June 12 – June 25, 2014

 

studio theater




Classical Soul - Chelsey Green

chelsey greenI first saw Chelsey Green perform at Jazz on Jackson Place at the historic Decatur House, steps away from the White House. I expected a good show. I had no idea I would be on my feet jamming - - Ms. Green really rocks!

A Houston native and former Artist-In-Residence at The Music Center at Strathmore, the classically trained Green is an acoustic violin and viola virtuoso. Green says “I love to play songs that I enjoy listening to and songs that get you moving.” Chelsey Green and The Green Project have an upcoming set at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club on Saturday, July 19, 2014. Still Green: The EP is her debut CD featuring original music.

Green and I met for coffee and a chat in Silver Spring, MD. She gave me insights into her life, how she takes care of business, composing, giving back, and her upcoming recording. 

Green began performing at the tender age of 5. She has played at prestigious landmarks around the globe, such as Carnegie Hall, performed on stage alongside legends, such as Roberta Flack, and mentored by one of her musical heroes, Yo-Yo Ma. But musical success all began with her family. “My musical family influenced me greatly . . . the various genres and different ensembles I heard growing up is the whole reason I can't fit into a genre now.”

Success requires hard work and Green confides, “What challenges don’t I face as a woman in this business? It can get tough, I'm just being honest. Getting respect can be challenging on all fronts as a musician, as a business owner, as a contractor, as a negotiator, etc. People feel they can take advantage of you and if you put your foot down in any way, some will call you all types of "colorful" names. You have to remember why you do what you do. You have to focus on the good and let the good drive you, because if all you think about is the challenges, you won't go anywhere. You have to believe in yourself and believe in your artistry. God always makes a way out of the challenges."

Our conversation shifted to the creative process and Green told me that for her, inspirations come in many forms, “Visual art, choreographed dance, song, poetry, novels, probing conversations, nature, things that are unnatural, and comfortable and uncomfortable situations. I literally get inspiration from everything. Once while performing in a department store, someone walked through the exit and tripped the sensor. We even incorporated the beeping noise in the song we were playing at that exact moment.”

Green benefitted from the help of others along her musical journey and eagerly gives back to her community, teaching violin and viola. “The Green Project has a non-profit leg that does educational outreach by way of in-school master classes and performance workshops designed to get students and adults alike excited about live music and the versatility of the violin.”

Anyone who spends time with Green knows she is thrilled about her upcoming studio recording. She shares, “Yes, the record is almost done! The name is secret right now, but will be revealed soon! Actually everyone that is signed up on my e-mail list is going to get an exclusive first preview very soon. The record will be a blend of funk, soul, r&b, jazz, gospel, and more! There is something for every one. I think every single song is my favorite song on the record.”

Green goes on to reveal, “My work is absolutely a blessing and that I thank the Lord for every single day!” “My prayer is that God allows me to continue to grow and develop The Green Project in ways that I can't even imagine and that our music may touch hearts around the world.” 

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Baltimore's New Law Helps the Formerly Incarcerated

stephanie rawlings blakeBaltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has signed a bill that bars employers from asking job seekers about their criminal background on job applications.  Employers may now conduct a criminal background check only after interviewing an applicant and making a conditional offer of employment.

“When it comes to the crime fight, we have to use every tool available, which includes creating opportunities for those who have paid their debt to society and want to turn their lives around,” said Rawlings-Blake.  She continued, the bill is “a critical component to not only helping to reduce unemployment, but also improving public safety by addressing recidivism.”

The bill does not prohibit businesses, such as child care facilities, to ask about sex-offender convictions, according to news outlets. However, it does modify the overall judicial system that has been criticized for violating the human rights of Black Americans.

Recently, the NAACP via the United Nations Human Rights Committee asked the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons to take administrative steps immediately to provide information to incarcerated individuals regarding voting rights restoration upon release and return to their home states.  In contrast, South African prisoners are allowed to vote.


