Backstage Pass at the Apollo as B.E.T. Arrives in Harlem

By Jianna Caines Photos by Oscar Peralta

BET Studios has arrived in Harlem. To celebrate the occasion, they decided to throw a slammin’ concert and a block party. The new studios are located right in the Mecca of the Hip-Hop empire of the world, New York City. Many of the world’s most dynamic entertainers have originated from the streets of this exciting and flavorful city. (For those in the Harlem community, the new studios are in our neighborhod at 106 Street and Park Avenue).

In order to make a spectacular entrance, BET choose their debut to be at the world famous Apollo theater located on 125th Street. Considering the phenomenal stage setting, the large Harlem crowd and the all-star talent line up, the Harlem Block Party was definitely a night to remember. MusicÕs hottest Kings and Queens splashed on the scene with the energy and skill that blew the crowd away. This Royal line-up included artist such as Lil Kim, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, L.L Cool J, and many more. 

BETÕs presence is greatly appreciated by the people in the Harlem comunnity, mainly because there is so much talent that exists here. Also, because this will definetly mean more jobs and opportunies that will allow more cultural growth that we can share with America. 

On the night of the Block Party, the streets were filled and many people from all over the New York area came out to support BETin their efforts to spread more love and talent. It was a true family event. 

The people of the community are not the only ones who have an opinion about BET’s presence in Harlem. Coming in our following reports we will have the reactions of the previously listed Royal line up. Stay tuned to see what Lil Kim, Fat Joe, Eryka Badu and others have to say about New YorkÕs future now that Black Entertainment Television is in the mix. 

Peace out!!

Culture and Devotion at the Pan Caribbean Dance Theater

2001

by Jianna Caines / photos by Khalid Muhammad

Marie Brooks splashed into the room with a phenomenal presence that immediately captured the attention of all her students. “5,6,7,8!” was all you heard as everyone rose to their feet. Then I knew what kind of power she had.

Born and raised in Guadeloupe, this sista knows what Caribbean life is about. Brooks is the sole founder of Pan Caribbean Dance Theater. All of the dancers who dance at the Pan Caribbean agree that Brook has played a major role in the cultural development of New York City’s youth. Moat Johnson, a fifteen year old student of John Brown High School in Queens, makes it her priority to attend these classes, all the way in Harlem. She states that Brook has provided her with knowledge beyond the skill of dance. They learn about life and how people interact with each other. Brook feels it’s very important to know that “None is Greater or lesser than.” Everyone,according to Brooks, should make an effort to identify and understand each other because we are all equal. 

The hard wood floors, bookshelves and brownstone surroundings will give anyone who enters an at home feeling. In school students use textbooks and museums to learn about their culture and other cultures, BORING. Imagine if you could learn about other countries hands on. Brook takes it one step forward, straight to Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. Right to where it all started. The students, who range from ages three to sixteen years of age, study abroad and meet politicians of these countries. In the past Brooks was asked if she takes a lot of adults on her trips? Brooks replied “If I had to watch you IÕd know before I take you”..Any given day the former president of an African country can drop by. The president of Uganda did just this.

While having a rap session with the dancers he stresses a point that happens to be shared by Brooks which is: “People of color should try to understand each other more.”

Orange, lime, hot pink, mixed with African drums. The vibrant dresses dance in the air and flow to the beat of the music. It is evident that these dancers know their ABCÕs when it comes to technique. On the other hand, Brooks says, “What is the point of knowing your alphabet if you canÕt tell a story.” Picture one of their concerts. They already have the most flavorful music, costumes, and dances by far. She knows that the key to an earth shaking performance is to add the flavor of rap, poetry and or spoken word. This mixes with some contemporary music, that teens of the Hip-hop community completely identify with. This includes Beenie Man, Lady Saw, and Red Rat.

All of these wonderful things would not be possible if Marie Brooks did not devote herself, mind, body, and soul, to her students. The Pan Caribbean Dance theater offers the whole package: a family environment, travel, mentoring, talent, culture. Devotion is the only way to describe the Pan Caribbean Dance theater. With all of this in mind there’s no question of why they are invited to events, such as the the opening ceremony of the centennial Olympic games. The youth are really appreciative of Brooks. Devon Nyngs from the High School for leadership and Public service says “I feel privileged to have such a good teacher.”

Capoeira at Its Best

story by Angel Colon / photos by Shem Rajoon

Capoeira was born out of the struggle for Freedom. 

Capoeira is an art form from Brazil that evolved from African culture. In Copier opponents must always pay respect to the ground because it’s an African tradition of saying thanks. The game of Capoeira is played in a circle called the “roda”(ho-da), in which opponents must play in, however, they must stay in sync with the motherland rhythm, too.

Omi Hill w his mom

The Capoeira music centers around the musical bow called the “Berimbau.” The Berimbau sets the rhythm and the style for the game. Helping out the Berimbau are the “Pandeiros”(tambourines), “Atabaques”(Drums), and many other instruments, which are also accompanied by the clapping of the watchers and participants.


The Capoeira Batizado, which reporters from HarlemLive attended, began with drums and bells and then words from the masters and parents.

The Capoeira Batizado’s (Baptism) warriors, amazed me with their outstanding physical ability. The heart and courage of the little children who defended themselves against the learned masters was outstanding as well.

The Batizado was available to the students who were just learning how Capoeira is done. One girl was scared to go up against one of the masters, but she still rose to the occasion and managed to receive her green belt. A lot of the children had some really great moves that stunned the audience. A little boy was standing on his head for a good ten seconds. Once the dancing portion was over, although the kids were very tired, they were still eager to do some more dancing around, but it was time for the baptism to begin.

After the baptism, the masters gave every student a nickname. These names were made for a specific reason or cause. One boy was named Cabra because he wore a Chupa-Cabra (a Puerto Rico myth) shirt to practice one day. One was named Bruce Lee because of his speed. Another kid was named Rabbit. Can you guess why a boy is named Rabbit? If you thought it was because of his teeth, you’re right-that kid’s teeth were tooooo big.

If you are thinking about taking classes don’t think twice. If I had the time I would take some classes but I can’t. If you’re saying forget it, give it a try!

Story behind the Art

I went to the metropolitan museum. I started doing a person on the street (pos). I interviewed a couple of people to get there perspective on the metropolitan museum and here are my answers…

(Me):Do you like the Met museum

Emma:I love the met I live down the block and I come here all the time

Me: is there any art here that you like

Emma : I have a favorite painting here that I have to see every time I come to the Met. its a picture of Joan of the arc . Joan of arc belived that the voice of god was telling her to fight for her country.

Me: Is it an inspiring piece of work

Emma: I think so. I’m a writer and I think about it a lot when I’m writing about her kind of power that she has about painting

Me: Thank you so much for your time.

Next interview

Me: Is there anything about this museum that you like

Aisha: yea its big so its a place to walk and learn at the same time

Me: is there any art in particular that you like

Aisha: I was walking around I just got here and so far I like that glass wall

Me: would you visit this museum again

Aisha: yes I will when I come back with my daughter

Me: thank you for your time

Next interview

Me: do you like the museum

Artist: of course It’s a wonderful museum I love it

Me: is there any art here that you like

Artist: there is many things that I love in this museum I’m a painter so there is a lot of paintings that I like especially in the European wing but I also of course love sculpture. but I like this piece of art right here(Memory).

Me: what do you like about this piece of art

Artist:I think that she’s very elegant and i love the facial expressions and the shape of her face and also the pose . It’s called memory so if you look closely she is holding a mirror in her hand but if you look carefully she’s not looking at her self she is looking at something behind her. So it’s kinda about looking at things that already happened back in time.

Me: wow that is really interesting i didn’t notice that

Me:would you visit this museum again

Artist: yes i would I’ve been here many times and I’ll be coming here once a week till may.

Me:Thank you so much for your time

Next interview

Me: Do you like the museum

Wimping: yes but it’s too big

Me:is there any art here that you like

Wimping: i like the European painters

Me: which painters do you like

Wimping: leo divinci ,vango,

Me:would you visit this museum again

Wimping: yes im coming tomorow cause its so big you need to spend at least 2 months to see the whole thing

Graffiti Then and Now

Early on in the 1970’s, Graffiti art began to appear as one of the most creative arts in the 20th century. It has since become a vehicle for expressing artists’ thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Back in the day, subway cars were the canvas of choice for most graffiti artist, but today artists are choosing to decorate subway cars, walls on buildings, streets in the neighborhood, or any other place where their work can be seen. The only limitations to where graffiti work can be put up are physical. Anything the artist can reach can become a canvas.

Graffiti art has been created to serve many moods; it can serve as a memorial or function as a role model for the community. Companies to promote a product have even used graffiti such as Coca Cola. There are many legitimate uses for graffiti in today’s society, but graffiti remains illegal primarily because it involves the “defacing” of private property. Groups such as the Nograf Network, make it their mission to try to rid the community of graffiti because now of days gang use it to claim territory or just to vandalize property and also because the graffiti artist rarely has permission to mark the surface they choose to write on. 

So, in some respects, they have a point. There are some legal outlets for street art (for instance, some communities cover unsightly building walls and pull-down gates with murals by graffiti artists) and a graffiti artist can always try to translate their vision onto a real canvas. The bottom line, though, is that while most graffiti is a valid and sometimes beautiful art form it is still illegal so it would be a good idea to do the art on your own property instead of someone else’s unless you can get that person’s permission in advance. Now a day a person can get at least the maximum of 10 years in jail for graffiti on property without the permission from the property owner.