“You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.” – Maya Angelou Continue reading
By Walter Rutledge
In August Universal Temple of The Arts founder Sadja Musawwir Ladner joined the ancestors. A fixture in Staten Island arts scene for over fifty years Ladner provided arts education, performance opportunities and outreach to the underserved communities of her beloved borough- Staten Island. Her untimely passing shocked and saddened all who encountered this “community spirit”, fortunately her legacy lives on. On Saturday March 12, at 5pm the Universal Temple of the Arts will present the Staten Island Jazz Festival 33 at the historic St. George Theatre located at 35 Hyatt St, downtown Staten Island.
The festival will feature jazz music seven artists/groups including Nikara Presents…Black Wall Street (Nikara Warren), Bria Skonberg, Winard Harper & Jeli Posse, The Leopoldo F. Fleming Afro Caribbean Ensemble, Danny Mixon Quartet featuring vocalist Antoinette Montague, Dal Segno Trio featuring Darrell Smith, Michael Morreale and Houston Person and The Universal Temple of the Arts Jazz Ensemble. The evening will honor Women’s History Month as it celebrates the life and legacy of Ladner. There will also be a spoken word presentation featuring Professor Charles Thomas, Jordan Bracy and dancer Nubia Briathwaite, and a dance tribute choreographed by Walter Rutledge featuring Roumel Reaux, Briathwaite and Rutledge.
Musician Darrell Smith will make his debut in the role as the festival’s Music Director. Smith first met Ladner as a sixteen-year-old jazz enthusiast, now his many credits include imbuing and inspiring the next generation of young jazz aficionados at Jazz at Lincoln Center. O&A Editor-in-Chief sat down with Musical Director Smith to discuss the upcoming festival and all things jazz.
Staten Island Jazz Festival 33
Comedian Adele Givens show off her poetic acumen Continue reading
By Walter Rutledge
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. This observance should hold the status of an African- American Independence Day. Juneteenth 2020 will take place on Friday; and to commemorate the 155 anniversary of independence Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Dance Company of Brooklyn and NYC Summerstage with present a virtual celebration entitled Hanging Tree. This virtual event will take place on Friday June 19, 7pm on Summerstage YouTube.
The production brought together the talents of dancer James “Banks” Davis, musician Talu Green, vocalist Marcelle Davies Lashley, poet Carl Hancock Rux, choreographer/director Jamel Gaines and members of the Creative Outlet family. Mothers and fathers performed with sons and daughters, brothers and sister, nieces and nephews, and present and former company members brought love, creative, reverence and community to the steps, plaza and base of the Doric styled Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Brooklyn’s Fort Green Park. Immediately following the performance there will be a panel discussion lead by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer/choreographer Hope Boykin.
O&A NYC attended the filming of the presentation and brings you a sneak preview of Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet’s Hanging Tree.
Preview Hanging Tree: A Juneteenth Celebration
On June 19th, 1865 a regiment of Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. One of Granger’s first order of business was to read to the people of the city a document entitled General Order Number 3. The proclamation began:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
Juneteenth honors the memory of all people who have broken the chains of oppression and dehumanizing servitude. It is celebration of those who have the obtained freedom, either through the joys of emancipation or the unfortunate inevitability of death. On Friday June 19 we wish you all a joyous Juneteenth and a happy African- American Independence Day.
Back in 1988, Maya Angelou described to a predominantly white crowd in Salado, Texas, how a maid’s smile inspired one of her most enduring poems. She says she wrote it to honor a maid she once watched ride the bus in New York City. Continue reading
By Walter Rutledge
Fall is in full swing and is quickly ushering in the holiday arts season. This week we honor dance in Brooklyn, celebrate Jazz on Staten Island, and watch Denzel Washington save a western town. Here are a few of the many events taking place in the city that never sleeps guaranteed to get you Out and About. Continue reading
Daniel Beaty performs Knock, Knock on Def Jam Poetry. The poem/spoken word shares the relationship between a boy and his father. Continue reading
Comedian Dave Chappelle tries his hand at poetry on Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam Continue reading
Tucker Bryant, performing his poem Oreo for Stanford University during semifinals at the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI 2014).