Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And the Grammy Goes to......Purple St. James!!!

Many of you may have missed my column in Saturday’s News & Observer/The Durham News. In it I argued that Durham is in the midst of an amazing creative movement. I call it the Durham Renaissance. The best way to explain what is happening is to evoke the spirit of that notable era in American history-The Harlem Renaissance. There is a assemblage of young, gifted, African American artist that are shifting the way we think about what it means to be African American.

Their music, their art, dance, poetry, and other forms of artistic expression, is way out of the box. In that column I listed a few of them. I am proud to know them, to witness the growth of their craft, and to support them as they speak truth to life through their work. I indicated how they are surviving under the radar. As gifted as they are, we don’t hear about them.

Part of the blame is with the local media. The local outlets have been slow in understanding and promoting our local creative geniuses. For the most part, the Independent Weekly, the paper positioned to help us see the light, has been out of touch and late in reporting on this movement. We can’t blame them for that. They lack the staff that possesses sensitivity for what is happening among the African American creative community.

Cliff Bellamy over at the Herald-Sun does an amazing job of reaching out, staying connected and promoting the work of The Durham Renaissance. He is one person with a limited staff. He would do more if he could, but what’s up with the black press. The Triangle Tribune, Carolina Times and Spectacular have failed to fuel this movement.

One of the biggest stars of the Durham Renaissance is Purple St. James, formerly Yahzarah. She is counted among the elite artist in the nation, yet her music isn’t played in rotation in this market, and she stands as a giant among us void of the celebration she deserves.

Many of my readers may think I’m blowing smoke. Yeah right, that’s a bunch of bull. Thus, I challenge all of you to show up and see for yourselves. Purple St. James has her first official North Carolina EP listening part on Friday, June 27th at The 202 Lounge & Art Gallery, 6905-202 Fayetteville Road in the Renaissance Center at Southpoint above the Bake House Bristo.

The special guest will be another member of the Durham Renaissance crew- 9th Wonder of the hip-hop group Little Brother. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

It’s critical that we support the artist who prove great things are happening in Durham. It is the place to be if you’re interested in seeing and hearing the emergence of new creative voices. We have a good thing in Durham, but it feels bad when no one shows up to celebrate what it means to have you in our midst.

See you on Friday.
For more information, Email:thejaxtoncreative@gmail.com or call 919-475-0831


  1. So what is it we are supposed to be supporting? The young woman is the HOT PURPLE PANTS? Can we really hear a message with the distraction? Is this what represents a role model to other young women? Talent is one thing---class is another.

  2. You obviously have not met or heard Purple..She is indeed a class lady with a tremendous amount of talent..she studied some of her music at that prestigious institution NCCU which has a great music department and she has given several great festival appearances and club appearances here in the area..and some of her material was written by some top producers......what's that old saying about judging a book by its cover.................

  3. I did see that piece in the N&O. Thanks for doing it. You're right about the great talent in this area. We need to showcase as much a possible. And talent begets. Having Nnenna Freelon, Kim Arrington, Shirlette Ammons, Yahzarah, Phonte Coleman, Ninth Wonder and others give our place a gravitational pull that attracts future greats. Plus--if we can get the word out through all the media, the walls come tumbling down. Keep makin' you're joyful noise!

  4. Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! :)