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Where Are Richmond's Young Black Leaders?

I just finished reading Style's "Top Forty Under 40" (Cover Story, Sept. 28) and I must say that I was a little disappointed in your selections. As an avid African-American reader of your publication, I am perplexed as to why out of 40 selected individuals you could only find one African-American male. … Yes, you had three African-American females, but I would venture to say that the community needs to see more young male leaders. This was an opportunity to showcase young leaders who we don't normally see in the limelight. Certainly no offense to Mr. Lambert, but are there not others that you could have chosen to showcase? I am sending out a challenge for next year's issue of "Forty Under 40": at least four to five African-American young men.

Alan Flynn

Review of Festival Sparks Reader Feedback

I am totally appalled and offended by the headline and subsequent article, "Music for Some Folks," (Arts & Culture, Oct. 12). I cannot believe you would stoop so low as to make this a black/white issue. Was this festival not marketed to everyone? There were signs on the Downtown Expressway and all over the city (which happens to be 57 percent black according to 2000 census statistics), so you would have to have been living under a bridge or in a cave to not have seen advertisements for the festival. Is this so-called white folks' fault? I suppose this magazine thinks so based on your article.

I personally went to the festival to specifically see Ralph Stanley, but ended up seeing and enjoying Bernard Allison most of all. He and his band were incredible. The festival exposed us all to different genres of music that we might never have been fortunate enough to see. If the biggest disappointment (according to Carrie Nieman) was the "lack of diversity in the audience," well, as far as I am concerned, the blame lies solely in the laps of those who couldn't put up with a little rain to see some awesome musicians come together in the best thing that's happened to Richmond in a long, long time.

Suzanne M. Isaacs

Thank you for your review of the National Folk Festival. I couldn't agree with you more. We can also talk about craft vendors similarly. I served on the steering committee and program committee. Hope to be able to make some changes.

Janine Bell

I was really pleased by my time at the Folk Festival. Carrie Nieman's comments are disappointing as I look back on the experience.

The event was magical. Richmond seemed like an international city for a few hours. For a first effort it was impressive, and I don't throw around compliments easily. Sure the food was expensive, but I didn't go for food. I went to see and hear free musical acts from a variety of places around our planet, was delighted by all that I had the luck to chance upon, but had no expectations of a general survey of traditional music of the world.

Ms. Nieman's big disappointment at the racial mix (FYI: There are more than two races, even in Richmond) of the crowd seems naive. Black audiences have mostly long parted ways with traditional acoustic blues, and many hear quality gospel every Sunday in their own churches. You can't make anyone love anything.

Ron T. Curry

Time for Action Is Now

If you didn't get chance to read the Back Page article by Don Smith ("The Shadow of Things to Come," Oct. 19), please find a copy and read it. Mr. Smith is rightfully trying to tell us that oil is a nonrenewable source of energy and its supply is dangerously close to running out.

The consequences of not doing anything to address this issue now will be catastrophic in the near future. As a country we need to acknowledge reality and create an energy policy that initially reduces our dependence on oil and ultimately eliminates our need for it. As individuals, we can do our part by reducing our use of oil and oil-based products, and as citizens of this country, we must demand that our legislators take the necessary steps to create an energy policy that frees us from the dependency on oil.

John Votta

Letters to the editor may be sent to: letters@styleweekly.com

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