Have you ever stumbled upon a YouTube video via social media that made you say, “Wow, I’ve never heard of her or him?” Yeah? Me too! I love the internet for its unfailing ability to drop us all into the rabbit hole of never ending research, funny videos and ubiquitous “10 things you need to know about being the best you” or is it “5 habits of highly successful people” who can keep up? The point is every day is another opportunity to discover something or someone new online and today is no different.
This week on Culture Connection we introduce you to 7 artists and organizations you should be aware of. I promise you, these folks will surely give you Culture Vulture street cred!
Kehinde Wiley- Is an artist whose work must be experienced in person. I’ve seen his colorful, stately portraits of young men of color. Massive in their presentation and yet oh so intimate in your presence, Wiley’s subjects stare at you as if they’ve been purposely enshrined as a reminder that their existence in the world is to never be forgotten.
Shana Tucker- Will change how you categorize a soul singer. In fact she categorizes her uniquely lush warmth of tone and impeccable musicianship as Chamber Soul. Currently the only African American woman in Cirque du Soleil’s Ká, you’ll quickly fall in love with her music like I did!
Universes– On the verge of their 20th anniversary, New Yorkers and Americans alike owe a debt of gratitude to this fearless ensemble for their passion for telling truths of voices that seem to be left out of mainstream conversations. Universes is simply a beacon.
Azure Antoinette- When you’re referred to as the “Maya Angelou of the millennial generation” what more is there to say. Ladies and gentlemen I introduce to some and present to others a poet for our time.
Imani Winds- Considered to be the premier wind quintet in North America, this ensemble of all hues of black, brown – genders, female and male- boasting a quality of sound only described in one word, exquisite!
Jeffrey Page- A name you should remember and never forget. One of the most gifted dance artists in the performing arts and commercial dance world, Mr. Page has a resume that is impressive to put it lightly. Fela! The Musical, Beyoncé’s go-to choreographer, “So You Think You Can Dance” Emmy Nominee and recently choreographer for Tony-nominated Violet starring Sutton Foster. Like I said never forget!
Sphinx- When your tag line is “Transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts” you had me at “hello!” The Sphinx Organization is the truest of American organizations. Founded by violinist Aaron P. Dworkin “to help overcome the cultural stereotype of classical music, and to encourage the participation of Blacks and Latinos in the field,” I dare you to not be impressed by the indelible impression being left by this awe-inspiring institution.
That’s it for this week! Please remember to “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Until next week, Peace!