Culture Connection – You Should Know Them!

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!

Brother Malcolm

LA EVENTS: Kiss N’ Grind & M.A.C.

LA Babies, we know there is no shortage of events in Los Angeles on any given weekend, and of course a holiday weekend brings its own spice to the city. However, there are two that we must bring to your attention:

Kiss N’ Grind Black Friday edition: The fam is podcasting for Black Friday, but don’t let us stop you. LA’s premiere party is doing it big this weekend at the Vanguard in Hollywood! This time the guest DJ is none other than the legendary Ali Shaheed Muhammed from A Tribe Called Quest. $15 presale tickets are available until noon on November 21st; after that tickets are $20 at the door. And as always, this event is curated by none other than Vikter Duplaix!

M.A.C: This is a party that we look forward to becoming regular attendees to. M.A.C. or the Modern Audio Collective, which is comprised of Dam-Funk, J-Logic, and Garth Trinidad, with special guest Talib Kweli is going down at the Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice! $15 cover all night with DJ sets and live performances. This set of musicians is guaranteed to please so we’d suggest early arrival to this event!

There are no excuses to working off that Thanksgiving meal this weekend! Get your body rock on and we will see you on the dance floor!

LA EVENTS: ZAMFEST Arts & Music Festival

LA Babies, if you are looking to engage your wee ones in something new, I highly suggest you attend the ZAMFEST Arts & Music Festival this Sunday, September 23rd in West Los Angeles. Slated for the Z generation – kids 10 and younger – this event will expose our kids to activities they normally would not find all in one place including:



-Graffiti Art

-Hip Hop Dance


and so much more!

Details for this events are as follows:

ZAMFEST Arts & Music Festival

Sunday, September 23, 2012

10am – 5pm

University High School

Pre-sale tickets: $5  General Admission: $8  Kids 3 and under: FREE


LA EVENTS: The Chocolate Nutcracker

The Chocolate Nutcracker, which is an urban take on the Tchaikovsky original, will be in Los Angeles for one night only on Sunday, December 19th at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre at 3:30 pm. This version of the holiday classic is set in 1950’s Harlem and tells the story of young Claire and the Chocolate Nutcracker as the two journey the world in a dream from Harlem, to Egypt, to West Africa. The multicultural dance adaptation is cast with theatre professionals and children from The Los Angeles Prepatory and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now online and at the Wilshire Ebell Box Office.

Also, don’t miss Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker playing tomorrow Saturday, December 11th at 7pm at UCLA’s Royce Hall!

LA EVENTS: Dance Free Day at Debbie Allen Dance Academy

This Saturday, August 28th, the Debbie Allen Dance Academy is offering all of its dance classes for free for their annual Dance Free Day event! Classes offered include modern, jazz, tap, African, salsa, hip-hop, krumping, and silk dance styles. Classes are offered for all ages and registration is at 9 am. See you there!