RiseMagazine | Sarasota

The Premier Lifestyle Magazine of Florida's Black Communities

Archive:1201 | Jan 1st – Jan 7th

January 1st: Imani (ee-MAH-nee)

Imani (Faith) – “To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

A complete listing of the seven principles can be seen here.


B.B. King Brings Life to the Blues – TONIGHT!

by Michael Paragon

This evening The Van Wezel and Sarasota play host to the King of the Blues himself – B.B. King! And after 40 years and over 50 albums, his reign is still supreme! Listen for classic hits such as “You Don’t Know Me”. “Three O’Clock Blues” and the ever-popular “The Thrill Is Gone“!

Born Riley King in Itta Bena, Mississippi, B.B. King has ranked no. 3 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time. After getting his first guitar at the age of 12 (no, not Lucille), Riley would venture out and hone his musical skills while touring with his cousin, Bukka White. It was on one of his earliest gigs that the nickname “Beale Street Blues Boy” would be shortened to B.B. and follow him all the way to stardom.

Arguably, B.B. King is one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century! As his career spans from 1949 to 2005, with a record-breaking 1956 tour count of 342 booked concerts, he is a living legend by definition. “The Thrill Is Gone” earned him a Grammy and he was later inducted into the Music Hall of Fame in 1980. Reports are still inconclusive as to when his career will actually end – considering that his “farewell tour” was in 2006 (we won’t mention the six shows that he did in Brazil in November of 2006!)

Fortunately for us, his farewells aren’t really goodbyes and tonight we can enjoy the blues – one more time!

Check the Agenda here for showtime information.

Painting by Meg Frank, 2008

Beyond Namaste.

Sometimes it may simply be easier to ignore something, in the hopes that it will go away or perhaps not notice you. We may be able to handle some problems like this, maybe certain noises in your car…maybe even some of the more irritating people at your job. But definitely not each other. Is it really that hard to acknowledge someone’s presence when we pass each other in public?

Traditionally, we have always held some form of unspoken greeting between us. If we were on opposite sides of the street it may boil down to a simple nod of the head. Whether it was a quick nod up or down, we did it…and in doing so, we connected! If only for that brief second – I acknowledged you and you gave me the same level of respect by returning the gesture. It was an unspoken rule but, it spoke volumes about the people involved. Often louder and more than they would say if given the opportunity.

So how have we become a society, a culture, of people who will blindly pass each other in our travels? At what point did it become “un-cool” to speak to one another? Did I not get a memo?!?

Especially in cities in which the proximity of communities may spread the Black community out thinly, it becomes that much more important to take notice of your surroundings and environment. Are you the only chip in the cookie? If so, and you see someone who looks like you, do you avoid eye contact or do you take comfort in the “solidarity” of seeing another Brotha or Sista? There should be a sense of connection between strangers during these awkward moments that speaks to your level of self-esteem and self-awareness. Be proud, be confident, be respected and respectful.

The underlying network in Sarasota and Manatee counties is based on family. It’s a typical exchange when you meet someone for them to ask who your family members are. Chances are, you’re better known than you may be aware of. And just as the older members of your family carry themselves with pride and dignity, so should you…maybe even moreso! We’re descendants of people who’ve endured, overcome, persevered and survived! We’ve grown, learned, explored and invented, created and developed. Our impact on this society and the world as a whole stands as a testament of our blessings and the inspiration of generations to follow.

So, the next time that you’re out and about and you see another Brotha or Sista wherever you may be, take a moment to speak…or at least bob your head! Namaste…



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