Wanda's Picks Radio Show Friday, August 10, 2012
Today's overarching theme was service. From our first guest, director of the Soul of the City Campaign, first generation Nigerian, Nwamaka Agbo, who began volunteering at the Ella Baker Center in 2000, because she believed in the organization's commitment to providing innovative solutions for some of the hardest problems impacting low-income communities of color, to actress Terri J. Vaughn, whose invitation to 30 or 40 girls to dinne*r, 15 years later is an organization Take Wings Foundation which teaches girls how to be women in practical steps. Take Wings introduces the girls to public service, the power of academic rigor and awards their achievement with scholarships to 2-4 year institutions. Terri is joined by singer, philanthropist, Kenny Lattimore, who wouldn't let me talk about his new record or his date in Oakland this September.
It was all about Terri and Take Wings and the 9th Annual Awards Banquet, August 18, 2012 at the Marriott Oakland, City Center. Kenny and Terri co-host the anticipated event, which honors people who are carrying the torch like this year's nominees, Mrs. The conversation is one of why the two serve & why they feel this investment in black community is a nonnegotiable. Visit www.takewings.org
Their feelings reminded me of what Chris Rock said when asked about W. Kamau Bell's new show on Rock's network which premiered last night. Bell, a comedian from the Bay Area, look at Race impressed Rock who said in an interview with Terry Gross, he wanted to give the brother a leg up, as he recalled those artists who helped him get his first gig and allowed him to watch them and see how they perfected their craft.
Take Wings History
"TWF, founded in 1997 by award winning actress Terri J. Vaughn who is a product of one of the Bay Area’s most notorious inner city neighborhoods, has first hand knowledge of the challenges and choices that teenaged girls are faced with on a daily basis. As a result of this first hand knowledge, her own personal success and a desire to give back to her community, Take Wings Foundation was born. Ms. Vaughn was driven to develop an organization that would specifically address the needs of the young women living in Hunters Point and similar communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. TWF provides opportunities for girls to interact with positive role models, get them involved in community service projects, encourages personal growth and development, and provides a series of workshops geared towards developing positive self esteem.
"TWF provides a variety of activities for young women that give them the opportunity to interact with positive role models, receive academic scholarships and awards, and participate in community service projects. Young women participate in three all day workshops each year that address a variety of issues that are of concern to teens which include dating violence, HIV/Aids, teen pregnancy, peer pressure, weight and body image, social responsibility, academic success, career development, successful emancipation from foster care, spirituality and various other topics. The youth also complete 40 hours of community service as well as an essay on a topic of our choosing. Through their participation in these various activities, health, wellness, self sufficiency, personal responsibility and academic success are emphasized and supported. TWF encourages youth to utilize communication skills, critical thinking skills and problem solving. TWF offers a safe and supportive place for youth to discuss personal issues that affect most underserved youth.
"TWF is operated by a half time Executive Director and a “working” board where members recruit participants, design workshops, organize fundraising events, and tend to all of the other day-to-day matters. They serve as staff, provide transportation for participants, develop workbooks and materials for workshops, recruit speakers, and devote hundreds of hours to ensure that the program provides quality services" (http://terrijvaughn.com/?page_id=61).
With a homebase in Atlanta, Terri said she relies heavily on her sister and the wonderful board she has developed to facilitated this directive. Kenny who took over the introductions by telling us about Terri's The Green Room Actor's Lounge," which is a community center masquerading as a coffee shop/book store.
It says of itself: "At The Green Room we are all about events. Our 2500+ square foot space is equipped with a full coffee/tea bar, 20-25 seat theater room, conference room and performance space. Whether your'e looking to book wrap parties, birthday parties and celebrations, book signings, acting karaoke, spoken word, movie nights, ladies night out, etc., The Green Room is the Place for your next event." But the Green Room also has vocal/writing music classes, acting basics. Visit http://www.thegreenroomactorslounge.com
Eddie Gale, Kash Killion and Destiny Muhammad
AfroSolo's Jazz in the Gardens last week featured these three artists, Kash Killion and the Killion Trillions and The Destiny Muhammad Trio (with Special Guest trumpeter, Eddie Gale). It was one of those experiences I wanted to make last forever if not musically, then via conversation. When Eddie came onto the stage, the air shifted, Destiny sang the sun from behind the clouds and when Kash joined the ensemble for a finale, Ascension, well up was not a metaphor (smile).
My show is early, and for working musician yes to Wanda's Picks Radio, means too early for comfort, but everyone came through even Eddie dog, who had to postpone his walk.
The conversation moves between art& freedom, specifically the parallel between, jazz and black life--how as a people we have had to keep improvising as the rules changed, laws were ignored and opportunity seemed predestined--our collective fate not mirrored in the west's crystal ball.
Yet, here we are still here, still beautiful, still powerful.
Music: Eddie Gale selections: "African Sunrise"; "The Rain" featuring Ms. Faye Carol; Judith Sephuma "te Tshephile Mang".
Kash Killion is a San Francisco based sarangi player, cellist, bassist, vocalist, and composer, who began his professional music career at age ten. Kash is a visionary musician who stretches the boundaries of what one would expect from string instruments. He hears the cello as a bass, a violin, a guitar, a saxophone, and a piano, and he seeks to share that with his listeners. He strives
to put the sarangi and other string instruments in unusual situations and play any style of music
and make it sound authentic.
Destiny Muhammad, performing/ recording artist/ composer is also known the Harpist from the Hood, rewrites classical and modern recordings for vocals and harp. Her first introduction to the Harp was at nine years old, however, a trip to Belgium as an adult reintroduced her to the mother of the modern harp--The Kora. Muhammad has quickly become a jazz harp artist of note. Her trajectory is similar to Joni Mitchell in that they both got pigeonholed early on in the folk tradition with their instruments and styles, but both moved towards a kind of 'jazz ever-calling' where songwriting and originality rule.
Eddie Gale's biography by Nathan Bush