With the holiday season quickly approaching, we here at All Black Everything thought we’d offer up some fun suggestions for the artist or designer in your life, with our very own Africana twist. 2011 was a great year for the black creative mind and created some wonderful books, exhibits, shows, albums, and products. Sure to bring a smile to all!
African Metropolitan Architecture by David Adjaye| $100 ISBN # 978-0847837168
This is the latest book from the world renown architect. It documents contemporary African architecture and cityscape in vibrant photographs. The book was personal project for the author/designer, who spent the last decade visiting and documenting all the major cities in Africa, fifty-three in total. The collection comes in 7 volumes and is sure to be hit with the photographer, urban planner, or designer in your life.
One Day It’ll All Make Sense by Common and Adam Bradley| $25 ISBN # 978-1451625875
This is the memoir of the actor and emcee Common aka Rashid Lynn. It chronicles his life from his childhood on the Southside of Chicago to his current life of premieres, movie sets, and performance. Known for his conscious hip hop style, the book provides a great introspective into the mind of the artist. This is Common’s first book for adults. Perfect gift for anyone who is a lover of music or film.
The Legends of Hip Hop by Justin Bua| $34.99 ISBN #978-0061854972
Justin Bua is better known for his vibrant art pieces utilizing his unique urban look. This book takes his genius and goes one step further, cataloging the great masters of this musical art. It profile fifty hip hop icons, each with a biography and a portrait completed in Bua’s iconic style. If you know any true fan of hip hop, graffiti, or street art, this book will be a great addition to their coffee table.
New African Fashion by Helen Jennings| $35 ISBN # 978-3791345796
From the editor of ARISE Magazine, the premiere publication in the world of African fashion come New African Fashion. The book serves as a guide to honor the new wave of high fashion designers coming out of the country. It covers the history of African fashion and how it has influenced the modern designer, highlighting the current artists ripping the runways and pages of the fashion world. The book includes lines and products that are African inspired and African made.
200 Something by Tiffany Millner| $10 ISBN # 978-0615448947
Tiffany Millner is a registered architect currently practicing in Philadelphia. The book is a collage of memoir, journal, and inspiration; chronicling the authors thoughts and emotions on her career path. The title references the number of African American female architects practicing in the United States. This is a great gift for the architect, artist, or feminist who is finding her voice. This is Millner’s first book.
Undun– The Roots| $12
This is the latest release from perennial favorites the Roots. As the first conceptual album from the alternative rap band, undun is the fictional narrative of Redford Stephens, a hustler. The story chronicles Stephens’ life in reverse from his ultimate demise to his birth navigating themes of morality and vitality. True to form, it is a sonic vacation, highlighting the many musical talents in the group. This is the Roots 11th studio album.
The Dreamer, The Believer– Common| $12
Set for a December 20, 2011 release, Common’s ninth album arrives just in time for the holidays. Produced and c0-written by hailed producer No I.D. The first single from the album, Ghetto Dreams, featued Nas and was released during the summer of 2011. In interviews Common has said this album was inspired by his life. Fans can look forward to appearance by Maya Angelou and crooner John Legend. Dates for the album’s tour have recently been released.
Chamber Music Society– Esperanza Spalding|$14
For those who haven’t heard of Esperenza Spalding, your time has come. The 27 year old musician made headlines in 2011 when she won for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards, becoming the first Jazz artist to win the prestigious honor. Her impressive musicianship is expertly performed across an array of instruments, her music a modern myriad of jazz and neo- soul with influences from classical and Latin music.
Break of Dawn– Goapele| $9.99
R&B songstress Goapele’s latest album has been two years in the making. The fourth release from the singer marks her return to the music scene after a 5 year hiatus. Look to expect a more grown up sound, with the content of this record conveying a much more seductive and suggestive vibe. Reflected by the cover art, Goapele is not holding anything back this time around and its sure to move all who listen.
The Dreamer– Etta James| $10.99
The latest studio production from the icon will also be her last. In the twilight of her over 50 year career, the blues singer delivers more of her moody, soulful sounds. The collection of covers represents a ride array of genres and eras of music, showing that at 73, James is still up on the times. One highlight on the album, is James’ rendition of Otis Reading’s “Ciggarettes and Coffee” guaranteed to make you sink into the depths of your own emotions along with her.
The Black Power Mixtape; MPI Home Video| $25
This documentary was a hit at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The film is and in depth look at the evolution of the black revolutionary movement within the black community. The footage was by Swedish filmmakers and had been lost for year, beautiful edited by Swedish director, Goran Olsson. Look forward to video featuring Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton, Stokely Carmichael, and Eldrige Cleaver. The movie also features commentary from many black icons.
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest; Sony Pictures Classic| $30.99
This film is a portrait of one of the most famous rap groups in history. Directed by Michael Rapaport, the documentary features interviews with all of the members of Tribe Called Quest. Following the group during their 2008 reunion tour, giving a behind the scenes look at the group dynamics and journey during the year. The documentary is an in your face and realistic portrait of the group members showing their progression as artists and ultimate differences.
