Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the A w Souleo

March 14, 2012NewsComments

Harlem Arts Alliance Honors, Janet Rodriguez; Discover the Inspiration Behind India. Arie's Songs

Harlem Arts Alliance Presents:  On the "A" w/Souleo

Women's History Month is a time to celebrate some of history's foremost trailblazers, yet the names that are often praised are familiar ones. Still there are unsung "sheroes" within our own communities. The Harlem Arts Alliance honored one such woman, Janet Rodriguez during an intimate affair held at the Dwyer Cultural Center.


As the former Vice President of the JP Morgan Chase Global Philanthropy Group, Rodriguez has made it a point to put her money where her heart is by ensuring the distribution of more than $50 million in grants. Founder of the Harlem Arts Alliance, Voza Rivers recognized this when he recalled Rodriguez giving her vote of confidence by writing the organization a check for $10,000 ten years ago when it was then, only 10 members strong.


During her acceptance speech, Rodriguez expressed gratitude and shared her latest venture, SoHarlem. Rodriguez is founding president and CEO of the place-based social enterprise that assists at-risk populations in developing cultural industry career opportunities. She explains her mission as wanting to demonstrate the economic viability of the arts. "If you are not creative you will have a hard time. So creativity is part of economic development," she says. "People don't see that yet but they will."


One thing those in attendance certainly didn't miss was the "Amazing Grace" exhibition, which is currently on display at the Dwyer. The collection of painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media art is the brainchild of curator, Ed Sherman. The exhibition offers several highlights from Wilhelmina Obatola Grant's mixed media use of Brillo pads and a hot comb to challenge beauty norms to Tafa Fiadzigbe's, subtle yet powerful oil on canvas, "Mother's March," to L. Gwen Jackson's colorful and spiritual doll creations.


The power of spirituality was also felt at Knox Gallery during the opening reception for, "The Shift: Art & Spirit." While the works of Nate Ladson, Diane Davis and Shirley Taylor were effective, there was one standout, gong master, RaShu Aten. Aten's melodic use of the gongs added a sacred air to the event and he may have even healed a few gallery visitors in the process. "It is sound healing and expands the consciousness and relaxes the nervous system. I don't think people have ever heard [this] before," he says.


One thing people certainly haven't heard is that Aten is the inspiration behind a few of his close friend, India. Arie's hit songs.


"We became friends through [spiritual] readings and she wrote a couple songs about me. 'The Truth,' 'Complicated Melody,' and 'I See God in You." That's what she told me and she is my favorite artist," he notes.


But don't expect a collaboration between the two just yet. Aten informed me that Arie is busy travelling and working with Israeli singer, Idan Raichel on her new project. From Rodriguez to Arie, it's obvious that women are making major strides.




Souleo Enterprises, LLC is the umbrella company that creates and produces entertaining, empowering and informative media and philanthropic projects by founder, Souleo.


This article is courtesy of our partner The Harlem Arts Alliance



The Harlem Arts Alliance is a not for profit arts service organization celebrating 10 years of service to a prestigious list of members such as the Apollo Theater, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Columbia University, Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) and over 850 more cultural/arts institutions and individuals. The weekly column, Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the "A" w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment in Harlem and the greater NYC area.


For more information on HAA please visit: www.harlemaa.org


For more information on Souleo please visit: www.souleouniverse.com

Tags: harlem, Souleo, News
March 14, 2012NewsComments