7/3/20 O&A NYC LIFESTYLE: Life After Paris Is Burning

Paris is Burning is a 1990 documentary featuring the NYC ballroom scene. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
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6/29/20 O&A NYC Song Of The Day: Nina Simone- Mississippi Goddam

Mississippi Goddam by Nina Simone recorded session live in Antibes, July 24-25, 1965. She announced after her 1964 album Nina Simone in Concert that the anthem was her “first civil rights song”. 
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6/20/20 O&A NYC LOCKADOWN LEARNING: Greenwood and the Tulsa Race Riots

In the early 1900s, Greenwood was home to a thriving, independent “Black Wall Street” until the violence of the Tulsa Race Riots changed the community’s legacy forever. Continue reading

6/14/20 O&A NYC DANCE: Meet James “Banks” Davis- Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Dance Company of Brooklyn

By Walter Rutledge

James “Banks” Davis is a real New York success story. Banks grow up in the urban environment of Queens and Brooklyn and as a teenager found acceptance and recognition as an urban street dancer. A natural athlete Banks quickly excelled in dance and gymnastics. He loved entertaining people often turning a street corner into a stage.

Then on Halloween night 2009, gun fire erupted on a crowded Brooklyn street and Banks was shot in the knee- another innocent victim of a random shooting. His injuries would have been a death knell for anyone pursuing a career in dance. Instead, Banks treated this not as a detour, but the course appointed.

The original diagnosis was amputation; but miraculously sensation returned to his leg and Banks immediately turned his attention toward recovery. Through mediation, prayer, dedication and hard work Banks was able to return to dance. Banks broaden his aesthetic horizons through his association with Jamel Gaines and his dance company

For over 26 years Gaines has used dance to inspire inner city youth to achieve; and often his prodigy has aspired beyond their own expectations. Gaines has the unique gift of working with dancer from many diverse disciplines. And Banks (whose specialty was the L.A. street dance style called Krump) developed his art under Gaines holistic approach to dance.  

Banks combines the refined, codified styles of modern and jazz with the raw edginess of Krump. In 2014 Banks stole the hearts of many on social media as a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance Season 11. Banks played the role of the angel Gabriel in the English National Opera’s The Gospel According To Mary and toured New Zealand with the Park Avenue Armory’s production FLEXN. In 2019 Banks was featured in the groundbreaking Revelation of Proverbs Reggie “Regg Roc” and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring at The Shed.

Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Behind The Scenes

On June 19 Creative Outlet and Summerstage will present Hanging Tree, an on-line celebration of the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. The virtual presentation will take place on June 19, 7-8pm on Summerstage YouTube. In addition to Banks the production (choreographed, staged and conceived by Gaines) also features vocalist Marcelle Davies Lashley, poet Carl Hancock Rux, and musician Talu Green. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion entitled The Importance of Juneteenth’s History & How It Affects Our Community’s Lives Today. The panel will feature RestorationArt Executive Director Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Gaines and Rux.

For more information about Creative Outlet’s programs, classes and upcoming event visit jgcodance.org.

6/4/20 O&A NYC EXTRA!: Reverend Al Sharpton Eulogizes George Floyd During Minneapolis Memorial

The Rev. Al Sharpton was among those who eulogized Floyd, acknowledging the meaning of Floyd’s life and death for his family and community. Continue reading

6/4/20 O&A NYC SONG OF THE DAY: Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Justice for George Floyd)

George Floyd‘s death has become an international statement against inequality and racial injustice. Solidarity and respect to our brothers fighting against racism and oppression…Justice for George Floyd – Black Lives Matter – Freedom and equality for all – Power to the people!
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6/3/20 O&A NYC LOCKDOWN ENLIGHTENMENT: Malcolm X- Addressing Police Brutality (1962)

In 1962, a confrontation with the LAPD outside a mosque resulted in the death of a Nation of Islam member. It was an event seized on by an outraged Malcolm X, who would condemn it in an impassioned speech.
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3/12/20 O&A NYC WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Nina Simone on BBC HARDtalk, 1999

HARDtalk at 20: In 1999 Tim Sebastian sat down with musician and activist Nina Simone. With her vocal performances and civil rights activism, she built a fearsome reputation as someone not to be messed with.  Continue reading

2/9/20 O&A NYC GOSPEL SUNDAY CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH: The Morehouse College Glee Club performs We Shall Overcome

The Morehouse College Glee Club performs We Shall Overcome, arranged by Wendell P. Whalum at the 2009 Candle on the Bluff Awards. Continue reading

1/20/20 O&A NYC CELEBRATING THE KING: Martin Luther King- I Have A Dream (August 28, 1963)

The March On Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s speech are brilliant moments in human history and magical moments in our lives. When our perception of the world is crystal clear and “time” itself seems to stand still! When these events occur, we remember exactly where we were and what was transpiring around us! Continue reading