AFRAM IS BACK in BALTIMORE

AFRAM/Baltimore MD.

After 2 years of absence, the African American (AFRAM) festival returned to Baltimore. COVID-19 struck, and the world including us here in Baltimore, sought refuge in our homes,

FOOD at AFRAM
ON HORSEBACK
HE WAS ON DUTY

African Americans could not celebrate their heritage in public, with dance, music, clothing, and food.

Then we heard the announcement, “YOU CAN COME OUT NOW!!!” It was almost reminiscent of the Jews crossing the Jordan river, as they escaped the hold of the Pharaohs while in Egypt as slaves.

2022 is the Bonus year! The President of the United States legitimized the celebration by making it a National Holiday. On June 19th, 1865, slaves were declared FREE PEOPLE. (With nothing but their symbolic duffle bags) It took 157 years for the descendants of the slave owners to make a significant step towards parity. AFRAM and JUNETEENTH in simultaneous fervor!

AFRICAN SLIPPERS.

Held in the biggest park in Baltimore, Druid Hill, and free to the public for two days. THECULTUREPAGE chroniclers’ day was Sunday June 19th, 2022. The headline musical group was the OJAYS of Ohio.

THE OJAYS, will perform without Eddie Lavert (down with Covid-19).

How to know you are in LOVE!

Cover of Playbill

Psychologists, on advising women say, they should feel a tingling, butterfly sensations, racing of the heart, sweats, toes warming, eyes watering, chests heaving, tongues that won’t say “hello!”

Some women have dated over 120 men, before Mr. 121 became, HIM!

I have no data as to what happened after the tsunamic experiences, if the 10’s went to 5’s or zeros.

The LOVE experience today is rather traumatic. People fall in love; some check the 10 categories, such as religion, finances, emotional compatibility, and years later prefer to be a different gender; or grow dislike for the closeness, hate meat, want to live in the wilderness, or prefer to be bi-sexual!

How about a husband finding video games and pot smoking more exciting than his wife, let alone children!

The STRAND Theater is now in Hamilton, in Baltimore MD. And is inviting the public to watch MARY KATE WILSON in LOVE.

It is a complex potpourri of our youth who are faced with technology, drugs, apathy, and just where to find love.

FROM BANGKOK TO BALTIMORE

Symbols of friendship and aspirations, BALLOONS

This Southeast Asian city is known to be the “city of a thousand smiles”.

From Asia with love. (Stock photo)

Bangkok is a mix of East Indian and Chinese cultures, and quietly, some African mixtures. Over time the Chinese won out, making Buddhism the dominant religious belief, affecting and effecting the artform.

Thai music teacher, with an invite to Baltimore.

Among the avenues for mental peace and satisfaction is music, primarily approved by the aristocrats of the society. Using crude instruments, natives entertained that “crust” with devotion and reverence, at funerals and weddings.

Last week the Motor House Art Center in Baltimore, gave us a taste of Bangkok in its classical form.

And this is happens when people from such a city, take residence in what the world has come to know as “charm city USA”, Baltimore Maryland.

BEFORE PLESSY V. FERGUSON

MYEISHA ESSEX (Actress Mary Bell); KWAKIUTL DREHER (Film Director); APRIL GREEN ( descendant of Daniel & Mary Bell) (Picture by OSC),

It’s the landmark case of 1896, where Plessy was charged for boarding a “whites only” rail car in New Orleans, Louisiana. Judge Ferguson found Plessy guilty.

The black man’s quest for freedom, to decide for himself, and not cow tow to white demands. In the United States, Emancipation via Abraham Lincoln was gaveled in 1863. Blacks having been deceived following Abe’s death, contributed to the money train, using their earnings, fighting for freedom legally, with little or no success.

Washington D.C. has a history of protests, assassination attempts, the burning of buildings, even attempts at overthrowing the government, as those of us living can attest to the Jan 6th, 2021, assault on the Capitol, by those who did not agree with the election results.

In 1835, in D.C., almost 30 years before Plessy, DANIEL BELL, his wife MARY, his mother and children were denied freedom, by the slaveowner’s wife, even though Mr. Armstead (her husband) had signed all legal papers prior to his death, for the BELL’s to be free.

DANIEL had to work tirelessly at the Naval shipyard in Washington D.C. to pay white lawyers to gain freedom. Did the BELL family make it? Where are their descendants today? Do they know what happened to their several times great grandparents?


THE BELL AFFAIR (Click on arrow to play clip)

Time and technology have made it possible to know, for there is a film just made, entitled THE BELL AFFAIR. It premiered on June 2nd at the Publick Playhouse, Cheverly MD. Through JOE’S MOVEMENT EMPORIUM, http://www.thecullturepage.com was there.

