Sum very peachy music in Harlem

National Action Network’s Educational Committee promises to spread Christmas joy this season with a concert at the Williams Institutional CME Church in Harlem.

Slated for Dec. 18 at 5:00 p.m., the holiday treat promises “Sum very peachy music” produced and directed by Lady Peachena. Located at 2225 Adam C. Powell, between 131st & 132nd, the church will welcome several guest choirs.

The Late Show Gospel Choir, of David Letterman’s “Late Show’,” The Anointed Praise Choir of the Bronx, and Rev. Tyrone Richardson & the newly-formed NAN’s Youth Choir, directed by the concert’ producer Lady Peachena — are some of the stellar music ambassadors billed for the date.

Special guest choir will be The Timothy Wright Memorial Choir — which will be making its first appearance in Harlem since the death of Rev. Wright. Rev. Wright was known as “the godfather of gospel.” He died last year in a car crash that killed him, his wife evangelist Betty Wright and grandson Daniel D. J. Wright.

The choir fest will salute youths in and around the community. Patrons are asked to bring a book or an educational toy which will be distributed to children who live in the housing project across from the church.

Tickets are available at National Action Network, 106 W 145th St. in Harlem.

Griffith Family Grieves 24 Years After Howard Beach

Christmas has been elusive to Jean Griffith-Sandiford since Dec. 19, 1986. That was the year her son and husband was chased and beaten because they dared to walk through the segregated, Howard Beach neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Although the Christmas holiday can hardly go unnoticed, the mother of Michael Griffith and widow of Cedric Sandiford has disconnected from pursuing the routine preparations which annually dominated, her life in Trinidad & Tobago.

“Christmas was always special,” Griffith-Sandiford explained. “We would shop, decorate, send greeting cards, attend holiday fetes and just have a good time.”

All that changed the night she answered the phone to hear that her son Michael was killed by a car. At the time, the details were sketchy. But it was no accident. The details revealed to the grieving mother and the rest of the world that her son ran into oncoming traffic in order to escape racist white youths who chased him, her husband and one Timothy Grimes out of their neighborhood. Reportedly, the three Black men were walking to find a gas station after their car stopped in the middle of the segregated community. According to court reports, simultaneous to the car malfunction, mischievous white youths spotted the men, and proceeded to taunt, chase and beat the outsiders.

Grimes and Griffith were badly beaten but they managed to get away. Michael ran into traffic and was hit by a speeding car. He died instantly.

Five years after, Jean’s husband died.

“Christmas is not the same.” Jean said “Christmas means I have to go back to the cemetery.”

While the avowed Christian often visits the grave sites of her son and husband at Brooklyn’s Evergreen Cemetery, “Christmas is a must,” she said.

“I don’t have the spirit for anything else.”

Jean has long forgiven Scott Kern, Jason Ladone and Jon Lester who were convicted of the heinous crime. All three served time and are now free from jail. Kern and Ladone are allegedly remorseful about their role in the criminal act. And the sentence that weighed heaviest on the reported ringleader, found Lester out early in 2001 before he could complete the maximum 30 years. After release, Lester relocated to live in England.

Say A Prayer For Aretha

Last Thursday, the music industry was stunned by news that Aretha Franklin is fighting for her life. Although since May, the acclaimed queen of Soul cancelled all performances for the year, many believed she was suffering from a temporary illness. News of her illness made the front pages of many newspapers and was the lead item on many television and radio news reports.

Unconfirmed reports state that Fox News first broke the story and are saying the Detroit native may be battling pancreatic cancer, one of the most debilitating of all with a five to 10 percent recovery average.

We will keep Ms. Franklin in our prayers.

Catch You On The Inside!