Minneapolis Sounds Off

In 1984, a little man with a mustache, mischievous smile, bedroom eyes, tight leather pants and a purple motorcycle rolled onto the silver screen putting a city, now known as a Midwest training ground for hip hop and indie rock music, on the map.

Back when Prince made his acting debut in Purple Rain, he deliberately spotlighted the Minneapolis landmark he started his career in: First Avenue, a live music venue for brimming talent and international superstars that is still relevant to today’s music scene. Prince unveiled the “Minneapolis sound” to the world.

But long before Prince was making it rain in Minneapolis, there were dozens of funk, rock and soul bands that crystalized in this cultural hub. “Purple Snow” is a compilation by Numero Group of ‘almost […]

By |February 28th, 2015|Blog
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    Brooklyn’s Finest: Amtrak and the Brooklyn Nets honor everyday people doing extraordinary things

Brooklyn’s Finest: Amtrak and the Brooklyn Nets honor everyday people doing extraordinary things

In celebration of Black History Month, Amtrak teamed up with the Brooklyn Nets for the third year in a row to honor three outstanding community service leaders with the Amtrak Pioneer Award during halftime at the Knicks versus Nets game Feb. 6.

In front of a packed house at the Barclays Center, Femi Faoye, cofounder of Developing Responsible Economically Advanced Model-Citizens (D.R.E.A.M.); Alaina Marie Chipman, assistant principal at La Cima Elementary Charter School in Brooklyn; and Jillian E. Joseph, Esq., chairperson of the National Advisory Council of A Better Chance (A Better Chance), were led to the center of the court and handed awards by John Lee, vice president of brand management and marketing at Amtrak. More than simply lending a helping hand to those in need, these modern-day humanitarians […]

By |February 26th, 2015|Blog

History on Benches Across the U.S.

A cool, hard bench is usually a place of rest, but Toni Morrison’s Bench by the Road project urges people to use it as a space for reflection on African American history. “Well, the bench is welcoming, open,” said Morrison in a 2008 New York Times interview. “You can be illiterate and sit on the bench, you can be a wanderer or you can be on a search.” Morrison’s Bench by the Road project was launched on February 18, 2006, inspired by her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, which features the ghost of a baby killed by her enslaved black mother.

In an interview with WORLD Magazine, she spoke about the absence of historical markers that help us remember the lives of Africans who were enslaved. “There […]

By |February 17th, 2015|Blog

Follow The North Star

Sometimes you need to walk in someone else’s shoes to understand that person’s journey. On a late fall day, I set out for Dorchester County, Maryland, an area considered the heart of the Chesapeake Bay. I’m going to follow the elusive North Star that guided humanitarian Harriet Tubman to freedom. We begin in Cambridge, the birthplace and one-time home of Araminta Ross, a slave girl who would later become Harriet Tubman, and end in Auburn, NY, where she is buried.

Quickly, I’m immersed in the beauty of this flat, grassy land surrounded by islands, marshes, beaches and inlets. Dorchester County is a perfect place to kayak, fish, sail, cycle and be one with nature along the 1,700 miles of unspoiled, undeveloped shoreline. There are bald eagles nesting in trees and […]

By |January 14th, 2015|Blog

The Black Broadway of Washington DC

In its heyday, the 14th Street/U Street corridor in the Shaw neighborhood was considered the Harlem of Washington, DC. From the 1920s through the1960s, Shaw attracted famous African American musicians, such as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong, who performed in local theaters and music halls — giving rise to the nickname “Black Broadway.”

Shaw was a natural meeting place for the African American community in the time of segregation. “ couldn’t go downtown, so we made this our street and changed history,” says Duane Sawyer, bartender at Bohemian Caverns. The bar, still in operation today, opened during the days of prohibition in 1926. Bohemian Caverns quickly became known for its late-night jam sessions and southern cuisine, in addition to underground liquor. The watering hole continues to host […]

By |December 16th, 2014|Blog