Gary Hines

Recent Articles

Sounds of Blackness re-imagines a holiday classic

An interview with Gary Hines about The Night Before Christmas

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

Sounds of Blackness ( is a time-revered Twin Cities music institution, second only to a certain soulster with a penchant for purple. Their greatest hit, the enduring classic “Optimism” (you may know it by the refrain, “keep your head to the sky”) still gets airplay wherever R&B radio station are serious about their R&B. They are, of course, in constant demand around the country and abroad. Sounds of Blackness has earned, in a litany of national accolades, three Grammies, a Soul Train Award and an NAACP Image Award. What even diehard devotees to the premiere ensemble may not know is that they’ve entertained across five continents, including stints ranging from such prestigious patronage as heads of state, the 1996 Olympics and 1994 World Cup, to grateful audiences among the disenfranchised, such as homeless children. Continue Reading →

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Community center honors 45 years of S. Mpls Black history ‘We Are Sabathani’ cultural preservation project underway


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Minneapolis’ Southside Black community has a legacy worth noting. Civic leaders, business owners, musicians, doctors: all part of a rich legacy of Minneapolis’ Southside Black community not often talked about. Sabathani Community Center, a building that takes up most of the block between 3rd and 4th Avenues South on 38th Street that once housed a junior high school, served as the launching pad for numerous individuals — from artists to athletes, to politicians to preachers, and countless others — since it opened as a center in 1966 to provide structured activities for area youth. Last week the center announced a new cultural preservation project to introduce to some and reacquaint others to its rich heritage not only to the city’s South Side, but also to the Twin Cities at-large. “We Are Sabathani” is collaboration between the Council on Black Minnesotans and the Minnesota Humanities Center, and funded by money from the state Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Continue Reading →

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