Rambling Rose: 30 Years with The Baltimore Times

*Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland F&A.M. presents the Thurgood Marshall Black History Month Celebration on Sunday, February 25 at 3 p.m. at Morgan State University in the Murphy Fine Arts Centers 2201 Argonne Drive. Free and open to the public. For more information, call 443-712-7296.

*Sunday, February 25 at 8 p.m. Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 S, Calvert Street presents the play Red Velvet. For more information, call 410-244-8570.

*Saturday, February 24 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. “Lexington Market ends Black History Month” with vendors and live entertainment featuring David Cole Blues Group. Open to the public.

*Sunday, February 25 the “Griots’ Circle of Maryland Storytelling Program” with take place from 2-5 p.m. at the National Hampton Historic Site located at 535 Hampton Lane in Towson, Maryland. For more information, call 410-788-3553.

*The 32nd Consecutive Celebration of African American Patriots Day will be at the War Memorial Building on Fayette & Gay Street on Saturday, February 24 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

*Friday, February 23 at 7 p.m. Gospel Tabernacle Baptist Church presents a “Black History Month Fashion Show” from the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s at 3100 Walbrook Avenue. Pastor Bishop Reginald Kennedy and Rev. Daniel Kennedy Assist Pastor. For more information, call 410-944-3984. Do you remember Erma “Weezie” Locket, who is a barber and her husband Donald from the old days hanging out— well this is their thing.

*The Onus with special guest Todd Marcus, bass clarinetist will perform at the Motor House, 120 W. North Avenue on Saturday, February 24 at 8 p.m. For more information, call 410-637-8300.

*Lou Fields’s “Frederick Douglass Book Fair” is Saturday, February 24 from 12 noon until 4 p.m. at the Douglass Myers Museum, 1417 Thames Street. It’s open to the public.

Well, my dear friends, I am out of space. Enjoy the last week of Black History Month, and thanks for all the wonder years you have given me to write about. I want to thank the Baltimore Times and my boss, Joy Bramble for giving me the platform to keep music and all sorts of entertainment alive in Baltimore— I’m planning on doing it for another 30 years!

Keep me in prayers because I go into Mercy Hospital for a six-hour surgery on Monday, February 26 to remove a tumor from my stomach. Remember, if you need me call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at rosapryor@aol.com.


The Avenue Market was jumping back in the day with a Jazz Concert, hundreds attended including Raymond Haysbert with, Biddy Wood and Tessa Hill-Aston who produce the shows

The Avenue Market was jumping back in the day with a Jazz Concert, hundreds attended including Raymond Haysbert with, Biddy Wood and Tessa Hill-Aston who produce the shows

Members of the Vanguard Justice Society, Patrons & friends at the Frankford Room back in 1990

Members of the Vanguard Justice Society, Patrons & friends at the Frankford Room back in 1990

Friends hanging out at Arch Social Club with Jerry Owens, Big Jim, Sandi Malory and her sister Elsie Lockhart

Friends hanging out at Arch Social Club with Jerry Owens, Big Jim, Sandi Malory and her sister Elsie Lockhart

Left Band Jazz Society fans applauding the jazz combo on open nite at Ethel Ennis Baltimore Blues Alley on opening night. L/r John Fowley, Judy Webber, Fred Gant, Leon Manker and Velma Scott in 1982

Left Band Jazz Society fans applauding the jazz combo on open nite at Ethel Ennis Baltimore Blues Alley on opening night. L/r John Fowley, Judy Webber, Fred Gant, Leon Manker and Velma Scott in 1982

Friends and jazz lovers hanging out in 1984 are: Libby, Ann Vaughn, Dr. Elaine Simon, Biddy Wood and Dr. Louise Johnson.

Friends and jazz lovers hanging out in 1984 are: Libby, Ann Vaughn, Dr. Elaine Simon, Biddy Wood and Dr. Louise Johnson.

CBS Sportscaster James Brown is also a minister

— Minister James Brown’s Message: “Break the Huddle and Run the Play.”

Mention the name James Brown, and most people think of the legendary now-deceased musician. However, in broadcast media circles, the same name belongs to another hard-working black man with the exact same handle.

Recently, on Sunday morning at Bridgeway Community Center in suburban Baltimore, broadcaster James Brown displayed a moniker many people didn’t realize he owned— a minister’s role. As special guest speaker, Brown provided the Word during a month-long speakers series hosted by Bridgeway’s resident pastor, David Anderson.

