DUS June 2024 - BMM - Yolanda Adams

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Queen of Gospel Yolanda Adams Expands Her Kingdom...4
Celebrating Black Music Month
Anthony Hamilton
For Tickets: BONEY JAMES ANTHONY HAMILTON Presented by Xcel Energy
Boney James


Rosalind J. Harris


Brittany N. Winkfield


Lawrence A. James


Ruby Jones


Barry Overton


Christen Aldridge

Tanya Ishikawa

Ruby Jones

Latrice Owens

Wayne Trujillo

Brittany Winkfield


Tanya Ishikawa


Bee Harris


Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix


Melovy Melvin


Bernard Grant


Lawrence A. James

Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2024 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher.

Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment.

Write to Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446, email publisher@urbanspectrum or visit the Website at www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

Black excellence and impact is at the cornerstone of our community. The diaspora is rooted in rhythmic expression, with generations of people contributing to melodious movements through time. From pulsating drums to innovative guitar rips, beefy bass lines and ethereal vocals belting out jazz, funk, gospel, rock and blues, the soundtrack to the Black experience is vast.

We pay tribute to Black musicians and instrumentalists of the past, present and future this and every June during Black Music Appreciation Month, recognizing the artists creating a legacy in and outside of music.

Prolific gospel artist and businesswoman, Yolanda Adams, announces a special partnership with Denver-based Benjamin Banneker Watch and Clock Company in the cover story, written by Tanya Ishikawa. Phenomenal R&B and soul singer, Such, prepares to celebrate DUS’s 37th anniversary, the retirement of publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris and the launch of the Ruth Boyd Elder Abuse Foundation at Denver’s Voice on Oct. 19.

Writer Christen Aldridge speaks to local Alt-rock musician, Elyjah “Tribe” Youngblood about the contributions of Black people to alternative music; and writer Wayne Trujillo reflects on the history of Black country music singers as the world reacts to Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter.”

With summertime right around the corner, the city of Denver is gearing up for a jam-packed lineup of events, beginning with the Juneteenth Music Festival in Five Points. Writer Brittany Winkfield gets the inside scoop about this year’s festivities from community leader, Norman Harris, and shares a story about the meaningful microbrewery he co-owns with attorney Wayne Vaden.

Articles about outdoor activities, mental health, education and history round out this month’s publication, and set the stage for an exciting season ahead.

Enjoy the sounds of summer!

Even A “Good” Master Is Unacceptable Common Sense


Health Over Corporate Profit

Op-ed by Miah Ntepp

There’s not enough money…there’s not enough resources…there is not enough time!

This narrative of scarcity is a mechanism of grind culture, and Coloradans feel the burden. Productivity has increased in many cases in the United States; according to the Bureau of Labor statistics from 2000 to 2022, U.S. workers produced about 60% more “stuff” and only increased their hours worked by 10%.

What is also true is that wage theft is a serious problem in Colorado. The Colorado Fiscal Institute highlights that with nearly $730 million in wages stolen from nearly 440,000 Colorado workers every year, a disproportionate number of women and workers of color are affected. It’s clear that more needs to be done to stop this.

In the midst of a nationwide mental health crisis, Colorado families are working, building and producing just to get by, but at what cost?

Common sense reflects that there are consequences to holding ourselves to the lie of urgency and behaving like machines to desperately meet the obligations and fiduciary responsibilities of

shareholders, investors and CEOs. Last year, an advocacy group called Mental Health America conducted a survey of more than 5,000 employees. The findings revealed that 83% of participants experienced emotional exhaustion due to work, and 71% strongly believed that their workplace significantly impacted their mental wellbeing. A recent report by Mental Health Colorado reflects that Colorado is among the worst states in terms of mental health, with effects significantly impacting children.

The American idea of freedom of choice has been taken away. The option to choose family, friends, social commitments and mental health has been removed. Meanwhile, CEOs make 344times as much as typical workers CEOto-worker compensation ratio (Economic Policy Institute, 1965–2022).

