How many of you have had the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture? I see your hands waving in pride. I’ll bet you’ve got the t-shirt, the mug, and the magnet. And why not?! The museum is a treasure to behold and the pride that comes with walking the halls of this monument to OUR history and culture makes one’s chest burst with pride. As travel remains complicated, the museum continues to engage with us and offer virtual exhibits. The NMAAHC Chez Baldwin virtual exhibit is timely in these travel and issue-weary days!
As a reality design show junkie, it delights me to see two Black women take home big wins and to be reminded that Black women blazed reality design trails before there was such a thing. In this issue, we salute Black history makers like Carmeon Hamilton and Andrea Pitter. And we shine a spotlight on Tedde Gibson who brings silent film to life through his pipe organ mastery.
This issue also reminds me of my gratitude for relationships.
My friend, poet, and writer, Paul Harding, once taught young people in Seattle at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Paul Harding is a force! And when I came across an article noting that Miles Davis biographer Quincy Troupe had written the screenplay for an upcoming doc on the musician, I reached out to Paul, knowing of his friendship with the Troupes, to propose the possibility of a profile. What I got was an enthusiastic "YES," from both Paul and the Troupes. Having once visited their home myself to attend a Harlem Arts Salon event, I will always treasure the ability to have experienced their light! Thanks to these relationships, we have the high honor of an exclusive profile penned by Paul, highlighting the work Margaret Porter Troupe and Quincy Troupe are doing to build strong Black young minds through The Gloster Arts Project. Thank you Paul for lending your time and talent to Arté Noir.
For many years, Val Thomas-Matson has kept me abreast of her work in television production. I knew her parents before meeting Val while she was still in college. Once we became friends, Val's magnetic and passionate personality has continued to lift my spirits. Seeing her realize her dream to build Look, Listen, & Learn - an early learning educational program that helps to bridge the achievement gap - also lifts my spirit. Watching her career in television production evolve to this place where she is now being honored and recognized for her labor of love is an inspiration!
She is the Arté Noir super-subscriber, my personal spirit lifter, and de-facto PR person for this publication - Dorothy Mann excitedly shares articles and news with me that she knows will be of interest. Thank you, Dorothy, for turning us on to Ismail Einashe’s BBC published article on Nairobi’s thriving arts community, and thank you for being such a wonderful and engaged Arté Noir advocate.
If it were not for my longtime friendship with filmmaker Barbara Allen, I may not have recognized that what HGTV does today on budgets that reach into the millions for design shows, she did with much less, making something out of very little. Proof that the saying “there is nothing new under the sun” is very true. BA, as she is affectionately known, continues to be an award-winning filmmaker and producer and more of her trailblazing will certainly be spotlighted here in the future.
We hope that on these pages you will find information that may be the foundation for a new relationship, enhance an existing one, or jog your memory about something old made new.
It is our joy to research, receive and share information that shines a bright light on Black art, Black artists, and Black culture. If you have an idea about something or someone you would like to see highlighted on these pages, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and give us a shout-out by sharing Arté Noir with others. We love you for reading!
- Vivian Phillips - Founder // Editor-in-Chief