“Let’s Take It To The Stage . . .”

alvin ailey red man


It’s Friday … and the last week of Black History Month is coming up!!  May we honor those who came before us … from Frederick Douglass to Martin Luther King, Jr … Muhammad Ali and Kendrick Lamar … just to mention a few!!

So, here it goes … T.G.I.F.!!
Let me begin by saying how grateful I am today … for every one of you!  You each have been a blessing to me … in your own special ways … just sayin’!
Yes, we continue with “Black History Month” as a celebration of the numerous contributions of African Americans to the American Culture!  “We” are known world-wide for our talents and skills in many many areas, most not highlighted in the typical textbooks found in public schools purporting to educate students about American History.  This is why “we” were given a month … so there would be acknowledgement of the lack of information about contributions that are unique to African Americans!  Here in the SoFlo area, Miami to be exact, there will be presentations by the renowned Alvin Ailey Dancers at the Adrienne Arsht Theater.  I remember seeing them for the first time as a student at St. Paul’s School back in the early ’70’s as the formerly all boys private Episcopalian boarding school sought to include elements of “our” culture and expose the school’s population and community to such stellar dancing in the ballet style of the Alvin Ailey Dancers!  Thank you all at SPS’s administration for carrying the message of “The Dancers” to an otherwise “white Anglo-Saxon protestant” environment!
The current artistic director of the Dancers, Mr. Robert Battle, once attended Miami Northwestern High School, came back to town and held special workshops for the students at the High School who have an interest in the exceptional style of ballet exhibited by the Alvin Ailey Dancers!  Their performances at the Adrienne Arsht Theater began last night and will continue throughout the weekend.  What a beautiful tribute to African Americans far and wide as the Dancers “strut their stuff” here in the area where Mr. Battle was born and raised, grew up, was groomed and eventually found his way to be the artistic director of this world renown dance troupe!  Yes, you make us ALL proud, Mr. Battle!
Tomorrow, I will have the opportunity to contribute to “Black History Month” with a presentation for the Broward Sheriff’s Office Community Justice Program’s participants who are local youth “charged” with completing this program directed by a good friend, Mrs. Nicole Valencia Mercado.  This is my second opportunity to bring the platform of the Educational Excellence’s program to these youth where I have planned a presentation on Black History Month as well as a workshop focusing on “Making A Plan” for our lives!  I look forward to it as well as another good friend, Edwin Etienne, who shares my passion of “giving back” to the youth here in our area by providing motivational workshops.  We will be at the Multi-Purpose Room at the Lauderdale Lakes Community Center off of State Road 7 in Lauderdale Lakes at 9am tomorrow morning.  So, “Let’s take it to the Stage!”, as the infamous Parliament Funkadelic Band led by George Clinton, another contributor to the musical talents of African Americans, once espoused.
Have a great weekend.  I am also hoping to attend the World Peace Meditation held in Hollywood’s Arts Park in Young Circle on Sunday by the Brahma Kumaris of Hollywood, FL.  The weather here permitting, we will have a nice weekend.  May those of you who still are experiencing cold temperatures and snow stay warm in the light of Black History Month!

John I. Cook, Director

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