FROM ZERO TO 10

A Wellness Center Mantra

Zero! Synonymous with NOTHING! FRUITLESS! ROCK BOTTOM! What percentage of the human population has fallen into this bottomless pit and see no way out? (26%. Johns Hopkins Medicine). This sector, filled with despair, find happiness, living worthwhile, only when in the company of those who delight in mind altering paraphernalia.

DEPERSONALIZATION: an out of body experience. For some folks, inhaling helium from balloons (bought from the dollar store) or carpenter’s glue, getting high on the resin and hydrocarbon toluene, used in making glue.

2415 Maryland Avenue, Wellness Center Cookout.

Social scientists would categorize you, if you’re in that menu, as among those who will experience anxiety, have panic attacks, and may be in the overwhelming column, PTSD. (Post-Traumatic stress disorder).

Is your best friend a blanket, a cat, a dog, a fifth of Hennessey, a “blunt” or streaming television? (Depending on your economic status)

From all that I have read, and the people I have been exposed to, the key is to re-connect to the world of vibrancy. Admit that you are not well and find a wellness center.

Last week I was invited to one in East Baltimore, administered by someone who rose from “Zero to 10”. Here’s her story.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

(Internet stock image)

Young black college student, decided to hold weekend party while his parents were away. After a rollicking time, he and his buddies were cleaning up when they found a teenage white girl in one of the bedrooms face down in a pool of vomit.

Who is she? She had no purse, no I.D., but she was still breathing. It was 2 am. What to do? Call 911? Would the cops believe these black kids, a speck in this white upper-class neighborhood, did not drug her? Knew she was a minor yet allowed her in? Their fingerprints were all over her body; could they be accused of assault? Could this be the end of their college life as they had envisaged?

The young black “brothers” were about to do the AQUA BOOGIE (Parliament Funkadelic). Black men, “living in America” (James Brown). Walking that “fine line” of believability.

What did happen to those young black college students?

Even though I made up the story, the elements are real, and can be found in a new cinematic production carrying the name EMERGENCY.

You may come away with the pop-ups in your head, IS AMERICA IN AN EMERGENCY? IS THIS REALLY THE HOME OF THE BRAVE and LAND OF THE FREE?

Start practicing the Aqua Boogie,… some of us may need it, to get to “the promised land”. (Rev, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

AN APPLE A DAY

Attendees at the Mount Vernon Flower Mart

Does it matter which one you eat, for there are so many! If you are a male, should you eat the Pink Lady or Gala? And get this, you may need a license to grow the Pink Lady. Which one will keep the doctor away? And then there’s Adam’s apple. No license needed. You cannot taste, swallow or grow it. It’s from procreation.

Funny all this talk about the apple and its health factors, straight out the Garden of Eden, where man’s original dual occupation was, growing things and making babies.

This is May 2022, and gardening could be on the ballot box for the 2024 elections for POTUS. Will the population vote for an Adam who will grow more trees/apples or the masked farmer shouting “burn baby burn” for “I” have my money in fossil fuels.?

In Baltimore MD. We had the annual Flower Mart at Mount Vernon Place. Global warming has set the weather into a tailspin of uncertainty; despite it all, I went looking for Adam’s descendants who came to the show minus their diesel tractors and pitch forks.

THE DIFFICULTY OF FINDING LOVE and HAPPINESS

Examples of women who found happiness. Exhibit A

The pandemic for some has promulgated a change of lifestyle. Many couples being forced see each other at home, has helped, but for others the closeness was overbearing. The affluent with more than one home, lived apart, using ZOOM, to communicate.

Exhibit B.

There has been “emotional distress” for “almost every individual” (Dr. Navodita Kumar, Clinical Psychologist).

I have never heard of autoeroticism, but I have of sexual dysfunction. These two conditions became targets for clinicians here lately.

Exhibit 3

This brings attention to consider the least expensive manner for one to “feel good”, perhaps find love and experience happiness?

“FOOD!” I looked around and saw the increase of “heavy weights”. Not good, the Dopamine chemical stretched waistlines. I will not comment on the phenomenal increase in the consumption of legal drugs and alcohol.

Exhibit 4

People are looking for that “cuddle hormone”. Cats and dogs as pets are competing with walkers and bicyclists for road space. Wow! Pet owners waved as I gave them space while driving by.

Have you ever been part of a choir? Aha! It’s music. If you disagree, attend an African American ceremony whether it be church or wedding. It’s an overwhelming experience. Pocket books are slung on shoulders, hands are in the air, feet are in rhythm, eyes are closed, and “oxytocin” is in control.

