Author Topic: Jonathan of the best people I've ever known  (Read 3525 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Jonathan of the best people I've ever known
« on: November 03, 2014, 07:42:48 pm »
Jonathan P. Hicks, Former Reporter for The New York Times, Dies at 58

Jonathan P. Hicks, who covered big business and all levels of New York politics, including the campaigns of three New York City mayors, over 24 years as a reporter for The New York Times, died on Monday at his home in Brooklyn. He was 58.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, his wife, Christy DeBoe Hicks, said.

After leaving The Times in 2009, Mr. Hicks was a research fellow at a public policy institute, a columnist for The New York Amsterdam News and a co-founder of a scholarship for aspiring Liberian journalists.

Mr. Hicks, whose father, John H. Hicks, was the first black reporter at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, joined The Times in 1985, assigned to the business news staff after stints at The Plain Dealer of Cleveland and The Arizona Daily Star. One of his first front-page articles, about black professionals leaving stable corporate jobs, ran on Nov. 29 that year.

“They say they are disenchanted with what they consider racial barriers blocking their success, or that they want to try their hand at operating a business, or both,” Mr. Hicks wrote.

He went on to cover the tire and steel industries as well as a bitter five-month strike by 12,600 employees of Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of construction equipment. He moved to the metropolitan desk in 1992 to report on Mayor David N. Dinkins’s re-election campaign, an ultimately unsuccessful rematch against Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former United States attorney, writing front-page articles about each candidate’s attempts to woo black voters. Mr. Hicks later covered Mayor Giuliani’s crusade against crime and re-election campaign.

He later covered City Council and congressional races, outlining how demographic shifts and ethnic rifts had changed the political landscape, and reported on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2000 senatorial campaign in New York and the political life of Michael R. Bloomberg, including his polarizing but successful bid for a third term as mayor of New York.

After leaving The Times, Mr. Hicks became a senior fellow at the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, a part of the City University. He began writing a weekly column for The New York Amsterdam News and in 2011 became a senior correspondent for, Black Entertainment Television’s website.

Jonathan Pruitt Hicks was born in St. Louis on Dec. 4, 1955, to John and Minnie Hicks. After his newspaper career, his father worked for the United States Information Agency. The family lived in Berlin and Liberia before moving to Washington.

The younger Mr. Hicks attended the University of Missouri and the Maynard Institute’s Summer Program for Minority Journalists.

In 2010 he and his wife created the J. P. Hicks Family Mass Communication Scholarship, which helps finance studies at the University of Liberia for aspiring Liberian journalists.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his parents; a daughter, Lindsay; a sister, Louise Hicks Wilson; and two brothers, Geoffrey and Michael.

Mr. Hicks’s interests extended beyond journalism. He knew the film director Reginald Hudlin, who got him minor parts as a sportscaster in “The Great White Hype” (1996) and as Eartha Kitt’s butler in “Boomerang” (1992).

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Jonathan of the best people I've ever known
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2014, 03:01:20 pm »
AMSTERDAM NEWS (who he happily wrote for):

Noted journalist and AmNews columnist Jonathan Hicks makes his transition
Herb Boyd | 11/6/2014, 3:24 p.m.
In one of his last columns for the Amsterdam News, Jonathan P. Hicks did as he had always done—provide readers ...
Jonathan P. Hicks
No funeral or plans for a memorial service were available at press time.

Messages of condolences have flooded both the AmNews offices offices and all social media.

“I am saddened by the transition of journalist Jonathan P. Hicks and offer my prayers for comfort and healing to his family, friends and fans during this difficult time,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams. “As an award-winning journalist, he became one of the foremost authorities on the inner workings of the political culture in this city and state, and served as a source of pride for the African-American and Caribbean community and an inspiration to a generation of journalists of color. Jonathan’s dignified, intelligent and professional approach to his craft set an example for our entire community.”

“We send our condolences to the family of Jonathan Hicks,” said Elinor Tatum, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Amsterdam News. “We remember Jonathan as a dedicated journalist, who even in his last few weeks strove to fulfill his commitment to send in his popular column. It was an honor to have him write for us. He will be missed.”

“The staff of the Amsterdam News is shocked and saddened over the passing of our colleague Jonathan Hicks,” said Nayaba Arinde, Amsterdam News editor. “He was a conscientious writer, a tremendous asset to the world of journalism, in which he worked tirelessly to bring truth, analysis and uncovered angles to a story. He was brave to the end, informing us on October 15 that he would no longer be writing for us: ‘I am sorry to say that I am coming to the end of the road, gradually. The cancer has been growing in the liver and there doesn’t seem to be much time.’

