Writings, Essays, Lyrics, Musings, Commentary . . .

Article #17: Honors & Africa

So many things have happened since I last wrote about being at the Crossroads. As I move toward a different direction, a new beginning, I have grown in confidence. I have faith in the uncertainty of the unknown, although, I must admit, that my faith sometimes wavers. However, there have also been some recent honors and accolades that have bolstered my faith. At the risk of sounding pompous, I'd like to share the goodness. And, of course, I'd like to share Africa. Please read on:

*In April, Norfolk, Virginia, artist, Jackie Merritt, exhibited the first of her "The New Blues Divas" series at the Maizelle Gallery. The subject of her first painting, entitled "Blue Mama", was yours truly. It was based on a Blue Mama Black Son performance. I was indeed honored.

*Fredericksburg, Virginia, my home town, is known for it's history (George Washington, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War). Recently, Fredericksburg has made efforts to include the story of blacks in its history. I am proud to say that I am part of this history. At the corner of William and Caroline streets in downtown is a three panel marker telling the story of the local Sit-In Movement. My photograph, as well as that of my best friend, Jerine Mercer, is on one panel.
Another panel features a quote from my Mom, Gladys Todd, who coordinated the sit-ins. Thank God that part of our history no longer exists.

*The Dixie Power Trio released it's new CD, "The Virgil Sessions," last month. Yours truly is a guest artist on "Willie the Weeper" -- a "Minnie the Moocher"-type saga of drug addiction. It was fun recording with horns -- especially the tuba!

*Last year, I was guest DJ on the House of Blues Radio Hour. I presented an hour of contemporary blues women. House of Blues opted to rebroadcast this show for Mother's Day Weekend. I was proud they felt the program worthy!

*In May, I was reelected to the Board of Directors of the Blues Music Association. I have been on the board since its inception. The BMA is an organization for blues music professionals working to achieve greater economic success by expanding the marketplace for blues music. Bruce Iglauer, president of Alligator Records, was also reelected and musician, Bob Margolin, was elected for the first time.

*I was featured in two issues of France's leading blues magazine -- "Blues Magazine" (yep, that's the name of it). In the January issue #23, a review of "BitterSweet Blues" was given it's highest rating. In the March issue #24, a full length story and interview from the 2001 Cognac Festival was printed. Again, I am honored.

On June 30, 2002, my local newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, published my feature story about Benin, West Africa. The first half of the story shares some of magic we experienced. The second half focuses on a specific project called Songhai (pronounced song-high) -- a model for the world. This project is living proof that one person can make a difference. It is proof that traditional and modern can work hand in hand. I beg you to take a few minutes to read about this wonder/full place. We also have great photos to share. They will go up on the gallery in a couple of weeks (Suzanne's computer is in the shop and I can't do them on mine). Please keep an eye out for them. Here's my story: http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2002/062002/06302002/650127