“I don’t know if you can quote this, but this world is fucked,” says Carris Adams, program and exhibition manager for south-side cultural incubator Rebuild Foundation. Today that’s a widely held opinion because, well, Trump, but the fuckedness of the world has been the only thing black Americans have known since our transatlantic voyage.
“Black people need a place—whether it’s literature, film, art, or a physical space—where they can relax for a minute and be normal and not have people stare at them for being there,” Adams says. Cultural expression is a vital escape from a world systemically pitted against black folks. We’ve been forced to endure so much that we’ve mastered the craft of transmuting pain into creativity. It’s why our songs, poems, paintings, films, dances, hairstyles, and fashions have provided the backbone of so many art forms.
Solange Sun 7/16, 8:30 PM, Green Stage
It’s also why Solange Knowles isn’t just blowing into the Pitchfork Music Festival on Sunday night, singing a few songs, and going home. Like the black experience, she’s bigger than a stage and a microphone in Union Park. Her work spans mediums sonically, visually, and socially, and she’s parlayed her Pitchfork booking into a holistic weekend of uplifting blackness.
Solange decisively began her crusade to highlight the expansiveness of black cultural expression with the 2016 release of A Seat at the Table, and during Pitchfork she’s showcasing the work of black creatives through collaborations with her Saint Heron arts collective—two of them located on the south side, the historic epicenter of Chicago’s black cultural life. It’s her way of helping these artists claim their own seats at the table in hypersegregated Chicago.
On Thursday, Saint Heron collaborates with Black Cinema House and Black Radical Imagination for “Roll Back, Say That,” an artist talk and screening with filmmaker Frances Bodomo. And on Friday, Solange’s collective hosts a panel discussion with several poets and artists (including Pitchfork performer Jamila Woods) at Soho House Chicago. (The group appears to have pulled out of Saturday’s Silver Room Block Party aftershow at the Promontory.) At the Pitchfork festival itself, Saint Heron features the work of contemporary black art makers in an on-site installation that runs Friday through Sunday.
“Roll Back, Say That” with Frances Bodomo Black Cinema House, Black Radical Imagination, and Saint Heron present two screenings of Bodomo’s short films: Boneshaker, Everybody Dies!, and Afronauts. Bodomo gives a talk after the second screening. Thu 7/13, 6 and 8 PM, Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island, free with RSVP
“Roll Back, Say That” with Fatimah Asghar, Safia Elhillo, Eve L. Ewing, and Jamila Woods Saint Heron and Young Chicago Authors present a panel discussion hosted by Elaine Welteroth. Fri 7/14, 7:30 PM (doors at 6 PM), Soho House Chicago, 113 N. Green, free with RSVP
“The days of donating money to a white dude’s cause for black people—shaking hands and taking a pretty picture—are over,” Adams says. “It’s the beginning of future steps for celebrities and celebrity-adjacent people to really start taking stock in their communities a little bit differently. It’s one thing to donate dollars and no one knows that you’ve donated, and it’s another thing to create a collective that is actually having programming that’s tangible.”
Solange and her team weren’t available for interviews, and details of the various collaborations were still trickling out at publication time. The crew at the Promontory could provide a little info, though: venue manager Christina Mighty says Saint Heron will give the floor to emerging artists, including Dawn Richard, the former member of Danity Kane who also performs Friday afternoon on Pitchfork’s Blue Stage.
Mighty says the Promontory is inclusive—unlike some venues in the Loop and River North, it doesn’t exclude people with ridiculous and arguably racist dress codes. Its mission aligns closely with Saint Heron’s, and that’s why the collective chose it to host an event.
“We need a space to tell real stories and take control of our narrative as artists, as consumers of nightlife, as citizens of Chicago,” Mighty says. Solange and Saint Heron, she explains, “are kind of like a beacon letting people know that you can come here, view acts here, cut a rug, drink, and express yourself and be in good company with like-minded people.”
Solange is in tune with the beautiful black talent brewing in Chicago, and she and big sister Beyoncé have used their international stardom to bring local black artists to bigger stages. Last year Solange caught wind of the avant-garde braiding of Chicago native Shani Crowe, then wore her braided halo during a Saturday Night Live performance of “Cranes in the Sky.” Earlier in 2017, Saint Heron gave Crowe another boost with a live version of her 2016 photography exhibit “Braids,” in which she included Chicago model Imani Amos and clothes by Chicago designer Alex Carter. Beyoncé did the same for Chicago-based graffiti artist turned painter Hebru Brantley when she and Jay-Z spent thousands on his artwork in 2012.
Dwamina Drew, cofounder of socially conscious Chicago clothing brand Enstrumental, is a friend of Crowe and Brantley, and he thinks it speaks volumes when a major star invests in local black art. “I definitely tip my cap to Solange,” Drew says. “She seems to be one of those artists who’s consistent with the culture and not just cool with the culture.”
For Kenyatta Forbes, creator of the Trading Races card game, cultivating and sharing stories through art helps demonstrate that there isn’t only one way to be black. In her years as an educator, her students often questioned her blackness because of the way she dressed and talked. “There’s this learned experience of what blackness is at such a young age that boxes folks in,” Forbes says. “I was really interested in exploring but then debunking that.”
Chicago clothing designer Sheila Rashid feels the same way. She created the overalls that Chance the Rapper wore at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, and she says people are often thrown off when they learn that fact. “Being black, lesbian, and a woman, people don’t expect me to make the clothes that I make,” Rashid says. “My goal is to inspire, and whether people know who’s making the art or not, people who are into fashion will respect me because they see not only did I design it myself but I made it from scratch.”
Our city has been at the forefront of black American arts at least since the Chicago Black Renaissance, which produced the likes of Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Edouard Scott, Mahalia Jackson, and Katherine Dunham. In that spirit, designers such as Drew, Rashid, and husband-and-wife duo Brian and Autumn Merritt at Hyde Park’s Sir & Madame hope to continue evolving their culture.
