Scholar, curator, and artist David C. Driskell—an early expert on and proponent of African American art and art history whose work reshaped the American canon—has died at eighty-eight years old. The cause of death was double pneumonia due to complications arising from COVID-19, according to New York’s DC Moore Gallery, which represented him. “Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750–1950,” an exhibition he organized at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1976, is widely regarded as a landmark contribution to the study of black artists and their central role in American art history. In a 2019 Artforum review of a survey at DC Moore, Zack Hatfield wrote that Driskell’s own art practice, which belonged to no single school, movement, or medium, is defined by “his fluency in both the spiritual and the material worlds, and his abiding endeavor to draw them into mysterious harmony.”
Driskell, the son of a Methodist minister and a housewife, was born in 1931 in Eatonton, Georgia. When he was five, his parents moved to the foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where he attended segregated elementary and high schools. Driskell then matriculated to Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine, followed by Howard University, where studied watercolor with Lois Mailou Jones, oil painting with Morris Louis, and so-called “Negro art” with James A. Porter; he received his bachelor’s degree in 1955. He later enrolled in the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, which granted him a Master of Fine Arts in 1962. In 1956, a year after he began teaching art at Talladega College, the institution held Driskell’s first-ever solo exhibition, which featured Behold Thy Son, 1956, a Pietà-like expressionist tribute to the recently murdered Emmett Till.
Driskell returned to Howard’s art department to teach painting in September of 1962, around the time he began collecting art, both for himself and for the university; he eventually amassed an incredibly significant trove of twentieth-century works. All the while, Driskell curated exhibitions of artists including Alma Thomas, Prentiss Taylor, and his mentor Romare Bearden. While on the faculty of Fisk University, Driskell was approached by LACMA to guest curate an exhibition for the United States Bicentennial. The show, “Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750–1950,” is considered the first comprehensive survey of African American art, and toured the country. “I was looking for a body of work which showed first of all that blacks had been stable participants in American visual culture for more than 200 years; and by stable participants I simply mean that in many cases they had been the backbone,” he told the New York Times. Its influential catalogue essays attempted to synopsize African American art while rooting his exhibition within a contemporary moment—the tail end of the Black Arts Movement—whose activist sensibilities contrasted with his own aesthetic philosophy, premised on a “universal language of form.”
Driskell eventually settled at the University of Maryland College Park, which, in 2001, founded the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora in honor of his legacy. Over the course of his career, Driskell wrote seven books on African American art and numerous catalogue essays, received ten honorary degrees, and won countless awards, including a Presidential Medal of Honor in Humanities and the Skowhegan Lifetime Legacy Award. In 2005, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta established the David C. Driskell prize, which celebrates those whose “artistic practice or scholarly work makes an original and important contribution to the visual arts and study of African American art.” Past winners include Amy Sherald, Huey Copeland, Mark Bradford, and, most recently, Jamal D. Cyrus. Driskell’s work can be found in the collections of the Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, DC; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC.
Just Music launches heavy rock imprint label.
The label will be led by newly appointed label manager Warren Gibson. It will focus on marketing African heavy rock and metal artists on the global stage. Mongrel Records also seeks to benefit from Just Music’s successful artists and label services, while retaining an independent A&R and artist development profile.
“It’s been a long-time dream of mine to have a label that can give the heavier South African and African bands the help and attention they need and deserve,” Mongrel Records label manager Warren Gibson, who also runs Plug Music Agency, said. Plug Music Agency has some world-class bands, and now with involvement and backing of Just Music, I finally feel we have a platform to do this properly.”
Gibson is a leading publicist who boasts 20 years in the South African music industry. He has been closely associated with the development of the metal/rock scene in the country. He has also worked as a media liaison for a number of international artists and indie labels. Gibson will continue to serve as managing director of Plug .
“The quality of metal and heavy rock bands in South Africa is stronger than ever, yet most of these artists have enjoyed little or no support from labels,” Just Music CEO Charles Kühn said. “It’s pretty impressive to see what is actually happening on the ground and I’m excited that we are able to now get involved through our Mongrel Records label. We are delighted to have secured the services of Warren Gibson, whose knowledge and expertise will add great value to our efforts in developing Mongrel Records and the impact of artists that we sign.”
Mongrel Records’ first signing is South African psychedelic stoner rock band Ruff Majik. The band has made an impact on the international scene and is set to release a new album through Mongrel Records in mid-2020.
“Ruff Majik is excited to be the first band to sign on Mongrel Records,” the band’s vocalist, Johni Holiday, said. “We’ll be working closely together with them throughout the coming months to bring you a brand new album with exciting new sounds. More details to be announced soon.”
