African American Museum hosts block party celebrating hip-hop anthology

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When did you fall in love with hip-hop? That was the question that Majic 102.3 FM’s Vic Jagger asked the several hundred attendees in the audience on Saturday at the block party right outside the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“If you all were there from the beginning, you better make some noise,” Jagger said to the crowd.

The radio personality helped kick things off as the museum celebrated the first anniversary of its Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap.

Last August, the museum released the anthology which chronicles hip-hop’s growth and influence. The project began as a collaboration between the museum and Smithsonian Folkways, the Smithsonian’s nonprofit record label, as a way to tell stories about African American music and what experiences inspire that music.

The anthology itself is a multimedia collection that includes 129 tracks on nine CDs ranging from 1973 to 2013, and features such hip-hop artists as Grandmaster Flash, Roxanne Shanté, and Sugarhill Gang. The anthology also includes a 300-page book with essays from hip-hop creators.

Work on the anthology began in 2014, before the museum’s opening, with an executive committee composed of key figures in the music and hip-hop community, such as rappers Chuck D and MC Lyte, historian Jeff Chang, and artist and writer Questlove.

The attendees, both inside and outside of the museum, came out Saturday to appreciate the genre, take part in dance lessons from break dance group Culture Shock DC, attend a panel on the history of hip-hop and rap, and, of course, jam to music.

“What a great occasion to have this festival on the birth month of hip-hop,” rapper LL Cool J said in a video presentation. “Hip-hop culture is important and it is a huge part of American culture in general. We’re dedicated to elevating and celebrating hip-hop culture in every aspect.”

Midge Kay said she remembered watching hip-hop first sprout in block parties in the Bronx. She said back then, she and others didn’t believe the style would survive, but said it’s crucial that events like the block party celebrate the importance of hip-hop and rap. Kay said she still has a lot of music from LL Cool J on her phone.

Hip-hop as a genre began in the Bronx, with Aug. 11, 1973 considered its official birth date. At a party on that date, Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc, developed “the break,” isolating the beat track from a record and extending it using two copies of the same record on his two-turntable system. With breaks and record scratches, Herc extended the beat, making the track long enough so that break dancers could keep dancing and Herc himself could start rapping to add flavor to the track.

“We know the history of jazz, but it’s important to see how hip-hop has evolved. Music is a unifier,” Kay, 59, said. “We continue to see music evolve and, like life itself, if you don’t evolve, you get left behind.”

Dr. Dwandalyn Reece, a curator of music and performing arts at the museum, said on a panel that hip-hop is infused into everyday life, deserves more attention and should be preserved.

“We had the civil rights movement, we had the Harlem Renaissance, it’s no different,” Reece said. “It deserves to be preserved and generations to come deserve to learn from it.”

Kevin Young, who became the museum’s director in January 2021, said the motivation for the anthology was to give a sense of the broader culture that hip-hop created and represents. Young said he hoped visitors learn about hip-hop’s origin and the journey it’s taken since its beginnings.

“I think hip-hop really found its footing in the late 80s and early 90s with people talking about the culture, but it keeps evolving,” Young said. “A lot of what we think about the museum is how Black culture is central to American culture, and hip-hop does that.”

Young said the collaborative effort in creating the anthology is credited to those who led the hip-hop movement in its inception.

“I think community almost leads the way with hip-hop and you have to think about those folks who were pioneers and leaders in hip-hop,” Young said.

There have been no changes in the anthology since its release last year, but Young hopes to keep it going, adding more songs, so people continue to teach and learn about hip-hop.

“Part of this long conversation about what the meaning of hip-hop is important. People have been very responsive to the anthology,” Young said. “Just like any great art, the stuff that works well lasts. There are parts of old-school hip-hop that feel fresh to me and I think that’s the lesson I take. Be layered. Be complicated. Move people, both physically and emotionally.”


Bud Billiken Parade: Largest African American parade in US returns to South Side

CHICAGO (WLS) — The party continues Saturday evening at Washington Park, hours after the 93rd Bud Billiken Parade wrapped up earlier in the day

Family and friends are together, grilling out and enjoying some music in the park.

The parade is all part of a tradition that’s passed down from generation to generation, dating back to 1929.

RELATED: Looking back on the history of the Bud Billiken Parade

Bands march to the beat, chicken sizzles on the grill and rifles are expertly tossed in the air.

“This has been going on for many years, since I was a kid,” said parade attendee Shaneka Bowman.

The Bud Billiken Parade returned in all its glory, with thousands of people lining the route.

