“I Heard That” — Obama’s Time is NOW!

by Rochelle Metcalfe on January 30, 2008

Happy the South Carolina Democratic Primary is over, voters signed sealed and delivered a win for Senator Barack Obama! Fearful African Americans would not seize the moment to stand up and be counted, proud the Senator received over 50-percent of the Black vote (one report over 80%) and a substantial percentage of White voters!

Obama’s time is now! A remarkable orator, his inclusive message resonates with many across all racial lines! Surprised when the Kennedy family endorsed him Monday, which is a great boost to his campaign! Senator Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy (D-Mass), his son Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), and Caroline Kennedy jointly came out for Obama, who the week before had been badly beaten up by former President Bill Clinton, campaigning for his wife Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Senator Kennedy lost two brothers who served this country. We remember lil’ John and Caroline Kennedy standing with their mother Jackie O. Kennedy at their father’s casket – a sorrowful time for the family and this country. I remember those three days in November, married, pregnant with our son, rain pouring down all weekend, my husband and I could do nothing but sit and watch the TV all weekend, shocked in our life time by the hatred of those who were against President John F. Kennedy; Further devastated when Bobby Kennedy was killed, then Martin!

The son of a Black African father and a White American mother, both deceased, Obama is of the fabric of John, Bobby and Martin. The path he walks is dangerous; but bravely tread with faith, hope, resolve for change. A drum major of a different beat!!! The momentum is rising – Obama, Obama, the name is mystifying – get on board the train for change! Destiny has its hand on Obama’s shoulders!!!

Black Civil Rights leaders who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., some hold political office, comrades of the Clintons, are torn, forced to ponder over Senator Barack Obama – what a predicament!

On the home front! Emmit Powell, evicted owner of Powell’s Place after a little over two years, the last supper served last November 13, forced to close his restaurant at the site of Eddy near Fillmore Street. A restauranteur for over 35 years, has moved on with his bag of financial woes that will eventually include the loss of his home of over 40 years!

Undaunted, Emmit has found another place to serve his famous fried chicken at The House of Velma’s – home of the Sunday Blues ‘n’ Jazz Club located on the edge of the industrial area of San Francisco’s Bayview District on Jerrold Street, that has a kitchen, now called ‘Powell’s Cafe’!

‘Powell’s at Velma’s’ debuted Sunday of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday weekend serving a soulful Brunch. Radio station KPOO (FM 89.5) Blues Jock Noel Hayes raved about the spread, as did others! And Powell and his Gospel Elites performed prior to the gut bucket Blues sounds of Lacy Baker and Black Diamond Blues Band. Nothing but a finger-lickin’ good time!

Velma Landers, owner of the Nightclub, is excited, shared via phone Tuesday morning, Mr. Powell will do well for there’s a lot of churches and commercial business in the area “a good marriage! Glad we were able to keep his soul food in the City – a tradition in San Francisco.”

Unbelievable there are no Black-owned soul food restaurants in town! Monday morning when chatting with Labor leader and San Francisco Redevelopment Commissioner LeRoy King, we talked about the lack of restaurants where down home mouthwatering foods like Ham Hocks and Turnip Greens, Gumbo, and Chitterlings (Hog guts), and other vittles close to hearts of Black folks. Of course we’re more conscious of our health these days but Powell’s place is missed in the Fillmore!

Powell and associates who were with him during the fight to save his restaurant, continue to support him, also have plans to serve daily lunches starting late February.

What happened to the old site of Powell’s on Eddy near Fillmore? Last I heard, when talking to potential tenant Larry Armstrong Monday night, he would only say the process is continuing with The Fillmore Center management, and hope to open soon. I don’t mind saying whoever opens the place it will never have the momentum that greeted Emmit Powell at the Grand Opening of the long anticipated restaurant, February 12, 2005. The magic is gone!

‘It Ain’t Rainin’ on Nobody’s House But Mine’! Title of a 90s single hit by Gunsmoke Recording artist Jesse James who could not say that was the case last Friday night when ridin’ in San Francisco’s hot Union Square nightclub “Biscuits and Blues” with his posse! The fierce storm didn’t keep this writer away – thanks to my trusted Gentleman Jim!

My friendship with the Gunsmoke Recording artist, based out of Atlanta, GA, go back 20 years when I booked him regularly on my Blue Monday night Blues showcase at the legendary Jack’s Bar, formerly Jack’s of Sutter Street until gentrification of the San Francisco Fillmore District forced the owner to move several places until landing at Geary and Fillmore where the doors closed in May 1988. Now Boom Boom Room.

Renowned for his hit ‘I Can Do Bad By Myself – don’t need no help starving to death,’ James performed with his versatile band – The Dynamic Four – a team that has spanned 40 years. They remain in the Bay Area, occasionally travel out of town with James, who otherwise has a Southern unit.

B&B owner Steve Suen felt the vibes, seen dancing in place several times. The music was happening, enhanced with the club’s famous fried chicken and mouthwatering biscuits! KPOO’s Noel and I sat pattin’ our feet, while enjoying the food!

Some rain has fallen on James and his wife Jennifer’s life; they lost their only son to a drive by shooting in Richmond California in 2005; ironically Friday would have been Sean James 28th birthday. The couple have roots in the Bay evening, lived in Richmond for many years, moved to Atlanta in the 90s; Sean remained in the Bay Area.

James has released a single directed at the youth today and their families of all races, in remembrance of Sean. James singing in gospel tinged rhythm and blues dance sound, entitled ‘Ladies – If he can’t Hold his Pants Up – How can he Hold You Up?’ from the New CD “Get in Touch with Me”.

James expressed “I hope it will open up a dialogue between parents and our youth and our communities, so that we can start to see what we’re doing to ourselves; corporate America don’t care, they only want to make money. Our young people are our future, they come into the world with so much against them, if we as parents don’t teach them, they will continue to be lost in the street life to drugs, and babies making babies.”

Barack Obama is not the only one calling for change! James desire to speak to groups, get his message out to start a dialogue for change. “My son was murdered in the streets, like so many parents today. My wife and I know the pain of losing a child, so I feel very strongly about our youth and this issue. It’s a start – we got to be involved, we can’t just talk but we got to walk the walk!” Jesse James can be reached at (404) – 368-8844.

E-mail Rochelle at iheard@earthlink.net

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