In a world where what you are brings certain advantages that some others don’t have based on the society they live in, people want to point out the unfairness that comes with it. In many cases, we bring up ‘what if’ questions if it happened to the ones not so ‘privileged’ to point out double standard bullshit, and it will continue until changes are made that brings the same about of respect and dignity to everyone and not just a select few.
Originally posted on The Militant Negro™: 38 Teen Girls Of Color Missing In Metro DC Area The following publications have contributed to this ongoing story: News One.com & The Militant Negro YouTube Network 38 Teen Girls Of Color Missing In Metro DC Area Video From News One.com:…
Uneku Saliu-Atawodi wears her crown well. The first female black professional polo player on the international stage represents her native Abujua, Nigeria by giving back through her charity, Ride to Shine. She regularly spends time with orphans, teaching them riding techniques, and raising money for their education trust funds so they can achieve their dreams of being “doctors, lawyers, [and] football players.”
The 25-year-old knows all to well what it feels like to be a child with a dream. Atawodi started out cleaning the horse stables and today, she’s the first and only black female professional polo player in the world.
“The world is fast becoming more and more globalized, and traveling around the world and living on my own from 14, playing polo in beautiful countries in the corners of the world from 16, that really helped me to attain a globalised view way before my time,” she offers.
A little-known fact is Cheryl White was a jockey “gem” that most people never knew existed. She raced horses like only a few of the best did during that time. During the time White was racing horses, there were not too many African-American jockeys. But, despite the lack of blacks in the profession, White went on to become one of the first black female jockeys to win five thoroughbred races in “one day” at a major track. She made her mark while riding her mother’s horse, Ace Reward.
It was tough for black jockeys but harder for females and especially African American women. In White’s 21 years of racing, she won 750 races. At one point, she held a five-time winning streak at Appaloosa. In 1990, she was presented an Award of Merit by the African-American Sports Hall of Fame.
White’s license was suspended after it was discovered that she made…
What’s not to love?Q: Why do Black women act as though having a relaxer and getting a weave is better than the natural hair our creator gave to us? – Tiara Ella Yo: For me personally, I love my natural hair, but I cannot deny that styling it is often a challenge. It’s very time…
In 1883, Joyner began the formal study of music at the Providence Academy of Music. The same year she married David Richard Jones, a news dealer and hotel bellman. In the late 1880s, Jones was accepted at the New England Conservatory of Music. On October 29, 1885, Jones gave a solo performance in Providence as an opening act to a production of Richard III put on by John A. Arneaux‘s theatre troupe. In 1887, she performed at Boston’s Music Hall before an audience of 5,000.
In June 1892, Jones became the first African-American to sing at the Music Hall in New York (renamed Carnegie Hall the following year). Among the selections in her program were Charles Gounod‘s “Ave Maria” and Giuseppe Verdi‘s “Sempre libera” (from La traviata). The New York Echo wrote of her performance at the Music Hall: “If Mme Jones is not the equal of Adelina Patti, she at least can come nearer it than anything the American public has heard. Her notes are as clear as a mockingbird’s and her annunciation perfect.” On June 8, 1892, her career elevated beyond primary ethnic communities, and was furthered when she received a contract, with the possibility of a two-year extension, for $150 per week (plus expenses) with Mayor James B. Pond, who had meaningful affiliations to many authors and musicians. The company Troubadours made an important statement about the capabilities of black performers, that besides minstrelsy, there were other areas of genre and style.
In 1893, Jones met composer Antonín Dvořák, and in January 1894 she performed parts of his Symphony No. 9 at Madison Square Garden. Dvořák wrote a solo part for Jones.
In 1896, Jones returned to Providence to care for her mother, who had become ill. Jones found that access to most American classical concert halls was limited by racism. She formed the Black Patti Troubadours (later renamed the Black Patti Musical Comedy Company), a musical and acrobatic act made up of 40 jugglers, comedians, dancers and a chorus of 40 trained singers. The Indianapolis Freeman reviewed the “Black Patti Troubadours” with the following: “The rendition which she and the entire company give of this reportorial opera selection is said to be incomparably grand. Not only is the solo singing of the highest order, but the choruses are rendered with a spirit and musical finish which never fail to excite genuine enthusiasm.
