It's funny, those of us of (mostly) Scottish descent can hold an annual event in October like the Highland Games, celebrating Scottish culture, and no one calls us separatist or "self-segregating". And there's that festival in March involving lots of green........
But when darker-skinned people do it, all of a sudden it's considered a bad thing........at least by some people.........
The Black Arts? You mean turning people into frogs and speaking to the dead? Of course we need more of that in Atlanta. Hail Seitan!!
First of all to the commenter talking about self-segregating. Would anyone call a festival highlighting Japanese, Irish, Italian, Korean, Hispanic, Chinese, Russian etc. culture, self-segregating? The idea that Black people don't have the right to showcase our cultural and artistic offerings lone-standing, is racist and segregating!
Secondly, it is obvious, the writer (Cinque Hicks) has never attended the NBAF or bothered to determine its past line-ups. The programming has always been a mixture of established art and artists as well as the new and cutting edge. That's what a festival is about--variety-- which has always been a strong point of NBAF . Would anyone in their right mind criticize a festival that highlights acts like the Rolling Stones or the Joffrey Ballet as playing to the baby boomers? So why make such a claim when NBAF showcases the talent and artistry of Gladys Knight and the Pips or the OJs to sold out audiences? A relevant Black festival celebrates our cultural roots and spotlights our cultural future. NBAF did just that in a grand and wonderful way...giving headliner respect to the deserving, not just the new and flashy or the mainstream that worked in other venues. There were many events focused on the new and cutting-edge artists that could not have been considered on the sidelines. Many artists were given a place and a prominence that could not be easily found outside of NBAF. Brother Cinque needs to show a little respect.
As for its debt, that has nothing to do with the programming which was well-attended. To place the blame on the event is totally disingenuous. Very few if any arts organizations survive on ticket sales. Their viability is mostly determined by good-management and income from a combination of ticket sales, grants (both government and private), corporate sponsorships and a vigorous private funder base (when was the last time you contributed anything to the NBAF or another Black arts organization fo that matter?).
The NBAF under the leadership of its long time director Stephanie Hughley was well-managed. She put her blood, sweat and tears into maneuvering the organization through financial, organizational and creative gauntlets that would fry the brain and weaken the knees of anyone who has not been called upon to run an arts organization. When she left NBAF, the organization may have had debt, but it wasn't for poor management, lack of creativity (by either Stephanie and the creative staff) or lack of ticket sales.
For most arts organizations and black arts organizations in particular, the country's economic downturn wrecked havoc. There were serious reductions in available grant money (both government and foundation). Corporate sponsorship money all but dried-up and funder contributions plummeted. Throughout the country, most arts organizations were seriously pinched financially and many bit the dust (Black and other). To imply NBAF's financial crisis to something that NBAF had control over is somewhat misleading. If there is any blame, it would be that NBAF was ambitious and refused to settle for mediocre or second best despite its dwindling funding sources. You can't keep making chitterlings look and taste like filet mignon. Eventually, the reality catches up.
I am not from Altanta, but made it my business to attend the NBAF for most festivals since 1996. I even thought of moving to Atlanta to live in a city that would foster and support such an incredible festival. The NBAF's offerings were always so rejuvenating. My friends and I would bask in the fabulous variety of Black artistic works that so finely reflected Black culture and made us proud. Not only proud to be Black, but proud of the excellence of the artists who presented at the festival. The artists , even those from the "baby boom" culture, shared with audiences wisdom that was timely, authentic and helped to illuminate the way to our future. True art is never an either/or proposition. It encompasses all we are, all we were and all we will be. It opens the mind and feeds the soul!
Black arts organizations will always be "relevant", regardless of the conjectural notions and queries of folks like Mr. Hicks. Blacks arts festivals serve not only as a place to celebrate and honor those artists that have buoyed Black art and culture throughout their artistic careers (some at a high price), but also, serve as incubators for new and innovative Black artists who carry the culture but whose works and expression may not have caught on with the "mainstream" and therefor will not find a place in events geared to that "mainstream"....cutting edge or established.
My hat off to the NBAF and all who worked to present that truly magical event. Hopefully, like the culture it so agilely showcases it will survive.
Having a "black" arts festival is not at all "self-segregating". Races of all kinds are welcome to enjoy the festivities, to participate and exhibit their art. Calling them "black" arts festivals has sort of a guarantee of not being lost among the other cultures and arts at general arts festivals. Every culture has festivals in the Atlanta area and worldwide; Irish, Latin/Spanish, Greek, Asian, African, Caribbean. But, they are far from being considered racist or self-segregating. Its one of many cultures that we as Americans can appreciate and enjoy with friends and family. Although we would like to live in harmony and not talk about race, you can not deny that there are culture differences and those should be embraced not as being offensive but, as a learning opportunity.
Think of it as a chance for a "non-black" to experience "black" food, art, music and other cultural elements that you would not normally be exposed to. :)
Wonderful article! While I DO think the need for Black Arts Festival is still present, I agree that they need to change focus, programming and execution ASAP! The current model is not only outdated, it's boring. Young artists of African descent are breaking barriers, playing with new mediums and exploring a wide array of themes. The focus should be on exposing the world at large to the diversity of "black" art, it's ever rising place in "high" art circles and it's importance and relevance to the art world at large.
The need for the black community (or part of it) to continue to self-segregate themselves is outdated. There is NO need in 2013 to have a race-specific arts festival (or beauty Padget, or college fund... etc). You cannot demand to be seen as a human instead of a black human, and then self-segregate yourself when it's convenient to do so. Be part of the human race and stop zeroing in on skin color when it works, and blaming others for zeroing in on it when it doesn't work.
I wonder if Ariel and Maya's "game hosted by friends" was the Georgia Tech Band's "Get-A-Clue". That started in the early 90's.
Su ch a blessing!!!
Captured every detail, you'll have to come back on a clear night.
does he need the Z and the S?
i need to brush up on my street name spellingzs.
love this story !!!
Evan is a very funny fella
"When you're a whistleblower, you're a hero to some and the scum of the earth to others."
Whistleblowers are not scum, they are just inconvenient to those who profit from corruption.
Being a formal Security Officer myself when I first heard of Darien Long and saw the video of him tasering that loud mouth uneducated ghetto brawd I was glad that he did it, because she deserve it and was and still is a supporter of Mr. Long. I do feel that he let the publicity go to his head and he over reacted in some of the other cases with some of his other videos that I have seen. You just can't taser someone or assault someone that you don't like or go out starting trouble where there is no trouble to be found. You must remain professional at all time and use good judgement. If the police was doing their jobs in the first place and cracking down on the crime in that area we would not have heard of Darien Long, with his publicity he has made the APD do it's job and now they are out to railroad him for making them look bad.
Howard Finster is a awesome artist
LOL @kiteless trying to get on eric pfeifer's good side.
@eric pfeifer That phrase that you keep spitting out at everyone, "fuck you", really doesn't have the insulting power that it had 15 or 20 years ago. Nowadays, it almost like saying, "Aw, shut up, dude." So, if you really want to piss off your fellow CL brothers & sisters, come up with something heavier, k?
Meanwhile, I can see that you're getting all lathered up over nothing. None of the shit these people say on this board is going to mean ANYTHING in 50 years, so why get all frazzled and defensive and get your claws out?!
Go find a good coloring book and stay inside the lines.
because going to all the trouble to register a new account to bitch at pfeifer totally shows you've got better things to do with your time...
Eric Pfeifer, have you ever heard the joke "Arguing on the internet is like competing in the special olympics, even if you win you're still fucking retarded"?
You need a new fucking hobby, dude. You're going to nerdrage yourself into a massive heart attack if you keep this up. Channel that self-righteous indignation into something positive, instead of bitching at strangers on the internet.
"Stereotype? Really? Its pretty much reality and until their peers demand it change, nothing anyone else can do but avoid being part of it."
oh yeah it's the black's fault that the blacks are so black
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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