“I do feel like we have a long way to go, but we’re on the right track. People see what Fat Tiger are doing, what Chance is doing, what Sir & Madame is doing, and what Leaders has done,” says Autumn Merritt. “I feel like this whole sense of cultural expression is only going to get greater—and it’ll have an effect on everyone, not just black culture.” v
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
In May 2015, Pablo Picasso’s 1955 painting Les Femmes d’Alge (Version ‘O’) made headlines when it fetched $179.4-million dollars at Christie’s in New York in under eight minutes. In the same year, South African artist Irma Stern’s The Arab in Black sold for $1.3-million after it was found being used as a kitchen notice board in London.
So, what makes some art so expensive?
When we talk about the value of art, people’s minds usually jump to the artists themselves: Who were they? What were they known for? Are they still alive?
Beyond the visual appeal and provenance of an artwork, a valuable artwork has social value attached to it, be it negative or positive.
Art is a reflection of the times. This year, the local art industry is ablaze with auction houses and galleries showcasing work that serves as a probe into the social and political landscape.
This month, Aspire Art Auction’s sale includes works of social and cultural value by exiled artists Dumile Feni and Louis Maqhubela, as well as a first for South Africa — a photograph of Marina Abramovic, who is described as the grandmother of performance art.
For those who are not familiar with Abramovic, she is the artist who whipped herself, sliced her stomach with razor blades and allowed viewers to threaten her with loaded weapons.
The story behind Feni’s Children under Apartheid (1987) is an interesting one. The charcoal drawing of dreary figures peering through thick prison bars was originally commissioned by the United Nations for a campaign to create awareness about child abuse in the United States and first exhibited in New York City.
Feni, whose work depicted the apartheid regime as oppressive and degrading, went into exile in the late 1960s, first to London and then to New York.
If an artist’s work is valued by their struggle alone, then Feni was a virtuoso bar none.
Justice Albie Sachs visited Feni in London during his exile and was appalled by the artist’s poor living conditions. “Dumile had a difficult life. I visited him in the basement where he lived. He slept on a mattress in a half-dark room with breathtaking black and white sketches of naked musicians against the bleak walls. He made beautiful clay models but could not scrape together the money to cast them in bronze.”
He used the UN commission to draw attention to the social conditions of the disenfranchised in South Africa. After being exhibited in the US, Children under Apartheid fell off the radar, but now has finally returned to South Africa. It is estimated to fetch between R800 000 and R1.2-million. Feni’s repatriated work forms part of Aspire’s curatorial title “Neglected Traditions”, the work of South African artists whose life under apartheid led them to cultural, social and economic exclusion.
Cape Town-born artist Peter Clarke is well known for his depictions of South Africans’ social and political experiences. Even though Clarke’s paintings appear to convey a more pastoral existence, it speaks of his family’s experience as coloured people dealing with forced removal and the Group Areas Act in the 1960s. His Figures on a Path is estimated to fetch between R300 000 and R500 000.
Although the general value of art to society has long been granted, the specific contributory factors are nearly impossible to pin numerical value to, and this is evident in the secondary art market.
Marilyn Martin, curator and former director of the Iziko South African National Museum, questions the integrity of the “neglected” label. “There will always be neglected traditions and artists — fashion changes and the market is fickle; this applies to all artists, not only those we pigeon-hole as ‘neglected’.”
Maggie Laubser’s Landscape with Huts Tree Figure Cow and a Bird is set to fetch for more than double that of Figures on a Path, with an estimated value of between R1-million and R1.5-million. The artwork, set in the same period as Clarke’s artwork, exemplifies the disparity between the “value” of black artist’s work versus that of their white counterparts.
To understand this disparity, we have to acknowledge the complex and often unpredictable context in which this art exists, as well as develop some of our thinking about how these values operate.
Martin goes on to state that “Maqhubela and Clarke have had major retrospectives, with publications devoted to their work. They are indeed valued and have been for a long time.”
If this is true, then how could their works sell for a fraction of what an Irma Stern, or a Maggie Laubser goes for at auction?
Laubser’s rural scenes are breathtaking, and her ground-breaking expressionistic style contributed greatly to the artistic landscape genre in South Africa. From a purely aesthetic perspective, Laubser’s Landscape with Hut is worth its weight in gold. But, in a strictly societal context, it does little to instantiate the narratives of its time the way Figures on a Path speaks of displacement, forced removal and the woes of ethnic minorities under apartheid.
How does one place a rand value on an issue that affected so many people and is still so relevant today? How can we then compare one artist’s depiction of pain to another artist’s landscape, when their lived realities were so different but equally true?
In The Economics of Aesthetics and Record Prices for Art since 1701, Christophe Spaenjers writes: “The paradox of the art market is that objects created for personal and contemplative aesthetic enjoyment are connected to the broader social fabric through an economic transaction.’’
Yes, the social value of a work of art is in part a philosophical assertion that cannot be measured in numbers, but it is something we battle with when the only way we really know how to appreciate something is by knowing how much it costs.
And although not everyone can or will cherish the effect that artists such as Feni, Clarke and George Pemba have had socially and historically, their value and influence should be acknowledged, and not just by sticking on a hefty auction price tag.
With regards to “fixing” the disparities in the art world, the South African art market has made progress. One of Maqhubela’s rare drawings from the mid-1960s recently sold for R300 000, way above the estimate. On this note, Martin agrees. “Much has been done by many over decades. Such work needs to continue and will never be completed. We are all responsible for what happens.”
This article was independently written and sponsored by Mary Corrigall Art Consultancy in partnership with Aspire Art Auction
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
In his college days, Rich Madaleno had dreams of working for the CIA or the NSA. But they quickly faded after he was told by other students that a person couldn’t get security clearance if they were gay.
“While I wasn’t out publicly at that time in the mid-’80s, I knew who I was,” he says. “I remember a friend coming back from their interview and you had to have a lie detector test, which actually asked about being gay and having slept with people of the same gender. So I had to recalibrate what I was going to do with my career.”
He dove into domestic politics, spending six years in the Maryland state legislature as a budget analyst, before moving on to Montgomery County’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations.
He wanted more. So, in 2002, Madaleno ran for and won a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for four years, before running for the Maryland State Senate in 2006, where he found that being gay didn’t matter.
“I had a slightly different experience than some others in a similar situation in other offices around the country, because I had spent time working in Annapolis,” he says. “People knew me. So I already had a reputation going into the legislature as a thoughtful, serious thinker who knew a tremendous amount about the fiscal policy of the state. I wasn’t going in the door as ‘the gay one from Montgomery County.’”