1898 newspaper advertisement for the Black Patti Troubadours
The revue paired Jones with rising vaudeville composers Bob Cole and Billy Johnson. The show consisted of a musical skit, followed by a series of short songs and acrobatic performances. During the final third of each show, Jones performed arias and operatic excerpts. The revue provided Jones with a comfortable income, reportedly in excess of $20,000 per year. She led the company with reassurance of a forty-week season that would give her a sustainable income, guaranteed lodging in a well-appointed and stylish Pullman car, and the ability to sing opera and operetta excerpts in the final section of the show. This allowed Jones to be the highest paid African American performer of her time. Jones sung passionately and pursued her career choice of opera and different repertory regardless to her lack of audience attendance. For more than two decades, Jones remained the star of the Famous Troubadours, while they graciously toured every season and established their popularity in the principal cities of the United States and Canada. Although their eventual fame and international tours collected many audiences, they began with a “free-for-all” variety production with plenty of “low” comedy, song and dance, and no pretense of a coherent story line.
Several members of the troupe, such as Bert Williams, went on to become famous. April 1908, at the Avenue Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, an audience made up mostly of whites (segregated seating was still prevalent), accepted Madam ‘Patti’ after singing ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ with much respect and admiration, and marked “the first time that a colored performer received a bouquet at the theatre in this city”. For almost ten years, racial segregation had kept Jones from the mainstream opera platform, but by singing selections from operas within the context of a hard-traveling minstrel and variety show, she was still able to utilize her gifted voice, that people of all races loved. The Black Patti Troubadours reveled in vernacular music and dance.
Jones retired from performing in 1915 because her mother fell ill, so she moved back to Rhode Island to take care of her. For more than two decades, Jones remained the star of the Famous Troubadours, while they graciously toured every season and established their popularity in the principal cities of the United States and Canada. She devoted the remainder of her life to her church and to caring for her mother. Jones was forced to sell most of her property to survive. She died in poverty on June 24, 1933 from cancer. She is buried in her hometown at Grace Church Cemetery.
In 2013 Jones was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.
Reri Grist was born in New York City on Feb.29, 1932, attended the High School of Music and Art and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Queens College, New York City. In early childhood she was given dance and voice lessons and performed in concerts as vocal soloist singing works of Gounod, Schubert, Grieg and Mozart.
Beginning in her early teens in 1946, she appeared on Broadway in small roles and in musicals along with Helen Hayes, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Eartha Kitt and Lawrence Tibbett while attending voice lessons with Claire Gelda who discovered her unusual potential.
Grist performed her first staged, operatic role in 1956 as Cindy Lou (Micaela) in “Carmen Jones”, Oscar Hammerstein II’s adaptation of Bizet’s “Carmen”. In the original production of Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” in 1957, she played Consuelo, one of the Shark girls, and introduced the song ‘Somewhere’ to the public. A major breakthrough in classical music came shortly thereafter in 1960 when Bernstein engaged her to sing the soprano part in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in concert with the New York Philharmonic coupled with Bernstein’s prized Young People’s Concerts.
During several years following, she appeared with the New York Philharmonic under the batons of Bernstein, Nadia Boulanger, Pierre Boulez and Michael Gielen in works by Strawinsky, Fauré, Nono and Alban Berg.
Her first opera engagement was in Washington Square Park, NYC in 1959 as Madame Herz in an open air concert performance of Mozart’s “Der Schauspieldirektor”. As winner of the Blanche Thebom Competition, the soprano made her operatic debut in 1959 at the Santa Fe Opera as Blondchen in Mozart’s “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” followed by Adele in “Die Fledermaus”.
Igor Strawinsky heard her there and invited her to perform his “Le Rossignol” with him conducting in 1963 with the Washington Opera Society.
Reri Grist’s European debut was in 1960 at the Opernhaus Köln where she sang the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte”. Herbert Graf, the then new director of the Zürich Oper, invited Grist to become a permanent member of the company making her the first female, African-American singer to hold such a position in a European opera house. During her engagement with the Zürich Oper, 1960-1966, she sang her first performances of several roles including Zerbinetta in “Ariadne auf Naxos”, Sophie in “Der Rosenkavalier” and Adina in “L’Elisir d’Amore”.
As a result of the successes in Zürich, she found herself much in demand: 1962 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as the Queen of Shemakhan in Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Le Coq d’Or”, the Glyndebourne Festival as Zerbinetta and Despina in “Cosi FanTutte” and 1963 as Zerbinetta at the Vienna State Opera where she performed throughout twenty-five consecutive seasons.
In the same year she first appeared at the San Francisco Opera as Rosina in Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”. Among the roles she subsequently sang during twelve seasons with the company were Gilda in “Rigoletto”, Oscar in “Un Ballo in Maschera”, Susanna in “Le Nozze di Figaro”, Sister Constance in “Dialogue des Carmélites”, Adele in “Die Fledermaus”, Manon in Massenet’s “Manon” and Adina and Zerbinetta.
At the Salzburg Festival in 1964 Grist’s initial performance as Zerbinetta in the Rennert/Böhm production of Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” was received by the public and press as a particularly notable one in that she showed an unprecedented, encompassing interpretation of vocal, dramatic and dance skills.
During the succeeding twelve seasons, interrupted by the birth of her daughter in 1968, she performed Susanna, Despina, Blondchen and Papagena in productions of the Mozart operas – “Le Nozze di Figaro”,
“Cosi Fan Tutte”, “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” and “Die Zauberflöte” conducted by Karl Böhm, Zubin Mehta and Herbert von Karajan.
Reri Grist debuted at the Metropolitan Opera on February 25, 1966 as Rosina in Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”. Other roles which she sang there throughout twelve years included Gilda in “Rigoletto”, Norina in “Don Pasquale”, Olympia in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”, Sophie in “Der Rosenkavalier”, Adina, Zerbinetta and Oscar.
There followed an “Ariadne auf Naxos” in italian at Milano’s Piccola Scala with Hermann Scherchen conducting. Several years later she sang Despina in “Cosi Fan Tutte” with Karl Böhm at La Scala.
During a long time association, 1965 – 1983, with the Bayerische Staatsoper,
she performed in several notable productions by Günther Rennert and Wolfgang Sawallisch including Richard Strauss’ “Die Schweigsame Frau” in which she sang Aminta. In 1976 she was honored by the state of Bavaria with the title of ‘Bayerische Kammersängerin’.
Grist ended her operatic career in 1991 at De Nederlanse Oper Amsterdam in the one-woman tour de force “Neither” by Morton Feldman/Samuel Beckett directed by Pierre Audi. She executed the one hour long, unusually exacting, intricate vocal demands of Morton Feldman’s music coupled with the hermetic text of Samuel Beckett with a high degree of artistry which the audience and musicians rewarded with a standing ovation.
Sixteen years later in 2007, she once again appeared on stage on Broadway at the Gypsy of the Year/Equity Fights Aids Gala Celebration of the 50th anniversary of “West Side Story” in which almost all members of the original cast participated and, in an emotional ceremony, were honored. She sang then, as in the original production, ‘Somewhere’.
Grist has performed in concert works by Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Rossini, Orff, Schoenberg, Webern, Fortner, Henze and other composers with the conductors Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Gielen, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Otto Klemperer, Leopold Stokowski, Pierre Boulez and Friedrich Cerha (die reihe) with the Boston Symphony, NY Philharmonic, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Bayerisches and the Saarländisches Rundfunkorchester.
Among the conductors with whom she has performed in opera are James Levine, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Mstislav Rostropowitsch, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli and Silvio Varviso.
Reknown stage directors with whom Grist created several of her most accomplished interpretations were Günther Rennert, Giorgio Strehler, Lotfi Mansouri, Otto Schenk, Ruth Berghaus and Nat Merrill.
She toured in song recitals in the USA, Canada and Austria with classical, romantic and contemporary repertoire partnered with the accompanists Irwin Gage, Phillip Moll, Warren Wilson, Heinz Medjimorec and Kenneth Broadway.
As Professor of Voice Grist has taught at the School of Music Bloomington, Indiana and at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München. She has been a member of various international juries and has given Master Classes at Young Artists Programs including those of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, San Francisco Opera Merola Program, Zürich International Opera Studio, Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia Madrid and the Steans Institute Ravinia, Illinois.
Other recognitions of the soprano’s accomplishments include a Legacy Award of the American Opera Association in 2001, a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Licia Albenese Foundation in 2003 and two awards from her alma mater Queens College, NYC.
Along with her often demanding schedule of performance engagements, Grist and her family spent vacations throughout many years sailing in the Baltic Sea, cross country skiing in Switzerland and Austria and hiking in parts of central Europe. She is married to Dr. Ulf Thomson, 1982-87 Artistic Administrator (Redakteur) of the Norddeutsche Rundfunk Sinfoniorchester Hamburg, 1987- 90 Intendant of the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
Among her other hobbies Ms. Grist includes gardening, cross stitch embroidery, collecting and cooking unusual recipes from various cultures.