Tribune Staff Report
Albert D. Smith, also known as “Smitty,” was a long-time employee of Baker Funeral Home.
He died on Monday, July 1, 2013. He was 52.
He was born on July 22, 1960 to the late Timothy Smith and Mary Lee Smith in Philadelphia.
Music was very important in his life and he learned to play the piano as a little boy. He also learned to play the organ and played for various churches across the city.
Smith enjoyed collecting cars, trucks, aircraft and trains. He also loved the Christmas season.
“He loved life and lived it to the fullest, despite him being on dialysis,” his family said.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife, Bethany; six children; three grandchildren; two sisters; four brothers and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held on July 9 at Triumph Baptist Church, 1648 West Hunting Park Ave. Viewing is at 4 p.m. Services will follow at 7 p.m. Burial will be held on July 10 at the Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Baker Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Independence Blue Cross is collaborating with Penn Medicine to study some of the most pressing health issues.
Research studies are underway to test new approaches to improve medication adherence for health attack survivors and understand how genetic testing can be used to improve clinical outcomes and lower cancer care costs.
“Philadelphia should be the Silicon Valley of health care innovation given its active investment community and pool of talent with experience in the health care field,” IBC president and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty said in a press release.
“Penn is one of the nation’s premier research universities and our two organizations have enjoyed a long relationship of working together to improve the health of people in our community. We are excited about this new research initiative, which, among many things, will help us learn more about ways to change behaviors to improve health outcomes and lower health care costs.”
In one study, researchers will look at whether pill bottles equipped with beeping devices that alert patients to take their medications — in addition to a series of behavioral economic motivational tools — will improve medication adherence. This study also examines how a social support system can improve drug adherence in patients discharged from a hospital after a heart attack.
Future studies are in the planning stage to evaluate the impact of establishing stroke centers in Philadelphia hospitals on stroke outcomes; study the economic impact of using peer mentors to help manage diabetes; examine how periodontal care affects health outcomes for people with diabetes and pregnant women and assess knee arthroscopy surgery and complications as part of a national benchmarking project.
Professor Shelly Weeks-Channel, Ph.D. was named the Cheyney University Lindbach Scholar at the 2013 Commencement program held on May 18. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education and Leadership and teaches classes in Special Education, Elementary Education, Early Childhood Development and Sociology.
Weeks-Channel, a summa cum laude graduate of Cheyney State College, which is presently known as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, earned a Bachelor of Science in special education. She completed extensive graduate study, earning a Master of Education in educational administration, a Specialist in Education in special education and a Doctor of Philosophy in sociology, all with honors, from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
A native Philadelphian, a great deal of Channel’s professional experience was gained within the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. During her illustrious career there, she rose through the ranks serving in roles that included classroom teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, and elementary school principal. Later, she returned to the East Coast, specifically to her home state of Pennsylvania, where she served a year as a secondary school principal.
In 2006 Channel was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Education and Leadership Studies at Cheyney University where she continues to teach undergraduate and graduate level courses in early childhood education and special education. She has served as a faculty member in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and was promoted to the rank of associate professor and granted tenure.
Channel’s research interests center on teaching styles related to the development of instructional model innovation. Other areas of focus include critical thinking, empowerment, persistence, and resiliency of Black males, entrepreneurship through social networks, healthy lifestyles, millennials, the sociology of education, and staff development. She has received many honors and awards for her work in education.
— SOURCE: CHEYNEY
The University of Pennsylvania has named Anita L. Allen vice provost for faculty effective July 1.
She is the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law in the Penn Law School and professor of philosophy in the School of Arts and Sciences.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, June 12, by Provost Vincent Price.
“Anita Allen brings an extraordinary range of experience to this critically important role,” he said. “She is a distinguished scholar of law and ethics, a seasoned administrator, a vibrant writer and public speaker and a longtime champion of equity and access.”
Allen, an international expert in privacy law and contemporary ethics, is the author of seven books and more than 100 academic articles.
These include most recently Unpopular Privacy (Oxford University Press, 2011) and The New Ethics (Hyperion, 2004), named a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year. A widely cited writer, lecturer and media commentator, she has chaired and served on dozens of boards, committees and councils, both nationally and at Penn, including President Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, chaired by Penn President Amy Gutmann.
She served in 2009-2011 as deputy dean for academic affairs of the Penn Law School, where she has taught since 1998, and previously as associate dean for research and scholarship of the Georgetown University Law Center, where she taught from 1987 to 1998.
Allen has also taught at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh and was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, Princeton University, Yale Law School and numerous other schools around the world. She earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Ph.D. and M.A. in philosophy from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in philosophy, classics and literature from New College of Florida.
