Staging Britain’s forgotten black stories

Cast of Black Men WalkingImage copyright Tristram Kenton

The little-known stories of black Britons who lived centuries ago are now being told by a woman who wants to remind us that Britain’s been multicultural for much longer than most of us think.

“This is a country that loves a good costume drama,” says Dawn Walton.

We certainly do, but the theatre director is ruminating on why some viewers are thrown if someone from an ethnic minority appears in a historical setting.

“If you have anybody of colour in a costume drama, people are really confused,” Walton continues.

“They can’t really understand why that’s possible. And some people get really angry about it.”

While the accepted version of history says multicultural Britain was born when 500 immigrants sailed from the West Indies on the Windrush 70 years ago, Walton wants to remind us that there have been people of colour on these islands for much longer.

Image copyright Dan Wooller/REX/Shutterstock
Image caption Dawn Walton: “There’s a whole band of British stories that nobody knows about, and they’re all black.”

On Monday, her Sheffield-based Eclipse theatre company is premiering the first of seven plays that all take inspiration from real – and largely forgotten – stories of black people in Britain spanning hundreds of years.

“Of course, Windrush is very recent history, and most people don’t realise that the multiculturalism of Britain went way before that time,” she says. “And I’m a little bit belligerent about making that point.

“If we’re telling British history and British stories, then we should tell all of Britain’s stories and there’s a whole band of British stories that nobody knows about, and they’re all black.”

The first of Eclipse’s plays, titled Black Men Walking, is inspired by a modern-day walking group whose members regularly ramble across the Peak District.

In the play, their journey takes them into a sort of spirit world where they encounter “ancestors of black British histories past” who might once have roamed the region.

Image copyright Tristram Kenton
Image caption The cast of Black Men Walking in rehearsals, taking direction from Walton

They include Roman emperor Septimius Severus, who was born in what is now Libya, and who led his army through the British Isles in the early 3rd Century.

The idea for the play came to Walton when she joined the real-life walking group and they came across an old Roman road.

“My head was suddenly thinking about Septimius walking on the same road that I was walking thousands of years later, and this potent idea grew into Black Men Walking,” she says.

The characters also meet the wealthy “bangle lady” of African ancestry who died in York in the 4th Century; John Moore, who was given the freedom of the city of York in 1687; and Pablo Fanque, a successful Victorian circus owner.

Black Men Walking, which starts a 14-week UK tour at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester on Monday, will be followed by more plays under the Revolution Mix umbrella.

Image copyright Tristram Kenton
Image caption Black Men Walking will tour to 13 English theatres

Revolution Mix was born when Walton gathered 15 writers, all from outside London, and asked them to help her tell “the hidden histories of Britain” spanning at least 500 years.

Five more stage plays are currently in development, as well as a BBC Radio 4 drama and a film.

“There’s one based in Bristol in the 60s,” Walton says. “There’s one based in Newcastle, there’s one based in south of England in the 1860s, there’s a massive Lancashire story that travels across a huge expanse of time. There’s a number of really big ambitious pieces.

“The jumping off point is always something real, someone real, a real incident.”

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As well as directing Black Men Walking and steering Revolution Mix, Walton is also busy spearheading a major scheme to nurture black and Asian theatre artists in the north of England.

Under the title Slate, the scheme has received £500,000 of Arts Council England funding to support 1,200 performers, writers and directors over the next three years.

The north is “full of independent artists with very little resources, and at the bottom of the pile, if you like, are black artists”, Walton says.

While relatively few of them are on the radar of large established theatres, Walton says many seek out Eclipse because of the company’s reputation.

“They all seem to have my telephone number,” she says. “We will help if we can at Eclipse, but I don’t have the resource to be able to do that. So I invented something.

“Slate is designed to allow those artists to create work, to explore their practice, to work locally without having to leave the region and move down to London.”

Practical support

The artists it’s designed to help are people like Testament, a Leeds-based writer and beatboxer who has collaborated with Walton to create Black Men Walking.

The pair got together after Walton spotted him performing at Leeds Central Library.

“I thought, this is really interesting,” she says. “That’s now gone on to him having his first experience of creating a piece of theatre that he’s not in, but is for four other actors.

“He would never have that experience anywhere else I don’t think, without that kind of focus. That’s the kind of work multiplied by 1,200 in Slate.”

That’s a lot more stories waiting to be told.

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Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson Discusses Fear, ‘Den of Thieves,’ and More [Interview]

50 Cent

If there’s one interview subject I want to have all the time in the world with, it’s Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. For starters, the rapper, actor, producer, and entrepreneur has a great story, which we saw told on screen in Get Rich or Die Tryin’. After his debut album of the same name came out, his story only grew richer. He’s had such a full career already and there’s no shortage of things to ask. But when we interviewed Jackson, it was to discuss his new film, Den of Thieves, in which he plays a bank robber.

We didn’t discuss the movie much, though. When we spoke with Jackson on the set of Den of Thieves, he candidly covered a huge array of subjects. When we spoke with him again, he did the same, starting with the book he co-wrote with Robert Greene, The 50th Law. I can’t recommend it enough.

Below, read our 50 Cent interview.

I have to say, I read The 50th Law recently and it’s been on mind quite a bit. It definitely makes you a little more hungry and want to work harder.

You know what? I think a lot of times people be afraid. They create their own fears. It’s maybe a fear of failure. Fear of failure is fear of success. Is being afraid of achieving what you want to achieve, because the small things in there, finding like people, you’ve got to have people that you have to communicate with to get to where you want to go. You can’t be afraid to just tell them what you actually want or what you trying to achieve at that point. A lot of times I’m in circumstances, situations where people may have more information than me about what we’re actually talking about at the moments, so I’m all ears, I’m listening, because their information allows me to use my gut instincts. We’ve got to not be afraid to go the next level. You know what I’m saying? A lot of people are afraid of change, like in a relationship it might not be completely fulfilling for you, but they stay in the relationship because it’s already there.

If it’s not fulfilling for you, then try something else. At least get out of that so something else can come into your life. Fear is an option. Danger is real. You have the option to be afraid or not of what’s there. You know what I mean? No matter what circumstances you put yourself under, that statement is true.

