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Southeast Queens Community Gathers to Commemorate Beloved Barber at Street Co-Naming Ceremony

In June, the City Council passed Local Law 139, which included the proposal by Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Hollis) to co-name the street corner at 99th Avenue and Hollis Avenue in memoriam to the famed Strictly Skillz barbershop co-owner and master barber, who was gunned down last year in a botched robbery attempt.

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September 18, 2018Hollis, NY – Last Sunday, local representatives and community members joined the family of the late Zanu Glenroy Simpson to unveil the street sign for Zanu G. Simpson Way.

 

In June, the City Council passed Local Law 139, which included the proposal by Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Hollis) to co-name the street corner at 99th Avenue and Hollis Avenue in memoriam to the famed Strictly Skillz barbershop co-owner and master barber, who was gunned down last year in a botched robbery attempt.

 

His parents’ pursuit of the American Dream brought Mr. Simpson to Hollis from his family’s home in Hanover, Jamaica, one year following his birth. The principles they instilled in him were the driving force for all of Zanu’s achievements; first as as a star athlete in football and basketball with the Springfield Rifles, then later at Bayside High School where he was selected for the New York City Coaches Association All-City Football Team.

 

Mr. Simpson hung up his jersey after high school to learn the trade of barbering under his brother and Strictly Skillz founder Sam “Sneed” Simpson, and went on to become a master at the trade with a clientele that included celebrities like hip-hop artists Mobb Deep, Meek Mills, Bow Wow, and NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.

 

Affectionately known in the community as Z Da Great, Zanu was especially adored for the charitable works he performed, including the free haircuts he offered to neighborhood kids and annual back-to-school giveaway at Peters Field that he and his brother organized.

 

“I offer my condolences to the family of Zanu Simpson,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “A street naming is symbolic of a neighborhood’s identity and tells future generations its story. The dedication of Zanu G. Simpson Way will reflect that Z was a man of initiative who never lost his humility despite his success, and gave unsparingly to his community.”

 

“I thank Councilman Miller for his efforts in providing this street co-naming,” said brother Sam ‘Sneed’ Simpson. “Zanu was truly genuine, and losing him was devastating to our family. Though my baby brother, best friend, and co-worker is gone, Zanu’s death will not be in vain. I will honor his legacy by continuing the work we did together, including Z Da Great Day at Peters Field. This is just the beginning.”

 

“Zanu Simpson was a successful, beloved community member with a network of friends, family, and customers that stretched far beyond Southeast Queens,” said Senator Leroy Comrie. “His death shook so many and reminded us of the terrible toll that gun violence takes on communities of color. I commend Council Member Miller for his efforts to rename the street outside of Strictly Skillz in memory of Zanu.”

 

“In renaming this street after Zanu G. Simpson, we memorialize him as a beloved community leader, a successful barber, and generous neighbor,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks. “This street will serve as a reminder to us all of the cost of senseless violence, and will allow us to honor Mr. Simpson as it stands at the center of the community he so loved and served. Our thoughts continue to be with his family and loved ones.”

 

“We celebrate and honor Zanu G. Simpson,” said Assemblyman Clyde Vanel. “He was a gem in this neighborhood and a community leader. May his legacy live on.”

 

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New Pop-Up Art Festival on Wheels to Debut in Jamaica, Queens!

July 2018, Jamaica, NY — The Southeast Queens Artist Alliance (SEQAA) is taking art from the studio to the streets with its first day-long, free (C)Art Festival on Saturday, September 1st (rain date: Saturday, September 8th) at Rufus King Park on Jamaica Ave. & 150th Street. From 11am-5pm, visitors will have the opportunity to participate with local artists in hands-on art creation and educational activities ranging from paper-making to designing personal herbal teas. All happening in, on and around mobile carts!

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SEQAA (C)Art Fest

New Pop-Up Art Festival on Wheels to Debut in Jamaica, Queens!

 

July 2018, Jamaica, NY — The Southeast Queens Artist Alliance (SEQAA) is taking art from the studio to the streets with its first day-long, free (C)Art Festival on Saturday, September 1st (rain date: Saturday, September 8th) at Rufus King Park on Jamaica Ave. & 150th Street. From 11am-5pm, visitors will have the opportunity to participate with local artists in hands-on art creation and educational activities ranging from paper-making to designing personal herbal teas. All happening in, on and around mobile carts!

 

Founded in 2017, SEQAA is a collective of artists and arts professionals who seek to cultivate and share artistic expression where they live and work. Its mission is to nurture local talent and support quality cultural programming in our community, particularly in public spaces. The (C)Art Festival is The Alliance’s first major initiative that invites interactive public experiences at a historical community space on the grounds of the Rufus King Manor Museum.

 

As Southeast Queens undergoes new developments and major changes, the (C)Art Festival will be a vehicle for SEQAA to introduce The Alliance to our neighbors and visitors as well as further its mission of building and expanding the current art community and its cultural offerings.

 

A number of cross-disciplinary projects will be available at the (C)Art Festival that are fun and engaging for people of all ages. They include:

 

  • Rejin Leys’ PulpMobile DIY paper-making project.
  • Shervone Neckles’ Creative Gathering Wellness Station, an herbal tea-making cart.
  • Jacqueline Herranz-Brooks and Margaret Rose Vendryes’ Consume a piece of Cuba before… / Consuma un trozo de Cuba antes que…, a community dialogue project about the changing relations between Cuba and the USA discussed while consuming cake.
  • Sherese Francis’ Expressions mobile library of Southeast Queens authors and writers will present a bookmaking workshop and the Black Cherry Jam Open Mic.
  • Natali S. Bravo-Barbee’s Fresh of the Press: The Green Card Cart, taking a small, portable Gocco silkscreen press and printing limited edition Green Card prints, to open dialogue about the current immigration crisis, deportations and family separations.
  • Art & Com’s (Thiago Szmrecsányi, Natalia De Campos, Tracy Collins and Toya Mileno) Collective Bargain, a mobile installation-performance-intervention that displays information, media and ephemera related to collectivity, action, gathering, healing, and the power of union.
  • Museum of Impact’s #UpstanderLoveLetters, an artful intervention where participants learn to ‘Stand Up. Speak Up. Act Up’ for what they believe in by engaging in a series of themed activities that amplify social justice.
  • Other participants include Queens Creative Solidarity, multimedia artist Elizabeth Velazquez, and other local creators and organizations.

 

The (C)Art Festival is made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and through a partnership with King Manor Museum. For more information about the festival, please contact SEQAA at seqartists@gmail.com. Additionally, please visit our website, Seqaa.org, and our social media pages, Southeast Queens Artist Alliance on Facebook and @southeastqueensartists on Instagram.

 

 

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Wayne Stewart-Job well done

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Wayne Stewart -Job well done

Local Queens resident Wayne Steawart gives back to his community by clearing up traffic on Sutphin blvd and Archer ave. Over the past six plus years Mr. Steawart has been volunteering his time to help keep traffic flowing smoothly.

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