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Baltimore Times Publisher Joy Bramble Immortalized in Wax

WASHINGTON INFORMER — Joy Bramble, publisher of The Baltimore Times, was recently immortalized in wax for her 30-plus years of providing a Black media outlet. Bramble was honored with a proclamation from the Maryland House and Senate before the unveiling of a wax figure in her name at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore.

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By Eunice Moseley, Special to The Informer

Joy Bramble, publisher of The Baltimore Times, was recently immortalized in wax for her 30-plus years of providing a Black media outlet.

Bramble was honored with a proclamation from the Maryland House and Senate before the unveiling of a wax figure in her name at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore.

“I was surprised and honored,” Bramble said of the proclamation and unveiling. “The reason is what we’ve been able to accomplish with The Baltimore Times.”

As their first employee in 1986, I was a witness and full participant in those accomplishments. Bramble started The Baltimore Times with the blessing and help from her husband Rev. Peter Bramble, an Episcopal priest. I was straight out of college as a telecommunications major working at WEBB Radio as a paid intern when I was hired by Joy Bramble.

The Baltimore Times, when it changed from a monthly publication to a weekly, became the largest-circulated Black-owned newspaper in Maryland. It grew to have three sister publications — The Annapolis Times, The Prince George’s County Times and The Baltimore County Times. It was the first company to offer community events in Baltimore that provided free services with its Housing Expo (onsite pre-approvals), Health Expo (free health care screenings), Men’s Expo (free health care screenings) and Women’s Expo (free seminars).

“My whole life has been like magic,” said Bramble, a native of Montserrat. “I’ve never been afraid to try things. If that doesn’t work you move on. Set an example and keep trying.”

But Bramble didn’t start off in the states as a newspaper publisher. She began as an educator in the Baltimore City school system and even owned a lucrative corner store before deciding she wanted to saturate the city with “positive stories about positive people,” the motto for her newspaper.

“Someone broke into the store and I was afraid and decided to close it,” she said about her corner store venture.

As far as her role as a teacher, she said, “I feel if I am not making a difference I have to do something else. I found out how hard it was teaching in Baltimore schools. I knew that I wasn’t fulfilling my potential and that was not for me.”

Bringing “positive stories about positive people” and providing free community services to Baltimore city residents to help save lives and people’s homes was where she was able to fulfill her potential.

“Taking chances and learning,” Bramble told me of how she grew her newspaper. “And the people I’ve come in contact with. I made a difference in their lives, set an example. Look at you! You are a prime example.”

Bramble is talking about all the achievements I have made with her blessing and because of her urging. I came to The Baltimore Times because I love writing, but she saw that I could make a great salesperson. So we made a deal: she would let me write for the newspaper if I sold ads for her. She was right — I became the highest-paid salesperson at the newspaper.

My love for writing resulted in a position as entertainment editor at the newspaper. I am now a syndicated entertainment columnist with over 1/4 million readers a week nationwide. At one point as her business manager, she urged me in the strongest way to be her promotions director and because of it, I helped spearhead The Baltimore Times community event projects. The events garnered the newspaper recognitions from the city for serving the community with events held annually. Each of the four events raked up thousands of dollars in extra venue for the newspaper.

Bramble allowed me to learn all these skills on the job by not limiting me and by urging me. I was able to open up my own business, a public relations/business service company. She did not mind me moonlighting after work as long as I did my job at the newspaper. I founded “Uplifting Minds,” a free entertainment conference event for the newspaper, in 1999 to reach young readers — the fifth event.

In 2000, Bramble granted my request for ownership of the event and as “Uplifting Minds II” I took the free entertainment conference annually to communities in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston. I am only one of many employees Joy Bramble has helped in this way.

“Life is a challenge — I like challenges,” she said. “Someone tells me I can’t do something — I find a way. The statue will be unveiled at the State House. I’m getting a proclamation from the Senate and the House and the statue will be unveiled afterward at The Great Blacks in Wax.”

Moseley’s The Pulse of Entertainment column has an estimated weekly readership of over 250,000.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

Art

Maestro Michael Morgan Conducts San Francisco Symphony

Morgan was born and raised in Wash., D.C., and is recognized worldwide for innovative and thematically rich programs that make connections between a wide range of artists and musical cultures.

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Maestro Michael Morgan

Maestro Michael Morgan, music director and conductor of the Oakland Symphony, will conduct the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA, Friday, July 23, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

The program will include the overture to Gioachino Rossini’s opera “La gazza ladra,” along with a playful Pas de Six from “William Tell.” Louise Farrenc’s revelatory Symphony No. 3 from 1847 takes center stage, while the program concludes with James P. Johnson’s Roaring 20s hit, “Charleston.”

“I am thrilled to be helping the San Francisco Symphony share all the wonderful things they do with a wider and more diverse audience’, said Morgan.

Morgan’s ties to the San Francisco Symphony stretch back to 1994, when he first led Concerts for Kids performances.

Morgan was born and raised in Wash., D.C., and is recognized worldwide for innovative and thematically rich programs that make connections between a wide range of artists and musical cultures.

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Art

BIPOC Writers to Showcase Live Readings of New Anthology ‘Essential Truths’

The free, virtual event will begin with an invocation by Berkeley Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González and will feature 18 BIPOC writers and poets in lively readings and presentations.

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Essential Truths the Bay Area In Color/WriteNow! SF

Oakland Asian Cultural Center in partnership with Write Now! SF Bay will host an East Bay Showcase of its latest anthology “Essential Truths on Thursday, July 22. 

The free, virtual event will begin with an invocation by Berkeley Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González and will feature 18 BIPOC writers and poets in lively readings and presentations.

Among those performing and reading are: Avotcja, Clara Hsu, Danny Ryu, Darzelle Oliveros, Dianne Leo-Omine, Elmaz Abinader, Kelechi Ubozoh, Karen Seneferu, Kimi Sugioka, Sandra Bass, Shirley Huey, Shizue Seigal, Sridevi Ramanathan, Susana Praver-Pérez, Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia), Tony Aldorondo, Tureeda Mikell, and Wanda Sabir. 

To register for this event, which begins at 7:00 p.m., visit https://oacc.cc/event/essential-truths-east-bay/. A complete list of Oakland Asian Cultural Center readers’ affiliations can be found here: OACC READERS

Write Now! SF Bay, an organization that has helped 350 writers and artists create with their free and low-cost programs and provided a safe community where BIPOC feel free to express themselves, has published its fourth anthology.

“Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color,” is its fourth anthology. The collection of 130 Bay Area BIPOC’s poems, musings, and art was edited by Siegal, the founder/director of Write Now! SF Bay.

“Our work is not always polished, but it arises from the lived experience of grappling with real issues of the day,” Siegal said. “We may write in the vernacular or English may be our second or third language. 

“If our rhythms are unfamiliar, ask yourself why—is our work inflected by other tongues and vernaculars, rusty from disuse, scattered by stress or trauma, struggling out silence, or hastily scribbled on borrowed time? 

“Old ways are dissolving, and change is in the air. BIPOC arts and activism have been here all along. Now we are stepping into the light,” Siegal said.

The contributors are Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQ communities along with a few white allies who run the gamut from poet laureates to high school students to college professors and beyond. 

Since 2015, Write Now! SF Bay has been led by and for BIPOC Bay Area writers and builds multicultural solidarity around their unique identities as people of color and reclaim their culture and history, personal and community well-being as well as civil liberties and social justice.

“Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color” is published is available for purchase at $17.95 by visiting https://www.writenowsf.com/essential-truths

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Activism

Haitian American Artist Brings His Vision, Gift to State’s COVID Campaign

The artworks, created by the Grammy-nominated visual artist Serge Gay Jr, were commissioned to encourage people to continue to take safety precautions against COVID-19 even though the state reopened last month, according to the governor’s office.  

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Serge Gay Jr. at Art Attack mimicking a playboy bunny in one of his paintings. Photo by James Chiang.

California’s “Your Actions Save Lives” art campaign recently unveiled two “Safety First” murals in San Francisco. The artworks, created by the Grammy-nominated visual artist Serge Gay Jr, were commissioned to encourage people to continue to take safety precautions against COVID-19 even though the state reopened last month, according to the governor’s office.
One is located in the Castro and the other in the Tenderloin, — two well-known districts steeped in the Golden Gate City’s famous history of Leftist political organizing and the visibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) people.
The Tenderloin mural, which he dedicates to the city’s transgender community, was inspired by the idea of, “breaking free because during the pandemic, we were all just home and kind of stuck there,” said Gay.  His second artwork is located at 2390 Market St. in the Castro.
The state says the “Your Actions Save Lives” campaign equips Californians with information about what they can do to help stem the spread of COVID-19.  To get the word out, it partnered with The Center at the Sierra Health Foundation and 20 local artists across the state to reach communities that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Gay, he celebrates the Tenderloin for its inclusion of Black and Brown people. The message behind the mural places an emphasis on freedom of movement following the COVID-19 pandemic and encourages the public to get vaccinated, says the artist whose collaboration with film director Matt Stawski clinched him a Grammy nomination for “Best Short Form Video.”
“I wanted to really kind of also showcase our trends visibility,” said Gay.
Gay pays homage to his Haitian roots through his artwork which celebrates various Black communities in the Bay Area — African Americans as well as African and Caribbean immigrants, he explains.

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