The book dealt so much with navigating the music industry. How does the film industry compare?

The film industry is even older. It’s even more of a cookie cutter mentality to how they actually do things. They’ll look and they’ll say, “We can take the same films and change ethnicity and they’ll do less,” because the machine would say, “This goes to this menu.” Look, Eminem’s 8 Mile, that’s a black story with a white lead, because he grew up in hip-hop culture. He just fell in love with the art form. He’s actually better at it than a lot of African American artists. I don’t care, it is what it is. You know what I’m saying? His track record and material, it speaks for itself. There’s nothing to argue about. That is testament proven.

When you think the performance of the 8 Mile film, I had the same producers, I had the same production team involved with the film, because Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was the largest debuting hip-hop album and wanted to go back and make that as a film. We did it and they gave me $36,000,000, Quincy Jones to do the score, Terry Winters to write, Jim Sheridan as a director. I got all of those bells and whistles for that film, really talented group of people involved. When it came time to release it, it went from a 3,200 theater plan, which was how 8 Mile was, to a 1,700 theater plan. It went from premium everywhere to premium urban, because the tones and things that showed up on the film, they considered it like a black gangster film, and it didn’t have the proper marketing label. Later, to give you an example, when you see American Gangster, it’s about Frank Lucas’s life story, but it gives you Russel Crowe. Equally the same size. Then it goes everywhere that it needs to go and it performs there.

Think of hip-hop as an art form. The true consumers of it are people that are so far away from the circumstances that it’s just pure entertainment. They don’t understand what the motivation or where the concept or the writing is coming from because actually a lot of it is coming out of inner cities, the ghetto part, or just inner cities and lifestyles that are distorted lifestyles.

Now they’ll party like a rockstar and they’re taking drugs that don’t have negative auras around it. The crack has a negative aura. You see a crack head, someone that doesn’t look nice, is not functioning. Percocet doesn’t have that field. You see what I’m saying? The Vicodin and whatever else is in the actual medicine cabinet doesn’t have that nasty aura around it, but it’s even more dangerous because they might have a little fruit punch going on. Mixing that shit gets distorted in your system when you take something else. You’ve just got to be cautious of it because that’s the trend, the new thing that’s happening.

I want to get to Den of Thieves, but you mentioned Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and I just watched that the other night. While most biopics are pretty dry and stuffy, I do think that one does have an energy and life to it.

Well, Jim, look at the guys, they made a good movie. A person’s life story, we could do a day. We could squeeze a full day into two hours and at the end of ten minutes, you have extreme events happening in one day. I’ve had some extreme shit happen in my life [Laughs], so it’s really the choice of what portions of it that you turn into film. That’s where it becomes interesting, because I look in pieces out of sequence, and it’s happening at different points, but the film is about 75% or 80% true. That’s why I’m always proud of the film.

As you said, you’ve experienced some extreme shit, and this movie is about some extreme world and extreme characters. When you read the script, did the world or characters feel familiar?

Do you know what’s interesting? I know people who didn’t see their investments, their true investments, so emotionally, they were so invested in their relationships and their personal lives, they were doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing when they didn’t identify with not being able to pay the consequences. You see what I’m saying? I saw a guy who got an altercation and killed the guy, but his girlfriend, he loved the girl that he was actually with at the present moment and only thought of turning himself in because the thought of not being able to see her again fucked with him so extreme. There’s a mentality that goes on, and so you get the same thing for ten you get for two. Why would you turn yourself in? Just keep getting busy. Just keep doing what you’re doing. He couldn’t get with that because of how he felt about the girl.

The Levy character develops his family relationship as if it’s a great cover like he’s invisible. I’m invisible in plain sight. You know what I’m saying? Nah, I was going to do what I do, family and everything else, but hen I do that, I’ll do that. He feels like they’re good enough, disciplined enough to make the jobs happen, and they have. Five or six times they robbed the things. Merriman going to jail, that was on his own merit. You know what I’m saying? He was just doing something he wasn’t supposed to do. When you get to the point when you’re the lead, sometimes you make decisions that are not necessarily the right decisions. A lot of people fall into leadership situations, not because they have leadership skills and abilities, but because they’re not afraid of the altercation.

If you go to war, the guy that everyone says a crazy guy might be the person that you most comfortable following, because he doesn’t care about the actual war, itself. You know what I’m saying? Then it gives you that to be secure going with him because he don’t give a fuck. That under those circumstances, these are the things that we experience and came back into socially couldn’t interact with everybody when we got back from the military because he didn’t care and would do whatever in war. I comfortably followed behind Merriman. We developed this bond and relationship, where I have skill sets that he doesn’t have like I dealt with explosives. I did things that he didn’t know how to do. He’s saying he’s my brother, you know what I mean, because having the bonding experiences, reasons why you can communicate with people that other people can’t have an understanding of, it develops a unique way of you creating special friendships.


[embedded content]

Den of Thieves is now in theaters.

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Fear of a Black Planet: Under the Republican Push for Welfare Cuts, Racism Boils

President Donald Trump speaks during an event to celebrate Congress passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act with Republican members of the House and Senate on the South Lawn of the White House December 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)President Donald Trump speaks during an event to celebrate Congress passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act with Republican members of the House and Senate on the South Lawn of the White House December 20, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

“Never tell anyone,” my mother hissed, “that we’re on welfare!” I sputtered, “Okay.” She let go, angrily. People shuffled to the window where a tired man scanned their papers. That was 1982. Passing a poster of President Reagan, she shot him the middle finger. Later I realized, he rose to power by branding women like her “welfare queens.”

Republicans talk of prosperity, dignity and self-reliance. Peel back the rhetoric, and racism boils underneath.

In late 2017, Donald Trump smiled as the GOP passed its Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill. The Republicans want to slash Medicaid, food stamps and welfare. The deficit their tax bill created will be used to justify it. Yet, why attack the needy? In American conservativism, the internal enemy of the nation is the idle poor — specifically, the poor of color.

