Vallie Brown, new District 5 supervisor, strives to keep…

The neighborhood first came to know Vallie Brown as the friendly woman with the wide brimmed hat and sun-kissed face who picked up trash from the sidewalks of the Lower Haight.

And then they grew to know her as Vallie, their neighbor who helped plant trees on Haight Street. Then she became Vallie the activist, who seemed to be at every neighborhood meeting. And now she’s Vallie the District Five supervisor.

“I got emotional when I found out,” Hayes Valley resident Michael Patton said of Brown’s appointment last week to the Board of Supervisors. Brown was just someone he’s known for years and who cared about the neighborhood. Now she’s made it to City Hall.

But the 61-year-old Brown takes over a district where longtime residents like Patton are growing weary. There are the shops they can’t afford in Hayes Valley. The empty storefronts on Haight Street. The epidemic of vehicle smash-and-grabs. The rising home prices. The needles, the tents and the trash.

While many residents are excited to have a familiar face fighting for them in City Hall, others question how Brown will balance the unrelenting demands of a supervisor while keeping her grassroots ties to the neighborhood.

“I know that she is hardworking, and is a truly good person,” said Thea Selby, a board member of the Lower Haight Merchants and Neighbors Association, who has known Brown for years. “And we’ll have to see what happens when the votes come in and stuff. I don’t know what it’s going to be like for her — I honestly don’t.”

At first, Brown said she was hesitant at the idea of becoming a supervisor.

Having been a legislative aide for several years — first to former Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and then to former Supervisor and now-Mayor London Breed — she knew how demanding it was to represent a district. She was also enjoying her job as a project manager in the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

New San Francisco District Five Supervisor Vallie Brown laughs with Richard “Dick” Vivian at Rooky Ricardo’s Records at 419 Haight St. Photo: Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle

Photo: Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle

New San Francisco District Five Supervisor Vallie Brown laughs with Richard “Dick” Vivian at Rooky Ricardo’s Records at 419 Haight St.

But once Mayor Breed called her and asked her to fill out the rest of her term as supervisor, Brown said she knew she had to accept.

“‘Community first’ has always been my priority, so why not bite into it?” Brown said over a cup of coffee at a cafe in the Lower Haight, where she lived for 20 years until she bought a house in Cole Valley four years ago. “A reason Breed appointed me is because I can hit the ground running.”

Breed inaugurated Brown last week at Hayes Valley playground, for which they helped secure funding several years ago while Breed was a supervisor. Brown will represent the district — which includes the Fillmore and Western Addition, Hayes Valley, Lower Haight, Haight-Ashbury and Japantown — until the next scheduled election in November 2019.

Similar to her predecessor, who grew up in public housing and had a difficult family situation, Brown also had a tough childhood. She said she never knew her father as she grew up in Utah, and then lost her mother and grandmother by the time she was 14. As a result, she said, she was raised by the community around her: her sister, who had custody of her, as well as her neighbors, friends and their families made sure she had a roof over her head, food and clothes.

“Good or bad, I’m a product of community development,” she said at her inauguration.

She moved to San Francisco in 1985, where she lived in a string of artist warehouses and held a patchwork of jobs — teaching kids art in Hunters Point, stocking shelves at a downtown bookstore. Community service, like picking up the trash on the streets and organizing neighborhood meetings, eventually helped fill a void within her, she said.

James Taylor, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, commended her neighborhood connections — especially with the large African American population in the district. But, he said, as she transitions from neighborhood activist to supervisor, she’ll need to prove that she can legislate.

“When you become part of the political class you have to … play the game of politics,” he said. “As much as she’s well-known and respected, she has to engage in politics.”

Brown will step into a board that has often found itself at odds between the progressive and moderate factions. And after the November election, when five board seats will be contested, progressives could lock up a veto-proof majority. While Breed was often viewed as a moderate, Brown said she will be “hard to define” and will fall into “both camps.”

She will have to define herself quickly as a supervisor, as she already has a competitor for the November 2019 election: Dean Preston, who only narrowly lost to Breed in 2013.

Preston said that there were a lot of promises made during Breed’s term as supervisor that “did not materialize” and that there was an “absence of leadership out of the office.”

“And not all of that falls on Vallie Brown, but I think it will be incumbent on her to clarify what her role was in (Breed’s) office and her relationship with those promises that haven’t been filled,” he said.

Brown said her several years as an aide, when she worked behind the scenes helping craft legislation, proves she knows how San Francisco politics work and makes her ready for the role. And she said she is ready to take on Preston and that her neighborhood roots will work to her advantage.

During her term, Brown said she will focus on reducing the crime, homelessness and drug use in her district. Along with that, she said she will try to bring vibrancy back to certain neighborhoods, such as her old stomping grounds on Haight Street.

As she walked down Haight Street on a recent afternoon near where she used to live, wearing a bright green dress, a blazer and funky green tights, the street was desolate, with hardly any foot traffic, a bunch of empty storefronts and restaurants that didn’t find it worthwhile to stay open for lunch.

She stopped in Rooky Ricardo’s Records store, where the owner, Richard Vivian, lamented how the neighborhood has changed in the 31 years since he opened his store.

“I saw (the neighborhood) go from nothing, to becoming really something — and now it’s nothing again,” Vivian said. After saying goodbye to Vivian, Brown said she didn’t have a solution for the all the empty storefronts yet, but said she will first look at the zoning in the neighborhood.

A few blocks away, as Patton — the Hayes Valley resident — sat on his porch, he remembered when Hayes Valley was a place he didn’t want to walk around at night: There were drug dealers and hookers all around the neighborhood, constant yelling and occasional gunshots at night.

It was Brown, he said, who helped start the monthly meetings around the district with police to help make the neighborhood safer.

“If there was a meeting at Ella Hill Hutch Community Center or the African American Art & Culture Complex, she’d be there,” he said. “She’s more of a community person than a politician.”

But, he added, she’s just the kind of person he’d want representing him in City Hall.

Trisha Thadani is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: tthadani@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @TrishaThadani

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Remembering the Extraordinary Seattle Actor, Demene E. Hall

The longtime Seattle actor and singer died on June 27th.

The longtime actor and singer died on June 27th this year. Courtesy of the family of Demene Hall

Demene E. Hall, an accomplished actor who commanded Seattle stages and screens for decades, died on June 27th.

