Schweinfurth offering free portraits for Auburn’s African American families

African American families can get free family portraits taken by Ellen M. Blalock, the Schweinfurth Art Center’s Artist in Residence, for Auburn’s Black Family Album.

Participating families will get an 8×10 print and a digital copy of the photo, as well as a copy printed on fabric that they can make into a quilt at a later workshop. A second print will be combined into a yearbook chronicling each family’s history that will be donated to Seymour Library’s History Discovery Center.

Call the Schweinfurth at 315.255.1553 to make a reservation for a sitting. One-hour slots are available:

· June 11, 2023, from 1 to 5 p.m.

· June 15, 2023, from 5 to 8 p.m.

· June 18, 2023, from 1 to 5 p.m.

· June 22, 2023, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The photo session, prints, and quilt workshop are all free for participating families.

This event is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center and the City of Auburn’s Historic and Cultural Sites Commission for the 2023 Juneteenth Celebration.

Denver Gay Men’s Chorus Welcomes New Artistic Director

After a decade under the leadership of artistic and managing director James Knapp, the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus will start its 42nd season with a new face at the helm. The Rocky Mountain Arts Association, the nonprofit umbrella organization that manages the chorus, recently announced Johnny Nichols Jr. as the new artistic director.

Nichols is currently finishing his tenure as artistic director for the Ipswich River Community Chorus in North Reading, Massachusetts, but he’s excited to officially start his tenure with the Denver chorus in August.

“I always wanted to have a role working with a nonprofit as large and as successful and with the reputation as Denver,” Nichols says. “I love the city. I love the vibe. I love the community I was able to experience.”

Nichols earned a Master of Music degree from Texas Southern University and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He served as assistant conductor and director of education and outreach for the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, where he spearheaded educational initiatives and curriculum, including music-focused social justice projects, while also conducting various ensembles. And as director of education and outreach for Revels, a national performing arts organization that celebrates culture and tradition in nine major cities, Nichols created adult and youth education initiatives, as well as programs for schools, classrooms, libraries and other venues. He also held posts with the Me2/ Boston Chorus and the Boston Children’s Chorus.

It’s clear that Nichols is passionate about his work with the LGBTQ+ community, allies and other marginalized groups. While his impressive résumé speaks for itself, he says organizations such as the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus as well as the arts in general are catalysts of change.

“The purpose of the performing arts originally was embedded in this idea to expose or educate the community to what was going on socially and politically. Going all the way back to the foundations of society, this has always happened in some form or fashion,” he explains. “It’s incumbent upon us to continue that same innate mission of the performing arts…to expose the truth or educate the community on social and political matters.”

That ethos aligns with the Rocky Mountain Arts Association’s mission of “building community through music.”

“I want to look through, for lack of a better term, a rainbow lens. Not a rainbow lens as in the LGBTQIA+ rainbow, but a multicultural, colored and purposed lens in order for us to be a little bit more inclusive in our community,” Nichols says, adding that he wants to “usher the group into a new way of thinking about music and performing this music.”

Knapp, who is set to retire after the June Pride Month concert, is “so happy with the hire.”

“I think he’s going to do some really important stuff,” Knapp says, adding that the role is also about “important life-saving work that isn’t in the job description.”

A conductor for 41 years, including twenty in GALA, Knapp is now conductor laureate and director emeritus. Since 2013, he has helped double the DGMC’s membership and budget while growing its audience.

“It’s been my intent as the artistic director over the last ten years to expand our reach, not in lieu of or at the expense of the LGBTQIA+ community, but in addition to,” Knapp says, listing off past productions and concerts that focused on combating housing insecurity and police brutality, highlighting Hispanic and Black artists and composers, and collaborating with local groups such as Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. “We take the bull by the horns in what we do.”

Knapp’s final concert will be Divas: Icons and Justice Warriors, a Pride month event that will showcase Denver drag queen Yvie Oddly and celebrate women performers and artists who have been outspoken members or allies of the queer community. The first performance is Saturday, June 3, at the Arvada Center, followed by a Friday, June 9, show at Denver’s King Center, before two more performances on Saturday, June 10.

The concert will include “anything from Tina Turner to Dolly Parton to Beyoncé to Whitney Houston,” says Knapp. “We’ll be drawing thematic connections between the artist journey, especially journeys like Tina’s, which is a remarkable story, infusing those with stories of our lives from people with the chorus and how these female artists have intersected with gay culture and history. … It’s a really fun show. One challenge is all of the craziness of all the legislation that’s going on throughout the country. It’s been a real challenge in how to make the concert fun but also powerful and make a statement.”

Oddly is performing a Patsy Cline song in drag, he adds, accompanied by a message about the slew of recent anti-drag legislation that’s been introduced in several states. “It was really important to me to have a piece that featured a drag queen from our chorus because of this outrageous legislation and ridiculous and insane culture that is emerging,” Knapp explains. “I think it’s a lovely juxtaposition of poking fun but also validating the importance of drag in LGBTQIA+ culture and making a very powerful statement about our politicians.”

On Monday, June 5, Knapp will receive a proclamation from Denver City Council in recognition of his contributions to the queer community and all citizens of the city over his past ten years with the DGMC.

“I think that our mission has evolved and morphed, but it always comes back to a really important heartbeat of the chorus, which is address social justice issues at every level,” Knapp says. “I think that’s what makes us different. We are singing activists.”

Divas: Icons and Justice Warriors, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3, Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard; 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 9, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10, King Center, Ninth Street Plaza. Tickets are $30.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Remembering when N.C. Black radio stations boycotted Tina Turner

Remembering when N.C. Black radio stations boycotted Tina Turner

By Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / June 2, 2023

Editor’s note – The reporter of this story was once the program director and a disc jockey for 570WLLE -AM in Raleigh during the 1980s, and was a first-hand participant in this story. This is his personal account.

Last week at the age of 83, the world lost one of the most iconic music legends ever known – multiple Grammy Award winner Tina Turner, the “Queen of Rock ’n Roll.”

Her catalogue of music from both her Ike and Tina Turner Revue days, with raw soul classics like “Proud Mary” and “Nutbush City Limits,” and later, during her triumphant comeback solo career, with deep, pop anthems like “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and “Simply the Best,” are lasting monuments to an extraordinary artist who helped to define both Black and rock music for generations.

So as a former Black radio disc jockey and program director from the 1980’s, when I learned of Ms. Turner’s passing last week, I was among those saddened that the entertainment world had lost another undeniable icon.

But then it dawned on me – Tina Turner and North Carolina had a connection few people today would recall, and it was an important chapter in Black radio history here that only I can tell now, one of the few left to remember it.

Back in November 1985, I helped to lead a statewide boycott by Black radio stations that refused to play Tina Turner records on the air, because the promoter of her Greensboro Coliseum concert refused to purchase any advertising time on Black radio stations in North Carolina.

As I recall, Ms. Turner was on a nationwide 140-city tour to promote her monster hit album Private Dancer, from which “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and other chart-topping hits came from.

The issue for us in Black radio was very simple. After Tina left her abusive husband Ike in the late 1970s, and struck out on her own, her career went nowhere for several years. She was finished. No one wanted to hear her music.

But in 1984, Tina suddenly remade herself with the Private Dancer album, and Black radio across the nation welcomed her back with opened arms when no one else would. It was arguably because of strong Black radio play, and resulting sales, that Tina got her second chance at fame.

Folks of my generation will recall the record business was much, much different in the early 1980s than it is now. MTV – a 24-hour cable television channel born in 1981 that virtually everybody watched because they wanted to see the latest music videos from their favorite artists, was a big, big player. But when MTV first began, many will recall it played just a few Black artists, and only in the middle of the night, because, “We have to play the music that we think an entire country is going to like. And certainly we are a rock ‘n’ roll station,” an MTV VJ once told popular White artist David Bowie.

Bowie, who employed Black music producers for his albums, had publicly complained in an interview. Motown punk funk artist Rick James went a step further and actually sued.

But MTV prided itself for being a powerful music video outlet that specialized in showcasing the major White American and European pop and rock musical acts of the day.

The breaking point came when Epic Records, owned by parent company CBS, released Michael Jackson’s history-making Thriller album with its first monster single Billie Jean. Unbelievably, MTV refused to play it because they considered Billie Jean to be too Black. CBS told MTV Networks, MTV’s owner, that it would pull all of their popular White music videos by Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney and others from the channel if it didn’t play Thriller.

The rest is history.

MTV capitulated, videos from Thriller were placed in heavy rotation on air, and soon it wasn’t long before MTV saw the wisdom of programming other great Black artists on the popular channel regularly.

One of them was Tina Turner.

This was important because of the way radio worked during those days. Only a few Black music artists like Stevie Wonder during the 1970s and 80s could “crossover” from traditional Black radio to White dominated Top 40 hits FM and rock radio. If you were a Black artist like Stevie on Top 40s radio, that meant you had a strong following in the White community. That was important not only to the Top 40s FM radio stations, but to concert promoters and record companies as well, who profited from the racial divide they created.

Back then, the key for successful Black crossover artists like Stevie, Michael, Prince and yes, Tina Turner, was Top 40s FM and MTV airplay. Black radio was only important for breaking new Black artists, because as far as record companies were concerned, it was easy to get their artists played on Black AM stations in small, medium and large markets across the country. And small stations like mine, 570WLLE-AM, a 500-watter in Raleigh, were only too happy to break new Black music for our audiences because that’s what they expected.

So the record companies and concert promoters felt they could treat us anyway they wanted.

But record companies were also doing something else then to fatten their wallets.

They would produce top tier Black artists like Michael, Prince and Tina doing songs for rock formats, in addition Black R&B and Top 40’s pop. Michael Jackson’s monster rock hit Beat It qualifies as a prime example of such a song that could be played in multiple radio station formats.

Tina Turner’s Private Dancer album also had a song or two that allowed her music to be played in multiple radio formats.

Multiple formats means more audience, more record singles and album buyers, and ultimately more concertgoers for the promoters.

And that’s where Tina Turner’s concert promoters ran into trouble here in North Carolina. They wanted Black radio stations like 570WLLE-AM – the one I was program director and a disc jockey at – to play Tina Turner’s music, but promoters did not want to spend the money to advertise on our radio stations the fact that she would be coming to the Greensboro Coliseum to perform.

Promoters felt they should get our Black listeners for free.

Back in the day, when a major Black act like Earth, Wind and Fire or Kool and the Gang came to North Carolina, it was usually through a Black promoter, and they traditionally played at the Greensboro Coliseum. Black radio stations all over the state would not only get the advertising buy, but local Black station WQMG-FM in Greensboro would also host the concert.

But that wasn’t happening with Tina’s show.

When I realized this, I got on the horn with my colleague, the late Alvin Stowe – program director at WDUR-FM in Durham, and some of our other colleagues in cities and markets across the state. They programmed small AM and FM Black radio stations too, and they were also upset that they were being deliberately overlooked by the promoters.

Black radio was where Tina had made her triumphant comeback before being played on Top 40s, rock and MTV, we said. Why were we being left out of the advertising buys?

We sent out a press release to the Associated Press and local news outlets, and soon, the whole state was talking about our boycott. I remember watching WRAL-TV news in Raleigh and seeing popular news anchor Charlie Gaddy talking about our story on air. We weren’t mad at Tina, but we were upset with her promoters and handlers on how they were treating us.

Thankfully, the public, Black and White, agreed.

According to a Nov. 21, 1985 article titled “Tina Turmoil Precedes Concert,” published in the Winston-Salem Chronicle, the Black radio stations that boycotted Tina Turner’s records were WLLE-AM in Raleigh; WDUR-AM in Durham; WAAA-AM and WAIR-AM in Winston-Salem; WEAL-AM, WQMG-FM and WNAA-FM in Greensboro.

In that article, WAAA-AM station owner Mutter Evans said, “This was our way of calling attention to the fact.”

And so what was the promoter’s response to our Tina boycott?

In that same article, Southern Promotions President Peter Conlon initially responded that he chose “…to advertise with stations where Turner’s music was popular.” But Peters then added that “85 to 90 percent of the people who have been attending Turner’s concerts thus far on her 140-city tour have been White.”
Apparently promoters were getting the concertgoers they wanted, based on what stations they were spending advertising dollars with.
Soon, with media and public pressure building, Southern Promotions changed its tune to say that Tina’s Greensboro concert was sold out, so they couldn’t advertise with us even if they wanted to.
That just made us angrier.
Finally, the controversy got so embarrassing for them, space was made at the Greensboro Coliseum for 100 extra seats for Tina’s concert, and advertising was bought on Black radio stations to sell those seats.

The Black stations began playing Tina’s Private Dancer album again, and Black program directors in North Carolina felt good that while all we got were peanuts in the end in terms of advertising dollars, we took an historic stand for ourselves, and our audiences.

I don’t know if what we did has ever happened again.

Now, 38 years later, we join millions of others across the world to commemorate Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famer Tina Turner and her artistry. We have no idea whether she ever knew about our controversy, but make no mistake, we loved her then, and continue to love her now.

May Ms. Anna Mae Bullock – aka Tina Turner, rest in peace.

Editor’s note – Ms. Celeste Hinnant of Garner helped in the research of this story.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The Third Annual Juneteenth Experience: A Free, Multidisciplinary Celebration of Juneteenth 

On June 19, 2023, Hued Songs will present The Juneteenth Experience, a multidisciplinary, immersive performance honoring America’s second Independence Day, Juneteenth, at the historic Miami Beach Bandshell. The performance will be helmed by a diverse cast of local artists, including Miriam King, J’Von Brown, Jasmine Williams, Arsimmer McCoy, Darius Manuel, Eden Marte, Chauncy Riley, and King Friday featuring members from Zest Dance Collective, under the direction of Artistic Director and Choreographer Gentry George. 

“The theme of this performance is belonging,” shared artistic director Kunya Rowley. “Juneteenth is a day about freedom, and belonging is a critical ingredient toward that.” In this third annual Juneteenth Experience, this year’s performance will be the official Juneteenth celebration for the City of Miami Beach and will include a variety of events celebrating the day. 

Pre-concert attendees can enjoy Miami Beach Juneteenth Picnic in the Park in Bandshell Park beginning at 4 p.m., produced by the City of Miami Beach and featuring The New World School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble & The Harden Project. The entertainment will continue in the Bandshell at 6:30 p.m, where guests can enjoy music and experience original short films centering on Black joy, culture, and identity. The main performance will begin at 8pm, and will be presented free of charge to both the in-person audience and via digital livestream. 

June 19th,1865 honors the date when, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the last enslaved Americans in Galveston Texas, were finally freed from bondage. Now in its third year, with activations taking place in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, The Juneteenth Experience sprouted as a catalyst for change when racial and social injustices took center stage in 2020, and aims to be an annual tri-county celebration of freedom, Black artistry, Black Miami, and community. 

Hued Songs (HS) produces performances across South Florida that amplify Black joy and Black culture. Through song, spoken word, dance, and heart, our work is rooted across three core principles: 1) To provide a platform through which BIPOC artists can be seen, heard, and paid; 2) The arts are a right and not a privilege, thus we work to remove cost, geography, and perception barriers to every performance and gathering;  3) Every performance is an opportunity to build belonging, empathy, and community for all. 

The Juneteenth Experience is made possible by the generous support of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The City of Miami Beach, The Miami Foundation, The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, The Miami Dade Department of Cultural-Affairs, and Miami Salon Group. 

Date & Time: Monday, June 19th, 2023 | 4-10pm

  • 4-6pm Jazz Picnic in Bandshell Park 
  • 6pm Bandshell Doors open 
  • 6:30pm- Short Film Screenings  
  • 8pm Live Performance 

Location: Miami Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141

Free & Open to Community. 

