Recent Articles

Brenda Bell Brown: art as a natural part of everyday life

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer


Writer, performer and visual artist Brenda Bell Brown, renowned Twin Cities fixture, utilizes the concepts of art and culture as more than an aesthetic pursuit. She successfully realizes them as a community resource. Point in case, a mere partial listing of her accomplishments includes membership in such prestigious institutions as the Black Storytellers Alliance, the Archie Givens Foundation Black Writers Collaborative, and, in her native Tennessee, the Blues City Cultural Center. She earned as well a 2010 Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership Grant and twice sat as a cultural liaison to the Minnesota State Arts Board. Indeed, to Brown, culture and community are inextricably part and parcel of life itself. Continue Reading →

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Passion for Black history, culture leads couple to found company

Liberation Clothing and Gifts and Black History Expo result

By Isaac Peterson, III

Contributing Writer


About two years ago, Karla said to her husband Anthony, “Now is the time to start our own business,” and Liberation Clothing and Gifts was born. Karla, originally from Detroit, and Anthony, from the Chicago area, both relocated to the Twin Cities when they were young. Each showed an intense interest in Black history and culture from an early age, and both were frustrated with the lack of that type of information found in the public schools they attended. Of her time attending high school in Anoka, Karla says, “There weren’t very many people of color. They did not celebrate Black History Month or MLK Day at all at school. Continue Reading →

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Black History Month Calendar of Events


Through Wed., Feb. 20
Thursday, February 14


7 pm — Saakumu West African Drum and Dance Troupe Performance, Sundin Music Hall, Hamline Univ., 1531 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul

The Saakumu Drum and Dance Troupe is one of the leading traditional and contemporary dance and music groups in Ghana, West Africa. The group’s repertoire includes a range of spiritual, ceremonial, and contemporary African dance forms.

The performance is free for Hamline students with ID; community members may purchase tickets at the door for $5. For more information, contact Gail Nosek at gnosek01@hamline.edu or call 651-523-2511. Continue Reading →

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Janis Lane-Ewart leaves KFAI — Station struggles to increase online and airwave audiences




By Sheila Regan

Contributing Writer



As if to complete the trifecta, this week Janis Lane-Ewart became the third female executive director of a Twin Cities community media institution to leave her position, following Pam Colby from MTN and Jane Minton from IFP. Lane-Ewart, who had been the executive director of KFAI since 2001 (and host of the jazz program “The Collective Eye” before that) oversaw the organization during a transformative time for community radio stations, during which the station has become not just about transmitting over the airwaves, but also about connecting to people through the web and social media. On its website, KFAI, which was founded 35 years ago at Walker Community Church and now is based on the West Bank in Minneapolis, states that Pam Hill Kroyer, now in her 13th year with the organization, has been appointed acting executive director for the immediate future. During Lane-Ewart’s tenure, the organization has become more diverse. Part of her legacy has been the implementation of Youth News, which gives young people an opportunity to gain skills and have their voices heard. Continue Reading →

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Janis Lane-Ewart: Twin Cities’ only Black female station manager

KFAI expands audience though Somali-oriented programming, social media

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Music always has been a part of Janis Lane-Ewart’s life; rhythm and blues was the norm in her home while growing up in Chicago. Although her aspirations initially were to pursue law, and Lane-Ewart studied political science in college, she eventually became an administrator for Chicago Music Collective. When Lane-Ewart relocated in 1989 to the Twin Cities, she worked with a local arts organization. But then the proverbial “phone” rang and her career changed directions. “The radio business called me,” she recalls of her first foray into radio when she became a volunteer at KFAI Radio to host a weekly jazz program. Continue Reading →

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2012 Black History Month Calendar of Events



Saturday, February 11
11 am — The Spirit of the Blues, Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley
Celebrate Black History Month as KFAI’s Lady Griot uses storytelling and live music to show the roots blues have in the music brought with the slaves from their homeland. Hear the spiritual side of this tribal music and how it relates to the 12-bar blues. A Minnesota Legacy program for ages 10 and older
This event is free. For more information, call 952-891-7045 or go to www.co.dakota.mn.us.  

7-9 pm — Ignite the Spirit of Love with J.D. Steele, Ted Mann Concert Hall, Univ. Continue Reading →

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