Cambridge University defines enslavement as a practice “to control someone by keeping the person in a bad or difficult situation where the person is not free.” The reality for many Coloradans today is that they are obligated to work multiple jobs just to avoid losing essentials to survive, with little to no other choice or alternative. This is not freedom.

We need to remember the human cost of pushing to exhaustion, and the significant impacts to health when men-

tal health is not prioritized. We must not ignore the reality of the psychological impact that workplaces can have on employees. Millions of Coloradans spend a majority of their day – and a significantly increasing portion of their lifetime – at work. This increases the effects that workplaces have on employees’ mental health, physical health and overall well-being.

While we remember, we must remember that hope is resistance. Hope is disruptive, and it is our duty to push back against modern day slavery and demand freedom, rights and liberty no matter what the system has told us. We must acknowledge the reality that even a “good” master is unacceptable. We, the people, must advance policy that demands and prioritizes work-life balance, meaningful work, supportive work environments, physical health and safety, mental health support, fair compensation and benefits and workplace wellness initiatives.

Experts argue that there are genuine connections between excessive exhaustion, stress and poor physical health. We all benefit when communities have access to fair wages, working conditions and rest. Rest, for many individuals, working families and communities, is a form of medicine. We must try to remember who we were before the scarcity narrative.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 3 Volume 38 Number 3 June 2024

Yolanda Adams Expands Her Kingdom’s Business

Queen of Gospel partners with a Denver entrepreneur

Gospel artist, actress and synidicated radio show host Yolanda Adams believes we are all entrepreneurs. We are all in the business of success.

Adams is known as the Queen of Contemporary Gospel, having sold more than 10 million albums worldwide. She has been nominated for 14 Grammy awards, won four Grammys, named Billboard Magazine Gospel Artist of the decade 2000-2009, made many TV appearances, and shines in the role of a gospel superstar in the internationally distributed television series, Kingdom Business. But, her talents and ambitions go beyond music and acting. She is an intellectually astute businesswoman with a heart for children, teaching and education.

Her entrepreneurial endeavors include record producing, literary publishing, distributing her personal Yolanda Adams line of jewelry, and this summer, launching the luxury lifestyle brand Lady Banneker.

Partnering with the Denverbased Benjamin Banneker Watch and Clock Company, she has produced the first Lady Banneker watch, with more products planned in the future.

“Most people only know me as an artist. I've been in business for myself since 1993, and I take business very seriously. As a businesswoman, it is my job to find enterprises and opportunities that we can bless with more awareness and visibility,” explained Adams.

“Our philosophy and impact intent are to always bring to the market products and services that advance humanity. We always create products and services to enhance the lives of our clients,” she added.

Inspired to Share the Gospel

Born in Houston, Texas, Adams is the eldest of six siblings. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Texas Southern University, and worked briefly as a schoolteacher and parttime model.

After transitioning to a fulltime career as a lead singer, her

on Lady Banneker

first album was recorded in 1987. She has since recorded 12 more.

Her daughter, Taylor Ayanna Crawford, was born in 2001, the same year two albums, “The Experience” and “Believe,” were released. Believe included the hit ‘‘Never Give Up’’ that Adams performed at ‘‘The Salute to Gospel Music’’ at the White House during President George W. Bush’s administration.

In 2002, Adams’ album “Mountain High… Valley Low” peaked at no. 24, remained charted for 54 weeks, and sold more than a million copies in the United States. Believe peaked at no. 42 and “Verity

Presents: The Best of Yolanda Adams” sold more than 500,000.

She was dubbed by Variety magazine as the Queen of Urban Gospel, due to her pioneering blend of modern gospel and R&B, infused with a touch of jazz. Among her many accolades, in addition to her Grammy awards and nominations, are an American Music Award, two Soul Train Music Awards, four Dove Awards, 16 Stellar Awards, and seven NAACP Image Awards.

She served as a spokesperson for the FILA Corporation's Operation Rebound program, which addresses concerns of inner-city school children.

On April 18, 2013, she gave a prayer as the guest chaplain at the U.S. House of Representatives. In introducing her, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D-TX) said, “I rise today to celebrate a great American artist. …As was reflected in her prayer, Yolanda Adams through her music, has taught us to embrace God’s grace and mercy, and for those who will listen, to stand in the sunlight of joy as one looks toward the hopefulness of the future.”

In 2016, President Barack Obama presented Adams with the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for her volunteer service. She later received the Soul Train Music Awards Lady of Soul Award, and the Grammys on the Hill Awards for philanthropic measures and advocacy for

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 4

MusiCares Foundation assisting musicians in need.

Adams became co-chair of the Recording Academy's National Advocacy Committee in 2020.

Ventures into TV, Films, and Books

Adams’ first television appearance was performing as herself in an episode of the series, “In the House,” alongside LL Cool J in 1997. She acted in the role of Karla in an episode of “The Parkers” TV series with leading lady, Mo’Nique, in 2004, and as the voice of The Sun for three episodes of “Blue's Clues & You” in 2020.

Adams sang and acted in music videos of “Never Give Up” in 2001 and “This Too Shall Pass” in 2005. She also performed on the “Sweating in the Spirit” video, featuring gos pel aerobics, strength and Pilates training, and stretching led by Donna Richardson. Her film career started in 2008 with a feature film musical, Hopeville, where she performed as herself. In 2016, she acted as a gospel singer in the film, The Passion, and as a preacher in the major motion picture, Ride Along 2, alongside Kevin Hart and Ice Cube.

explores faith, love, forgiveness, protection, praise, and five more gifts as Adams reveals her own experiences to show how the Bible will enlighten readers and provide understanding to respond positively to life’s challenges.

And then came “Kingdom Business,” a TV series across two seasons, 2022-2023, where Adams is the leading lady for 16 episodes. She portrays gospel superstar Denita Jordan as

she oversees a music industry empire and deals with family drama and challenges from business partners and an upstart young singer with a checkered past. The show is viewed by millions, streaming on fuboTV, Bet+ Amazon Channel, Bet+, and BET+ Apple TV channel, and available for download on Apple TV, Amazon Video, and Google Play Movies.

Paving the way

A Longtime Banneker Fangirl

This year, as Adams prepares to release a new album and plans a concert tour, she is flexing her entrepreneurial muscles with the launch of Lady Banneker watches. This new venture has its roots in not only her personal history but also Black history.


In 2010, she authored and released “Points of Power,” a Christian book that encourages living a pure, spirit-filled Christian life. Inspired by the Points of Power segment from The Morning Show, the book

She created “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show,” a radio program based in Philadelphia and heard on stations across the country. Joined by co-host Marcus Wiley, her show was “all about waking up in the sandbox every morning and having F-U-N!” “It’s not a gospel show or an inspirational show, but a versatile overall morning show. I wanted to create a clean alternative morn ing show for people of faith,” she explained.

Established Juneteenth 2020, the BRIC Fund is celebrating four years of providing financial and leadership support to Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits.BRIC engages donors to invest their 5T’s—time, talent, treasure, testimony, and social ties to build Colorado’s Black communities.

BRIC is making a difference in OUR community, and you can help! Donate today and your donation will be matched throughout June, up to $50,000.


BRIC is “for us, by us”and led by a diverse Black board.

BRIC has granted nearly $5 million to support over 300 Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits.

BRIC’s programs have developed and strengthened over 250 nonprofit leaders of color.

BRIC collaborates with communities to build systemic change and achieve racial equity.

Building Strong Black Communities BRIC by BRIC

For more information, visit BRICFund.org and follow us on social media @bricfund or email us at connect@bricfund.org.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 5

Continued from page 5 Clock Company honor and preserve the legacy of its namesake. Banneker was a highly accomplished African American in the 1700s, who was a city planner and surveyor of Washington, D.C., astronomer, almanac author, and the first American to build a clock from wood.

