How One Photo Quietly Says Black Lives Matter

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit : Gordon Parks

Eloquent resistance. These two words somersault in my mind as I study Gordon Parks deceptively simple photographic portrayal of a mother and her daughter in segregated America, circa 1955.

In her own way, this striking and elegant woman refutes the American narrative about people of color – illiterate and undignified.

She and her daughter stand in subtle defiance, shattering  long  held  assumptions about black women and girls – unfeminine, ugly, and invisible.

Despite living under legal segregation, they assert, with their bodies, we refuse your vulgar categorizations.

We are here. We will not cower under the weight of hatred. We matter immensely.

This is the essence of  today’s Black Lives Matter movement; the right to simply exist, beyond the barriers of hatred and fear, because at the core, even within our differences, there lies a shared humanity.

When we refuse to see one another, genuinely see another person, we extinguish ourselves, our own light. If I tell you your life does not matter, I run from myself, constructing an identity that is married to your pain, struggle and subjugation.

Let us come to realize not only our own worth, but the value of other black lives and experiences who are marginalized, creating a world where no voice is silenced.

Gregory Porter, A Thoughtful Voice in Jazz

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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Photo source: Owl Eyes Lovely Magazine

There is something about jazz music. Its melodies and spontaneous rhythms elevate my spirit; I feel connected to American history while being rooted in the creative community of today.

Last week I wrote about Cécile McLorin Salvant, an acclaimed jazz artist under 30. Well, Gregory Porter, another dynamic singer and songwriter, creates thoughtful work, and is appreciative of his musical predecessors. The California native speaks often about early exposure to Nat King Cole through his mother.

You can hear the influence of the musical icon in Porter’s lucid delivery, at once heartfelt and deeply personal. It’s the only kind of music I devour these days – uplifting and thought provoking.

As seems the case for many talented American musicians, he is more celebrated in Europe, despite being nominated for a Grammy. Maybe one day some of us will move beyond the vacuity of the kind of music dominating corporate radio.

In the meantime, I could not be more grateful for artists like Porter, who is a testament to authenticity and beauty. His latest album, Liquid Spirit, released just last month is already garnering praise with Huffington Post hailing him as “the brilliant new voice of jazz.

I am sharing some behind-the-scenes footage from that CD, and a few  of my favorites. Enjoy, darlings!

Live In Color – E

Provocative Play Returns to Theatre Project, ‘A Real Nigga Show’

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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The n word is one of the most controversial terms in American culture. It incites rage and sorrow, along with insistence by some folks of color that it’s a term of endearment.

In 2003 at Theatre Project I watched a provocative play that brought the issue to audiences, A Real Nigga Show. The series of short theatrical stories all wrestled with this word’s complexity, and featured an all male cast, including the late Robert F. Chew, best known for his role of Prop Joe on HBO’s The Wire.

Returning for its 2nd run at Theatre Project (August 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10, 45 W. Preston St., Baltimore, MD 21201), it includes new pieces such as “Hoodie,” an image now synonymous with Trayvon Martin’s untimely death. The cast consists of five local artists: Davon Carey, Joshua Dixon, Robert Lee Hardy, Ezekiel Jackson, and Melvin T. Russell, and is directed by Troy Burton, executive director of Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center.

Check out a preview of the show:

Advanced tickets are on sale at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center (847 N. Howard Street Baltimore, MD 21201). For tickets and more information, call Troy Burton (443-326-7174)

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The cast of A Real Nigga Show

Live In Color – Emelda
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