Adventures in the Art of Life: Music, Dance, Film, Theater, Travel, Activism, Culture …

Alice Smith's smoldering cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams” at afropunk 2014. 

She is the TRUTH! 

D’Angelo gave us funk-rock-soul-realness last night at @afropunk 2014. This clip of him slaying Prince’s “She’s Always In My Hair” just barely scratches the surface. .

Backed by the legendary Roots crew, D FLIPPED Bob Marley’s “Burnin and Lootin” into an almost seven-minute rock-funk opus!  

So glad I was there for this epic performance! 


Black Rage (sketch)

Lauryn Hill ’s haunting “Black Rage” against systematic racism, oppression, brutality and injustice … 



An old sketch of Black Rage, done in my living room. Strange, the course of things. Peace for MO.




"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, Californians for  Safety and Justice, Chuck D, Russell Simmons, dream hampton and others for a #SchoolsNotPrisons Twitter discussion on criminal justice/mass incarceration reform.  

So Cool!  President Barack Obama presented world-renowned dancer, choreographer Bill T. Jones with the 2013 National Medal of Arts. Among many accolades, Jones won Best Choreography Tony awards for Spring Awakening in 2007and Fela! in 2010.  


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:


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 MeSaul 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.