• The Big O

4 Reasons why Through The Eyes Of Art Continues to Succeed.

Six years in and Through the Eyes of Art continues to be a premier event celebrating African American culture and art in the Seattle area. Here are 4 reasons why I think it continues to succeed.

1. The Venue

First of all, it is hard to beat the venue, the MoPop Sky Church which is arguably one of the most visually stunning and acoustically sound live music venues in the Pacific Northwest. Match that up with would class production, sound, and lights and that is the formula for a dope event.

The MoPop Sky Church is a world class venue. (Host Isiah Anderson Jr. gets the evening started)

2. The Art

Ask any Black artists in Seattle if there are enough opportunities to display their art to the public and you will hear a resounding no. Through the Eyes of Art allowed artists like Cal Bonner to display his art alongside Delton Mosby, Damon Brown, and many others. The shine was not limited to the visual artists, spoken word artist Tia Nache performed an original piece entitled Simunye (We are one). There was also a choreographed dance performance by Dandy with the School of Spectrum Dance Theater.

Artist Cal Bonner displays his paintings.

3. Recognition of the culture

Every year, Through the Eyes of Art, recognizes the culture most notably through the presentation of the Servant of the People Award. This year, educator and activist, Dr. Maxine Mimms was recognized for her tireless work to enhance the educational and social standing of those in our community. Back in 2017 I had the honor of presenting that same award to Lewis Rudd and the team at Ezell's Famous Chicken. Additionally this year, the newly elected Seattle NAACP President, Sadiqa Sakin, introduced herself and some of her board members to the audience. She was joined as well by community activist, Andre Taylor, of Not This Time who updated the audience about their organizations accomplishments in the area of police accountability and corresponding legislation. This years event also included a panel discussion entitled Simunye: A Community Conversation, about how African American's and Africans can build a better relationships and align around common interests. I was invited to sit on this panel along side Dr. Marsha Arunga, K. Wyking Garrett, as well as other panelist representing the diaspora. The panel session was hot but it went by way too fast!

Andre Taylor of Not This Time addresses the audience.

4. The Music!

Last but definitely not least, we cannot forget about the music. The MoPop Sky Church was built for live music and this year the music did not disappoint. Saxophonist Jacqueine M. Cobbs blessed the audience with a powerful solo rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing (AKA the Black National Anthem) that resonated and reverberated throughout the capacity crowd in attendance. Central District hip-hop spitter, Gifted Gab, stayed true to her gritty roots and set the stage (or at least the screens behind her on fire) and I can't event lie, I have always liked Draze's music and definitely bumped some of his tracks, (Irony on 23rd being one of them) however, last Friday, Draze made a legitimate fan out me as he introduced his new Afrobeats music that represents a transformation and evolution of his sound back towards his African roots (his family is from Zimbabwe). It was only fitting that Draze premiered his new music in the Sky Church because his sounds were nothing less than spiritual and as someone who worked in the music industry across Africa for over a decade, I can tell you that Draze is definitely onto something special.

Gifted Gab sets the stage on fire.

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