|International Creative Artist and Entrepreneur Shyan Selah has been named as the new Education Chair Board Member for the Seattle Chapter of the prestigious and historic civil rights organization The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). A grandson of Civil Rights Activists and Live Performance pioneers, Shyan comes to the NAACP with over 20 years experience incorporating Youth and Education advocacy throughout his professional entertainment career.
Taking his own personal story – first as a black student athlete growing up in the Pacific Northwest, to his experience in education and sports and his journey into Hollywood for music and business – Shyan has provided powerful sessions that have rocked college, high school, middle school and corporate audiences blending his soul-fused music style and raw personal story with high impact issues that range from bullying, gang violence, sports and entertainment, civil rights, black history and a myriad of other socially relevant topics affecting the culture at the education and corporate levels. His fusion of live performance, cultural diversity and bold testimony have made him one of the most powerful speakers/advocates in the region. Although Shyan has brought his message to countless high schools and colleges over the years, his work for youth has been most prominent in his hometown of Federal Way where he’s received the School Board award in 2014/15 and the Federal Way School District HERO Award in 2015/16 and 2016/17.
As the Founder/CEO of Brave New World, his business endeavors have given him the opportunity to work in unique and viable alliances with industry powerhouses such as Apple, INgrooves, The Orchard, ASCAP, BMI, NBA, NFL, MLB, AMAZON, Youtube, Facebook, and others. In addition to his position at the NAACP, Shyan also serves as a board member to The KING AWARDS, an official organization based on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the SCLC. Through his position at the NAACP, Shyan is looking forward to utilizing his skills and passion to further the expansion and raise awareness about the NAACP via education advocacy for all of its members and citizens in the community.
Who doesn’t know what a Soul Train Line is? And, who doesn’t remember those original Soul Train dancers whose iconic moves set the stage for a myriad of dance steps, not to mention fashion, that have permeated every aspect American culture—even today? For as significant as these dancers were to the American lexicon, they have never been honored. Damita Jo Freeman, one of the original Soul Train dancers, renowned choreographer, actress and trailblazer decided to change all that. On Saturday, January 12, the original Soul Train gang will be honored at a private gathering in Los Angeles—the first step in launching her new non-profit, the Dancer Jo Foundation.
Says Freeman, “I have been so incredibly blessed in my career. I’ve been a ballet dancer, I’ve traveled the world over touring and working with incredible artists from Shirley McClaine and Cher to James Brown and Diana Ross after being plucked from Soul Train by Joe Tex. I choreographed everything from American Bandstand and sitcoms to award shows such as The Emmys,Grammys, among others. I even choreographed the Clos
ing Ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics with Lionel Richie and created a
dance phenomenon when I enlisted the help of 500 street dancers and 25 professional dancers to take part in a dance style that I and the original Soul Train dancers created–popping and locking. However, the other dancers that worked alongside me never received their due—and I intend to change that by honoring our own. This event is called Legendary 70’s Pioneers AKA Original Soul Train Gang. I’ve opened so many doors and it’s time to give back to those who have not had the same opportunities in their careers that I have.”
Dancer Jo Foundation, while still in its developmental phase, intends to honor the contributions of unrecognized/unsung influencers artists in the field of entertainment through an annual Legendary Pioneer Awards event. It is also planning to provide scholarships to youth in performing arts (film, TV, music, theatre and broadcasting)
For more information, please visit www.dancerjofoundation.org.
Each year, Edmonds Community College celebrates the life, work, and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The celebration brings the community together through dance, music, and inspirational speakers to encourage growth as culturally competent citizens with understanding and respect for our changing community.
2019 MLK Celebration
Michael Benitez, Ph.D., is a nationally-acclaimed activist-scholar, practitioner, and educator, with extensive experience in diversity issues in higher education. He is known for his down-to-earth, insightful commentary and critical perspectives on social and cultural issues including social justice education, equity and inclusion, diversity and multiculturalism, intercultural development, identity formation, race and ethnic relations, knowledge representation and production, youth and leadership development, student success, and critical pedagogy and praxis.
A highly sought out speaker and workshop leader at colleges and conferences nationwide, he has also authored book chapters and articles on student identity, hip-hop culture, cultural centers, cultural and ethnic studies, institutional research and campus climates, and supporting the faculty of color.
