Archive for September, 2008

A September conversation August would have enjoyed

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Syr Stage Discussion

Syracuse Stage Producing Artistic Director Timothy Bond began a series of discussions around the August Wilson play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which opened the season. On September 21, I attended a post show forum on the use of the N-word during the play. The forum featured Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd (standing) along with media personality George Kilpatrick (center) and professor Dr. Adam Banks. Byrd told the crowd of about 50 that he was not offended by the use of the N-word during the play because it was part of the dialogue that showed a true portrait of the world of the featured characters (circa 1920s). Wilson’s work gave those characters, and their world, recognition and worth, Byrd said. Banks added that the word as well as the use of the N-word must be framed within the proper historical and cultural context.

Pictures: Taking and Making

Friday, September 12th, 2008

SU grad and photographer Stephen Wilkes spoke at Newhouse last night. He presented some incredible examples of layered story telling from his travels to New Orleans (post Katrina) and China (pre Olympics). Wilkes said when he shoots commercially he makes pictures and when he works for himself he takes pictures. I was surprised to learn that he started out as a street photographer years ago.

Gospel Remix: Of Jesus, For Jesus, by His Disciples

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

gospel hip hop

Thanks to the leadership of Joy Community Church in Rochester, NY for their decision to host the Gospel Hip Hop Festival last weekend. I finally got a chance to see Renewed Disciples and they were certainly a crowd favorite. In addition to the music, the festival stayed true to the spirit of the movement by including dance and graffiti art as well. I was particular impressed with the artists Sno and Oz, who were given an old van to serve as their canvas.

Thanks also to my cousin Marcus, who told me about this event.

Hip Hop Hallelujah

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

September is Gospel Music Month. In my many car trips this summer my children memorized a song by the group Renewed Disciples (from New Jersey) called “What Would Jesus Do.”  RD will perform in Rochester later this week and in Buffalo later in the fall. The groups contemporary style shows that Hip Hop has just as much influence on Gospel as it does R&B for the younger generation.