“There [are] not a lot of activities about African American culture and arts,” said Ms. Lisa Byrd, Founder and Artistic Director of the Black Arts Movement performing arts festival. Black Arts Movement festival (BAM) is a celebration of African American artists in the new millennium. This three-week long event, she said, is “an opportunity to come out and focus on culture.” The goal is to spotlight the Black aesthetic of modern artists.
Now in its’ fourth year, BAM invites artists of all generations to showcase their talents by sharing cultural experiences through the mediums of music, dance, theater, poetry, comedy, art exhibits, and cooking. From Late Night Poetry at a local salon and culinary one-acts to one-woman theatrical performances, this year’s festival is sure to educate and entertain while breaking the boundaries of traditional black art. Black art does not just happen in a theatre, it happens everywhere.
Featured artists in this years’ festival includes local soul and R&B vocalist Tje (pronounced TYE) Austin, featured on the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Austin Music Volume 9 CD; Leela James, who was voted Female Vocalist of 2009 in the soultracks.com Reader’s Choice awards; Austin-based contemporary dance company Ballet Afrique; Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Dance Company of Brooklyn, a professional dance company that marries rigorous classical and modern technique with African-American soul and spirit; actress and screenwriter Timeca Seretti; and Capoeira Angola, a multiform phenomenon that draws elements from dance, fight, ritual, and musical performance.
Other artists participating in the festival include Amir Lyles; hardCore; Altered Stages; In House Free Style; Big Chief Kevin & the Flaming Arrows; Kelvin Girdy; Black Prince; La Shonda Lester; Catfish Poets ;Lenelle Moise; Chris Spivey & Nu Destiny; Lou Lou Igbokwe; Cipher Austin; Michael Stevens; Dallas Black Dance Theatre; Nadine Mozon; Damon Stith; Soul Fruit; Elizabeth Kahura; Emory Douglas; Eugene Lee; Toni Tipton; George Powell & Friends; and Wood & Strings Puppet Theatre.