Banneker’s legacy inspired company founder and CEO, Derrick M. Holmes, to develop a finely crafted watch and clock line. Each timepiece is designed to stir a sense of responsibility, family obligation, dynasty, and heritage.

“What sets us apart is that our timepieces are exclusive, no two are alike and they contain some exotic wood elements like zebra, red paddock, African maple, Egyptian tiger that come from places all over the world,” said Holmes, who had previously owned and operated an advertising firm with clients such as Coors, NBA, and TWA and founded Marquee Watch Company, featuring the signatures and likenesses of professional athletes.

NFL Hall of Famer Denver Broncos Running back Terrell Davis, Holmes’ cousin, has been with Holmes more than 25 years since Marquee, and is a Benjamin Banneker board member. NBA Hall of Famer Tim Hardaway Sr. has also been with watch entrepreneur since the Marquee days, and is president of Banneker watches

The Banneker brand, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, has been well received by diverse customers who are proud to celebrate African American excellence as well as accessorize with stylish, original watches. Celebrity watch lovers

like Spike Lee, Denise Nicholas, Snoop Dogg, Brad Pitt, and Tyler Perry can be seen sporting Banneker watches at major events.

Adams happily admitted, “I am the owner and giver of many Banneker timepieces. I love the brand so much that I've given away 20-plus watches to my brothers, nephews, and important people in my life. I personally own 12. And I wear them proudly.”

In fact, she is so fond of the brand that she took the time to post about her Bannekers, their packaging and the namesake’s story on Instagram. Holmes and Banneker Vice President and COO Dave Herda saw the Instagram posts, and ascertained they really were from the authentic Adams, so they reached out to say hello and thank her with a few gift watches.

For the past nine years, Adams can be seen with a Banneker on her wrist during most TV appearances.

A Banneker Line for the Ladies

During those years, little did Adams know that Holmes had another watch line in the works, and someday she would have ownership in that new line.

Holmes recalled, “It’s been a little better than 18 years since I came up with the concept of Lady Banneker. It just hit me one day, the whole notion of a watch and clock line with ancillary products made specifically for women.”

“I’ve always thought that Lady Banneker could be quite bigger than Banneker itself, because the nucleus of the African American spending dollar comes mainly from women in Black churches, Greek sororities, female executives, and entertainers,” he added. Adams is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

In 2023, Holmes decided Adams was the perfect partner

to bring Lady Banneker to life, so he asked their mutual friend, comedian Michael Colyar, to let her know about the potential partnership.

“She was on the set of Kingdom Business, but eventually called Michael back, saying she wasn’t ignoring him,” Holmes remembered. “He started telling me about how much she loved Banneker. Then, he said, ‘Are you sitting down?’”

Colyar reported that Adams’ answer to the Lady Banneker partnership was: yes, yes, yes, yes.

As Lady Banneker cofounder and CEO, Adams said, “Mr. Holmes could have partnered with anyone in the entertainment and sports world. To be trusted with the name, the history, and the quality of the brand is a responsibility that we take very seriously. We are dedicated to making sure that our expansion brings more respect and awareness of the great product that is Lady Banneker. It is easy to stand behind anything you believe. Lady Banneker is no exception.”

While Holmes will design and produce the watches with the trademark styling that Adams fell in love with, she will have creative control and develop the promotional program. “I’ll get to introduce designs that have been trapped inside me, dying to get out, but she has the last word. I’m here with concepts to support, but Ms. Adams will also contribute designs. It’s going to be her world,” he explained.

She added, “I have an amazing global following that allows me to travel the world experiencing cultures and humanity in various ways. I believe they will embrace Lady Banneker as the luxury brand we're creating because I am always asked ‘What are you wearing? Who is that by?’ Also, quality is what we stand for at Lady Banneker. My family (fans) knows that we never produce anything we do not use ourselves on a daily basis.”

