Insight News

Wednesday
Aug 20th

2010 Minnesota Black Music Awards

2010 Minnesota Black Music AwardsThe Minneapolis Sound rocketed into music stardom with Prince and a secession of artists that created a unique style of rock and soul. The Minnesota Black Music Awards program returns July 16 with a salute to the 30th anniversary of the famed Minneapolis Sound 8 pm at the Pantages Theatre.

Launched in 1982, the Minnesota Black Music Awards has been the stage that showcased the best of the Minneapolis sound. Performing artists included: Prince, The Time, Mint Condition, Cherrelle, Alexander O’Neal, The Sounds of Blackness, Bobby Lyle, Lo Key, Next and other local and national artists.
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Shallow Sirens Venture to Abu Dhabi for Another Vapid Adventure

Shallow Sirens Venture to Abu Dhabi for Another Vapid AdventureSex and the City 2

Perhaps not being female or not being privy to the original HBO series seriously limits one’s ability to appreciate the adaptations of Sex and the City. Regardless, this critic came away feeling the same about the sequel as I did about the original screen version. This installment is set a couple of years after the end of their first adventure, and again revolves around the camaraderie, carnality and conspicuous consumption of the shallowest quartet of spoiled, matronly New Yorkers you ever could hope to meet.

The story is narrated by Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) whose marriage to John James Preston (Chris Noth), aka Mr. Big, brought down the curtain on the previous episode. This time, the fun starts at the same-sex wedding of her relatively-elegant pal Stanford (Willie Garson) to a flamboyant queen (Mario Cantone) who crudely announces at the reception that he plans to cheat on his spouse.
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Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture

Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture“Since the dawn of the hip-hop era in the 1970s, Black people have become increasingly freer and freer as individuals, with a wider range of possibilities spread out before us now than at any time in our past. Yet the circumstances of our collective life have degenerated in direct contrast to this fact, with a more impoverished vision of what it means to be Black today than ever before. If these exciting new circumstances we now find ourselves in, of which our president is the apotheosis, are to mean anything of lasting value, the zeitgeist… is going to have to change, too—permanently…

Will we, at long last, allow ourselves to abandon the instinct to self-sabotage and the narcissistic glorification of our own failure? Will the fact of daily exposure to a Black president in turn expose once and for all the lie that is and always has been keeping it real?
-- Excerpted from the Epilogue (pgs. 213-214i)
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Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film FunKam's Kapsules:
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

For movies opening June 4, 2010

BIG BUDGET FILMS

Get Him to the Greek (R for graphic sexuality, and pervasive sexuality and drug use) Intercontinental road comedy about the hijinks which ensue when an ambitious intern (Jonah Hill) is assigned to escort an over-imbibing, womanizing rock star (Russell Brand) from London to L.A. for a comeback concert. Spinoff of Forgetting Sarah Marshall features Rose Byrne and Sean Diddy Combs, with cameos by Christina Aguilera, Pink, Pharrell, Meredith Viera and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.
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Amtrak's National Train Day blues connection

Amtrak's National Train Day blues connectionFor National Train Day 2010 Amtrak celebrated the connection between the history of blues music and America's railroads. To commemorate, Amtrak took the sons of Muddy Waters, "Big Bill" and Mud Morganfield on a musical tour through the Mississippi Delta, the birthplace of the blues, and the birthplace of their father. The tour started in New Orleans, toured Blues Markers in Mississippi, picked up blues great Bobby Rush in Memphis and ended at National Train Day festivities at Union Station in Chicago May 6-8.

Discover your African roots

Discover your African rootsThis Spring, a television series called, “Who Do You Think You Are?” which is based on a popular BBC Television series of the same name in the United Kingdom, aired in the US further fueling the unquenchable thirst for knowledge about personal identity and family history.

The American version was the work of producers Sarah Jessica Parker and Lisa Kudrow.

An African American firm that specializes in DNA-based genetic research participated in the television series enabling Emmitt Smith, the football player and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant to trace his ancestry. Using DNA, AfricanAncestry.com was able to determine Smith’s family origins in a present day country on the continent of Africa.

Gina Paige is vice president and co-founder for AfricanAncestry.com and was my guest via telephone interview on “Conversations with Al McFarlane” on KFAI FM90.3.
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Lena Horne: One of the greatest performers ever

Lena Horne: One of the greatest performers everIt is almost universally agreed upon that Lena Horne was one of the greatest performing artist ever to grace the American stage, screen, and television. Lena was a heaven sent multifaceted talent who mastered the crafts of song, dance and acting. To add to this, she was a great conversationalist. She was one of those rare spiritual types who understood and possessed the ability to articulate her journey. She put you there, making you feel a part of what she lived. The work, the days, ties, hopes, disappointments, challenges, and triumphs. Lena lived high and at the same time broad and low, close to the ground.

Her legend on stage and in show business is widely known: at 16, she was in the chorus line at the famed Cotton Club.

She was the first Black person to sign a long term contract with a major Hollywood studio. She endured some of the everyday snubs, slights and insults that great Black performers routinely put up with during the hey day of mad dog racism. Through it all, Lena Horne survived, and indeed, thrived as one of the great lights, bar none, in the history of American entertainment. In a word, Lena was the bomb, for all of her 92 years. The mention of her name brings great joy, pride, courage, hope with optimism, to people across generations and across the world.

There is also a side of Lena Horne's life that is less generally known, and for which she was less appreciated. It is the side of her human generosity and deep love for Black people. At the onset of her career in Hollywood, she was given the option of "passing" because of her mostly "non negroid" features. It was requested by the movers and shakers of that day that she change her name so that she could pass, not as white--but as Mexican or some other exotic type, that was "non negro". It was suggested that she change her name to perhaps Sanchez, Gomez or Rodriguez.
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