Chicago has a profound black history. Nonetheless, we too often focus on the domestic side of stories without realizing the vibrant, powerful, and unique cultural heritage inherited by Chicago’s black community decades after decades. This Black History Month, Apple presents a unique opportunity for Chicagoans at Apple Michigan Avenue to honor Black History Month under a different light by bringing an underheard community, the Ghanaian-diaspora, to the front stage.
Hosted by Apple, this month’s Today at Apple sessions will focus on the theme “Black Resistance Through Art.” Featuring South Side artists and African-centered cultural organizations, these sessions will provide the rare opportunity for the audience to directly hear from the vast African diaspora about their experience, their identity development, and how they push boundaries with their art to raise new interests, discussions, and awareness on African American communities.
On Feb. 16th at 6:30 p.m., two Chicago artist from the South Side, Des Owusu and Lawrence Agyei will be discussing their creative collaborations and growing up as first generation Ghanaians. Creating creates vibrant and bold portraits, Lawrence Agyei uses his lens to capture the hidden languages of his subjects and reveal their stories and voices. Des Owusu, a creative designer and educator from Chicago’s south side, launched his clothing brand, We All We Got, in 2014 as a way to celebrate and embody the essence of his community. Through their work, both Owusu and Agyei seek to uplift and empower their communities and share their unique experiences with the world.
On Feb. 18th at 2:00 p.m., guests are invited to immerse in African music and culture presented by Azania Drum and students from Betty Shabazz International Charter School. Founded in 2000, Azania Drum is committed to mentor children and young adults by building discipline, leadership, and teamwork through the lens of West African music and culture. By teaching how to play Djembe and DunDuns, Azania Drum is adding an entirely new element of culture, creativity, and history to Chicago. Meanwhile, Betty Shabazz International Charter School prides itself with African-centered education, incorporating African cultural elements and influences found on each continent into every aspect of the school’s environment and curriculum to instill in the students a sense of history, responsibility, accountability, community, extended family, propriety, and pride.
As Chicago rapidly move forward on becoming more inclusive, understanding our very own South Side, which has been casted under biased, judgmental, and fear-driven light is a critical and irreplaceable step to building a more compassionate and vibrant community where all cultures can stand proudly. And what’s a better way to learn about a culture and a community than listening to the words and looking at the art from its members?
Therefore, if you’re looking to step away from traditional narratives and honor the history, presence, and future of Chicago’s black communities, sign up for these free events at Apple Chicago on Michigan Avenue. Learn about what being an African diaspora feels like in today’s Chicago, and what hope, creativity, and opportunities have sprouted from these journeys.
The “Black Resistance through Art” sessions are free to attend, but RSVP is required and can be made here. The sessions will take place at Apple Michigan Ave (401 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611).
Featured Image: Azania Drum