Republicans talk of prosperity, dignity and self-reliance. Peel back the rhetoric, and racism boils underneath. Tax cuts and calls to end welfare are dog whistles for white supremacy. The real effect of their policies is that people will suffer and thousands will die as they fall through gaping holes in the safety net.

Deadly Math

Every day, I see homeless people ask for money. Every. Day. On the street or lurching in a train, they shake cups for loose coins. Most of us look away. A few give wrinkled bills. Many wince with disgust — mostly, I think, because we’re afraid of becoming them. We already live such precarious lives.

How do we justify poverty in a land of abundance? The US is the wealthiest nation in history. The annual federal budget is nearly $3.5 trillion. All of us pour into it. Our paychecks are slivered. Corporations cough up cash. Even undocumented workers pay taxes. Yet, out of 326 million people, 43.1 million live in poverty.

In the Deep South, Midwest Rust Belt towns and public housing, people cling to food stamps and Medicaid. These needed programs lie on the Republican chopping block. President Trump has pushed drug testing for food stamps and work requirements for Medicaid. Rep. Paul Ryan wants to cut Social Security and Medicare.

I’ve known this rhetoric my whole life because it was aimed at me.

Again, why attack the most vulnerable? Maybe it’s because the poor vote less. When they do, they vote for Democrats. Maybe it’s because Republicans — like all of us — don’t just see with their eyes, but also with their ideology.

The GOP is led by a business elite that does not have a natural base. Since the 1970s, it has allied with Christian Evangelicals, jingoists and racists to ride reactionary movements to power. It fuses our class and racial hierarchies to cut off interracial, working-class solidarity. It is kept going by feeding their voting base with political “red meat” via Fox News and other right-wing outlets, which channel resentment at immigrants, the poor and especially the poor of color.

The GOP employs a Manichean ideology with two poles, opposed but bound together. On one end, there is the job creator who comes off like Hercules in a business suit. He is smart, decisive and a straight, white male. “I will be the greatest job producer that God ever created,” Trump promised. He is exhibit one on how privilege warps self-image. In a Mar-a-Lago portrait he commissioned, our president looks like Alexander the Great crossed with Fabio.

On the other end, conservatives see the poor as expecting hand-outs for nothing. Sen. Orrin Hatch recently said, “I have a rough time wanting to spend … trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves … and expect the federal government to do everything.” He was followed by Sen. Charles Grassley, who opposed the estate tax because the rich invest, unlike the poor who “are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

The modern GOP think the poor are parasites. They inherited the idea from older conservatives, schooled in Social Darwinism and eugenics. It is deeply familiar. I’ve known this rhetoric my whole life because it was aimed at me.

When Non-White Means Non-Human

“Blacks are lazy.” “Blacks complain.” “Blacks always want a handout.” I heard it all before and hated it. My mom came home, bone-tired from work. My aunts, uncles and friends were wrung dry from work. I was always told to work “twice as hard.” We were running from a stereotype: the “parasite coon.”

Racism bends vision into pre-set images. The underlying spectrum is from fully human whites to animalistic non-whites. At the bottom, in the right-wing worldview, Africans are still framed as monkeys; bestial, lustful and stupid.

The white racial imagination changes with the level of control over Black bodies. In the Antebellum era, the Southern planter class promoted the docile Black as proof of slavery’s beneficence. “Mammy” happily served her master. “Uncle Tom” happily served his master. “Sambo” did too. They were portrayed as pets, kept by a superior race.

After the smoke of the Civil War cleared, the white racial imagination, fueled by fear of free Black people, created more menacing imagery. The rapist, Black male brute was a threat. The wanton Black jezebel was a threat. The “coon” was a sambo gone bad; he was lazy, cynical and mean.

“Bad” Black images rose with white fear. The Black Codes were written with the pen of white panic. The Ku Klux Klan rode at night to kill freedmen and reclaim the land. As the Radical Republicans sent troops to guard Black voting rights, property and bodies, former Confederates hated federal soldiers for forcing racial equality. “State’s rights” transformed into a call to arms for white supremacy.

In 1877, Reconstruction collapsed. Federal troops left the South. White militias killed, raped and beat Black people who tried to vote. Southern Redemption had begun — a political cycle of Black freedom confronted by white backlash. It used “bad” Black imagery like the Brute or Parasite Coon. It was violent. It spoke the language of state’s rights and small government.

D.W. Griffith romanticized this terror in the 1915 film Birth of a Nation. In it, Gus, a Black federal soldier — a brute — tries to rape a white woman. In the state house scene, Black men put dirty feet on desks; they eat chicken, drink, fight and act loutish. They were “coons” in power. The white audience cheered the Ku Klux Klan, chasing them out to “redeem” the white man’s country.

I saw Birth of a Nation in a college film course, and watching it, a tension tightened my chest. Here was the myth that lay in the heart of the US. Here were the characters that racists saw when they looked at me, my family and friends.

Beware of the Dog Whistle

It is an iconic photo. I always wonder at it. In 1957, soldiers guarded nine Black teens walking to school in Little Rock, Arkansas. White Southerners spat slurs as if the Civil Rights Movement was a Second Reconstruction. Eighty years after Northern occupation, federal troops were back in an attempt to force at least a semblance of Black equality.

Each political invocation of the “bad” Black heralded a cut to social programs.

Today, a memorial stands to the Little Rock Nine at the Arkansas capital. When they integrated the school, each step inside was a literal and symbolic trampling of open racism. Alongside African Americans’ legal victories was a cultural one: White supremacy — if not defeated — was somewhat delegitimized.

When the white backlash came, politicians could no longer speak in bald racism. Republicans, who were moribund after decades of Democratic dominance, used a Southern Strategy to corral racist Democrats. In exchange for this new voter base, the GOP cleaned up bigotry with euphemism.

Lee Atwater, a Republican strategist for Ronald Reagan and George Bush, spelled out the mechanics. “You start out in 1954 by saying, nigger, nigger, nigger,” he breezily instructed. “By 1968 you can’t say nigger. So, you say forced busing, states’ rights. You’re getting so abstract now that you’re talking about cutting taxes … and a byproduct is Blacks get hurt worse than whites.” It was a cruel calculation. The Black poverty rate was higher and the need for social programs, greater.

