By Devon Johnson, Contributing Writer
Devon Johnson is a new contributing writer for Community Arts NYC. Devon grew up in Brooklyn in NYCHA’s Marcy Development, and is one of our New York based writers. Check out his introductory post here.
This is part two of Devon Johnson’s series on Black History Month
Black History Month is now recognized and widely celebrated by the entire nation on both a scholarly and commercial level. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History continues to promote, preserve and research black history and culture year-round.
The beautiful thing is during the month of February, provocative talks, exhibits and exciting performances are going on throughout the city- even Madame Tussauds has a cool exhibit celebrating Black History Month with waxed (real life) looking statues of Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder and the “Godfather of Soul” James Brown. The Wax Figures are strategically placed so that any onlooker can tell that James brown looks like he’s about to bust out his signature turn or join the “First Lady of soul” Ella Fitzgerald in a dual duet.
Myself, along with the rest of NYC welcomes you. If you can’t make it to New York, look in your city- I’m sure there’s some African American leaders, activists, artists and authors who have made their mark in American history in your community. Just like Frederick Douglass (mentioned in part one of this blog entry) The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) named one of it’s Harlem Houses after him. “Frederick Douglass Houses” This is a subject that hits quite close to home and I think a few of my next Community Arts post will feature several black history events that are happening thought out the City that you just may want to attend or read up on. Below I have compiled several Black History Month events. Hope you enjoy them.
Tue, Nov 27, 2012 – Sun, Apr 14, 2013
This exhibition highlights the specific African artifacts acquired by the New York avant-garde and its most influential patrons during the 1910s and 1920s. Reflecting on the dynamism of New York’ art scene during the years that followed the 1913 Armory Show
Sat, Jun 05, 2010 – Sat, Mar 02, 2013
You don’t need to see the film ‘Red Tails’ by George Lucas to get the Tuskegee Airmen story. This play follows six of the Airmen, as they become pilots in the United States Army Air Force during World War II.
Sun, Feb 17, 2013, 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Broadway choral director/arranger Chapman Roberts has created this blockbuster evening of Broadway show stoppers delivered by an all-male cast featuring Norm Lewis, Tony Award nominee for “Porgy and Bess,” and original cast members of such stellar Broadway hits as Eubie Blake’s “Eubie,” Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Ladies,” Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin,” Leiber and Stoller’s Grammy Winner “Smokey Joe’s Café” and “Dreamgirls.”
Thu, Feb 07, 2013 – Sun, Apr 28, 2013
Featuring the work of visual artists such as David Hammons, Zoe Leonard and Jean-Michel Basquiat alongside the music of jazz, blues and hip-hop legends, the exhibition considers how the blues might help us understand themes of place, performance and identity in recent art.
“Flying Home” is a mosaic mural that honors Harlem notables and makes them fly. The mural on one platform depicts performers, painters and sports figures like Dinah Washington, Sugar Ray Robinson and Josephine Baker. The opposite platform shows leaders like Malcolm X and writer Zora Neale Hurston