During his hour-long sermon, Brown delivered a passionate message reflecting his lifelong commitment to sports and spirituality. Having experienced life as a teenage high school and college basketball star, Brown would later use his court savvy to transition to a career as a network TV football announcer and analyst.

His recent sermon targeted the theme: “Break the Huddle and Run the Play.” The football analogy fit perfectly, considering Brown currently hosts ‘Inside the NFL’ on Showtime, in addition to his regularly scheduled play-by-play football broadcasts that have aired on CBS-TV and FOX-TV in the past 30 years. He also hosts CBS News and contributes to ‘60 Minutes.’

Blessed with a smooth, engaging personality, the announcer/minister easily engaged the congregation, initially with stories about his wife, and four young grandchildren. Following his warm-up, Brown evoked his love for the Lord – and his knowledge of scripture.

During his sermon, he compared football huddles with attending church services, Sunday School and Bible studies – but never taking lessons learned in those forums, and “running the play” or applying what’s learned for good use. He also equated four quarters of football with the Biblical three-scores and 10 lifecycle.

“By age 16, you’ve completed quarter one, at 36, it’s halftime; at 50, it’s third quarter, and anything after 70, well, that’s over-time and ultimately, ‘sudden death,’” he said to applause and chuckles.

After enjoying a star-studded career at DC’s legendary DeMatha Catholic High School, Brown matriculated to Harvard where he earned a degree in American Government, in addition to his continued athletic prowess as Harvard’s premier hoopster. When a tryout with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks proved fruitless, Brown gathered his Harvard degree and entered corporate America with gigs at Xerox and Eastman Kodak.

Brown regularly attends DC’s Rhema Christian Center, and speaks there on occasion. Bridgeway Community Church was founded by senior pastor David Anderson. The church reflects a spirit-filled, multi-culturally diverse congregation.

Dr. Anderson described Brown as “a devout man of God.”

For more information about Bridgeway Community Church, call 410-992-5832 or visit: info@bridgeway.cc. The Columbia campus is located at 9189 Red Branch Road, Columbia, Maryland 20145.

Miss Black Maryland USA Featured in Lifetime’s New Women’s Campaign

Baltimore attorney Saidah Grimes is part of Lifetime’s new online campaign, “Her America: 50 Women, 50 States.”

Grimes says she is using her platform as Miss Black Maryland USA to help shine a light on the inequality experienced by African Americans and women in the state. She also wants to remind young women that not only is black beautiful, but that brains and beauty go hand and hand.

“As a practicing lawyer, I wanted to choose a platform that combined my passion for legal advocacy and desire to help others. It’s a privilege to advocate for those who often feel voiceless and invisible both as a lawyer and as a beauty queen,” said Grimes, who last year was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine.

Grimes graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business where she quadruple majored in international business, corporate finance, global supply chain and operations management and marketing.

She minored in Spanish and, as a law student, Grimes interned at the Office of the Public Defender for the Juvenile Division in Baltimore where she advocated for youth who were arrested and accused of crimes, winning her first criminal trial prior to graduating law school.

She has said that being Miss Black Maryland USA presents a chance to advocate for young people who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Grimes’ Miss Black Maryland USA platform called “Plug the Pipeline” aims to educate parents and legislative officials on the inherent link between school-based arrests and school disciplinary policies and the growing number of youth in the justice system.

She says she dreams of starting a nonprofit focused on helping kids learn effectively advocacy skills to inspire the next generation of prospective attorneys.

Currently, she is excited about the Lifetime campaign, she said.

“The most encouraging aspect of the Lifetime campaign is showing that beauty comes in different shades, sizes and talents. This campaign shows that there is no such thing as the typical woman,” Grimes said. “We are all different and unique and have the power to inspire others through our stories.”

The Lifetime campaign went live on February 5, 2018 with a web promotion that included clips of a police officer, seamstress, professional horse rider and others who served to emphasize the broad scope of women in America.

By sharing stories of 50 different women, Lifetime officials say they hope to bring women closer together and amplify the voices that go mostly unheard and unrecognized.

“Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, at a time when our country seemed more fractured than ever, Lifetime set out to capture the truth about women’s lives in America, bringing them closer together,” according to an official news release. “As one of the country’s most powerful, preeminent female entertainment channels, this February 12, Lifetime [made] a commitment to represent real women through ‘Her America.”