Exhibit 5. (Pictures Courtesy of Joe’s Movement)

ROCHELLE RICE is not an African American but believe or not she is black and was raised in the United Kingdom. She is on a mission to enable women to find “love and happiness” despite “whatever!”. Sounds familiar?

I went to see her show at JOE’s MOVEMENT in Mount Rainier MD. To use a popular device robot’s statement, “here’s what I found”….

At JOE’s MOVEMENT EMPORIUM

A WHO DUNNIT AT ARENA

Coming out of the pandemic, amidst an economic and health slump combined, African Americans in Baltimore are trying to laugh again.

Although the 68-year-old black owned and operated theatre, never closed, it is welcoming to see seats being filled, and the sound of cheers heard aloud.

THE BUTLER DID IT AGAIN, is currently being staged at the Arena; and of special interest, the cast is primarily of senior citizens. This, is a push to show that “age is just a number”.

I saw this on the plays’ third night, which makes it a work in progress, that will only get better before its end on May 8th, 2022.

Support Black Theatre.

THE MISEDUCATION OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO

BRIA JONES (Taylor) Stick Fly

If you are born other than white, it has been drummed in your head from all angles, “get an education”, for this makes you, “competitive”.

You probably studied history, absorbed the horror of the slave trade, and perhaps attended schools with those of the white race.

If you have lived and travelled in various parts of the world, you’ve come face to face with the evolution of the negro, from black to Afro-American, Afro Caribbean, Afro whatever, once you acknowledged “I have original, African/black blood in me”.

As you grew up, you began to see the growth of the hybrids, the mix-breeds, and the better options they received because of the “one drop blood” rule in reverse.

Were you shocked when you found out that Ghanian black revolutionary Kwame Nkrumah was married to an Arab from Egypt (she looked white to me)? How about African American Justice Clarence Thomas, and his marital alliance, who is deeply associated with the Trump administration, that looked for token “negroes” like Dr. Benjamin Carson to suppress negroes, blacks, African Americans and some of the hybrids, also known as “people of color”.

In 2011, an African American professor wrote a play entitled STICK FLY. The leading character is a budding female black entomologist. (Taylor). If one tries to understand why such a name, one would be lost on the subterranean themes therein.

Privileged negroes, who were raised in the privileged community of Martha’s Vineyard in the revolutionary state of Massachusetts. (Boston Tea Party) This family of the “Jack and Jill” crème de la crème” of higher education separates, was as sexually wanton as the “ghetto” kid who graduated from high school with a middle school education.

The theory is that, that the negro when pushed to the standard of an “Ivy leaguer”, will, upon graduation and assimilation, have a disdain for what he came from, and thus uphold and promulgate those taught precepts to the admiration of his/her white professors.

The moral ineptitude was practiced in the bedroom, behind close doors.

This play should be studied and analyzed in sociology classes in colleges and universities, when the hormonal experimentation is at its peak.

I saw this play last week at the CLARICE CENTER, university of Maryland, Adelphi.

I came out bruised. There were many “white folk” in the audience, who I am sure felt the insults, and know what it is like to be shot dead and resurrected, for they walked out of the theatre alive!

For us Negroes, Blacks, African Americans, “get an education”, is crucial, but parse and analyze the ingredients, there could be arsenic subtly hidden in it somewhere.

IT’S GOSPEL SUNDAY AT THE MYERHOFF

FRED HAMMOND (Gospel singer/composer at the Meyerhoff)

What denominations are they placed in? Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal? Blacks, African Americans fall into all the aforementioned categories; and believe it or not, the slave trade is responsible.

No need for me to rehash the Atlantic Slave Trade, Africans singing out to God to save their lives. The slave owner at times was also the Sunday morning preacher. I call it the double enslavement: in the field, and in the church.

In a white Baptist church, the congregation looks tired when it sings, not nearly the same as in a black Baptist church. Why? The remnants of those horrible days and nights crossing the Atlantic, with chains on their feet and hands, have followed the succeeding generations to today.

Most African Americans in church, can be heard shouting out loud, MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE! Based on Psalm 100. “Come before his presence with singing”.

This singing enabled many slaves to look beyond the running blood, and large wounds inflicted upon their bodies, as they crossed the Ocean, to the so-called New World.

Black Gospel in association with World Vision to save African babies.

It was at the Meyerhoff Concert Hall in downtown Baltimore MD., that I had a look and feel of the power of the Gospel. It was a three-hour concert, where patrons wanted to stand rather than sit. Where part of the musical impact turned the audience into a congregation with raised hands, and shouts along with whispers of praise. The Meyerhoff felt like a slave ship (HOPE), [one of the American ships that brought slaves to Rhode Island]. Black bodies swaying with eyes closed, clenched fists, and voices trying to sing in unison with the choir leaders, FRED HAMMOND and HEZEKIAH WALKER.

