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'Remembering Stuart,' 'Independence Day'

A Fond Farewell

Just a note to say thanks for Ann Wicker's recent article on the late Stuart Grasberg ("Remembering Stuart," July 26). I worked with him from time to time, more in recent years, and I'm proud to say that he is my friend. Stuart did so much to promote the arts in Charlotte.

-- Joel Blackwelder, Charlotte

Thug Life

I enjoyed Tara Servatius' column about the young man who was arrested in the uptown "melee" ("Independence Day," July 19).

After a while, one has to ask where these young people learned their anti-social attitudes. Certainty, some of it comes from their neighborhood. But some of it is also learned from the media, especially the "thug and slut" videos that are broadcast on MTV and BET. These kids watch these videos, listen to the lyrics, and then try to play the anti-social tough thug part.

Well ... who has been the biggest peddler of these videos in the last 10 years? None other than our very own Bob Johnson. Johnson used BET to get rich while having a totally corrosive effect on the black youth culture in America. Of course, he gets a free pass in Charlotte for his efforts.

The sad irony here is that now that Johnson is out of BET, he wants the Charlotte taxpayers to pay for police to protect his arena from the little monsters he helped create.

I believe that it was PT Barnum who said there is a sucker born every minute. If Barnum had ever seen present-day Charlotte, he'd say there was one born every second.

Keep up the good work.

-- Fred Benson, Charlotte

Take Pride

Thank you to Karen Shugart for her insightful article about Operation Save America and Flip Benham ("Operation Save America Takes A Holiday" July 26). I think it's very important for the public to know what Operation Save America stands for and the lengths to which they are willing to go to get their message across. Despite the fact that Charlotte is lining up to be a progressive hub of the South, Mr. Benham's group still seems to think if only they shout loudly enough, they'll stop all progress.

One thing in the article that I felt needed some clarification was the comment about Pride. Though the article correctly states that, "gay leaders didn't seek a permit this year to hold the larger pride events in Marshall Park ..." Shugart failed to mention that there is indeed still a pride festival happening!

Pride Charlotte, an event of the Lesbian & Gay Community Center is happening Saturday, Aug. 26, at Gateway Village in uptown Charlotte. Despite OSA's disruptions at last year's events, the Center and various community volunteers felt that pride was too important to just forget about. That is why the Pride Charlotte task force was formed, and we've been working diligently to make this year's Pride one to remember!

Please direct your readers to or for more information about the event. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

-- Laura Witkowski, co-chair, Pride Charlotte and executive director, the Lesbian & Gay Community Center, Charlotte

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