So, when Nixon called for “law and order,” the Republican voter heard “Blacks.” When Reagan praised state’s rights and attacked “welfare queens,” the Republican voter heard “Blacks.” When Bush hammered Michael Dukakis with the infamous Willie Horton ad, Republican voters saw “Blacks.”

Each political invocation of the “bad” Black, whether the parasite-coon, brute or baby-making jezebel, heralded a cut to social programs. Poor Blacks got hurt worse than poor whites. They also got hurt with them. President Johnson’s 1964 War on Poverty had saved millions of lives. What was not being saved was the idea of welfare itself. Republicans gave it a Black face, even though most welfare recipients had been (and still are) white.

After campaigning against “welfare queens,” Reagan said in his 1981 inaugural, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” He cut payments to the working poor, cut a million people off food stamps and cut job programs. He then gave tax breaks to the wealthy.

Fifteen years later, President Clinton in his 1996 State of the Union said, “The era of big government is over.” Seven months into that term, he signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act; it ended welfare as entitlement, limited benefits and forced work requirements. He then repealed parts of the Glass-Steagall Act and let big Wall Street banks play in the markets.

In 2005, George W. Bush tried to privatize Social Security. He was stopped cold by Democrats and a disbelieving public.

The Republican Southern Strategy of displacing racism onto the welfare programs of the federal government satisfied the GOP’s business elite. It did not help their base, who were trapped on both ends. Over them was a top-heavy GOP whose business leaders and donors were destroying the very social programs the white poor needed. At the other end, they were trapped by their own racial bias against “big government.”

Donald Trump was the Redeemer of White Supremacy. He promised to save Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security for the “deserving poor” — down on their luck white people.

What racist voters could not see in the footage of federal troops protecting Black children going to school in Little Rock, Arkansas, was that the soldiers were not just protecting everyone’s right to attend public institutions. They were protecting the very possibility of having them.

Fear of a Black Planet

“It’s not a bigger government we need,” Obama said at his 2013 State of the Union. “It’s a smarter one.” I cringed as he spoke. The first Black president felt he had to soothe a public raised on the racial stigma of big government, assuring them that he wasn’t going to sell white people into slavery to pay off the federal debt.

Just a year before, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich launched a short-lived candidacy by calling Obama “the most effective food stamp president in American history.” He was asked about it and squirmed like an eel.

Months later, Pat Buchanan bellowed on TV, “Barack Obama is a drug dealer of welfare.” He contrasted him with candidate Mitt Romney’s work ethic. Romney, who was caught on a hot mic saying, “There are 47 percent of the people … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe government has a responsibility to care for them.”

Again, race works its magic between the lines. Again, the parasite coon is a shadow in the text. After Obama’s 2008 victory, fear of a Black planet became a rising rage. A Black democratic pollster, Cornell Belcher noted on Roland Martin’s show, “You saw a spike in racial aversion…. Whites see it as we’re losing power to them.”

It was Birth of a Nation again, only this time, federal troops didn’t just attempt to force racial equality, but also obeyed the commands of a Black president. Each news cycle brought fresh proof that the US was slipping out of white hands. A Latina was on the Supreme Court. Confederate statues were torn down. Black people rioted and protested in the streets.

When Donald Trump glided down the escalator, he was a one-man Ku Klux Klan coming to the rescue; he was the Redeemer of White Supremacy. He promised border walls. He promised “law and order.” He even promised to save Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security for the “deserving poor” — down on their luck white people.

They needed it. Blatant white supremacy, left behind by global capitalism, had hit a nadir. Deaths of despair hit a Heartland ruined by opioids and joblessness. Seeing no future, they turned to Trump — who, having no plan, turned to the GOP — who tried to “solve” this problem with a tax cut for the wealthy.

At this point, it doesn’t matter if this or that Republican is personally racist. They can toast marshmallows on a burning cross for all it matters. The GOP cannot credibly take a race-neutral position when the overarching history of its politics is based on racism. The effects of its policies are race specific. And class specific. And deadly.

We won’t see them, and we won’t know their names, but people will die. Quietly. Invisibly. Ten thousand of us will die. Economist Lawrence Summers analyzed the Congressional Budget Office report that 13 million people will leave Obamacare when the individual mandate is repealed. He said on CNBC, “When people lose health insurance, they’re less likely to get preventive care, defer health care they need and they’re more likely to die.”

Ten thousand. Ten thousand. I repeat it. Not just a number. It’s someone shaking with fever. It’s someone fighting for breath. It’s getting a phone call that someone you loved died, far away and alone because they couldn’t afford treatment.

How many people have they killed? On my laptop, a video plays of the GOP cheering the tax bill. I turn it off, go outside and see a line of people waiting for free food at the Macedonian Church. Old men, workers, a neighbor I know, all wait with carts. A mother stands with them, trying to hold two squirming kids. She’s tired. I look at her and see across 30 years to my childhood and the moment I learned to be silent.

Feel Free by Zadie Smith – review

It’s hard to work out what posture to adopt while reading Feel Free. Zadie Smith is so eager to entertain she’ll undercut a meditation on Joni Mitchell, Wordsworth, Seneca and Kierkegaard with a sausage roll gag. But you can’t just sprawl around being entertained — your participation is demanded too! 

Smith constantly exhorts her readers to “go up to Notting Hill” and see the security arrangements of the super-rich, to marvel at a Jay-Z freestyle she found on YouTube. Recalling a sex scene from The Buddha of Suburbia that titillated her Kilburn comprehensive way back in the early Nineties, she urges: “You can go look it up now if you like; I’ll wait.” Thanks!

The digital era has produced an entire “first-person industrial complex” of subjective writing but Smith is rare in that she seems just as interested in the second person. “I feel this — do you? I’m struck by this thought — are you?” is how she summarises her way of writing in the foreword to her second collection of essays (the first was Changing My Mind, 2009). 

She humblebrags that this is because she has no real qualifications, no particular expertise — her evidence is always intimate. “My hope is for a reader who, like the author, often wonders how free she really is, and who takes it for granted that reading involves all the same liberties and exigencies as writing.” Feel free to disagree. 

