Climbing Every Mountain: In Honor of Black Men
AfroSolo joins many in paying tribute to the lives, spirit, accomplishments and contributions Black men make in our society. Whether in the arts, science, business, education, law, religion, politics, the arts, or any other mountain, Black men have been tried and tested, yet triumphantly kept their "Eyes on the Prize" They have successfully advanced, uplifted and inspired the human race again and again. From the first man to die in the Revolutionary War, to the most powerful leader in the world, Black men have played an integral role in our country's triumphs and successes.
Why such an event? Their accomplishments of are often over shadowed by negative stereotypes and unjust profiling. Our goal is to celebrate the achievements of Black men that counteract such negative images and help stop the internalized messages that harm Black men.
"Climbing Every Mountain: In Honor of Black Men" will include performances by accomplished artists: DJ Lamont, Myers Clark, Tommy James Shepherd, Jr. and Thomas Robert Simpson, using theater, dance, poetry, music and ritual to dispel this negativity while entertaining, uplifting and inspiring our audience.
In addition, we will pay tribute to five unsung Black men: Bryan Caston, Rico Hamilton, Paul Henderson and William Moore, by presenting them with community service awards to celebrate their successes and the significant contributions they have made to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Climbing Every Mountain Performances
"ADAM: Keeping the Faith!," (an excerpt from a one man play) explores the life of former New York City Congressman, Adam Clayton Powell. It delves into the period when the possibility of censure hung over his term. In this piece we learn more about Mr. Powell, his history and his unapologetic stance as a proud Black man, early in the Civil Rights Era.
Performed by Myers Clark, written by Clarence R. Cuthbertson and directed by Thomas Robert Simpson
Myers Clark has performed in numerous productions in the Bay Area for the last 20 years most notably Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi and Angry Black White Boy. He also held the title role in the critically acclaimed production of "The Death of the Last Blackman in the Whole Entire World" at the Cuttingball Theater. He has also acted in film and television, "Hemingway & Gelhorn" and "Trauma". This is Myers first performance as a solo artist.
Clarence R. Cuthbertson (Playwright) is a native New Yorker who is both an accomplished playwright as well as a musician (percussionist). Mr. Cuthbertson has an MFA in Dramatic Arts from NYU. He has written 19 plays of which 16 have been produced professionally. Mr. Cuthbertson is also an educator, having taught at universities and colleges throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Mr. Cuthbertson is also the recipient of a number of awards for excellence in Black theater.
Thomas Robert Simpson is an actor, director, producer, and writer, and the founder and artistic director of AfroSolo Arts Festival. Since 1991 he has concentrated on presenting African American and African Diaspora art and culture through solo performances and the visual and literary arts.He is the recipient of numerous awards including the coveted Bay Area Jefferson Award for Public Service.
"The Liberation of Elroy," written and performed by Thomas Robert Simpson.
This is story of a man born and raised in the beautiful rolling hills of middle Tennessee, in the early 1900's. The grandson of slaves, he experienced the ravages of Jim Crow, the lessons and memories of which followed him through-out his life. By committing one act of civic participation, he throws off decades of shame, fear and intimation to boldly declare: "I Am Somebody!"
"Interruptions," written and performed by Tommy James Shepherd, Jr.
Mr. Shepherd will premiere a musically-based, site-specific work, paying homage to Black men. The work combines hip-hop, spoken word and beatbox, where all the drum sounds and music will be made with his voice.
Mr. Shepherd, aka Soulati, is an actor, educator, playwright, b-boy, rapper, drummer, and beatboxer. Tommy was a performer at the 2013 Hemispheric Institutes Enquentro Conference alongside Marc Bamuthi Joseph. He recently had the honor to be a faculty member of Jazz Camp West. Tommy is one of the co-founders of the live hip hop Collective, Felonious: onelovehiphop, who have played nationally and internationally and also created original, theatrical productions.
DJ Lamont Young will provide the musical landscape for Climbing Every Mountain... He is an amazing DJ who has been spinning records for 40 years. He is the founder of Fingersnaps DJ & Art Collective, an enterprise dedicated to the education, cultivation and inspiration of DJ Culture.He is now celebrating thirty years as a professional DJ. He has also worked in radio broadcasting, event management, and music retail and distribution.
Climbing Every Mountain Honorees: Bryan Caston, Rico Hamilton, Paul Henderson, William Moore and Marcus Anthony Shelby
Bryan Caston is an accountant by profession, but a committed community servant by heart. He has selflessly been a member of AfroSolo's Advisory Board, been an active member of San Francisco Historical Society and is presently the Board Chair of the Church for the Fellowship for all People, the first integrated church west of the Mississippi. Continuing the legacy of Dr. Howard Thurman, Caston works hard on building a Beloved Community.
Rico Hamilton's short life has gone through many phases. A product of San Francisco's Western Addition, Hamilton experience bullying as a kid, joined a gang for safety and comfort and was first arrested at the age of fifteen. After a number of other arrests, witnessing extreme violence and threats to his on safety, he moved to Nashville, for refuge. While there he often visited the campuses of Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University, where he got the glimmer that there is a life outside of violence. Upon his return to the Bay Area, old habits surfaced that lead to 6 months in jail and eight months in San Quentin. Somewhat miraculously, for the first time he confronted his demons, learned to read from another inmate and turned his life around. He determined from then on he would be an instrument for good. To this end,Hamilton is now a community activist, works with youth, and often speaks in jails and prisons, helping others discover their path to being productive members of the community. He is also continuing his education by pursuing a college degree.
Paul Henderson was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff & Public Safety Director by the Mayor of the City of San Francisco, Edwin M. Lee, in March, 2011. As Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Henderson serves as a principal advisor to the Mayor and is responsible for the development and implementation of strategic policy and administration. Prior to joining the Mayor's office, Mr. Henderson served as Chief of Administration and prosecutor for the District Attorney of San Francisco. In a state poll, Mr. Henderson was twice voted(2004 and again in 2005) as one of California's "Super-Lawyers."
William (Bill) Moore was the first African American news cameraman for a broadcast company in the Bay Area. He was hired on April 29, 1968 as the result of a landmark federal court decision mandating that TV stations reflect their local communities. During his 28 year tenure for KTVU News, Moore garnered numerous awards, including an Emmy. Before retiring in 2008 as Chief News Photographer, he covered such major events as the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Oakland Hills Fire and the murder of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Since leaving KTVU, Moore shares his knowledge and experience with students at Ohlone College as a teacher of photojournalism. Moore is also a noted photographer and is involved in community work with his wife of 50 years, Belva Davis. Together they are still changing the world.
Marcus Anthony Shelby is an award winning teacher, composer, arranger, recording artist, and bassist who lives in San Francisco. Shelby is an exceptional band leader and is currently the Artistic Director and leader of The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, The Marcus Shelby Septet and the Marcus Shelby Trio. He is the recipient of many artistic awards. Among his outstanding works are Shelby's compositions dedicated to honoring Black leaders such as, Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Duke Ellington, and the Freedom Riders. Shelby's has also given his time as musical director for fundraisers dedicated to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
For more information contact Thomas Simpson at 415/346-9433
African American Arts and Culture Complex (View)
762 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
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