IT MEANS THE WORLD TO ME

Brazilian Guards for Picasso (A/P) (Alexander Meneghini)

The more reputable museums of the world have eyes watching you, as you look at pieces of art several hundred years old. Among the millions of visitors, are some who will “by any means necessary” conjure up a heist and wait for the highest buyer.

The stocking faces, ropes, crowbars, teargas; all have been used to steal art. So much so, armed guards have been placed in certain museums, for example in Brazil, where a crowbar and hydraulic jack were used to steal a Picasso.

BMA Guard Maurice Jones with Medusa, the door-knocker

At the Baltimore Museum of Art, the guards are not “strapped”, but their eyes are like radar guns, with faces that often say, “don’t you dare!”. “Did you not see that rope?”

What if though, BMA, were to change the psychology of the guard to a curator? Now the role is no longer a “nine to five” but a sleepless obsession: pieces must be acquired, faults repaired, a theme to be developed, and the collection has to be presented for the public’s acceptance or ridicule. Depending on how extensive the collection, some pieces are at times borrowed from other museums, involving financial compensation to the lenders.

The BMA decided to offer their guards an opportunity to be just that, CURATORS, this post pandemic Spring of 2022. To jump from Guards to Curators. I talked to a few:

CULTIVATING EDEN

Adam’s new Outdoor Eden.

It is March 2022, and despite the topsy turvy weather, the landscapers, gardeners are out making preparation for Spring.

Why is man so eager to get his hands in soil, dirt, transport his seedlings from the hot house to the outhouse?

Believe it or not, soil has to do with climate change, the foundation of the eco system, and the colossal factor in reversing how we breathe and eat.

Kiss me now and live forever.

During this pandemic, we found out how weak our bodies are to combat COVID-19. Vaccines became the panacea of sorts, and right behind comes the surviving and undefeated statement, “good health to you!”; i.e., Nutrition. Two years ago, we were forced indoors, by a strain of Sars. (Covid-19). A few months after March of 2020, Climatologists measured the atmosphere, and saw how azure blue the sky was; the freshness of the air! Ahhhh!!! Pollution was down. EDEN (man’s first garden) was on its way back.

Symbols of love and diversity: the hummingbirds.

With contaminated air, for some it was difficult to breathe, severe pneumonia resulting in deaths. So, Marylanders are eagerly participating in this Edenic rebirth, getting into soil, ready to plant trees, flowers, and use solar, and kiss blissfully a new epoch.

Where would I find a collection of pioneers and stalwarts with shovels, dirt, seeds and all the paraphernalia to rebuild EDEN? At the Maryland Home and Garden Show.

king frog in his garden

Making Brush Strokes Rhyme with Raindrops

Joan Mitchell (painter)

Can you imagine making this a reality, so much so that it would gain the applause and grand admiration of great minds of the world?

It is perhaps astonishing as when Mahatma Gandhi exchanged his English tailored suit and tie, for a simple Dhoti and Shawl.

People with such mental transformations, see a world that most of us cannot. Even though our society is not based on a caste system, our society is divided by heritage and power.

Joan Mitchell in her studio (mural size paintings) photos by Robert Freson)

How the various levels of us handle the complexities of living, can be documented with closer examination.

Frustration with lovelessness or unrequited love is exhibited by indulgence in alcohol and drugs. During the renaissance, snuff and alcohol was a choice of the few. (In the privacy of their homes or country clubs) (Dorian Gray)

The poor imbibed in public and were arrested.

In another enclave are those who found solace in nature, they became poets, writers, painters.

So, if you were a socialite and privileged person, born into wealth, and became frustrated with life, nothing could stop you from choice. You set out to be one of the first women to be admired as much as Van Gough.

The Chicago American spirit of adventure attracted you to the art world. Your lovers frustrated you, for your prowess was shackled. Hence plunging yourself into nature became your thrust.

Painting raindrops on a canvas pushed your creativity. “SUNFLOWERS ARE WONDERFUL WHEN THEY ARE YOUNG and MOVING WHEN THEY ARE DYING”.

SUNFLOWERS, by Joan Mitchell

JOAN MITCHELL made drafts 14 by 11, then expanded them to 110 inches tall. With a painter’s brush in the air, she like Mahatma wanted to create a new planet.

Love of nature drove her to take up residence in Seine France, a town of notoriety the birthplace of Monet, the famous French painter, who died in 1926. (86years old).

From the 1950’s to her death over 200 paintings, with a portion making a stop at the Baltimore Museum of Art, before moving on to Paris in the Fall, this year. (2022)

Perhaps JOAN MITCHELL wanted to be JAON of ARC, with a paint brush. (1926-1992)

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