The essays range across climate change, Facebook, a Schopenhauerian reading of the Charlie Kaufman movie Anomalisa, Justin Bieber, joy, etc, and are mostly drawn from American magazines such as Harper’s and the New York Review of Books. Even allowing for the fact that Smith lives in New York (she teaches at NYU), the lack of British publications damns our own media. 

Writing for an American audience means there’s less she can take for granted. Smith has never been a political writer but the vandalism of her homeland (and the US) is turning her into one. “I thought a library was one of the few sites where the urge to conserve and the desire to improve — twin poles of our political mind — were easily and naturally united,” she writes of the closure of Willesden Green library. 

Waking up to Brexit at her in-laws’ house in Northern Ireland (she is married to the Northern Irish poet Nick Laird) she is appalled by “the extraordinary act of solipsism that has allowed this long-brutalised little country to become the collateral damage of an internal rift in the Conservative Party”. The idea that racially heterogeneous societies are fated to fail is self-evidently ridiculous to her as a bi-racial woman. 

The most revelatory essays here interrogate her own changing reactions to a changing world. She used to ridicule Joni Mitchell; now she can’t listen to her in public for fear of weeping. Writing about the film The Social Network (she doesn’t do social media), she wonders if the Zuckerbergian formatting of our personalities is rendering obsolete the private person, “a person who is a mystery to the world and — more importantly — to herself”. 

She is energised by the emerging racial consciousness in the US but highly critical of the call (by the artist Hannah Black) for the curators of the Whitney Biennial to “destroy” a painting of the murdered black teenager Emmett Till by white artist Dana Schutz, on the grounds that “it is not acceptable for a white person to transmute black suffering into profit and fun”. 

Her argument is nuanced but in the end she can’t escape the view that such racial essentialism is “no more sophisticated than the antebellum miscegenation laws”. 

There can be no greater existential threat to a writer so insistent on the possibility of imaginative connection, so generous and curious with regard to her readers. Besides, looking at other artists of colour in the same exhibition, “I realised I resent the implication that black pain is so raw and so unprocessed — and black art practice so vulnerable and invisible — that a single painting by a white woman can influence it one way or another.”  

In an experimental essay comparing dancers to writers (Fred Astaire to Nabokov; Beyoncé to Joan Didion) she re-tools choreographer Martha Graham’s advice for dancers as advice for writers: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.” It’s not your business to decide whether that expression is good or worthwhile. “It’s your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” I feel this way — do you? 

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Indie Memphis to screen at least two movies per week in 2018

The Jane Goodall-plus-chimpanzees documentary “Jane,” the Cannes Film Festival winner “The Square” and “Faces Places,” a French movie that is one of the most highly regarded releases of the past year, are among the notable features that Indie Memphis will host as it expands its non-film festival programming to two screenings a week.

As a result, the program will be rebranded, as they say, from “Indie Wednesday” to “Indie Memphis Nights.” The main venues will continue to be the Malco Studio on the Square, the Ridgeway Cinema Grill and Crosstown Arts at 430 N. Cleveland, with additional screenings planned for the National Civil Rights Museum, Clayborn Temple, 652 Marshall (now unused, since the closing of the Baobab Filmhouse) and Black Lodge (the video store/performance space/theater that should open by February at its new location 831 S. Cooper).

Launched in late 2016, the “Indie Wednesday” series enabled Indie Memphis organizers to screen a wide variety of features (and short films) that, in most cases, were overlooked by the city’s commercial cinemas.

Some of these had popular appeal (“Gimme Danger,” Jim Jarmusch’s profile of Iggy Pop and the Stooges); some were movies given a second chance (the animated “The Red Turtle” played briefly at the Cordova Cinema); some were festival repeats (“A Stray”); some were critical darlings (“Columbus”); while others were timely (“The Force,” a documentary about the Oakland Police Department’s relationship with its mostly African-American constituency) or esoteric (“The Russian Woodpecker,” a documentary thriller about a Chernobyl conspiracy).

Whatever the content, they drew moviegoers.

“In 2017, our film series nearly tripled our estimated attendance,” said Ryan Watt, executive director of Indie Memphis, the film support group perhaps best known for its annual film festival. “The feedback we have received from filmgoers is they want more films, and more options for days of the week.”

Thus, 2018 will bring “Indie Memphis Night,” sponsored by Orion Federal Credit Union, which will present movies on (mostly) Tuesday and Wednesday nights for most weeks of the year. Each month at least one event will be planned in conjunction with The Collective (, a local organization that “is dedicated to providing a platform for African-American artists,” according to its Website.

Here is the “Indie Memphis Nights” schedule for January. Fees vary; tickets to movies at the Ridgeway and Studio are $10 each, while admission to many of the other screenings will be free. The start time is 7 p.m.

Jan. 3, Crosstown Arts: “The Eyeslicer,” a preview of a new Tribeca TV anthology series dedicated to “boundary-pushing” short films that “will slice, dice, and then mince your eyeballs into delicious ceviche,” according to Tribeca publicists.

Jan. 9, Studio on the Square: Brett Morgen’s likely Best Documentary Oscar nominee “Jane,” which examines the life and almost six-decade career of famed primate researcher Jane Goodall, best known for her studies of chimpanzees.

Jan. 10, 652 Marshall: The short film “Langston Miles” by Perry Kirkland, plus a musical performance, “Reaching Out of Poverty.”

Jan. 16, Ridgeway: Winner of the top prize at Cannes, the Palme d’Or, Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s “The Square” returns, following a brief December run at the Studio on the (yes) Square. A satire of art-world commerce, pretensions and hypocrisy, the film stars Claes Bang as a handsome museum curator whose life unfolds as a series of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” blunders and Elisabeth Moss as a journalist with a pet (is this a theme?) chimpanzee.

Jan. 17, Ridgeway: A forerunner of the French New Wave, director Agnès Varda (who turns 90 in May) joins the young French photographer/artist known simply as JR for “Face Places,” an experimental travelogue documentary that has been one of the most praised films of 2017, with The New York Times, Time magazine and the New Yorker placing it on their Top Ten lists.

Jan. 23, Studio: Anthony Onah’s “The Price,” an Indie Memphis Film Festival repeat about a young Nigerian-American (Ami Ameen) grappling with the moral compromises and family crises that accompany his job on Wall Street. 

Jan. 25, Thursday, Crosstown Arts: “Wilderness,” a blissed-out British love-on-the-run drama from director Justin Doherty.

Jan. 30, Studio: “Liberation Day,” a documentary about the dissident Yugoslavian rock group Laibach, which in 2015 became the first foreign rock band to play in North Korea.

Jan. 31, Crosstown: A repeat from this year’s Outflix Film Festival, Damon Cardasis’ “Saturday Church” is a drama about a young teenage boy who begins to escape into fantasy while struggling with issues of gender identity and religion.

The Library: Check Our Films Out

Meanwhile, the library’s monthly “Wider Angle Film Series” begins its 14th (!) season in January, with movies screening on an earlier day of the week (Tuesday instead of Wednesday) and, for the most part, a later start time (7 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m., to better accomodate people’s work and dinner schedules, unless otherwise indicated). 

Part of the reason for the day change was to avoid conflicting with the “Indie Wednesday” series, but Indie Memphis’ expansion of their film program to Tuesday as well as Wednesday negated that particular benefit.

Dedicated to new examples of foreign-language and independent cinema, the “Wider Angle” series in 2018 begins with one of its more high profile films, “After the Storm,” written and directed by Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda, whose “Nobody Knows” — a heart-wrenching story about several young children who survive on their own after they are abandoned by their mother in a Tokyo apartment — was my choice for the best movie of 2005. “After the Storm” is a drama about a once promising author turned struggling private eye (Hiroshi Abe). Any movie by Kore-eda deserves a Memphis screening, so this is a promising start to the series.

Unless otherwise noted, films begin at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar. Admission is free, and refreshments are provided. 

Jan. 16: “After the Storm.”

Feb. 20: Frédéric Mermoud’s “Moka (France), about a woman searching for the mocha-hued Mercedes that hit her son.

March 20, 6:30 p.m.: Yang Zhang’s “Soul on a String” (China), replete with martial arts, Tibetan cowboys, a sacred stone, and “the Holy Mountain of Buddha’s Handprint.”

April 17: Jan Hrebejk’s “The Teacher” (Slovakia and the Czech Republic), a 1980s-set drama about a teacher who uses her Communist Party connections to intimidate students and blackmail parents.

May 15: Samir Oliveros’ “Bad Lucky Goat” screens in connection with the Memphis in May International Festival, which in 2018 will honor Colombia. The film chronicles a day of adventure in rural Colombia, complete with a weird butcher, Rastafarian drummers, and, yes, a goat.

June 19: Koji Fukada’s “Harmonium” (Japan), a depiction of the collapse of a Japanese family that won the Un Certain Regard jury prize (for movies that are “original and different”) at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. 

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

One of the Greatest Jewish Philanthropists You Never Heard Of

Julius Rosenwald, a Jewish peddler’s son who never finished high school, rose to become the chairman of Sears, Roebuck & Company and a modest philanthropist who gave away $62 million in his lifetime, including seed money for more than 5,000 schools for black children in the early 1900s.

More than 80 years after his death, Rosenwald’s story is making headlines around the world, thanks to award-winning Washington, D.C., filmmaker Aviva Kempner. She released her new feature-length documentary, “Rosenwald,” in August. Thus far, it has played in more than 90 theaters in markets across the United States, such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

“I greatly admire Rosenwald’s philanthropy. He gave away $62 million to various causes, which in today’s dollars is closer to $1 billion,” says Kempner, whose films illuminate the untold stories of Jewish heroes. Her previous documentaries include “Partisans of Vilna,” “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” and “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg.” She calls Rosenwald “the greatest philanthropist you’ve never heard of.”

“I felt that this story was too important to go unnoticed. It is a great Jewish legacy that I am excited to make better known. At a time when financial hardships abound and civil rights issues unfortunately still exist, it is imperative that Julius Rosenwald’s story be told now.”

Julian BondJulian Bond

Twelve years ago Kempner was attending a lecture at the Hebrew Center on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and heard about Julius Rosenwald. She listened to Julian Bond, the late American civil rights leader, talk about his family’s connection to Rosenwald, who built schools and housing for blacks in the early 1900s and provided grants for promising black artists and writers. Immediately, the story had her hooked.

Kempner felt Rosenwald embodied the Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah (charity).

After the talk, she told Bond, “I’m going to make this film.” Thus began a collaboration that lasted 12 year, with Bond serving as her main consultant on the film. Interviewees include famous actors, authors, rabbis and politicians, as well as Rosenwald’s descendants.

Julius RosenwaldJulius Rosenwald

Rosenwald grew up across from President Abraham Lincoln’s family in Springfield, Illinois. He went into the clothing trade with his family and ended up in Chicago, where he had an opportunity to become a partner with Richard Sears in 1895. He proved an excellent manager, helping to make Sears the largest retailer in the country. The peddler’s son became rich beyond his wildest dreams and built a block-long house for his family.

However, the film reveals an endearing humility. In a sound-bite from the documentary, Rosenwald says, “Most people are of the opinion that because a man has made a fortune, that his opinions on any subject are valuable. Don’t be fooled into believing that if a man is rich, he is smart. … Most large fortunes are made by men of mediocre ability who tumbled into a lucky opportunity and couldn’t help but get rich.”

Rosenwald had two personalities, according to his great-grandson: a tough, profit-driven businessman and a civil rights champion who wanted to help blacks go to school and live the American dream.

Rosenwald with Booker T. Washington

Influenced by the writings of black educator Booker T. Washington, the Jewish philanthropist joined forces with African-American communities in the segregated South to build not only schools, but also YMCAs and YWCAs.

Rosenwald said as a Jew – a member of a despised minority – he identified with blacks. In 1910 a YMCA delegation asked him to give $25,000 to build a “Negro YMCA” in Chicago. He said he would provide that to any Y in the country that could raise an additional $75,000. And so began a model for building nearly 30 Y’s across the country between 1913 and 1932, the year Rosenwald died.

The same principle applied in building schools. He didn’t just give money; he challenged the community to match funds.

One of the Rosenwald SchoolsOne of the Rosenwald Schools

Rosenwald served as a trustee of Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college in Alabama. On his 50th birthday in 1912, the philanthropist gave Tuskegee $25,000 to be distributed as grants for other black schools that followed the Tuskegee model. Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee’s first leader, suggested taking approximately $2,800 of this money to build six small elementary schoolhouses for blacks in rural communities. The need arose due to underfunding of public education for black children who were required to attend segregated schools.

“The genius of Rosenwald schools wasn’t that he gave money,” Julian Bond explains in the film. “He said, ‘Here’s money; I’ll give you one-third the cost of the school, and you’ll have to raise in your community one-third, and go to the local white community to raise the remaining one-third.”

Julius Rosenwald with students from a Rosenwald schoolJulius Rosenwald with students from a Rosenwald school.
Courtesy Fist University, John Hope and Aureilia E. Franklin Library, Special Collections

The Sears mogul created buy-in and community partnership. The black community raised money through bake sales, fish fries and other efforts. However, not everyone was sold.

Hate-mongers sometimes would set fire to Rosenwald schools or blast them with dynamite. The schools would be rebuilt once, even twice, before they were left alone.

Rosenwald schools lasted until the Civil Rights era in the United States. In 1954, when the Supreme Court declared segregation in education unconstitutional, the schools became obsolete.

The Rosenwald Fund donated to public schools, colleges and universities, Jewish charities and black institutions, and also made grants directly to black artists, writers, researchers and intellectuals, before all of the money was spent in 1948, per the benefactor’s wishes.

Bond, whose father received a Rosenwald fellowship, called the list of grantees a “Who’s Who of Black America.” It included contralto Marian Anderson, poet Langston Hughes and Nobel Peace Prize-winning diplomat Ralph Bunche, among many others.

Through his example, the philanthropist inspired others to make a difference. For instance, Rosenwald’s children and cousins rescued 300 relatives from Nazi Germany and helped settle and educate them in America.

“We can’t all give $62 million away, but I think there’s a little Rosenwald in all of us. What we’re doing in Washington is collecting books to take to the local schools,” says Kempner, born in Berlin after World War II to a Holocaust survivor and a U.S. Army officer. She hopes her latest film will inspire viewers to offer their own brand of tikkun olam.


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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

17th Annual African American Cultural Celebration

17th Annual African American Cultural Celebration

2015 African American Cultural Festival

Join the statewide kickoff to Black History Month at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh!

Named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society, the 17th annual African American Cultural Celebration will feature musicians, storytellers, dancers, chefs, historians, playwrights, authors, artists, reenactors, and more!

#FreeToThePublic #AACC2018

Learn more on our website:

Philadelphia Museum Of Art Adds Work By Self-Taught Black Artists To Collection

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is expanding its collection with pieces of work created by Black artists, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

This institution is adding 24 new pieces of artwork across different mediums that were developed by self-taught Black southern artists. Among the pieces are steel structures created by Thornton Dial, a carpenter and steelworker who hailed from Bessemer, Alabama. His three pieces—which were created between the years of 1992 and 2004—capture his views surrounding slavery, racism, politics and other pressing issues within our country. The collection also includes more than a dozen intricate quilts created by generations of women from a small neighborhood outside of Selma. They were constructed between the years of 1930 and 2005.

According to the source, all of the pieces are from a vast collection of art compiled by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta. The organization is dedicated to preserving pieces created by Black artists from the South in efforts to illustrate how their work was intertwined in the fabric of Black history.

Leadership at the Philadelphia Museum of Art expressed humility at harboring the pieces as it introduces people to unsung narratives surrounding self-taught Black artists from the rural south. “I think it’s a spectacular addition to the collection and another piece to add to our growing holdings of work by self-taught artists,” Timothy Rub, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said in a statement. The work will allow individuals to learn more about the historical contributions that Black artists made to the larger landscape of American art, said Maxwell L. Anderson, Head of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. “Partnering with the PMA and a growing number of other museums will ensure that the work and history of these artists is accessible to a broad audience,” he said.

For generations, Black artists have used their craft as a way to express their views on racial issues. Last month, a South London-based digital artist reinterpreted Vincent van Gogh’s work with the faces of Black women to visually defy the stereotypes that society places on them.


London Artist Sprinkles #BlackGirlMagic On Vincent Van Gogh’s Paintings

Chicago Artist Celebrates Great Black Women, As He Should

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

‘When They Call You a Terrorist’: A Black Lives Matter leader details the life that turned her into an activist

Patrisse Khan-Cullors speaks during the New York Women’s Foundation’s celebrating women breakfast in May 2015. Standing with her are co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images/New York Women’s Foundation)

About US is a new initiative by The Washington Post to cover issues of identity in the United States. Look for the About US newsletter launching this winter.

They call Beyoncé “queen,” Michelle Obama “mom” and Oprah Winfrey “my president.” For socially conscious progressives in the age of Trump, black women are the answer to both racism and sexism, two societal ills dominating today’s identity politics.

But turning to black celebrities in the midst of a maelstrom can place undue pressure on these individuals to cleanly uproot centuries-old problems on their own.

None of this is lost on activist Patrisse Khan-Cullors, who co-founded Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.

“It takes centuries to counter a culture,” said Khan-Cullors in an interview with The Washington Post. “We should be critical about our desire to look at the most visible person to save the world.”

Ever since she became the first person to place a hashtag in front of “Black Lives Matter,” Khan-Cullors has been asked to speak for black people in a way she couldn’t anticipate. Not only is she expected to advocate the civil rights of black people who feel unfairly targeted by law enforcement, but she is also often asked to comment when other Black Lives Matter activists make controversial statements about law enforcement or white people.

While she couldn’t foresee the platform she has now, Khan-Cullors explains in her new memoir, “When They Call You A Terrorist,” how her life experiences prepared her for a career of advocacy.

