved. 

3. John Boyega and Robert DeNiro are to star in 'The Formula'. The plot centers on a Formula One racing prodigy (played by Boyega) who is forced to become a getaway driver in order to save the only family he has left. 

COMMENT

NIGHT DOCTORS & THEIR HATRED FOR BLACKS:

As far back as slavery, "night doctors" were affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan and were known for abducting blacks for medical experiments without anesthesia.

Does this subculture still exist?

The internet would make it easier for "night doctors" to coordinate abductions and carry them out across cities all over the world.

Allegedly, a few historians and researchers think that "night doctors" were behind the abductions of the Atlanta Child Murders.  And one historian said,  I wonder if a 'Night Doctor' removed the victims internal organs for aphrodisiacs?

While the whole world was focused on the Atlanta Child Murders, blacks were also being abducted in two other states during the same time frame.

And was Wayne Williams (who allegedly suffered from extreme self hate) used to lure blacks?

Present Day: Does this explain the numerous disappearances of African Americans in all 50 States?

"Night Doctors" also prevented freed slaves from moving to the North (by following the North Star, above).

New Orleans had an interesting variation on the Night Doctors called the "Needle Men". Thought to be medical students from Charity Hospital (now the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans), the eponymous Needle Men, would poke unsuspecting black individuals in the arm, resulting in death. Motive? To dissect a dead black body for medical purposes.

Students at Charity Hospital were also referred to as "Black Bottle Men". The black bottle would be a poison given upon entrance to Charity Hospital, and the resulting death would allow dissection of more black bodies.

Charity Hospital did not have sole responsibility for "Needle Men" or "Black Bottle Men." Johns Hopkins Hospital was believed to be another source. These legendary figures were thought to kidnap African Americans from the street. A woman from the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks states that: "You'd be surprised how many people disappeared in East Baltimore when I was a girl. I'm telling you, I lived here in the fifties when they got Henrietta (although she was sick), and we weren't allowed to go anywhere near Hopkins. When it got dark and we were young, we had to be on the steps, or Hopkins might get us."

COMMENT

NOSTALGIA:

by: Denise Grollmus

When Jean Powell-Armstrong got the call from Philadelphia International Records, she thought it was a prank.

The caller insisted that Jean's late brother, William Powell (top picture), an original member of the O'Jays, was owed a fat chunk of change by the record label, which had released the group's biggest hits, including "Back Stabbers" and "Love Train." Since 70-year-old Jean and her sister, Movita, were Powell's only living heirs, they were entitled to the money.

It had been nearly 30 years since she'd heard anything about her brother's estate. So Jean simply dismissed the call as if it were a winning sweepstakes envelope from Ed McMahon.

"My mom couldn't believe it," says her son, William. "Twenty-some years later and someone was calling her about this? She told them to send [the message] to her in black-and-white."

PIR's attorney, Philip Asbury, did just that, assuring Jean and Movita that "substantial sums are payable to your brother's estate."

The elderly sisters still couldn't believe their sudden fortune. "We were shocked, very shocked," says 68-year-old Movita. "We thought it was a blessing from God."

After all, not even Powell got to reap the fruits of his labor. He died of colon cancer in 1977, when he was just 35 and at the peak of the O'Jays' success. But his sisters would soon realize that PIR had no intention of allowing them to enjoy Powell's earnings either.

It's been more than a year since the letter arrived, and the Canton grandmothers have yet to see a penny. Soon after the letter arrived, the label inexplicably began to stonewall.

 

"We asked them, 'Why aren't you paying it?'" says family attorney Andrew Goldwasser. "We can't get a straight answer."

PIR would have been nothing without the O'Jays. The songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff started the label with the express purpose of putting out O'Jays albums. In turn, the O'Jays helped refine the duo's signature Philly sound by adding a touch of funk to the smooth string arrangements and lush melodies. Their songs became the anthems of '70s soul.

When Powell died, he entrusted his estate to his mother, Lenora Goins. She soon found herself in court with PIR, fighting for his royalties. A settlement gave Goins a $68,000 advance, with the promise of an escrow account for future earnings.

Two years later, Goins died and the estate was closed. The family never saw another dime. "PIR will tell you that the reason why they didn't pay for all those years is because they lost track of who to pay," Goldwasser says. "Our position was, all they had to do was write a letter to the probate court."