Benitez has been featured in educational documentaries, such as “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity” (2012), and has appeared on talk shows such as Worlds Apart and Hard Knock Radio.
Part of his success lies in his ability to speak heart-to-heart while bridging theory and scholarly inquiry with everyday life, his use of accessible language that multiple audiences can relate to while providing multi-context and -issue frameworks for empowerment and transformation.
In previous roles, Dr. Benitez has served as Director of Intercultural Development and the Black Cultural Center at Lafayette College, as adjunct faculty in the Graduate School of Leadership and Professional Advancement at Duquesne University, and as Director of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership at Grinnell College. Informed partly by his poetry and love for spoken word, and as Director of Diversity Initiatives and Social Justice at Dickinson College, Dr. Benitez established the Diversity Monologues, an ongoing annual program aimed at highlighting the creative talents of students while addressing diversity and social justice – a program he has helped implement and shape at multiple institutions.
Dr. Benitez completed both his B.S. and M.Ed. at the Pennsylvania State University, where he helped revive and strengthen the University’s College Assistance Migrant Program, and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from Iowa State University School of Education, where he helped revamp the curriculum for Iowa State’s Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE). Throughout his career, he has been recognized with several leadership awards.
Join a diverse and dynamic collective of Seattle-are writers of African de- scent. This forum provides an informal and supportive venue for new and published writers. Meets every second Monday of the month!
Monday, January 14, 2019
Third Place Books—Seward Park 5041 Wilson Ave S. Seattle, WA 98118 7 to 8 PM
ABOUT AAWA –
The African-American Writers’ Alliance, a diverse and dynamic collective of Seattle-area writers of African descent, provides an informal and supportive forum for new and published writers.
We help one another polish our skills, provide peer review, and create opportunities for public readings and other media venues. Ultimately the group encourages members to publish individually and collectively.
Our stories—triumphs, tragedies, and whatever is within and between the two—are the history of African Americans. We must tell our stories in our words and encourage others to do the same.
WHO WE ARE –
We are published authors and novices. We are professional writers and late-night storytellers. We are Baby Boomers and Millennials. We are world travelers, we are homebodies. We are African-American men and women from all walks of life who have words bursting to make their way through us.
Californian Randee Eddins called to order what became the first meeting of the African-American Writers’ Alliance in February 1991. She encouraged an exchange of ideas, works in progress and sharing our poems, stories, essays, plays, and novels. In this mutually supportive setting, writers listened and shared their work without censure.
AAWA continues its mission at our monthly meetings (Saturdays, Columbia City Branch of the Seattle Library, library opening until noon). The fringe benefit is sharing what we write with an audience other than ourselves. We read in many Puget Sound venues: Elliot Bay Bookstore, Arts/4 Culture, Columbia City Gallery, Gallery 110. and the Sundiata Festival.
AAWA has published four anthologies: Sometimes I Wander in 1998, Gifted Voices in 2000, Words? Words! Words in 2004, Threads in 2009, and Voices That Matter in 2018.
Few men caught in this cycle survive and come out the other side better men. And even fewer record their experience with rawness and humility to help others avoid this path.
“The Missteps of a Southern Boy” is the first in a trilogy of autobiographical books written by myself, a Seattle-based author who spent 35 years in the Washington state prison system.
I talk about growing up with foster parents in rural Louisiana, the lure of street life in Seattle, and the choices I made as a young man that landed me in prison nine times. I’m motivated to tell my story to give hope to other youth caught in the same destructive cycle, and to those who love them.
You can reach the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 842-4286.
Terry Hill Sr. is the accomplished author of Memoirs from a Prison Cell Trilogy: The Missteps of a Southern Boy. Memoirs from a Prison Cell vividly brings to life the long road traveled by a nine-time convicted felon. He used his many years behind bars to teach himself the craft of writing.
Born in Winnfield, Louisiana, then moving to Seattle as a teenager, Terry Hill Sr. tells the undeniable truth as a foster child, drug abuser, and inevitably a man incarcerated nine times over a thirty-five-year span.
