Champion to be named at Saturday’s Women of the World Poetry Slam

BALTIMORE — Seventy-two women from around the world grabbed the mic and voiced their thoughts through carefully crafted poetry throughout the week.

But now, it’s down to the final 12 poets and a champion will be selected Saturday night at Center Stage in downtown Baltimore.

Founder of Black Arts District talks about Women of the World Poetry Slam festival 03:58

The mic is hot, and the lights are on as women speak from their heart to compete in the Womxn of the World Poetry Slam.

From 72 international poets down to 12 finalists, one woman will wake up Sunday morning with the title of champion and $5,000.

Ebony Stewart remembers winning back in 2017 and taking a breath right before hitting the stage.

“I was definitely nervous, but I also felt confident and pride of myself that I made it that far,” she said.

From topics about identity to mental health, the poets are able to pull inspiration from anywhere and everywhere.

“Often times, poetry is either a mirror or a window,” Festival Director Lady Brion said. “It’s often something you can see yourself in or it provides a space for you to take a glimpse in someone else’s reality.”

For people to reach their full potential on the mic, the festival organized workshops to allow people to prep their mind, body and soul.

Nazaahah Amin is a yoga therapist and instructor who shared her talents of vinyasa yoga to help performers prepare their throats.

“We are going to tap into the throat chakra and that’s a part of the body that helps us be truthful,” she said. “It helps us fully express ourselves and it also helps us connect us through our words, our honest words.”

Since 2008, the festival has carved out a space to help women feel seen and heard, especially women of color.

“We live in a world that often silences us, kind of puts us in boxes,” Lady Brion said. “Trying to make us as productive citizens as we can without giving us a space to really be free.”

But Center Stage in Mount Vernon is glad to open their doors to their 500-seat theater to offer that freedom.

“Right now, there aren’t that many places that are funded well enough to support all their work and all of their effort,” Interim Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin said. “So, we think it’s important that us here as Baltimore’s theatre are able to continue to fill that gap.”

The competition is expected to kick off at 5 p.m. and wrap up by 8 p.m. at the community theatre inside Center Stage.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Amateur Radio Activity Honors African American Heritage


Parks on the Air® (POTA) sites that honor African American heritage are the focus of a casual operating event organized by the OMIK Amateur Radio Association, Inc (OMIK). The OMIK POTA Challenge 2023 will run from April 1 to December 31.

OMIK was founded in 1952 by black amateur radio operators. While it is still a predominately African-American organization, today it represents a multi-racial, multi-cultural organization with members from the US and around the globe. OMIK is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

The group hopes to attract at least 750 radio contacts for the program by the end of the year. All modes permitted by the POTA program are eligible. OMIK members are encouraged to activate sites using the OMIK club call sign, K0MIK. The club’s call sign must be reserved at least a week in advance.

The group has a list of suggested sites that are known to have a significant role in African American history. They hope that at least five unique national parks will be activated as part of the event, contributing to a total of at least 10 successful activations.

Parks on the Air is a movement to get radio amateurs to set up portable operations in recognized park locations. It promotes a culture of operators who make as many contacts as possible from and with such locations.

One in four college applicants avoids entire states …

… through the lens of racism that has become a … race-related teaching — and African-American studies.   Some of those … indictment ‘poetic’ but ‘bittersweet’ African-American studies has been a popular … be read to encompass African-American studies.   “That is … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

CREATIVE ARTS: New beginnings for a new season

The more things change, the more they stay the same. As the season of spring approaches, there are many “changes” to either witness, or experience. The leaves on the trees begin to have a more vibrant hue, some of us decide to purge our closets; both of which symbolize a time of transition. For Buckhead’s Bill Lowe Gallery — now named Johnson Lowe — change doesn’t always have to be a negative thing.

Earlier this year, the gallery, one of the city’s most renowned art establishments, announced its rebrand under the leadership of Donovan Johnson, the previous co-director of the gallery. This move follows the legacy of the late Bill Lowe, who passed in 2021, giving this place a new feel, but also staying true to the things and people that made it truly special. Last month, the gallery hosted a new exhibition titled The Alchemist, co-curated by Johnson and art critic Seph Rodney, which featured works by twenty-nine artists constructing new forms of expression rooted in the Black experience and history of their ancestors.

Referencing cinema, literature, and music, the exhibition underscores how alchemy has long been a part of the Black experience and, thus, part of Black artistic practice. The Alchemists group show was fitting, to say the least. Its theme of creating things of beauty, from natural and artificial materials, and generating excellence from the worst of conditions is an ironic parallel to the gallery’s change in direction, as well as the arrival of a new season. Spring is supposed to bring sunny days, relaxing breezes and the like, but it always comes with inconsistent climate, rainy evenings, cold weekends, etc. — yet we still look forward to tomorrow.

