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August Wilson Center - Front & Center » 2010 » November - “Amplifying African American Voices”

Archive for November, 2010

Bobby, Bobby, Bobby—Porter-my home grown black rock ‘n’ roll Hero!

Posted in AWC Past-Fellows, General on November 20th, 2010 by Christiane D – Be the first to comment
Editor’s Note: Christiane D is an August Wilson Center Fellow (2010-11 Season).

Before I even begin talking about me and/or my project, I want to share someone who has been quite an inspiration, who has passed on in this life. The rock ‘n’ roll punk legend that is Bobby Porter.Bobby Porter

I recently watched the Afro-Punk documentary and only then did I realize how lucky I was to have been rocked by the powerful tides of a strong Black Rock scene.

In comparison, there were many of us when I only thought there had only been a few. There was Mad Mike, Monette, Alicia, Big Lee, and then there was Bobby Porter.

Bobby would get my underage behind into shows as his roadie. I remember carrying drums for his band-mate, as I scooted past with my blonde and shaved head, big boots and the proverbial black gear. I’d pick a spot, sit and drink shirley temples. Yes, that is what I drank, I knew even then, that if I got caught drinking, it would screw it up for Bobby and his generosity and screw with the venue that actually supported high powered (scary) rock. I was addicted to music not to being a cutesy groupie.

What I witnessed, I still to this day wonder if I saw it.

The stage was a small riser, flanked by wooden balconies. Bobby was belting a powerful rage as he not only jumped up on the balcony, running back n forth with mike in hand, he Christiane Dat some point did a back flip, while still singing and landed better than any gymnast — a perfect landing on the balcony to then jump off and rage into the audience.

I knew then, dayam, he was my home grown black rock ‘n’ roll Hero! I had been touched and inspired by the spirit and gospel of Bobby.

Every time I have raged on the stage, it has been in honor of that first influence. It didn’t come off a record, or from a book, it was an experience that I could witness in my city, touch, feel, inhale it!

Thank you for feeding my rock addiction and for inspiring me. You may have passed on to the universe but you will always live in my heart. May the angels comfort you.

Christiane D

Journey’s Beginning

Posted in AWC Past-Fellows, General on November 20th, 2010 by Amanda – Be the first to comment
Editor’s Note: Amanda Lewis is an August Wilson Center Fellow (2010-11 Season).

My name is Amanda Lewis, and this being my first blog as an August Wilson CenterĀ  Fellow what can I say but what an exciting time. I have spent many years in school studying western classical music as well as the history and/or influence of genres from all over the world. As a musician it’s extremely important to understand the funAmanda Lewisction of music. As an artist its important to understand how it touches and reaches people. There are some cultures in the world that believe these two, the function and art are one and the same. I tend to agree.

I also feel that too often people try to polarize music like they do so many other things. People want music to belong to someone or some group which is an idea I passionately fight against. It has been my dream to read and explore music that may not be on the radar of most but is still just as beautiful and deserving to be studied. My fellowship project is about highlighting the contributions of African Americans in “western style classical music”. There is so much music and so much material that you just don’t hear, and it is my hope that one day people talk about the music that happened to be written by African Americans, rather than it being performed only because it was written by African Americans. There is some music I’ve had great difficulty tracking down for this project but in the end I know I will be better informed and better armed to share amazing music with the world, which is really all I ever want to do in life. If I do nothing for the rest of my life but explore, learn, and share I’ll want for nothing more …. and so it begins.

Amanda Lewis