The ultimate impact of the campaign will be shattering stereotypes regarding conventional beauty and traditional roles for women, Grimes said.

“Women all over the globe are making a difference, and I feel honored to be one of the featured stories in the Lifetime campaign,” she said.

Grimes says she is inspired by other strong, women lawyers like Democratic California Senator Kamala Harris, whom she noted she would love to meet one day.

“We are at a critical time. Women are demanding long-deserved respect, and men are listening,” Grimes said, when asked specifically about the #Metoo movement that has swept through Hollywood and the boardrooms of corporate America.

“Minorities are fighting for equality in our justice system, and the country is listening. How we come together now will define a new order of dignity and respect for all irrespective of race, sex, gender identity or socioeconomic status,” she said. “I am humbled to know that I am helping to build a better future for the next generation.”

For more information about Lifetime’s “Her America” campaign, visit https://www.heramerica.com/.

Quincy Jones Opens Up On His Youth, Racism & Success In The Music Biz In “WHAT IT TAKES” Podcast

— The American Academy of Achievement is celebrating Black History Month by opening our archives and sharing the wisdom of America’s most storied musician and producer, Quincy Jones, on the WHAT IT TAKES podcast series. Hear how he got his start in music, the courage it took to create a career in segregated America, and what it takes to sustain 70+ years in the music business.

WHAT IT TAKES features interviews with influential figures who have shared their stories of perseverance and success at the American Academy of Achievement education leadership summits. During the month of February, we are highlighting some of the greatest African American legends.

“The Music Man”: Quincy Jones has adopted nearly every imaginable role in the music business. From stage performer, composer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, actor, record producer, to motion picture and television producer, and record company executive, he’s seen it all and as we hear, done it all too!

Here are some highlights:

[ As a kid ] “…we’d break into this armory at night, the weekends and at night, and we’d eat pie, lemon meringue pie and ice cream. And when we got too tired of eating it we’d start to play — throw it at each other, and whatever trouble you could get in, you know — just awful. One night we went and broke in another door, and I broke into this door, and there was a piano there. And I just walked around the room to see what was there first, and then hands kind of hit the keyboard. And I remembered from Chicago, next door when I was a kid, there was a little girl named Lucy that used to play piano. And from that moment on, when I touched those keys, I said, “This is it. I’m not going to do the other thing again. I’m going here.” That’s what happened.”

[On the road] “…we’d get to places like Texas. This is when every place had white and colored to wait in the bus stations and the water fountains all over America. You couldn’t stay in a white hotel anywhere. We played dances in New Orleans, and they’d have chairs straight down the middle of the thing with — chairs to go both ways, white on this side and that side. Other places in New Orleans — I mean in North Carolina and South Carolina — they’d have $2.50 and $3.50 general admission for the black people. White spectators were $1.50…. And they’d sit upstairs and drink and watch the black people dance, you know. Oh, it was unbelievable. We played juke joints, and people would get shot, and we’d go through Texas.

“We always had a white bus driver because we couldn’t stop at the restaurants, and sometimes we’d see effigies like black dummies hanging by nooses from the church steeples in Texas. Like, that’s pretty heavy, on the church steeple, and they’ve got a black dummy hung, which means, “Don’t stop. Don’t even think about coming here.” And the bus kept moving, you know. And then they’d finally get to places where we’d get the driver — the white driver would go in and get food for the band, and sometimes in Newport News we slept — I remember Jimmy Scott and I slept in a funeral parlor where the bodies were.”

Listen now on iTunes: https://apple.co/1NoyKo5

Jordan Peele, Frances McDormand, Ava DuVernay, and Rob Reiner Honored At The 9th Annual African-Americian Critics Awards

— The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the nation’s premiere group of Black film critics, handed out trophies to winners in several categories at its 9th annual awards gala held in Los Angeles Wednesday night. Several industry notables also received honorary awards for their outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry, as well as their commitment to civil rights, telling stories with global perspectives, breaking barriers of inclusion and more. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay received the Innovation Award; Oscar® nominated director and screenwriter of GET OUT, Jordan Peele, received the Horizon Award; Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove of Alcon Entertainment received the Cinema Vanguard Award and Rob Reiner received the Stanley Kramer Award for Social Justice. The evening’s festivities were presided over by AAFCA Co-Founders Gil Robertson and Shawn Edwards and were hosted by Nichelle Turner of Entertainment Tonight.

