Category Archives: Arts & Culture

With Latest Song, Draze Challenges America to “Build Black Wealth”

by Marcus Harrison Green


With his latest single, Draze wishes to eliminate every imaginable justification for not supporting black businesses.

The Seattle-born, Zimbabwean-raised rapper repeatedly disposes with said excuses over the course of his four-minute song “Building Black Wealth,” which releases this week alongside Draze’s newest album African American.  Continue reading With Latest Song, Draze Challenges America to “Build Black Wealth”

A Family’s Long Relationship With Seattle’s Asian Art Museum Endures With a New Light Sculpture

by Mayumi Tsutakawa


Entering the newly renovated Seattle Asian Art Museum last week, I and thousands of Seattleites experienced déjà vu, but with many new twists to season the encounter. Along with reimagined exhibitions of Asian art, arranged by topic, rather than nationality or medium, the ceiling of the Garden Court features an LED light sculpture created by my son, Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn, who grew up in Southeast Seattle and now lives in New York. Continue reading A Family’s Long Relationship With Seattle’s Asian Art Museum Endures With a New Light Sculpture

We’ve Been In the Storm For So Long: Reparations, a Beautiful New Piece of Speculative Theatre

Darren Canady’s world premiere play Reparations is a tantalizing, flawed new fable about how responsibility for the effects of Black intergenerational trauma is assigned and held.

by Neve Mazique


Spoiler Alert: The following review contains spoilers for Sound Theatre Company’s box office busting REPARATIONS. Personally, I think you’ll do okay even if you read this before you see it.

As my friend and I settled into our front and center seats at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) for Reparations, written by Darren Canady, produced by Sound Theatre Company, and directed by Jay O’Leary we immediately felt brought into the world of the play via the impressive set imagined by designer Lex Marcos. We would later learn that the jagged-edged grey rock wall to the left of us was the past, the cellar where so much was felt and survived. In the center was the near future now, illustrated by a warm and inviting looking kitchen where peach cobbler was purported to be baked. The righthand and final space was a lighter and more austere grey room, boasting clean and safe right angles of institutional control. Continue reading We’ve Been In the Storm For So Long: Reparations, a Beautiful New Piece of Speculative Theatre

Overton Berry & Bruce Phares: Beyond Musically Bonded

by Gus Marshall

Overton Berry has been a proud staple of the Northwest music scene over the last 60 years. Berry is an overly-accomplished pianist, composer, arranger and band leader, whose longstanding presence and continued participation in the regional, national and international jazz scenes has garnered him the status of a true living legend. Continue reading Overton Berry & Bruce Phares: Beyond Musically Bonded

With Reparations, Playwright Darren Canady Wants America to “Piece Together Its Ghosts”

by Marcus Harrison Green

The chronic riddle of how modern American society can make restitution for the roaring legacy of chattel slavery is the crux of decorated playwright Darren Canady’s latest work, Reparations, presented by the Sound Theatre Company and opening January 10 at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Continue reading With Reparations, Playwright Darren Canady Wants America to “Piece Together Its Ghosts”

Sister I Have Heard on High

With its recently completed run, Shout Sister Shout! blared a lesson in resilience, love, and personal pair we should all take note of. 

by Neve Mazique

Sister Rosetta Tharpe grew up in the Black Church. Which is to say, Sister Rosetta Tharpe grew up in music. The Church of God in Christ (COGIC), founded in 1894 by Charles Harrison Mason, was radical for its encouragement of rhythmic musical experimentation and expression in service of praising the Lord, as well as allowing women, such as Sister Rosetta’s mother, Katie Bell Nubin, to preach and sing in church. From the moment she began performing and touring with her mother in 1921, singing God’s praises and playing the guitar unreasonably well, to the day she died in 1973, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a bonafide gospel artist. The fact that she has been dubbed the “Godmother of Rock n’ Roll”, as well as getting post-humously inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, reveals the true nature of electric blues and rock n’ roll: you can’t be hardcore without belief in something, you can’t be a badass unless you have had to practice resilience. Or at least, that’s how the way gets paved. Continue reading Sister I Have Heard on High

Wa Na Wari Gives Central District Griots The Mic

by Beverly Aarons

In a world where the history of Black folks is rarely told without the distorting lens of racial hostility, there is power and liberation is setting the record straight. As Seattle gentrifies and the Central District, the historical home of Seattle’s Black community, is completely transformed, some long-time Seattle residents are telling their own stories about where they grew up.  On Thursday, December 19, 2019, Wa Na Wari, a creative space that cultivates and preserves Black art, history, and community, featured members of the African American Writers’ Alliance in their first installation of Central District Stories. Continue reading Wa Na Wari Gives Central District Griots The Mic

Invisible People Showcases Full Range of Former Seattle-based Journalist Alex Tizon’s Work

by Alex Gallo-Brown

When Alex Tizon’s deeply personal, staggeringly painful, and morally complex long-form essay “My Family’s Slave” appeared in The Atlantic in 2017, it became a minor cultural sensation. Readers clicked, shared, commented, and forwarded it onto their friends in droves. It became, according to Sam Howe Verhovek, a friend and former colleague of Tizon and the editor of Invisible People, a new posthumous collection of Tizon’s work, “the most read English-language article on the internet for all of 2017.” Continue reading Invisible People Showcases Full Range of Former Seattle-based Journalist Alex Tizon’s Work

Can Rainier Beach’s Kubota Garden Remain a Refuge for All?

The South Seattle sanctuary is a testament to the power of public space and the promise of racial integration.

(This article was originally published in Crosscut and has been reprinted with permission)

by Alex Gallo-Brown

 

On the kind of dismal morning in late November that encourages lying around in one’s sweatpants with a mug of green tea or the grudging completion of basic tasks, I zipped my hooded jacket to my chin and made the short drive from south Beacon Hill, where I live, to Rainier Beach, the southeasternmost neighborhood of Seattle, where Kubota Garden, the once private and now public testimonial to the life and work of master gardener Fujitarō Kubota, has stood for more than 90 years. I arrived to an uncharacteristically empty garden — no cars thronging the parking lot, no people hiking the forested paths. Drawing my hood over my head, I sidestepped the fast-collecting pools of rainwater, admiring constructed ponds and waterfalls as I reflected on moments of private pain and memories of personal joy. Continue reading Can Rainier Beach’s Kubota Garden Remain a Refuge for All?