Madaleno’s private life, meanwhile, followed somewhat of an ideal course. He met his husband, Mark, then a pediatric nurse, in 1999 after they were set up by friends. Their first date, at a coffee shop on a Friday night, turned into a four-hour conversation. Two days later, unbeknownst to each other, both men participated in AIDS Walk in Washington, D.C.
“I came up the escalator at the Smithsonian Metro station to check in and I walked right into him,” says Madaleno. “We wound up spending the whole walk talking and sharing the experience.”
After the walk, they went out to dinner.
“I remember…him asking me that very first night if I was interested in having children.”
Two years later, they married. In 2003, when the couple adopted a daughter. Four years later, they adopted a boy.
“I’ll say we’ve been married for coming up on 16 years and people will say, ‘Oh, where did you get married? Did you get married in Canada?’ And I say, ‘No, we got married in our church in Bethesda,’” says Madaleno. “Did we have a marriage license at the time? No. But that didn’t make it any less of a marriage and a commitment. And that was part of the theme that I used through the whole debate over relationship recognition, and then on to marriage equality: we are married. We are married in the eyes of our friends, of our family, of our church. The government just has to catch up to our reality.”
Madaleno is committed to helping the government in that effort, and potentially from a higher office than ever before. After years of being mentioned as a possible candidate, he’s jumped into the fray for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican governor Larry Hogan in November 2018. Even though he must first fight off five fellow Democrats — including Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, and Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP — Madaleno’s sights are squarely focused on critiquing the popular incumbent. He regularly attempts to dispel the image of Hogan as a “moderate,” linking him to national Republicans like President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, all of whom are unpopular political figures in the Democratic-leaning Maryland.
Hogan’s current approval rating, which hovers in the low-60s, is built upon a house of sand, argues Madaleno. When asked if they would re-elect Hogan in a race against a generic Democrat, the governor’s lead shrinks to four points.
“A third of the people who said they thought he was doing a good job thought that there was someone who could do a better job,” notes Madaleno.
“That someone is me.”
METRO WEEKLY: Let’s start with your background. Where did you grow up.
RICH MADALENO: I’m an only child. My parents are from the Jersey Shore, and wound up in the area for work after their college experience. I had the good fortune for them to settle in Silver Spring when I was three and to have lived in the area ever since.
MW:Where did you go to school?
MADALENO: I started in the Montgomery County Public Schools. My parents got married very young, they had me right away in the mid-’60s and realized they were in a boatload of financial trouble as a result. I grew up in a community where, when I had some significant speech problems and my parents were worried I would never talk because I had an impediment, I was able to get services to the Montgomery County Public Schools through third grade. It helped me overcome those challenges and put me on a path to doing what I’m able to do now. Because I think, arguably, with an impediment, with limited language skills, I would not be able to pursue a career in public service.
For high school, instead of public school, I wound up going to Georgetown Prep, in what would now be considered North Bethesda. And then for college, I went to Syracuse University for both undergrad and grad school.
MW:When did you realize you were gay?
MADALENO: I would say high school, but there was also a very confusing experience having gone to an all-male high school. I kind of chalked it up to, “Well, I’m just around boys all day long. Once I get to a co-ed environment, everything will change.”
MW:When did you realize that it was more than environmental?
MADALENO: Well, the first person I told was my freshman year of college.
MW:When did you finally come out to your family?
MADALENO: That took a long time. I remember saying to myself early in college that I wasn’t going to come out to my family until I was both financially and emotionally independent, so that if the worst-case scenario happened, I would be okay. I was financially dependent upon them in college and I was afraid of being cut off, and having to drop out of school, and some of the horror stories that I think were more prevalent [at that time].
And then, just as I was at that point of coming out, that’s when the AIDS epidemic hit the public consciousness. And I think for so many people, being gay meant also, by default, being HIV-positive, so that delayed things. I told younger relatives much earlier than I told my parents. That was a big mistake, waiting as long as I did, in hindsight. I shut them out of my life for too long.
MW:Were your parents traditional or conservative?
MADALENO: Through that period, they were both what I would describe as Northeastern Libertarian Republicans. They were very comfortable with Republican politicians like Connie Morella and the first George Bush. My father had spent time in the military. [Being gay] was something that was not talked about, embraced, or common, to the degree that it is now.
MW:What made you decide to run for office?
MADALENO: The ability to do good for a vast number of people. I do believe that we all have a responsibility to work towards improving the world around us. I think part of the human experience is making sure that you leave your community — whether that is the few members of your family, your larger community, the country, the world — a better place than when you came into it. I’ve always viewed public service and elected office as the best avenue for me to do that, to work to make life better for our community and our state and the people who will follow us.
Richard Madaleno – Photo: Todd Franson
MW:Why have you now opted to run for governor?
MADALENO: For a variety of reasons. One, I think our state is not moving in the right direction. The way I look at it is, change is inevitable but growth is optional. Maryland simply is not growing in any sort of meaningful way that’s positioning ourselves to be a prosperous community for the 21st century, and without bold leadership from the governor, the state simply isn’t going to make progress.
When I looked around at some of the issues that I cared about, and I looked around for candidates that I thought would be able to carry the mantle and make progress on the things that I care about, I couldn’t find them, and just came to the conclusion of, “All right, if these are the issues that you think are important and these are the issues that you think the people of Maryland should be having a conversation [about], then instead of trying to find someone else to do that, maybe you should just step up and do it.”
When I looked around at the other candidates in the Democratic field, no one has the depth of experience at state issues that I have. Maybe the public’s view of experience amongst political candidates is starting to shift after our Maryland experience with Larry Hogan and our national experience with Donald Trump. Maybe this fascination for the outsider to come in and change everything when they don’t have experience and they don’t have relationships actually isn’t the way to make progress.
The way to make progress is to elect somebody, just like you would elevate somebody in other fields, who has knowledge and experience in the field, has relationships with people. One that can actually start from day one in making progress.
Governor Hogan is always fond of saying as an aside, “I had to submit my first budget my second day in office.” I’ve been working on the state budget for years, so it’s not going to be a problem for me. I think I have unparalleled experience and a record of accomplishment through the legislative process. I have, as a legislator now for fifteen years, fought my way up the ladder, engaged in the process, and managed to succeed in helping moving our state forward, whether it’s been equality for LGBT individuals, or improving educational outcomes for young people in Maryland, improving transportation options, expanding health care, making sure that hungry children get fed at a rate higher in Maryland, or attacking poverty.
All of these things I have led on, and to me, the governor sets the agenda in a state like Maryland. Our constitution reserves a lot of power for our governor. It’s often seen as one of, if not the most, powerful gubernatorial offices in the country because of the amount of powers that are granted to our governor.
MW: What makes Maryland unique in terms of the power that the governor has?
MADALENO: Maryland has a series of state constitutional provisions that govern how we set our fiscal policy, one of which is — and this is unique — the governor proposes a budget and the legislature can only reduce it on a line-item basis. We can’t move money around. We can’t subtract a million from this program and put a million into that program. All we can do is make a reduction. There’s a little give and take where our governor is actually given the authority to amend the budget during the process, and more or less automatically amend the budget without the approval of the legislature, so that not only do you submit the budget as governor, you have power to alter the budget.
If you come back with an untethered Larry Hogan, untethered from public opinion in his second term, he can devastate public education in a way that the legislature would have a hard time countering. He could devastate the safety net in a way that we couldn’t counter. These are enormous consequences. In other states, at least the legislature has more authority to fight back.
MW: What do you say to those critics — and there are many of them out there — who say, “If the state isn’t progressing enough, then why should we elect a Democrat, because Democrats control the legislature”?
MADALENO: That’s funny, because in a majority of the states where there is one-party control by the Republicans, they’re doing everything in their power to use every trick in the playbook to disenfranchise Democratic voters. It is humorous that they talk the bipartisan game, and then try to undermine it as quickly as possible.
To me, we were making progress in Maryland. Look at the way we have changed the reputation of our public schools, top to bottom. We pushed ourselves all the way to the top of the rankings for our public schools, the national rankings with other states. We have dramatically increased the affordability for public higher education in the state. We were amongst the most expensive public systems, and we’ve fallen all the way down into the upper half of the states for affordability.
We were making progress as Democrats when we controlled everything. We did a very poor job of explaining that progress, and demonstrating to the public what we were doing and why. I think in the 2014 election, we ran against our record. I don’t know why. When you look at the turnout numbers, Anthony Brown got more than 200,000 fewer votes than Martin O’Malley did in 2010. Those voters didn’t switch sides and vote for Larry Hogan, because Hogan only upped his vote total over Bob Ehrlich from four years earlier by 70,000. There are just a whole bunch of Democrats, especially in the Washington area, that did not show up to vote.
MW:Why do you think that is?
MADALENO: We did not do a good enough job to go out and give people a reason to show up to vote. We thought that our record was strong enough that people would just be appreciative and show up and vote for us. We failed to motivate our voters. You’ve got to ask people to vote. I think there was a lot of a sense of the polls were so strong, there wasn’t much we had to do in order to win the general election. I think we took a lot for granted.
MW:Larry Hogan is very popular, and most Marylanders think he’s doing a good job, according to recent polls. How do you run against the guy everybody likes?
MADALENO: I think that the political ground that he is on is shifting tremendously. Trump’s election and the Republican initiatives coming out of Congress, Hogan’s silence on those issues, his desire to hide from anything controversial in the state or in Congress, no matter how critical it might be to the people of Maryland, I think all of those things are starting to diminish the advantages that you laid out.
There is a case to be made that with the changes that are happening in Capitol Hill, with the responsibilities that could be turned over to the state government, do you want Larry Hogan to be the one making these decisions?
If the Republicans manage to pass the Un-American Health Care Act and devolve a bunch of rules and regulations to the states, do you want Larry Hogan to be making a decision about whether or not simply being a woman is a pre-existing condition? When Larry Hogan, on his third day in office, proposed eliminating the in-state program we have to provide low-income women the opportunity to get access through the state Medicaid program to prenatal care?
He wanted to end the program and said, “Well, you know, those women are eligible for the health benefit exchanges through the Affordable Care Act. They should be able to get insurance through the private market,” which sounded like a credible Republican position to have, except he didn’t recognize that under federal law, pregnancy is not considered a “life-changing event,” unlike getting a new job or getting married. So unless you were smart enough to get pregnant during open enrollment, so you could then sign up for insurance, you were out of luck.
Those are the issues that we have to put before the voters in the primary and the general election and say, “There are some very difficult issues that are coming down the pike. What sort of leader do you want making those decisions?”
MW:Do you see yourself serving as a sort of firewall to the Trump administration, and to what extent?
MADALENO: I do think we need a governor in the state of Maryland, who is going to be a forceful advocate for the people of Maryland, the needs of the residents of Maryland. [That includes] fighting aggressively against the shortsighted Trump budget proposals that would do enormous economic damage to the state of Maryland, because of the unusually high percentage of our workforce that is tied to the federal government, whether directly as employers or as consultants. This is a huge economic concern for the state, because the federal government is by far our single biggest employer in the state. There are enormous stakes in Washington, in Congress, with whatever budget moves forward.
We need a governor who is going to be aggressive at fighting for the interests of the state of Maryland, and that’s going to be me. We need a governor who is going to stand up and protect the enormous progress that we have made in the state of Maryland on expanding access to health care. That has primarily been through the expansion of Medicaid that the Obama administration and Congress passed with the Affordable Care Act.
To potentially have all of that reversed is immoral for those people who would lose coverage, and costly for the rest of us. We would wind up having to pay significantly more for insurance, at a minimum, because the cost of hospital stays will go up due to large uncompensated care costs for hospitals. People will stay sick. When you take health insurance away from people, they don’t magically become better and healthy. They wind up often becoming less healthy and then going to the most expensive providers — emergency room — for all of their care when they are sicker and require more expensive treatment.
It’s bad for all of our pocketbooks. It’s bad for the health of the community. It’s bad for the economy, because of the important role that the medical field plays, the healthcare field plays, in Maryland, and yet [Hogan] remains silent on the sidelines, unlike many of his other Republican colleagues, who are out there very aggressively speaking up for protecting Medicaid expansion.
MW:We’ve recently seen other states, including New Jersey and Delaware, shut down over budget clashes. Why do you think we’re seeing this trend?
MADALENO: You’re seeing it at the state level because the national Republican leadership has been able to restrict so much money, cut out so much money that was helping states survive, that states are now left more on their own to deal with each one of their fiscal situations. You’ve got so many different interests that are competing for limited resources, and as a result, it can be hard to come to consensus, especially when you’ve got one party that has decided that they benefit from an angry, pessimistic electorate more so than one that feels and appreciates the direction that the government is going in. It is a consequence of decades of Republican leadership purposefully undermining people’s confidence in government.
MW:What’s your reaction Chris Christie’s comments after he went on the beach during the New Jersey shutdown? Essentially he said that “If you want to be on the beach or be in the residence, then run for governor.”
MADALENO: The whole situation was really inconceivable from a successful politician. I was shocked, because it was such bad judgment from someone who managed to get into his second term as a Republican in a traditional heavily Democratic state. It just seemed amazingly, at a minimum, tone deaf, and just so disrespectful of the working people of New Jersey who were being deprived of their own opportunity to enjoy the beach. It just reeked of elitism.
When you look back at Christie’s election and reelection, many people were saying he was the most vibrant governor in America. Look what transpired in New Jersey, because the pivot became, “What’s next?” It’s going to be, “How do I set myself up for being a Republican on the national stage?” God knows, you’re going to see the same thing with Larry Hogan. You’re going to see the real, conservative Larry Hogan come out as he tries to position himself for whatever’s next.
That’s going to be incredibly disappointing to the people of Maryland, just like it’s been incredibly disappointing and damaging for the people of New Jersey. If there is a cautionary tale for the voters of Maryland, it is, “Look at the second term of Chris Christie, because that is our future if Larry Hogan is given a second term.”
MW:If you win, you’ll become the first openly gay man to be elected governor of a state, and likely asked to prioritize the issues of the LGBTQ community. How do you balance the needs of the LGBTQ community with the needs of the broader electorate?
MADALENO: I think it would be in much the same manner that I’ve accomplished it over the last 15 years as a legislator. It is recognizing that I, just like any other elected official from a minority group, say a Latino, an African-American, a woman, whatever you want to say across the board where it’s a non-straight white male. You have that additional responsibility to fight for those issues. You bring a level of understanding and depth to the table that other people don’t necessarily have.
MW:Some people might accuse you of funnelling money to LGBTQ causes over others. How do you balance competing budgetary concerns?
MADALENO: You make the right decisions. There are always going to be large segments of the population that believe you’re favoring X over Y, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican. That is part and parcel of the partisan environment that we live in and our politics. I don’t think it’s anything different than it was 200 years ago in our state or our country, except that it’s magnified because of modern communications and the digital world we live in. Other than that, there have always been those misperceptions.
I will continue as I have been, to be a responsible steward of the public purse, demand efficiency and effectiveness out of our state government, but also be aggressive trying to improve the lives of the people that live in Maryland. Whether that is being aggressive at making sure we are treating people dealing with substance abuse issues like heroin, we need to be doing that. Whether it’s being aggressive at dealing with the root causes of substance abuse, we should be doing that. Whether it’s being aggressive about making sure young trans kids have the opportunity to have a successful educational career so that they can grow up to be happy and successful adults, we all have an interest in that, and we would all benefit from that.
That is fiscally responsible and morally right thing to do.
Part of it is standing up and defending our positions. It’s one of the reasons I want to run. I have felt like, as a Democrat, we have been unwilling to embrace the fight for the values that we believe in. We want to help, for example, trans Marylanders, but we are fearful of having the debate, so we hide when it comes to those issues. We need leaders who are going to stand up and embrace their record and explain to the public why we’re doing the things that we’re doing and why it’s the right thing to do.
The Maryland Democratic primary for all state offices, including governor, will be held on June 26, 2018. The general election is on Nov. 6, 2018. For more information on Rich Madaleno’s campaign, visit facebook.com/richardmadaleno.
… the AfricanAmerican Gun Heritage Club, the Minnesota chapter of National AfricanAmerican Gun … racial justice activists. A 2013“Racism, Gun Ownership, and Gun Control … keep a firearm at home. BlackAmericans overall and Democrats, the groups … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News
In the aftermath of reports that the Republican-led General Assembly did not appropriate $200,000 proposed by Governor Roy Cooper for the long planned Freedom Monument project to honor Black contributions to North Carolina history, comes word that the State Senate actually cut funding to the NC African American Heritage Commission, a part of the NC Dept. of Resources, in effect attempting to cripple the commission going forward.
Speaking on behalf of the NC Legislative Black Caucus about the General Assembly’s failure to fund the Freedom Monument, planning for which began under Republican Governor Pat McCrory at least as far back as 2015, Senator Angela Bryant (D-Halifax), in addressing the current status of the project, revealed what Senate Republicans initially did.
“While funding for the monument was a priority for the Legislative Black Caucus, we were not successful in securing funding this cycle. Instead, we were relegated to fighting to continue the staffing for the African American Heritage Commission, which was cut in the Senate Budget and restored in the House Budget and the final conference report.”
Senator Bryant later went on, saying that there is no connection between “…the funding for the Civil War Center in Fayetteville (for which the conference report shows a $5 million appropriation – 25 times the $200,000 for the Freedom Monument that was not appropriated) and the African American Freedom Monument.”
“The Civil War Center is a local economic development project with relatively broad support from the Fayetteville local government and community,” Senator Bryant added.
According to the Winston-Salem based primary fundraiser for the Civil War Center, of the approximately $27 million raised for its construction, funding came from Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and now $5 million from State government.
About $7 million of the total comes from private funds.
“We need to develop a similar constituency of support for the African American Freedom Monument and secure the needed funding in the upcoming short session (which according to published reports may be August and September), Senator Bryant said.
“The Legislative Black Caucus will continue to focus on the Freedom Monument project as a priority, including an update on all efforts – design, fundraising, advisory efforts and efforts of the Dept. of Cultural Resources,” Bryant continued.
“We do need to move it forward.”
Michelle Lanier, Director of the NC African American Heritage Commission, was not available for comment, but a spokesperson for the commission confirmed that, without the $200,000 appropriation from the legislature, the planning and design for the project cannot go forward. Furthermore, according to the spokesperson, there is no Plan B for private funding.
Thus far, neither House Speaker Tim Moore nor Senate President Pro-tem Phil Berger has responded to inquiries as to why the Freedom Monument was not funded in the final conference report.
“This was negotiated after the full [committee] chairs finished all the budget work that was asked of us,” said Representative Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), one of the budget committee members.
“I’m troubled that Republican legislative leaders neglected to fund an African American heritage monument on State Capitol grounds,” Governor Cooper said in a statement.
“My Republican colleagues have once again decided to ignore the history of the people they serve. I hope that we are able to find common ground to fund a project that is long overdue,” Senator Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) added.
“These mean spirited actions are just two of the many reasons that I voted against the budget in all of its iterations,” added Representative Amos Quick (D-Guiford).
“The Republicans presented no budget that I could vote for. The fact that there is a failure to recognize the significant and vital contributions of African Americans to this State should motivate voters who care about these matters to vote a difference in the upcoming elections,” Representative Quick said.
He added that whether a three judge panel orders special elections for this year or in the upcoming 2018 special elections, “We must vote the Republicans out of office!”
… ;s bigotry and racism. It is the bigotry, racism and oppression that … that while leadership within the AfricanAmerican community remains conspicuously silent regarding … , it appears that a progressive blackAmerican foreign policy agenda and consensus … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News
While traveling abroad in Rome with her boyfriend Karl Glusman, actress and singer Zoe Kravitz posted a picture of herself posing next to graffiti that featured a quote by Jean-Michel Basquiat. It was the well-known statement of “I am not a black artist, I am an artist.” To drive the point home that she agreed with the quote and didn’t want to be seen as just the Black actress as opposed to an actress, she shared examples of other times she felt it wouldn’t be necessary to speak about things in the context of race:
While her comments seemed harmless, they garnered a mixed reaction from her followers and people who believed that by saying not everything should be about race, she was in some way rejecting or denying her Blackness.
“But she’s going to play a black actress and get these black dollars from these black people,” one critic wrote.
“Zoe Kravitz likes being black when it’s convenient for her,” said another.
“Can somebody tell me what art Zoe Kravitz even makes that apparently transcends blackness?” another remarked.
The backlash in comment form was enough to motivate the Big Little Lies actress to take down the post from her Instagram page. In replacement, she put up a photo of a picture of Basquiat, originally using the caption, “Ya’ll are a trip.” But she edited her caption and left us with a period and the hashtag #artisart.
A post shared by Zoë Kravitz (@zoeisabellakravitz) on Jul 13, 2017 at 9:28am PDT
But were her comments really that wild?
I think we would all agree that when it comes to our professional lives, we don’t want to be known as just a Black writer, or accountant or musician or athlete or whatever else there is under the sun. When it comes to talents, we want to be known for that. I think what Kravitz attempted to say (hopefully) was that she wants to be seen as an actress who is Black. That doesn’t mean she’s not proud of it, it just means that she believes and is correct in saying there is more to her than that.
Still, she is just bubbling up in the mainstream and not necessarily Meryl Streep in terms of experience or “art.” And not to mention that sometimes it is important to be proudly note yourself as a Black artist, because there are people who like to act as though they “don’t see color.” All in all, it’s an important part of who we as Black folks, but it’s not the only part.
But hey, it’s not the first time comments made by Kravitz about race have left people with a weird taste in their mouths. Earlier this year she told Allure about the journey it was to feel comfortable identifying as a Black woman when she grew up around so many White people, including those who made her feel like she was an “other.”
“I am definitely mixed,” she said. “Both my parents are mixed. I have white family on both sides. The older I get, the more I experience life, I am identifying more and more with being black, and what that means — being more and more proud of that and feeling connected to my roots and my history.”
“It’s been a really interesting journey because I was always one of the only black kids in any of my schools,” Kravitz continued. “I went to private schools full of white kids. I think a lot of that made me want to blend in or not be looked at as black. The white kids are always talking about your hair and making you feel weird. I had this struggle of accepting myself as black and loving that part of myself. And now I’m so in love with my culture and so proud to be black. It’s still ongoing, but a big shift has occurred. My dad especially has always been very connected to his history, and it’s important to him that I understand where I come from.”
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
Sometimes Black Americans are accused of making false statements of discrimination. However, in the world of Donald Trump, there seems to be a world of truth in the demonstration of discrimination. We should start with the Trump administration working with the former Kansas Secretary of State trying to gather the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other identifying information of every American voter.
On its face, this action speaks of voter suppression even though it is being promoted as trying to ferret out voter fraud. The facts are that there is almost NO voter fraud in this country. The fact is that if this action is passed they will forward the rules that were designed to promote voter suppression, and Black folks in Southern states primarily will be negatively impacted.
In the June 25, 2017, New York Times, on page 10, the paper printed and published a page entitled, “Trump’s Lies”. It is a full broadsheet page of lies Donald Trump has told. The page starts with Trump saying, “I didn’t want to go to Iraq.” He then goes on to say that he holds the record for being on the cover of Time magazine. In fact, he was on the cover only 11 times. Richard Nixon was on it 55 times. Others were on the cover more than 11 times. On January 23, 2017 he claimed that between 3 million and 5 million people voted illegally causing him to lose the popular vote. The crowd was massive. There was no evidence for either Trump allegation.
The Times points out that the political rise of Donald Trump was built on a lie, starting with the birthplace of President Barack Obama in Kenya, East Africa, rather than the American state of Hawaii.
Undermining the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election, his election as President of the U.S. seems to be the motivating force behind the peculiar actions of the Trump Presidency. This guy is the biggest liar we have ever had in the Presidency.
Black America has had to live with lies from the halls of American Power. Emmit Till, Martin Luther King, Mississippi NAACP President Medgar Evers, and thousands more have lived and died for far less than what Trump has done, for instance Thomas Jefferson and his Black maid, Sally Hemming, and their mulatto children.