“We were heartbroken but immensely impressed by his courage. Thankfully, we still have his words, his wisdom, and for those who ever heard him, we can cherish his beautiful singing voice. Thank you, Jonathan. Rest in peace.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson told the AmNews, “I had the greatest respect and admiration for Jonathan Hicks, who blessed me by singing with his group at my inauguration back in February. Jonathan Hicks was a giant among men, an extraordinarily gifted writer who was deeply concerned about the plight of people all across the world, from Brooklyn to Liberia. He was a shining example of great intellect, courage and dignity and truly will be missed.’”

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Jonathan of the best people I've ever known
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 05:51:30 am »
Salute to Mr. Hicks!
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Jonathan of the best people I've ever known
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2014, 06:49:18 am »
This tribute best captures the Jonathan that I knew and loved.

Jonathan P. Hicks loved many and was adored by more: Phillip Morris
By Phillip Morris, The Plain Dealer

I love you.

You don’t realize how much you will miss those words until you know you will never hear them again.

I love you.

I remember the last time my mother said those words to me. She died a day later.

I love you.

That’s how my friend Jonathan Hicks, 58, who died Monday of pancreatic cancer, ended all of our conversations. That’s nearly 25 years worth of I love yous.

Early in our friendship, Jonathan’s signature parting statement unnerved and irritated me. Few – if any - men I know routinely use such unmasked affection in farewells. How was I supposed to respond?

Was I supposed to say, “I love you too, man?”

It took me a while. But eventually, I came to understand this authentic expression of Jonathan’s friendship. I came to treasure his I love yous. It felt good to be loved by Jonathan because he understood the fine art of true and caring friendship. He effortlessly defined the meaning of friendship both in his words and his deeds.

Jonathan also loved Cleveland. He worked here for several years as a business reporter for The Plain Dealer before The New York Times made him an offer he couldn't refuse. He joined the Times in 1985.

But he was thrilled that one of his early assignments with the Times was the tire and steel beat. Those responsibilities gave him the opportunity to regularly parachute back into Northeast Ohio to cover those industries and to network. And, boy, was Jonathan always networking.

The day I met him in the fall of 1991, he had dropped by The Plain Dealer to say hello to old friends when he learned that jazz great Miles Davis was in town. He invited me to the show on the spot. His treat. To this day, I don’t know how he finagled tickets to the sold-out show. It remains the best concert I’ve ever attended.

So why am I spending this midterm Election Day writing about Jonathan, a newspaper journalist who spent the bulk of his career living and working in New York?

That’s easy.

Jonathan taught hundreds – maybe even thousands - of his friends how to live fully and then to die properly. Those are the enduring lessons of this amazing man. Those are lessons more important than politics.

I’m now recalling the day, nearly two years ago, when I received his early morning call. He was terminal. He had six months to live. Maybe. His doctor wasn’t sure.

I didn’t know how to react. I’m emotional. I’ve been known to cry at weddings and funerals. But Jonathan’s pronouncement caught me completely off guard. I didn’t know what to say. I just remember muttering, “Jesus,” and then saying something like “I’m sorry.”

But Jonathan had apparently been making these calls for sometime. He knew the pain that his words, his prognosis, would cause. He was prepared. He wanted his friends to know that he was determined to live

until he died. He wanted us to continue to help him celebrate life. To celebrate friendship. To celebrate love.

The last time I saw him, nearly a year ago, he had come to Cleveland with a group called Manifest, a gospel male ensemble that he directed. Yes, Jonathan in addition to being a world-class journalist, top-notch chef, world traveler, multilingual philanthropist, loving husband and father, could also sing like an angel.

That evening, after the gospel concert, he came to my house where we spent hours just talking about life, friendship, and spirituality. The tormented state of journalism, the industry that caused our paths to cross, was never discussed – just the meaning of life with a man who knew his days were numbered.

Tuesday afternoon I chatted briefly with Dominic Ozanne, CEO of Cleveland-based Ozanne Construction Company. He and Jonathan were also close friends.

“Jonathan Hicks was an amazing man. His intellect, combined with an amazing ability to grasp difficult concepts and to quantify them for a newspaper audience, is part of what made him a genius,” Ozanne said.

“But what I’ll never forget is how beautifully he sang at my wedding (in 1984). We’ve lost a very special man,” said Ozanne.

Yes, we have. We’ve also lost a man who wasn’t the least bit shy about openly declaring and demonstrating his love for his countless friends who adored him.

Jonathan’s life was cut way too short. But his was a life that will long remain an inspiring lesson in the amazing gift of friendship.

If you love someone, it doesn't hurt to tell them.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline Magic Wand

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Re: Jonathan of the best people I've ever known
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2014, 06:07:18 pm »

If you love someone, it doesn't hurt to tell them.

I love you, Reggie!

I love you, Curtis!
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." --Aristotle, Greek philosopher

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