Election 2014

charles rangel- - Harlem congressman Charles Rangel eked out his last reelection in 2012 by just a little more 1,000 votes against state Senator Adriano Espaillat. While some have made their ethnicity an issue in the 2014 election, both men are of African heritage.  Rangel’s father was from Puerto Rico; his mother from Virginia USA. Espaillat is Dominican-American, whose group voting strength in the district has increased.  Rangel, 83, has served nearly 44 years in Congress. He went to Congress in 1970 after defeating the iconic Adam Clayton Powell Jr., New York’s first Black representative to Washington.  In 2012, he ran under a cloud of an ethics investigation and censure. 

- - Interest in the November midterm elections has grown in the past month says a Washington Post poll, with 74 percent of registered voters saying they are certain to vote, up from 68 percent in April. At this point, slightly more Republicans than Democrats and more Whites than nonwhites say they are certain to vote. Democrats are particularly worried about low turnout by their coalition in November. 

- - Al Sharpton says Dave Brat’s defeat of Eric Cantor in Virginia “will embolden them (Republicans) to come with more right wing politics.”  It will “cause a civil war in the Republican Party,” he continued on the Tom Joyner Morning Show as he called on Democrats to remain united. Cantor became the first House Majority Leader to lose his party's primary since the position was created in 1899. The district is in suburban Richmand and is 75 percent White.

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You May Know the Unpleasant Ice Cream Truck Song

By Theodore R. Johnson, III from NPR 

"Nigger Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!" merits the distinction of the most racist song title in America. Released in March 1916 by Columbia Records  . . .  When I started the song, the music that tumbled from the speakers was that of the ever-recognizable jingle of the ice cream truck.

Full Story


Mrs. Obama’s Great Tribute to
Maya Angelou

maya angelouTo the family, Guy, to all of you; to the friends; President Clinton; Oprah; my mother, Cicely Tyson; Ambassador Young -- let me just share something with you. My mother, Marian Robinson, never cares about anything I do. But when Dr. Maya Angelou passed, she said, you’re going, aren’t you? I said, well, Mom, I’m not really sure, I have to check with my schedule. She said, you are going, right? I said, well, I’m going to get back to you but I have to check with the people, figure it out. I came back up to her room when I found out that I was scheduled to go, and she said, that’s good, now I’m happy.

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Activities

 benjamin banneker
Benjamin Banneker's Life Celebrated at His Park

Washington, DC
Exhibition:  The Civil Rights Act of 1964:
A Long Struggle for Freedom
Thomas Jefferson Building
10 First St. S.E.
Open till Mon, Jun 20, 2015
Mon-Sat, 8:30a-4:30p, free

Cock
Studio Theater
14th and P, NW
closes Sun, June 22, $

2014 D.C. Caribbean Filmfest
TransAfrica
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
8633 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, MD
Fri, Jun 13-Sun, Jun 15, $

Tinner Hills Blues Festival
Fall Church, VA
Fri, Jun 13-Sun, Jun 15, $

7th Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Watkins Regional Park
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro
Sat, Jun 14, noon -5p, free

East River Jazz
Wed, Jun 25-Sun, Jun 29

Baltimore, MD
Colonial Market Fair
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum
300 Oella Avenue
Catonsville, MD
Sat, Jun 14-Sun, Jun 15, 10a-4p, free

Marking the Summer Solstice
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum
300 Oella Avenue
Catonsville, MD
Fri, Jun 20, 8p-9:30p, donation requested

Jackson, MS
Mississippi Freedom Summer
50th Anniversary Conference
Tougaloo College
Jackson, MS
Wed, Jun 25-Mon, Jun 29

New York
Holler If Ya Hear Me
Palace Theatre
Written by Tupac Shakur
Opens, Thu, Jun 19, $

The Black Stars of The Great White Way
Broadway Reunion
Carnegie Hall
Mon, Jun 23,8p, $35-$200

Richmond, VA
Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration
Thu, Jun 19-Sun, Jun 22, price varies

Philadelphia
2014 Annual Juneteenth Festival
Johnson House Historic Site
6306 Germantown Ave
Sat, Jun 21, 10a-5p, free

