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Songs of My People: 25 Years Later, A PhotoNOLA Exhibition Opens at Dillard University

Brainfood, Dillard University President’s Lecture Series presents “Songs of My People: 25 Years,” an exhibition that shares the visions of 18 contemporary photographers including Jamel Shabazz, L. Kasimu Harris, D. Michael Cheers, Deborah Willis and Ruddy Roye. The exhibition runs from Dec. 8 through Jan. 12, 2018, at the Dillard University Art Gallery, in the Cook Communications Center, Rm. 106.

This exhibition is a part of PhotoNOLA, an annual festival of photography in New Orleans.

Dr. Imani Cheers, an assistant professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, was a child when she observed her father, Dr. D. Michael Cheers layout photos in their family home for the 1992 groundbreaking photo documentary project “Songs of My People.” The work debuted to critical acclaim, featuring 50 African American photographers who collaborated to document life in Black America. Cheers also saw her father co-edit, “Songs of My People: African Americans: A Self Portrait,” with an introduction by Gordon Parks.

Some 25 years later, Cheers was moved to revisit those photojournalistic inquiries because many of the same issues are still present in Black communities, despite progress.

“Many of the stories are the same, which on the hand is disheartening,” Cheers said. “Police brutality is still terrorizing Black communities 25 years later; yet, politically we have elected the first African-American president. So we have made strides in many arenas and remained stagnant in others.”

Cheers selected a mix of African-American photographers, digital and visual journalists to canvas their communities to address the same topics of “Songs of My People.” Cheers’ iteration of the exhibition debuted earlier this year at Gallery 102, on the campus of George Washington University. Cheers said she’s excited to show the work in New Orleans.

“New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the world specifically because of the rich culture, art, music and history. It was incredibly important to bring the exhibition to this iconic city and to host it at Dillard University,” Cheers said.

Dillard’s gallery is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The gallery will be closed from Dec. 24-31 for the holiday.

Application Process for Tricentennial Neighborhood Grants Now Open

The application for the Tricentennial Neighborhood Grants is now open for community organizations, non-profits and individuals to apply.

The Tricentennial Neighborhood Grants, funded by the 2018 NOLA Foundation, will allow New Orleanians an opportunity to apply for one of 73 grants of $1,000 each to support events or projects that uplift New Orleans neighborhoods. The project or celebration must take place within Orleans Parish.

Tricentennial Neighborhood Grants represent another element of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s commitment to building strong families through strong communities.

The awarded grant is to be used for one or more of the following:

A neighborhood celebration of the Tricentennial,

A collaborative neighborhood beautification or quality of life project commemorating the Tricentennial,

A capacity building project for youth (ages 17 years and under), or

A Tricentennial outreach project.

Each applicant must be 18 years of age or older; a member of any formal or informal neighborhood/community association; a resident of Orleans Parish and possess a 501(c)3  designation (for formal associations) or Federal tax ID number (for informal associations).

To apply, visit https://nola.gov/city/neighborhood-grant/ for the online application or to download the application form. The application deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 and grant recipients will be notified on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

Christmas Concert Supports Historic Church

Delfeayo Marsalis and The Uptown Orchestra are the featured performers in the special Jazzy Christmas Concert benefiting the Historic Saint James AME Church’s Building Fund.

The concert takes place 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21 at the church, 222 North Roman St.

Proceeds from the event will be used to rebuild the church’s kitchen and continue its homeless feeding ministry.

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