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LOS ANGELES, CA- The California African American Museum (CAAM) presents FlashTag, a creative engagement project and exhibition designed to give visitors the opportunity to experience the creative process of “graffiti” artists, and to breakdown the misperceptions about street artists and the aerosol culture. FlashTag features four art crews who will “tag” a gallery at CAAM from March 26 through March 29, during museum hours for public viewing. Their completed artworks will be on view at CAAM from March 29 through August 2, 2015. On Saturday, March 28 from noon until 3 p.m., DJ A Ski will provide music while the artists work.

To avoid problems such as over-spray and poor air quality the artists were quick to adjust and made the decision to flaunt their artistic abilities with brushes.  A minimum of 15 artists will participate in this live and creative endeavor.

“This was not about curating a typical art exhibition, it was about collaborating, engaging others and providing unique experiences.  FlashTag gave me the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing, creative minds who will give the public a chance to experience this form of art from a different perspective,” says CAAM’s Visual Arts Curator Vida L. Brown.  “More importantly, I wanted to give the artists and the public the opportunity to share a visual and verbal dialogue, which I hope will help dispel the common misconceptions about graffiti art being gang related.”

Crew leader of Rockin’ the Nation, Cre8, who considers himself a street writer will fill CAAM’s walls with epic lettering.  Cre8 spends most of his days working on various projects and teaching young street artists how to take their art forms and make something positive such as a commissioned street art design or mural. Cre8’s work can be found on the walls of Venice Beach or in the McDonald’s “Spread Lovin’” commercial that aired during African American Heritage Month 2015.

Crew leader Rufus, has entitled his team’s project for CAAM, Broken Wings.  The mural will feature fallen rappers including 2Pac, from whom the title was inspired by.

Additionally, multi-disciplinary aerosol expressionist Sano will take part in the exhibition.  Sano is responsible for creating plutonium paint, described as an ultra supreme professional grade of aerosol spray paint. Prolific in Los Angeles, Sano worked on MOCA’s Art in the Streets exhibition in 2011, and was part of the 2014 SCRATCH exhibition curated by Getty at the El Segundo Museum of Art.

Exhibitions and events at CAAM are free and open to the public. Parking is $10 in the lot adjacent to CAAM, at 39th and Figueroa Streets.  CAAM is located at 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, 90037. For more information on CAAM visit www.caamuseum.org. Related Hashtags –  #FlashTag #CAAMinLA #Aerosol #AeroSoul Follow CAAM on Instagram @CAAMinLosAngeles and on Twitter/Facebook @CAAMinLA.

Exhibitions in the CAAM Galleries

CAAM Courtyard Series: From Women’s Hands ongoing through May 3, 2015

Light Catchers opens March 20 – June 7, 2015

Lookin’ Back in Front of Me: Selected Works of Mark Steven Greenfield, 1974-2014 ongoing through July 5, 2015

The African American Journey West – Permanent Collection, ongoing

In Memory of “The Little Warrior”

183358WASHINGTON- On Saturday, March 21, 2015, Reverend Willie T. Barrow will be laid to rest, but not without a great celebration of who she was, and certainly not without reflecting on the incredible legacy that she leaves behind.

Reverend Barrow, or “Little Warrior” as she is affectionately referred to for her small stature and great might, is most commonly known for her leadership as a civil rights icon through Operation PUSH, which later became the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Her scope of influence, however, spanned the globe and her activism resonated through numerous social causes. “It’s not that we are divided, we’re just disconnected,” she would always say.

In my eyes, though, Reverend Barrow stood with the giants. I came to know her as a young man growing up on Chicago’s South Side during my years spent as a mentee to Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. She was a matriarch of the civil rights movement, and true to the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” she invested in the potential that she saw in youth. When I was a student struggling at Morehouse College to finish and pay on time, she made sure corporations gave me scholarship money to cover my tuition. I am honored to be one of her children.

