20th Anniversary AfroSolo Arts Festival Continues with Black Voices Series & Project Empowerment: The Audacity to Succeed September 19-28, 2014 in San Francisco

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The award-winning AfroSolo Arts Festival 2014 closes its 20th anniversary with two events: its seminal Black Voices Series - Our Stories, Our Lives and with Project Empowerment: The Audacity to Succeed - designed to help young Black men and boys successfully transcend youth to adulthood. Ticket prices: Free-$50

We are excited to host this Festival. Through the arts we have an obligation to explore all the facets that make us human. Especially, issues related to Black youth and social injustice,” said Thomas Robert Simpson, Artistic Director of AfroSolo.

This year’s festival performers include solo performance artists Stephanie Anne Johnson, Lance Burton, Tarika Lewis and Kurt (DJ Lamont) Young, hosted by Thomas Robert Simpson, AfroSolo’s founder and artistic director.

I. Black Voices Series:Our Stories, Our Lives

Program A:
Stephanie Anne Johnson will perform "Every Twenty Days: Cancer, Yoga and Me," her personal story about being diagnosed with cancer in December 2012. The title refers to her chemotherapy treatments, self-healing practices, and remembrances of family and friends who died from this disease. It’s an intimate, funny, and uplifting story about the journey from diagnosis to treatment to physical well being. Johnson is an AfroSolo alumna as a visual artist and lighting designer. With more than thirty-five years of experience behind the scenes, this show represents Johnson’s first venture into playwriting and solo performance.

Program B:
Lance Burton will perform "The Irrelevance of Being Relevant," the story of a Black man who, as a 1st grader, left Little Rock, Arkansas for San Francisco just as the 101st Airborne dropped into Little Rock to escort 9 Black students into Central High School. He shares his trials as a teen navigating 1960s Civil Rights Movement in the Fillmore and protests in the Haight/Ashbury. Leaping to years later, he considers the struggles of loves, marriage and a 30-year career on the fringe of media and technology as a Black man in San Francisco. Burton is a media entrepreneur creating print, video and photographic features, stories and profiles that depict the Black experience in San Francisco over the past 75 years.

Tarika Lewis performs "My Life As A Black Panther" (working title), her personal story as the first female to join the Black Panther Party (BPP) for Self Defense in 1967. She was one of the founding members of It’s About Time, a website dedicated to the legacy and alumni of the BPP. She was also a consultant on the movie "Panther" by Marlo Van Peebles and played herself in a few scenes. Lewis is an accomplished violinist and has traveled the world playing in the Legendary John Handy's Band and many others. Lewis is the director of MyStringsOfSoul, a youth instruction and string ensemble that performs Jazz, Traditional African, Hip Hop, R&B and good Soul music.

Kurt (DJ Lamont) Young performs "If God Wanted Me To Fly," an autobiographical story about the last time he spent time with his father’s father and how his granddad’s favorite pair of dress shoes traveled with Young around the world. DJ Lamont is a KPOO FM - San Francisco, CA programmer, renowned disc jockey, and audio storyteller. He now takes those skills and live performance to the stage. Young is the founder of Fingersnaps Media Arts, which is dedicated to the education, cultivation, and inspiration of DJ culture.

Gala Benefits, Performances & Ticket Info

Show dates: September 19-28.
Ticket prices range from $15-$50

For tickets visit:

Program A
Program B

II. Project Empowerment: "The Audacity To Succeed"

AfroSolo Arts Festival joins President Obama’s "My Brothers Keeper Initiative" by inaugurating "Project Empowerment: The Audacity To Succeed." The mission of the project is to help guide and inspire young Black men and boys to successfully transcend youth into adulthood.

Using the arts as a conduit, the project has three parts:
1) a summit entitled "Project Empowerment: The Audacity to Succeed: Young Black Men and Boys Soaring Into The Future," that will include workshops, seminars, and teach-ins;
2) the publishing (late 2014) of an anthology of letters "Lighting up the Future: Letters From Black Men to Young Black Men and Boys"
3) host a "Performance Extravaganza" of young artists, using a range of mediums to possibly include: theatre, dance, spoken word, poetry, mixed media and live painting.

The Summit and the Performance Extravaganza will take place on September 27, 2014 (tentative) from noon to 6 pm at the African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA. Free admission.

For more info visit: http://www.afrosolo.org, email thomas(at)afrosolo(dot)org or call 415/771-2376.


AfroSolo Theatre Company's mission is to nurture, promote, and present African American and African Diaspora art and culture through solo performances and the visual arts. Since 1993, we have provided a forum to give an authentic voice to the diverse experiences of Black people in the Americas. Through art, we bring people of different ethnicities together to explore and share the human spirit that binds us all.

Funding for the AfroSolo Theatre Company is made possible in part through the support of the Friends of AfroSolo, California Pacific Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Rainbow Grocery Coop, Inc., San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Grants for the Arts/Hotel Tax Fund and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

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