His Memoirs are hard to put down as he captures the pivotal moments of his life and shares them with the world. With plenty of humor and drama, one pictures everything in the mind’s eye. The pain, strength, and determination ignite Terry’s ‘clawed’ out mentality to become a pillar of a man.
After spending decades behind bars, he now uses his hard-won wisdom to create change in the same neighborhoods where he was once a criminal. These days he can be found not in the prison yards but regaling street kids with his infectious good-natured humor, while he teaches them about freedom. His wisdom offers comfort and hopes to families and inmates alike, as he empowers and advocates for social changes.
Seattle offers an extraordinary array of arts and cultural events throughout its diverse neighborhoods and communities. The Office of Arts & Culture’s Neighborhood & Community Arts (NCA) Program supports creativity at a grassroots level by investing in recurring festivals or events that promote arts and cultural participation, celebrate diversity, build community connections, and enhance the visibility of neighborhoods through arts and culture.
Program Overview Workshops
Tuesday, August 28, 5:30-7:00pm
Douglass Truth Library 2300 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122
Thursday, September 6, 5:30-7:00pm
Northgate Library 10548 5th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125
Saturday, September 8, 11:00am-12:30pm
Southwest Branch Library 9010 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126
Saturday, October 6, 11:00am-12:30pm
Rainier Beach Library 9125 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
A Novel IAN SMITH
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Familiar to students at many elite colleges for years, with members that include Rockefellers,
Kennedys and many captains of industry and political leaders, secret societies came to popular
attention in the films like The Skulls and are even a storyline in the Netflix series Dear White
People. These intensely private organizations have been the focus of controversies in recent
years, with Harvard attempting to rid itself of the elite clubs altogether, with much unwelcome
attention from the press including the New York Times, Boston Globe, New York Post, Town &
Country, Fox News and Commentary magazine, among others.
Dr. Ian Smith, widely known as a TV personality and for his #1 New York Times bestselling
Shred diet books, among others, was himself a member of one of Harvard’s exclusive “final
clubs.” Now, he draws from his own real-life experiences in the secret societies of Harvard,
taking readers into a harrowing story set behind ivy covered walls and suffused with tightly
guarded secrets, in THE ANCIENT NINE (St. Martin’s Press, Sept. 18 th ). This is the first
time anyone has written a book that goes behind the doors of these all-male centuries-old clubs
and shared some of their long-guarded secrets and cloaked trans-generational privileges.
Spenser Collins thinks his life at Harvard will be all about basketball and pre-med; hard
workouts and grinding work in class. The friends he’s made since arriving at the storied campus,
from a very different life in urban Chicago, are a happy bonus. But Spenser is about to be
introduced to the most mysterious inner sanctum of inner sanctums: to his surprise, he’s in the
running to be “punched”—invited to join—one of Harvard’s elite final clubs.
The Delphic Club known as “the Gas” for its crest of three gas-lit flames, is one of the oldest and
most exclusive of the elite final clubs on campus, started by the legendary banking magnate JP
Morgan Jr., who himself had been deemed unworthy and denied admission to the other clubs.
As Spenser is considered for membership, he’s plunged not only into the secret world of male
privilege that the Gas represents, but also into a century-old club mystery involving the
disappearance of a student who tried breaking into the clubhouse in the 1920s. Because at the
heart of the Delphic, secured deep inside its guarded mansion club, is another secret society: a
shadowy group of powerful men known as The Ancient Nine.
Who are The Ancient Nine? And why is Spenser—along with his closest friend Dalton
Winthrop—summoned to the deathbed of Dalton’s uncle, just as Spenser is being punched for
the club? What does the lore about a missing page from one of Harvard’s most historic books
mean? And how does it connect to religion, murder, and to the King James Bible, if not to King
The Ancient Nine is both a coming of age novel and a swiftly plotted story, that lets readers into
the ultimate of closed worlds, drawn from the knowledge of these real-life institutions, with all
of its dark historical secrets and unyielding power.