Last month Hall flew up to Alaska to reprise her solo role in Y York’s Sycorax for the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. Within 24 hours, according to director Mark Lutwak, Hall fell ill. She was airlifted to UW Medical Center, but, due to complications related to her illness, Hall decided to end treatment. “She went out the way she wanted to,” Lutwak said. “It was under her control, and it was all exactly the way she wanted it.”

Lutwak and York first worked with Hall over 25 years ago. She was featured in York’s play, The Snowflake Avalanche, which opened up the space at the Group Theatre (which is now the Center Theatre). The team has been working together on and off ever since.

“On the one hand she was a deep, passionate, and intuitive actor,” Lutwak said. “And on the other hand so smart about the text, about the language—she was a classically trained actor, and she put that into everything she did.”

“She was fierce, but she was also really funny!” Lutwak added. “She could go to all those dark places and see the humor in them.”

Demene in Snowflake Avalanches production of Sycorax at 18th & Union

Demene in Snowflake Avalanche’s production of Sycorax at 18th & Union Snowflake Avalanche

Lutwak and York most recently worked with Demene on Sycorax, a solo show that fleshed out the life of one of Shakespeare’s most interesting and tragically unexplored characters. In The Tempest, Sycorax is Caliban’s mother, a witch banished from Algiers and forced to start a new life on an unfamiliar island. Rather than hearing her story from Prospero, the colonizer who drove her away from a land to which she’d already been exiled, audiences got to hear her own version of the events.

“Two years ago Y had this kernel of a play for Sycorax. Demene read it back to us and it came alive,” Lutwak said. “Y and Demene and I worked on that script until last fall, and it was an extraordinary artistic partnership. The play was about death and forgiveness and coming to terms with life, about being a black woman—Demene just grabbed it and wrung everything out of it.”

Hall was best known around the city as the co-founder of Nu Black Arts West, the oldest African American theater company in Washington State. She also co-wrote and co-directed Dark Divas, a celebration of black women singers that ran for nearly 20 years. This year the show sold out at the Triple Door three days in advance of opening night.

Demene in Dark Divas

Demene in Dark Divas Kibibi Monié

Kibibi Monié, who founded Nu Black Arts West along with Hall and who also wrote Dark Divas, says Hall was “one in a million.”

“Her love for the arts and her care for others was legendary,” Monié said. “Her style, poise, and dedication to the performing arts was to-the-bone. She taught many, many artists and performers the art of being a dedicated and true-to-the-arts professional. Her knowledge as a professional was without a doubt remarkable, and she loved sharing that knowledge.”

“She was a sister that I could count on and love,” Monié continued. “A sister from another mother.”

Lutwak says the Northwest theatre community is planning a party to celebrate Demene’s life and work in late summer.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

African American Heritage Weekend at PNC Park

SCHOLARSHIPS—Pirates president Frank Coonelly, left, and Sean Gibson, great-grandson of Negro League great Josh Gibson, present scholarships to Jordyn Ford and Jeree Best during pregame on-field festivities, July 13. (Photos by Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

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Oscar Wilde’s links to blackface and racism

Book Title: Making Oscar Wilde ISBN-13: 978-0198802365 Author: Michèle Mendelssohn Publisher: Oxford University Press Guideline Price: £20.00 A short article titled “Public Amusements”, published in The Irish Times on Monday, November 6th, 1893, noted the … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

After poets raise questions of bias, Utah Arts Festival says it will work to ‘do a better job’ with spoken-word events

Performance poet Ryan Jones was nearly done with his set at the Utah Arts Festival last month when a white woman in the front row started heckling him.

She was irritated about the N-word, which Jones, who is black, said he uses as “reclamation.” The woman repeated the slur back to him, Jones said, asking him: “If you can say it, why can’t I say it?”

Then she started calling black people lazy, said Millcreek poet RJ Walker, who was in the audience and said he told her to shut up.

The heckling capped a Utah visit that Jones, an Atlanta poet who performs under the name Ryan J., described as “a kind of off-putting experience,” as he and other poets complained about how they were treated by organizers at the summer arts festival at Salt Lake City’s Library Square.

Ashley Finley, a black poet in Salt Lake City, contends the festival underpaid black poets and said organizers cut off the microphones during two women’s poetry sets without warning because of material deemed offensive. Walker said a festival security officer grabbed him by the arm backstage after he won a prize for an essay about racism at the arts festival.

Lisa Sewell, executive director of the Utah Arts Festival, pushed back on the idea that “any other factors aside from merit” determined how performers were paid.

But festival organizers are looking at changes to next year’s poetry exhibitions, including the location of the Big Mouth Stage for literary arts programs and a more specific list of restricted words, said Ashley Babbitt, the festival’s marketing director.

“We work really hard to be a platform for diversity,” she said. “Poetry welcomes controversy — that’s part of the art form — and that’s something we want to celebrate. We want to welcome people and we want to do a better job.”

A question of pay

Jones, Finley and Salt Lake City poet Tanesha Nicole Tyler, who also is black, all told The Tribune they were offered $50 to perform on the Big Mouth Stage. That’s less than in past years, Finley said. They talked to their white poet friends and said many reported they had been offered $85.

Sewell provided a list of poets’ pay, ranging from $50 to $210. She initially said performers are given $50 if they’re local and somewhat more if they come from other states — though still not enough to defray travel expenses. (Most poets, Finley said, augment the small fees by selling “chapbooks,” self-published mini-volumes of poetry.)

But Jones is from Atlanta. Meanwhile, a Salt Lake City poet, Jesse Parent, said he was paid $85.

Sewell later said pay was higher for poets with “featured” sets, like Parent, and that Jones received a low offer because coordinators didn’t know he was from out of state, so he will be paid more. But Jones provided an email exchange before the festival in which he asked for more money to help with travel expenses from Atlanta and an organizer declined.

“It feels like people are trying to cover their tracks or place blame,” Jones said. “I just want somebody to be held accountable or take responsibility, whether it was intentional or they made a mistake. To me it feels very malicious, all in all.”

Calling security

Walker wrote about the poets’ pay in an anti-racism essay titled “White Lake City,” which won the festival’s Iron Pen Ultra award, given by the Salt Lake Community College Writing Center.