The truth is that history has caught up with White male privilege. Cities like Flint, Michigan and men like Donald Trump whose source of legitimate wealth is questionable. The plan to set up a joint security program with Russia was heart stopping to experts. And yet Donald Trump thought it was brilliant. It was so stupid it died in 12 hours.
The other stupid moves are happening so fast that you can’t keep up. His son admits to meeting with Russian lawyers to discover weaknesses in the Clinton plan while she was running against Donald Trump. His plan to support a health care plan that would kick nearly 22 million Americans off of Medicaid because “he promised” to get rid of Obamacare.
Words like treason, impeachment and replacing him with the Vice President under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution are being uttered. The 25 Amendment says, in effect, that if the President is found to be incapable to perform as President the Vice President should replace him…till he gets better.
In my opinion Trump should be replaced by anyone who is sane and not in the ofﬁce to make more money for his family and I think, like Trump that is what he’s there for. What if he and or his people could just get hold of the Oil in Iraq, Syria, or anywhere in the world? I agree with Senator Rubio from Florida when he said Donald Trump is a con man. The Australian leader, following the G 20 Summit said, “Trump had neither the desire nor capacity to lead the world.” I agree with that too!
“Resolution for Justice and Dignity:” Shorewood Village Board passes sanctuary resolution
SHOREWOOD — The Shorewood Village Board of Trustees has passed a new sanctuary resolution backing an expectation that the village proactively address incidents of discrimination, harassment and violation of civil rights.
It is called the “Resolution for Justice and Dignity” — embracing people of any race, religion, national origin, immigration status or sexual orientation.
The resolution is backed by groups like Voces de la Frontera and the Shorewood Solidarity Network.
Members said they hope to see other communities, including Milwaukee, adopt similar resolutions to push back against unconstitutional, discriminatory and anti-family practices.
Voces de la Frontera has issued this statement:
“On Wednesday, Shorewood Villlage Trustees and community members held a press conference to discuss Shorewood’s new sanctuary resolution, passed unanimously by the Shorewood Village Board of Trustees on Monday. The Resolution for Justice and Dignity declares the village will stand against discrimination and defend the constitutional rights of people under attack from the Trump Administration, including immigrants, LGBTQ people, Muslims, African-Americans, women, and others.
Shorewood’s actions come as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has approved new Milwaukee Police Department policies that allow MPD officers to investigate immigration status at anytime, and that force officers to call ICE directly if they detain someone they think is an immigrant. Mayor Barrett and the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission can still rescind the policies. Voces de la Frontera members will hold a rally at 5pm at City Hall on Thursday, July 13th, before attending the 5:30 meeting of the Fire and Police Commission.
“The Shorewood Police Department is committed to providing law enforcement services to the community with due regard for the racial, cultural or other differences of those served,” said Shorewood Chief of Police Peter Nimmer in a statement he provided before Wednesday’s press conference. “It is the policy of this department to provide law enforcement services and to enforce the law equally and fairly without discrimination toward any individual or group. Race, ethnicity or nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, economic status, age, cultural group, immigration status, disability or affiliation with any other similar identifiable group shall not be used as the basis for providing differing levels of law enforcement service or the enforcement of the law.” Village Trustee Tammy Bockhorst read Chief Nimmer’s statement at the press conference after delivering her own remarks.
“We elected officials owe it to our residents to ensure they feel respected, are safe, and have opportunities to thrive,” said Shorewood Village Trustee Tammy Bockhorst. “I am proud that the Shorewood Board of Trustees unanimously voted to pass the Resolution for Justice and Dignity. I hope that through our combined action we can encourage other communities to take similar action that pushes back against the unconstitutional, discriminatory and anti-family practices threatened by the the federal government that can lead to unnecessary tensions between police and the community. We believe that families should stick together, that we should look out for each other, and that hard work should be rewarded. I look forward to working with Voces and the Shorewood Solidarity Network to ensure that our community continues to welcome aspiring Americans.”
“It feels great to know that the village has adopted a resolution that aims to protect me,” said Voces de la Frontera member Alejandra Gonzalez, an undocumented college student who works as a nanny in Shorewood. “We applaud the leadership of the Shorewood Village Board of Trustees in standing with communities threatened by the Administration. In the City of Milwaukee, Mayor Barrett recently followed Trump’s approach and approved a new policy that forces Milwaukee police officers to inform ICE if they detain someone who is an immigrant. I hope Mayor Barrett can follow Shorewood’s example and rescind this anti-immigrant policy.”
“Extreme poverty pushed my parents to take the risk and bring their children to unknown lands for the sake of giving us a better life,” continued Gonzalez. “Their efforts are reflected in the careers my brother and I have chosen. He’s currently serving our country overseas, and I attend Alverno College and plan to advocate for accessible health care after graduation. Thank you to the Village Board of Trustees and to the people of Shorewood and the organizations like Shorewood Solidarity Network and Voces that made this victory possible. My story is not unique, and we will continue to advocate for immigrants and other marginalized community members in our city.”
Now an independent company, Haunted Basement has found a new home in, where else, an old basement. After parting ways with the Soap Factory earlier this year, having spent 10 years at the bottom of those scary stairs, it went in search of somewhere else suitable for its particular brand of entertainment. (Think nightmare, except you’re awake.) The team found what they were looking for in the basement of Building No. 9 at 2010 East Hennepin Ave., a 14-building campus that was once a General Mills Research Facility, where scientists no doubt conducted pernicious experiments on cereal. “We have options here we’ve never had before,” HB wrote in a news release. Including the opportunity for year-round programming: performances, workshops, special events, exhibitions, movie nights and parties. But first: Year 11 of the actual Haunted Basement. Tickets go on sale Aug. 1.
More news from the horror front: On Monday, July 17, the Twin Cities Horror Festival will hold a fundraiser called the Seven Deadly Sins Soiree. The tickets are so reasonable and it sounds like so much fun that we’re going to tell you about it. Along with announcing the lineup for TCHF VI , they’ll present several guest performances, each illustrating one of the capital vices. The program looks like this: School for Girls (Lust), Savage Umbrella (Sloth), Joe Bozic (Wrath), Jenn Schaal (Pride), Artemis (Greed), Mike Fotis (Gluttony) and Leslie Vincent (Envy). There will also be the usual fundraiser shenanigans like a silent auction and photo booth. At the A-Mill Artist Lofts Performance Space (315 Main St. SE). Doors at 6:30 p.m., performance at 7:30. Tickets $15 advance/20 door. Reserve here.