# # #
IAN K. SMITH is the author of New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, including the #1
bestsellers Shred, Super Shred, and Blast the Sugar Out, as well as the novel The Blackbird
Papers. He is a graduate of Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago's Pritzker School
THE ANCIENT NINE
By Ian Smith
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Four years ago Damien Escobar was a shell of himself. Humbled by homelessness and depression, Damien had to fight through his fear of failure and reemerge as a confident, positive, thriving artist. Today he has arrived. An unprecedented story of triumph, Damien Escobar can look back at his days playing the violin for change on the subway platforms of New York to playing for Presidents in the White House. Unpretentious yet confident, Damien makes no secret of the determination necessary to gain the recognition he has obtained while becoming one of the few commercially successful mainstream violinist. Damien Escobar is a musical pioneer dominating an industry that’s ready for change. The future of the music industry rests in his hands – and he’s ready.
Damien will perform 2018 at 7:30pm. Tickets and Information 425.275.9595 or http://www.ec4arts.org
Friends of Waterfront Seattle has announced its 2018 waterfront summer event lineup, featuring free live music, performance, and sports for all ages. Family-friendly performances occur every Saturday and Sunday from July 7 through September 2 at Hot Spot, the event stage on Pier 58, located at 1401 Alaskan Way.
Awesome local bands kick off the Hot Spot season with the third annual KEXP Rocks the Dock concert hosted by KEXP 90.3, Seattle’s non-commercial independent radio station that produces an award-winning, innovative blend of music for a worldwide audience.
Live music by Stas Thee Boss and Nappy Nina, Misundvrstood & Gypsy Temple, Breaks and Swells, and DJ & Emcee OCNotes Summer make up the season kickoff Saturday, July 7 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Other weekend events include reggae and surf music, soccer and music with the Seattle Sounders FC Rave Foundation at the Soccer Octagon, site-specific dance performances, K-Pop music and dance, a hip hop tournament-style competition, Blues music, Central and South American music, dance parties and competitive dance battles, and the Americana Festival. For details on the full Hot Spot schedule of waterfront events this summer, visit www.friendsofwaterfrontseattle.org/events.
Friends of Waterfront Seattle is the City of Seattle’s nonprofit partner helping to build the park and ensure its lasting success. Following the public-benefit partnership model, we educate the public about the park and its benefits, raise philanthropic funds to build the park, and will partner with the City to manage and program the park long-term. Our goal is to make the central waterfront a public mixing ground where all communities can share cultural, recreational, and civic experiences in a beautiful environment. Waterfront Seattle / Friends is a founding member of the High Line Network, a movement in cities across the world to reclaim underutilized infrastructure and reimagine it as public space. Explore the future park at our project showroom, Waterfront Space, located at 1400 Western Avenue in Seattle, and open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Seattle Parks and Recreation welcomes all to enjoy the annual Big Day of Play
Free event Aug. 18 at Rainier Community Center and Playfield; water activities at Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center
Big Day of Play is a celebration of our city’s diversity, and it encourages neighbors, communities and families to have fun, build relationships and be active together. Big Day of Play will be held on Saturday, August 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rainier Playfield and Rainier Community Center in southeast Seattle (3700 S. Alaska St.). The event is completely free and includes activities for all ages and abilities.
“Big Day of Play is our signature event at Seattle Parks and Recreation,” said Christopher Williams, Interim Superintendent. “This free event supports community members in enjoying the health benefits—both physical and mental—of connecting with others through active recreation, and it helps show adults and kids how much fun there is to be had in our parks and open spaces.”
The event will showcase active recreation booths and activities, including basketball, wheelchair rugby, goal ball, adaptive play equipment, rainbow bingo and much more. Community members can also enjoy cultural music and dance presentations throughout the day. Discover your inner athlete while enjoying the sounds, smells and foods from a range of communities.
Additionally, we are inviting everyone to hop down to Mt. Baker Rowing and Sailing Center to try out sailing, rowing and stand-up paddle boarding.
The Big Day of Play is presented by Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Get Moving Initiative, which supports local groups in offering innovative and culturally relevant events and projects to increase participation in community sports, recreation and physical fitness activities that serve under-resourced communities. Funding for the Get Moving Initiative is provided by the Seattle Park District.
This year’s Big Day of Play sponsors include Kaiser Permanente, City of Seattle, the Associated Recreation Council, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Bartell Drugs, 4Culture, Lowe’s and Cedar Grove.
If you’re interested in volunteering or participating as a vendor at Big Day of Play, please visit www.bigdayofplay.com.
Free transportation is available – more information here.