Again, change doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. It’s all about perception, as is with most things in life. So, during the beginning of spring, here are some openings, shows, and exhibitions to check out.

Now through Apr. 23

Tiny Beautiful Things, Theatrical Outfit —  Based on the New York Times bestselling book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted by Academy Award nominee Nia Vardalos, Tiny Beautiful Things explores Strayed’s time as the anonymous, unpaid, advice columnist Dear Sugar. While strangers on the internet tell her their most personal secrets (which they are terrified to even share with their own families), Strayed weaves together her own personal experiences to create a column full of light, laughter, and humanity.

$15 – $65. Now – Sun., Apr. 23. 84 Luckie St. NW, Atlanta, 30303. 678-528-1500 @theatricaloutfit

Sat., Apr. 1




Dorrance Dance Company, Rialto Center for the Arts —  Featuring dancers and musicians rooted in improvisation, the Dorrance Dance Company is an award-winning tap ensemble founded by 2015 MacArthur Artistic Director Michelle Dorrance. The company shares the incredibly dynamic range that this genre has to offer through performance and education. With the goal being to engage with audiences on a musical and emotional level, and to share the complex history and powerful legacy of this American art form throughout the U.S. and the world. Dorrance Dance explores what is most thrilling, brilliant, and beautiful about tap dancing — that it is, at once, movement and music.

$39 – $81. Sat., Apr. 1. 80 Forsyth St. NW, Atlanta, 30303. 404-413-9849 @dorrancedance

Through Apr. 8




Bruno Zupan Solo Exhibition: My Friend, The Earth, Millennium Gate Museum —  Running through April 8, international artist Bruno Zupan’s 35-piece collection titled My Friend, The Earth is on display at the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlantic Station. Zupan celebrates the Earth in each of his paintings and has spent his life in the pursuit of light, having traveled around the Earth and explored cities and beaches, mountains, rivers, and pastures – winter, night and day, spring, and summer. From the golden warmth of a Venetian sunset to the sparkling city lights of Boston, he captures the varied, yet simple manifestations of its beauty in his remarkable paintings.  Zupan divides his time painting between Paris, Mallorca, Venice, New York City, and Columbus, Georgia — the hometown of his wife, Jane.

$12. Now -Sat., Apr. 8. 395 17th St. NW, Atlanta, 30363. 404-881-0900 @milleniumgate

Apr. 21 – Apr. 23




Atlanta Baroque Orchestra Presents Triple Play, The Cathedral of St. Philip —  Atlanta Baroque Orchestra players hit it out of the park in the season’s grand finale of concertos by J.S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. Atlanta’s hometown violinist Evan Few, ABO Assistant Concertmaster and Guest Director, leads this rally of greatest hits. Bases are loaded with concerto soloists Anna Marsh (bassoon), Adam Jaffe (harpsichord) and Evan Few (violin) as the ABO team delivers a “massive three-run blast” delighting audiences from Atlanta to Savannah. Local performances 7:30 p.m. April 21 at The Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta and 3 p.m. April 22 at Roswell Presbyterian Church. Special engagement on the Bach Ascending series 3 p.m. April 23 at Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Savannah.

$15 – $50. Fri., Apr. 21-Sun., Apr. 3. 395 2744 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, 30305. 678-390-0657 @atlbaroque

Apr. 1 – Apr. 16




Lucy Luckovich’s Pop My Cherry!, Cat Eye Creative —  One of Atlanta’s top galleries is hosting a new exhibition for your viewing pleasure. Pop My Cherry!, the upcoming show from Lucy Luckovich, will highlight the artist’s love of the delicious fruit through some amazing work. This young, accomplished oil painter has been showcased at galleries such as Echo Contemporary, Swan Coach House, North Park Gallery, and more. On Saturday, April 1st, attendees can take a trip to Downtown Atlanta to enjoy a stellar exhibition and tasty refreshments from the friends of Cat Eye Creative.

Free. Sat., Apr. 1 – Sun., Apr. 16. 186 Mitchell St. SW, Atlanta, 30303. 404-547-8638 @cat_eye_creative

Apr. 19 – Apr. 30




Moulin Rouge! The Musical, The Fox Theatre —  Based on the 2001 film of the same name, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is one of the most exciting stage plays in the world. Two years ago at the 74th Tony Awards, it received a total of 14 nominations and won 10 awards, including Best Musical. Now, it’s arriving at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta for two weeks of splendor and romance, eye-popping excess, glitz, grandeur, and glory. This world where Bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment is brought to life onstage, becoming one of the first can’t-miss events of the year.

