In “Her Stories,” Virginia Hamilton tells African-American fairy tales—and tells them well

Typically, when I spend the night at the house of local artist Rudy Fig I expect that there will be a lot of art making, snacking, and cuddling with her 17-month-old son Vincent. And while these things still happened, this time I went with a slight ulterior motive.“I have something to show you,” I tell her.“What is it?” she replies apprehensively.“Don’t worry, it isn’t dirty,” I laugh as I pull an unassuming book out of my bag. I give it to her and ask her to look through the artwork and the writing and tell me what she thinks. Because Rudy Fig is known well for fantasy artwork that is so sweet and tart that could rot the teeth right out of your head I figured it would be fascinating to see her perspective on a book of fairy tales that many have never heard of before. Many people don’t know that African-American fairy tales exist to begin with.Her Stories is a book of fairy tales, myths, and historical accounts with black women as the predominant cast of stories that have been retold by Virginia Hamilton. Continue Reading

What’s it like to be a black artist?

Honestly, I don’t know what to tell you. Not to imply that I’m unaware of my ethnicity or the complications that could arise from being a black woman working in a field that has been dominated by white men for centuries, but most of how one relates and understands his or her own racial identity has to do with others’ perceptions of it. As of yet no one has approached me in any way that suggests that my race has any impact on my career. That being said, I think that race is very impactful in regards to what I do.During my brief stint in art school my English teacher assigned the class a conversational reading that illustrated the obstacles an artist of color may experience while in the pursuit of a career. Long story short, it scared the shit out of me. Continue Reading

Hannibal Lokumbe mentors and performs for Black History Month

Vocalessence is presenting its annual Witness concert this Sunday at the Ordway Center in St. Paul. This Black History Month tradition always features a guest artist and a commissioned new work. This year the guest is trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe. His new work is called “In the Spirit of Being.”In addition to spending time in the Twin Cities to prepare for the performance, Lokumbe mentored young men through journaling and music.KFAI’s Teresa Townsend has a report. Continue Reading

Black History Month events

“More than a Month”-  Feb.  21, 7pmFilmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman sets off on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month.  His tongue-in-cheek journey explores the complexity and contradictions of relegating an entire group’s history to one month in a so-called post-racial America.  A discussion will follow the film.  Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave. Highland Park Book Club –  Feb.  22, 6:45pmJoin the Highland Park Book Club for a discussion of Walter Mosley’s book, “Known to Evil.” Highland Park Library, 1974 Ford Parkway“Walking in the Footsteps of Gordon Parks: Preserving His Legacy”   February 24, 11:30am-1pm (Program 12 to 1pm, Lunch from 11:30am to 12pm)Robin Hickman “Walking in the Footsteps of Gordon Parks: Preserving His Legacy”  Niece of Gordon Parks, Robin Hickman is the CEO and Executive Producer of SoulTouch Productions, a television and film production, youth mentorship and media consulting company, with a mission to make meaningful media and produce powerful social impact experiences.Opening Remarks by Mayor Chris Coleman.Proclamations by Mayor Chris Coleman, Council President Kathy Lantry, and Ramsey County Commission Chair Rafael Ortega.Master of Ceremonies: Deputy Mayor Paul Williams.Lunch will be catered by Abundant Catering.  The cost of lunch is $10 and is served on a first-come, first-serve from 11:30 to 12:00 (February 24th only).@ City Hall/Courthouse – 15 W Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN (Lower Level – Room 40 A & BBook Discussion  – Feb. 25, 2pm Continue the discussion of Walter Mosley’s work with a conversation about his recent nonfiction title: “Twelve Steps toward Political Revelation.” Arlington Hills Library, 1105 Greenbrier StreetBareedina/Beauty – Feb 25&26Celebrating the strength of Oromo women of Ethiopia through art.This photography exhibition and cultural presentation showcases Oromo women from the Horn of Africa. It is a testament to the ways these women cultivate beauty despite great challenges in their lives. Open house: 1-4pm/Program 2-3pm Feb. Continue Reading

2012 Black History Month calendar of events

Saturday, February 1111 am — The Spirit of the Blues, Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple ValleyCelebrate 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 olderThis 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. of MN West Bank, 2128 4th St. S., MinneapolisSingers in Accord is collaborating with J.D. Steele and the MacPhail Community Youth Choir and Suzuki String Ensemble for a special benefit concert for Twin Cities-based Partnership Resources, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides day services and job training for adults with disabilities.With special guests Fred Steele and Robert Robinson and performers from PRI’s ”Born for the Stage” programTickets in advance are $25 for general admission, $15 for students and $50 for reserved seating; tickets are $30 at the door. Continue Reading