As previously announced, four honors were presented to industry luminaries at the 2018 AAFCA Special Achievement Luncheon on February 3rd at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Edward James Olmos received the Legacy Award for his lifetime achievements as an award winning actor and activist; President of ABC Entertainment Group Channing Dungey who is the first African American female to run a broadcast television network received the Ashley Boone Award; leading journalist Claudia Puig received the Roger Ebert Award for excellence in journalism and Vice News received the inaugural Game Changer Award for their groundbreaking news coverage of world events with Vice Media’s Culture Correspondent Dexter Thomas accepting on behalf of Vice. The honorees were selected by AAFCA for their noteworthy accomplishments and were celebrated during the luncheon by their friends, family, colleagues and industry peers.

Both events are part of AAFCA’s celebration of awards season and recognizing the top entertainment of the year, along with recognizing the achievements of select individuals and organizations that are leading the way as inclusive storytellers, boundary breakers, civil rights leaders and trailblazers.

AAFCA Co-Founder Gil Robertson with best actress winner Frances McDormand and the director of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri Martin McDonaugh.

Sheri Determan

AAFCA Co-Founder Gil Robertson with best actress winner Frances McDormand and the director of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri Martin McDonaugh.

A full list of winners and honorees from both events includes:


Horizon Award: Jordan Peele

Stanley Kramer Award for Social Justice: Rob Reiner

Cinema Vanguard Award: Broderick Johnson & Andrew Kosove (Co-Presidents, Alcon Entertainment)

AAFCA Innovator Award: Ava DuVernay


Legacy Award: Edward James Olmos

Ashley Boone Award: Channing Dungey

Roger Ebert Award: Claudia Puig (President, Los Angeles Film Critics Association)

Game Changer Award: Vice


BEST PICTURE: GET OUT (Universal Pictures)






BEST COMEDY: GIRLS TRIP (Universal Pictures)

BEST ENSEMBLE: DETROIT (Annapurna Pictures)





BEST SCREENPLAY: GET OUT (Universal Pictures)

BEST SONG: “IT AINT FAIR” – DETROIT – THE ROOTS featuring BILAL (Motown Records)





Cosby Show Revolutionized Modern Black Art

Before 1980, African-American artists had little choice but to only seek the support of black America.

Exhibition venues were few, museum opportunities rare and there was no real infrastructure for African-American art.

“Before that time, the primary infrastructure for African-American art lay in the hands of academia,” said nationally renowned artist Larry “Poncho” Brown.

Artists like Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden and others were the primary artists of mention before the 1980s, according to Brown.

The Harlem Renaissance, AfriCOBRA, and other black art movements were the last noted revolutions in African-American art, he said, noting that one of the largest contributors to the revolution in the arts in the 1980s came directly from the printing industry.

So, what phenomenon occurred in the 1980s that changed African-American art?

Brown and another internationally acclaimed artist, Charles Bibbs, said the answer is simple: The Cosby Show.

“The Cosby Show era, a period that began in 1984 and [eventually extended to 2000, long after the show went off the air], created a new revolution in African-American art. Bill Cosby was known throughout the world as a major collector of African-American art,” Brown said. “Whenever anyone from the African-American art realm references the beginning of this movement, this era is pinpointed.”

Although “Good Times” was one of the first times that African-Americans experienced the life of an artist via a major network television sitcom, The Cosby Show was the first time black America would witness a full gallery of works by several artists on the set of the Huxtable home.

“Surely an art revolution could have begun in the 1970s when Good Times was on the air, but none of the works of Ernie Barnes was readily accessible to the masses during this period,” Brown said. “The biggest difference between those two eras was the printing industry hadn’t advanced to the point where reproductions were affordable. That revolution in printing would come along in the 1980s, and with it the ability to make art accessible for all to partake.”

Television enticed legions of art publishers and dealers to get into the game. Galleries devoted to ethnic art, publishers specializing in black art, and venues created to highlight African-American art began to pop up around the country practically overnight.

“Most of the visual artists I knew and respected, I judged them as less than successful, until I met Varnette Honeywood,” Bibbs said. “I knew her first from her art work on The Cosby Show. Her art popularity was made possible by the media exposure she received from the Cosby Show, which caused an overwhelming demand and because of this popularity, it became necessary to make the art affordable.”

Bill Cosby, himself, said the use of art on his show was intended to remind the world about great black art and one of the people he praised for their work was Honeywood.

“That young lady— I took all of her stuff,” Cosby said. “She was nailing things that had to do with the sweet part of life and the sweet part of our dreams and memories. She was on it.”

The Cosby Show helped to kick off the dawn of African-American art being offered as a legitimate genre in the industry. Galleries devoted ethnic art, publishers specialized in black art and venues created to highlight African-American art began to pop up nationwide.

After some time, however, artists were forced to become more business-minded, and most were fast-tracked into entrepreneurship.

“Many of the ideas artist quickly learned was that they could reproduce their own works and not have to partner with publishers. It was as if a new hybrid of artists was birthed during that period,” said Brown, who started a publishing business in 1985 with a staff of five.

At the height of this era, Brown’s works were being sold in 3,000 galleries across the country, and were on the walls of nearly 500,000 homes.

During the period between 1994 and 2002, Bibbs says his company generated a million dollars in sales per year and employed 15 people, easily his most successful period during “The Golden Age of African-American Art.”

The Internet would become the new infrastructure. Now the playing field has become global, and thus the artistic opportunities. “Many African-American Artists have taken note,” Brown said.

Dennis Edwards, Lead Singer For The Temptations, Dead At 74

Dennis Edwards, the former lead singer for The Temptations, whose gritty voice carried some of the biggest hits of the Motown era, has died, according to his booking agent Rosiland Triche. He was 74.

Edwards, who would have turned 75 on Saturday, died Thursday night in Chicago after suffering from a long illness, Triche told CNN.

Triche described Edwards as “the ultimate showman.”

The Grammy Award-winner’s voice was prominent on hits including “Cloud Nine,” “Papa was a Rollin’ Stone” and “I Can’t Get Next to You.”

“He inspired millions around the world. We shall remember him,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted. “So talented. He is above #CloudNine, going higher.”

Edwards joined The Temptations in 1968, replacing lead singer David Ruffin, just as the group launched its funk-psychedelic sound. He left and rejoined the group several times over the decades.

His 1984 solo record, “Don’t Look Any Further,” reached No. 2 on the R&B charts, according to Billboard Magazine.

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Songful Annapolis native gains GRAMMY consideration, set to perform after signing with record label

Music has publicly been Craig T. Dobson’s passion since his first church singing debut at the age of six years old. Dobson recalls belting out soulful notes, while moving to and from classes in the halls of Annapolis Jr. High School. Administrators and guidance counselors who heard Dobson singing in front of their offices stopped to notice whose soulful voice captured their attention. Positive feedback from administrators and peers inspired Dobson to get involved in the school’s chorus and talent shows.

“My parents tell me, and I kind of remember,… that I was singing songs on the radio at age two,” Dobson said upon reflection. “I started singing in church at a very early age. But I think when I was in the seventh grade, that’s when I realized that I had something, because I noticed that people started paying attention.”

Dobson is now a husband and father who works as a special educator. He serves as the Worship Leader and Lead Director at Asbury Town Neck United Methodist Church in Severna Park, Maryland. Dobson honors his gospel roots and remains a fan of musical artists such as Luther Vandross. When Dobson listened to “A House is Not a Home,” at the age of 18, he concluded that he wanted to pursue music as more than a hobby. Shortly thereafter, Dobson became a member of the Annapolis-based R&B based group, “Seductive Music Unique Vocals” (S.M.U.V.).

Despite Dobson’s raw singing talent, and performance abilities, he faced disappointing losses of record deals. And during the summer of 2016, Dobson coped with a health ordeal that required five hospital stays. Dobson later emerged with improved health, faith-filled, and armed with new goals to solidify his name and his legacy, by completing his own CD.

Dobson’s wishes are coming true, plus much more. In 2016, the Glen Burnie resident began working with an independent record label which is based in Atlanta, Georgia called 9Nineteen Music. Keith J. Collins, Jr. — also an Annapolis native— is CEO of the record label. Dobson recorded the EP (extended play record) entitled “Craig T. Dobson” in Atlanta and shot his first music video there. By October of 2017, Dobson found out the EP garnered 11 GRAMMY considerations in the first round of the GRAMMY Award process when 9Nineteen Music submitted the music.