$31 + Wed., Apr. 19 – Sun., Apr. 30. 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, 30308. 404-881-2100 @thefoxtheatre

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Feature: ‘I’m So Grateful for the Faith Shown in Me Here’: The Enduring Positive Legacy of Chickenshed Theatre and Their Show RUSH

Feature: 'I'm So Grateful for the Faith Shown in Me Here': The Enduring Positive Legacy of Chickenshed Theatre and Their Show RUSH
Amber Ogunsaya-William and
Gabriel Palmer in Rush

Gary Naylor, well into his second decade as a regular visitor to Chickenshed, trekked to Southgate to see its Spring 2023 show, Rush, and talk to its creative lead and three of its actors.

Created and developed by Chickenshed’s diverse creative team and student groups, Rush explores the colonisation, movement and betrayal of people on three fronts; through the eyes of three women, whose experiences are linked by their shared ancestry.

‘Theatre Changing Lives’ is the slogan of Chickenshed and, awash with humanity in all shapes and sizes (literally and metaphorically), you can witness it happening in real time. What might not be so apparent, at least until you’re actually there, is that one of the lives it changes is yours.

Chickenshed is nearly 50 years old, a half-century of producing great theatre, great education and, most importantly, great people.

“It was a whole wave of respect”, says BA final year student, Gabriel Palmer – like many of his fellow students, he plays a role in the productions, acting, singing and rapping in Rush. “At my induction, a tutor shook my hand and said that he really wanted me here. And that pushed me to be the best person I could be. In school, I felt like they just gave up, that they wanted me out of there. These little things they said and did for me here were new. I don’t know where I would be without Chickenshed, probably doing something that isn’t good for myself.” Gabriel has ambitions to develop wheelchair boxing – “Why does the chair stop me from punching someone! I want to inspire people.” He does, he really does.

Fellow student, Amber Ogunsaya-William’s schooling was interrupted by illness and that led to a feeling of being alone, like being in a bubble. After losing her chance to do her GCSEs with her classmates as she was in hospital, her drama teacher suggested Chickenshed and once there, the tutors did not want to know about what she couldn’t do, what she hadn’t done, but about what she could do, what she will do. “They said that I could deliver the coursework any way I wanted – dance it, perform it, make a collage. It was like a dream! It was that ‘home’ feeling. We have to do a placement on the course and, because of this show, I’m going to Africa to teach English, Drama and Art. They’ve changed my life 1000%.”

“My family had direct experience of the Windrush Scandal, sent back to St Lucia after a lifetime in London. I’m so pleased to be in the show”, (she plays Young Missy, the girl who encounters the Powellite racism of the 60s from her white boyfriend’s family in a harrowing scene). “I’ve been through that kind of stuff as a part of an inter-racial couple and as the only black kid in primary school”.

Jack Alder (who plays Young Missy’s fiance / husband, Stephen) says that he started at Angelshed, one of Chickenshed’s satellites. “I didn’t know what I was going to do after school. I came here for my interview and I’d never felt so appreciated for who I was – I’m a big lad and I’ve had people saying stuff all my life. I’m so grateful for the faith shown in me here.” Jack ran out of words (nevertheless, he was still saying plenty) but Gabriel helped out – “They treat you like real people.”

Growing up isn’t easy for a lot of kids and these stories show that the inclusivity that sits at the heart of Chickenshed’s work can find potential in young people who have been told – sometimes, appallingly in brutally direct terms – that they don’t have it. I can attest from personal experience that a spark of confidence, once lit, can blaze forth and there’s no greater satisfaction for an educator than to have played the tiniest part in that journey. Those fires are ignited every day here.

Rush’s director (styled creative lead, a better fit with the show’s ethos of collaboration), Ashley Driver, came to Chickenshed after a more positive school experience. A teacher recognised that he was a practical kid with talent and channeled him towards Chickenshed and he found it so welcoming that he did his degree here and is now is a tutor, a creative lead and a director.

Rush is his idea, a show that was born of his Tottenham birth and Antiguan heritage, how that background linked to the Windrush scandal and the awakenings prompted by Black Lives Matter. Three timelines weave in and out of the play, focused on interconnected themes: colonisation, immigration and gentrification. “If you look at the dictionary definitions of colonisation and gentrification, they’re not that different” he remarks. “It’s about a group of people arriving with privilege and power and then asserting their dominance over an area.”

That element comes through in the play of course (there are parallels with Standing At The Sky’s Edge which recently completed its run at The National Theatre and with last year’s verbatim play, My Generation) but, as with both of those productions, there’s plenty of joy in the show to more than balance the suffering.

Much of that serotonin hit comes through the show’s movement and music, bodies swirl, twist and dance suggesting how life can buffet you and lift you, soundtracked by a compendium of songs by black artists past and present that show just one way in which our island’s culture has been enriched and extended by those with roots in colonised peoples. And the singing is fantastic! Whether individually or, thrillingly, collectively, songs by the likes of Jimmy Cliff, Lord Kitchener and Freddie McGregor, drawing on calypso, ska, reggae, rap and plenty more, punctuate the three timelines, lending a personal and political perspective to the narratives. And a delight for eyes and ears that is unmatched anywhere on stage right now.

After a couple of hours watching Rush, we know more about the British in Africa in the 19th century and Africans (Afro-Carribeans really) in Britain in the 20th and 21st centuries and, if much of that story is unedifying, cruel and dehumanising, much of it is empowering, exalting and exciting too. Like its cast and its home, challenges have been met, challenges remain and still more lie in the future – but the human spirit proves indomitable.

And indomitable too is theatre, an ancient art delivered with such flair and grace in this unique experiment at the end of the Piccadilly Line.

You can read more about Chickenshed here.

Photo Credit: Chickenshed

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Music, Art, Dominoes & More! Downtown Brooklyn Unveils Spring Events Lineup

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) today announced the spring lineup of its annual events series, “Downtown Brooklyn Presents,” which celebrates the people and the places of one of the nation’s fastest growing downtowns. The spring launch is only the start of a jam-packed season that will bring Downtown Brooklyn residents and New Yorkers together as a community.

“We are excited to announce a 2023 spring calendar that will give Brooklynites ways to come out and enjoy our public spaces,” said Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “Downtown Brooklyn Presents transforms the neighborhood with a vibrant calendar of events and having residents and visitors join us for fun, fitness, and entertainment outside.”

Downtown Brooklyn’s creative energy is in full swing with exciting events throughout the neighborhood. Opening the season is a series curated to complement COMMON GROUND, a site-specific interactive public artwork at The Plaza at 300 Ashland by Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong and Arup. From Haitian Rara with Kriye Bode and Kendra J. Ross’ work in progress, Portals: Traversing Black Continuums, to percussive footwork by Soles of Duende and Pratt Institute’s fashion show, JUNIOR THESIS, April sets the precedent for an incredible season.

This year, Downtown Brooklyn will host several events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip hop, Pride Month and Juneteenth. Hip hop enthusiasts can channel their favorite MC at “Check the Rhime,” Downtown Brooklyn’s version of hip hop karaoke, and a three-day Juneteenth event will feature commemorative performances and activities presented by 651Arts and MoCADA. The Brooklyn Commons lunchtime music series will feature a special Pride event on June 8th with a stellar performance by New York City’s premiere musical theatre drag queen, Marilyn Monhoe and a new dominoes and DJ series, “Capicu! The Party,” will host a special Pride event on June 23rd with renowned DJ, Nicole of Nina Sky.

Natarsha McQueen’s beloved Zumba classes are back by popular demand, along with Ping Pong Happy Hours with DJ Mike Doelo and The Push. Car-Free Earth Day returns on April 22nd with exciting activations, music and a green-and-glam clothing swap in partnership with House of Kellogg. For two consecutive weeks, Willoughby Walks, in collaboration with NYU’s Tisch School and The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, will host car-free streets with special performances and fun activities. The exciting series, Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi, also returns this year, inviting dancers of all levels to join a cultural journey through music and dance.

With an exciting lineup of fun, safe and free outdoor events, “Downtown Brooklyn Presents” will activate the neighborhood’s streets and plazas all season long. Advanced registration is encouraged, and in some cases, participants must sign a waiver in order to participate.


Spring Calendar 2023

COMMON GROUND Performances
This series is curated to complement the experience of COMMON GROUND, a site-specific interactive public artwork at The Plaza at 300 Ashland, created by Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, with lighting design and programming by Xena Petkanas, Christoph Gisel and Arup. Lighting and controls provided by Nanometer and Electric Lighting Agencies.

Thursday, April 6 | 6PM-7PM

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Peniel Guerrier and Kriye Bode bring Haitian Rara to the plaza with an enchanting performance that calls all to rejoice in the energy of life as a community.

Thursday, April 13 | 6PM-7PM

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Kendra J. Ross shares her work-in-progress, Portals: Traversing Black Continuums, a multi-sensory journey through time, space, generations, and dimensions. The fuller work-in-progress will be presented by 651Arts in May 2023.

Thursday, April 20 | 6PM

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Soles of Duende, the all-female, multicultural dance trio, present a spirited collaboration across disciplines and the celebration of Tap, Flamenco and Kathak dance.

Saturday, April 22 | 6PM-7PM

Rain Date: Saturday, April 29 | 6PM

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Pratt Institute’s fashion department closes the installation with JUNIOR THESIS – a fashion performance featuring selected works from year-end collections.

DoorDash x Nimbus Presents Spring Fling Block Party

Friday, April 14 | 2PM-5PM

383 Bridge Street

Celebrate spring with small bites, music and fun activities.

Downtown Brooklyn Car-Free Earth Day

Saturday, April 22 | 11AM-3PM

Albee Square

Join us for an exciting and earth-friendly activation on the plaza at Albee Square. Albee Square West will also be closed to traffic all day, so bring your yoga mats, bikes, scooters, and roller skates and enjoy a car-free street!

Willoughby Walks

In collaboration with NYU’s Tisch School and The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music

Thursday, April 27 | 2PM-8PM

Wednesday, May 3 | 2PM-7PM

Willoughby Street at Pearl Street

For two consecutive weeks, lounge in our lawn chairs and revel in a car-free streets! Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and DOT close the streets and transform them with art, music, exercise classes, and fun activities – all free and open to the public!

Albee Square Happy Hours: Check the Rhime

Thursdays, May 4-25 | 5PM-8PM

Albee Square

In honor of Hip Hop 50, we present Downtown Brooklyn’s version of Hip Hop Karaoke. Channel your favorite MC and spit the verses that have kept you in love with the genre for five decades. Vibe curator, Dot Ichiro provides the beats, we’ll provide the mic, and YOU must provide the verses by memory (no karaoke machine or lyrics will not be provided).

BAMkids SpringFest

Presented by BAM

Saturday, May 6 | 10:00AM-4PM

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

A day of free musical performances, interactive activities, and showcases of local talent, celebrating the spirit of spring and themes related to environmental advocacy and care. Co-curated by the BAMkids Parent Advisory Circle. ASL interpretation will be provided.

*In case of inclement weather the program will move indoors

Ping Pong Happy Hours

Tuesdays, May 9- 30 & June 6-20 | 5PM-7:30PM

Brooklyn Commons

DJ Mike Doelo and The Push are back for another series of ping pong match ups. The series is free to the public. Participants will be required to sign a waiver for this event.

Zumba with Dodge YMCA

Wednesdays, May 10, 17, 31 & June 7, 14, 21, 28 | 6PM-7PM

Brooklyn Commons Park

Natarsha McQueen’s beloved Zumba series returns. Devoted fans and new recruits sweat it out each Wednesday to choreographed dance moves set to lively beats. This one-hour fitness party is presented in collaboration with Dodge YMCA. Participants will be required to sign a waiver for this event.

BKLYN Kids Indoor/Outdoor Block Party

Saturday, May 20 | 11AM-3PM

Albee Square and City Point

Brooklyn Bridge Parents brings block party fun to Downtown Brooklyn at both City Point and Albee Square with free, fun activities for families with kids ages 1 to 10.

BAM DanceAfrica Outdoor Bazaar

May 27 – 29 | Times TBD

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

The nation’s largest festival of African and African American dance, music, and culture is back with this beloved annual event. DanceAfrica’s global marketplace of Black arts and crafts will take place on the Plaza, Lafayette Avenue, and Ashland Place.

Lunchtimes @ Brooklyn Commons Park

Thursdays, June 1-29 | 12PM-2PM

Brooklyn Commons Park

Thursdays in June are filled with lively lunchtime entertainment. This summer’s series asserts the Commons’ position as the perfect backdrop to arts and entertainment in Downtown Brooklyn.

June 1 – La Manga

La Manga is a multi-cultural band inspired by the spirit and ancestry of the vast Afro-Indígeno Caribbean musical diaspora. This collective honors oral traditions, the power of tambores and bailes cantaos.

June 8 – Celebrate PRIDE with Marilyn Monhoe + Brooklyn Pride

Musical theatre creative and actor by day, Marcelle LaBrecque, takes New York City by storm as their larger than life drag persona, Marilyn Monhoe. With show-stopping performances inspired by originally staged productions, Marilyn Monhoe has become NYC’s premiere musical theatre drag queen.

June 15 – BQE Strings

BQE Strings strives to connect the past and the present, offering fresh takes on classics from Bach to Guns N’ Roses. The core of the quartet is formed by alumni of European conservatories and seasoned chamber musicians who are also active community leaders, passionate about sharing their music with New Yorkers from of all walks of life.

June 22 – Kanami Kusajima

Dancer, choreographer and performing artist, Kanami Kusajima brings her one-woman show to Downtown Brooklyn. She has performed in works by various choreographers, including Yoshiko Chuma, Ana Maria Lucaciu and Erin Landers, to name a few, but has become a performance art darling since her 2021 debut, “Let Hair Down.”

June 29 – Lollise

Lollise is a musician, visual artist and fashion designer from Botswana, currently living in NYC. She has toured with Akoya Afrobeat, Underground System and the FELA! Band. Her debut release, Looking at You, solidified her sound and demonstrates her keen imagination- transforming surroundings into dreamscapes ripe with possibility.

Bare Feet Downtown Brooklyn

Thursdays, June 1-22 | 6PM-8PM

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi returns to Downtown Brooklyn for another cultural journey through music and dance. Seasoned pros and first-time dancers are all welcome to join on The Plaza’s dance floor for fun and exciting moves.

June 1 – The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers

For over 25 years, Thunderbird Dancers have enchanted a diverse array of audiences through performance with the varied traditions of the American Indian peoples. Specializing in the songs and dances of the tribes of the Northwest Coast, Woodlands (Iroquois and Winnebago), Plains (Sioux) and the Southwest (Hopi and Santo Domingo), Thunderbird American Indian Dancers have made an enormous contribution to the effort of preserving and perpetuating American Indian culture.

June 8 – The Art of Voguing with Cesar Valentino

Before FX’s POSE! And HBO Max’s Legendary series, there was Cesar Valentino. Since 1988, Cesar has been an innovator in the underground ballroom and club scene. From world tours and documentaries, such as Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning, to choreographing music videos, Cesar Valentino is master of the art form. Join us as we strike a pose with this legend!

June 15 – TBD

June 22 – Fuákata! Cuban Salsa, Casino & Rueda

Fuákata founder, Christopher Rogicki, along with co-director Evelyn Ramirez, continue to showcase the beauty of Cuban Salsa, its evolution, and the diversity of styles it embodies. Fuákata’s energy will transport you from Downtown Brooklyn to the streets of La Habana and Santiago de Cuba. Musical guest to be announced.

Capicu! The Party

Fridays, June 2-23 | 6PM-8PM

Albee Square

Tables, tiles and music will be on hand for this 18th Century game beloved in the Caribbean and New York. Strategy, calculation, some luck, and a lot of fun are required for the 28-tiled game. Capicu! The Party is a celebration of Nuyorican Soul through Dominoes, Caribbean Funk, FANIA and Vinyl.

June 2 – Uptown Vinyl Supreme

Uptown Vinyl Supreme is a DJ collective and community organization born in The Bronx, paying homage to the analog roots of music, party and dance culture.

June 9 – Christian Mártir + Danny Conga

Christian Mártir is a modern renaissance man spreading his love for soulful rhythms everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Mexico City. He has worked with Daptone Records, Fania Records, to name a few. For over 20 years, Danny “Conga” Valdez has driven the music scene through his percussive journey over curated playlists.

June 16 – Riobamba

Riobamba is an Ecuadorian-Lithuanian sound artist, DJ, and cultural activist and founder of APOCALIPSIS, a record label and creative agency that amplifies artists of the Global South and diaspora.

June 23 – PRIDE with Nicole of Nina Sky

Nicole is not only a renowned DJ, but half of the Billboard chart-topping musical duo Nina Sky. Her career spans almost two decades since the release of the global hit, “Move Ya Body!”

Movement Mondays with Mark Morris Dance Group

In collaboration with Mark Morris Dance Group

Mondays, June 5, 12 and 26 | 6PM-7PM

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Work it out on The Plaza every week with this energetic and motivating dance series. Choose from an array of fun classes that will make you increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress!

Jazz with the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office

In collaboration with Jazz Foundation America

Tuesdays, June 6-27 | 12PM-1:30PM

Columbus Park

Add a few complex chords, harmonies and improvisation to your lunchtime schedule this June. This jazz series is guaranteed to make you bop and groove.

*Dates subject to change.

Juneteenth Weekend

Saturday, June 17 | Time TBD

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

651 ARTS presents the 651 ARTS’ Third Annual Juneteenth Celebration, a commemoration of African American emancipation featuring performances and activities. The celebration will be held outdoors at the institution’s future home. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Sunday, June 18 | Time TBD

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Presented by MoCADA

Monday, June 19 |Time TBD

Albee Square and Albee Square West

Presented by Da Spot

Brooklyn Poetry Slam

Tuesday, Jun 27 | 6pm-8:30pm

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

This monthly, popular event is celebrating six years at Downtown Brooklyn cultural institution, BRIC! Mahogany L. Browne hosts and cultivates an incredible evening of poetry and community, supported by beats from DJ Jive Poetic.

