Denver Chocolate City
(DENVER – August 26, 2008) – “God bless Chocolate City and its Vanilla Suburbs”: If you’re old enough to remember this funk classic from Parliament, you know it as the in-your-face motto for the rise of black mayors in the seventies. A new beast was awakened and literally changed politics. White political incumbents lost their grasp of power with the rise of black electorates; it was a changing tide.
Now, fast forward to Denver, August 25, 2008 and the arrival of the Democrat National Convention. Democrats, specifically black Democrats, are occupying the “Mile High City.” With only a four percent Black population, the invasion has transformed this city into “Chocolate City.” It’s not like the city hasn’t seen a black politician. Denver once boasted Mayor Wellington Webb as it leader and his name adorns the city’s municipal center.
There is a strangeness of sorts as I move about the city with storefronts and business establishments adorned with Obama paraphernalia. The black community here is engaged. At a reception on Sunday hosted by the Colorado Association of Black Journalists, Colours TV, a multi-cultural cable channel (http://www.colourstv.com/site/) was introduced.
This week, the Jazz and Blues Festival of Denver dates were changed to coincide with the DNC Convention. The Five Points area is widely accepted as the epicenter of black life having hosted jazz greats from Lionel Hampton to Dizzy Gillespie. My host in the city says there is a gentrification process underway where long-time residents are being moved out, but it continues to maintain its historic roots.
At every turn I’m finding people who’ve brought others to Denver to experience this convention. Word is the migration won’t stop until Thursday when the population in the city is going to burst at the seams. Delegations from every state have new delegates who are black. So, who does this Chocolate City benefit? It’s obvious: black entertainment!
The names are like an A-list of those pushing the envelope on big screens and small screens. Spike Lee is making the rounds promoting his upcoming movie, Miracle at St. Ann. It’s the story of an all-black World War Two regiment that liberates an Italian town.
Why not throw in the mix Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Alfred Woodward, Giancarlo Esposito, and Jurnee Smollett for just a little star power.
Don’t think others aren’t looking to cash-in. Think about this: TV-One has never had a news division and they are even here. BET, whose record on solid news coverage - which has been suspect, is here. Black talk radio is here: Tom Joiner, Michael Baisden, Bev Smith, Mark Thompson, Joe Madison, and a host of others who know it’s important to be “in-the-house.”
“CC, they say you’re jive and game…and can’t be tamed, but on the positive side you’re my piece of the rock and I love you CC. Gaining on Ya, God Bless Chocolate City and the Vanilla Suburbs.”