These stories include a range of artistic pursuits, from Black art exhibitions launched during the pandemic touching moments like Denzel Washington paying for Chadwick Boseman’s summer acting program when he was a student at Howard University.
The Sonny House is an organization founded by LeAnn Holden Martin to help intellectually disabled students become leaders in their communities through a job skills training program. Students learn real world job skills, participate in art exhibitions, community engagement projects, and more. The Sonny House helps these students be seen for more than their disabilities, and Ms.Holden-Martin's efforts to engage these students is an example of centering and caring for our most marginalized.
Chidiebere Ibe is a medical illustrator from Nigeria that is best known for his drawing of a Black fetus. Ibe is passionate about diversifying medical illustration to improve health outcomes for Black people. As a self taught artist, Ibe learned to make medical drawings from studying textbooks. His work is now sought after across the world, as he continues to advocate for diversity, education, and a more realistic reflection of the world around us. Ibe's work is an act of care, as the lack of diversity in medical illustration can lead to misdiagnoses for various medical conditions on darker skin.
Oldways, a food, and nutrition nonprofit created the African Heritage Diet Pyramid using knowledge of the cuisine, health, and history of the African diaspora. The pyramid highlights specific foods that form the basis of traditional African diets and is oriented towards a diasporic audience by celebrating the foods and healthy eating patterns of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas.
African women braided rice into their or their children’s hair before the Middle Passage or before the separation between plantations so that they had some food to carry with them. This tradition brought African rice varieties to the Americas to become a staple crop before Asian rice varieties became widely cultivated. It also allowed enslaved Africans to cultivate it as a food source for themselves, then eventually for the plantations they arrived at.
In “We Dance” filmmakers Ethan Payne and Brian Foster depict exploration of black art, poetry, and literature across the eastern United States. These media represent how human stories and memories are kept, in the form of physical objects, places, or food, and even how they are kept in the abstract through dreams.
DC activist group Long Live GoGo organized a protest outside of United Medical Center in Ward 8 to advocate for current issues in DC. The protest attracted a large number of people and featured go-go bands playing music in between speeches calling for community support in local government. The protest organizers used the breaks in between performances to promote United Medical Center and advocate against budget cuts to the hospital, help Banneker Academic High School and push against budget cuts to public schools in wards 7 and 8, and advocate for the inclusion of go-go music and culture in the school curriculum and societal acceptance in Washington DC.
“This is a Low” is a play written by Cris Eli Blak that follows a young black man, Jude, as he warms up to a mental health counselor in the psychiatric unit he is being held in while he deals with suicidal ideation. The play utilizes Blak’s own experiences with mental health and he hopes that it will encourage other young people to seek help if needed. Blak also wants to communicate that dealing with mental health is not a linear journey and to be honest when communicating how it feels to navigate life each day.
A.P.I.D.T.A is a song written by Jay Electronica featuring Jay Z which reflects on grief and mourning after the death of a loved one. Jay Electronica wrote the song after the death of his mother in late 2019. The title is an acronym for “All Praise is Due to Allah”, an expression of gratitude that is commonly used by Muslims. The beat is slow and melancholic and the chorus lyrics are slightly off-beat, creating a disjointed effect. The act of reflection is emphasized by the fragmentation and repeating of some lyrics such as “I got numbers in my phone that’ll never ring again’” though despite the obvious sadness of many of the lyrics there is a tinge of acceptance that runs throughout the verses; “The flesh we roam this earth in is a blessing, not a promise/ I bow with those who bow to the creator and pay homage.”
The National Black Family Reunion was founded by Dorothy Height in 1989 and has taken place annually across the country, including locations in Ohio and Washington, DC.
At Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson sang “Precious Lord,” honoring his last request to sing his favorite hymn. Written by Thomas Dorsey in 1932 after the death of his wife and newborn son, “Precious Lord” was also sung at Mahalia Jackson’s funeral by Aretha Franklin.