 

In the meantime, Jean worked as a housecleaner while raising three kids. "My mom, she never had a lot," says Armstrong. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the '80s and later suffered a stroke, the result of a botched operation. She has survived on disability checks ever since.

Times have been equally hard on Movita, whose daughter was recently diagnosed with cancer. "The family could really use the money to cover such expenses," Goldwasser says.

 

But the sisters never heard a peep from PIR, which had quietly held Powell's earnings since 1981, when Goins' advance was finally paid up.

Nearly 28 years after her brother's death, Jean received Asbury's letter. "It was more emotional than anything," says Armstrong. "We really haven't ever gotten over my uncle's death. That letter brought back a lot of emotions."

 

Goldwasser contacted PIR. "They were very nice," he says. "Phil Asbury was a true professional, but he didn't provide us with the info we asked for."

Not only did Asbury refuse to release the funds; he wouldn't even say how much the sisters were owed.

 

Last July, Goldwasser filed suit. A few days later, Asbury finally admitted that PIR owed the sisters over $400,000. But Goldwasser enlisted an accountant, who discovered that Powell's estate was actually owed more than $1 million.

The lawyer also discovered that PIR never started Powell's promised escrow account until 28 years after his death.  "It should be noted it was set up in the midst of the federal lawsuit with the other two [O'Jays] members, when they asked where Powell's money was," Goldwasser says.

 

Even then, PIR only deposited small sums into the account, according to bank statements. When Goldwasser filed the suit, PIR closed the account entirely.

"It puzzled me," Armstrong says. "Why would you write a letter, especially to my mom, that this money is there and then refuse to turn it over to the estate?"

Goldwasser asserts that the label is using the funds to leverage settlement -- one that could force the family to sign away Powell's future royalties. "[PIR's] only explanation is that they won't pay until they have a full settlement agreement," Goldwasser says. "And we're saying, 'Why do you need a settlement agreement for money you already admit owing?'"

Armstrong insists that his mother and aunt don't care one way or the other whether they get the money. "My mom says, 'Don't worry, I've been living like this all my life. I can keep on living it the same way,'" Armstrong says.

Still, Armstrong says, his uncle gave his life to the music industry.

 

"And not getting back what he is rightfully entitled to -- it's wrong," says Goldwasser.

UPDATE! (MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF BLACK MILLIONAIRE):

Charles Sullivan (top pic) was an extraordinary and brilliant businessman during the Jim Crow era and that offended the wrong people.

His nephew raised money via crowdfunding to do an documentary on Sullivan.

BACKSTORY:

by: Gary Carr

On August 2, 1966, the “Mayor of Fillmore” was found shot to death in the area south of Market Street. He was sprawled on the street next to the open door of a rental car. A revolver lay beside his right hand. Police said it was a suicide.

The dead man was Charles Sullivan, the most influential — and controversial — figure in the mostly African-American Fillmore District. From the late 1940s until his death, Sullivan was probably the richest man in the neighborhood. He was tall, handsome and imposing, dressed in finely tailored suits worthy of Duke Ellington. A local merchants group bestowed his title on him, complete with an oversize key to the city.

 

The San Francisco coroner dismissed the idea of suicide, declaring the death of “unknown circumstances.” 

Harry Richard Hall says: 

Charles Sullivan was the epitome of the self-made man. He worked his way to the West Coast in the mid-1920s from his home in Alabama. The journey took him two years. In 1928, he ended up in Los Angeles where, after a series of menial jobs, he became a gofer in a machine shop and ended up a journeyman machinist.

“At best, Charles only had a sixth-grade education,” Hall says, “but he was a genius with numbers.”

As Hall’s new play makes clear, Sullivan was good with numbers in more ways than one.

 

He left Los Angeles for San Francisco in 1934 because the machinist union barred blacks. He found the union doors closed in the Bay Area, too, so he took a job as a chauffeur and mechanic for George Nicholls Jr., a Hollywood film editor and director of the popular 1934 film Anne of Green Gables, who was living in Hillsborough at the time. The job helped Sullivan meet people, and he was good at making friends. Or at least connections.

He cobbled together the money in 1938 to open a barbecue joint in San Mateo, naming it Sullivan’s. A year later, he brought his teenage sister, Gertrude, later playwright Harry Hall’s mother, out from Alabama to go to high school and work in the restaurant. He bought a bar near Pacifica, just so he could get the liquor license.

“In those days, you could transfer a license to another location,” Hall explains.

After this maneuver, Sullivan’s BBQ had a bar and became Club Sullivan. It also had a card room in the back; Sullivan was the first black man on the Peninsula to own a gambling license. He was on his way up.

Because Sullivan was good with machines and loved music, he got into the jukebox business, which he named Sullivan’s Music Co. Booking live acts followed, and by the mid-1940s, he had grown to be the most successful music promoter on the West Coast.

Sullivan moved into the Fillmore and hooked up with one of the Bay Area’s more colorful characters, a large man named Shirley “Fats” Corlett. Fats had come into possession of the Edison Hotel at 1540 Ellis Street and renamed it the Booker T. Washington Hotel, but because of a felony conviction he couldn’t own the bar. Sullivan saw an opportunity and bought the hotel, as well as the Post Street Liquor Store nearby at 1623 Post. The Post Street building had rooms for rent on the second floor, and that became the Sullivan Hotel.

Sullivan booked some of the biggest names in jazz — including Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Ruth Brown, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Slim Galliard — into his own and other Bay Area venues. Galliard was a unique entertainer — a singer, songwriter, master of many instruments and inventor of his own language, which he called Vout.

Galliard borrowed money from Sullivan to buy a chicken and waffles place on Post Street, which he called Vout City. When the place went bust, Sullivan sued Galliard and won control.

“Not only was my uncle good with numbers,” Hall says “He was a tough man with a lawsuit, too.”

 

Sullivan was also a man of great perseverance, eventually becoming the first African-American in the Bay Area to belong to the machinist union. When black people began arriving to work in the shipyards in Oakland and Hunter’s Point during World War II, Sullivan was already there.

The machinist-jukebox entrepreneur-night club owner-promoter already owned one of the most successful jazz clubs in the Fillmore, the Booker T. Washington Lounge. He added Galliard’s place, which turned into an even more successful after-hours music venue, the legendary Jimbo’s Bop City. The building that housed Jimbo’s was later moved from Post Street when the Fillmore District was largely wiped out by the Redevelopment Agency and became home of the late and lamented Marcus Book Store.

Sullivan also owned the master lease to the Fillmore Auditorium. In 1965, he began subletting the Fillmore to Bill Graham when he wasn’t using the venue himself for blockbusters like the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.

On August 1, 1966, Sullivan flew back to San Francisco from L.A., where he had promoted a James Brown concert at the War Memorial Theater. Sometime between midnight and 2 a.m., Sullivan’s body was discovered on Bluxome Street in the industrial district south of Market. According to the police report, he was between his rental car and the building, “lying where a sidewalk would be if there was one.” He had been shot once at close range “one inch to the right of the left nipple.” He was 57 years old.

The police estimated the time of death at midnight and called it a suicide. The coroner said it happened at 2 a.m. and ruled out suicide. Acquaintances of Sullivan said that, at midnight, he was still at a woman’s house in Oakland. Rumors spread that it was a mob hit. Soon afterward, Bill Graham took over booking acts into the Fillmore.

Before Sullivan's death, Sly Stone tried to stay out of the disagreements between Graham & Sullivan especially now that he was scrambling for a new boss who would pay him, or at least not charge him, for regular studio access; neither Sullivan nor Graham were looking to hire Sly.

Sly was writing his best songs ever, but was at an impasse. Once again, Billy Preston tried to send help from LA. In August, Sly recorded a Four Tops song for Freddie’s group as part of a talent cattle call that Capitol A&R man Herb Hendler organized at the tiny Commercial Recorders in SF. On the Stone Souls’ songs Sly produced, you can hear them forging a distinct mid-60s Bay Area soul sound, halfway between Gordy and Toussaint (with a pinch of Stax). But Capitol was on the verge of letting Preston himself go, let alone take on R&B acts from the bay area.

 

Charles Sullivan was found murdered on August 2, 1966, south of Market Street in San Francisco. To this day, the murder remains unsolved, and “The Fillmore Sound,” which became synonymous with the Summer of Love, was born. With Sullivan out of the way, acts who had headlined for Sullivan such as Howling Wolf or Otis Redding were now relegated, under Graham and/or Helms, to opening for The Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and The Holding Company, the Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish. 

Years later, Bill Graham would tragically die in an helicopter accident.