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Cheryl Barnes, Largest Voice the World Forgot | Habari Gani, America!

The first time I heard Cheryl Barnes sing was at a Brooklyn theater where a group of friends and I went to see a 1979 highly advertised film, “Hair.” The music and choreography were amazing. It was filmed in New York, which made it ever so homey while full of energy. The leading cast was young and multicultural.

Cheryl Barnes, Hair

Cheryl Barnes singing with cast, Hair intro Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

Leading with the cast, Cheryl Barnes ushers in the excitement that is Hair. Later on in the film a Black woman, played by Barnes, child in tow appeared giving context to the character LaFayette “Hud” Johnson, played by Dorsey Wright. She was the nameless fiance and represented all of the women and children left behind as our men took on the world. This representation may have been missed except for the voice that suddenly sparked, “Hooow Can People Be So Heartless…” The theater was torn. We were all captured and wanted more.

In the hunt for what became of Cheryl Barnes, I found that many bought the soundtrack to “Hair” just to get another moment of “Easy To Be Hard.” Over the years as I transferred the album to cassette and later bought a digital version, I often wondered why Barnes with such a strong voice disappeared from the stage considering her great talent.

This short bio was provided by IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0055540/board/thread/59895317):

“Cheryl Barnes – Raised in New Jersey, Cheryl has sang with groups such as the Classics Five and Ten Wheel Drive. She was also a back up singer for Genya Raven. Cheryl performed in Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” and on Broadway in last Sweet Days of Isaac, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. She portrayed Deena, the handmaiden in Doug Henning’s “The Magic Show”.

You can experience the depth and breath of Barnes’s voice in her performance of “Solid Silver Platform Shoes” in “The Magic Show.”

Cheryl Barnes also had a single out, “Save and Spend” in 1977 during the Disco era.

There are various stories traversing the internet as to the history of Barnes, but one holds true. Barnes was also the original Effie in the stage production of  “Dreamgirls” on Broadway previous to Jennifer Holliday.

In 1987, Cheryl Barnes reappeared as a contestant on “Star Search,” hosted by Ed McMahon, winning $100,00 in the Female Competition. Below is a video of Cheryl Barnes from that period.

Cheryl Barnes has many fans researching her past and present location. There are many conspiracy theories lurking about on the internet. This may be part of her charm along with an outstanding voice. We may have more to add to this posting, but we can only hope.

Lyrics to “Easy To Be Hard”

How can people be so heartless?
How can people be so cruel?
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold
How can people have no feelings?
How can they ignore their friends?
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
And especially people
Who care about strangers
Who care about evil
And social injustice
Do you only
Care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend
How can people be so heartless
You know I’m hung up on you
Easy to give in
Easy to help out
And especially people
Who care about strangers
Who say they care about social injustice
Do you only
Care about the bleeding crowd
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend
How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no

Polytech student reaches for the sky – News | Dover Post | Dover, DE

Polytech student reaches for the sky - News - Dover Post - Dover, DE

Moriah Graham, the first African American female to receive her pilot’s license in her state.

via Polytech student reaches for the sky – News – Dover Post – Dover, DE.

Dover Post

It was never Moriah Graham’s intention to break barriers when she started on the path to her pilot’s license.

But the 17-year-old Polytech High School student achieved new heights, becoming the state’s first African American woman to obtain a pilot’s license while in high school, said Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame officials.

Now, the 2015 graduate is on her way to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. It happens to be the alma mater of Patrice Clarke, the first black woman to fly for a major commercial airline.

 

DC Comics Superman

Superman Comic Just Took On Police Brutality In a Big Way | Counter Current News

DC Comics revamps its Superman character to fit into the new American landscape. Superman takes on police brutality with the help of artist Aaron Kuder and colorist Tomeu Morey.

Excerpt from Counter Current News article:

By the end of the new “Action Comics” #41, a block party for Superman is disrupted by police in riot gear.

Superman Comic Just Took On Police Brutality In a Big Way

The onus is now shifting to a balance more reflected in the Constitution. The accusations of law enforcement are now being met with suspicion and skepticism, and with more and more cops caught on video behaving badly, the public is starting to wake up to the fact that the police have been treating people of some backgrounds, groups and classes very differently than others.

Now, a huge indication of that change in the social barometer is one of DC Entertainment’s big comic revamps this summer. In the revamp, most of Superman’s powers are gone — but he’s still superhuman, and basically still big as hell.

via Superman Comic Just Took On Police Brutality In a Big Way.

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

President-NC NAACP

REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER, II
PRESIDENT OF THE NC NAACP

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

President of the North Carolina NAACP and convener of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) Peoples Assembly Coalition, a broad alliance of more than 140 progressive organizations with over 2 million memberships to champion a 14 point anti-racism, anti-poverty, anti-war agenda, Dr. Barber is very much in the national spotlight.  Dr. Barber and this coalition has aided in the passage of the Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed death row inmates to appeal their sentences on the grounds of racial bias in the court system; and successfully advocated for voting reforms such as same-day registration and early voting, and has re-framed marriage equality as a civil rights issue and helped mobilized black churches to support a ballot initiative in 2012.

