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Posts tagged “The 15 Project

Bank on it…

I excelled in school until about the 3rd quarter of my 7th grade year. It was then I met my lifelong nemesis and sworn enemy- ALGEBRA! Well, pre-algebra to be exact. It whooped my ass, and did so royally for the next 5 years. I eeked a passing grade out of pre-algebra… emerged from algebra 1 and 2 with an amazingly dismal perception of myself. Geometry and Pre-cal finished me off with a one-two punch. The only claim to fame I have with regards to math is that I found my way to a position in life where I can pawn off the counting, numbers and complex equations to someone else while I bask in the ignorance of my mathematical ineptitude.

Needless to say, the many quoted stats, numbers and projections spewed during the current political campaign may as well have been voiced in Sanskrit. Yes… its utterly confusing and foreign. As I’ve watched the debates, commercials and stump speeches over the last few months, I can often be heard shouting at the television “JUST SAY IT IN ENGLISH”. But no one has heard my plea… until now.

Mitt Romney urged us in the debates to go to his site where his 5-point plan to improve the economy and simplify the tax code is spelled out in easy to read, simple and concise language. So I did. And now like Paul on the road to Damascus… I see the LIGHT!!!

Click here to see for yourself: ROMNEYTAXPLAN.com




In 2011, playwright Howard L. Craft premiered the Jade City Chronicles at Little Green Pig Theatre in Durham, NC. It was a smart, funny and complex play about the life and struggles of a super hero. But not just any super hero, this was Herald M.F. Jones, the super spectacular bad ass protector of Jade City.

The play was a huge success and received rave reviews throughout N.C.’c arts community. Frank Stasio, a producer for NPR on North Carolina Public radio attended the show and later contacted Craft about adapting the work to a radio serial format. Herald M.F. Jones ended up not not only saving the day, but making history as well by becoming the first African American superhero serial in radio history!!!

I recently caught up with Howard L. Craft, writer and creator of Herald M.F. Jones and the Jade City crew to talk about the project, how it came about and what’s coming up next… take a listen:

The Jade City Pharaoh is in the final days of a fundraising effort to generate the capital to continue producing the show and you can support! Log on to: www.kickstarter.com/profile/jadecity, and make a pledge today. You can also tune in to episodes of The Jade City Pharaoh and listen online at http://jadecity.webs.com/episodes.htm

Herald M.F. Jones is a bad muthaf……

Baby Blues…

Rumors of a fake pregnancy scandal have hounded Jay and Beyonce Z since shortly after they appeared on the VMA red carpet in August 2011. Reportedly glowing and showing off her baby bump, the joy was SQUISHED out of the pop diva’s fans’ collective coos when B appeared on an Australian tabloid show a few weeks later and seemingly forgot she was wearing a fake pregnancy prosthetic… I, mean… squished her baby… I mean… What the hell? See the photo after the break… Rumors flew from here to Sydney about whether the Z’s were using a surrogate and just simply toying with fans’ trust and expectations.

Things that make you go... Hellllll naw!

The drama continues after an appearance at Jay Z’s Carnegie Hall performance on Feb 6, 2012 at which Beyonce showed no signs of baby weight anywhere on her body. Experts have come forth to claim that with this being her first baby, her youth- and the fact that she never had a baby (oops-did I say that out loud?) have allowed her to have a rapid snap back to her performance bod.  (I’m making the face again) 😐

Look, in all seriousness, I could care less what she does, but it is a bit odd to lie about things. Many women have surrogates, in fact they’re currently outsourcing wombs in India right now! Some women do it for health reasons and some for vanity. After all, money can buy you any and everything! I mean, I get it… B makes her living on her voice as well as her looks. If she can afford to have someone have her baby, she keeps her body and keeps the dollars coming in… who am I to hate? But damn,  you don’t gotta lie to kick it Craig! #ImJustSayin

Short month, Long Legacy

Its BLACK HISTORY MONTH… our favorite time of year when we get to learn of all the great contributions made to society by any body other than pilgrims, American Revolutionaries and Ronald Reagan!

Yes, its true. Black people are responsible for just as much cool shit as anybody else, and if you keep your eyes, ears and calendars open this month you can learn all types of fun things! I know some people like to protest the fact that BHM lands in February, the shortest and arguably most misleading -spelling to pronuniciation- month in the year. But don’t get it twisted, its not some secret plot to undermine African American contributions to society. February was chosen by Carter G. Woodson because two of Black America’s heroes were both born in February- Frederick Douglass and the undisputed champ for black people’s rights…(ahem) Abraham Lincoln. Ok, Brother Woodson was stretching a bit on that last one, but hey that was like 400 years ago (or something).

Anyway, we take our Black History seriously at The 15 Project, because let’s be honest, as a black artist… there is a lot of work around this time of year. I ain’t tripping. After all February + income tax time is like an annual economic bailout for a brother who kinda went H.A.M. on some after Christmas sales (you’re welcome Capital One).

Anyway, there is lots of information you can fill your head with this month that’s sure to make you the center of attention at all the cocktail parties and Cultural Center soirees you’ll be invited to over the next 28 days. Plus, with this being a leap year, you get one whole extra day to do something EXTRA BLACK like; go to a baptist church, buy something from West End or Greenbriar Mall, eat at a Soul Food Restaurant or my personal favorite – watch the PBS rebroadcast of Roots!

But seriously though, whatever you do this month, remember that Black History is more than Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. Black History is not just past, but also present and future. Ask the elders in your family to tell your THEIR stories. Fix something that you see is broken in your community. Do something selfless. But most of all move in excellence, you never know who’s watching!


Fine and Dandy

What began as a small photography exhibit as a part of an installation within Harlem’s Society HAE‘s headquarters has become a bonafied art world phenomenon. The exhibition titled Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculine Identity looks at the mash up between traditional African fashion sensibilities and European style aesthetics.

The original exhibit is conceived and curated by  Shantrelle P. Lewis in conjunction with Society HAE. Lewis, who curates exhibitions for New York’s Caribbean Cultural Center and African Diasporan Institute (CCCADI), expanded the project with a national call for photographic works that fall within the the conceptual scope of the exhibition. Empowered with a broad and exceptional response to the project, Shantrelle secured dates at several museums and institutions throughout the U.S. for Dandy Lion to travel.

A “dandy” is described as “a man who affects extreme elegance in clothes and manners”. The images in the exhibit feature a juxtaposition of urban black men whose clean and creative fashions stand out against the backdrop of sagging jeans, baseball caps and big t-shirts. “Noticeably different  from his historical minstrel or Harlem Renaissance queer prototype, the 21st Century Dandy Lion is more masculine than metro-sexual, more of an expression of the African aesthetic and mode of swagger than an imitation of European high-brow society”, says Lewis’s curatorial statement. The contemporary dandy’s style, or “swagger” engages both African aesthetics and elements of classical European fashion. The exhibit features works by 20 emerging photographers and filmmakers all presenting refreshing images of young black men whose looks challenge popular conceptions of black masculinity.

The exhibit which may soon be produced as a full-color catalogue has traveled to to Amsterdam, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, as well as recently to Newark’s Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art,. Dandy Lion runs January 29 – May 13, 2012, 2012 at The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore.

Featured Artists

Hanif Abdur-Rahim

Kwesi Abbensetts

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn

Kia Chenelle

Bouba Dola

Delphine Fawundu-Buford

Russsell K. Frederick

Cassi Amanda Gibson

Akintola Hanif

Jamala Johns

Caroline W. Kaminju

Phillis Kwentoh

Jati Lindsay

Lafotographeuse (née Amanda Adams-Louis)

Ray Llanos

Devin Mays

Terence Nance

Brandi Pettijohn

Radcliffe Roye

Nyugen E. Smith


Black Gold

George Lucas (Image courtesy of TvOvermind.com)

The success of the new film Red Tails is undeniable. Despite tepid (at best) reviews, the film finished a strong second at 19.1 million in its opening weekend. Theatres were sold out of every show and the internet was abuzz with chatter about why the black community had to go out and support this film. Most of this support, was fueled by George Lucas’ appearances in various media outlets urging black audiences to support the film to combat the racist underpinnings in Hollywood. Lucas suggested that by driving up box office sales for Red Tails the black community would send a resounding message to Hollywood that we wanted to see more black films on the big screen.

George Lucas who was reported to have invested 50+million of his own money in producing the film, claimed that for 20 years, he faced rejection from Hollywood studio execs that did not believe a big-budget film featuring a black cast would be commercially successful. Despite obvious truths in regards to the marginalization of black films, in my humble opinion, this was a clever and clearly effective marketing strategy that was overwhelmingly successful.

By galvanizing black audiences through tapping into the obvious frustrations at the lack of diversity in Hollywood, he created a wave- no a tsunami of support ensuring that the film, which the San Francisco Chronicle says “…Tuskegee Airmen deserve better”, be successful at the box office. Lucas made the black community believe that supporting “Red Tails” was in the best interest of the black community without providing tangible examples as to how. I believe that in all fairness and in an effort to avoid the dangers and exploitive potentials of this marketing strategy, that demands should be made of George Lucas to reciprocate the support afforded him, by reinvesting in programs that nurture aspiring and emerging African American filmmakers.

As such, I have created a petition which demands that fifteen percent of proceeds from box office sales be donated to HBCU’s which offer radio/film/television studies as a way of providing the type of resources and support the black community needs to see more Blacks competing with and within Hollywood.

Please support Red Tails if you choose, and in doing so ask that the black community be supported in return.

Sign the Petition.

Off the EDGE

LIFT (Photo by Lynne Cymone)

You’ll be moved (pun intended), the week of Jan 23-29 as Atlanta’s Rialto Center for the Performing Arts teams up with art world rebels Lauri Stallings (gloATL) and Paul Boshears (continent) to present the Off the EDGE.

Off the Edge is a weeklong survey of contemporary, movement based art. The event is jam packed with exciting mind (and body)-bending performances from an international roster of experimental dance companies, theatrical productions and visual artists. Experience the work of one of America’s most acclaimed choreographers,Lar Lubovitch. Keigwin + Co. is known for their interactive theatrical performances which creates opportunities for the viewers themselves to get involved. Even local groups of national renown such as LIFT,  Kennesaw State University Dance Company and Emory Dance will take the stage. And of course it would not be complete without the complex and always mind-altering presence of gloATL.

Taking up residence at both the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts as well as Occupy Atlanta’s old crib, Woodruff Park, the event promises to deliver upon the theme “the moving of things permits the formation of identities.”

Be sure to download the PDF schedule of all Off The Edge events… And check for a special presentation of work by yours truly Jan 27-28 6-7:30 pm as a part of the Off the Edge Public presentations near the Rialto Center!