WATCH: Chicago Defender Charities joins ABC7 to discuss the return of Bud Billiken Parade

Thomas Yancee said his family has been coming to the parade for decades.

“I got out here, like I said, since 7 o’clock this morning and they call us the chicken family,” he said. “We got chicken wings, chicken legs, chicken breasts, chicken thighs.”

The 2.5-mile-long celebration is the largest African-American parade in the country and celebrates the return of the school year.

RELATED: Art on theMART 2022 featuring Bud Billiken parade artists

It was scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

“To get it back together, especially for something like this, is beautiful,” Yancey said.

“To be outside is, like, really good, like, to even be around,” Shaneka added.

The Bowman family enjoyed watching the parade together

“I’ve been coming out here when my kids were 6 years old, now they’re 40,” said Brenda Bowman.

Upholding tradition is one of the main reasons people have returned to this celebration on the South Side year after year.

Helicopters also hovered above as police officers patrolled the route below, with security being a top concern this year following the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park.

However, the heightened measures didn’t hamper the parade’s energy.

To me, it just kind of means bringing the community together to watch everyone dance, perform and give it their all,” said parade attendee Jada Jones.

The parade’s theme this year was Bud Billiken 365, which celebrates the importance of education every day of the year.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

WATCH: American Singer Mary Millben Chants Aarti ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare’

New Delhi: American singer Mary Millben, the first African-American artist to be invited to India by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to take part in the 75th Independence Day celebrations chanted the famous Aarti “Om Jai Jagdish Hare.”Also Read – Delhi Reports 2,031 Fresh Covid Cases, 9 Deaths In A Day

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Mary Millben, whose full name is Mary Jorie Millben, is an American singer, actress, and media personality. Millben is the founder and CEO of JMDE Enterprises and has featured in the online series Impact Now. She is a 2010 Helen Hayes Award Nominee. Also Read – Intelligence Bureau Issues 5 Fresh Alerts Ahead of 75th Independence Day. Check List Here

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New Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation CEO: ‘There’s so much potential to help communities in new ways’

Dr. Joseph Lee was named CEO of the Minnesota-based Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation just over a year ago, taking the helm of the largest nonprofit provider of addiction treatment and mental health services in the United States. He stepped into the top job amid the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented burnout among health care workers and rising mental health and substance abuse issues.

But Lee, a psychiatrist who was the foundation’s medical director of youth services for 11 years, is optimistic that its work expanding hybrid in-person and virtual programs and improving access to services will help meet the challenges.

“I think there’s so much potential to help communities in new ways, and we’re uniquely positioned in that way,” he said. “Even in this difficult time with the pandemic and inflation and everything, what a privilege this is, what a historic moment this is, what an honor it is to be at this position.”

Lee oversees nearly 1,700 employees and a $218.9 million annual budget. He’s also the first physician and person of color to lead Hazelden Betty Ford in its 73 years. And at the age of 46, he’s the foundation’s youngest CEO ever.

“It’s been a privilege because of the symbolism. I think a lot of our team members, a lot of our patients, see hope in the future,” he said of being the first person of color to lead the organization.

Hazelden Betty Ford, which is headquartered in Center City, started in 1949 as Hazelden and merged in 2014 with the California-based Betty Ford Center. It also has facilities in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New York, Oregon and Washington.

Last year, the foundation served more than 25,000 people, about 20% more than in 2017. While most of its revenue comes from patient services, narrowing profit margins have spurred the organization to look for new ways to boost philanthropy. Last month it reported a surprise $8 million donation, the largest gift it’s ever received.

Lee said Hazelden Betty Ford also is diversifying its board of trustees and staff, reexamining hiring procedures to ensure equity and adding culturally-specific options, such as mental health services in Spanish.

For Lee, a Korean immigrant, the work is personal. He came to the U.S. from Seoul with his parents and older sister when he was 7 and grew up in Oklahoma. While studying philosophy in college he volunteered at a mental health hospital, sparking a new passion and career path. By 25, he was a medical student at Duke University and a U.S. citizen.

Lee lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Jill, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the University of Minnesota, and their two sons, ages 10 and 5. He’s on the board of the St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation. He recently spoke to the Star Tribune about his first year as CEO. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Q: What was the last year like as the new CEO of a massive organization responding to a pandemic, rising overdose deaths and an unprecedented demand for mental health services?

A: It was a challenge, but it was also incredibly inspirational because I saw our nurses, our housekeeping staff, our counselors step up with limited resources. They answered the call … Addiction is a disease of loneliness and isolation, so we predicted that if people are cut off from each other that they were going to suffer. And now the statistics are bearing that out.

Q: How do you think your background prepared you for this job?

A: I understand what good world-class clinical care looks like, how hard that is to deliver. … It’s not just an algorithm or throwing medications at a problem, it’s a holistic solution.

Q: The number of inquiries Hazelden Betty Ford received soared 81% from 2020 to 2021. How are you responding to the rising need?

A: Our clinical staff we can’t hire fast enough because the demand is really high … We’re trying to use technology and hybrid options … expand our mental health services, our family services and our children’s program services.

Q: Hazelden Betty Ford had a deficit in 2020 and 2021. How are your financials so far in 2022 and what does the organization need to do to be financially stable in the future?

A: Government aid during the pandemic was quite helpful. [Hazelden Betty Ford received federal Paycheck Protection Program loans of $10.3 million and $5.9 million in CARES Act funding.] This year alone, our revenue continues to increase but the challenge of this year will be inflation.

Q: The nonprofit quietly launched an eight-year $500 million campaign in 2020 and raised a record $15 million last year. Are you looking to philanthropy to play a bigger role in sustaining your budget?

A: We want philanthropy to play a bigger role, period. Philanthropy helps us with some of the necessary capital and also helps us synergize with communities on very important projects.

Q: The health care industry is facing higher staff burnout and a dire workforce shortage. Has Hazelden experienced that as well?

A: Yeah, maybe not to the extent of other organizations or hospitals, but staffing challenges are everywhere … Our investments in them [staffing, citing competitive pay and benefits, career advancement and workplace culture] and in our grad school, in the long run, I’m very hopeful for.

Q: When you started as CEO, you said one of your top priorities would be to increase diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. In what way are you doing that?

A: The grad school … is intentionally trying to create pathways for equity. I think you have to look at everything that you do … I believe it’s going to take a generational effort.

Q: Minnesota has wide racial disparities, including among overdose deaths. How are your programs working to reach more communities of color?

A: We’ve been able to partner with 50 to 60 Native American communities across the country and we partner with Spanish-speaking communities … and we’ve had a partnership with Turning Point [a Minneapolis treatment center that specializes in services for African Americans].

Q: Drug overdose deaths spiked by 22% in 2021 in Minnesota. Besides your programs, what else needs to be done to lower alcohol and drug abuse?

A: The system overall still is too fragmented [between mental health care and addiction treatment]. And I think people also need to harness the power of communities, and the recovery community specifically. People need to connect with each other in order to heal.

13 Reasons Why Black Americans Are Broke And Most Likely Will Remain Broke.


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( There are numerous books, journals, articles, and theories that speak of the economic woes of African Americans and the means to overcome them. There is an emergence of self-help manuals created by African Americans that provide step-by-step guidance to achieve economic prosperity. Though I applaud the effort of these concerned entrepreneurs, the instructions leave out the hardships of ownership and the characteristics of hard work, self-motivation, endurance, ambition, ingenuity, and accountability entrepreneurs possess.

If government officials truly wanted the population to be financially savvy they would provide mandatory classes to create a financially responsible and literate public. However, such lessons may not be that beneficial, since our government has a horrendous record of financial irresponsibility. With that said, here are the 13 reasons most African Americans will never get their financial houses in order.


There is a myth circulating amongst blacks that all white people have it easy and mommy and daddy paid for everything, which is false. A large portion of the white population are poor and disenfranchised just like blacks. The majority of so-called middle class whites are burdened by debt to maintain the illusion of financial stability. Though some with the means do ease the financial pressure of the future generation through financial sacrifice. One can blame socio-economic factors that have resulted in the conditions of Blacks in America. Though, at some point, we must take responsibility for our lack of research and sacrifice for the financial future of the next generation. I have heard numerous stories from financial planners about blacks who have made enormous amounts of money only to squander it on mindless consumption leaving, their offspring with nothing. Failure to build wealth leaves the next generation with an inheritance of debt (student loans, funeral expenses, unpaid mortgage) having to start from scratch themselves. Blacks who are fortunate enough to graduate college are usually at a financial disadvantage to their fellow citizens, due to accumulation of debt, because of the absence, of financial assistance from family. Anyone familiar with student loans and credit card debt, coupled with basic living expenses cannot compete with someone entering the workforce without debt. 