The vice provost for faculty oversees faculty life and the academic personnel process at Penn, including recruitment, retention and retirement; appointments, tenure and promotions; enhancement of faculty diversity and gender and minority equity; and resolution of individual faculty issues, including grievances.
The vice provost for faculty coordinates the provost’s staff conference and works closely with the deans and chairs of Penn’s 12 schools, as well as with the Faculty Senate, the vice president for human resources, the ombudsman, the affirmative-action officer, diversity search advisors, the provost’s senior advisor for diversity and the Penn Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty.
“I am most grateful to the consultative committee, led by Bob Holthausen of the Wharton School, whose invaluable work -– and conversations with faculty across the university -– helped achieve this exceptional result,” Price said.
— SOURCE: THE
‘Showtime at the Uptown’
While scoring that elusive hit and playing the Uptown was a dream come true for most artists, for some it was like walking into a nightmare. The gig could be particularly hard on local talent, who were subjected to the unforgiving scrutiny of “friends,” neighbors and classmates.
North Philadelphia native Barbara Mason wrote the poignant ballad “Yes, I’m Ready” when she was 18 years old. Released in 1965, the song featured Kenny Gamble on backing vocals and is one of the first recordings featuring Earl Young on drums. The hit record led to Mason’s first appearance on the Uptown stage. “I had entitled the song ‘Are You Ready?’ she recalled. At that time, my manager, Jimmy Bishop, thought it should be in the first person, and he named it ‘Yes, I’m Ready.’ I was trying to do something about young people my age who didn’t really know anything about love, but hopefully they were ready to learn in the right way. I was one of those people. I didn’t have much of a teenage years because as soon as the record broke, I was out of my mother’s house and gone.
“I was at the Uptown so much!” Mason said. “I was right there, scared as I could be ‘cause all the neighborhood kids knew me. When they announced me I was petrified! I think my first appearance was with Inez and Charlie Fox, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Chuck Jackson – those are the three major artists that I remember. I wasn’t way down (in the lineup) – I mean ‘Yes, I’m Ready’ was a big hit, but still, I had a lot to learn, and it was not any formal training from the people that handled me. I mean, I looked OK, and they just sort of put me out there.
“I was there a number of times, but that first time in the mid-sixties, I have to tell you I was petrified because I knew everybody was going to be there – people from the neighborhood, people I went to school with, and I mean they really wore me out. ‘Ooh! Look at that wig! That’s a wig, ain’t it?’ I knew they were going to be there. I said, ‘I don’t know what to do — they haven’t told me what to do. I don’t know how to come off, take a bow…
“And they all got right in front ‘cause they all came early! They were right in the front, and they wore me out! First of all, when the record became such a big smash, they went crazy. They were like, ‘Barbara? Really?’
“After performing, though, and when I came off, I really felt like ‘I can do this.’ And each show got better because I felt more comfortable. I think having Norman Harris and them behind me really made me feel like, ‘I got my homeys with me.’ Sam Reed and excellent musicians.”
While playing the Uptown was a stepping stone to stardom for the Stylistics, Russell Thompkins Jr., who has since performed on major stages all over the world while struggling with stage fright, shared Barbara Mason’s initial feeling of panic. “I can’t say it nicely – I was scared shitless!” he recalled. “I was only about 19 years old then and I didn’t have any experience, so I know I was afraid. I was probably so afraid I can’t even remember it!
“I’ve always had a little bit of stage fright. I still get that way, especially when I work at home, but I have more control over it now,” Thompkins said. “It’s nothing that actually stops me. But when I was young, I used to go on stage and my leg would start jumping and it wouldn’t stop! Normally it would take me about two songs to get used to it. Once I got a couple of songs out I’d come around.”
A former studio background singer who earned the distinction of becoming “the first Black female teen idol,” Dee Dee Sharp, born Dione LaRue, grew up at 27th and Gordon streets in North Philadelphia, and made her Uptown debut based on the success of her number one smash, “Mashed Potato Time,” released in 1962. Like Mason and Thompkins, Sharp was one of many talented teens to emerge from the community surrounding the Uptown.
She was the darling of Philly’s thriving Cameo label, headquartered at 309 S. Broad St., the historic location of Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records before an arson fire in February 2010 temporarily shut down its offices. A frequent guest on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand,” Sharp was being groomed as a pop star and did not tour the chitlin’ circuit with her contemporaries. However, she was well aware of the prestige and experience that came with playing venues such as the Uptown and the Apollo.