Hidden Colors: The Untold History of People of Aboriginal, Moor, and African Descent; King Flex Entertainment| $30
This informative documentary looks at the history of the African Diaspora around the world. An often overlooked and under told story of people of Africa descent in regions like Asia and Europe. Featuring commentary and interviews by many of the premiere scholars voices in black studies, this dvd is the perfect gift for the suppressed revolutionary, history buff, or great thinker. It is sure to foster strong sentiments of black pride and open eyes to some rarely shared information.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child; New Video Group| $30
An homage to the great artiste, The Radiant Child features a real look at the gone to soon Basquiat. The documentary provides an introspective into his radical life as well as the New York art scent of 1980s. Its authenticity comes from the lost footage of Basquiat covering all aspects of his life. The film moves chronologically, so you see his evolution as both a creator and a man, commemorating his short life. Its has this raw, pure energy, allowing viewers to really see the legend’s human side. This dvd is sure to inspire the inner artist in us all.
Mooz-Lum; Vivendi| $20
This indie fan favorite got a lot of press when its marketing went viral in the past year. Written by new director, Qasim Basir and produced by Danny Glover, the story follows a college bound young man, Tariq, who has been raised as a strict muslim in the time around 9-11. Starring Evan Ross, in a critically applauded role as the title character. It provides an interesting perspective on the often misunderstood religion. The film was the winner at the 2010 Urbanworld Film Festival.
FELA! The Musical National Tour| dates and prices vary
After an exciting year on Broadway, the acclaimed musical is now headed to a city near you! The show’s success led to a London production and Tony wins for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design for a Musical, and Best Sound Design for a Musical. The show follows the life of activist and performer Fela Kuti in 1977 when the Nigerian government was trying to cease his performances.
Alvin Ailey Contemporary Dance Theater National Tour| dates and prices vary
The modern dance company, known for its groundbreaking choreography, is currently in its 53rd season. The 2011-12 season marks the first year for new Artistic Director, Robert Battle. Features include 6 new pieces, as well as fan favorites like Revelations and Night Creatures. Sparking a new era for the company, it is sure to provide something new for seasoned Ailey supporters and impress those new to the amazing talents
Pariah, Focus Film Features| dates and prices vary
This contemporary drama premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and is slated for its US release on December 28, 2011. It was awarded for its Excellence in Cinematography at the festival. The film is an extension of a 2007 short film by the writer/director Dee Rees and was executive produced by Spike Lee. The plot follows Alike, a 17 year old Brooklyn teen as she embraces her sexual identity as a lesbian. The lead actress, Adepero Oyure was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. The film also Best Independent Film and Best Breakthrough Performance for Oyure at the African-American Film Critics Association
Kinyarwanda| dates and prices vary
Also premiering this year at Sundance was Kinyarwanda, the first film from Alrick Brown. The film one the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award. Based on the true accounts of muslims in Rwanda during 1994 genocide, the films tells the story of hope and human compassion during that time. Weaving six stories together, the movie gives a more comprehensive and real narrative of the lives of many Rwandan’s during that tragic time in their history.
Essence Festival 2012 Weekend Passes; July 6th- 8th, New Orleans, LA| $120- 750
Every summer, music fans flock to the Big Easy for one of the largest black musical festivals in the United States. With sessions, events, and parties for all, it is well worth the vacation days to check it out. This year Weekend passes went on sale before the Christmas Rush, making them the perfect gift for a romantic getaway, reunion with old friends, or fun loving girls weekend trip.
Beats Colors by Dr. Dre| $350
The ever popular headphones are now available in an array of colors, so you can have a pair of Beats to match every outfit. The SOLO model features high-definition and noise canceling audio clarity. Its super deep bass make it perfect for catching every nuance of a great hip- hop meat, the trance inducing baselines of a complex jazz composition, or the electronic hype of a dance beat.
Scratch Art Artists Trading Cards by Scratch- Art| $7
Keep up with the latest trends by giving the gift of these artist trading cards. Traded like baseball cards, they came out of the mail art movement. Today they are wallet sized pieces of extraordinary art. Combined with the elementary fun of scratch art, this activity provides an opportune moment for revisiting your inner child.
Lami Li Traveler’s Journals| $28- 43
These colorful journals are ideal for the writer, sketcher, poet, traveler in us all. Handmade in Nepal from the bark of the Lokta tree, these eco-friendly journals help support rural economic development in the country. Great for those who strive to live more sustainably or have an altruistic streak focused on social justice. They include 150 bound pages of handmade paper that are acid free and perfect for archival ink.
Obama 2012 Holiday Ornament|$40
Show that you are in for the long haul with your support of the 44th President in his re-election campaign with this festive Holiday ornament. The rhodium features the names of the President and Vice Pres in an intricate design. Find this and more at the Obama 2012 store to display your political stance in style.
Charter Membership to the National Museum of African American History and Culture| $25- 1000
Slated for it 2015 opening, the much anticipated addition to the Smithsonian campus and National Mall is being designed by some of the world’s premiere black architects. Help it become a reality by contributing to the campaign to raise the $250 million needed to build by becoming a Charter Member. For your efforts, you get your name listed on the electronic wall at the museum and to say you contributed to a piece of history.
Hope this extensive list has you rethinking some of your last minute gift ideas for that creative presence in your life! From the ABE Staff, we would like to wish all of our readers and their families a Happy Holidays… we look forward to bringing you exciting new content and features next year!