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Black Nouveau | Program | #2612

August 17, 2019


(upbeat music) – [Joanne] Welcome
to Black Nouveau, this is our edition
for September. I’m Joanne Williams. Summer is ending and
school has started. We’ll talk with Milwaukee. – [Keith] Well, this
is starting year 29. – [Joanne] Public
Schools Interim Superintendent Keith Polsey. Homer Blow’s birthday
party is an annual tradition for children. ♪ You say Blow ♪ Liddie Collins attended
the festivities. And we’ll review two
of the summer’s salutes to black history and art. You know, two men who make
their living on a tennis court came home in June. International tennis
star James Blake calls Milwaukee his second home because his wife is from here. Brandon Currie,
Wisconsin State Champion, and Summit Lead
Coach of the Year, is a Brown Deer native. They met on a court to show
that tennis can open doors to a bright future. Former pro, James Blake, and current college
coach Brandon Currie, hit the ball so hard. (Ball bouncing) One man in the stands said, “You can’t even
see it go so fast.” And he was right. (audience cheering) The tennis fans who came to Brown Deer high school’s
Novak Family Field House to see an exhibition tennis
match got a real treat. They got to see their
home town State Champion, Brandon Currie, duke it out with the former number four player
in the world, James Blake. So are you ready for this match? – I hope so, you know, how ready can you get
though playing against a guy like James Blake,
number four in the world? I’ll tell you this much, I think I’m gonna have a lot
of support from the fans, you know, so I’ll take that. I’ll take whatever I can get. – [Joanne] It was the Al
Hurvis Adamm Foundation’s idea of inspiring more young
people to play tennis and continue their educations that brought world famous
James Blake to Wisconsin. He met kids at Western Raquet
Club and the Town Club before the big match. – (mumbling) would give
them an opportunity, I don’t expect every
kid to go out there and be a pre tennis player, but I think they can
use it to help them. Whether that’s getting
them into college, whether that’s getting them
living healthier lifestyles, whether it’s
meeting new friends. However it is, ’cause those were the things
that were important to me when I started playing. It was just having fun first, and then I met new people. – [Joanne] Here are
some of his stats. He was ranked number four
in the world in 2006. He won 10 singles titles. “In 2001, he was only the
third African American to be named to the United
States Davis Cup Team.” In his book he said, “The red clay of European courts “has never been my
favorite surface.” “And it was on clay like
this that I broke my neck.” he had a long road back, but he found a way
to get through it, he wrote about it
in, Breaking Back. – It was talking about my dad, going through fond
memories, tough memories. And everything that was going
on in my life at that time, it was really an eye
opening experience and I can’t tell you how
many tears I shed going through the stories
and talking about them and putting the, I would say the
pan down to paper, but really the strokes
at the computer, but how many times I was
doing it through tears, and how many times it
brought a smile to my face. And so it was a, it was a great exercise for
me to open up a lot more, and I never thought of myself
as someone that was very open, and then writing a book, it just forced it on me
so it was a good thing. – [Joanne] He
recovered and reached his highest professional
ranking two years later. He retired from the
pro tour in 2013, but like Brandon Currie,
created new opportunities for himself in tennis. He’s Chairman of the United States Tennis
Association Foundation and the new Director of
the Miami Open Tournament. – Yeah, the Miami
Tournament Director, which has been a lot of fun, this is my first year
running the event, and really had a good time, and hopefully can continue
using what I learned on tour to help make that
tournament even better. – [Joanne] He’s also
written a second book. This one had a
different purpose. It’s called, Ways of Grace, stories of activism, adversity, and how sports can
bring us together. It starts with this incident on a street in New York in 2015. A plain clothes police
officer mistook Blake for somebody else, slammed him to the ground, and put him in handcuffs. – Unfortunate incidence
and what I learned is how common place that is, and how scary that is and how vulnerable you can feel. I felt like, with the things I’ve
done in my life, especially at the US Open, I felt like I was
hopefully in a safe place, and you realize how quickly
that can be taken away when you’re put in handcuffs and you have no control
over the situation. I hadn’t had that kind of
vulnerability in my life, and it was scary. – [Joanne] Blake threatened
to sue the city of New York, and began speaking out. – It made me realize
I had to speak up because there’s too many
people that don’t have a voice, that don’t have the resources to be able to fight the system, to be able to fight those that are saying what they want to say and using their
word against yours, Without the video. I know my case would have been totally different
without the video. – [Joanne] Blake dropped his
suit when New York agreed to create a citizen
position is his name, with the city’s Civilian
Complaint Review Board. That person will see that
citizen complaints against the police get swift action. But the story’s not over. Now, James Frascatore, the police officer
who handcuffed Blake is suing the city and Blake
for defamation of character. He claims James Blake’s
