"I think the artists have a platform, they have a power, they have a gift - and by using that gift and that power and putting it in the service of those who are being ground out by inequity and by systems that are unjust, we begin to put a light and a new dynamic into what it is that’s going on with the poor, going on with those who are racially oppressed, sexually abused. And by doing this we have heightened the consciousness of people who are being constantly distracted from taking a deeper look at what goes on in our social issues. By asking the artist to look at the possibility in the use of their power, we find that - more often than not - society is rewarded." - Artist/Activist/Humanitarian Harry Belafonte speaking to journalist/author/professor Melissa Harris-Perry about the power, necessity and importance of artists to become social justice activists. To advance this call to action, Mr. Belafonte recently formed the Sankofa Justice and Equity Project. After more than six decades in the trenches, Mr. Belafonte continues to be a warrior for justice, and to demonstrate how artists - and all of us - can and should become engaged and involved in social justice and other issues.
Today - August 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm ET: join Sankofa.org, Californians for Safety and Justice, Chuck D, Russell Simmons, dream hampton and others for a #SchoolsNotPrisons Twitter discussion on criminal justice/mass incarceration reform.
“Finding Fela" - the critically-acclaimed, highly-anticipated documentary about the life, music and activism of legendary Nigerian artist/Afrobeat creator Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti - opens in New York City Friday, August 1, 2014 at the IFC Center. After experiencing the Tony Award-winning musical “Fela!” both on and off Broadway several times, and dancing to his music as presented by DJ Rich Medina at his wildly-popular “Jump N Funk" Fela tribute parties for over a decade, I am looking forward to this film! For more information, including screenings in New York and other cities, check: http://findingfela.com/
Mind-blowing, breathtaking, brilliance!
Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway and the Metropole Orkest performing the Stevie Wonder classic “Jesus Children of America” at the 2014 North Sea Jazz Festival.
With so much evil happening in the world right now (senseless wars, planes shot out of the sky, police brutality against Black and Brown people, abused/raped/kidnapped women and children, rampant gun violence, poverty, etc.) THIS music offers hope and healing. #ArtIsAWeapon
"Are you hearing … What He’s saying?
Are you feeling …What you’re praying?
Are you hearing, praying, feeling … What you say inside?”
Today marks 11 years since “La Reina de la Salsa” y “La Guarachera de Cuba” Celia Cruz transitioned. Watching and listening to her brings me so much joy!
"…Through all the arts … we offer alternatives, or we can. Not every artist takes advantage of that potential of the stage that art offers. Some feed into it, some conform to what’s out there. But Tupac was someone, I think, who really was exploring the role of art, the role of empowerment. He realized that art was a vehicle for him to say things that countered the injustices that he faced, that he saw his family face … he spoke up through art …" - poet, performer and star of the Broadway musical "Holler if Ya Hear Me" Saul Williams discussing the power of art as a solution to violence with professor/author Michael Eric Dyson. ”Holler” is a nonbiographical story about love, friendship and redemption that uses the profound lyrics of iconic rapper/actor Tupac Shakur. Shakur, who was murdered in 1996, is one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.” Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon directed “Holler,” which is closing on Broadway July 20, 2014 after 39 performances.
The Paradise Garage and Larry Levan changed/saved my LIFE. #ParadiseGarageForever #LongLiveLarryLevan. Learn more about this epic block party, held May 11, 2014, and the ongoing effort to rename King Street “Larry Levan Way” - www.larrylevanway.org/
There’s no place I’d rather live than New York City - especially in the Spring and Summer when the culture capital of the world offers so many free music and arts events. After the harsh winter we’ve endured, the warm weather is here, Summer 2014 is in full swing, and there’s so much fun to be had! Below is a list of some of my favorite offerings. It’s not an exhaustive list, but I hope it’s a good place for you to start marking your calendar and making plans to dance, attend a concert, take in some Shakespeare, keep the kids entertained, see Broadway performers, experience the opera or do something you’ve never done but always wanted to try - ALL FOR FREE. You may not be able to travel to some exotic location, or you’re on a super tight budget, but you can certainly celebrate and enjoy this wonderful time of year right here in the Big Apple!
City Parks Foundation Summerstage is awesome for its outstanding, culturally diverse performing arts programming in parks throughout all five boroughs of New York. Although the events are free, I highly recommend that you become a member which allows you to bypass the lines at Central Park-Rumsey Playfield, gives access to reserved seating and other perks. Your donation is tax deductible AND the money goes to supporting one of New York’s premier performing arts festivals. I say it’s money well spent to support a great cause AND enjoy wonderful entertainment. Check out the Summerstage 2014 calendar - it’s filled with a dizzying array of music, theater, dance, circus and film events for all ages.
Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) R&B Festival offers a free lunchtime concert series at Metro Tech Commons. Not to be missed: Lisa Fischer (August 7), Snarky Puppy (July 31) and Third World (July 17).
Lincoln Center Out of Doors presents music, dance and film events (July 20-August 10). Not to be missed: Camille A. Brown and Dancers: Mr. TOL E. RAncE (August 2); Deep Roots of Rock and Role feat. Black Rock Coalition Orchestra (July 26); Roberta Flack (July 26); Amel Larrieux and Avery*Sunshine (July 30).
BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival offers music, film, spoken word/theater and dance events at Prospect Park Bandshell. Don’t miss the Robert Glasper Experiment, Talib Kweli and Aja Monet (July 5).
Broadway in Bryant Park features performances by stars of current popular Broadway musicals on Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., July 10-August 14.
Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series in Wingate Field happens on Monday nights between July 21-August 18. Not to miss: Anthony Hamilton (June 21), Roxanne Shante, Biz Markie, Rob Base and Kool Moe Dee (August 4) and Tamela Mann (August 18).
Battery Park City Parks Conservancy hosts River & Blues, a free jazz concert series every Thursday from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. from July 10-August 7 at Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park in Battery Park City. Definitely check out the Christian Scott Quintet (July 10); Bettye LaVette (July 31); and The Sun Ra Arkestra (August 7).
Here’s a great list of free outdoor movie screenings throughout New York compiled byThrillist
Classical Theater of Harlem's adaptation of Shakespeare's classic "Romeo and Juliet" is a MUST SEE. This is a wonderful way to experience Shakespeare and expose our young people to theater that reflects and celebrates cultural diversity. Runs until July 27. I’d also highly recommend that you consider donating to the Classical Theater of Harlem to support their programs.
New Yorkled Magazine and Events12.com both offerextensive lists of street fairs, film festivals, free concerts, Shakespeare performances, children’s activities, bike tours, art exhibits and other attractions.
Lastly, follow me - Tra Scapades - on Twitter and “Like” me on Facebook to get regular updates about dance parties featuring some of the hottest DJs in the world, art exhibits, film festivals, concerts and other special events.
See you out and about!
50 years ago on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, outlawing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. This legendary bill was enacted 10 years after the Supreme Court Ruled, in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Explore the Civil Rights Act and other moments surrounding the legendary Brown v. Board case with our pop-up exhibit “On the Road to Integration: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education” (on display until July 26, 2014).
To learn more about this exhibit and others, click here.