Unfortunately for too many African Americans, upon “making it” they miraculously turn into loan officers. Everyone wants to borrow money and the newly appointed loan officer is pressured into complying. The people who are borrowing money fail to realize you’re not making that much money as they think. Also you have your own bills coupled with student loans. Here is my theory of loaning money. If a person borrows $ 500 they really need $1,000. The $500 for what they needed and the $500 to pay you back. If they don’t have $500 where are they going to get $1,000? If you want to donate money feel free, but stop deceiving yourself as if the loan will be returned because 99% of the time it is not.


Sit back and think, who the ever told you about money? Our understanding of wealth has come from the capitalist media, which professes consumerism is the key demonstration of wealth. This ideology has resulted in a culture that believes untamed consumerism is a demonstration of one’s wealth. This illusion of financial progression leaves too many in the African American community broke with luxury items. Spending money does not make you wealthy. Terminology such as Annuities, FICO Score, Escrow, Fixed Rate Mortgage, Interest Rate, Certified Deposits, Money Markets, Interest, Compound Interest, Full or Term Life Insurance, Standard Deduction are terms never uttered in the African American household. If you would like to familiarize yourself with financial terminology a good free resource is .


Despite feel-good stories from “financial gurus” who provide tactics for financial independence and accumulation of millions, the majority of African Americans will be employees and remain employees until they are no longer employable. Since the emergence of corporations and Industrial Revolution, wealthy entrepreneurs and speculators needed a controlled labor force. There are different levels of labor ranging from unskilled labor to managerial positions. Despite society’s varying levels of praise for different occupations, employees for the most part are dependent on one stream of income. After taxes and health care employees are left with a fraction of their income as disposable income. This dependence on one stream of income is key hindrance in the financial freedom African Americans aspire to. The 9-5 was never designed to provide the population with the financial freedom so often mentioned in expensive financial improvement materials. Some critics of the American workforce may refer to employees as wage slaves, similar to indentured servants of the colonial period. I feel that categorization to be both harsh and misleading. Though employees do trade their most important asset, time, for financial compensation that for most is not sufficient for their basic necessities.


Anyone who grew up in an African American community knows we equate wealth with what a person drives or wears. We have heard the mantra before, “Mike is doing good man, saw him the other day in a Mercedes.” Mike works at a 9-5, on fixed income, and is paying a monstrous car payment that is eating up majority of his paycheck. Despite Mike’s fancy car, big mortgage, nice threads, Mike is living paycheck to paycheck, and if he was terminated from his job Mike would be on the street. Ballers are broke, because they spend all their money balling. Once their money stops flowing the game is over. If you are making $60,000 a year you have no business in a luxury car or wearing luxury items. Sorry to burst your bubble. Listen to a rap song bragging about balling and add the cost of the activities and purchases up and you will see not even the rapper can afford the fantasy he speaks of.


“We Shall Overcome….. Yeah Someday…”

The integration of Americans has been devastating to the economic situation of African Americans. Despite the eloquent chapters in history books and emotional documentaries shown in high schools, this act has destroyed black colleges and black entrepreneurship. Prior to integration, the majority of skilled blacks attended all-black colleges because they had no choice. Blacks purchased and received services from black-owned groceries, clothing, electronic, butcher, pharmacies, physicians, law firms, banks, theaters, hotels, restaurants, and hardware stores for they had no choice. The money was spent within the community and redistributed amongst blacks by employing blacks and spending gained income amongst blacks. Now all those resources are spent with owners from outside of the community who do not live or spend money in the community. The most talented scholars and athletes who once flooded the campuses of HBCUs are now attending Stanford and Yale, working for Morgan Stanley, no longer playing in the Negro Leagues but Major Leagues.


African Americans are huge consumers of expensive electronic devices. Ironically these companies’ workforces have very few African Americans, mainly due to the exploitation of foreign labor in third world countries.

Technology not only depletes your mental capability (how many phone numbers do you remember?), it also makes much needed jobs obsolete. Since the 1970s wages have basically frozen while living expenses have skyrocketed. Industries have utilized technology to do away with human labor. Numerous jobs available to humans are soon to be extinct, leaving numerous unskilled and skilled citizens permanently unemployed. Numerous cities are mere artifacts of their once thriving industrial economies. Cities like Detroit and Camden use to be hotbeds of production but are, now dens of crime and hopelessness. This trend will continue to emerge across America as more jobs are eliminated due to the rise of automation and robots. “Please use the self-checkout line over there, miss. Thank you.”


Church members, through the use of fear and guilt, are manipulated into paying a 10 percent membership fee to fund the lifestyle of their usually unemployed leader. This 10 percent is added to the mandatory state taxes they have to pay, leaving many people with less than 60 cents for every dollar they make. If the almighty God wants to get something done I am pretty sure he can get it done without your much-needed money. Modern churches are not only in the business of saving souls, but investment banking. Promising their sheep immense returns on their investments.

What church members don’t realize is regardless of what you pay, you will not receive your financial blessing. The pastor’s blessing comes from your weekly donation that pays his bills, while no one is donating to you to pay your bills.


The people extracting money from the black community have a much more advanced, understanding of group economics than that of present day African Americans. You find a diverse group of people pooling their resources with the goal of financial progression. While they work diligently to provide goods and service to African Americans, African Americans work diligently to spend their pay checks with them. African Americans will purchase chips from a Puerto Rican- owned bodega, rent from a Jewish landlord, get nails done by a Korean, purchase clothes and electronics form a Middle Easterner, and buy pizza from an Italian. The problem is none of these races purchase products or services from African Americans. Wealth is leaving the community while none is coming in.


Regardless of the alleged progress some say blacks have achieved in America, the inequality in salary still keeps the wealth gap growing between white and blacks. One must also acknowledge the human trait of nepotism, which keeps many blacks from reaching positions of power in corporations. It would be illogical to believe people are going to assist you before they assist their own. If you had your own business and your child was in need of employment, despite their lack of qualification, would you employ your child or a stranger? So why are African Americans so shocked at the discriminatory hiring practices of companies owned by those of European descent?


Marketers manipulate Americans to feel insecure which heightens the possibility that they will purchase a product to remedy their insecurity. African American insecurity is both financial and psychological. It comes with the burden of being black in America where everything equated with your being is “sub-human.” To compensate, many blacks turn to consumerism to remedy the insecurity and uncomfortableness they feel being Black in America. African Americans feel they can purchase their way into a prejudice free zone, where white Americans will accept them as equals. Many have tried all have failed.

  1. DEBT 

The problem with the accumulation of debt is the rapid accumulation. Anyone who has experienced debt knows things can quickly get out of hand. The jeans purchased on sale for $50 can easily turn into a credit card payment of $227. Debt is nothing unique to Americans for we are debt-enslaved society. The African American experience with debt is actually more pleasant than that of white Americans for melanin seems to be a wonderful deterrent for financial institutions offering credit. Though I believe if we were given the same amount of credit as our Caucasian brethren our financial situation would be much worse.


Americans are constantly bombarded all day every day, by persuasive advertising tactics professing that one’s self-worth rests in the attainment of material goods. These goods are supposed to increase one’s happiness and status in society, while also increasing the citizen’s debt to financial institutions. The majority of African Americans unfortunately believe this mantra that they have been trained to believe, leaving them on the never-ending cycle of working and spending.

“Conspicuous consumption” is a term coined by economist Thorstein Veblen (Theory of the Leisure Class) that basically states citizens are praised for wasting money, purchasing items not for their usefulness but as a means to demonstrate one’s wealth. One example is the purchase of a luxury vehicle. People need a car to travel but the luxury car is supposed to demonstrate one’s purchasing power. The wealthy can play this game due to their income but, when the employee does, he usually ends up broke. He who has the most toys is the coolest and usually the “brokest.”

Columnist; Eugenio Stewart

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Summer in the South End: An August Roundup of Live Music and Block Parties

by Amanda Ong

Last week, we interviewed some rising local and BIPOC music artists performing in the city this summer. These artists are only some of the many incredible South End singers and musicians, part of a thriving and dynamic local music scene. 

Even as we approach the end of summer, there are still plenty more opportunities to see concerts, attend festivals, and get out to block parties. The Emerald rounded up a number of fantastic events — many of them free — where you can catch live music before summer’s end, and, most importantly, support local artists, vendors, and businesses. 

Though not covered in this list, check out venues like Beacon Hill’s Clock-Out Lounge and Columbia City’s The Royal Room and Rumba Notes Lounge for more shows. For other arts events, check out our August South End Arts Roundup.

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Columbia City Beatwalk, 2022

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Events throughout the summer
The Patio:Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street

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Photo by ArtBy FREDERICK
Beatwalk, 2022

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A crowd enjoys a Beatwalk event earlier this summer. (Photo: ArtBy FREDERICK)

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A crowd enjoys a Beatwalk event earlier this summer. (Photo: ArtBy FREDERICK)

For 28 years, Beatwalk has offered incredible live music in Columbia City every summer. The free, all-ages events feature local musicians hosted by neighborhood businesses. On June 24, it had its first Pride-themed Beatwalk. The final two Beatwalk events are on Aug. 20 and 28. Check out its Facebook page for more details as they are announced.

Aug. 13, 1–9 p.m. 
East Pike Street and 11th Ave.

While technically a pop-up market with vendors selling handmade goods, vintage clothing, and street fashion, On the Block also features art activations, live music, and DJ sets. On the Block is free and happens every second Saturday from May to October at 11th Ave., between East Pike Street and East Pine Street on Capitol Hill. The Aug. 13 event will include DJ Dark Wiley and musical co-curators Dadabassed and Vitamin D. Follow On the Block on Instagram for performer announcements. 

Aug. 13–20, 1–5 p.m.
Historic Nihonmachi/Japantown

This annual block party celebrates businesses and community in historic Nihonmachi/Japantown in the CID. Participating businesses, like Kobo at Higo, Itsumomo, and Pioneer Barber, will have special happenings, and live music will be provided by Seattle Kokon Taiko.

August 13–14
Pier 62, 1951 Alaskan Way

The eighth annual Madaraka Festival returns Aug. 13 and 14 at Pier 62 downtown, featuring African foods, art, and a star-packed lineup of musical artists from Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Sudan, as well as local performers. Hosted by One Vibe Africa, Madaraka Fest seeks to foster connections between Africa and Seattle’s African diaspora communities, and all are welcome to attend. Read the Emerald’s recent preview of the event for more details. The festival is free with RSVP

Aug. 14, 12–6 p.m.
Othello Park, 4351 S. Othello St. 

This 14-year-old community celebration takes place at the Othello Park and Playground, one block east of the Othello light rail stop. There will be live performances from neighborhood groups like Northwest Wushu Martial Arts, Samoan Siva Dance Group, and the Washington Diamonds Drill Team. Over 90 vendors will be in attendance, featuring local and handmade goods, food from Delish Ethiopian Cuisine, and more. Check out the Emerald’s recent preview of the event

Aug. 19–20, 5–10 p.m.
Jefferson Park, 3801 Beacon Ave. S.

Back for a second year, Bazzookafest brings together a lineup of incredible Black artists, including Shaina Shepherd, Bijoux, Rainbow Coalition Deathcult, Da Qween, and more to be announced. The free fest kicks off on Friday, Aug. 20, with the Bazzooka Ball by queer collective BeautyBoiz. Music guests take the stage on Saturday. There will also be a market with all-BIPOC vendors. 

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Reggae on the Way, 2022

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Aug. 20–21, starting at 2 p.m.
Airport Tavern, 5406 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma
Tickets start at $50 

Fan of reggae? Look no further than Tacoma’s annual tradition of Reggae on the Way, filling up two blocks between LeMay – America’s Car Museum and the Tacoma Dome in South Tacoma with two days of full reggae music. See music groups like reggae-rock Iration, hip-hop duo Atmosphere, Hawaiian reggae-pop ensemble Kolohe Kai, and Jamaican singer-songwriter Protoje. Single-day and multiday tickets are available through the See Tickets website.

Aug. 20, 3–9 p.m.
900 S. King St.

Chinatown-International District’s Block Party is a one-day music and arts celebration of the many Asian American communities in the area. There will be an art walk, food walk, auto show, beer garden, and, later that evening, an outdoor movie at Hing Hay Park. The lineup of musical guests is yet to be announced, so check the official website or Instagram account for current info. 

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South Sound Block Party, 2022

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Aug. 26–27
Port of Olympia, 1210 Marine Dr. NE, Olympia
Tickets start at $35 

Fifteen live bands, games, food trucks, and a beer garden, all right on the beautiful shores of the Puget Sound. See acts like Courtney Marie Andrews and Bully, as well as local acts, like The Cave Singers and The Home Team. Tickets are on sale on the South Sound Block Party website, with options for single-day and multiday passes.

<img data-lazy-fallback="1" data-attachment-id="92043" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="363,208" data-comments-opened="0" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="2022_08.13_LiveMusicBlockPartyRoundup_WhiteCenterBlockParty" data-image-description="

White Center Block Party, 2022

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Aug. 28, 12–6 p.m.
16th Ave. SW between Southwest Roxbury Street and Southwest 100th Street
Free; wristbands for additional purchase

After a series of vandalism and arson in 2021, neighbors and local businesses decided to come together to celebrate with the first White Center Block Party. Now in its second year,the White Center Block Party continues to be a free, family-friendly event that helps support local businesses, bars, and restaurants. While the event is free, wristbands are available for purchase on the White Center Block Party website that give special discounts at participating vendors. Follow its Instagram account for announcements about vendors and performers. 

Sept. 2–4
White River Amphitheater, 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Rd.
Tickets start at $25

Auburn’s Labor Day weekend will see a major rock festival. This year’s lineup includes Incubus, Sublime With Rome, Alice in Chains, Breaking Benjamin with Bush, Sammy Hagar & The Circle, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and many more. Tickets are available for purchase on Ticketmaster.But before Pain In The Grass begins, anyone can get a head start at the Pain In The Grass Kickoff Party on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at the Moore Theater with The Pretty Reckless and Seattle-based Ayron Jones.

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Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies. There, she was involved with Asian American student activism and completed a thesis on immigrant family stories and orientalism. Amanda has recently been awarded second place for the Bristol Short Story Prize, and completed a zine about radical self-love. In both her creative writing and journalism, Amanda sees writing as a means to community building and empowering marginalized folks.

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Amanda Ong

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Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies.

📸 Featured Image: Some scenes from On the Block: DJ and producer cljlamar (left), singer and songwriter Maya Marie (center), resident artist and event volunteer Nya (upper right), and beatmaker and audio producer Third Eye Bling (lower right). (Photos by Luis Orozco of exthindvisuals, courtesy of On the Block.)

Before you move on to the next story …
Please consider that the article you just read was made possible by the generous financial support of donors and sponsors. The Emerald is a BIPOC-led nonprofit news outlet with the mission of offering a wider lens of our region’s most diverse, least affluent, and woefully under-reported communities. Please consider making a one-time gift or, better yet, joining our Rainmaker Family by becoming a monthly donor. Your support will help provide fair pay for our journalists and enable them to continue writing the important stories that offer relevant news, information, and analysis. Support the Emerald!

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Artists have changed song lyrics before. But Beyoncé’s and Lizzo’s recent revisions are part of a new era

CNN  — 

Some of the stars behind summer’s hottest new music found themselves in hot water when listeners and disability advocates spoke out against a lyric viewed as an ableist slur.

Backlash came quickly, and the artists were just as quick to respond. Lizzo took to Instagram to announce she had edited the lyric, noting, “I never want to promote derogatory language.” Beyoncé’s team issued a similar response within days of her album release, stating, “the word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced.”

The term in question, “spaz,” first appeared on “Grrrls,” a single released by Lizzo in June. It then appeared on “Heated,” a track on Beyoncé’s highly anticipated album, “Renaissance,” which dropped last month.

The word, derived from “spastic,” has different cultural connotations – in the US, it’s mainly a colloquialism to describe losing control. It can describe being “in the zone” or “going all out” in African American Vernacular English – or being in a state of excitement that is either negative or positive, said Nsenga Burton, a cultural critic and professor at Emory University.

However, in the UK, the term is more immediately construed as a slur against the disabled community, particularly those with spastic cerebral palsy.

Changing song lyrics is nothing new. Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” was a risqué nightclub tune before it was sanitized for mass consumption. Contemporary artists, including Taylor Swift, have revisited previously recorded songs and altered lyrics with negative or offensive connotations, citing personal growth.

But Beyoncé and Lizzo’s recent revisions are notable because of the conversations they’ve sparked around the subject of ableism and the speed with which critics of the offending lyric were able to convey their views. The chatter surrounding these tracks is also connected to larger discussions around what we expect from certain artists, particularly Black women, as well as how society interprets and preserves entertainment and cultural touchstones.

Why song lyrics change – and what’s different this time

Lyrics, whether they’re part of a cover song or updates of an artist’s own music, are altered for different reasons. Many revisions are tied to language concerning race, gender and sexuality, as well as religion, said Jocelyn Neal, a professor in the music department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Some lyrics are changed to align with the public’s tastes or modern times, while others are updated to better emphasize an artist’s own views.

“There’s a lot of examples in Johnny Cash, where he made changes to lyrics that would address a religious perspective,” Neal said, pointing to The Man in Black’s modification of a John Prine lyric, as well as one for his cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.”

It’s not uncommon for artists to make multiple versions of some songs. Sometimes, this is done to appeal to specific regional markets, Neal said, pointing to instances where lyrics might refer to something like a local baseball team. Artists with explicit music often release “clean” versions (even in the streaming era), allowing for radio play and other forms of commercial exposure.

What’s different when it comes to Beyoncé and Lizzo’s quickly updated songs is the amount of conversation they’ve generated around ableism, Neal said.

“Ableism hasn’t been as much a part of these conversations (around lyric changes) in the past as much as it is now, and I think that is a change in awareness and a change in focus that is probably long overdue,” she said, adding that the majority of previously revised songs “don’t have ableism at the center of these language changes.”

Also notable? The criticisms in this case were amplified thanks to social media, which serves as “a much more public platform to provide feedback to artists,” Neal said. In previous decades, a listener may have sent a postcard to complain to a radio station, she noted – without any guarantee that their observations would be widely shared for others to consider.

Various cultural layers make these revisions less cut-and-dry

Some critics say the backlash surrounding Beyoncé (pictured during the telecast of the 94th annual Academy Awards) and Lizzo's lyrics shows a double standard for Black female artists -- and doesn't take cultural context into consideration.

Lizzo and Beyoncé’s decisions to remove “spaz” from their respective songs have been celebrated for the most part, barring some instances where some have focused on criticizing the fact that it was used in the first place.

But the move has also sparked arguments over whether the word’s intended use should be considered more deeply. Some have voiced concern that the discourse surrounding the artists is an example of Black women being held to a different standard.

In an essay for Insider earlier this week, writer Keah Brown addressed having cerebral palsy and being grateful for Lizzo and Beyoncé’s decision, while also highlighting her frustration over White and non-Black artists being given “much more slack around using ableist language.”

Society has not pushed back on non-Black artists who have used other ableist terms like “psycho” or “lame,” she noted, nor have those artists in question changed such lyrics as rapidly as Lizzo and Beyoncé did. “The issue goes beyond the word ‘spaz’ for me,” she wrote.

Burton, for her part, initially appreciated Lizzo’s willingness to acknowledge that the offending lyric was a hurtful term to some and that she re-recorded so quickly. “I think that takes accountability and a willingness to be educated,” she said.

But she noticed that very few people were talking about how the term is used in the African American community.

“People are comfortable policing Black women’s bodies and language, and that is a problem, particularly when you’re dealing with art,” she said. “Particularly when you’re dealing with two Black women who are from the United States and are using the term in a way that Black people use it, which has nothing to do with the disabled community, at least in this iteration.”

Burton added that what one intends with language and how it’s perceived “can be two different things” and that “ultimately, you want your message to be received the way it’s intended.”

“If it’s not being received that way and you can change it, then you should,” she said. “But I’m not really feeling that it’s always Black women that acquiesce. We can’t make any mistakes, we can’t even use words in the way our culture uses them without getting pushback.”

The edits are related to larger questions about preserving and confronting art

Technology today makes it easy to update certain works, from online articles to music, fairly quickly. While people still collect physical media, streaming remains a popular mode of consumption – and that’s where changes are made rapidly. “Renaissance” hadn’t even been out a full week when edits to streaming versions of songs, including “Heated,” were reported on Apple Music, YouTube and Spotify.

“If there’s one source that’s controlling the digital version of a song for streaming, and that source changes, the average fan is going to have a hard time getting access to that previous version,” said Neal, noting that what we’re seeing with the increasingly ephemeral nature of some popular music is something that’s being seen in all forms of media and even in the academic world.

This has led to greater questions around whether “people are allowed to change things too quickly” and accountability, she said, and it’s something those who work in library and information sciences are actively thinking about.

The ability to respond to public feedback and update art in “real time” is also something that could present a problem for musicians someday, Burton said.

“What’s the end? Now you get to come back and say, ‘Listen, I don’t like this refrain here,’” she said. “Where does it end?”

When Lizzo announced a newly edited version of "Grrrls," she said she was "dedicated to being part of the change I've been waiting to see in the world."

There may be no clear answer. But even amid some larger philosophical questions, many have pointed out that by listening to their critics and promptly adjusting their lyrics, Beyoncé and Lizzo have ultimately done something positive. (Lizzo even remarked in June that she was using her position to be “part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”)

“Lizzo seized a moment to do good in the world and that’s something that an artist who has that platform is able to do,” said Neal. “I think that’s exciting.”

While there have been decades of debate over whether lyrics to popular songs matter, Neal said artists in this moment – and even those before them – are indicating that they do.

The various conversations around Beyoncé and Lizzo mark a new period in what we expect from and question about popular music. They’re also part of a larger tradition of questioning and processing the way the world around us continues to change.

“It’s not just music, it’s not just pop music, it’s not just right now,” said Neal. “It’s about our own histories and our educational processes.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment