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A Legend Leaves Us

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Aretha Franklin, a.k.a., the “Queen of Soul” was one of the great music artists of her time. The legend was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis and passed away at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16.

Aretha had music in her DNA. Her mother, Barbara, was a gospel singer, and her father, C.L. Franklin, was a singer too. At the age of six, her parents separated and Aretha lived with her father. At the age of 10, her mother died. Her father used to take Aretha with him on gospel programs as part of his church. Her interest in gospel music increased, and she started to perform with her father. Albertina Walker and Jackie Verdell, the gospel music giants, sensed the talent in Aretha and helped her in singing. At the age of 14, she had her first gospel album named “The Gospel Sound of Aretha Franklin.”

Aretha’s life changed when she moved to New York City. She shifted from sacred to more contemporary music. John Hammond, a music producer, gave Aretha her first break and she eventually created “Today I sing the blues” (1960). As she started her singing career, she rose to success rapidly. She tried almost every genre of the music industry. Aretha was a prominent figure in the 1960’s and gave a stirring performance at Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral.

“. . . this led the way for some of her early hits, such as “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” Lady Soul,” and “Amazing Grace.”

When she got her contract from Atlantic Records, this led the way for some of her early hits, such as “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” Lady Soul,” and “Amazing Grace.” While her gospel work remain some of the most influential albums, she also produced dance hits, such as “Jump to It” and “Freeway of Love.”

Aretha was the first lady to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and won 18 Grammy awards during her life. She performed for many presidents, including the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She had a rare range of singing talent that makes her a legend in the singing world. R-E-S-P-E-C-T #QueenofSoul

 

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Musicians Come to Life in Photo Exhibit

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By Aissatou Sidime-Blanton

Kimberly Hopkins’s striking black and white photos, now on display at the AP Art Lab, are a wonderful homage to famous African-American photographers. Her first solo exhibition, “Street Formation,” will close with a reception from 6-8 pm on Sept. 27 at the gallery, located at 1906 S. Flores Street in San Antonio.

In fact, Hopkins readily admits her photos are inspired by the works of Brooklyn street photographer Andre D. Wagner and the late iconic photographic documentarian Gordon Parks.

Hopkins solo exhibition is a collection of live action-based photos of all the street musicians she has photographed during the last five years. Her subjects were captured in New Orleans, Minden, Tennessee, Austin, San Antonio and Chicago. The show title is a musical reference but also fits perfectly with AP Art Lab’s mission to exhibit artwork focused on women’s issues and social change.

“Musicians often have a role in social change. If you think of Otis Redding, The Temptations and others they were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement  – they set the foundation for musicians across the world,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins, who is not a musician but always wanted to play piano, hopes viewers are inspired to see the value of anyone who takes the time to make music.  “There is talent all around us.”

Hopkins, a native Houstonian, has lived in San Antonio since 2011. She received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Prairie View A&M University and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Texas San Antonio.

Her passion for photography ignited when she picked up her first digital camera in architecture school. City streets, people and public transportation quickly became her visual language.

Today, the self-taught photographer also is a city planner for the City of San Antonio. Her photos reflect a cross-pollination between her “day job” and avocation because the photos also are informed by her interest in how everyday people use public spaces.

For more information on Hopkins’s work go to www.KHopPhotography.com or www.saethnicartsociety.org.

Aissatou Sidime-Blanton is a San Antonio-based curator and art collector. With her husband, Stewart Blanton, she underwrites the Abaraka Award, a biennial grant for African American women who teach, curate or create visual art. Learn more at SidimeBlantonFund.org.

 

 

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Season 5 | EMPIRE preview

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6th Annual Capital City Black Film Festival Kicks Off This Week

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The Capital City Black Film Festival returns to Austin for its 6th year with events planned Friday, Aug. 31 and Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Austin Convention Center at 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.

This year’s festival will be filled with special screenings, talkbacks with Hollywood directors and producers, thought-provoking panel discussions and film screenings for more than 80 independent films from across the nation.      

Friday, August 31

  • 9:00 AM – Film Screenings begin
  • 11:30 AM – Filmmaker chat with Director/Producer Amani Martin (The Last Defense, HBO Sports)
  • 12:30 PM – The Last Defense Screening           
  • 2:30 PM – The Last Defense Panel Discussion featuring co-creators, director, exec. prod., and cast members
  • 6:30 PM: Red Carpet Opens (Special Guests: Filmmaker Jeremy Sadowski, UT Precursors Leon Holland and Charles Miles)
  • 7:30 PM: Texas Premiere of Breaking Down Barriers: The C.R. Roberts Story w/ panel discussion immediately following with Producer Jeremy Sadowski and UT Precursors Leon Holland and Charles Miles

Saturday, September 1

  • 9:00 AM: Film Screenings Begin
  • 11:30 AM: Reconstructing the Narrative – Storytelling and Diversity with Rob Williams (JuVee Productions)
  • 3:30 PM Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
  • 7:00 PM: Red Carpet Opens (Special Guests: Participating Filmmakers)
  • 8:00 PM: Filmmaker Awards Presentation

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