Wilmington
DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival
Rodney Square
Wed, Jun 18-Sat, Jun 21, free

TV
Of Thee We Sing:
The Marian Anderson Stor
y
Centric
Sun, Jun 15, 7p-8p EST

The New Black
Race and Religion Intersect
in the Battle for Same-Sex Marriage
Sun, Jun 15, 10:30p EST
PBS

Freedom Riders
PBS
Tue, Jun 17, 9p

Freedom Summer
PBS
Tue, Jun 24, 9p


Golden Minaret Awards

 ebrima rasool
The South African Ambassador to the
United States, Ebrahim Rasool,
Calls for Tolerance and Inclusion



South African Ambassador Speaks Tolerance

The South African Ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool, gave an voluminous speech at the Second annual Golden Minaret Awards, The Academy of Muslim Achievement. He delicately intertwined the life story on Nelson Mandela, the principals of Islam, and need to be inclusive and diverse.

He spoke of how Mandela, though not a Muslim, embodied many of the principals encouraged in Islam and how under the South African constitution no one is legally allowed “to indignify anyone else.”  He continued by asking those who dislike Islamphobia to dislike all forms of discrimination from sexism and anti-Semitism to xenophobia and homophobia.

He praised the awards ceremony as a chance for Muslims to tell the good side of Islamic life. “TheTaliban, who do what they do in our name,” often get recognized," he said.

From Chicago South Side to Qatar

Accompanying the co-Master of Ceremonies, comedian Said Durrah, was Chicago South Side native and Al Jazeera English personality Malika Bilal. Before working for Al Jazeera, Bilal worked for Voice of America and later with Al Jazeera in Qater before landing her current hosting job of The Stream on Al Jazeera English.

Busboys and Poet Wins |
Remember Kenneth Gamble?

Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets restaurants, was nominated for CEO of the Year, but lost to Philadelphia developer Lugman Abdul Haqq, formerly known as Kenneth Gamble, the music world’s superstar businessman.  However, Busboys and Poets did win the Business of the Year award.  Commenting on his failed run to become DC Mayor, Shallal joked, “The city lost.”

Zarinah Shakir Wins for Arts and Culture

Zarinah Shakir, producer of the African-American Pioneer Muslimahs (Part I) in Washington, D.C., zarinah shakirthat POH also once presented with the Alexandria Black History Museum won for her contributions in arts and culture. The first film explores the lives of three South Carolinians who converted from Christianity to Islam in the 1940s and 1950s.


The Food and Entertainment

The Sahara Date Company in Vienna, Virginia offered tastings of 3 of the more than 350 varieties of dates.

William J White portrayed Muhammad Ali ibn Sayyid, also known as Nicholas Said (1836-1882), of the United States Colored Troop, 55th Massachusetts Regiment. His portrayal helped dispel the myth that there were no African-American Muslims in early America or that practiced their faith during their American captivity.

Desserts from Sweet Tooth flowed and the people gobbled them up, including the very chocolate cake served at the event’s end. 

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Cock

 cock studio theater

Yes, British playwright Mike Bartlett probably gave his play this name to shock the senses, but in this day when another state fails to make the news “just because” they now allow same-sex marriage, the title is not such a loud cry for attention. What Bartlett was best at was creating a very tense, but comical look into human sexuality as John tries to decide if he wants to stay with his long-term boyfriend or his new found girlfriend.

This is not a gossipy E. Lynn Harris look into the world of the “down-low,” John allows his two lovers to meet.  And his would be father-in-law asks, “You want your boyfriend ‘s help with your girlfriend?” 

With a very simple set that supports the audiences focus on the character’s dialogue, the first two segments of the 95-minute performance sometimes seems to be going a bit too slow. This is when the couples talk and we get to know them. The third segment picks up pace as the four actors meet only to produce the expected fireworks and an original, modern-day, male-female “cat-fight” between John’s two lovers.

Cock, Studio Theater, 14th and P NW, Washington, DC, has been extended to close Sunday, June 29.

 
 
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