NEW YORK – From one icon to another, this February Macy’s, an American retail institution, salutes American cultural hero Gordon Parks in celebration of Black History Month.
Via special events and exhibits at select stores across the country, Macy’s will honor the legacy of this artistic master who chronicled and defined a generation and whose work continues to inspire artists today.
A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, Gordon Parks was one of the seminal figures of twentieth-century photography.
From the early 1940s until his death in 2006, Parks created a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights and urban life.
In addition, Parks was a celebrated composer, author and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era — from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes. In 1969 he became the first African-American to write and direct a Hollywood feature film based on his bestselling novel “The Learning Tree.” This was followed in 1971 by the hugely successful motion picture “Shaft.”
“Macy’s is thrilled to partner with The Gordon Parks Foundation and the American Black Film Festival to honor the legacy and work of famed artistic master Gordon Parks,” said Dineen Garcia, Macy’s vice president of Diversity Strategies. “Exemplary Americans like Gordon Parks serve to inspire generations with a rich legacy of achievement that crosses boundaries and continues to inform and inspire the work of those who follow in their footsteps. From photography to film and music, Gordon Parks is the perfect American hero to honor during Black History Month celebrations at Macy’s.”
“The Gordon Parks Foundation is pleased to partner with Macy’s to celebrate the centennial of Gordon Parks for Black History Month. Parks’ genius was based on the respect and trust he brought to his subjects not only through the lens of his camera but through his own personal story. Macy’s is committed to keeping icons like Gordon Parks in the public eye to inspire future generations,” said Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. executive director, The Gordon Parks Foundation.
“The American Black Film Festival is honored to be a part of the celebration of Gordon Parks,” said Jeff Friday, CEO of The Film Life Inc., and founder of the American Black Film Festival. “Gordon Parks had a profound impact on the arts as the first African-American to work at “LIFE” magazine and the first to write, direct and score a Hollywood film (“Shaft,” 1971). He was a true renaissance man; a celebrated photographer, musician, writer and film director who captured some of America’s most captivating images and told some of American history’s most compelling stories through his lens. We are proud to be part of this tribute to him this Black History Month.”
Gordon Parks: Black American Icon events at Macy’s will consist of a variety of celebrations. Featuring photographic installations Gordon Parks’ iconic images, “In Conversation” events moderated by representatives from The Gordon Parks Foundation and American Black Film Festival, “The Learning Tree” children’s events, and Soul Jam music, dance presentations, Macy’s stores will examine, honor and celebrate the many arts-based accomplishments of this unique American icon.
Taking place at 14 Macy’s locations nationwide including stores in Atlanta, Bowie, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., each store will offer one or more of these event elements. The “In Conversation” discussions will focus on Gordon Parks’ influence on film and the future of African-American cinema. Featured speakers at select locations will include actors Omari Hardwick (“For Colored Girls…,” “Sparkle”), Eriq La Salle (“ER”), Lamman Rucker (“Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” “Why Did I Get Married?”), Terrell Tilford (“Soul Food,” “One Life To Live”), Malinda Williams (“A Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” “Soul Food”) and Malik Yoba (“NY Undercover,” “Why Did I Get Married?”).
The “Children’s Learning Tree” events held in conjunction with The Reading Circle, will highlight Parks’ literary life as children build their own unique books. Finally, the artist’s musical legacy will get the party started with special Soul Jam events geared towards a younger generation. Featuring DJ’s and dancers, the Soul Jam sessions will highlight the “Shaft” era in music for a new audience.
Source: Business Wire