exposing him in his book, Ways of Grace, has damaged his career. – I just think, it, the more it happens, the more people I hope will get to a tipping point and realize there actually has to
be some sort of change. Not just incremental change. Not just one officer getting
punished or held accountable. There needs to be a real
system of accountability for these officers. (audience cheering) – [Joanne] Brandon Currie
went from competitor to coach, guiding other young men
and women into tennis. – I’m just learning,
like I said earlier, about yourself, you
know, set goals, you’re depending on yourself. You build your self esteem, and those core values I think carry over into the
real world as well. Just being disciplined, making the right choices, planning for your future. – [Joanne] For
the last 14 years, he’s been coach of
the men’s tennis team, at Indiana University, Purdue
University, Indianapolis. His IUPUI Jaguars played in three straight Summit
League Championship matches and Currie was named
Lead Coach of the Year, for two seasons. While at IUPUI, he got his doctorate in
education and counseling, skills he uses on the court. Doctor Currie just added
another title after the Brown Deer match. He’s now the Academic
Tennis Ambassador for the Al Hurvis Addamm
Foundation in Milwaukee. He will be spending a
lot more time back here in his home town. – [Brandon] Good jobs man. – [Joanne] Like Blake,
Brandon Currie has become a tennis business man, too. – About two and 1/2 years ago, I bought a tennis
facility in Indianapolis, where, and that was kind
of a life long goal, or dream of mine, to
actually own my own facility, so you know, it was
a two year process of acquiring the facility
and now you know, things are running
really smooth. – [Joanne] He has written
an instructional book for young tennis players
that he hopes inspires them to make good decisions
on and off the court. – A lot of things will happen, a lot of different issues. Situations where you have
to deal with adversity, and the key to overcoming
that is to, you know, measure that situation, learn from it, and move on. Continue to set goals
and strive for them, and keep working,
pushing forward. (audience cheering) (upbeat music) ♪ When I say Homer ♪ ♪ You say Blow ♪ ♪ Homer ♪ ♪ Blow ♪ ♪ Homer ♪ ♪ Blow ♪ ♪ When I say happy ♪ ♪ You say Birthday ♪ ♪ Happy ♪ ♪ Birthday ♪ ♪ Happy ♪ ♪ Birthday ♪ – [Liddie] This is a 24th
annual Birthday party for kids put on by Homer Blow. And yes, Homer Blow
is his real name, given to him by his mother. And he’s a Music and Program
Director at WNOV Radio. This year’s party was held
on Milwaukee’s neat West side at the Fitzsimmon’s
Boys and Girls Club and actually fell
on Homer’s Birthday, so this year’s party is
for Homer and the kids. And just like any party,
there’s food, play, and toys. Lots and lots of toys. And also booths that give
out information and services. Homer Blow started this party after hearing numerous
requests from kids wanting to experience a Homer DJ
party like their parents. – Well, whenever I would
be out in the community, ’cause I’ve always been
out in the community, and children were around, they’d come up to me, and some would try to, you know, imitate my name, or their mother would say, he know how to say your name. Say go ahead, he be around the house
saying it all the time. So the kids would
say Homer Blow. And then they would ask me, can we come to your party? You know, and I’m like, no, you got to be grown, in order to come to the party. And like, when are
you gonna do a party that we can come to? When you gonna do
a party for us? – [Liddie] So he
said, “Why not?” The first party
had over 500 kids, and it continues to grow. – It’s been an everlasting
memory for so many kids. And because I’ve been
doing it so long, there are people who I
see out and about in clubs that say I remember
coming the your party. They can tell me what
they want, I want a bike. I got this, I got that, you gave me this, and then now. – [Liddie] And that’s one of
the highlights of the party, getting a gift. Every kid gets one. – [Homer] Pick a bike,
man, which one you want? There it go, he want it. – [Male] For real, all right. – [Liddie] He’s kept it
going for all these years because he said,
“Children need hope.” – The community needs hope. It’s one thing to
tell people that hey, we got you. Hey, we support you. Hey, we know that you’re going
through some tough times. And then it’s another thing
to put all that into action. So when people see it, and are able to receive it and actually feel it, then they know that
it’s achievable, and they know that it’s real, and they know that
you really care. That you didn’t have to
do any of these things. – [Liddie] When
your husband said, “Lets do this Birthday party,” what did you say? – [Cheryl] Initially,
oh, that’d be great. Now, I’m nervous. Even 24 years
later, I’m nervous. – [Liddie] What, why? – I no longer have a house, like two weeks before. My grandkids can’t come over ’cause they want to play
with everything there, and as you see, it becomes more
and more massive every year. This is his passion. – [Liddie] His wife said,
“It takes a lot of patience, “sponsors, and
parents, and his kids, “to make this event happen.” – It continues to grow, and it’s never a problem. It is such a blessing
that I love seeing it. Like I said, “Its a
little bit stressful, “but who wouldn’t want
to see kids having fun?” Or enjoying theyselves? Or being kids, especially
in this day and age? – [Liddie] But who is? – Homer Blow, is a man
that has a love for people, has a dedication to music, and just very, very passionate. – [Liddie] His
communications career started while at Washington High
School doing announcements. He started DJing in
bars and clubs at 16, and became known. – And here we are,