What can we learn from Reverend Barrow? We can see, feel, and love as she did, which was not of her own might.  She embraced the One from whom she drew strength from, and the motives of her heart flowed naturally from who she was internally. Just as Jesus never had to struggle to try to be the Son of God, Rev. Barrow’s deeds were an extension of who she was at her core – she simply was a daughter of God, and with confidence and grace, she lived out who she was ordained to be.


Lamell McMorris is the founder and CEO of the Washington, DC-based group of companies bearing the Perennial name: Perennial Strategy Group and Perennial Sports and Entertainment. As a lifelong advocate for those less fortunate than himself, Mr. McMorris serves on the boards of numerous civil rights organizations and volunteers his time with several youth service and mentoring organizations. For his service, charisma, and dedication, Mr. McMorris is frequently honored by advocacy and nonprofit organizations and invited to speak at a wide range of conferences and events. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Society from Morehouse College and a Master of Divinity in Social Ethics and Public Policy from Princeton Theological Seminary. For more information, please visit: www.perennialsg.com/lamell.html.

CAAASA Summit Focused on Aiding Minority Students

Corey Jackson

By McKenzie Jackson/California Black Media

Over 500 educators, parents, and stakeholders attended the annual California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA) last week in San Diego. The conference aims to convene education experts and stakeholders to help better understand best strategies for African American and other underserved students.

African-American, Hispanic, and low-income or low-language students are assets that must be invested in, said Dr. Kent Paredes Scribner, a commissioner with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

“They are not problems to be solved,” he said. “It is good for the California economy to invest in this beautiful human resource of young people. They grow up to be adults so we ought to invest in them today.”

Scribner opened the first session and told an audience of over 200 educators and education advocates that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan believes the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students is the greatest civil rights issue of today.

FullSizeRender“If we are going to have an economy that is vibrant and effective we must invest in the resources we have,” said Scribner, who is also a superintendent with the Phoenix Union School District in Arizona.

Scribner was one of four speakers to take the stage in San Diego as a part of the summit’s opening discussion, which centered on “Accelerating Academic Growth for African American and Other Students of Color.”

The other speakers were Dr. Randy Ward, a superintendent with the San Diego County Office of Education, Dr. Rita Kholi, an assistant professor at the University of California-Riverside, and Corey Jackson, the mentoring chair of the 100 Black Men Inland Empire.

The four are among the over 50 speakers and specialists that presented during the three-day conference, which is geared towards furthering CAAASA’s goal of identifying and addressing critical issues in education through public policy relative to the status and performance of African-American students in the classroom.

In attendance at the event were school superintendents, administrators, teachers, parents, and business partners from across the Golden State.

During the summit attendees took part in workshops, discussion groups, and talks that focus on issues attached to educating black and other minority youths in California including President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” program, community and family health, school truancy, college readiness, and parent engagement.

In her opening remarks, CAAASA President Dr. Judy White said the 500-member CAAASA is declaring the mantra “Persevere until its here.”

“What? Equity. Where? Every educational institution? When? Now,” she said. “Persevering is not a long race. It is many short races, one after another. This summit is one of those short races.”

Dr. Randy Ward, a superintendent with the San Diego County Office of Education, said far too many African-American students are not achieving academic success like white or Asian students.

“We talk about the achievement gap, but what about the opportunity gap,” he said? “Many kids don’t have the opportunities others do.”

Ward said African-American students need access to the same tools as other students to excel such books with a rich vocabulary, high-quality teachers, technology for educational means, and high expectations from their family and teachers.

“The same thing you expect from one child, you expect from another,” he said. “Our children do not need pity, they need an education.”

During a question and answer session with the panelists, Jackson said African-American students will show respect when given respect.

“When they believe you care about them, when they know you are willing to sacrifice for them,” he said. “Then, they are going to accept your high expectations.”

Ward concluded that students need to have a plan to reach those expectations.

“You have to show them what the filters are to get to that plan,” he said. “Its individual responsibility for students to pick the path, but they have to be shown the path first. That is our responsibility as adults.”

Dwight Bonds, CAAASA’s executive director, said he hopes the summit’s attendees can take what they learn during at the event back to their schools and students.

“We are going to be that much more prepared to work and serve students of color.”