Culture

Dionne Warwick Celebrates 50 Years of Music and Def Poetry Jam Reunites

Sat., Sep. 22, 2012 9:31 AM EST
by Souleo

Dionne Warwick

Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo

 As the legendary, Dionne Warwick celebrates her 50th anniversary in music with the release of a forthcoming album, Dionne Now, she is looking forward and hoping to reach a younger generation. “With this album it was time to bring our music into the 21st century and to younger ears. So you get a chance to hear some really great songs,” she says.

Music isn’t the only thing that she wants to share with youth. Warwick revealed plans to devote some time to finishing a project she began fifteen years ago — creating a history book on African and African American history. “I am planning in the next couple of years to gather the first parts of it and do it in parts. I think it is time everybody takes a good look at who we are and how much value we bring to this entire world.”

When it comes to the history of the spoken word, “Def Poetry Jam,” was a groundbreaking cultural phenomenon that gave an international platform for spoken word artists. It’s been five years since the HBO television series ended, but co-creator, Danny Simmons is presenting a reunion at MIST Harlem on Sept. 27. Simmons shared that the reunion is a tribute to the show and currently there are no plans to create a tour or do produce another television show. On looking back at the legacy of “Def Poetry Jam,” he is proudest of its social and educational impact. “One of the hopes I had when Bruce George and I created the concept was that poetry would become a literacy tool for our youth,” he says. “It has and is used by educational institutions world wide to spark deeper interest in writing and reading in students.”

The Fashion Institute of Technology’s Black Student Union (BSU) are hoping to have a similar impact in the world of fashion and design with their recent event “24|Fashion.” The goal was to showcase the talent of its members and to aid in that mission was fashion expert/host, Rae Holiday and BET Music Matters artist, Kimberly Nichole. According to the president of BSU, David Hamilton, this event was necessary since access to mainstream opportunities is limited for the group…

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