Black history month

Black history month

By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer

Black History Month is upon us, and in conjunction with this cultural appreciation period, TRRT would like to let those interested know about some related upcoming events. Although most of the popular music that we listen to today is either directly or indirectly influenced by early African-American music forms, there are also a lot of swapping between Caucasian-American and African-American customs. “Soul Food” is commonly associated with the early black culture in the U.S., but was actually borrowed from white southerners and has now become a part of modern black civilization. Heavy metal music is a genre that is dominated by the white rock ‘n’ roll scene, although its roots are deep in the early blues and rock ‘n’ roll that was developed by African Americans in the early 20th century. It goes both ways and the celebration is not exclusive to the African-American population. In light of that, all are welcome to attend these events for cultural enlightenment, or just a good time.

There will be a special guest lecture by author Alex Kotlowitz at Rock Valley College Woodward Technology Center, Wednesday, Feb. 5. Kotlowitz, a professor at Northwestern University, is the writer of the books There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River. The reception starts at 6 p.m., the lecture begins at 6:30, and the book signing will begin at 7:30. The event is free of charge; for information, call 921-4512.

The Rockford Public Library’s Youth Services is hosting an hour devoted to “Little Bill,” a character in a series of children’s books and popular cartoons. This program is for children ages 6 to 9, and will include making Captain Brainstorm Helmets (Little Bill’s favorite!) and reading the story “Super Fine Valentine,” in conjunction with Valentine’s Day. The program is free and will be from 2-3 p.m. in the Library Auditorium, but registration is required as spacing is limited to around 40 children. For registration and information, call Youth Services at 965-6732.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, RVC will host Chapter 6, an a capella Chicago-based musical group that blends the sounds of rock, jazz and gospel (three originally African-American forms of music). The septet also integrates comedy and audience participation into its act. The show is free of charge, and runs from 7 to 8 p.m. For information, call 921-4512.

Rockford Art Museum (RAM) continues Second Saturdays series Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon with the African-American artist Faith Ringgold, and a lesson and activity for children and adults hosted by RAM Education Specialist Mindy Nixon. Included in this month’s lesson is a brief tour of the new exhibition, An Inside View: Highlights from the Howard University Collection, which features works of other African-American artists. The fee for the lesson/activity is $5 to $8; for information, call 972-2880.

There will be a different lecture by Dr. Tritobia Hayes Benjamin on this same exhibit Friday, Feb. 7, at Storefront Cinema. The lecture is from noon to 1 p.m., and will highlight several artists in the collection and look at their work in context as a blend of Euro-American and African-American artistic traditions. Fee for the lecture is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. For information, call 972-2880.

Keep your eyes open for next week’s updates, as there are plenty to come as we get a little deeper into February. These include performances by the Ngoma Dance Troupe, A tribute to Fats Waller with Carl Cole, an open mic Poetry Slam, and many more cultural events influenced by the Black History Month celebration.

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