“I’ve worked the Uptown so many times that I can’t even remember how many times I’ve worked it!” said Sharp, who was married to Kenny Gamble, producer of several of her singles, from 1967 to 1980. “The first time I worked the Uptown Theater I was 16 years old, almost 17, and I was scared out of my gourd! I was working with the Isley Brothers, Tommy Hunt, Chuck Jackson, and I learned a lot from Jerry Butler. I learned a lot from Chuck Jackson – the technique, and the way they actually connect with the audience. It’s a beautiful feeling to know that you’re connected with the audience. It’s just a wonderful feeling and they showed me how to do that, ‘cause I didn’t know nothing! I didn’t know squat!
“The Uptown audience was rough! If you weren’t good, they’d tell you about it. If you made a mistake, they’d tell you about it. It’s just like the Apollo. If you can work the Apollo, and I’ve worked it many times, you can work the Uptown. The people at the Uptown are real folks. They don’t pull no punches. They will let you know if they enjoyed you, and if they didn’t, they won’t say nothing!”
Dee Dee Sharp’s close friend Ernest Evans, who rose to pop music prominence as Chubby Checker, recounted the most vivid tale of Uptown terror. Though his name is closely identified with Philadelphia, Checker was actually born in South Carolina and moved to South Philly when he was seven years old. His 1959 cover of the Hank Ballard tune “The Twist” started a nationwide dance craze, but it was a minor novelty hit titled “The Class,” in which Checker performed various impersonations, that reached No. 36 on the charts in 1959, and resulted in his one and only appearance at the Uptown. The memory of that experience still caused the veteran entertainer to grimace and squirm in his chair when he shared it with me in January 2011.
“I was like a rabbit in a pit of snakes — the best way to describe it!” Checker said. “I played the Uptown and I had this very stupid record – I wasn’t having fun. It was called ‘The Class.’ My first record was a hit and I had to go in front of all of those R&B singers and sing this song. Georgie Woods was the disc jockey and I was the first one to go on, and I was singing ‘The Class.’ Part of the song was ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’ and I was singing that at the Uptown. It was very painful.”
Adding insult to injury, Checker was required to lead off a top-notch lineup of R&B all-stars. “That’s why I felt so bad,” he said. “Listen to this – Isley Brothers, Flamingos, Jerry Butler, Jesse Belvin, Ray Peterson and Chubby Checker. I’ll never forget it! Jerry Butler was singing ‘For Your Precious Love’ and Curtis Mayfield was playing guitar for him, and I was singing ‘The Class.’ The Flamingos were singing, Shoo-wop, shoo-wop! (“I Only Have Eyes for You”). And the Isley Brothers…you make me wanna shout! And I’m singing ‘Mary had a little lamb!’ That wasn’t fun!”
While his onstage experience left a bad taste in his mouth, Checker’s feelings of inadequacy continued even after the curtain closed. “I was trying to befriend Georgie Woods – he didn’t even want to know about me. That made me feel worse!” he said. “It’s just that I liked Georgie Woods, and when I went to see him, he just didn’t pay too much attention to me at all. I first met him at the Uptown, but the whole time Georgie was around, he never really…it’s all right. He never played my record of ‘The Twist.’ He always played Hank Ballard’s.” Fortunately 18 months later, in June of 1960, “The Twist” became a No. 1 hit, making the whole Uptown ordeal a bit more palatable – somewhat.
A particularly provocative production offered to Uptown patrons was the glitzy Jewel Box Revue, a famous touring company of female impersonators that began in 1939 and ran until 1973. Longtime lovers Danny Brown and Doc Benner owned, operated and produced the spectacular revue, which counted Sammy Davis, Jr. among its fans.
Featuring jaw-dropping impersonations of stars such as Pearl Bailey, Tallulah Bankhead, Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis and Claudette Colbert, the Jewel Box Revue was billed as “25 Men and a Girl,” with the lone female being the famous male impersonator Storme De Laviere. To this day, Sam Reed has vivid memories of the lavish and wildly entertaining drag show.
“One time I was there and they had the Jewel Box Revue. The whole show was built around them, and everybody in there was male, but you’d have like Billie Holiday,” he recalled. “We didn’t play on stage that time. We were out in front, so they asked me would I participate in the show. I didn’t know what I was gonna say, but I said, ‘Okay,’ ‘cause I was the bandleader. So when the thing went down, we’d play a couple of notes and they’d start singing then go, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’ He’d say, ‘What do you have there?’ and I was supposed to say, ‘I don’t have a thing. I don’t have a thing!’ And he said, ‘Oh! You don’t?!’”