Baltimore’s AFRAM, 2019

(L-R) Alysha January, artist;Brandon Scott, President, Baltimore City Council;Harold Rollins, famous Baltimore Actor, 2006 inductee, Great Blacks in Wax Museum

It’s  going on 43 years, since the inception of AFRAM, the African American festival for Baltimore Maryland, highlighting the essence and achievements of the culture.

When this was conceived, the Mayor was not of African American descent. From 1987 to now, over  three decades, the Mayor has been African American. The home of the  festival has been nomadic moving from place to place, and finally,  the last three years, DRUID HILL PARK. I went to the festival this year to see what progress this new “platform”, (the organizers word) has produced as a “lift off!” for today’s African American community.

Have the youth been inspired to be more conscious of legacy ? Would I see more diversity of skills? Has the new political entourage of Mayor Young and associates bestir the underbelly to use their hands and heads to be less pugilistic? Would I see more engineers, architects, builders, black budding “Henry Ford’s”, App creators, like Bill Gates ? Tired of the escape artistes, like “PUFF DADDY

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL! Are our teenagers displaying any creative designs, that can be locally admired, and perhaps prep for market someday?

Or am I in a fool’s paradise ? “Wishing and hoping”, like Dusty Springfield.

ZAKIYYAH MAKINI, has been a continuous vendor at AFRAM, we had a conversation:

In the music arena, none of our students from the Baltimore School for the Arts, were on the program. None of our students attending or who graduated from the elite Peabody Conservatory was in performance. I know they are around, I’ve seen them, and have interviewed many African American graduates. They were MIA, (Missing In Action) at AFRAM. I had to settle for what was served. I chose the following for you:


Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!

Marcus Garvey, was a notable black politician from Jamaica, who championed self worth, and inspired many, with some of his quotes, many  incorporated into major Jamaican Reggae hits.

Africans, in the mainland, and throughout the world have had a problem in recognizing their own. The “crabs in a barrel” idiom continues to plague the race no matter where it is found, including here in the United States and the Caribbean.

In a move to shed that cloak of misguidedness, freeing their minds of, “I got mine, you get yours” , an offspring group of African and Caribbean descendants, who live in what is called the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia), held their first cultural awards ceremony this year (2019). Some recipients have been working at this effort for over 50 years.

Marcus Garvey,
Courtesy, Caribbean Apparel

Here’s a look at what took place:


Baltimore Hip-Hop, artists, JPope and Salim, part of Wendell Patrick’s Weather Report.

It’s Saturday in Baltimore. The weather as most of the country, has suffered from hails of uncertainty: rain, tornados, tree fallings, sink holes, and traffic accidents. This particular Saturday, the temperature hovered between 85 and 90 degrees, no wind to speak of, and low humidity.

As evening dawned, the dissipation can be felt, a soft breeze came over the city, the flowers in the garden, gave nods, and instantly like out of a cannon, a flock of black mini birds graced the sky with excitement.

Perhaps, it was because down below on earth, in the said garden, musical melodies were ” vaping” skyward. Wendell Patrick is black musical artist! The black birds in the sky? Uhhhm. I agree, I am stretching. However, once you get to the end of this commentary, you and I may be doing the “two finger” signal for “we agree”.

WENDELL PATRICK is a gift to his parents, and Peabody Conservatory of Baltimore Md.; gave him a spaceship to demonstrate certifiably his musical genius.

Come with me to the garden of the Baltimore Museum of Art, where Wendell, his quartet, and guests, deliver the weather report: