Gabourey Sidibe shines light on Africa with ‘AfroPop’

Actress Gabourey Sidibe

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

Actress Gabourey Sidibe is ready to take on one of her most important roles to date as host of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, a documentary series highlighting contemporary life, art and pop culture in the African diaspora. The fifth season of AfroPoP, produced by Black Public Media, premiered Tuesday, Jan. 22 on public television’s WORLD channel, and will air on Tuesdays weekly through Feb. 5, 2013.

Sidibe who is best known for her Oscar-nominated performance in the film, Precious, decided to accept the role of host as an opportunity to learn more about her roots. “I am part African — I am Senegalese. So I looked at as a chance to get closer to where I am from,” she says.

Furthermore she is hoping that this season, which focuses on human and women’s rights issues, will shatter myths about Africa. The challenge is not new for the Harlem raised star, since as a young woman she had to combat stereotypes. “Growing up I was the African kid in my school. Every time I went back to Africa people thought I was sleeping in a bush and being chased by lions but it wasn’t that. So I hope people can see themselves in this series and I hope it highlights that everyone struggles and celebrates.”

The universal human experience is also the core theme of visual artist, Peter Wayne Lewis’ exhibition, Paintings from the Middle Earth Part IV at Skoto Gallery. Special guests on opening night included legendary painter, Ademola Olugebefola and writer of the exhibition’s e-catalog, Babacar M’Bow. The series of works presented visually unites themes of science, art and music as the artist’s fluid lines draws parallels between these worlds to demonstrate their interconnectedness. “There are creationists who think science is an aberration and not part of the equation,” Lewis says. “But it is only a description of the majesty of what you may say your God is so it is all one in the same thing. Human begins in our foibles are trying to describe this gift we are given which is life.” The exhibition is on view until Feb. 23, 2013.

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Souleo

The column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of arts administration company, Souleo Enterprises LLC.



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