International Children’s Book Day 2020
Reading is one of the most loved ways to transcend into fantasy land, anywhere. Books are the reason that most young people believe that the world truly is their oyster. They not only help us to build our imaginative world but also help us build our language skills and more than anything introduces us to irreplaceable, unforgettable stories. And this is the reason that reading is a habit that needs to be inculcated at a young age and International Children’s Book Day celebrates just that. Organised on April 2 by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), International Children’s Book Day celebrates the birthday of notable Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen. Every year, this day is celebrated by organising various writing competitions, elocutions and other means of promoting the hobby of reading among children. As we gear up for the celebration of International Children’s Book Day, here are the top 5 books or series you need to introduce the kids in your life to. Books to Read in 2020: ‘More Myself: A Journey’ by Alicia Keys to ‘Irrfan Khan: The Man, the Dreamer, the Star’ by Aseem Chhabra, 10 Books to Look Forward to in New Year.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, this kid’s book follows around the young and mischievous Peter Rabbit. The book, which captures his chase through the garden of Mr McGregor, is a favourite for young kids. First published in 1902, The Tale of Peter Rabbit continues to be a popular choice not just for the fun and hyped story but the simple and beautiful illustrations as well.
There are some classic series that every child needs to read, to shape their future, their emotional intelligence and of course build their overall personality. And there is no doubt that the Dr Seuss books do all this and much more. From the beginner’s guide to the more recent variations, the options of Dr Seuss books to choose from is spectacular.
This classic book of love, relations and magic has to be one of the most loved Children’s books in the last thirty years. Written by the immensely talented Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, Matilda is the story that takes kids through an imaginary ride and leaves them with a wave of happiness and warmth. The supremely popular book has also been adapted into audiobooks, movies and animated series as well.
Whether you are introducing a 7-8-year-old to this beautiful series or just reading your younger kids stories from JK Rowling’s masterpiece, there is no doubt that Harry Potter is a must-read for every child. It not only incites an array of important emotions like compassion and empathy in you but also brings in near-perfect characters that will grow up to be your kid’s friends. And if all these reasons are not enough, then researchers’ argument that reading the Harry Potter series as a child can make the kid grow to be more emotional and active is enough proof to make this addition to your library. Harry Potter Turns 39 Years Old: 15 Amazing Details About the Boy Wizard and His Friends That You Probably Didn’t Notice in the Movies!
I Am Malala
This is a book for the adolescents in your family that captures an inspiring and real story of Malala. The most courageous thing that you can do is not always physically fighting someone but the small acts of defiance like continuing school or standing up for your rights. And this book captures these emotions to perfection.
We hope that these five suggestions give you the perfect tickle to push the kids in your family towards reading. And while we are at it, tickle your own itch to read and pick up a book again. After all, that is the best way to experience multiple worlds all through the windows of your imagination! Happy International Children’s Book Day.
“Sarz Is Not Your Mate” A 32-Track Playlist
With the coronavirus pandemic keeping people off the dance floors of clubs, lounges and bars, two of our hottest producers, Sarz and Shizzi, on Monday, had a face-off dubbed ‘The Battle Of Hits’ to entertain fans on Instagram live.
Adding a twist to the regular sing-along sessions music lovers are now accustomed to, the producers led a 2-hour long Instagram live session, rendering their favourite beats, biggest hits and some unreleased songs with notable features.
Peaking at 19.2K live viewers across the world, the highly talented and award-winning beatmakers had both fans and colleagues keeping scores and asking for more. And although Shizzi put up a good fight, Sarz’s longevity and catalogue of hit songs and beats reaffirmed that ‘Sarz Is Not Your Mate’ (SINYM).
Some notable viewers during the sessions include Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, Wizkid, Don Jazzy, Davido, DJ Spinall, Niniola, Kel P, Tiwa Savage, DJ Neptune, Ehiz DadaBoi, Asa Asika, Peruzzi, Erigga, DJ Ecool, Ebuka, Dr Sid, Wurld, DJ Tunez, D’banj, Sesan, Niyola, Asisat Oshoala, Tee Billz, Maleek Berry, Special Spesh, Teni, Speroach, and a host of other industry players.
The duo set the pace for the producers Pheelz and Masterkraft, and Kel P and Rexxie to have their face-off.
Coming off the heels of the face-off, Sarz has now released a 32-track playlist on Spotify, Apple Music and Boomplay for fans to savour.
Bill Withers, influential soul singer behind Ain’t No Sunshine, dies aged 81.
Lean on Me and Lovely Day singer dies of heart complications, according to a family statement
Bill Withers, the influential US soul singer who wrote Lean on Me, Ain’t No Sunshine and Lovely Day has died aged 81 of heart complications, according to a statement from his family.
Withers wrote and recorded several other major hits including Use Me and Just the Two of Us, before retiring in the mid-1980s and staying out of the public eye.
He is survived by his wife Marcia Johnson and their two children, Todd and Kori. The family statement reads:
We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other. As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.
Lin-Manuel Miranda was among those paying tribute, writing: “Rest In Peace, maestro Bill Withers. What a legacy.” Chance the Rapper said Withers “was really the greatest”, while Chic’s Nile Rodgers described him as “class, class and more class”.