According to rollingstone.com, an exhibit dedicated to the life and legacy of musical legend Aretha Franklin will open this week at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The estate-approved “Think: A Tribute to the Queen of Soul”arrives this Tuesday and will exhibit at the Wright Museum until January 21st, 2019. “This is an opportunity for people to come back and engage, reminisce and reflect,” Wright museum board member Kelly Major Greentold the Detroit Free Press. “It’s the beginning of a much longer expression of who Aretha is.”
The exhibit will feature wardrobe, shoes, video displays and photos from Franklin’s decades-long career, including a copy of the first-ever recording Franklin released, a 1956 vinyl of “Never Grow Old” by “Aretha Franklin, Daughter of Rev. C.L. Franklin.”
The Charles H. Wright Museum previously hosted Franklin’s public viewing following the Queen of Soul’s death from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. The “red, lace-trimmed ruffled suit and crimson satin pumps” that Franklin wore at the public viewing will display in the “Think” exhibit.
Over the exhibit’s four-month tenure at the museum, curators will rotate items in and out of display to “reflect the same ever-changing dynamics that marked the singer’s own life,” the Detroit Free Press writes.
The Franklin estate is also planning a long-term exhibit dedicated to the Queen of Soul housed at an undetermined location in 2020.
Franklin, who began her unparalleled music career singing at her father Rev. C.L. Franklin‘s New Bethel Baptist Church, became an international superstar and chart-topper in the 1960s with such classic songs as “Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You,” “Chain of Fools,” “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Respect,” and again in the 1980 and 1990s with “Jump To It,” “Freeway of Love,” “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me,” “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” and “A Rose Is Still A Rose.” Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won 18 competitive Grammys across multiple decades, was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994, recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999, and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
Aretha was also involved in civil rights activism and philanthropy during her lifetime. Franklin, who Elle Magazine noted had it written into her contract in the 1960s that she would never perform for a segregated audience, was glad that the song “Respect” became linked to feminist and civil-rights movements. She added that the line “you know I’ve got it” has a direct feminist theme. “As women, we do have it,” Franklin said. “We have the power. We are very resourceful. Women absolutely deserve respect. I think women and children and older people are the three least-respected groups in our society.”
According to Vanity Fair, though Franklin didn’t participate in civil disobedience herself, she lent very public support to at least one person who did. In 1970, famous feminist activist, scholar, and a then-avowed member of the Communist Party Angela Davis was arrested at the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge in Midtown Manhattan and incarcerated for 16 months for what were found to be wrongful kidnapping and murder charges. Jet magazine reported that Franklin was ready to cover Davis’s bond, “whether it was $100,000 or $250,000.” Davis was released on bail and cleared of her charges in 1972.
Social justice activist, author, and founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, will be delivering a keynote address at Facing Race 2018in Detroit, Michigan.
Facing Race is a national conference presented by leading racial justice organization and Colorlines publisher, Race Forward. The 2018 conference will be held at Detroit’s Cobo Center from November 8-10.
Burke, who was recently named by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People of 2018,” is the first of two keynote speakers to be announced for the Detroit conference. As the largest conference for multiracial justice movement-making, Facing Race Detroit will serve as a unique, collaborative, and essential space for alliance building, issue-framing, and advancing solutions during a critical moment in our nation’s history.
Burke first used the phrase “Me Too” in 2006 as a means of providing strength and healing to young women of color. Her upcoming memoir, set to be released in Spring 2019, will explain the necessity of #MeToo while also detailing her own journey from victim to survivor to thriver.
“So often today, conversations about race, class, and gender exist in silos, and the truth is that the potential for change lives at the intersection of all,” said Burke who currently serves as Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity. “I’m thrilled to be part of a space that is intentionally multiracial and multigender as we envision a meaningfully inclusive society.
“Tarana Burke has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to the intersection of social justice issues, and has laid the groundwork for an international movement that inspires solidarity,” said Race Forward President Glenn Harris. “We’re elated and honored that she will be sharing her words of wisdom, inspiration, and power building with the thousands of Facing Race attendees.”
In addition to inspiring speakers, film screenings, and networking opportunities, Facing Race will present over 80 panels and breakout sessions on a wide array of key issues, with a focus on four key tracks:
Arts, Media, & Culture
Organizing and Advocacy
Racial Identities and Innovation
Since Facing Race was created in 2004, Race Forward has held the national conference in cities around the country, working together with local racial justice leaders to lift up regional history and current challenges faced by communities of color. Previous speakers have included Jose Antonio Vargas, Roxane Gay, Melissa Harris Perry, Van Jones, and W. Kamau Bell.
According to Allure, Target has partnered with the Black-owned beauty brand, The Lip Bar, and will launch their line of vegan and cruelty-free products this spring. Melissa Butler, a former Wall Street financial analyst, is the founder of the brand after spending years frustrated and dissatisfied with the lack of representation for black women in the beauty industry.
Butler states, “Everyone deserves to have representation. Without it, we are left seeking validation.”
Butler also states in the initial stages of her building her brand, The Lip Bar, she pitched it to Shark Tank. The sharks decided to pass on what is now a business she says is worth nearly half a million dollars.
The 30-year old Detroit native’s brand has skyrocketed since starting The Lip Bar in 2012 out of her own kitchen in Brooklyn, NY. Fast forward to 2018 and the entire line is already available in 44 Target stores and will be available in 100 more stores this May.
Target launched the line with two exclusive shades: Unimpressed, a liquid matte lip color, and Baddie, a lip gloss. Lipstick lovers can also choose from The Lip Bar’s Cream Lipstick ($12), which is full of moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil and vitamin E or the Liquid Matte Collection ($13) with almond oil to keep your pucker moist.
Finally, there’s the line of lip glosses ($14) which are organic, nourishing and provide a slight glaze for a touch of glamour.
Butler pledges: “Everything we do at The Lip Bar is about empowering women to be their best selves. We give representation to the underserved so that every girl has the privilege of being socially accepted as beautiful. And in in my free time, I mentor young women in the inner city of Detroit (my hometown) to show them that they are better than their surroundings and to prove that they don’t have to be a product of their environment.”
According to jbhe.com, a study led by Sheretta Butler-Barnes, an assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, finds that young African American women with strong racial identity are more likely to be academically curious and persistent in school.
Researchers surveyed 733 adolescent Black girls from middle and high schools across three socio-economically diverse school districts in the Midwest. The study found that positive perceptions of school climate and racial identity were associated with greater academic motivation. The researchers also learned that racial identity acted as a protective factor in hostile or negative school climates.
“Persons of color who have unhealthy racial identity beliefs tend to perform lower in school and have more symptoms of depression,” Dr. Butler-Barnes said. “In our study, we found that feeling positive about being Black, and feeling support and belonging at school may be especially important for African-American girls’ classroom engagement and curiosity. Feeling connected to the school may also work together with racial identity attitudes to improve academic outcomes.”
Dr. Butler-Barnes joined the Brown School in July 2012 as an assistant professor. Previously, Butler-Barnes was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan’s School of Education affiliated with the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context.
The study, “Promoting Resilience Among African American Girls: Racial Identity as a Protective Factor.” was published on the website of the journal Child Development. It may be accessed here.
To see Butler-Barnes speak about Equity in Education, click below:
Della Reese, the husky-voiced singer and actress who spent almost a decade playing a down-to-earth heavenly messenger on the CBS series “Touched by an Angel” and became an ordained minister in real life, died on Sunday night at her home in Encino, Calif. She was 86.
Her death was confirmed by her manager, Lynda Bensky. She did not specify the cause but said that Ms. Reese had diabetes.
Ms. Reese had been under contract to Jubilee Records for three years when, in 1957, she had her first big hit record, the romantic ballad “And That Reminds Me.”
Named the year’s most promising “girl singer” by Billboard, Variety and Cash Box, she was soon making regular appearances on the leading television variety shows of the day. Her biggest hit was “Don’t You Know” — adapted from “Musetta’s Waltz,” an aria from “La Bohème” — which reached No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart in 1959.
But she became best known as an actress, particularly in the sentimental drama series “Touched by an Angel,” which had its premiere in 1994 and evolved into one of prime time’s top-rated shows. It placed in the Nielsen Top 10 from 1996 to 2000, with an average of more than 20 million weekly viewers at one point.
In the show, Ms. Reese, by then in her 60s, was cast as Tess, a stern but loving supervisor of angels who guided a softhearted and less experienced angel, Monica (Roma Downey), in helping humans at crossroads in their lives. The series told reassuring stories of forgiveness and second chances with mild irreverence. (“You get your little angel butt back to the city,” Tess told Monica in one episode.)
Ms. Reese’s religious faith was a major influence in her career. In 1996 she told The Chicago Tribune that she had consulted with God about whether to sign on for “Angel.” “As clearly as I hear you,” she said, “I heard him say: ‘You can do this. I want you to do this, and you can retire in 10 years.’ ”
The series lasted nine years, and she continued to act for another decade after that.
African American real estate developers in Detroit will get financing and training opportunities to grow their businesses courtesy of a $5 million program being offered by Capital Impact Partners. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is investing $500,000 into Capital Impact Partner’s Equitable Development Initiative to increase the number of minority developers in Detroit.
The pilot program is part of a larger move to encourage small diverse developers to work on larger products and give them the resources to be successful. The two-year initiative will allow black developers to take part in Detroit’s economic recovery by providing them flexible capital, one-on-one mentorships with local experts, and formalized training to support real estate companies they own and operate.
Capital Impact Partners is an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit community development financial institution that offers loans, grants, and other financial services to underserved U.S. cities. It also has offices in Detroit and Oakland. The program is geared to spur the development of small-and mid-sized mixed-use, multifamily residential projects in the city’s mixed-use corridors.
Capital Impact Partners stated in a news release that of the $152 million loaned in Detroit between 2006 and 2015, projects led by minority developers received only 10% of the financing. Detroit has nearly 50,000 minority-owned small businesses, making it the nation’s fourth-largest city for minority entrepreneurship.
Melinda Clemons, Detroit Market Lead at Capital Impact Partners, says stumbling blocks for African American real estate developers are experience, knowledge of upcoming developments, and access to financing. She says Capital Impact Partners is in the process of raising $5 million to support the program. “We’re trying to remove the barriers that have hindered African American developers in Detroit from participating in the city’s revitalization.”
Officials hope the Detroit initiative will mirror successful efforts in other areas. “We’ve seen success in the implementation of similar type programs in other cities like Milwaukee and Los Angeles and are confident this new effort will ensure that the brick-and-mortar development component of Detroit’s economic growth continues to be inclusive,” Clemons said in a press release.
To be eligible, program participants must be developers of color from the Detroit area with some real estate development experience. Developers planning to build a 6 to 20 residential unit, multifamily or mixed-use development in Detroit’s targeted redevelopment areas will be given priority. Developers that don’t have a planned project will also be considered for the program. Participants will get help in several areas, including project budgeting, real estate finance, project and contractor management, legal services, and community engagement.Applications must be completed by the end of November.
LONDON — In a backyard in Berlin, a ramshackle house that was once a haven for the civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks is preparing for its third life — back in the United States. It had almost been lost to history, falling into blight, abuse and foreclosure, in Detroit. But in 2016, the American artist Ryan Mendoza shipped the dismantled facade in two containers to his home in Germany. There, it was restored as an art exhibit in his garden in the Wedding neighborhood.
Then the strange and itinerant journey of the wood-frame house took another turn recently, when a member of the Nash Family Foundation, based in Manitowoc, Wis., formally agreed to pay for its passage back.“I never wanted to rebuild it in my backyard,” Mr. Mendoza said by phone from Berlin. “But I wanted to protect it.”“ It’s time for the house to return home,” he added. “It’s needed for people to have another major point of reference for how to treat each other with dignity. This will be a marker on the ground.”
While the house has a ticket back to America, the question of where it would find a permanent home remains unanswered. The hurdles seem huge, the logistics daunting, but calls and emails have gone out for help to institutions including Brown University in Rhode Island, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and the Brooklyn Museum, among others, Mr. Mendoza said. At least two institutions — Brown and Wright — said they were seriously considering the project. “The house has a symbolic importance — it’s important in the narrative of her life,” said James Nash, a board member and the driving force behind the foundation’s pledge. “She suffered for a huge act of courage. It should be here, not in Berlin.”
Netflix is celebrating “Orange is the New Black’s” dearly departed Poussey Washington with a series of portraits created by fans from around the world. Eight artists were chosen by the streaming service to create the pieces, and each were to include the slogan “Stand Up.” They’ll be unveiled in eight cities before the show’s June 9th season premiere: New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco.
“I want to do the character justice and do the show justice because I think they have so many strong messages that are really relevant today,” said Detroit-based artist Michelle Tanguay, who created the above portrait. Tanguay told the AP that she cried while watching Poussey die at the hands of a white prison guard. “I’m a huge, huge fan of the show. I actually watch it while I paint.”
Tanguay said Netflix gave her free reign to do whatever she wanted with the piece, as long as she showed the character and used the show’s hashtag and slogan. Her hand-painted portrait (in black, blue and white) is 24-by-25 feet, and stands on a brick wall at the corner of Detroit’s Broadway Street and Grand River Avenue. “I viewed this project as paying tribute to the character,” Tanguay added. “I wanted to make it very positive and that’s why I chose the bright colors, the bright blues, to just do her justice.. I just wanted to be able to see her again… To see an African-American woman on the wall in Detroit, blown up huge, with the words ‘Stand Up’ — it’s just so empowering and that’s what I wanted everyone to feel when they see the mural.”
Samira Wiley, the actress who played Poussey, says she is honored by the portraits. “I think it’s our responsibility as artists to be able to reflect the time that we’re living in… she’s a fictional character that can elicit real change in thought and action from people.”