For more information, visit

How to RSVP:


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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment



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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Kicking Off Juneteenth with the African American Cultural Collaborative

Juneteenth is just around the corner, but here in the Capital City, we’ll celebrate all month long.

On Wednesday, May 31st, elected officials, representatives, and advocates gathered at the historic William Trent House Museum to kick off this year’s Juneteenth celebrations. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, marks the effective end of slavery in the United States in 1865. Today, the day represents freedom, progress, and emancipation in the African American community. So naturally, such an occasion calls for celebration, and Mercer County’s African American Cultural Collaborative (TAACC) has stepped up. At the kickoff, TAACC representatives Helen Jones Walker and Latarsha Burke, Mayor Reed Gusciora, the 15th Legislative District representatives, county officials, and more shared about the exciting three weekends of programming lined up for this year’s festivities.

Left to Right: Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli

In her remarks, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson noted, “With Juneteenth, as we think about our history and ancestors, and the delay in announcing that freedom was available to us for two and a half years. Now I know, and you know that the sun rises and sets every day, to think about the suffrage people went through for two and a half additional years of suffrage to know that we are free.” She noted, “We’re also in this moment of recognizing systematic racism, or suppression that happens to people of color throughout the state. So on this day, we’re going to reflect. Still, we’re also going to celebrate, celebrate, celebrate our people to let them lead and to empower us to continue to inspire the next generation and the generation after that.”

Senator Shirley Turner stated, “I’m delighted to see so many people involved, youngest to oldest. Whether you are a history buff or love entertainment or farming, we’ve got that, and we also have our children, what’s most important because we need to make sure that our young people understand and appreciate history. We’ve come a long way and know that after suffering through slavery, we can overcome anything.”

Mayor of Trenton Reed Gusciora

The African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County (AACCofMC), in partnership with the NJ Legislative District 15 (Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli) and Outdoor Equity Alliance are planning a county-wide Juneteenth Celebration. For the third consecutive year, the celebration has expanded its outreach to include three-weekend activities, with a finale celebrated at Mercer County Park. The events will begin on June 3, 2023, and culminate on June 17, 2023. The Presenting Sponsors are Wells Fargo and Capital Health. 

A youth-inspired African American History Bowl is scheduled for June 3, 2023, at the New Jersey State Museum. An African Ancestry Experience is planned for June 11, 2023, at William Trent House Museum. On June 10th, Capital City Farms will spearhead an agricultural-focused celebration at their Trenton location on North Clinton Avenue. An invite-only Kick-Off will take place on Friday. June 16, 2023. Saturday, June 17, 2023, will include the final celebration at Mercer County Park Festival Grounds featuring local and world-renowned entertainers. The headliners will be American saxophonist Everette Harp and jazz pianist Alex Bugnon. Commitments from The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Trenton Board of Education, the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Pi Chapter, and Trenton’s Own Comedic legend Sommore have evolved into a plethora of family-centered activities that will be highlighted during this time of celebration. 

Latarsha Burke and Helen Jones Walker of TAACC

The Collaborative aims to Educate, Empower, and Unite Africans in the diaspora through cultural arts, health and wellness, entertainment, and sports. This event aims to highlight a few poignant and current issues through displays of culture, collaboration, commerce, unity, and education. The City of Trenton, Mercer County Party Commission, and many other partners have been working diligently to ensure an exciting and safe experience. As a result of collaboration with the Let’s Ride Foundation and the Samuel McCoy Scholarship Fund, a Juneteenth Freedom Day Bike Ride will also start at Mercer County Park and travel throughout West Windsor Township with options for novice to advanced riders to explore the neighboring communities. Tennille McCoy, Chair and Founder of the McCoy Family Foundation, noted the immense benefits of riding a bike, including core strength, heart health, low-impact exercise, and more, so be sure to get out there and ride for a great cause!

Each year, the celebrations get bigger and better, but they would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors and volunteers. If you wish to become a volunteer and help bring this incredible calendar of events to life, more information can be found here: Volunteer – TAACC.

A celebration of freedom, unity, and progress is just around the corner, so mark your calendars today!