Sarah Hicks and Kevin Puts are staying put
Earlier this week, the Minnesota Orchestra announced that Music Director Osmo Vänskä had extended his contract through 2021-22. On Wednesday, it followed that good news with more. Sarah Hicks, principal conductor of the orchestra’s Live at Orchestra Hall series, has extended her contract through the 2020-21 season, and Kevin Puts, director of the Composer Institute, has extended his through 2019-20.
Hicks signed on as assistant conductor in 2006, the first woman ever to hold a titled conducting post with the orchestra. She leads many concerts each season and oversees the artistic planning for all Live at Orchestra Hall performances. She’ll lead the orchestra twice this weekend in two programs, “Star Trek Live” tonight (Thursday, July 13) and tomorrow, and “Inside the Classics: Dvorak’s Seventh Symphony” on Saturday.
Puts, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer for the opera “Silent Night” (which was commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera), has directed the orchestra’s Composer Institute for three years. Offered annually in conjunction with the American Composers Forum (which is based in St. Paul), this acclaimed program provides training and mentorship to seven emerging composers each year and culminates in a Future Classics concert, where the composers’ new works are performed by the orchestra led by Vänskä. This year’s Future Classics concert is Nov. 10 and we can’t recommend it highly enough.
SOLD: Dinkytown’s Varsity Theater
It’s tough on a venue, even an iconic venue with a long history, when its owner is accused of having sexually abused students at a children’s theater. People don’t want to hold events there, go there or work there. The airspace above it is a big, dark cloud.
The skies above the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown are about to clear. Citing the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, City Pages reports that the Los Angeles real estate firm Downtown Properties has bought the Varsity from owner Jason McLean. A former teacher and actor with the Children’s Theatre Company, McLean is being sued in civil court, accused of sexually abusing female students in the 1980s. According to City Pages, McLean has been “on the legal lam.”
Popular Twin Cities DJ Jake Rudh, host of the dance night “Transmission,” was one of the first Varsity regulars to find a new home when the abuse allegations went public, announcing his decision in a Facebook post in January 2016. Things went downhill fast after that, and the Varsity has been dormant for most of 2017.
The Varsity’s new owners plan to make some upgrades and reopen for shows and events, “hopefully” by the end of the year.
Tonight at Rogue Buddha Gallery: Cracked Walnut Lit Fest Chapter 3: Divinity and Humor. The 2017 Cracked Walnut traveling reading series is under way, bringing 17 (now 15) readings to neighborhoods near you. Tonight’s theme is “Divinity and Humor,” meaning that the poems will be inspired by or somehow relating to those topics, or not. With Jeanne Lutz, Mary Stein, Kasey Payette, Lenora Drowns and John Jodzio. FMI. Free.
Photo by Bruce Silcox
Masanari Kawahara and Momoko Tanno in “The Story of Crow Boy”
Tonight through Saturday at Heart of the Beast: “The Story of Crow Boy.” Japanese American artist and writer Taro Yashima experienced bullying, brutality, racial discrimination and the ravages of WWII, yet found his own voice and joy. Based on Yashima’s Caldecott Honor-winning book “Crow Boy” and his own life story, created by puppeteer/actor Masanari Kawahara, HOBT founder and artistic director Sandy Spieler, actor/director Steven Epp of The Moving Company and vocalist Momoko Tanno, this profound and beautiful work explores what it means to be human in a time of cultural suspicion, ethnic distrust and violence in domestic and world affairs. Back by popular demand (it was first presented in 2016), “Crow Boy” is recommended for ages 11 and up. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($20/15/10).
Tonight (Thursday, July 13) through Sunday at the Guthrie: The New Griots Festival. This 10-day celebration of emerging black artists started last Thursday and ends this Sunday. Tickets to all performances are $9, classes are free, and everything lasts an hour (or a little longer), so if you can carve out some time, just go. Last week we saw “Viva: BLACK,” a performance by vocalist/dancer (and researcher) Vie Boheme, and “Minority Report” by the improv/sketch comedy troupe Blackout, and enjoyed both very much. Formerly with TU Dance, Vie Boheme did a jaw-dropping solo dance to “Miss Otis Regrets,” sung by Ella Fitzgerald, as part of her program. Blackout combined thoughtful, serious conversation on real issues with seriously funny improv based on suggestions audience members dropped into a hat. On both nights we were there, the audiences were truly mixed, which is something you don’t see every day. In the Dowling Studio on Level 9. FMI and tickets. More information here.
Friday and Saturday in Longfellow: 7th Annual Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival Weekend. A tradition begun by Patrick’s Cabaret and continued by the Hook and Ladder, this music and art festival kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday with Nicholas David, continues all day Saturday with music by the 4onthefloor, ZuluZuluu, Erik Koskinen, McNasty Brass Band, Cornbread Harris, Jack Klatt and more, and ends with an after-party Saturday night. 7 p.m. Friday, 2-10 p.m. Saturday; after-party starts at 9:30 p.m. 21+. FMI and tickets ($5 Friday, $20/25 Saturday, $15 Saturday night).
Courtesy of the Stockholm Art Fair
At the Stockholm Art Fair, more than 100 juried artists will show paintings, jewelry, clay, glass, sculpture, fiber, wood, leather, photography and more.
Saturday in Stockholm, Wisconsin: 44th Annual Stockholm Art Fair. A charming art fair in a village park overlooking scenic Lake Pepin, framed by a sweet drive there and back. More than 100 juried artists will show paintings, jewelry, clay, glass, sculpture, fiber, wood, leather, photography and more. Have a portabella mushroom sandwich while you’re there, and enjoy the live music. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. FMI. Free.
Tuesday at Common Good Books: Dudley Riggs presents “Flying Funny: My Life Without a Net.” Did you know that the founder of the Brave New Workshop once worked as an aerialist for the Barnum & Bailey Circus? The father of improvisational theater tells the story of his life, from his early days in circus and vaudeville to the creation of the “next wave” in American entertainment. 7 p.m. Free.
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment