Saturday, July 12, 2014

Love Stories: The Cavs, Karamu, and Cameo

My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio. I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. — LeBron James

I was unaware until I had breakfast yesterday with an old friend that Cleveland today is the occasion of the 8th annual MultiMusicFest. The old school theme of tonight’s 7PM concert at the State Theatre in Playhouse Square — a musical tribute to Gerald and Sean Levert featuring the R&B funk band Cameo and hosted by actress and comedienne Kym Whitley — seems in total resonance with yesterday’s mega-announcement that LeBron James is returning to the Cavaliers and will spend the balance of his career working to bring multiple NBA titles to Northeast Ohio.[1]

• • •
My breakfast, by the way, was with my longtime friend and Cleveland native, John P. Kellogg. A former recording artist with Cameo and entertainment lawyer for both Gerald and Sean Levert, Kellogg is now assistant chair of the Music Business Management Department at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Kellogg is also author of the best-selling book, Take Care of Your Music Business: Taking the Legal and Business Aspects You Need to Know to 3.0, now its second edition. You can find details about the book and his free online course at

Kellogg grew up in Cleveland’s Fairfax community which his father, John W. Kellogg, served many years with distinction as councilman before moving on to become general counsel for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. The senior Kellogg would be an anomaly today, a black Republican officeholder who put community service before partisan or personal interests. And phrasing it that way is not meant to give a pass to any current elected officials who may have a different political persuasion. Party labels are just that — labels. When it comes to politics, one must always look beyond the label and examine the contents.

• • •
Speaking of labels, can you imagine Romeo and Juliet as Africans? Well you won’t have to if you simply check out Karamu House’s new summer theater program, “ Classics in the Lot!”

Karamu, the venerable settlement house and community theater, is inaugurating an annual outdoor summer series of classic stage productions next weekend with Shakespeare's classic love story "Romeo and Juliet". Karamu playwright in residence Michael Oatman’s adaptation of the tale of star-crossed lovers is set in Africa.

His provocative version, which he will direct, features recent Karamu House Hall of Fame Rising Star Kyle Carthens (Romeo) and Shambrion Treadwell-Obama (Juliet) in the lead roles.

This BYOC [Bring You Own Chair] production will run Saturday and Sunday the next two weekends [July 19-20 and July 26-27] starting at 6PM in the Karamu House parking lot, 2355 East 89 Street at Quincy Ave. Tickets are $5. For more info, call 216-795-7077 or visit

[1] I don’t know how else one could reasonably interpret James’ first-person as-told-to account. He is here until he retires, and thereafter. His goals: to bring an NBA title to Cleveland, to win multiple titles here, and to make Northeast Ohio a better place.

The entire statement was masterfully done and is worth multiple readings. In its power and grace, it’s as elegant, direct, and forceful as any of his signature throw-downs.

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