Pickleball & Badminton

June 2023 |TBD

Brooklyn Commons Park

Serve up some fun this spring and grab your favorite opponent to play two fun racquet sports – the latest craze, pickleball; and time-honored favorite, badminton.

*Visit for Details.

New York Classical Theatre Presents Shakespeare’s Richard III

Tuesday, June 27 – July 2 | 7:00PM

Brooklyn Commons Park

Watch an ensemble of seven performers tackle the rise to power of Shakespeare’s most evil character, Richard III, in a story filled with manipulation, murder, and political deceit. Featuring Jenna Bainbridge-a disabled actress-as Richard.

Find the Full Calendar Here. The full DTBK Presents Summer schedule will be released in May.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Cast & Creative Team Set for PASSING STRANGE at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for the musical Passing Strange, with music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald and book & lyrics by Stew. Passing Strange is directed by Raymond O. Caldwell (Producing Artistic Director of Theater Alliance, Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root), with Music Direction by Marika Countouris (Signature’s The Color Purple, Woolly Mammoth’s A Strange Loop), Music Supervision by Mark G. Meadows (Signature’s The Color Purple, RENT) and Choreography by Tiffany Quinn (Olney Theatre Center’s The Diary of Anne Frank, Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root). Performances run April 25 – June 18, 2023 in Signature’s ARK Theatre. Tickets are available at

Music is the freight train to ride for this electrifying Tony Award-winning travelogue of identity, acceptance and love. A young man discovers his musical calling and sets off for Europe, leaving behind his mother and comfortable suburban life. In his rebellion filled with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, he yearns for something in life that he thinks can only be found in art. Bursting with energizing punk, blues, gospel, and jazz music, this rock concert spin on musical theatricality radiates with humor, passion and heart.

“Signature is thrilled to reimagine this electrifying Tony-Award winning rock musical for our audiences,” said Signature Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner. “Passing Strange is a Black coming-of-age story with an exhilarating score that looks to gospel, punk, blues, jazz, and rock music for inspiration. I am excited to welcome Raymond O. Caldwell to direct this production at Signature, and I look forward to seeing how he applies his singular vision to Passing Strange.”

“I’m humbled by the opportunity in this production to take audiences on a journey of self-discovery, self-actualization, and all while centering and celebrating Black art and culture,” said director Raymond O. Caldwell. “I can’t wait to remind audiences that rock music is Black music, and that the experiences of Black peoples are far from monolithic.”

The cast for Passing Strange includes Isaac “Deacon Izzy” Bell (Deacon Izzy and the Congregation, DuPont Brass) as Narrator, Imani Branch (Signature’s RENT, Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root) as Sherry/Renata/Desi, Deimoni Brewington (Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root, Constellation Theatre Company’s Once On This Island) as Youth, Alex De Bard (Signature’s Into the Woods, RENT) as Edwina/Marianna/Sudabey, Michael J. Mainwaring (Signature’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Mosaic Theater Company’s In His Hands) as Hugo/Christophe/Terry, Kara-Tameika Watkins (Signature’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Daphne’s Dive) as Mother, and Tobias A. Young (Signature’s The Color Purple, Olney Theatre Center’s In the Heights) as Mr. Franklin/Joop/Mr. Venus. Jordan Essex (Round House Theatre’s The Tempest), Kalen Robinson (Constellation Theatre’s Once On This Island), and Tyrell Stanley (Signature’s The Color Purple) are swings.

The creative team for Passing Strange includes Scenic Design by Jonathan Dahm Robertson (Round House Theatre’s Nollywood Dreams, Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root), Costume Design by Danielle Preston (Lincoln Center’s Where Words Once Were, Mosaic Theater Company’s The Till Trilogy), Lighting Design by Alberto Segarra (Mosaic Theater Company’s The Till Trilogy, Olney Theatre Center’s The Joy that Carries You), Sound Design by Eric Norris (Signature’s Pacific Overtures, Into the Woods), and Video Design by Kelly Colburn (NYTW’s american (tele)visions, Round House Theatre’s Nollywood Dreams). Mandy Fox is the Dialect Coach, and Chelsea Pace is the Resident Intimacy Consultant and Choreographer. Casting is by Jorge Acevedo. New York Casting is by JZ Casting. John Keith Hall is the Production Stage Manager, Taylor Kiechlin is the Assistant Stage Manager, Siani Beckett is the Assistant Choreographer, and Alexander Greenberg is the Keyboard Programmer.


Signature Theatre is a Tony Award®-winning regional theater that broadens and brightens the region’s cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works and engaging education and outreach programs. Founded in 1989 by Eric Schaeffer and Donna Migliaccio, and currently under the leadership of Managing Director Maggie Boland and Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner, musical theater is Signature’s “signature,” and the Theatre is renowned for its definitive Sondheim productions, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten works, and investment in fresh new projects. Signature combines Broadway-caliber productions with intimate playing spaces and aims to be a leading force in U.S. musical theater.

