Will ‘all that glitters’ turn L.A.’s last solidly Black city white?

Living in Inglewood these days is living in tension about change. Like many other places in and around L.A., its core is being transformed by development that’s become a spectacle, something I have been watching unfold with a mix of apprehension and disbelief.

SoFi Stadium is not just a stadium, it’s become shorthand for everything else in the built world of Hollywood Park: condos, retail and the soon-to-be-completed Intuit Dome, the new home of the Clippers, which rises at the corner of Prairie Avenue and Century Boulevard like a giant, space-age basketball.

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All that glitters presses up against the neighborhoods in the last solidly Black city in the county, and while the outside world touts SoFi, etc., as progress, in Inglewood it feels very much like the reconfiguring is being done without the local population in mind.

But not entirely.

Gentrification in Inglewood has always worn a face of Black uplift, which is part of what causes the tension. Admittedly, that face can be gratifying. During Black History Month, SoFi featured a world-class Black art and historical-artifact exhibit, courtesy of the renowned collectors and philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey. This is an updated, enhanced version of the Kinsey exhibit that debuted in February 2023.

Next door to SoFi, in the walkway of a new retail development that includes a luxury movie theater, there are works by the celebrated Black sculptor Alison Saar. Last year that walkway was the site of a lively weekend festival for Black-owned businesses. On the side of a building is a striking mural of a Black woman floating in water by local artist Calida Rawles. And on other walls, ads depict Black residents enjoying the amenities of a chic, prosperous new city that attracts people of all colors from all over L.A., from all over the world, as the banners along Prairie declaring “A Global Stage” suggest.

It’s a heady vision of the future, one I would love to believe in. Every time I hurry through that walkway on my way to a movie, I marvel at museum-quality art here in the neighborhood, out in the open. It’s an upgrade I can’t argue with.

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And yet the bigger picture is not all pretty. Part of the SoFi development deal with Inglewood was a commitment to commissioning public art in and around the stadium. It’s actually required of big developments like this. The city was supposed to oversee the process, but it more or less ceded that power to the developer, just as it ceded other kinds of oversight when it fast-tracked the stadium back in 2015.

City Hall has all along been willing to trade away almost anything for development, especially sports venues. Why? Because for way too long the city languished as what I call the South-Central of South Bay — struggling to attract even modest national chain stores because its Black and brown demographics automatically made it an undesirable market. The recession of the early 1990s compounded the problem, along with the chronic inability or unwillingness of elected officials to plan for serious change.

SoFi was thus sold to and by City Hall as our great change agent, the thing that would finally take Inglewood from moribund to modern.

The stadium’s engendering change all right, but the cost feels too high, destabilizing. Art is wonderful and welcome, but what Black people really need to secure their futures are affordable housing and decent schools. SoFi and all the rest secure neither. To the degree that the stadium and associated development have taken up public land in this large small city, it is actually making more affordable housing less attainable.

It’s not all bad, of course. Notable Black business and creative spaces have been popping up in the new Inglewood, including galleries, restaurants and coffee hangs. Hilltop Café, for instance, on La Brea Avenue is co-owned by local-girl-made-good Issa Rae.

These are the kinds of small but significant businesses that Inglewood has always had, but just not in a critical mass. Together they express the true character and promise of the city, make it a destination — in real estate marketing speak, make it “desirable.”

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Hopefully, the new desirability won’t be synonymous, as it so often is, with “white.”

Rick Garzon, whose downtown gallery Residency recently moved to the Hollywood Park retail district close to SoFi, told me he’s confident that Inglewood will beat back the usual displacement narrative of gentrification and create a new one of real Black progress. It has the goods, he says, starting with a solid base of homeowners committed to the city who aren’t going anywhere. Development may be pressing down on us, but we won’t crumble, he says. We are changing the game.

I would love to believe that too. I would love the corporate campaign painting Inglewood as Black and prospering on its own terms — an equal partner in this breakneck development — to be true.

But history is against it. So is math — the economics of gentrification, intricately tied to have/have-not realities, including the racial wealth gap, virtually guarantee that new homeowners won’t be Black. The same is true of renters, who are actually the majority of Inglewood residents. The median price of a home in some Inglewood neighborhoods is nudging up to $900,000 now. That’s downright modest in L.A.’s overheated market but out of reach for the Black working-to-middle class that is the city’s foundation.

Inglewood is a mosaic, but also one community with common needs. That fact is what makes us truly unique, a work of art — in progress. The physical art — and the art to come — accurately conveys Black power and depth. We just have to live up to the image.

Erin Aubry Kaplan is a contributing writer to Opinion and a columnist at Truthdig.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Martyrs’ Day Malawi 2024: Activities, History, FAQs, Dates, and Facts

Martyrs’ Day Malawi 2024 (Malawi): Martyrs’ Day is a yearly public holiday observed on March 3 in Malawi. The occasion serves as a remembrance of the valiant political figures who perished in opposition to British colonialism. Britain established the British Central Africa Protectorate, which encompassed the entirety of modern-day Malawi.

The people of Malawi opted to form their political parties. The Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) emerged as the most influential Malawian political party. The occasion is observed to pay homage to the nation’s valiant citizens and motivate subsequent generations to strive for societal progress and transformation.

Martyrs’ Day Malawi History

Situated in southeastern Africa, Malawi is a landlocked nation that lacks access to the open ocean. In this region, the United Kingdom founded the British Central Africa Protectorate in 1891; the protectorate was renamed “Nyasaland” in 1907. Since 1953, when Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, and Southern Rhodesia were merged, the Central African Federation has existed. However, this strategy would fail and spark an uprising in Malawi.

The leader of the Central African Federation, Hastings Banda, instigated a demonstration that escalated into a rebellion. As a result, on March 3, 1959, the British instituted a state of emergency and, to suppress the protests, arrested prominent Malawian nationalists and other dissidents during Operation Sunrise. The March 1959 events are regarded as pivotal junctures along the path to nationhood. This is because the events of that day paved the way for Malawi to achieve independence in July 1964.

The observance of Martyrs Day by Malawians evokes melancholy recollections. Respect is shown on this day for the valiant men and women who fought for independence and human rights in Malawi, enduring gunfire, imprisonment, and humiliation in the process. Liberation combatants are revered for the ideals and principles that guided their efforts to improve Malawi. Throughout the holiday, Malawians attend church services and political speeches in which they can offer condolences for the fallen freedom fighters.

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Martyrs’ Day Malawi 2024 (Malawi) FAQs

Which hues comprise the flag of Malawi?

It is patterned in black, red, and green horizontally. The hues represent the African people, the verdant environment of Malawi, and the bloodshed shed by independence martyrs.

For what is Malawi renowned?

Malawi is frequently lauded as the “warm heart of Africa” due to its citizens’ hospitable disposition.

What is present in Malawi?

Malawi is widely regarded as the country in Central Africa with the highest prevalence of rock art.

Martyrs’ Day Malawi 2024 (Malawi) Activities

Investigate Malawi

You can acquire more information about the country through research. You will gain knowledge of its culture and people.

Explore Malawi

You can travel to the country and gain firsthand knowledge of its culture. There are numerous enjoyable activities available in Malawi.

Commemorate the holiday

You can celebrate the holiday in person or virtually with family and friends. This contributes to increased awareness.

Five intriguing facts regarding Malawi

Individuals used Bantu

The Malawi region was under the occupation of Bantu-speaking communities between the first and fourth centuries.

Large is Blantyre.

Built-in 1876, Blantyre is regarded as the second-largest city in Malawi.

Malawi once comprised Nyasaland.

The British administered Nyasaland and the District Protectorate, which included Malawi.

Nyasaland was renamed Malawi.

In 1964, Nyasaland proclaimed itself independent and subsequently adopted the name Malawi.

Lake Malawi is vast in size.

Lake Malawi encompasses an area exceeding one-fifth of the entirety of the country.

MARTYRS’ DAY MALAWI DATES

Year Date Day
2024 March 3 Sunday
2025 March 3 Monday
2026 March 3 Tuesday
2027 March 3 Wednesday
2028 March 3 Friday

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The comeback of a classic

I’ve sworn off watching award shows whether it be Grammys, Oscars, Tonys or anything else that draws me away from commercial-free streaming TV and forces me to sit through annoying but tempting fast-food commercials even though curiosity tempts me to flip back and forth to watch ridiculous outfits or gimmicks red carpet walkers do for their Warhol “15 minutes of fame.”

But this year’s Grammy awards program had a performance that I’m so sorry I missed. It was with Tracy Chapman, 1980s music icon, performing her mega-hit “Fast Car” with country blockbuster singer Luke Combs, who was born and bred right here in North Carolina. I was able to catch the performance on YouTube and it was amazing.

For those of you who caught it and may be thinking, “Okay, yeah, it was pretty good, but big deal,” let me explain that us old timer lovers’ of ‘80s music, especially Tracy’s memorable work, no doubt felt pangs of nostalgia seeing her again, as did yours truly. Her soft voice, expressing pain in her words, as well as Combs’ powerful voice, were fabulous as they sang the familiar lyrics.

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The back story on this de ja vu reemergence of “Fast Car” is that not only did Tracy garner six Grammy Award nominations in 1988 when she came on the scene, three of which she won (Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her single “Fast Car”, and Best Contemporary Folk Album), but Luke Combs’ remake of “Fast Car” became a blockbuster in 2023, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country songs chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. And on Nov. 8, 2023, 35 years after the song’s debut by Chapman, “Fast Car” garnered Combs the Single of the Year at the “57th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards” show.

This made Chapman the first Black artist in the CMA award show’s 50-plus year history to take home the prize for sole songwriting on a No. 1 country hit.

Awesome, but “Fast Car” wasn’t finished yet, bringing Tracy once again to the forefront because she and Combs’ performance led to an emotional, moving, standing ovation from the audience and cheers throughout parts of the world where it was televised.

And, apparently, “Fast Car” isn’t done yet because YouTube’s video of the pair’s rendition of the classic continues to attract millions and millions of viewers, worldwide, spanning multi-generations.

How one song can move millions of people to hear and love it again even after decades means that its music and lyrics still hold true and captivate the listener no matter which generation is listening to it. That’s no easy feat for any artist.

A day after the Grammy performance, a columnist wrote in USA Today that he was moved to tears when he saw Chapman and Combs perform the song. He wrote, “Was every racial or socioeconomic issue solved in those few minutes? Of course not. But a Black woman and a white man sang together about people down on their luck and dreaming of better lives. Maybe we saw that our troubles and dreams can connect us, how much more we could accomplish together. And maybe the politics and other divisions faded — at least for those few moments.”

And that, truly, was a magnificent connection, even for simply the minutes of a song, in our racially turbulent times. We need more of this, America.

Combs paid tribute to Chapman when he received his award last year saying, “First and foremost, I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time. I just recorded it because it’s meant so much to me throughout my entire life.” He told Billboard later, “Tracy Chapman wrote this perfect song that I first heard with my dad, and it has stayed with me since. I have played it in my live show now for six-plus years and everyone — I mean everyone — across all these stadiums relates to this song and sings along. That’s the gift of a supernatural song writer.”

His rendition was streamed over 65 million times on Spotify in less than two months after his album with the song was released, making it the most popular song from the album on that platform. Combs’ version of “Fast Car” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, higher than Chapman’s original 1988 version, and No. 1 on the Canada Country charts. Since its release in March of last year, it has generated more than $500,000 in publishing royalties — with a significant portion going to Chapman.

Chapman doesn’t give a lot of interviews, but in a rare statement earlier this year, the blues/folk artist said, “I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there. I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.’”

As far as what Chapman has been doing since recording some albums that didn’t quite make it like those of the ‘80s, she’s mostly behind the scenes, politically and socially. In a rare quote from her, she tried to describe her gift of songwriting: “There are some concerns that are universal. Everyone wants to be loved, and everyone wants to feel like they belong somewhere in the world. Everyone wants to do something and feel like they have a sense of purpose. These are just the things that I think about and the things that make their way into my songwriting.”

It’s a gift, Tracy, and we thank you for bringing it to us.

Peg DeMarco is a Morganton resident who writes a weekly features column for The News Herald. Contact her at pegdemarco@earthlink.net.

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Grave of Altadena abolitionist to receive historical landmark status after 35-year effort

On the day the grave of Owen Brown became protected, historian Michele Zack hiked the short path to an obscure hilltop above Altadena where the abolitionist was laid to rest.

“I came up here on that afternoon to tell Owen the news,” said Zack on Thursday, Feb. 29. “I wanted him to know. I said: ‘You are an L.A. County monument.’ “

  • Historian Michele Zack, of the Owen Brown Gravesite Committee, hikes...

    Historian Michele Zack, of the Owen Brown Gravesite Committee, hikes to his gravesite, which was recently nominated for landmark status as a Los Angeles County Historical Landmark, on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 above Altadena. Owen Brown was an abolitionist who escaped the raid at Harper’s Ferry and moved to California in the 1860s and whose father was famous abolitionist John Brown. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The gravesite of Owen Brown, an abolitionist who escaped the...

    The gravesite of Owen Brown, an abolitionist who escaped the raid at Harper’s Ferry and moved to California in the 1860s, sits a short hike above Altadena as seen on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. It was recently approved to become a Los Angeles County Historical Landmark. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The gravesite of Owen Brown, an abolitionist who escaped the...

    The gravesite of Owen Brown, an abolitionist who escaped the raid at Harper’s Ferry and moved to California in the 1860s, sits a short hike above Altadena as seen on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. It was recently approved for landmark status a Los Angeles County Historical Landmark. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • People gather at the grave site of Owen Brown in...

    People gather at the grave site of Owen Brown in Altadena. in the late 19th century. (Courtesy Altadena Historical Society)

  • Historian Michele Zack, of the Owen Brown Gravesite Committee, visits...

    Historian Michele Zack, of the Owen Brown Gravesite Committee, visits his gravesite, which was recently nominated for designation as a Los Angeles County historical landmark, on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 a short hike above Altadena. Owen Brown was an abolitionist who escaped the raid at Harper’s Ferry and moved to California and whose father was famous abolitionist John Brown. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously nominated the Owen Brown Gravesite as a Los Angeles County historic landmark. It is expected that the Los Angeles County Historical Landmark and Records Commission will approve the designation, said Zack, an author of three books, an expert on Altadena history, and chair of the Owen Brown Gravesite Committee.

To say Zack, and John Burton, the committee’s vice chair, were ecstatic about the board’s motion is an understatement. The committee worked five years for this designation. Altadena Heritage has been waiting 35 years, after being turned down for historic landmark status by the Commission in 1989.

“It is an auspicious day to honor California’s free-state legacy,” Zack told the board.

Dad and son

Owen Brown, the son of famous abolitionist John Brown, fought with his father and a ragtag group of 21 called “God’s Army” to raid the U.S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Va., in October 1859, in an attempt to provoke a slave revolt in the southern states. The raid failed and John Brown was arrested and executed, but Owen Brown escaped.

Brown became a fugitive for the next 20 years, living in Michigan and upstate New York before settling in Pasadena and then Altadena at the bequest of Pasadena abolitionist Horatio Nelson Rust, said Zack. “He got word to him that in Pasadena, you’ll be safe; everybody thinks you are a hero.” Pasadena was founded by abolitionists and former union soldiers in 1874, making it a safe place for Owen Brown.

John Brown’s actions, with the help of Owen and other family members, included previous violent raids. He participated in the Pottawatomie massacre in Kansas Territory in 1856, where John Brown and his family fought against slave owners.

Brown’s actions became legendary and many historians say they led up to the outbreak of the Civil War. Union soldiers rushing into battle sang this marching song for inspiration: “John Brown’s body lies a-molderin’ in the grave, John Brown’s body lies a-molderin’ in the grave, John Brown’s body lies a-molderin’ in the grave. His soul goes marching on!”

“His family and himself sacrificed more to end slavery than any other White family,” Zack said. “Black people, of course, sacrificed a lot more.”

John Brown, who had 20 children, was White, an evangelical Christian who believed slavery was “a blood sin” and against the promise of America, Zack said. He was determined, single-minded, and often called insane. He practiced violence in attempts to free the slaves, even going against the wishes of Frederick Douglass, a prominent freed slave and anti-slavery orator and statesman who had the ear of President Abraham Lincoln.

“Do you think 21 people, so called God’s Army, could free all the slaves? It was an act (Harper’s Ferry raid) of courage or insanity, depending on how you looked at it,” Zack said.

Owen Brown was said to be his father’s right-hand man. Historians say of all his siblings, he most resembled his father. His warrant for arrest in 1859 described him as “33 or 34 years of age, about six feet in height, fair complexion, though somewhat freckled — has red hair” and also “deep blue eyes.”

Around 1881, Brown and his brother, Jason, settled in Altadena Meadows in the foothills. Zack said he and his brother would go into town in Pasadena packing six guns, but in these communities they were left alone and not pursued by the law, she said.

He died in 1889, probably of pneumonia, after walking home in the rain from a temperance meeting, Zack said. He was buried on a hilltop called Little Round Top near his cabin, in the shadow of Brown Mountain named after his father. About 2,000 people attended his funeral at a Pasadena church, she said.

Gravesite battles

Nine years later, Rust helped create a new gravestone because the wooden one was eroding. In the next 120 years, that gravestone was lost, stolen, hidden and eventually put back on the grave, Zack said.

The headstone reads: “Owen Brown, son of John Brown The Liberator, Died Jan. 9, 1889, Aged: 64 yrs.” Clearly the son and the father remained interlinked, even in death.

Getting the gravesite established for public viewing took decades.

Someone knocked the grave marker down the hill but it was found, intact. A previous landowner attempted to bar public access to the gravesite with a “No Trespassing” sign, resulting in a 2006 ruling affirming the public has legal access to the site.

In 2002, the marker went missing for 10 years. In 2012, Ian White, son of prominent Black artist Charles White, who lived in Altadena Meadows, found the missing gravestone in the mud on a walk near his home, Zack said. The marker was kept in an undisclosed location for about 10 years, because Ian White wanted to wait for a friendly landowner.

The land was privately owned and slated for a school, as part of the La Vina housing development of the 1990s. An agreement from new landowner, Tim Cantwell, moved the project forward. Cantwell got permission to build more homes below the hilltop and in turn, allowed the non-contiguous 5.2 acres containing the grave to be preserved. Cantwell also agreed to give Altadena Heritage $300,000 for the site’s restoration and for education programs about John Brown, Owen Brown and Pasadena’s anti-slavery history.

By 2022, the gravestone was back in place and new benches have been added. Interpretive signs tell the story of Owen Brown. One display tells about Robert Owens, a Black man who helped emancipate Black people illegally being held as slaves in San Bernardino in 1856. They were taken to a hideout in the Santa Monica Mountains and freed by local law enforcement.

The groups involved with the gravesite restoration wanted to include stories of Pasadena and Altadena’s anti-slavery heritage, as well as honor Owen Brown. A short documentary with animation is in the works to show to school children, Zack said.

A monument for today

The gravesite will be managed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy group, once the designation is confirmed. The committee wants to go for state and federal historic designations next.

The intricacies of history were not lost on Zack, who is writing a new book on Los Angeles and the run-up to the Civil War. She said John and Owen Brown’s story is controversial. “Some people ask: How can we honor anyone who did a raid on our national armory?”

Supervisor Lindsey Horvath said at the meeting that a monument to someone who fought against slavery is a rarity in California.

“California has more monuments with names and places named for the Confederacy than any other free state. It seems like we should redress the balance,” Zack said.

Zack said the historical landmark to Owen Brown is valid today, more than 150 years after the end of America’s bloodiest war.

“I feel the legacy of the Civil War is still with us,” she said. “Some people are predicting a new one.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

New exhibition at Chicago Maritime Museum highlights work from 19th-century Chicago artist

CHICAGO — A new exhibition at the Chicago Maritime Museum is bringing new interest to the work of a Black artist from the late 19th-century.

The five oil paintings that depict scenes of the Chicago River are unsigned and so far unattributed, but they leave a lasting impression.

Madeline Crispell, the curator of the Chicago Maritime Museum, believes the paintings, match the style subject matter and timeframe of the artist James Bolivar Needham.

WGN’s Gaynor Hall has a look at the history behind the paintings and the artist who is believed to be responsible.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

UNNAMED FIGURES: GHOSTS OUT OF TIME AT LINCOLN SQUARE THAT TELL THEIR STORY

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WPCNR ART IN TIME.Exhibition Review by John F. Bailey, March 2, 2024:

The name of the exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum in New York is provocative. It stuns you.:

Unnamed Figures: Black Presence and Absence in the Early American North

Evocative. Eternal. Visceral. Disbelief.

With every painting by unknown and known black artists of America’s first two centuries, every sculpture, every photograph and painted landscapes of young growing America the roles of northern slaves are witnessed in heartbreaking, somber testimony in the works  of those black artists  who lived, painted, photographed, sculpted as slaves and freedmen and women in the American North.

As you wonder through the dark halls that evoke a dignified mausoleum dedicated to artists lost, their talents exploited by northern slaveowners in the 1700s and 1800s leading up to and beyond the Civil War.

The ambitious curation of this exhibition is on view through March 24 at 2 Lincoln Square on 66th Street, West of Central Park. It is a visit to the past you will never forget.

I  have not been so jarred by an exhibition since I saw the slave hut on Andrew Jackson’s estate in Nashville, a slave quarters that housed 19 slaves in ramshackle structure the size of a studio apartment.

Unnamed Figures brings back to life the long dead slaves who endured the cruelty of slavery in the “abolitionist” north to tell the truth through their art that has lived on to tell their stories.

This exhibit  opened my eyes about slavery in the northeast. the paintings,sculptures and photographs haunt you at every step, putting a real face on real slaves and freemen and women in the 19th century. it was never taught to me in the history classes of  high school, how widespread slavery was in the north as well as the south.

This exhibition will make you linger, think, feel deeply or ever so slightly the wrongs, the diminution of black talent.

Other than the hard unpaid brutal living and working for nothing, I was shocked by the slave owners’ shameful  exploitation of  slaves who were artists in spare time, artists many of home photographed and painted portraits of their owners  and the owners’ friends and the owners pocketed the fees the artists’ works.

In the elegant somber texts explaining paintings, portraits and photographs, you learn how paintings of blacks promoted in the north the inferiority of blacks who are shown looking up to their master owners in portraits.

George Washington and Family with Slave in background by an artist who was a slave.

Many of those paintings for fees that slave owners kept are on display here. as a writer myself i can feel that injustice. All pride in the work is diminished when you are not paid for it and your owner keeps your fee.

The exhibition offers a new window onto black representation in a region that is often overlooked in narratives of early African American history.

Through 125 remarkable works including paintings, needlework, and photographs, this exhibition invites visitors to focus on figures who appear in—or are omitted from—early american images and will challenge conventional narratives that have minimized early black histories in the north, revealing the complexities and contradictions of the region’s history between the late 1600s and early 1800s.

Unnamed figures…  

If you are black. this is a must-see exhibition and your pride  will be uplifted.

If you are white, it will open your eyes, touch your heart,  sadden and cleanse your soul.

Unamed Figures is art performing its mission profoundly and effectively, eternally.

I recommend it!

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Rod Stewart reveals he owes his music career to legendary artist

CHART topper Sir Rod Stewart feels his dreams of a music career would have sunk without a music legend.

Sir Rod, 79, felt that his teen efforts at singing were awful until he imitated the artist’s smooth tunes.

Dad-of-eight Sir Rod said he owes his sound to a youth listening to soul legends

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Dad-of-eight Sir Rod said he owes his sound to a youth listening to soul legendsCredit: AP
The Celtic-daft crooner recently teamed up with piano man Jools Holland for a new album

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The Celtic-daft crooner recently teamed up with piano man Jools Holland for a new albumCredit: PA

On Friday, the Celtic superfan shot to the top spot in the UK album chart with his album Swing Fever.

The record, his eleventh number one LP, saw him team up with piano man Jools Holland for an album of swing covers.

Dad-of-eight Sir Rod said he owes his sound to a youth listening to soul legends.

And among them was Sam Cooke, who enjoyed a stellar music career before his shock murder in 1963.

READ MORE ROD STEWART

He said: “I listened to Sam Cooke and Muddy Waters, all the great black artists.

“So if there wasn’t Sam Cooke there may not have been a Rod.

“It is not easy being me.

“He was tremendous. He was a big influence on my career when I was growing up.

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“That’s the only guy I wanted to sound like was Sam Cooke.”

When asked why he tried to copy Cooke when his voice was “so magical”, he responded.

“But it wasn’t I used to be horrible, so I had to mould my voice on someone.”

‘I’ll show it to you but I’ve got to undress’ says Rod Stewart as he strips off to show Celtic tattoo live on TV

For songwriting, he found Bob Dylan his greatest early inspiration.

“The big one was for me, that changed my life, was Bob Dylan’s first album. I’d never been to America. I had been to the other side of the street.”

Sir Rod, speaking on Kelly Clarkson’s US chat show, said his latest record with Holland, 66, will not be the end of his love affair with rock n roll.

He added: “I haven’t left rock behind. I want to get on with this jazz and swing album, and of course I did the Great American song book, so I want to be able to go and sing those songs.”

Rod felt that his teen efforts at singing were awful until he imitated Sam Cooke's smooth tunes

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Rod felt that his teen efforts at singing were awful until he imitated Sam Cooke’s smooth tunesCredit: Michael Ochs Archives – Getty

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The U.S. Department of Labor Spotlights Equity in the Arts

Secretary of Labor Julie Su and panelists discuss career opportunities for African Americans pursing the arts. (Skyler Winston/The Hilltop)

The U.S. Department of Labor recently welcomed artists, theater workers and labor unions to the department headquarters to emphasize the intersection of job quality and equity within the arts industry.

Secretary of Labor Julie Su welcomed the panelists, various HBCU students and other guests on Feb. 28 for the event, titled “Making Equity Real: Creating Career Pathways and Good Jobs in the Arts.” 

“One of the reasons we’re holding this event is to highlight the intersection between good jobs and the arts,”  Su told The Hilltop

The event included a panel discussion which celebrated this year’s national Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Arts.” Su led a panel of distinguished figures in the arts community, including the American Guild of Musical Artists and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, along with Congressman Maxwell Frost. 

Su was introduced by the Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson. President Joe Biden appointed Jackson in January of 2022, and she serves as the first African American in her role. 

The conversation centered around the importance of art unions, educating institutions to create a more inclusive environment and the need for those in power to invite marginalized voices to the table within the art industry. 

“You create a picture through the arts and performance when there’s [a] little bit of cultural diversity at every step, [including] the marketing team, the design team and even the box office,” panelist Frank Brown, a Local 22 member and Kennedy Center production shop steward, said. 

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“There needs to be cultural diversity every step of the way. If the institution understands that, then they have a better presentation and better cultural efficiency in the program they’re doing,” Brown continued.

According to a 2021 report by the NEA which examined the role of arts and culture, the arts hold significant importance as they serve as a means of expression, foster community and facilitate connection among individuals. 

Displayed drawing by Geffrey Love, Jr. (Skyler Winston/The Hilltop)

“When you’re intentional about seeking out diverse representation, you get to create opportunities for all kinds of people,” Su said. “I always say ‘if you demand excellence, you get diversity and when you demand diversity, you get excellence.’”

Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who currently serves as the first vice president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, expressed frustration with the current system for training Black artists to conform to white standards rather than nurturing their own creative voices.

“Where is our national Black theater? We’re training all these kids in these institutions, universities and conservatories to go in and make white people comfortable,” Santiago-Hudson said.

The “Making Equity Realevent served as a motivator for student artists. Several artists from HBCUs, including Howard University, attended the event as their work was highlighted and displayed.

Displayed paintings by Geffrey Love, Jr. (Skyler Winston/The Hilltop)

Geffrey Love, Jr., a student artist at Bowie State University majoring in studio arts with a concentration in drawing and painting, expressed hope and comfort regarding job security after attending the event.

“I put myself through college [and] all my money goes to school and my art, so I try to balance it, but it gets very difficult,” Love said. “ I can say after attending this event, meeting people and networking makes it easier.”

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Kiana Thomas is also a student artist who attends Bowie State and majors in visual communication and digital media arts. Thomas expressed that the event was a breath of fresh air, as it addressed her concerns about her career.

“I feel like I have somewhere to go. I don’t have to be forced to work somewhere I don’t want to work and continue to finance something I love to do,” Thomas said. “Seeing this event and realizing there’s hope out there is empowering. Just keep pushing forward, like you’ve got this.”

Displayed art by Kiana Thomas. (Skyler Winston/The Hilltop)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment within arts and design occupations is expected to grow at the average rate of all occupations between 2022 to 2032. Last year, the Wallace Foundation released a report which provides guidance for cities to use as they decide how to leverage the power of the arts within their own communities.

Jackson expressed pride in implementing workplace protections for employees within the field of cultural arts.

“I’m proud that all federal funding the NEA makes available comes with important worker protections, including prevailing wage requirements and workplace protections,” Jackson said. “I’m honored to partner with Secretary Su on these critical issues.”

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

June Kuramoto Among 2024 NEA National Heritage Fellows

Throughout her career June Kuramoto has performed with many greats, including Ravi Shankar (center) and Kazu Matsui. She will be honored in Washington, D.C. in the fall. (Photo courtesy June Kuramoto)

WASHINGTON — The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced this year’s NEA National Heritage Fellows, recipients of the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Every year since 1982, the NEA has presented this lifetime honor in recognition of individuals whose dedication and artistry contribute to the preservation and growth of the diverse cultural traditions that comprise our nation. Each fellowship includes a $25,000 award and the recipients will be honored in Washington, D.C. in the fall.

“I am honored to announce the ten gifted recipients that have been named 2024 NEA National Heritage Fellows,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D. “Through their dedication to and generous stewardship of their traditions and cultures, these artists and culture bearers carry forward their knowledge and passion to future generations. They offer us the opportunity to see things from different perspectives, help us make sense of the world, and celebrate our rich collective heritage comprised of our diverse lived experiences.”

June Kuramoto

The 2024 NEA National Heritage Fellows include koto musician June Kuramoto from Alhambra.

She came to the U.S. by boat from Japan as a child immigrant in the 1950s and was raised in L.A.’s Crenshaw District, home to many Black artists, including Ray Charles, Tina Turner, and Natalie Cole, and one of the few neighborhoods where Japanese Americans did not face discrimination and were allowed to freely live.

As a young child, when she heard Kazue Kudo, a virtuoso koto player from Japan, perform. Kuramoto knew the koto, a 13-string Japanese instrument, would be her connection to Japan, and she asked her mother if she could take lessons. Kudo Sensei recognized Kuramoto’s talent and her ability to emotionally connect to the music. As a vibrant young kotoist, she was a featured player in numerous classical koto concerts in Little Tokyo.

A big fan of rock-and-roll and soul, Kuramoto wanted to adapt the song “Duke of Earl,” which she heard on the radio, for the koto. Her teacher told her that this would be difficult to do. This challenge only catalyzed her desire and determination to experiment combining the traditional koto with contemporary music.

This led her to the creation of Hiroshima, a pioneering Grammy-nominated Asian American band that blends the sounds of the koto with keyboards, sax, drums, guitar, bass, and vocals.

June Kuramoto (right) with her koto teacher, Kazue Kudo.

Through Hiroshima she not only fulfilled her dream, but Kuramoto also became a mentor and role model to young Japanese American women who now had a sense of pride in their culture and identity. A pivotal moment for Kuramoto came in the early 1980s when Hiroshima performed their first tour outside of California. At a Howard University performance, she recalls the rousing standing ovation she received for her solo and credits this performance as the start of many years of undying support for her music by the Black community.

Her recording credits for television, film, and stage include “Heroes,” “The Last Samurai,” and the stage musical “Sansei.” Kuramoto has been recognized with many awards both as an individual and as a co-founder of Hiroshima. The Smithsonian, U.S. Congress, State of California, and City and County of Los Angeles have honored her work.

Kuramoto has served twice as an artist-in-residence at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and as president of the Koto String Society, a nonprofit group that produced shows featuring up to 100 koto performers accompanied by a full symphony orchestra.

Today she gives of her time freely to teach a group of seniors and to mentor up-and-coming koto artists. Kuramoto is an in-demand solo artist at community events like the annual Day of Remembrance which is a time to reflect upon the years of suffering by Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. (Biography by Janice D. Tanaka, filmmaker and writer)

Also recognized were:

Sochietah Ung, Cambodian costume maker and dancer from Washington, D.C.

Bril Barrett, tap dancer from Chicago

Fabian Debora, Chicano muralist from Los Angeles

Rosie Flores, rockabilly and country musician from Austin, Texas

Trimble Gilbert, Gwich’in fiddler from Arctic Village, Alaska

Todd Goings, carousel carver and restorationist from Marion, Ohio

Susan Hudson, Navajo/Diné quilter from Sheep Springs, N.M.

Zuni Olla Maidens, traditional Zuni dancers and singers from Zuni, N.M.

Pat Johnson, community activist and organizer from Pocahontas, Ark.

Fellowship recipients are nominated by the public, often by members of their own communities, and then judged by a panel of experts in the folk and traditional arts. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, which sends its recommendations to the NEA chair, who makes the final decision.

The deadline to submit a nomination for the 2025 class of NEA National Heritage Fellows is Tuesday, May 28. For more information and to submit a nomination, visit the National Endowment for the Arts website: https://www.arts.gov/honors/heritage/make-a-national-heritage-fellowship-nomination

Past NEA National Heritage Fellows include:

Gertrude Yukie Tsutsumi, Japanese classical dancer (2018)

Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone, Okinawan dancer (2012)

Roy and PJ Hirabayashi, taiko drum leaders (2011)

Violet Kazue de Cristoforo, haiku poet and historian (2007)

Seiichi Tanaka, taiko drummer and dojo founder (2001)

Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto, Japanese tea ceremony master (1994)

John Naka, bonsai sculptor (1992)

Seisho “Harry” Nakasone, Okinawan American musician (1991)

Fujima Kansuma, Japanese classical dancer (1987)

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‘There’s Some Music Coming Out of the Bronx Called Rap,’ How the Village Voice Championed Hip-Hop and Changed Criticism

 Almost immediately after its founding in 1955, the Village Voice became the most raucous, irreverent and important alternative newspaper in America. At one point the Voice was the most read weekly in the country, serving as Andy Warhol put it “the entire liberal thinking world.” In her excellent new book The Freaks Came Out to Write: The Definitive History of the Village Voice, the Radical Paper That Changed American Culture, Voice veteran Tricia Romano has compiled an oral history of the seminal alt-weekly. Romano’s book is a vital and wildly entertaining read — documenting six decades of American life from the cultural heart of New York City. (Sample chapter title: “We’re against gentrification, and we’re for fist-fucking.”) In this exclusive excerpt from ‘Freaks Came Out to Write,’ Romano recounts the Voice’s pioneering coverage of a musical genre coming out of the Bronx in the early ’80s and the paper’s irascible and brilliant music critic Robert Christgau, who helped shape music writing for a generation.

BARRY MICHAEL COOPER: I had this conversation with Bob Christgau in January of ’80. I said, “There’s some music coming out of the Bronx called rap music. This is going to be a game changer.” He said, “I don’t believe that.” I said, “I’m telling you, there’s a group called Funky 4 + 1 — these four guys, a girl who’s a rapper, Sha-Rock. They got a record called ‘That’s the Joint.’ This thing is phenomenal.” And two days later, he called me to come down to the Voice. “You were right. This is something.”

VINCE ALETTI: I was at Tower Records. I was a buyer there, but I also started writing occasionally at the Voice with Bob. My first real editing job was when Jeff Weinstein took a three-month break, and I filled in for him as the art editor.

God knows how it became me — well, I wrote one of the first pieces for Bob about hip- hop. I reviewed a hip-hop concert that was at what’s now Webster Hall.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU: We were covering hip-hop before anybody except for the Amsterdam News. Robert Palmer, who had been at the Times, was not insensible to how good hip-hop was, but we did more of it. I certainly am not going to be so modest to suggest that some other music editor would have been as quick on it as I was. I was very quick on it.

GREG TATE: Bambaataa used to be the DJ for the Village Voice Christmas party for about six or seven years running. Bam really knew how to promote hip-hop as a thing. He knew the value of the press.

It was such a small world then. Everything happening in New York was happening below 23rd Street to Canal. On Fifth Avenue, it was Peppermint Lounge, Danceteria, and then on down, CBGB’s, and then Mudd Club. Everything that mattered in culture was happening in the East Village, about the twenties on down, east and west.