27 years later, and I’m still in it. So I always loved to DJ, and radio just took it
to a whole nother level. – [Liddie] Being active
on the radio gave him a bigger voice. – It’s about being able
to reach the masses. (studio recording live) And with having that microphone, you’re able to
amplify your voice, and your message is able
to be heard and recieved by so many more people
than if we’re just talking on a one on one kind of level. So you want to be able to make
sure that they hear you roar. They hear what you have to say. So, I use the microphone as a
way to let them hear my roar. (Homer DJing) Hopefully it’s in
a positive way. – [Liddie] He’s also tapped
into the online genre with BlowRadio.com. He said, “People in Milwaukee “are starting to see the
need to help and be helped.” – Not just the superficial,
here you go, and we out, you know, they’re seeing
that there’s a consistent and a constant need. The issues that the
community is going through, they’re not all simple fixes, and it’s got to take
some real passion and dedication and
dealing with some people that you want to
help that don’t want to help themselves. But yet not give up
hope for those people. And still to try to inspire. – [Liddie] So this
annual Birthday party has become a ray of sunshine in a sometimes bleak situation, where kids get to be kids. – Happy Birthday. (upbeat music) – MPS recently kicked off
its 2018, 2019 school year with a new leader. Doctor Keith Posley was named
Interim Superintendent in May. He will run the state’s
largest public school system. Thanks for joining us. – Thank you for having me. – Good, so how long have you been involved
in public education? – Well, this is
starting year number 29, I started as a teacher at Ben
Franklin Elementary School. From there I became an Assistant Principal
within the district, a Principal in the district, as well as a Principal
Coach in the district, Leadership Specialist, as well
as a regional Superintendent. And after becoming
Regional Superintendent, I became the Chief of Schools for the Milwaukee
Public Schools. And now in this job as
interim Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. So I’ve had a long journey in
the Milwaukee Public Schools. – What are gonna be some of
your priorities moving forward? – Well, I have five priorities that I’m gonna be
spending time on. Academic achievement
and accountability, and that’s basically
the number one priority. And that’s going back
to core instructions. Making sure our
young people are able to master the area of reading,
writing, and mathematics. A lot of people call it
going back to the basics. But my North Star
would be making sure that young people are
learning at high levels, in all 160 schools in the
Milwaukee public schools. Also I want to improve the
district in school culture. That means making sure
that our buildings are safe and conducive for learning, and making sure that
we’re working together to build a culture of learning, and that where all children can and will learn at high levels. The third thing I have to do is look at developing our staff, and making sure that all of
our teachers and school leaders get the professional
development and the training that’s needed in order to
do a job on a daily basis. We wanna make sure that we
equip them with all the skills that is needed, necessary
to make each day go forward. Number, the fourth priority is, looking at fiscal
responsibility and transparency. Making sure it’s very clear where all of our
dollars is spent. I’m spending 89 cents on, 89 cents out of every
dollar is back into school. I returned 11.6 million dollars
to schools, to classrooms. That’s basically where
things are going to happen and we’re going
to make sure this is where the rubber
meets the road. Where high performance start, right in the classroom. And that last, that last part is looking at, making sure that we are, communication and collaboration
with all key stake holders. I need to let everyone know
exactly what we’re doing in the Milwaukee Public Schools and be able to tell
that successful story that’s happening
on a daily basis. – Now, you became a
hero, the Teachers Union, when you were able
to restore money back into the classrooms
and save jobs. How were you able to do that? – well, the thing
about it is that I’m indebted to young
people, the children. All of my time, energy,
money, and talent will be spent around young people. And the classroom is
the most important place in the school district. And we have to make sure
that we have teachers in front of young people, because that is
really what truly, that’s were we transform
lives in classrooms. – [James] Now, you had mentioned
something about talking about giving principals
more power, more latitude. Can you talk a little
bit about that? What is it? – Well, we looked at, we look at the timing. We want to make sure
that our principals have an opportunity to lead
the buildings that they’re in, and you know, and earned
autonomy of things that they can, you know, that they can do
within their schools because one thing we can not do is run a school for
52nd and Valite. So each leader in
those buildings are ready to step up and do what they need to
do in those buildings, and we have the, give them the opportunity
to do just that. – So they were not
able to do that before? – Oh yes, they’ve always
been able to do that, we are, but just the idea, just to know, the
reassurance to know that they have full autonomy
to run their schools, and we have guidelines
and procedures that are in place that are
followed on a daily basis. – Now you have,
attendance is big for you, and it’s been a big
issue for MPI’s. How do you get
students can’t learn if they’re not in school, how do you get kids to
come to school every day? – [Keith] We got to make sure
that the learning process is taking place in
every classroom, all across the district. And we got to encourage
our young people all along the way. We just kicked off an
attendance campaign at Bradley Tech High School, where we got our young
people to take a pledge, that you know, that they’re going to be in
school each and every day and one of our hash
tag slogans is, Every Day Counts. And so we want to make sure
our young people are there, ready for the learning process, and we also have to make
learning fun as well. And we have to find
our young people. We have to make sure that
we have rich print materials that our young people
can see themselves in, and get excited about reading
and writing, and mathematics, and get excited about
being in school. And that’s a, and also I want to whole,
have the community, to hold our young peoples
accountable as well. And we want to hold, to ask the community. So when you see
young people out, out and about, and they are not
in school, ask why. Because they should be in
school each and every day. – Lats talk about safety. What is, is safety a issue, a major issue in urban schools? – Well, that’s a major
issue in all schools. Not just urban, and I would say to you that
even through the budget process, I put money back into the budget to add additional safeties,
looking at cameras, and various things that
we need to make sure that all of our young people are safe and ready for learning. And in order to do that, we must make sure that our
young people are prepared and ready to go, and we want to make sure
that the environment in which they are being educated is a safe learning environment. – Does that include
metal detectors and things like that or what? – Yes, it’s a number
of different things, and we’re looking
at various ways to make sure and you know, and I can’t sit here and say
all of our safety measures, but the thing about it, there are locations where we do have metal detectors as well. – Now you’ve been
behind the scenes, for what, three superintendents? – [James] Yes, three
superintendents, behind, yeah. – And now you have the job. Do you have the money
to incorporate all the ideas that you have? Is the money there to make
these ideas come to fruition? – Great question, I don’t
think there’s any district in America that have
enough money for me with the ideas that I have. That I would like to implement. But I would say to you
that we have the revenue that, we could always
use more at any cost, but the idea that things that
we are going to make happen, we have dollars
earmarked to make that happen for this
academic school year. – Now you have the
title, Interim. What do you have to do to get
that Interim title removed from your title? – Great question, number one, keep doing the work, and you know, I’m going
into this work every, basically every assignment that
I’ve had in the district as, from a teacher, I was
hired as a teacher, but as an assistant principal, I had the interim name on. As principal I had it. As a leadership
specialist I had that, so, I’m doing the work, and at the end of the day, I’m just going to continue to do what I need to do
for young people. And it’s what I’ve
always done every day that I’ve gotten up
for the last 29 years, to give it 110% and
all of the things that need to be worked out will be worked out in the end. But at the end of the day, it’s about young
people and making sure that they get what they
need on a daily basis. – In five words, describe your style. – In five words? James, that’s a tough one there because one thing I can say, I’m one of those individuals that believe in,
believe in hope, determination, drive, and grit, and one thing I will always say that I encourage others, to do their very best
on a daily basis, and if you do all of
those kinds of things, that’s a true
recipe for success, – Well, hey, thanks for
joining us, appreciate it. – Thank you, it’s a pleasure. – [Announcer]
Milwaukee Bears were a Negro National League
Team formed in 1923, to replace the
Pittsburgh Keystones. The Bears drew many
of their players from the disbanded
Keystones roster, as well as from the New
Orleans Crescent Stars. – [Bobby] These Negro
League players gathered at Clinton Rose
Park on August 4th to celebrate the Milwaukee Bears
Negro League baseball team. The celebration was
a part of the salute to African American
baseball heritage, sponsored by the
Milwaukee Brewers, Yesterday’s Negro League
Baseball Players Foundation, and the Holy Redeemer
Wall of Fame. This year’s inductees, Herbert
Walker, and Warren Kirkendal, were added to the Wall of Fame. Attendees were treated to
a meal and got to share some of their memories. (upbeat music) Later that afternoon, we visited Maier Park for the
Black Arts Fest Milwaukee. ♪ Do you refuse to ♪ ♪ Put all your pride outside ♪ The one day event featured music from local and international
recording artists, woodwork, and sculptures, and art of all types,
even face painting. (celebratory music) (tribal singing) And dancers of all ages. (tribal music) – Next month on Black Nouveau, we’ll preview the
Black Lens Strand of the Milwaukee Film Festival. That’s Thursday, October
4th, at nine P.M., right here in Channel 10. You can also check us
out on our website, MilwaukeePBS.org, and
like us on Facebook. We’d also like to hear from you. Give us a call. The number is 414-797-3760. Tell us what you liked, tell us what you didn’t. And share your ideas on
what you would like to see. The number is 414-797-3760. And we leave you tonight with a remembrance
of Aretha Franklin. Thanks for watching. (soft music)

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