Since its inception, the Theatre has produced 60 world premiere works-including 19 new musical commissions. Signature opens its doors to more than 100,000 people annually from the Washington, DC region and beyond and reaches more than 10,000 students every year through its innovative education programs, including the award-winning initiative Signature in the Schools. Signature has won 134 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region’s professional theater and has been honored with 482 nominations.

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The Apollo Names New Theater Space After Longtime Leader Jonelle Procope

On Monday, March 27, The Apollo’s Board Chair Charles E. Phillips announced that the 99-seat theater in The Apollo’s new Victoria Theater-which marks the first major expansion in the organization’s history-will be named after its current President & CEO Jonelle Procope in honor of her two decades as leader of the iconic cultural and civic non-profit dedicated to providing a platform for Black creativity. The new, 25,000-square-foot facility is under renovation and will open later this year, adding two additional stages that will be operated by The Apollo and will welcome in artists, audiences, other cultural and civic organizations and creators, and students. The surprise announcement took place at a celebration in honor of Ms. Procope at the Ford Foundation following her announcement at the end of 2022 that she will step down as President later this year.

“Jonelle’s leadership of The Apollo has transformed The Apollo into an internationally recognized cultural institution, expanding it into the largest Black performing arts organizations discovering new talent and hosting established artists on the iconic Apollo stage,” said Mr. Phillips. “Throughout her tenure, The Apollo has also served as an anchor for the revitalization of the legendary 125th Street in Harlem and as a center for community and national discourse. So, it’s fitting that for years to come, as artists and audiences enter the theaters at the Victoria, they will be able to experience culture in a space that bears her name.”

“I’m honored that a space that will support creatives in our dynamic community will be named for me and my family,” said Ms. Procope. “The realization of a project of this magnitude has long been a strategic goal of The Apollo, and it will be incredible to see the impact this space will have on generations of artists and arts professionals to come.”

“Jonelle is a force, and for the past two decades has been a one-of-a-kind leader for a one-of-a-kind institution,” said Ford Foundation President Darren Walker. “Her hard work and vision has elevated Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater to new heights, and her contributions to our community and to the arts will leave an imprint for generations to come.”

The Victoria Theater was designed in 1917 and is located on 125th street a few steps east of The Apollo. Featuring two new flexible theaters-one with 99 seats and one with 199 seats-the new spaces will provide vibrant, year-round artistic offerings that build on the cultural heritage of Harlem and celebrate uptown’s enormous well of creativity, The Apollo’s Victoria Theater will allow the non-profit Apollo to expand the scope of its artistic, educational, and community programs. Located on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Victoria Theater Redevelopment Project, a public and private partnership, The Apollo’s Victoria Theater will reinforce The Apollo’s longstanding role as both a civic and cultural anchor for the Harlem community. The 25,000-square-foot facility, designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects, will also provide access to professional-quality theater space for local artists, artist collectives, and small and mid-size Harlem and NYC-based arts organizations for the development and presentation of new work. To learn more about The Apollo’s Victoria Theater, click here.

Since taking the helm of The Apollo, Ms. Procope strengthened the organization’s reputation as a cultural hub and beacon of Black creativity. Over the last 20 years, Ms. Procope transformed The Apollo by implementing a long-range plan for the restoration and expansion of the Historic Theater into a vibrant cultural and civic resource in Harlem. She has spearheaded the non-profit’s expansion to The Apollo’s Victoria Theater (opening in 2023), along with the forthcoming restoration of the Historic Theater, and in 2018, oversaw the completion of The Apollo’s comprehensive strategic planning process that led to a five-year implementation plan to transform the institution into a 21st-century performing arts center. In addition, she solidified The Apollo as a home for Black artists and as an anchor for the Harlem community. Her stewardship of The Apollo led to the Ford Foundation naming it one of America’s Cultural Treasures and to significant support from foundations, corporations, and individuals across the country.

Ms. Procope has helped to make The Apollo one of the most important culture organizations in Harlem, New York, and the nation. Under her leadership, The Apollo has raised more than $63 million for its capital campaign project and in collaboration with her leadership team, she has overseen the development of numerous initiatives including The Apollo’s first major commissioning program, Apollo New Works.


The legendary Apollo Theater-The Soul of American Culture-plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, The Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world. With music at its core, The Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera, We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival. The non-profit Apollo Theater is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend The Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, The Apollo has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres-including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at The Apollo are Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, and Miri Ben Ari; and The Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information about The Apollo, visit

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