Presenting the exhibition Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection has proven to be more of a look forward than a look back for Mary Wilson. The Supremes are widely credited with helping to produce a more positive and empowering image of Black women during the racially turbulent era of the 1960s. Now Wilson hopes to share the lessons of integrity, class and strength that she has learned over the years. She aims to do this by planning an educational program for women. One of her inspirations for the project is Maxine Powell, co-founder of Motown's artist development unit.
“Ms. Powell and I are talking about perhaps something I could take up to start some image consultant place or something for people,” she says. “My school would be similar to Ms. Powell who gave us instructive information that we could go out and use as opposed to only pointing out flaws. People need lots of education so that they won’t accept everything someone tells them. So that’s one of my future plans”
One person who certainly hopes that Wilson makes this a reality is her collaborator for Come See About Me, Elizabeth Morrow of Blair-Murrah Exhibitions. “When the Supremes were together that was a very special time. There was elegance and we need to revive it a little. Some girls today are lost and they really need Mary,” she says.
It was all about uplifting girls and boys at the Brotherhood/Sister Sol ninth annual VOICES benefit at New York City’s ESPACE. This year’s honorees for the Harlem based organization were singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding and Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence Magazine and founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement. There were several memorable moments including the singing of Norm Lewis, powerful spoken word performances by current participants and alumni of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol and Taylor’s call to action for more mentors and supporters of the Brotherhood/Sister Sol. “The ‘bad behavior’ we see wherever there are poor disenfranchised people is a cry for help. We are not doing the work we should be doing in our communities,” she says. “When the call goes out for mentors White women come first, then White men, then Black women and then Black men. We need mentors in reverse order.” To get involved please click here and here.
Improving lives can also be done through music—just ask emerging singer-songwriter, Amanda Holley. The soulful stunner has a rich voice that pulls listeners in with just a piano and her confessional lyrics. While getting to know this new talent she shared that one of her ballads “I Am Here For You” helped to mend her relationship with her father before he passed. “I sang ‘I Am Here For Your’ to my estranged father when I finally got to know him for the first time in my life. Then over the next few days he lost consciousness and no one could get a response out of him,” she recalls. “Something inside told me he would respond to music. I sang the song to him, he squeezed my hand, sat up about an inch off the bed and looked me in the eyes. That was when I realized more than ever how great the power of music truly is.” To feel Holley’s music check out her samples here.
The photography of Jamel Shabazz has its own unique power. For the past 30 years he has captured urban life and now he is ready to take his career to another level by selecting the House of Art Gallery as the sole representative of his work within the United States. Shabazz is currently on view in the gallery’s exhibition, The Boombox.
From Wilson to Shabazz it’s all about looking to the future with a bigger vision.
The Harlem Arts Alliance is a not for profit arts service organization celebrating 10 years of service to a prestigious list of members such as the Apollo Theater, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Columbia University, Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) and over 850 more cultural/arts institutions and individuals. The weekly column, Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.