“Over 150 music executives and producers, listen to over 22,000 submissions, and then they select a certain number for consideration. So, once you get considered, and if they vote for you, then you move to the second round. Then if you pass the second round, you’re nominated (for a GRAMMY),” Dobson said, explaining the process. “So we made the first round, and all five songs on my project were selected. So there were three categories. All five of the songs were considered for Best R & B Performance, and then of course all five were considered for Best R & B Album, so we had 11 (GRAMMY) considerations for this year.”

Dobson and his record label competed with major music artists. Dobson’s music is frequently streamed across the world. He described the experience as “huge,” especially since all five of his songs were considered, out of over 22,000 submissions.

Dobson regards the experience as a sign to do more, musically. He travels to Atlanta to finish his first feature CD. Collins and his partner, Bob Antione— a multi-platinum music producer —heard Dobson’s voice and believed in him.

Collins added that he recalled seeing Dobson sing at weddings and in church. He looked Dobson up on Facebook, after writing a song. After a conversation commenced, the native Annapolitans ended up working together.

“I see big things happening in the future, definitely. We’re actually in the process of constructing the next album for him (Dobson),” Collins said, mentioning that Annapolis has a lot of musical talent. “I definitely take pride that I’m from Annapolis, raised in Annapolis. I’ve talked to a lot of people in Annapolis… and the music scene in Annapolis right now looks real good.”

Dobson’s first performance of the year will kick off on February 9, 2018 at 7 p.m. at Peerless Rens Club, located at 406 Chester Ave. in Annapolis. Dobson will perform during the Pre-Valentine’s Day Evening of Romance. Visit www.craigtdobson.com or Eventbrite, then search Craig T. Dobson, to purchase tickets.

In Season 2, ‘Insecure’ is more sure of itself than ever

Warning: This post contains spoilers from the Season 2 premiere of “Insecure.”

If the second season premiere of HBO’s “Insecure” proved anything, it’s that the show is more secure in what it is.

The comedy series starring Issa Rae returned Sunday night, bringing viewers right back into the ever-tilting world of Issa Dee (Rae) and her friends.

The sophomore season picked up three months after the events of the finale, when longtime boyfriend Lawrence (Jay Ellis) finally moved out of the apartment they once shared, signaling their breakup wasn’t just temporary.

“We picked that [amount of] time because it felt like it was the right amount of time in a breakup or in your life where you’re like, ‘Okay, I should start to be over these things,'” showrunner Prentice Penny told CNN in an interview. “You know? You can’t keep complaining to your friends three months in.”

When viewers first see Issa, she’s dating but finding it hard to move forward. Lawrence is still seeing Tasha (Dominique Perry), but it’s initially unclear whether he’s in rebound mode or truly giving it a go. (By the end of the episode, Lawrence and Issa have spur-of-the-moment wordless couch sex, taking their relationship from complicated to downright perplexing.) And Molly (Yvonne Orji) is working on her emotional growth in therapy but finding it hard to open up.

Penny said the characters’ journeys this season are inspired by the concept of duality — the person we are in public versus the person we are in private.

“We figured out that it’s not just Issa’s journey that’s like that — Molly has a journey like that and Lawrence has a journey like that,” he said. “So, for us, it was, like, what do you do when these things are unresolved and you’re kind of masking things? That’s what we dive in with Lawrence and the different masks he’s wearing with Tasha, and Issa and her life. Again, people not dealing with the core of the pain. Even Molly with the therapy.”

The “Insecure” writers room returned to work the day after the first season’s explosive finale back in November.

Penny said this transition was helpful because it made the stories feel seamless and at that point have a clear view of what made the first season resonate.

“I think we’re not a show that’s like, ‘How do you make us bigger?’ I think the way we become bigger is by getting smaller and getting more specific and getting into the nuance and tinier details of [the characters’] lives,” he said.

Indeed that is what earned “Insecure” critical praise in its first season.

Rae’s character was a modern 30-something unlike any seen on television to date — she had flaws, good friends and freestyling abilities that invited viewers into the most private corners of her mind.

Early in its run, it was notable for being the only current show on television created by and starring a woman of color. But as Prentice explained, they never let the pressure of that drive the show because it’s impossible to be the voice of an entire population, nor do they aim to be.

“For us, we’re trying to show basic life on a Tuesday and not try to be all things to all black people because there’s no way we can be,” he said. “We’re just trying to say, ‘Hey, this is a person and this is what this specific person is going through. If you can relate to those things, that’s great.’ I think the things that Issa and Molly and Lawrence all go through are human.”

In fact, Rae told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin recently she has a very specific audience in mind when writing.

“I have so many amazing female friends, and they’re the ones who I think about when … I’m making comedy,” she said. “‘Cause we’re the ones — like, outside of my family obviously — my friends have crafted my sense of humor.”

‘Insecure” was shut out of this year’s Emmy nominations — much to the surprise of many critics. But many other shows representing diverse voices made the cut — like “Master of None,” “black-ish” and “Atlanta.”

Penny said he’s encouraged seeing those shows break through. But rejects the idea that “Insecure” or any of the aforementioned are part of a Renaissance of black television.

“I said I would hope that it’s not a renaissance only because that implies it can also go away,” said Penny, who once wrote for “Girlfriends” and remembers seeing a flood of television shows about black families and lives come and go. “Nobody says when a white show comes on the air, like ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Oh, it’s a Renaissance of white shows.” It would be great for us to not be under an umbrella of a Renaissance. We can just be a cool show that exists.”

“Insecure” airs Sundays on HBO.

Anguillan Reggae Artist, Omari Banks to Perform at Artscape

Omari Banks has gone from playing cricket in Anguilla and around the world to playing Reggae on the main stage at Artscape in Baltimore.

On Sunday, July 23, 2017 Banks has scheduled an hour-long performance beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the festival which attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators each year.

“This is my first time at Artscape and I’m really excited to perform on the mainstage as I’ve heard that it’s an amazing atmosphere and I look forward to experiencing that,” said Banks, who, in 2003, became the first Anguillan to play test cricket for the West Indies.

Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket and is considered its highest standard, according to information found on various sports-related websites.

Test matches are played between national representative teams with what’s called “test status,” as determined by the International Cricket Council. The two teams of 11 players compete in a four-inning match, which could last a week.

Omari Banks album, “Sunlight” is available on iTunes.

Courtesy Photo

Omari Banks album, “Sunlight” is available on iTunes.

“Playing cricket for the Caribbean team – the West Indies Cricket Team – was almost every kids’ dream growing up,” Banks said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time doing so but the passion to get better every day dwindled and I started playing the guitar more than wanting to bat or bowl so I knew it was time to move on,” he said.

Banks said he became immersed in songwriting and perfecting his musicianship and dedicated his himself to playing which led to his debut album, “Move On.”

In his biography, Banks said he wanted to take his music to an international market and use his gifts to make a positive impression on individuals everywhere.

“Being someone who has already traveled the world with sports, I’m able to have a broader perspective than a lot of other people,” he said.

“I can communicate to all levels of thinking from a child to an adult and my music is ageless and really touches lives because the stories are true and it talks about what’s really going on,” Banks said.

The New York Times noted that the Reggae singer sounds like “a cross between Bob Marley and Bob Dylan,” while Vibe Magazine said Banks has a voice as “calming as chamomile and charisma that bubbles like a champagne toast.”

He’s not just a dynamic performer— Banks writes and composes most of his own songs and between his music and his magnetic mojo, one of Anguilla’s most beloved talents has the makings of an international superstar, reviewers at Vibe Magazine said.

Banks said fans will be in for a treat at Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, attracting more than 350,000 attendees over three days.

The festival features more than 150 fine artists, fashion designers and craftspeople; visual art exhibits on and off-site, including: exhibitions, outdoor sculpture, art cars, photography and the Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize; live concerts on outdoor stages; a full schedule of performing arts including dance, opera, theater, film, experimental music and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Also featured at Artscape are family events such as hands-on projects, demonstrations, competitions, children’s entertainers and street theater; and an international menu of food and beverages that’s available throughout the festival site.

It’s estimated that Artscape has an economic impact of $28.5 million for Baltimore.

Those factors only contribute to Banks’ determination to wow the Artscape audience.

“They can expect a happy island feel with a bit of rock and soul,” he said. “I try to speak positive through my music.”

Banks will also draw on the inspiration he gets from his home.

“Anguilla is a beautiful island in the North-Eastern Caribbean with the population of barely a small town in most countries,” he said. “But, we are a people of passion, pride and happiness, not forgetting our beautiful beaches that are second to none.”