Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trentonian TV Production Notes: Freedom (Episode 7)

TRENTON -- City Councilwoman Phyllis Holly-Ward punched Mayor Tony Mack in the mouth with her response to his official letter on the city's website, a letter that  was so poorly written, she said, that it left her head spinning. Trenton author Rachel Barlow and Duncan Harrison of the Mercer County Young Democrats were guests, too.

Barlow said she has been writing for 27 years, including "street poetry for grieving families." Her first novel is called "On the Other Side of the Boulevard" -- it is 80 percent fiction and 20 percent based on her experiences here in the dark heart of Jersey. The main character is a woman who slings drugs but gets saved at the end of the book, which also includes characters who die and others who come back to life. Barlow is shopping for a publisher, so spread the word. If you're a publisher, e-mail me and I'll put you in touch.

Harrison works at Rutgers University, where he is the coordinator of the Y.E.S. Center, which encourages young individuals and dropouts to get back into school. Y.E.S. places these high-risk individuals into programs so they can catch up on their credits and earn their high school diplomas, and the program offers wrap-around services such as mentoring and tutoring. Harrison also is a member of the Mercer County Young Black Democrats, so check out what he had to say about members of that community.

Phyllis Holly-Ward was the final guest. She and Freedom chitchatted about her new beauty salon and about Trenton's fractious city council, and then the good stuff kicked in toward the end when Freedom mentioned Mack's letter.

In Response to Irresponsible Actions of Select City Council Members -3!30!12

"When I read that," Holly-Ward said, "I almost had to get my 5-year-old nephew to read it. I needed a kindergartner to get through it." She said Mack's letter was "redundant" and that the "language and wording" exposed Mack's intellect. Not to mention, the mayor called her Holly-Ward twice before calling her "Holly-Ware" in the third reference. "I can't reply to it. It's so ignorant and immature."

Holly-Ward is an at-large councilwoman who voted for Mack, "but the person there now, I don't agree with." She said that one of Trenton's greatest athletes of any generation has a "short-person" complex and then rattled off several "short" afflictions eating at the mayor's psyche. In short, Councilwoman Holly-Ward is not a fan of Mayor Tony Mack. Then again, you can count those who are on two hands, or less.

Trenton resident Dan Dodson watched the live broadcast and took umbrage at something Holly-Ward said in relation to not liking when city businesses use hand-written signs outside of their establishments. I posted a photo of Freedom in action on his page, and this is what Dodson wrote in the comments section:

"Darren/Phyllis -- The discussion of business in Trenton, begins and ends with creating a market in Trenton and that means attracting residents, especially residents that spend. We need to create a pro-business environment but we don't need to tell businesses how to run. We need to avoid mandates. If a store wants to have hand-written signs, OK. There is a school of thought that says this works for some markets."

Freedom and Rachel Barlow, who needs a publisher for her book

Duncan Harrison waiting in the wings

Barlow's and Freedom's hands

Harrison's hands

Freedom and Harrison discuss Mercer Co. Young Black Democrats

Barlow (left) talks to Holly-Ward after her stint

Freedom and Holly-Ward talk about Mayor Mack

Freedom and Holly-Ward (and her loopty earring)

A lighter moment with Freedom and Phyllis

Here's the replay of episode 7.