By ONME Newswire
The "rona" double blues ...
As California is in the midst of a second shutdown, local artists are joining forces to celebrate the holidays and spread resilience despite barriers the pandemic has placed on their livelihoods.
African-American performing artists are realizing the norm of playing at restaurants, local concert venues, weddings, and other special events has changed dramatically, minimizing the usual weekly bookings. Such income opportunities are currently diminished, especially with California's most recent stay-at-home order-- artists have had to find unique ways to survive the fickle economy.
The African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley (AAHCMSJV), located in Central California, opened its doors in 1989, thanks to the sacrifices made by founder Sergeant Jack Kelley and a host of co-founders and supporters who saw the need to educate and inform residents of Central Valley Black local heroes and trailblazers who made a difference in their communities, against the odds.
Today the AAHCMSJV Museum, which is privately funded by community donors, is considered the Black culture and arts hub for all residents in the Central Valley; however, since the beginning of the pandemic in March, their doors have been closed due to state and/or county COVID-19 regulations, causing economic loss from its usual in-person, annual events.
Let the holiday season begin ...
When the ONME Network was approached by several Black California artists to think of a way to use its media platforms and distribution networks to help them, a unique partnership was formed, allowing for both parties to work together for an upcoming holiday production:
The ONME Network will sponsor its first virtual, pay-per-view California Holiday Special, December 14, 2020 at 12:00 PM to benefit Black California artists. People can enjoy a spirited, 2-hour commercial-free musical production filled with festive music, spoken word, and holiday messages. The programming will run live continuously all day on Dec. 14, and then will be available for download purchases starting Dec. 15, (for those who purchase before Dec. 14 for the live show, they will also receive a free code to download the production starting Dec. 15)
Featured artists include Les Franklin & The Oaktown Blues Gang, Al Turner & Friends, Baby Bee & The Goodfellas Plus, Keysha & the Impromptu Band with special guest appearances from legendary jazz and blues musicians Bobby Logan and Bobby Brown.
Not only will musicians take the stage, but featured poets, Tay Reem, Swirv Azubuike, and Kiani Shaw, will perform original spoken word with a holiday season twist.
The goal of the benefit is to provide emergency support for Black California artists and the AAHCMSJV Museum who are struggling considerably during the COVID-19 restrictions, causing considerable loss of income. In fact, veteran, Sacramento, CA music management genius, Mr. Rick Warren, president of Rick Warren Presents, has attached himself to this music benefit with the intention of helping fellow artists; he has spent the last 30 years working in the communities of California on the behalf of African Americans, Latinos and other underserved ethnic groups to assure they have an equitable opportunity towards success in the music industry.
The Incentive to support now
The first 1,000 donors will receive name recognition as a "VIP Supporter" scrolling at the bottom of the video screen during the 2-hour program, as a thank for helping California Black artists.
# # #
Biographies of the Poets
Tay Reem is a published author and poet, born in Nigeria and raised in a small town in Maryland. Driven by the need to tell compelling stories, Reem began her journey to authorship at just 11 years old. She sought out to create similar worlds she was so fond of reading about as a means to temporarily escape reality. Her debut book, Tales of Woe, was published in October 2020.
Inspired by her own childhood and everyday human experiences, Reem channels her empathetic side as fuel for her work. Her academic background in psychology and previous work as a behavioral analyst prepared her for a universe of complicated characters portraying the light, the grey, and the dark side of humanity. Her next book is set to do just that - tell real narratives about regular people who do what any of us would do given the right circumstance.
Reem has been featured in several publications such as Thrive Global, 360 magazines, Authority magazine, and A Blue Million Books. She currently resides in Orange County California where she is hard at work on her second book.
Swirv Azubuike, born and raised in Oakland, California. He first touched the mic at Oakland’s Oratorical Fest, where he finished, first and second place as a poet.
Swirv was called to be a writer and poet as an outlet against the ills of his environment. Without this outlet, it would have been easy for Swirv to fall victim to drugs, violence, incarceration, or accepting the state of poverty.
Swirv’s passion does not only stop with poetry. He also is very active in the community speaking out against systemic racism and embracing traditional African healing practices to restore himself, the youth, as well as people living curbside in California. Swirv consistently helps feed and clothe some of our most vulnerable marginalized people out there living on the streets, each month with the AUSET movement.
In addition, to his volunteerism, Swirv organized an art showcase, Potivation, for artists to have a safe place to perform and motivate the community through lyrical expression.
Kiani Shaw's background is rooted in several years of education. Kiani works with youth from diverse backgrounds across both the Bay Area and Central Valley. Her focus is primarily on developing character, life skills, self-discipline, and advocacy. By engaging youth on three levels of identity (individual, familial, and community), she strives to empower youth to be progressive agents of change in their own lives as well as within their communities. Kiani holds a B.A. in English and an M.A.Ed. with an emphasis on social justice and equity.
In her free time, she performs spoken word and participates in many social advocacy movements.