The first hip-hop show I went to was one that Bob asked me to review, a midnight show at the Ritz. I was still living in DC. He wasn’t paying for a hotel. I took the Amtrak up and then took the Amtrak back after the show. It was for a group, the Fearless Four doing “Rockin’ It,” one of the great one-hit wonders of early hip-hop.

CAROL COOPER: In the mid-’80s, the level of hip-hop writing that new Black writers were bringing into the Voice was intense. And part of that was because Robert Christgau loved hip-hop. He loved hip-hop more than he ever, ever loved house or any other marginal music. So, the combination of his editorial support, and a bunch of new writers that he was cultivating who were similarly enthusiastic about it, makes hip-hop a natural pivot point. The amount of writing that we did on world music was equally significant.

NELSON GEORGE: In ’81, I got my first real job at Record World. Sometime in that year, I sold him a piece about Lovebug Starski, an early rapper. Then I sold them another short piece on Grandmaster Flash. That was the beginning of my relationship with the Voice.

BARRY MICHAEL COOPER: Greg Tate and Nelson George became a paradigmatic shift, not only at the Voice but in writing and journalism, period. I couldn’t hold their Gatorade. They were — and still continue to be — two of the greatest writers that came out of the Village Voice, and the Village Voice is filled with great writers.

Nelson was critical theory, period, all the way down the line, talking about Black bohemians, talking about hip-hop, and Nelson’s way of contextualizing things made all the difference. He made you really, really sit down and think about Public Enemy, about Russell Simmons, about hip-hop — and from top to bottom, from the basement to the penthouse, he would give every layer of what his subject matter was.

Nelson George: I made it my mission to write about R&B artists. That particular branch of Black music was really atrophying. Tate was really interested in jazz and avant-garde jazz. Barry was interested in funk and different kinds of hip- hop, but also keyboard-driven funk. And then I was really interested in mainstream R&B, which I always felt never got any respect. Carol Cooper was also interested in reggae and Latin music.

GREG TATE: We’re all about the same age. We had it covered from three different sides. We never really tripped over each other.

NELSON GEORGE: It was amazing that Bob could edit all of these different people. He also was editing Stanley Crouch. See, because Stanley Crouch was musicological, elevated, “I’m telling you what the real shit is.” And Tate is really in his “Ironman” phase, so he’s writing crazy, psychedelic shit. I’m like white bread in there, just trying to get my shit in there.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU: I tell people Nelson used to write on the fucking subway. People would see him sitting there on the subway scribbling in his notebook.

NELSON GEORGE: I had some writing skills, but Bob taught me how to think about making an argument. And not just to write about lyrics, which is one of the things that was wrong with rock criticism, was that it was all about lyrics, and not enough about music. And Black music was about music. If you weren’t writing about syncopation or polyrhythms or how bass and drums interact, then you really weren’t writing about the music. You were just dancing around.

RICHARD GOLDSTEIN: There’s this whole tradition of white liberals writing about Black music that goes back to jazz— Hentoff, Leonard Feather— and they didn’t do a bad job, they introduced the music to the public, but the fact is, they weren’t Black. The Voice really pioneered this school of expressive Black writing— almost coming close to postmodernism.

VERNON REID: The Voice had actual Black writers writing about Black art. That was a big deal. That wasn’t happening at the New York Post and the Daily News. The Village Voice actually had Black writers writing about Black stuff, writing about Basquiat and writing about Spike Lee and writing about Chris Rock, you know? They were writing about just- emerging, talented people, and that was important.

Much of the credit for the Voice’s pioneering coverage belongs to Robert Christgau, the “dean” of music criticism. Christgau’s Consumer Guide practically invented the capsule review. The tight and precise writing became essential reading for music fans and helped set the industry standard for criticism.

“An A+ record is an organically conceived masterpiece that repays prolonged listening with new excitement and insight. It is unlikely to be marred by more than one merely ordinary cut.

An A is a great record both of whose sides offer enduring pleasure and surprise. You should own it. . . .

E records are frequently cited as proof that there is no God. . . .

An E– record is an organically conceived masterpiece that repays repeated listening with a sense of horror in the face of the void. It is unlikely to be marred by one listenable cut.”

— Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the ’70s (1980)

ERIC WEISBARD: The Consumer Guide is one of the great masochistic acts of criticism ever perpetuated.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU: The idea was that there is more “product,” let’s call it, than there is space and time to write about it. I decided I would call this column where I did these capsule reviews of records the Consumer Guide, and that I would do another thing that hippies weren’t supposed to do and offer letter grades at a time when pass/fail was at its peak. It was just a way to be contrarian.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU, CONSUMER GUIDE, VILLAGE VOICE, 1980:

Prince, Dirty Mind (Warner Bros., 1980)

After going gold in 1979 as an utterly uncrossedover falsetto love man, he takes care of the songwriting, transmutes the persona, revs up the guitar, muscles into the vocals, leans down hard on a rock-steady, funk-tinged four-four, and conceptualizes — about sex, mostly. Thus, he becomes the first commercially viable artist in a decade to claim the visionary high ground of Lennon and Dylan and Hendrix (and Jim Morrison), whose rebel turf has been ceded to such marginal heroes-by-fiat as Patti Smith and John Rotten-Lydon. Brashly lubricious where the typical love man plays the lead in “He’s So Shy,” he specializes here in full-fledged fuckbook fantasies — the kid sleeps with his sister and digs it, sleeps with his girlfriend’s boyfriend and doesn’t, stops a wedding by gamahuching the bride on her way to church. Mick Jagger should fold up his penis and go home. A

COLSON WHITEHEAD: He’ll pack so much into those five-line reviews. He knew everything. I didn’t always agree. I didn’t know what he was talking about half the time, but the stuff he liked, he really championed and made me want to buy it.

CHUCK EDDY: I don’t know how many people over the years have told me that Christgau is unreadable. I understand that — my ticket into being interested in people writing intelligently about music was figuring out what the hell Christgau was talking about.

 ROBERT CHRISTGAU: I didn’t want to be a rock critic. My idea was to be a journalist. My ideal was A. J. Liebling. I love sportswriting in general. Some of the sportswriters were great writers. I was a baseball fan; baseball fans love charts and statistics. So, I kept rock ’n’ roll statistics. I worked for an encyclopedia company in ’64. That taught me compression.

FRANK RUSCITTI: Christgau was hated by bands because he was so honest, and he was so brutal. There’s a single out there, I forgot who did it, called “I Killed Christgau.”

I don’t know why

You wanna impress Christgau

Ah let that shit die

— “Kill Yr Idols” (aka “I Killed Christgau with My Big Fuckin’ Dick”), Sonic Youth

CLEM BURKE: A lot of people would take an antagonistic attitude toward Christgau, but I always thought he was pretty right on and honest in his views and very credible.

Music critic Robert Christgau and drummer Chris Cutler (Henry Cow/Art Bears/Pere Ubu) at Giorgio Gomelsky’s Zu Festival at the Entermedia Theater in New York City on October 17, 1978. Ebet Roberts/Getty Images

ROBERT CHRISTGAU, CONSUMER GUIDE, VILLAGE VOICE, JANUARY 29, 1979

Lou Reed, Live: Take No Prisoners (Arista, 1978)

Partly because your humble servant is attacked by name (along with John Rockwell) on what is essentially a comedy record, a few colleagues have rushed in with Don Rickles analogies, but that’s not fair. Lenny Bruce is the obvious influence. Me, I don’t play my greatest comedy albums, not even the real Lenny Bruce ones, as much as I do Rock n Roll Animal. I’ve heard Lou do two very different concerts during his Arista period that I’d love to check out again— Palladium November ’76 and Bottom Line May ’77. I’m sorry this isn’t either. And I thank Lou for pronouncing my name right. C+

Critics! What does Robert Christgau do in bed? You know, is he a toefucker?

— Lou Reed, Live: Take No Prisoners

RJ SMITH: Steve Anderson was his intern and would open his mail at home. Bob had panned the Swans— noise, East Village, dirge-y, Michael Gira, droning, pretentious, whatever. He slammed them in a Consumer Guide. So, Michael Gira jerked off in a baggie, sealed it up, and mailed it to Bob with an angry letter — or witty letter, he would probably think. Bob opens it, reads the letter himself, pulls out a bag of cum, and he hands it to Steve and says, “OK, file this under G.”

James Wolcott started as a music writer and was writing for Bob. Somewhere along the way, they started sniping at each other through print. At least, Wolcott took shots at Bob, and then Bob started writing about his sex life a lot and problems he and Carola were having, and then Wolcott weighed in on it at least once, and talking about putting up bleachers and having people watch them have sex. That was the classic Village Voice arguing with itself in public. It’s what we had instead of getting paid well.

GREG TATE: He got really interested in feminism and sex, and he would write these pieces where he would be talking about his own sex life. In one of them he said something like [laughs], “I’ve been fucking the same woman for twenty years, and hopefully I’ll be fucking her until she dies.” Like, “Not till we die.” [Laughs.]

DAVID SCHNEIDERMAN: We didn’t have the money for everyone to have a computer then. One day, Bob is complaining that at four o’clock, when he wants to do his work, the computers are taken. I said, “Bob, when I come in in the morning, for hours no one’s on these computers.” Bob puffs up and says, “I will not change my diurnal urges.”

NELSON GEORGE: You’d go to Bob’s apartment, and the place is crazy: a warren of records everywhere, and clothes, and you had to duck to get down the narrow hallway. And then he had that little office, which is legendary. There’s five records on the turntable playing at any given time, all stacked up. Ornette Coleman, then the sounds of West Africa, then a blues band from England, and then, you know, Olivia Newton-John. And they just come one after another while you’re in there trying to edit with him at his little typewriter.

He and his wife were so lovely. When they were trying to have a kid, you could only edit with him during certain times. It was like, “She’s ovulating.” Bob always gave you a little more information than you wanted.

RJ SMITH: I was to bring my story over to his home. I knock on the door. He buzzes me into the building, comes to the door on the second floor. He’s in his underpants with a garbage can, like, right in front of where I’m glad he had a garbage can. And he said, “Put it in the garbage can! Just put it in the garbage can! Quick, quick!”

RJ SMITH: If Bob had never become a writer, never done the Consumer Guide or anything, and was just an editor, he still would be such an influential figure.

GARY GIDDINS: We became great friends, and he’s the best editor I’ve ever worked with. I learned so much about writing from him. Every time I handed in a piece, I walked away knowing something I didn’t know before. And he liked working with me because he never had to tell me anything twice.

NELSON GEORGE: He was incredibly blunt, so you’re a little scared, but at the same time he was incredibly nurturing once you got past the bluntness.

CAROL COOPER: He was an obsessive line editor. Which meant that at the early stages of working with him, if you were used to the places that left your copy more or less alone, it could be either annoying or humbling, depending on how you felt about it, that he would want you to change almost every other word in something you had already worked on for a week.

COLSON WHITEHEAD: I actually had only one Christgau edit, and it was over the phone. I thought I missed out. But my then girlfriend, Natasha Stovall, was an interim music editor, so, he did Pazz & Jop in our house in Fort Greene in January of ’97. It was like Jesus had come to my apartment. Like, “Oh my god, Christgau’s in my house.”

JAMES HANNAHAM: My mother was dying of Alzheimer’s. It took her a very long time to get through it, and I was panicking. People were offering sympathy without help. Bob took me to lunch, and he gave me the name and number of an eldercare lawyer. He was one of the only people who just did something. It was so small, but it meant so much to me that I feel forever indebted to him for just this one little gesture.

GARY GIDDINS: I remember one guy saying, “You know, people are going to be writing books about Bob.” And we all knew what he meant, because Bob is a character. He called himself the dean of rock critics.

Trending

I was still writing movie reviews at the Hollywood Reporter. And there was a movie called Looking for Mr Goodbar. Remember that? Diane Keaton. It was a pretty bad movie. And Bob walked in — this is when he had this long, straight hair that went down his back — and he walked in very briskly, like, “I’m here — you can start the film!”

And at one point, the Diane Keaton character says something like, “How can you really understand or come to grips with reality?” And Bob said, “Well, for a start, you could stop watching this film!” We all just fell out.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment