Tag Archives: african american culture blog

Artist Spotlight: Stephen Wiltshire

One of my favorite causes to raise awareness about is autism and this month is Autism Awareness Month. I happen to be a sibling of a person who has autism and I try my best to share how people can help support families who live with the disability. You’ll be surprised how far empathy and acceptance will go.

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I’m featuring an incredible artist who has autism. Born in London, Stephen Wiltshire is an architectural artist that is able to draw major city skylines from memory after taking a helicopter ride of the city. Amazing right?! Stephen was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and went to London’s Queensmill School, where he expressed interest in drawing.

Photo Courtesy: Stephen WIltshire

Photo Courtesy: Stephen WIltshire

His early drawings reflected his interests in animals and cars, to this day he is a collector of American cars. He became fascinated with London landmark and by the time he turned 8, he received his first commission to create a drawing of Salisbury Cathedral from the British Prime Minister.

Stephen_Wiltshire_London_Panorama_drawing

Photo Courtesy: Stephen Wiltshire

Since then, he has drawn skylines of London, Rome, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai and Jerusalem to name a few! In 2005, he created his largest panorama drawing of his career by drawing the Tokyo skyline on canvas. Citing New York City as his spiritual home, he has drawn it twice, once in 2009 and then in 2011 for UBS’ global advertising campaign.

Stephen and his work have been the subject of many documentaries and has published 4 books. In 2006, Queen Elizabeth II named Stephen a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his contributions to art. Later that year, he opened a permanent gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade. If you live in Houston, Stephen will be in your city later this month for Elevate Houston to draw the Bayou City live. Remember that support I mentioned earlier, this would be a great opportunity.

It’s no doubt that Stephen’s artistry is one of a kind and I’m glad to share his #blackmanbrilliance with you. To see more of his artwork, visit his website.

#BHMonCM: Dance Boogie Wonderland

I’ll have to admit Boogie Wonderland is one of my favorite Earth, Wind and Fire songs. Also one of the soul best collabs of all time. I mean, you can’t help but dance when you hear it. (See: video) Speaking of dance, it’s only fitting that we kick off the #BHMonCM series with dance. For new readers, I’m a former dancer, technically trained. Yes, like ballet and shit. Word to Drake. Let’s get into this list.

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

I’ll be remiss if I didn’t include one of my favorite dancers in this list. I became a fan of Misty Copeland while I was dancing because she was one of the only black dancers in the Discount Dance Supply catalog. Every month I would look in there to see what leotard she was wearing and ask my mom to purchase it. Fast forward years later, she made history last year by becoming American Ballet Theatre’s first black woman principal dancer. It seemed like an overnight success to some but not realizing that she has been pursuing this dream for a number of years. With endorsements from Under Armour and most recently Seiko, Misty has changed the face of ballet and inspiring the next generation of ballet dancers. Continue reading

Audible Pleasures Mixtape Vol. 001

One of my favorite features on the blog is Audible Pleasures. If you are new to the blog, Audible Pleasures is just what it sounds. Music, podcasts or anything else that sounds pleasing to the ear. For the first time on the blog, I’m introducing the Audible Pleasures Mixtape.  A monthly compilation of songs that I’m loving. This month is a nice mix of oldies and newbies. I’d like to say something for everybody. What do you think?

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National Black Arts Festival 2015

The National Black Arts Festival is an annual event in Atlanta that provides amazing programming highlighting arts disciplines such as music, visual arts, performance arts and much more. This year’s season focuses on dance! Y’all know I’m hype right?! The festival kicked off in July with a beautiful gala and continues through September with tons of events celebrating generations of dance and dancers.

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One of the events I’m super excited yet bummed about is the Step Afrika performance on August 29! I’m excited because I would love to the see the first performing company dedicated to stepping but I’ll be out of town that weekend. There are at least two events every weekend until September and I plan to attend at least two of them!

Are you going to any of the events? Let me know if the comments.

Designer Spotlight: Jason Dempsey

One of the reasons I started this blog is to give graphic designers of color a platform to share their work. As a graphic designer of color, I know the struggle of showcasing your designs to the world. I also couldn’t find a space that celebrated us in the art, design and culture space. I’ve been told if you don’t see what you want, then create it.

Jason Dempsey_Balm and Co

Kicking off this feature is graphic designer Jason Dempsey based out of Atlanta. I found his work through Alex Elle’s company with her daughter called Balm and Co. The product branding is what lured me in. The aesthetic is so clean and modern. It feels like a mainstream luxury brand. Of course, I had to see more where that design came from and the excellence continued.

Jason Dempsey_Selamta

Of course this is my favorite of his designs! Not only is the quote one of my favorites [Quality not quantity], but the type treatment is just DOPE!

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Check him out for yourself on his portfolio site: www.jsndmpsy.com or follow him on Instagram: @jsndmpsy! He’s available for hire so let him get your brand identity together!

Images Courtesy of Jason Dempsey’s Instagram 

National Black Theatre Festival 2015

Prior to my new current position, I worked for a performing arts center and I loved it! I learned so much about the theatre culture and Broadway. I also learned that they were few people of color that occupied the theatre space. I came across this theatre festival and was intrigued! The National Black Theatre Festival starts today with their Opening Night Gala in Winston-Salem, NC! The festival continues through August 8th, showcasing over 120 productions performed by black theatre companies from across the country.

NatlBlkTheatre2015

Festivals attendees can also expect workshops taught by professionals for aspiring playwrights and youth activities to encourage and foster their interests. The festival was founded in 1989 by the Leon Tamlin and is produced by North Carolina Black Repertory Company.  If you are in the Winston-Salem area, get your tickets to attend this awesome festival!

BlackStar Film Festival 2015

The 2015 BlackStar FIlm Festival kicks off today in Philly! The festival celebrates and showcases work in cinema created by people of African descent, along with offering many workshops and panels for those interested in building their craft. I first learned of the festival through one of my favorite designers/bloggers, Andrea Pippins of Fly Girl Blog. She was commissioned to design all the collateral for the festival! Such a huge fan of her work!

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There will be over 60 films featured at this weekend’s film festival from short documentaries to feature narratives. Awesome, right?! It’s so important for us to continue to share our stories in varying mediums. And we all know that cinema is one of the most effective ways. If I were going (maybe next year as a social media correspondent?), my top two must see films would be August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand and Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee. If you are in Philly this weekend, you should check it out!