Seattle Blues Singer Lady A Continues Year-Long Battle for Her Name

by Beverly Aarons “I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I really did,” said Lady A during a telephone interview with the South Seattle Emerald. The Seattle-based Black blues singer has been embroiled in a year-long fight over her name with the white country band Lady A (formerly known as Lady Antebellum). … Continue reading Seattle Blues Singer Lady A Continues Year-Long Battle for Her Name

Roller Skating Is Back! … But It Never Really Went Away

by Beverly Aarons Four wheels, five, three, and even two — inline, quads, or whatever suits you. Choose a rink and pump some tunes — the roller skating craze is in Seattle, too.  When I first heard that roller skates were on back order and hard to find, I chuckled. First there was a run … Continue reading Roller Skating Is Back! … But It Never Really Went Away

‘Yai Nin’ Explores Powerful Thai Matriarch Ninlawan Pinyo

by Beverly Aarons Stern and powerful matriarchs are central to most Thai families — they’re not big on hugs, but they will “yell at the people that need to be yelled at in your defense,” filmmaker Champ Ensminger said during a telephone interview. Ninlawan Pinyo, Ensminger’s grandmother and the central character in his short documentary … Continue reading ‘Yai Nin’ Explores Powerful Thai Matriarch Ninlawan Pinyo

Multidisciplinary Artist Shontina Vernon and the Power of Story

by Beverly Aarons Some birds aren’t meant to be caged — not by tiny steel bars and not by tiny forced narratives woven around their lives like intricate vines with pointy sharp thorns. As I listened to multidisciplinary artist Shontina Vernon tell me about her art — and by extension her life — during our … Continue reading Multidisciplinary Artist Shontina Vernon and the Power of Story

‘Look, Listen, and Learn’: A Long Journey to Award-Winning Television

by Beverly Aarons Look, Listen, and Learn TV (LL+L), Seattle’s first and only early learning TV show created by a Black producer for BIPOC kids and families, brought home three Telly Awards. “I was stunned,” LL+L executive producer Val Thomas-Matson said during a telephone interview with the Emerald. She recounted the moment she received the … Continue reading ‘Look, Listen, and Learn’: A Long Journey to Award-Winning Television

LANGSTON Builds Funding and Support Program for Seattle Black Artists

by Beverly Aarons Seattle Black artists will be funded and supported, and LANGSTON, a nonprofit committed to “cultivating Black brilliance,” is building a framework to do just that. But first, they have a question: “What is it that Black artists need to thrive and make meaningful impacts on the city and the world?” And they’re … Continue reading LANGSTON Builds Funding and Support Program for Seattle Black Artists

Is Seattle Ready for a Cultural Space Renaissance?

by Beverly Aarons It’s 1967, and tucked inside a half-storefront in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, a tiny cultural space is born — Wing Luke Museum. Now, in 2021, that once diminutive cultural space resides in a massive 60,000 square foot building, home to over 18,000 objects, including artifacts, photographs, documents, books, and oral histories. Wing Luke … Continue reading Is Seattle Ready for a Cultural Space Renaissance?

After Seven Years of Service, Hillman City Collaboratory Fights to Survive

by Beverly Aarons I first discovered Hillman City Collaboratory in 2016 while working with housing activists to save a Central District family from displacement — the collaboratory was a space where we could strategize and discuss. The second time I engaged with the space was when I attended a clothing swap in the main mixing … Continue reading After Seven Years of Service, Hillman City Collaboratory Fights to Survive

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Black Imagination: Sites of Power, a Conversation With Natasha Marin

by Beverly Aarons “What happens if we regard each other as powerful beings?” That’s Natasha Marin’s essential question in “Black Imagination: Sites of Power,” a virtual exhibition/experience originally slated to open at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) pre-pandemic. “I’m thinking about individuals as power conduits,” Marin said during our telephone interview. But in mainstream … Continue reading Black Imagination: Sites of Power, a Conversation With Natasha Marin