Khan-Cullors grew up explaining her brother Monte Cullors’s mental illness to Los Angeles police who beat and arrested him for activity triggered by his schizophrenia. She eulogized her father, Gabriel Brignac, who died suddenly in a homeless shelter after years cycling in and out of jail on drug convictions. And as she developed a life of her own, Khan-Cullors guided black youth who, like her, shifted homes and relied on friends when family relations were strained.

The responsibilities Khan-Cullors absorbed as a sister, daughter and mentor are part of her role as a black woman, she writes. The burden was often heavier as a queer black woman in a Jehovah’s Witness household, but she carries it now on behalf of Monte, Gabriel and those whose names are now memorialized in hashtags.

“It is women who are out there, often with their children, calling for an end to police violence, saying, ‘We have a right to raise our children without fear,’ ” writes Khan-Cullors.

While celebrities are praised for imbuing pop culture with social messages — be it Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” or Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech — the work of activists themselves can often be overlooked.

When Black Lives Matter began gaining traction in 2014, celebrities such as actor Jesse Williams and National Basketball Association forward LeBron James were given a spotlight for speaking on behalf of the movement, while the work of Khan-Cullors and her co-founders often went uncredited.

And four years later, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, celebrities and activists were joined under the banner of the Time’s Up initiative at the 2018 Golden Globes ceremony. But to many, the work of activists such as Tarana Burke and Ai-Jen Poo was ultimately the sideshow to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

Now, although Black Lives Matter and her role in the movement have risen in profile, Khan-Cullors has noticed stories of police encounters with black Americans have largely centered on men.

“We don’t talk about what experience criminalization has on our bodies,” says Khan-Cullors, who in her memoir referenced Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd and other black women who died after violent police encounters.“We just become the vehicle to tell black men’s stories.”

Her concern echoes other black female writers such as Brit Bennett and Shani O. Hilton, who have critiqued narratives like Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between The World And Me” for their reluctance to highlight how black women are also vulnerable to sexual and physical violence.

When given a chance to present her story, Khan-Cullors marries memoir with manifesto. What happened to her personally has allowed her to grow politically — often in contradictory ways.

In “When They Call You A Terrorist,” she writes that even when her enslaved ancestors weren’t given resources to build their own futures, they “imagined her out of whole cloth.” Their dreams, she writes, are “the only way I am here today.” But even with her ancestors’ hopes, she states that being born in poverty meant she wasn’t expected to actually survive. She writes that black leaders — everyone from pastors to President Barack Obama — further exacerbated her family’s situation by emphasizing personal responsibility as the best solution to overcome hardship.

Today, as a college-educated author, Khan-Cullors celebrates the ways she’s overcome poverty and over-policing. But her successes are quickly followed by “survivor’s guilt” for being able to support her wife, Janaya “Future” Khan, and young son, Shine, while her mother and siblings struggle to access health care and juggle jobs.

While she is now recognized as a co-founder of a global movement, Khan-Cullors maintains that she does not want to control it, opting instead for a decentralized approach that spreads “like wildfire.”

Though the public is hungry for a singular answer to racism and sexism, Khan-Cullors seems to be at ease sharing all the reasons she can’t offer simple solutions. She is not America’s queen, mom or president.

“[Women] are forced to be super-caretakers; we are forced to be hypervigilant about our loved ones,” Khan-Cullors says. “[But] we have to be cared for, too. And part of caring is listening to our stories.”

More from About US:

What black men can learn from women’s struggles in the era of #MeToo 

The psychology behind women’s ‘old school’ thinking on sexual harassment and assault

‘I’m not black’: When a child rejects his racial identity, is home schooling the answer?

Richard Lynch And Rhonda Vincent Top Country Airplay Chart With “Back In Love Again”

Indie Country Music Hall of Fame artist, Richard Lynch and New Queen of Bluegrass, Rhonda Vincent have topped the country chart with “Back In Love Again.”

NASHVILLE, TN, UNITED STATES, January 20, 2018 / — Traditional country crooner and member of the Independent Country Music Hall of Fame, Richard Lynch is no stranger to chart-topping hits. His last 3 singles reached that pinnacle on multiple radio airplay charts, including New Music Weekly, Roots Music Report and IndieWorld Country Record Report. His hit, “We’re American Proud” was recently named the #1 Traditional Country Song of 2017 by Roots Music Report.

Reigning Queen of Bluegrass music, Rhonda Vincent is also very familiar with number one hits: her last 3 solo albums reached the top of the Billboard Bluegrass chart, earning her multiple accolades, including 3 Grammy award nominations.

Now, Richard Lynch and Rhonda Vincent have both earned another chart-topping record, together. Their duet, “Back In Love Again” is this week’s #1 New Music Weekly Internet Country Chart single! The toe-tapping song is also #10 on the AM/FM country chart. The track is taken from Richard’s award-winning, critically acclaimed album, “Mending Fences.”

Watch the music video for “Back In Love Again,” featuring “behind the scenes” studio footage at

Hailing from Waynesville, OH, Richard Lynch is an American country music artist who has compiled a long list of country hits and chart toppers in the world of traditional country music. His single, “A Better Place” topped the New Music Weekly AM/FM country chart, the IndieWorld Country Record Report, and spent an incredible 32 weeks atop the Roots Music Report True Country chart. His next single, “We’re American Proud” also topped the charts. His last release, “Cut and Paste” also reached Number One the airplay charts. Richard is a multiple-award-winning artist and a member of the Independent Country Music Hall of Fame. He is also the founder of Love Tattoo Foundation for veterans. Richard Lynch hosts “Traditionally Lynch,” currently airing on Cincinnati television stations.

Rhonda Lea Vincent is an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. In 2000, The Wall Street Journalproclaimed Vincent “the new Queen of Bluegrass”. Vincent is an in-demand guest vocalist for other bluegrass and country music performers, appearing on recordings by Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, Tanya Tucker, Joe Diffie and other notables. The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) accorded her its Female Vocalist of the Year award for the years 2000 – 2006, plus IBMA Entertainer of the Year in 2001. The Society for Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) designated her its Entertainer of the Year for 2002 – 2006 inclusive. She is a four-time Grammy Award Nominee.

Michael Stover
MTS Management Group
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Richard Lynch and Rhonda Vincent – Back In Love Again

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