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AfroPoP, a showcase for filmmakers of color

AfroPop

Two DuVernay films – Middle of Nowhere and I Will Follow both were shown at the Twin Cities Black Film Festival, notes Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. The acclaimed director is just one of many Black female filmmakers who successfully produced small and big-screen cinematic pieces, which typically get exposure at annual film festivals such as Morrow’s. Continue Reading →

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Thoughts on great love songs for Valentine’s Day, love’s holiday

Billie Holiday, 1949

I do know that the treatment, Minneapolis-born vocalist José James gave the song, “Tenderly” when he performed on this birthday, January 20, at the Dakota was stellar. It was perfect for his vocal range and revealed a level of maturity beyond his 37 years. That song, among others by the great Billie Holiday, or made popular by her, appear on his new Blue Note Records album, Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday, which drops in March. On Valentine’s Day, James will be in Japan, where the album has already been released and is making waves.

Holiday, also known as “Lady Day,” would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year. Her music has made a great impact on a wide spectrum of artists, and continues to resonate with people from all walks of life. Vocalist Cassandra Wilson is celebrating the music made by Holiday by releasing, Coming Forth by Day: A Tribute to Billie Holiday from Legacy Records in April. Look out for her upcoming performances in support of the album, at the Dakota, too. Holiday’s artistry speaks volumes about love, loss, and overall human condition. Thank you, Lady Day. Continue Reading →

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SteppingStone’s 4 Little Girls gives voice, dreams to young lives lost

4 Little Girls

It’s sad how much of Black History is marked by tragedy, perhaps none so heartrending as the 1963 murders of Denise McNair, 11, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, and Cynthia Wesley, all age 14, by Ku Klux Klan terrorist bombers while attending The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Continue Reading →

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The Color Purple: Minnesota talent powers inspirational musical

The Color Purple runs through February 15 at 
St. Paul’s Park Square Theatre.

I may be the only middle-aged Black man in Minnesota who has not seen the epic motion picture The Color Purple in its entirety. I may, in fact, be the only one in the Midwest.
However, after attending the opening night of the musical adapted from the book by Alice Walker, I feel like I was there in the place and time period, Georgia 1909-1949, that the play covered. It even took me back to the time and place portrayed in the scene titled “African Homeland.” Continue Reading →

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