It is not over people. The brethren
in the Bahamas, continue to hurt. The United Nations is estimating that 76, 000
have been left homeless, and continue to need desperate help.
This means there is crucial need for
temporary housing, food and water. Here in Baltimore, the Carnival One
Committee, whose efforts gained commitments from former Senator Larry Young,
and George Mitchell (Langston Hughes Center, Park Heights), continue to appeal
to the Caribbean community in Baltimore, to embrace the “one love”
concept, and give financially.
With global warming a reality, your
island may be next in the months to come. Public support from the Caribbean
community has been tepid, according to Elaine Simon, a diligent Caribbean
advocate, whose home island Antigua, suffered almost a wipe out, in 2017.
(hear the children crying !)
So said Jamaican reggae star, Bob Marley. So the appeal is for us to “get together…to feel alright”by giving.
(“One Love” courtesy, of Universal Musical Group, parent company of Island Records)
“My goal through this theatrical experience of language, music and dance, is to give insight into the black male in search of their most dominant selves, trying to escape demise. Holla!” Steve H. Broadnax 3rd.(Director)
He is referencing Center Stage’s
current play, THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN, written by Keenan Scott 2nd.
Both Broadnax and Scott are black, and interestingly, Scott has a Baltimore experience, even though born in New York, and did his theatre studies at Frostburg State in Western Maryland. However, the play is set in New York, Bedford Stuyvesant; almost a carbon copy, to Baltimore, in experiences for the African American, black, or colored man, subway and all.
The colored man experiences: love,
sex, betrayal, anger, exposed to gunshot blasts, gentrification, sees growth,
gender transition, frustration, the fascination with female body parts, and
Of course everything the black (colored) man does, is not like any other man will do.
On my visit to the theatre, Reynaldo Piniella, (who plays LUST), stepped from the stage and said his seductive lines to a black female sitting with her white date. She changed color, and her date was mouth opened. Applause from the audience.
The only colored man missing from this play is Zachary from the State Farm commercial. (Thank you!) THAT’s MY THOUGHT.Don’t ask me if I like him.
“I hope that each night the show
is performed, a person will learn something”, (Scott).
After your experience at the theatre, it will be interesting as to who, or what will you point.
Donald Trump: ‘I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters’ , the state of Iowa, 2016
Belief in his invincibility, incredulous!. A “boatload” of this character is in GEMINI MAN. Trained by the United States military, a marksman par excellence, who can shoot a target moving at 151 miles per hour. In the movie he is connected to a highly specialized weapons lab, equivalent to what the CIA has in Langley Virginia, GEMINI Labs.
The head of this lab is run by a character with the
molecular content of Donald Trump. Be loyal or “you’re fired!”
Will Smith’s character had 72 successful missions, but he was giving the Mastermind doubts about his loyalty, the inevitable was about to be realized, “kill him!”. But, millions of dollars were spent making him this super sniper,… who will replace him? (Not in the Trump thought process) but very much so in the mind of the Mastermind. Will’s character’s name is Henry. While he was visiting GEMINI labs for a physical, under anesthesia, a cell was taken from him, and a chip was placed in his body, therefore, without his knowing, wherever Henry went, the Mastermind knew. The Mastermind is played by Clive Owen.
He is now ready to put his plan into action. From the cell he developed another Henry (a clone), younger, faster, and trained him to kill; half of Henry’s age, it was time.
Will Smith is black, African American, and he is money in the bank for Hollywood producers. Young Will in the movie is told that his father died mysteriously, the reason why he was adopted by a white parent, who happens to be, Mr. Mastermind: “you will do what your father says!…”(loyalty)… I can see the Black Social Workers Association, objecting to those scenes in the film. Black youth are disproportionately without fathers at home, thus vulnerability filters in, the youth finding themselves to carrying out the wishes of those who have infiltrated their minds, even kill for their manipulators.
(Flashback! I have seen this before. 2002 John Muhammad, ex-military, with the “kid”, John Lee Malvo; terrorized the D.C. metro area, killing 13 people)
Then, there are ones in the general population, who
have fathers, but have become converted assassins of the American Constitution,
they carry the title of Jurist Doctor, attached to their names.
In the 1960’s through 1980’s Africa witnessed a hot bed for this, government after government, being overthrown by young army officers; Idi Amin of Uganda was the classic. Hitler begun the practice, followed by the Bolsheviks, then the Communists, coming close to home with Fidel Castro, in Cuba.
While Will Smith’s character was not the GEMINI Man, but his clone was, here lately we have seen the mental cloning of the electorate. To survive and overcome, we, the others, not under the cloud of the “Mastermind”, will have to hold hands and become the human tornado with a force of speed not heretofore recorded, to thus destroy the clones from the figurative, GEMINI labs, in their attempts to flood our environment.
Ever wondered why black art is primarily limited to portraits. Very often, collectors prize their wooden or clay sculptures of black figures, often highlighted with prodigious lips, large busts, butts, overhanging guts and barefooted.
The white male did not anticipate the ferocious appetite, his woman would have for the black lover, (Jack Johnson) and neither did he for the black female, e.g. DIRK NOWITZKI (NBA star) President Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Portrait artists: Rembrandt, Rockwell, Picasso, dominated the art world. Sophia Lauren changed all that, with luscious lips reminiscent of the black woman, “hello!” Kim Kardashian!
Then the art of Surrealism splashed
on the world scene. Salvador Dali with his half moon mustache, pirouetted a
taste for the provocateur, forced viewers to “think agonizingly” what
his work was saying. Art was no longer obvious, it became abstract.
What black artists could join the
portfolio of Renaissance Masters? Black thought was not intriguing enough to be
sculpted, painted, and be placed in museums of world renown.
However, black artists continued to
work, to produce work to be seen in private homes, running parallel to the
“juke joints” and “speak eases” where struggling musicians
honed their craft, waiting for that one day!
That day came in the 1990’s. Today,
the Baltimore Museum of Art has put on display, a take a deep breath exhibition
of Black Abstract Art, entitled, GENERATIONS. Works that are 20 feet wide, by
18 feet high.
FRANK BOWLING, is from BARTICA, GUYANA (my birth country), where he has replaced his mother’s portrait with colors to reflect “emotions, truth and clarity”, his words.
Leonardo Drew, Number 525, will occupy two of your standard bedrooms. This piece is menacing, imposing, and extremely delicate. He says it is a “metaphor of birth, life, death and regeneration”
There are over 70 such pieces, but
you cannot tour this exhibition without the booklet, and spend at least an
But where did all this art come from?
If they were not in museums until now, did someone have the means, not only to
buy these works, but to house them in some massive warehouse, with 50 feet
Pamela Joyner and her husband Alfred J.Giuffrida, are the procurers, of these works. Ms. Joyner travelled to the BMA, for the presentation. We talked:
You are an artist, more specifically
a collage artist, when one of the most prominent playhouses in the city comes
Set decorations in stage plays can enhance the overall concept, and magnifying the entire production. When Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, there was no idea it would be in musicals, handkerchiefs and tattoos.
Da Vinci, an Italian had moved to
France where he finished that painting. Napoleon treated it as his own treasure.
It is a premier showpiece on the wall of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
The Mona Lisa is “dope” for many, she even smiled in an American
commercial. I can hear the African American super balladeer, Nat King Cole sing
the lines, “Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa,..Or is it your way
to hide a broken heart”?
Baltimore Maryland has a little lady
that is likewise “dope”. MIRLANDE JEAN-GILLES, is Haitian, French, an
artist with a bigger smile than Mona Lisa, and much more talented.
When Center Stage’s newly installed artistic director, Stephanie Ybarra, knocked on Jean-Gilles door, she was not asking her to paint a backdrop for one play, but six. Jean-Gilles smile and scream bellowed across the room.
And here are the names of the plays: MISS
YOU LIKE HELL,… THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN,… MEN ON BOATS,… RICHARD &
JANE & DICK & SALLY, WHERE WE STAND,… BAKKHAI.
No, this is not the “middle passage” where slaves from Africa were forced into ships to travel against their will, heading to North America (the 13 colonies, in the 1600’s).
Abaco island, in the Bahamas, is one of many that some considered paradise. Now that paradise is lost, demolished by hurricane Dorian, what to do? Thousands for years, have reaped the sweetness of paradise, served by people like those in the above picture. There they are, in the “belly of the whale”.
Here in Baltimore Md., the Grand Bahamas Committee has been formed, chaired by Dr. Elaine Simon (Caribbean Festival); Larry Young (former senator of MD.); Rick Nugent (Jamaica association of MD.); Delegate, MD. House: Regina Boyce; Dr. Joy Bramble, Baltimore Times; Owen Charles (Trinidad & Tobago Association); Reynold Small (a.k.a. Golden Touch, promoter); Kevin Wallace (Printworks MD.) George Mitchell (Langston Hughes Community Center); Patricia Harracksingh (Peace in America); Travis Winkey (Premier Fashion Consultant);Angelo Carter (Island Code); Laughton Sargeant (Image Band).
Folks are holding on, let’s get in line, forming that step ladder to revitalization.
North Avenues, Baltimore Maryland. Go North on Pennsylvania, there exists
Baltimore City’s biggest Mall, MONDAWMIN; head South, University of Maryland
Hospital, home of the famous SHOCK TRAUMA wing.
The pivot of these
two sides is THE ARCH SOCIAL CLUB, which continues to represent black or
African American entertainment, surviving segregation and integration.
“Back in the
day” the famous frequented “the Avenue”, RED FOXX, CAB CALLOWAY, and later, the adult, BILLIE HOLIDAY, whose
mother had a restaurant in the area, Billie, a teenager at the time.
Her interest in the
blues, jazz, and comedy reached heights in New York, where her mother moved to;
but her cognitive years were here in Baltimore, Md.
To revive history and
create an African American Arts District, what better place to start, than
This area is frequented with the fist of the African American population. Baltimore is competing for that trophy, MURDER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD! It is time to bestir the population’s pride, and one of many projects has emerged, the BILLIE HOLIDAY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL! August 31, 2019, became the inaugural.
Sadly, the surrounding
population, Upton, Sandtown, did not attend the festival in significant
I think “what we have here, is a failure to communicate”. Authorities have to answer the question, how do you give the common man his pride back? Certainly not, by giving him cotton candy.
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:
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.
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: