Wyclef Jean is returning to music with a renewed sense of purpose that can be heard on his forthcoming mixtape, "April Showers." The collection arrives April 29 after a challenging few years, which most notably saw Jean campaign to become president of his native Haiti. His attempt was short-lived after he was excluded due to supposedly failing to meet residency requirements.
“I was so confused after I got back to the states,” he reveals. “It felt like something I believed in my entire life and would fight for was gone. So I felt messed up psychologically and I decided to come back to the music and reactivate that side of my brain fully.”
On his mixtape the Grammy award winning recording artist, songwriter and producer finds strength in addressing personal and global issues. “Through music I feel like I can make a bigger change. Maybe that change would be the equivalent to what I was looking for as president,” he says. “Art is the only protection we have and with 'April Showers,' I am fighting with my art.”
On her debut album, "Our Version of Events," Emeli Sandé also uses her music as a place of refuge. This Friday, April 26, at 5 p.m., she is sharing those songs during an exclusive performance presented by JetBlue Airways to kick-off their Live From T5 concert spring season.
One of the leaders at JetBlue responsible for maintaining the success of this series is Tamara Young, manager of corporate communications. Young brings an impressive background in public relations and marketing having previously worked at prestigious companies such as UniWorld Group, Formula PR and Dan Klores Communications. Young expressed to us one of the key components that helps make the Live From T5 concert series unique, and that’s its focus on featuring established as well as emerging recording artists from all genres. “We do consider artists that appeal to our customers and they run the gamut from a range of music,” she says. “So we always look for new acts that appeal to our customer base."
Aspiring, mid-career and established visual artists will certainly want to attend the Harlem Arts Alliance’s Arts Development Seminar Series. Upcoming workshops for visual artists include a presentation on New York City Public Art Programs and Preserving Public Art opportunities on May 14. Plus on May 15, The City College of New York’s Art Programs and Gallery Spaces will provided visual artists with the key tools of how and where to seek opportunities. RSVP for these events here or call (347) 735-4280 x253.
While there you may run into Harlem based artist, Lou Grant. The artist recently presented his paintings at Bergino Baseball Clubhouse during a spring art party hosted by the warm and gregarious owner, Jay Goldberg. Viewers enjoyed Grant’s baseball-themed paintings, which pays tribute to Negro League baseball players including Jackie Robinson. The latter overcame segregation to become the first African-American to play major league baseball. For Grant it is important to carry on Robinson’s legacy on and off the field. “The young ball players don't know who he is in many ways and it doesn’t seem fair when he was so important,” he says. “He fought back against abuse and the spirit he has is tremendous.”
If it’s more artistic inspiration you need check out the exhibition Life Threads: The Embroidery Art of Fr. Frank Sabatté, CSP. The exhibition, presented by Openings and curated by Joey Kilrain is a stunning collection of Sabatté’s work, which merges random-stitch and free-motion embroidery to transform thread into vivid portraits. Included in the exhibition are several embroidered portraits of priests, which hold a special meaning for Sabatté. “These are priests that I have lived with and known. I tried to capture their wisdom, life experience, suffering and all they had gone through,” he says.
As Jean and Sabatté can attest to, there is a beautiful power in turning pain into art.
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.