He read the essay onstage during a winners’ presentation — and said he was later stopped by a festival security guard when he tried to go onstage for a later poetry slam competition.

It was the second time security was called on Walker at the festival. While Jones was being heckled, a guard appeared — called by festival organizers to confront Walker, not the heckler, Sewell confirmed. Finlay and Jones said they were dismayed.

The literary arts coordinators, Rebeca Mae and Brian Gray, were backstage when the heckling happened, Sewell said. They missed the woman’s diatribe and only saw the tail end of the incident, when Walker confronted her, Sewell said.

Finley felt organizers should have acted sooner on Jones’ behalf. “If someone’s screaming the N-word at a black poet, you should probably step in,” she said.

(Jesse Parent | Photo courtesy of Jesse Parent and Ashley Finley) Salt Lake City poet Ashley Finley reads a piece July 12, 2018, at the Watchtower Cafe in Salt Lake City.

Sewell said security was called both times because of previous conflicts between Walker and and festival coordinators.

But Parent and another Salt Lake City poet, Jose Soto, said Mae and Gray told them separately that they believed security was called because Sewell was angry about Walker’s critical essay. Meeting minutes indicate Mae and Gray offered a similar explanation to a local literary group, the Wasatch Wordsmiths.

“I don’t know why [they are] saying that,” Sewell said. “That’s clearly not what happened.”

Mae and Gray declined to comment to The Tribune, deferring to Sewell’s remarks.

One festivalgoer said he was also concerned about how the audience treated poets of color. During performances he watched, white performers received “obviously louder cheers,” Isael Torres of Salt Lake City later said in a Facebook post.

“The majority of these spoken word artists were sharing very powerful messages regarding injustice, regarding the killing of black males, violence against nonbinary-identifying folks, female silence in the name of misogyny,” said Torres, who said he works as a student advocate at the University of Utah.

A white-presenting artist who spoke about gun violence and the Second Amendment received “large support from the crowd,” Torres said. “There were two or three black artists who shared very similar topics but were not as well received. It doesn’t seem to matter unless a white guy is saying it.”

Torres said slights at an arts festival may not be the gravest injustices of racism, but the little things add up.

“It’s very tiring, bracing ourselves,” he said. “It may not matter to you, potential white man who’s rolling your eyes because it doesn’t affect you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.”

The power of words

Finley also said two women poets had their mics cut while performing. Harper Russet was delivering a poem about an uncle who died of AIDS, while Julia Allegretto Gaskill was performing a poem about reclaiming the power of the word “b—-.”

“We had been informed [they] want to keep profanity at a minimum,” Finley said, noting other performers used words that in her opinion were more offensive than those Russet and Gaskill used. “We weren’t told mics would be cut.”

Parent, who has been performing at the festival for about a decade and used to coordinate the literary arts program, said language restrictions have tightened and loosened over the years.

For a while, the stage was near a toddler area and no explicit language was allowed. He recalled, for example, a coordinator running onstage to grab the microphone from a poet who began to recite a poem titled, “I Want To F— Ron Weasley,” in reference to the Harry Potter character.

Poetry “is meant to be provocative, it’s meant to be thought-provoking,” Parent said. “When you attract a lot of out-of-state talent used to having a wider range of language available to them, they tend to address controversial topics.”

The festival eventually moved the stage away from the toddler area, in part to make the events less restrictive, Parent said.

“We weren’t able to attract talent that didn’t feel stifled,” Parent said. “In the past five or six years those [rules] have been relaxed quite a bit. We’re not just this restrictive Utah environment.”

But after a science exhibit geared at teens opened near the Big Mouth Stage, Parent said, coordinators began cutting off poets again. “As of last year it became more of an issue,” he said.

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune file photo) RJ Walker of Salt Lake City participates in a poetry slam during the 2014 Utah Book Festival in Salt Lake City.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

One song’s 130-year impact on Australian music

Updated July 21, 2018 09:29:05

When Indigenous jazz and blues singer Georgia Lee approached the microphone to sing Strange Fruit at the Sydney Town Hall in 1948, she was uncharacteristically nervous.

The song, about the lynchings of black men in the American Deep South, was first performed in public by Billie Holiday in New York’s Greenwich Village nine years earlier.

Lee’s rendition may be the first public performance in Australia of Strange Fruit — which is regarded as a classic protest song of the American civil rights movement even though it was composed by Jewish American poet Abel Meeropol, under the pseudonym Lewis Allan.

The veiled metaphor in the title becomes utterly clear by the third line:

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze…

It was a worldwide hit — but in Sydney in 1948 the song was deeply controversial.

Three weeks after Lee’s performance, radio station 2GB withdrew the song from a scheduled broadcast. The station’s general manager said the decision was made “purely as a matter of good taste”.

According to a story published in The Sun newspaper, Lee crossed her fingers as she hissed the lines of the song in her deep blues voice.

“I sang Strange Fruit because it conveys the terrible suffering of coloured people in America. I feel everybody should realise the horrors of lynching,” she told a reporter after the concert.

If a song can be said to have a life, then Strange Fruit has an impressive biography.

But the ‘life’ of Ngarra Burra Ferra, heard on the soundtrack to the film The Sapphires, is in some ways even more compelling.

‘Brethren from a far distant tribe’

According to Gabriel Solis, a professor of music and African American studies at the University of Illinois, the story goes at least as far back as 1887.

In that year the Fisk Jubilee Singers, an African American university choir, travelled to the Maloga mission on the Murray River near Moama on the NSW-Victoria border.

“The Fisk Jubilee Singers were a choir from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee — one of the newly formed black colleges and universities established to educate freed slaves,” Professor Solis says.

“They got their start in the 1870s, so shortly after Emancipation in 1864.”

He says the group toured the United States and then Europe to raise funds for the university, and went on a world tour in the 1880s.

“They ended up in Australia and spent six years based here,” Professor Solis says.

“While they were here, they were mostly based in Sydney, but they travelled all around.

“You can find records of them performing. They were huge.”

Professor Solis says it’s unclear exactly how the visit to Maloga came about, but it is possible that they were invited to the mission by a resident, Aboriginal rights activist William Cooper, and the mission’s teacher Thomas Shadrach James.

“They got to Maloga and they sang and they enjoyed a day with the folks on the mission. They seemed to have connected substantially,” Professor Solis says.

“They performed mostly spirituals … that was really when spirituals became a very popular entertainment.”

Frederick J. Loudin was the group’s choirmaster at the time — and their first African American manager.

“He wrote extensively [about] the importance of having a black-led, black-managed, black business,” Professor Solis says.

By the end of the century the Fisk Jubilee Singers were world-famous — and had been presented to Queen Victoria — so it’s not surprising their visit to Maloga was reported in the newspapers.

In the Mount Alexander Mail, Loudin is quoted as saying:

“I shall never forget the effect of our singing there. The Aborigines were at first very shy of us, but when they heard us sing, they went into a state I can only describe as one of almost ecstatic delight.

“The music of the plantations stirred their souls as no other music could have done, and they seemed to recognise us as brethren from a far distant tribe.

“They followed our carriages for miles along the road, and waved adieus from fences, trees, and rising grounds in a way which showed that were we ever able to return there we would be welcomed with a welcome white men seldom receive.”

Before they left Maloga, the singers did something which seems slight but which had long-term impact on the musical tradition of the Yorta Yorta people who were living at Maloga in the late 19th century.

They left a bundle of songbooks, with the lyrics and sheet music of their spirituals — songs like Swing Low Sweet Chariot and the lesser-known Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army, which describes the biblical story of the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

According the Book of Exodus, it was during their flight from Egypt that God parted the seas so his chosen people could escape.

The pharaoh’s armies drowned.

A song about deliverance and hope

This song originated during slavery, a time when it would have had profound meaning.

Based on the Song of Moses and Miriam in Exodus 15, Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army is a song about deliverance and hope.

According to Tony Briggs, the actor and playwright who wrote The Sapphires, it was his great- grandmother Nannie Theresa Clements who translated the English version of Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army into the Yorta Yorta language.

So between 1887, when the songbooks were given to the faithful at Maloga, and 1937, when the song was performed in Yorta Yorta at the centenary of Melbourne, Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army becomes Ngarra Burra Ferra — or Burra Ferra for short.

When Briggs wrote the musical that inspired the film, he included a note to that the song was offered as a tribute to “its keeper” – his grandmother Geraldine Briggs, a senior Yorta Yorta elder.

In English and in Yorta Yorta, the song had a political context.

Just before the visit of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the residents of Maloga petitioned the NSW Governor Lord Carrington, who was visiting Moama.

They presented their case that a grant of land to be made to every family from the mission.

Many of the families, including those of William Cooper and Thomas Shadrach James, eventually moved to nearby Cummeragunja, where it was hoped they might enjoy greater freedom and more independence from the authorities, who exercised minute control over their lives.

What grew at Cummeragunja was a musical tradition that includes The Sapphires, Jimmy Little and his niece soprano Deborah Cheetham, as well as singer-songwriters Lou Bennett and Benny Walker and hip hop artist Briggs.

The meaning of Ngarra Burra Ferra deepened in 1939, when the residents of Cummeragunja walked off the station over poor living conditions and mistreatment at the hands of the manager and the Aborigines’ Protection Board.

It was the first mass strike by Aboriginal people, and is memorialised in the opera Pecan Summer, written and composed by Deborah Cheetham, whose family walked off Cummeragunja in 1939.

One of the youngest members of the family was two-year-old James, who went on to become the singer Jimmy Little.

Hip-hop, reggae prevalent across the country

It’s possible to track the cultural effect of one song, but the story of the wider impact of black American music is harder to delineate.

According to musicologist Dr Clint Bracknell from Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music, the uptake of reggae and hip hop exemplifies this cross-cultural trend in Aboriginal music-making.

“That influence [of hip hop on Aboriginal performers] is far more prevalent now that it ever was and stretches across the whole country,” he said.

“Before hip hop, the first-hand influence of African American music seems to have mainly been an east coast phenomenon.”

He says it’s not just black music from America that resonates here.

“Reggae is a whole other story too — I would argue that Bob Marley has had just as much influence on Aboriginal performers as any African American artist.”

Regardless, it’s a compelling field of inquiry for Professor Solis, who encountered a much deeper story than he anticipated when he set out to record the oral histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians.

“It surprised me but also it doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

“I think if you look at the story of the crucible of race in America, music is always central to it. It is always a key part of that story.”

He says he expected the story to be about the “circulation of commodities” — recordings, sheet music and books — but it wasn’t.

Professor Solis says at the heart of it, it’s about the power of song.

“This is a story about people, and it’s about people moving around the world,” he said.

“Music a token for us to interact with each other.

“Singing together and dancing together is powerful.”

Topics: indigenous-music, arts-and-entertainment, indigenous-culture, music, jazz, reggae, australia

First posted July 21, 2018 07:45:00

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The impact of black American music on Australian Indigenous musicians

Updated July 21, 2018 07:54:04

When Indigenous jazz and blues singer Georgia Lee approached the microphone to sing Strange Fruit at the Sydney Town Hall in 1948, she was uncharacteristically nervous.

The song, about the lynchings of black men in the American Deep South, was first performed in public by Billie Holiday in New York’s Greenwich Village nine years earlier.

Lee’s rendition may be the first public performance in Australia of Strange Fruit — which is regarded as a classic protest song of the American civil rights movement even though it was composed by Jewish American poet Abel Meeropol, under the pseudonym Lewis Allan.

The veiled metaphor in the title becomes utterly clear by the third line:

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze…

It was a worldwide hit — but in Sydney in 1948 the song was deeply controversial.

Three weeks after Lee’s performance, radio station 2GB withdrew the song from a scheduled broadcast. The station’s general manager said the decision was made “purely as a matter of good taste”.

According to a story published in The Sun newspaper, Lee crossed her fingers as she hissed the lines of the song in her deep blues voice.

“I sang Strange Fruit because it conveys the terrible suffering of coloured people in America. I feel everybody should realise the horrors of lynching,” she told a reporter after the concert.

If a song can be said to have a life, then Strange Fruit has an impressive biography.

But the ‘life’ of Ngarra Burra Ferra, heard on the soundtrack to the film The Sapphires, is in some ways even more compelling.

‘Brethren from a far distant tribe’

According to Gabriel Solis, a professor of music and African American studies at the University of Illinois, the story goes at least as far back as 1887.

In that year the Fisk Jubilee Singers, an African American university choir, travelled to the Maloga mission on the Murray River near Moama on the NSW-Victoria border.

“The Fisk Jubilee Singers were a choir from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee — one of the newly formed black colleges and universities established to educate freed slaves,” Professor Solis says.

“They got their start in the 1870s, so shortly after Emancipation in 1864.”

He says the group toured the United States and then Europe to raise funds for the university, and went on a world tour in the 1880s.

“They ended up in Australia and spent six years based here,” Professor Solis says.

“While they were here, they were mostly based in Sydney, but they travelled all around.

“You can find records of them performing. They were huge.”

Professor Solis says it’s unclear exactly how the visit to Maloga came about, but it is possible that they were invited to the mission by a resident, Aboriginal rights activist William Cooper, and the mission’s teacher Thomas Shadrach James.

“They got to Maloga and they sang and they enjoyed a day with the folks on the mission. They seemed to have connected substantially,” Professor Solis says.

“They performed mostly spirituals … that was really when spirituals became a very popular entertainment.”

Frederick J. Loudin was the group’s choirmaster at the time — and their first African American manager.

“He wrote extensively [about] the importance of having a black-led, black-managed, black business,” Professor Solis says.

By the end of the century the Fisk Jubilee Singers were world-famous — and had been presented to Queen Victoria — so it’s not surprising their visit to Maloga was reported in the newspapers.

In the Mount Alexander Mail, Loudin is quoted as saying:

“I shall never forget the effect of our singing there. The Aborigines were at first very shy of us, but when they heard us sing, they went into a state I can only describe as one of almost ecstatic delight.

“The music of the plantations stirred their souls as no other music could have done, and they seemed to recognise us as brethren from a far distant tribe.

“They followed our carriages for miles along the road, and waved adieus from fences, trees, and rising grounds in a way which showed that were we ever able to return there we would be welcomed with a welcome white men seldom receive.”

Before they left Maloga, the singers did something which seems slight but which had long-term impact on the musical tradition of the Yorta Yorta people who were living at Maloga in the late 19th century.

They left a bundle of songbooks, with the lyrics and sheet music of their spirituals — songs like Swing Low Sweet Chariot and the lesser-known Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army, which describes the biblical story of the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

According the Book of Exodus, it was during their flight from Egypt that God parted the seas so his chosen people could escape.

The pharaoh’s armies drowned.

A song about deliverance and hope

This song originated during slavery, a time when it would have had profound meaning.

Based on the Song of Moses and Miriam in Exodus 15, Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army is a song about deliverance and hope.

According to Tony Briggs, the actor and playwright who wrote The Sapphires, it was his great- grandmother Nannie Theresa Clements who translated the English version of Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army into the Yorta Yorta language.

So between 1887, when the songbooks were given to the faithful at Maloga, and 1937, when the song was performed in Yorta Yorta at the centenary of Melbourne, Turn Back Pharaoh’s Army becomes Ngarra Burra Ferra — or Burra Ferra for short.

When Briggs wrote the musical that inspired the film, he included a note to that the song was offered as a tribute to “its keeper” – his grandmother Geraldine Briggs, a senior Yorta Yorta elder.

In English and in Yorta Yorta, the song had a political context.

Just before the visit of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the residents of Maloga petitioned the NSW Governor Lord Carrington, who was visiting Moama.

They presented their case that a grant of land to be made to every family from the mission.

Many of the families, including those of William Cooper and Thomas Shadrach James, eventually moved to nearby Cummeragunja, where it was hoped they might enjoy greater freedom and more independence from the authorities, who exercised minute control over their lives.

What grew at Cummeragunja was a musical tradition that includes The Sapphires, Jimmy Little and his niece soprano Deborah Cheetham, as well as singer-songwriters Lou Bennett and Benny Walker and hip hop artist Briggs.

The meaning of Ngarra Burra Ferra deepened in 1939, when the residents of Cummeragunja walked off the station over poor living conditions and mistreatment at the hands of the manager and the Aborigines’ Protection Board.

It was the first mass strike by Aboriginal people, and is memorialised in the opera Pecan Summer, written and composed by Deborah Cheetham, whose family walked off Cummeragunja in 1939.

One of the youngest members of the family was two-year-old James, who went on to become the singer Jimmy Little.

Hip-hop, reggae prevalent across the country

It’s possible to track the cultural effect of one song, but the story of the wider impact of black American music is harder to delineate.

According to musicologist Dr Clint Bracknell from Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music, the uptake of reggae and hip hop exemplifies this cross-cultural trend in Aboriginal music-making.

“That influence [of hip hop on Aboriginal performers] is far more prevalent now that it ever was and stretches across the whole country,” he said.

“Before hip hop, the first-hand influence of African American music seems to have mainly been an east coast phenomenon.”

He says it’s not just black music from America that resonates here.

“Reggae is a whole other story too — I would argue that Bob Marley has had just as much influence on Aboriginal performers as any African American artist.”

Regardless, it’s a compelling field of inquiry for Professor Solis, who encountered a much deeper story than he anticipated when he set out to record the oral histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians.

“It surprised me but also it doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

“I think if you look at the story of the crucible of race in America, music is always central to it. It is always a key part of that story.”

He says he expected the story to be about the “circulation of commodities” — recordings, sheet music and books — but it wasn’t.

Professor Solis says at the heart of it, it’s about the power of song.

“This is a story about people, and it’s about people moving around the world,” he said.

“Music a token for us to interact with each other.

“Singing together and dancing together is powerful.”

Topics: indigenous-music, arts-and-entertainment, indigenous-culture, music, jazz, reggae, australia

First posted July 21, 2018 07:45:00

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Ohio Wesleyan Announces 2018-2019 Arts Calendar of Events

‘GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS’ by Tomashi Jackson will be exhibited this fall at Ohio Wesleyan’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum. Jackson’s work explores historic racial segregation and current racial tension by studying how color perception affects the value of human life in public spaces. (Photo courtesy of Tomashi Jackson)

‘GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS’ by Tomashi Jackson will be exhibited this fall at Ohio Wesleyan’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum. Jackson’s work explores historic racial segregation and current racial tension by studying how color perception affects the value of human life in public spaces. (Photo courtesy of Tomashi Jackson)

DELAWARE, Ohio – You’re cordially invited to join Ohio Wesleyan University for a cornucopia of concerts, recitals, plays, and art exhibits planned for the 2018-2019 academic year. For the latest OWU event information, visit www.owu.edu/events or “like” www.facebook.com/OhioWesleyanUniversityNews.

OHIO WESLEYAN DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC

7 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3 – Ohio Wesleyan Opera Theatre performance, in Jemison Auditorium inside Sanborn Hall, 23 Elizabeth St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

3:15 p.m. Nov. 4 – Faculty and guest recital featuring UCelli, a quartet of virtuoso cellists comprised of OWU faculty member Mary Davis, Pei-An Chao, Cora Kuyvenhoven, and Wendy Morton, in Jemison Auditorium inside Sanborn Hall, 23 Elizabeth St., Delaware. The quartet also are members of the Columbus Symphony and ProMusica Chamber Orchestras. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

8 p.m. Nov. 6 – Ohio Wesleyan Chamber Orchestra concert, conducted by faculty member Lucy Ginther, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

3:15 p.m. Nov. 11 – Ohio Wesleyan Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert, conducted by faculty member Larry Griffin, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

8 p.m. Nov. 13 – Ohio Wesleyan Park Avenue Jazz Ensemble concert, conducted by faculty member Kevin Turner, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

3:15 p.m. Dec. 2 – Ohio Wesleyan Choral Art Society concert, conducted by faculty member Jason Hiester, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

7 p.m. Dec. 3 – “Lessons and Carols” concert, featuring Christmas carols and spiritual readings, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

8 p.m. Feb. 21-23 and 2 p.m. Feb. 24, 2019 – “Just One Step,” a twin bill of comedy and music. Ohio Wesleyan’s Departments of Music and Theatre & Dance present two acts exploring people on the verge of making big choices. This event will feature short comic plays by American playwright David Ives and music from “Songs for a New World” by American composer Robert Jason Brown. Directed by faculty members D. Glen Vanderbilt Jr., Jason Hiester, and Jennifer Whitehead, “Just One Step” will be performed in the Studio Theatre inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, Ohio Wesleyan employees, and non-OWU students. Admission is free for Ohio Wesleyan students with a valid university ID. To reserve tickets, call the box office at (740) 368-3855. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/music or www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

3:15 p.m. March 10 – Faculty and guest Brass Trio recital featuring faculty member Larry Griffin on trumpet, in Jemison Auditorium inside Sanborn Hall, 23 Elizabeth St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

3:15 p.m. March 24, 2019 – Ohio Wesleyan Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert, conducted by faculty member Larry Griffin, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

8 p.m. March 26, 2019 – Ohio Wesleyan Park Avenue Jazz Ensemble concert, conducted by faculty member Kevin Turner, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

3:15 p.m. April 7, 2019 – Ohio Wesleyan Choral Art Society concert, conducted by faculty member Jason Hiester, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

8 p.m. April 9, 2019 – Ohio Wesleyan Chamber Orchestra concert, conducted by faculty member Lucy Ginther, in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Admission is free. Learn more at www.owu.edu/music.

OHIO WESLEYAN DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE & DANCE

8 p.m. Sept. 22 – “New Scenes” featuring promising Ohio Wesleyan newcomers in scenes staged by the directing class, on the Main Stage inside Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. May contain adult themes and language. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

8 p.m. Oct. 4-6 and 2 p.m. Oct. 7 – “Cloud 9” by Caryl Churchill, directed by OWU senior Ares Harper of Columbus, Ohio. Gender and power face-off in this masterful comedy, where people’s disjointed identities relate to their lack of autonomy. Join these sexually repressed characters on a journey that transcends time and space, as they fight to find their place in a swirling world of self-discovery. Contains adult themes and strong language. “Cloud 9,” presented in support of OWU’s 2018-2019 Sagan National Colloquium*, will be performed on the Main Stage inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, Ohio Wesleyan employees, and non-OWU students. Admission is free for Ohio Wesleyan students with a valid university ID. To reserve tickets, call the box office at (740) 368-3855. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

8 p.m. Oct. 19-20 – Ohio Wesleyan’s “Fall Senior Project Production,” featuring “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon” by Don Zolidis. Directed by senior Jack Riter of Lancaster, Ohio, and featuring senior Doris Ottman of Laurel Springs, New Jersey. Imagine what it would be like to take all of our favorite fairytales and smash them together – this is it! The performance will be held in the Studio Theatre inside Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are free but required because of limited seating. To reserve tickets, call the box office at (740) 368-3855. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

8 p.m. Oct. 27 – “How to Be a Respectable Junkie” by Greg Vovos, starring Christopher M. Bohan. This guest artist event provides a humorous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful look into the nation’s opioid crisis, an in-depth look into the troubled soul of a man caught in heroin’s deadly grip. Based on a true story. Contains depictions of drug use and adult language. The performance, presented in support of OWU’s 2018-2019 Sagan National Colloquium*, will be held in the Studio Theatre inside Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware, and conclude with a post-show discussion. Tickets are free but required because of limited seating. To reserve tickets, call the box office after Oct. 22 at (740) 368-3855. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

8 p.m. Nov. 9 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 10 – “ORCHESIS 18/19,” Ohio Wesleyan’s annual contemporary dance concert. Student, faculty, and guest choreographers create an evening of dance sure to move you! With artistic direction by faculty member Rashana Perks Smith, “Orchesis” will be performed on the Main Stage inside Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, Ohio Wesleyan employees, and non-OWU students. Admission is free for Ohio Wesleyan students with a valid OWU ID. To reserve tickets, call the box office at (740) 368-3855. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

7 p.m. Dec. 1 – “One-Act Plays,” presented by Ohio Wesleyan’s directing and playwriting classes. Student-directors and playwrights share original works full of fresh talent and energy. “One-Act Plays” will be held on the Main Stage inside Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. May contain adult themes and language. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

2 p.m. Dec. 2 – Ohio Wesleyan’s “Fall Dance Showcase,” featuring informal dance performances and academic presentations by OWU dance students, in the Jannuzi Dance Studio inside Simpson Querrey Fitness Center, 105 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, Ohio. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

8 p.m. Feb. 21-23 and 2 p.m. Feb. 24, 2019 – “Just One Step,” a twin bill of comedy and music. Ohio Wesleyan’s Departments of Theatre & Dance and Music present two acts exploring people on the verge of making big choices. This event will feature short comic plays by American playwright David Ives and music from “Songs for a New World” by American composer Robert Jason Brown. Directed by faculty members D. Glen Vanderbilt Jr., Jason Hiester, and Jennifer Whitehead, “Just One Step” will be performed in the Studio Theatre inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, Ohio Wesleyan employees, and non-OWU students. Admission is free for Ohio Wesleyan students with a valid university ID. To reserve tickets, call the box office at (740) 368-3855. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/music or www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

8 p.m. March 22-23, 2019 – Ohio Wesleyan’s “Spring Senior Project Production,” featuring “A Mother’s Love” written by senior Daniel Brothers of Roanoke, Indiana, and directed by senior Jack Riter of Lancaster, Ohio. This original play explores the character of death, and what it is like to leave and be left behind. “A Mother’s Love” will be held in the Studio Theatre inside Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are free but required because of limited seating. To reserve tickets, call the box office at (740) 368-3855. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

8 p.m. April 6-8 and 2 p.m. April 9, 2019 – “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. The timeless classic exposes the consequences of corruption and injustice as a young man seeks revenge for his father’s murder. Shakespeare takes the audience on a perilous journey of madness, lost love, and loyalty. Directed by faculty member Elane Denny-Todd, “Hamlet” will be performed on the Main Stage inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, Ohio Wesleyan employees, and non-OWU students. Admission is free for Ohio Wesleyan students with a valid university ID. To reserve tickets, call the box office at (740) 368-3855. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

2 p.m. April 30, 2019 – Ohio Wesleyan’s “Spring Dance Showcase,” featuring informal dance performances and academic presentations by OWU dance students, in the Jannuzi Dance Studio inside Simpson Querrey Fitness Center, 105 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, Ohio. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.

OHIO WESLEYAN’S RICHARD M. ROSS ART MUSEUM

Aug. 22-Oct. 7 – “What We Make,” a full-museum exhibit drawing on “socially and politically engaged art practices to consider how we build communities that are capable of working together across difference,” at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. In addition to traditional media, the exhibit will incorporate sound and video, and selections from the Interference Archive. “What We Make” is being exhibited as part of the 2018-2019 Sagan National Colloquium*, and audiences are invited to sign up for related public workshops at www.owu.edu/snc. The exhibit’s diverse artist list includes Doug Ashford, Robby Herbst, Tomashi Jackson, Christine Sun-Kim, Anna Teresa Fernandez, and 2013 OWU alumnus Andrew Wilson. Curated by Erin Fletcher, museum director, and Ashley Biser, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and government, the exhibition will feature a curator-led tour at 4 p.m. followed by a public reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 23. During the academic year, the Ross is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information.

Oct. 18-Dec. 13 – “Culinary Roots/Migratory Routes,” using art related to food production and consumption to present narratives of nation, migration, and labor, at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. The artworks display what we eat as not just a source of nourishment, but also a force that creates, dissolves, and reforms communities as immigrants both preserve and lose the taste of home. Presented as part of the 2018-2019 Sagan National Colloquium*, the exhibit is curated by Nancy Comorau, Ph.D., associate professor of English, and student curatorial-assistant Anna Davies, a senior from St. Clairsville, Ohio. It includes pieces from the Ross’s permanent collection and loans from artists, The Ohio State University Libraries, Columbus Museum of Art, and Pizzuti Galleries. It will feature a curator-led tour at 4 p.m. followed by a public reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 25. During the academic year, the Ross is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information.

Oct.18-Dec. 13 – “Double Take: Ambiguity in the Photograph,” featuring images in which the expectation of a photograph’s accuracy conflicts with its ambiguity, at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Photographs became a ubiquitous form of documentation because they created accurate and detailed reproductions of life. However, the detail of these images frequently belies their ability to fully explain a situation, an experience, or a story. Curated by Jeff Nilan, professor of photography, this exhibit will feature a curator-led tour at 4 p.m. followed by a public reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 25. During the academic year, the Ross is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information.

Jan. 22 through March 31, 2019 – The Ross Art Museum presents its first exhibit featuring works exclusively by African American artists and artists of the African Diaspora, title to be determined, at the museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. The exhibit is curated by Bettye Stull, an expert in African American art and longtime curator for the King Arts Complex. During the academic year, the Richard M. Ross Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information.

April 13-May 11, 2019 – Ohio Wesleyan’s graduating fine arts students exhibit works juried by their OWU professors, at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. The exhibit will open with an artist reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the museum. Learn more about OWU’s fine arts department at www.owu.edu/finearts. During the academic year, the Ross is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information.

OHIO WESLEYAN’S GALLERY 2001 (satellite gallery)

Aug. 10-Sept. 25 – “We Hold These Truths: Artistic Voices of Youth,” featuring works by California-based Social Justice Sewing Academy that seek to inform, educate, and inspire truth-telling, in Gallery 2001 inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Beeghly Library, 43 Rowland Ave., Delaware. The young artists represent the “resilience, brilliance, and existence of promising individuals who are most at-risk.” Presented as part of the 2018-2019 Sagan National Colloquium*, the exhibit will open with a free presentation by Sara Trail, founder and executive director of Social Justice Sewing Academy, at 1 p.m. Sept. 8 in the Bayley Room, on the library’s second floor. Her presentation will be followed by a hands-on workshop from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Pre-registration is required for the workshop, with attendance limited to 25 participants. The workshop fee is $10 for adults, free for students. Call (740) 368-3606 to register. Gallery 2001’s hours coincide with Beeghly Library hours, available online at www.owu.edu/library. Learn more about the Social Justice Sewing Academy at www.sjsacademy.com and more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum and its satellite galleries at www.owu.edu/ross.

Oct.1-Dec. 15 – “Stateless,” featuring works by documentary photographer Tariq Tarey, in Gallery 2001 inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Beeghly Library, 43 Rowland Ave., Delaware. A stateless person is someone who, under national laws, does not enjoy citizenship – the legal bond between a government and an individual – in any country. By letting his subjects dress and stand in a manner that suits their sense of themselves, Tarey captures the “self-defined truth that was worth the sacrifice of leaving their home countries.” He will give an artist talk at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 in the library’s second-floor Bayley Room, followed by a reception at 8 p.m. in Gallery 2001. Learn more at www.tariqtarey.com. “Stateless” is presented as part of the 2018-2019 Sagan National Colloquium*. Gallery 2001’s hours coincide with Beeghly Library hours, available online at www.owu.edu/library. Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum and satellite galleries at www.owu.edu/ross.

OHIO WESLEYAN’S MOWRY ALUMNI GALLERY (satellite gallery)

Now through Nov. 15 – “Blue Light,” featuring photographs of landmarks, landscapes, and locations that reflect the world travels of professional photographer and Ohio Wesleyan alumnus Stephen Donaldson, in the Mowry Alumni Gallery inside Mowery Hall, 16 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Donaldson, Class of 1983, is the author of three published books of photography: “The Berkshires,” “Barns of the Berkshires,” and “Along Route 7: A Journey Through Western New England.” Learn more at www.sgdphoto.com. Mowry Alumni Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday when OWU’s administrative offices are open. Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum and its satellite galleries at www.owu.edu/ross.

Dec. 4-April 25, 2019 – “Gaps In Memory,” featuring archival digital prints created by artist and Ohio Wesleyan alumna Barbara Jenkins, in the Mowry Alumni Gallery inside Mowery Hall, 16 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Jenkins, Class of 1972, works to break preconceptions by making linkages and disruptions between photographs in triptychs. Mowry Alumni Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday when the university’s administrative offices are open. Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum and its satellite galleries at www.owu.edu/ross.

*ABOUT THE SAGAN NATIONAL COLLOQUIUM

Founded in 1984, Ohio Wesleyan’s Sagan National Colloquium seeks annually to address in-depth an issue of national or global importance. For 2018-2019, the colloquium will explore “Art and Engagement” under the direction of Erin Fletcher, director of OWU’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum. Featuring lectures, art exhibits, performances, and more, this year’s colloquium will examine the potential of art to help the world to build greater connections, understanding, and frameworks in response to social division and challenges. Learn more at www.owu.edu/snc.

ABOUT OHIO WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

‘GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS’ by Tomashi Jackson will be exhibited this fall at Ohio Wesleyan’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum. Jackson’s work explores historic racial segregation and current racial tension by studying how color perception affects the value of human life in public spaces. (Photo courtesy of Tomashi Jackson)



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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Supreme Court’s anti-union decision is bad for both workers and small business

Three years ago, I bought a mom-and-pop print shop. When I opened the doors to welcome my customers, I also welcomed my employees’ new union.

Frank Brown

That was a good business decision. Working with the union — not against it — has delivered results in my relationship with my employees, who show their mutual appreciation in the quality of their work. Working with the union has also saved me money on health care for both my employees and myself.  And it’s been great for marketing. Customers like supporting a business that supports the community in return.

That’s why the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which is expected to decimate public sector unions, isn’t just a blow to employees. It’s also a blow to small businesses like mine.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an entrepreneur, and I believe in making a good profit. But when I studied for my MBA, business ethics was part of my education, and I’m proud to put that learning into practice.

Some people say that if you put up all the capital for a business, you should reap every last benefit from the business. (I don’t see it that way. I don’t want to drive my employees into the ground to maximize my profits.) I do want to maximize my wealth, but in an ethical manner. And having a balance in power in business is ethical and a great check for all business owners and managers.

The fact is that both workers and small businesses are being squeezed under the growing economic and political dominance of giant corporations. Unions are an important part of our system of checks and balances on that power.

Our country celebrates small businesses like mine. Politicians extol entrepreneurs for our risk-taking and our independence. But, as much as they say they listen to small business, the rules they’ve adopted encourage big corporations to abuse unchecked market power. That’s not good for my bottom line, for the local economy I depend on, or the wellbeing of my community.

These giants can use unchecked market power to push down wages, compel employees to work when they’re sick, or prevent workers from taking time off to care for ailing loved ones. They can also take advantage of immigrant workers who are blocked from getting green cards, hurting immigrants and sinking job quality for all workers.

This race to the bottom has a terrible ripple effect. More low-wage, insecure jobs mean fewer dollars circulating in Main Street economies. Less money on Main Street means fewer small businesses that are growing and can generate high-quality jobs. That’s not good for my business — or for any of us.

As corporate power has grown, and monopolistic tendencies threaten markets, the small business sector is taking a real hit. Corporate giants use predatory pricing to drive out smaller competitors. They use their size to force discounts from smaller suppliers. These and other anti-competitive practices are part of why we’re proportionally losing both small businesses and small business jobs.

Unions are an important tool for leveling the playing field. Unions helped create a middle class in our country, creating a set of working people with sufficient income and resources to sustain a thriving small business sector.

Unionization has been especially important for making our country more equal in terms of race and gender. Unionized public sector jobs, in particular, opened opportunity for African Americans, and for women of all races.

As the child of an Air Force family, I can attest to the importance of public employment.

More than half (58 percent) of those hurt by the Janus decision are women. One-third are African American, Latin, Asian American, or Pacific Islander. These employees are our teachers, our firefighters and our social workers.

They are also my customers. If they lose out on wages and benefits from this decision —and they most certainly will — my business and other Main Street small businesses will take a hit, too. The Janus decision serves only the giant corporations that funded this lawsuit.

I’m going to approach this decision the same way I approach my relationship with my employees. I’m going to work with people of all walks of life in my community to support unions and new rules to create a Main Street economy that sustains all of us.

Frank Brown is the owner of Minuteman Press in Minneapolis and a member of Main Street Alliance – Minnesota.

Want to add your voice?

If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, email Susan Albright at salbright@minnpost.com.)

Karl Rove Bigotry Takes Over McCain Campaign

… have brought back the racism widely practiced in America … dogs used to terrorize African-Americans protesting racism in the South … is very insulting to African Americans and all Americans who … rights and treatment of African Americans as equal citizens of … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News