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Motown Museum Presents “Motown Mic: The Spoken Word” Competition Series

MICHIGAN CHRONICLE — Motown Museum announced today that it will host its sixth annual Motown Mic: The Spoken Word competition series.

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By AJ Williams

Motown Museum announced today that it will host its sixth annual Motown Mic: The Spoken Word competition series on Fridays in March from 8 to 10 p.m. at Motown Museum. Motown Museum Chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry made the announcement.

“Since launching Motown MIC in 2014, it has emerged as one of our most popular programs,” said Terry. “It began as an opportunity to showcase the rich history of spoken word as part of the Motown label, and it has become a highly sought after opportunity for talented poets and artists from all over the area – and the Midwest – to share their creative talents and celebrate in the legacy that has inspired generations.”

Motown Mic: The Spoken Word invites poets to perform original pieces. Poets of any age can perform in the open mic events but must be 16 years or older to be considered for the competition series. Every week throughout the month-long competition, two winners will be chosen by a panel of judges to advance to the grand finale on April 12 at the Garden Theater where they will perform Motown-inspired pieces and compete for the opportunity to be named the 2019 Motown Mic: The Spoken Word Artist of the Year, win a $1,500 cash prize and have their work published on a literary broadside.

“Motown put countless spoken word albums out on a label created just for spoken word. Ossie Davis dropped albums on Motown. Martin Luther King Jr. dropped albums on Motown. They were spun in Black Bottom basements and spoken right from the mouths of some of our greatest Black minds. It’s more than a record label,” said 2018 Motown Mic winner Mic Phelps in a previous interview. “The fact that artists can come here to see and experience the power of Motown and see themselves in that capacity is really amazing. It allows you to be a part of the story without recording there or meeting any of the artists. You meet them just by coming to the space.”

Motown Mic: The Spoken Word was created to pay homage to Motown Records’ Black Forum Label—a Motown spoken word label created by Berry Gordy and the Motown Corporation in the ‘70s as a venue for Black expression and education. The label served to capture the voices of African American poets and orators such as Langston Hughes, Stokely Carmichael, Elaine Brown, Ossie Davis and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose moving and inspirational “I Have A Dream” speech was recorded by the label. As Motown revolutionized the music industry, its Black Forum Label documented the social consciousness of a generation—Motown Mic: The Spoken Word is a continuation of that rich legacy.

Open to the public, the events will take place at Motown Museum March 8, 15, 22 and 29. Admission for performers is free. General admission tickets are $10. Students with ID, and Motown Members who present their membership cards can purchase tickets for $5 at the door. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Motown Museum is located at 2648 West Grand Blvd. in Detroit.

For more information on Motown Museum, including hours of operation, visit http://www.motownmuseum.org or call 313.875.2264.

This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle.

Art

MC Arts Gallery Opens During the Marin Open Studio

The Gallery and its website display the art of a number of Black artists which includes: TheArthur Wright, Lumumba Edwards, and Maalak Atkins. Zwanda and Mitchell Howard also display their art at the Gallery. 

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From top: Oshalla Marcus (director/curator, MC Arts & Culture) with Osiezhe’s drawings to the right of the photo, Zwanda, Mitchell Howard , ISOJI’s Art Is Health Band: Carlton Carey (drums), Mwanza Furaha, (vocals), Jack Prendergast (bass), Ricardo Moncrief (keyboard), James Moseley (guitar, vocal). Photos by Godfrey Lee.

The MC Arts Gallery, located on 100 Donahue St. in the Gateway Shopping Center in Marin City, is open during the Marin Open Studios, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, May 1 & 2. 

The Gallery and its website display the art of a number of Black artists which includes: The Arthur Wright, Lumumba Edwards, and Maalak Atkins. Zwanda and Mitchell Howard also display their art at the Gallery. 

Zwanda seeks to be creative as she expands her ideas as a sculptress and painter. She is inspired by the human figure and dancers and is fascinated with music and the instruments themselves. Her art is a way to express this love and to share it with others.

Mitchell Howard studied art at San Francisco State University and the Computer Arts Institute of San Francisco. He was an art director at Cummingham & Walsh in San Francisco and has displayed his paintings at the Hannah Gallery, worked on the Rocky Graham Park Mural and has taught art at the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy Elementary School.

“Art can bring people together and illustrate things that people can relate to,” Howard says. “Art can also be powerful in sending social messages to society. Art makes you think, it expands your horizons and makes you use your imagination. People may see different things in the same painting.”

Osiezhe, Shakira Gregory’s son, will be displaying his drawings at the Gallery.

The ISOJI’s Art Is Health Band played last Saturday afternoon with Mwanza Furaha as their guest vocalist.

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Art

City Council Approves $480,000 in Arts Grants

The city made the announcement Tuesday about the grants, which will support 772 distinct arts events and activities that will expose more than 110,000 participants to cultural programming.

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The Oakland City Council approved $480,000 in grants to 17 Oakland-based non-profit organizations and 20 individual artists through the city’s Cultural Funding Program, Neighborhood Voices.

The city made the announcement Tuesday about the grants, which will support 772 distinct arts events and activities that will expose more than 110,000 participants to cultural programming.

The grant program seeks to bring Oaklanders together to create and support a sense of belonging within a community, to foster social connections that lift people’s spirits, to encourage community well-being and offer visions for a collective future, according to the announcement.

The following individual artists each won $7,000 Neighborhood Voices awards:

Frederick Alvarado; Karla Brundage; Cristina Carpio; Darren Lee Colston; Maria De La Rosa; Elizabeth D. Foggie; Rachel-Anne Palacios; Laurie Polster; Hasain Rasheed; Kweku Kumi Rauf; Carmen Roman; Michael Roosevelt; Fernando Santos; Teofanny Octavia Saragi; Kimberly Sims-Battiste; Cleavon Smith; Lena Sok; Babette Thomas; Ja Ronn Thompson; Joseph Warner.

Each of the following organizations received $20,000 Neighborhood Voices awards:

Asian Health Services for Banteay Srei;

Beats Rhymes and Life;

Chapter 510 INK;

Dancers Group for dNaga GIRL Project;

Dancers Group for Dohee Lee Puri Arts;

Dancers Group for Grown Women Dance Collective;

East Oakland Youth Development Center;

Higher Gliffs for Endangered Ideas;

Hip Hop for Change;

Junior Center of Art and Science;

Mycelium Youth Network;

Oakland Education Fund for Youth Beat;

Oakland Theater Project, Inc.;

Sarah Webster Fabio Center for Social Justice;

The Intersection for Alphabet Rockers;

Women’s Audio Mission;

Youth Radio/YR Media.

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AHC’s ArtEsteem Program

ArtEsteem is part of AHC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in West Oakland. To find out more visit ahc-oakland.org.

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This self-portrait was created by 12-year-old Leslie Callejas from Life Academy School in Oakland. As a participant in the ArtEsteem program, Leslie was guided through the art-making process; using photo references, observational drawing, and painting with watercolors. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this class was made available via distance learning under the guidance of instructor Etty Alberto. 

 

ArtEsteem offers art classes to students in underserved communities, providing a foundation in art techniques while encouraging students to self-reflect and think critically, be inspired, and expand their view of their world. ArtEsteem is part of AHC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in West Oakland. To find out more visit ahc-oakland.org.

 

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