In opposition to regressive policies pushed by the governor and state legislature including draconian cuts to Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and public education funding, Dr. Barber has mobilized the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, a multi-racial, multi-generational movement of thousands for protests at the NC General Assembly the people’s house, and around the state. Hundreds, including Dr. Barber himself, have also engaged in non-violent civil disobedience to expose what the politicians in North Carolina are trying to do in the dark.

via President-NC NAACP.

“Black Americana” Seeks To Deconstruct Negative Stereotypes About Black Love |The Culture

Featured in The Culture, “Black Love”

Black Love | The Culture

Black Americana” is a project aiming to deconstruct negative stereotypes through redefining and “reappropriating” relics of black americana. The goal of this first installment, says artist Tanisha Pyron, is to explore the dynamics between black women and men at various points in the African-American historical timeline. “[We’re] looking to quantify and establish what it took for one black man to love one black woman in the past and what it takes now and cast vision for it will take generations to come,” she writes.

To learn more about “Black Americana”, check out their Facebook page. Take a peek at some of the photos from this first installment below!

via “Black Americana” Seeks To Deconstruct Negative Stereotypes About Black Love.

The Most Stylish Women In Africa-Who made The List | FashionGHANA.com: 100% African Fashion

Genevieve Nnaji (NIGERIA)

These Fashionistas rule in more ways than one.

Mirror Mirror on the wall, these ladies are polished without being fussy, sexy,classy and make statement in a way that people can’t. They are our most stylish women ruling Africa, with easy asses to designer clothing, they ensemble in a way to turn heads and steal attention on social media and in real life.

Number 1 is Genevieve Nnaji
See: The Most Stylish Women In Africa-Who made The List | FashionGHANA.com: 100% African Fashion.

Yinka Shonibare, MBE (RA) | May 30 – Oct 18, 2015

WILDERNESS INTO A GARDEN, DAEGU ART MUSEUM, SOUTH KOREA

30th May – 18th October 2015

In 2015 the Daegu Art Museum will present a solo show of Yinka Shonibare, a British-Nigerian artist.

Approximately 80 of his pieces including sculptures, two-dimensional works, installations, and video works will be on display, showcasing his extensive range of art. The exhibition will be comprised of six sub-themes: money, play, empire, conflict, environment, and love.

 

Shonibare employs an adaption of individual elements upon which our common impressions of African people have been predicated in his own artistic idioms. His mannequins wearing traditional African costumes in bright, loud colors are a symbol, metaphor, and implication of the violent imperialism Western powers have committed in the past century toward the “black continent”. Hidden behind the mannequins’ humorous, hilarious actions is the artist’s criticism of the “monster of outrageous capitalism” dominating the spirits of people around the world. The Daegu Art Museum has paid special attention to his works since the topics he raises such as colonialism, post-colonialism, globalization, and cultural identity are inextricably bound up withKorea’s historical and cultural contexts… More

Yinka Shonibare, British/African Artist

via Yinka Shonibare, MBE (RA) | Present.

The part of the Baltimore protests you haven’t seen | USA Today

10, 000 marched and protested. In the muck of news reports on the violence of a few, USA Today and other media outlets capture the Baltimore residents’ love for their city. Perception is everything.Baltimore peace

Violence isn’t the only thing happening on the streets of Baltimore.

The nation has seen a barrage of images of the rioting that erupted in the city Monday after the funeral for Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was gravely injured while in police custody this month and later died. Rioters hurled rocks. They burned patrol cars. They looted.

But there were also peaceful protests. There were residents thanking police. And on Tuesday, with schools closed and streets quiet, volunteers worked to clean up their city.

The part of the Baltimore protests you haven't seen

The part of the Baltimore protests you haven't seen

The part of the Baltimore protests you haven't seen

via The part of the Baltimore protests you haven’t seen.

Nate Larson: Photographs and More – Holding That Line, Part Two

Photographer and college instructor Nate Larson captures a scene among many acts of citizenship seen in Baltimore, MD in the past few days during the Baltimore protests for the killing of Freddie Gray – the Human Wall separating protesters from police constructed by Baltimore residents.

Baltimore Human Wall during protest

Nate Larson’s HOLDING THAT LINE, PART TWO 

Earlier today, I photographed the #Baltimore protests at North Avenue & Pennsylvania Avenue with my students from #MICAphoto. I was struck by the line of police blockading the street and made a portrait of each of the 27 officers comprising the human wall.

This evening, I went back, and there were 26 citizens forming a human wall, separating the crowd from the police, for their mutual protection. My heart was heavy all day but lifted at this spirit of self-sacrifice and generosity. I made a portrait of the 22 members that gave their permission.

via Nate Larson: Photographs and More – Holding That Line, Part Two.