One of Adams’ favorite Banneker watches is the Black Eagle Baller, that Holmes developed with the late Joe Madison, a former Banneker business partner, national radio show host, and civil rights activist. So, the first Lady Banneker watch is an updated version of that style with both pink and black watch straps. Each watch is labeled as an inaugural collection, limited edition, and becomes a collectible to be handed down from generation to generation. They can be purchased online at


The watch line will start with more affordable options, then add high-end with crystals, and ultra-luxury options with precious gems. As a lifestyle brand, other products will include sunglasses, collector writing pens, colognes, purses, luggage, clothing, and other designer items. Another line will also be developed with clothing and a goal of teaching kids how to tell time.

“Partnering with Banneker and Derrick Holmes to establish and create the luxury lifestyle brand of Lady Banneker is very important to me,” concluded Adams. “Mr. Holmes is a great man who stands wholeheartedly by the Banneker brand, and I've seen firsthand his passion for great products and innovations. It was important to me to collaborate with Banneker because of the historical significance of the first innovation in timepiece creation. Benjamin Banneker's legacy should be taught worldwide to show the determination and ingenuity of what happens when you put genius and purpose together. It is vital now more than ever to share our impeccable history.”.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about Lady Banneker and purchase a beautiful new timepiece, visit www.LadyBanneker.com.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 6

Expanding Our Worldview

A conversation hosted by World Denver

On Friday, May 3, Denver Urban Spectrum was invited to participate in a unique crosscultural experience in conjunction with World Denver, a local organization that promotes a greater understanding of world affairs throughout the Denver Metro area. Highlighting the publication’s ongoing efforts to amplify underrepresented voices from Colorado communities, DUS staff and contributors met with five visiting journalists and communications professionals from abroad and engaged in extensive and meaningful discussion around the topic, “Diversity in the Newsroom.”

A Global Conversation

Founded in April 2012, World Denver has worked to promote intercultural understanding and connection in and around Denver for over 12 years. The organization facilitates international exchange programs, annually bringing approximately 600 visitors to the Mile High City from over 100 countries, and hosting community engagement events centered around global issues. Held under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the exchange program provides opportunities for networking with diplomats, authors, state and city leaders, policy experts and globallyminded Coloradans, as they engage with people from all around the world.

DUS Managing Editor Ruby Jones, contributing writer Christen Aldridge and intern Mona Cedilla engaged in a

delightful conversation with five journalists and communications professionals representing Colombia’s Indigenous and Afro-Colombian population.

Diana Jembuel Morales, Karina Madrid Murillo, Vanessa Marquez Mena, Leidy Palacios Dinas and Daniela Viveros Duran were accompanied by interpreters who eliminated communication barriers and allowed the conversation to flow, with topics related to diversity, racial equity, representation and cultural norms.

After a brief overview of DUS’ role in covering issues related to communities of color, the guests asked in-depth questions about the challenges and successes the publication has experienced throughout the years.

Among the many thoughtprovoking questions, several inquiries evoked a great deal of reflection about technological advancements, social changes, and DUS’ efforts to center diversity in the planning and implementation of community engagement. While the bulk of the publication’s content involves local and national news, the conversational experience shined a light on the importance of representation on a global level.

Following questions about story selection and audience demographics, one of the guest’s questions catapulted the meeting into a higher level of awareness and opened the floor for dialogue about an issue with modern, historical and international relevance.

Deeper Than Skin

The “About Us’’ page on the DUS website states that the

monthly publication has operated in Denver since 1987 “with a mission to educate, inform and enlighten by spreading the news about people of color.” The use of the phrase “people of color” was questioned by one of the Afro-Colombian guests, who expressed that in her country, being called a person of color would garner a negative response. She stated the term carried negative connotations, and she was taken aback by its use. With curiosity in her eyes and an open-minded approach, she asked for an explanation.

Considering the evolution of the phrase over time, her reaction was warranted.

The word “colored” was first used by the Spanish and Portuguese to describe darkskinned people in South America during early colonization in the 14th century. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the word was first recorded in 1758, in a translation of a Spanish term “mujeres de color” (meaning women of color) in Antonio de Ulloa’s “A Voyage to South America.” Of the stated 12 million slaves shipped across the ocean during the Transatlantic slave trade, over 4 million were brought to South America, with approximately 3.5 landing in Brazil. Therefore, the term “colored” existed there as a tie to the horrific practice of enslavement; the international visitor’s reaction to “people of color” suggests that there are still hardened feelings about any derivative use in South American countries to this day.

The dehumanizing use of the word was adopted into North American vernacular by the 18th

and 19th centuries, and was used to describe anyone who was not referred to as white. Like “negro” and “mulatto,” “colored” was used openly, with origins noted in the 1700s.

In an article published by the African American Intellectual History Society titled, “The Lexicon Origins of People of Color,” writer Warren Milteer Jr. discusses varied perspectives as well as criticisms about ways in which “colored” has evolved into the use of the phrase “people of color,” noting that the term originated in the last decades of the twentieth century. Milteer states that there are numerous critics who suggest “people of color” is a catchall which erases the identity of non-white people and lumps them together.

Further, during recent years, the use of the increasingly popular acronym “BIPOC” – meaning Black and Indigenous people of color – has been used to group non-white individuals without consideration to their race or nationality. To some, the absence of Asian, Hispanic, African and other groups from the classification is unfair and unrepresentative of our society’s beautiful diversity.

Over time, there has been a great deal of evolved terminology in the United States when it comes to the Black community. Self-identification has changed to include terms such as “AfroAmerican,” “African American” and “Black” – words representing identity, ownership and pride. “People of color” – in America –is a term commonly used to refer to the array of nationalities, ethnicities, racial backgrounds and cultural heritage enjoyed by melanated, multi-racial and nonEuropean people.

Once a brief history of the phrase and its large-scale acceptance was explained, the inquisitive guest nodded with understanding. It was a remarkable moment of discovery; all of the participants expressed a newfound awareness of the

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 8

importance of language amid globalization. The relief that the term was used in a positive way in the United States was palpable, and the realization that it did not carry the same meaning in other parts of the world was an indispensable, educational moment.

Representation Matters

The question of identity highlighted the importance of diversity in newsrooms. In addition to highlighting cultural differences on a national scale, it is critical that media sources in the United States consider their impact on increasingly global platforms. Other questions asked by the Colombian guests sought to explore DUS’ coverage in regard to communities in and outside of Colorado.

The journalists wanted to know what criteria was used to select stories, referencing the tendency of some international newsrooms to focus on

audiences composed of a certain class versus publishing stories reflective of the community’s interests at-large. They were interested in finding ways to increase both representation and impact back home.

As a community-based newsroom, DUS highlights people and organizations working to improve lives, in addition to news that will benefit readers. By working directly with members of the community to support grassroots initiatives, timely stories are shaped by the people themselves. Additionally, the publication engages with business owners, public figures and political leaders to determine which stories will positively impact economic and governmental outcomes and lend to a better social landscape throughout the state. The visitors were encouraged to utilize marketing tools to simplify their outreach efforts, and to continue to build

Investing in Denver’s future.

Economic Prosperity, One Student at a Time.

upon endeavors that represent people from all walks of life.

Another important question was asked about accessibility and DUS’ efforts to ensure that the publication is able to be read by non-English-speaking communities. One of the main focus areas for the newsroom in recent years has been to increase accessibility and readability for all.

In addition to the traditional print method of publishing, technological advancements such as website updates have streamlined stories in an easyto-read format. A major benefit of a well-functioning website is full translatability on any web browser. For example, when using Google Chrome, readers can select the customization option on the website and select “Translate,” in order to change all of the online articles published by DUS to the language of their choosing.

Learning from Neighbors

The eye-opening conversation revealed many areas in which DUS is successfully implementing strategies that increase accessibility for a global audience. As the multi-phase digital transformation continues, diversification is prioritized with intercultural representation as a central focus. The conversation also revealed the necessity of considerations that will position the publication to meet the needs of an increasingly global community as time progresses. For World Denver and other organizations striving to eliminate barriers through educational experiences, youth programs, fellowships and homestay hosting are the greatest way to bring people together to build understanding and diplomacy..

Editor’s Note: To learn more about World Denver and get involved with the cross-cultural programming, visit www.worlddenver.org

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The Denver air crackles with anticipation as Juneteenth weekend approaches. Five Points, the city’s historically Black neighborhood, is abuzz with activity. The community awaits the day when tents rise on Welton Street like vibrant mushrooms, each one promising a taste of Black excellence, sizzling street food, handcrafted jewelry and artwork bursting with cultural pride. This isn’t just a festival – it’s a homecoming and a celebration of the resilience of Denver.”

Norman Harris, a community leader and the owner of Mile High Festivals, beams with pride as he describes the event. “Juneteenth is about the energy,” he says. “Bringing so many people back to Five Points, folks who haven’t been down here in years. It’s a reunion, a celebration of who we are.”

This year, the energy is electric. The festival will feature a star-studded lineup, with international recording hiphop artist, Bow Wow, headlining. A unique highlight this year is the first-ever “Juneteenth Lifetime Achievement Award,” which will be presented to Denver basketball legend Chauncey

Bow Wow to Headline Denver’s Juneteenth Festival as City Honors Local Legend Chauncey Billups

Billups on Sunday, June 16, which is also Father’s Day.

“Chauncey’s a pillar in the community,”

Harris explains. “His dedication, not just on the court but also off it, exemplifies the spirit of Juneteenth – celebrating achievement while acknowledging the work that remains.”

Billups will be inducted into the 2024 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this August.

The journey to Juneteenth in Denver began in 1966, spearheaded by Otha P. Rice Sr., a figure deeply connected to the Black community who brought his knowledge of the celebration with him when relocating from Texas, beginning the tradition that has only grown stronger with time.

Five Points has always been the heart of Denver’s Juneteenth celebrations, however, the Juneteenth Music Festival, established by Harris in 2012, solidified the neighborhood’s role as a cultural epicenter. Now, more than 200 vendors line the streets, offering

a marketplace of artistic expression and creativity from local business owners. Local musician, Gregory Goodloe, is set to take the main stage with his soulful guitar melodies adding to the festival atmosphere. Spangalang, a local brewery coowned by Harris, will have its own stage featuring local performers. “It’s about showcasing our community’s talent, giving everyone a platform to shine,” says Harris.

As the festival unfolds, the transformation of Welton Street will be nothing short of magical. The normally quiet thoroughfare will become a pulsating artery of Black culture. The aroma of turkey legs will mingle with the sounds of laughter and live music, and the Juneteenth Parade will snake its way through the throngs of people, a tradition dating back to the 1950s.

Juneteenth welcomes reflection, learning and a collective understanding of community.

Dream Big Awards are held during the holiday each year to honor individuals making a positive impact in their communities. The 2024 Dream Big honorees include Allie Duncan, owner of Urban Sanctuary;

Bianka Emerson, president of the Colorado Black Women for Political Action; Councilmember Darrell Watson, City Council District 9; Justin Gilmore, business development director of Gilmore Construction; and Dr. Ryan Ross, president and CEO of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado.

In advance of the celebration, the energy Harris spoke of is palpable. From June 15 to 16, the historic neighborhood will be filled with families at the activated youth zone, the rhythmic sway of bodies on the dance floor and the shared stories of the resilient spirit of a people who continue to rise.

Juneteenth Music Festival is free and open to the public; however, those who wish to elevate the festival experience can do so with the purchase of a VIP pass which offers frontof-stage access, discounted drinks and other perks.

As Denver’s Juneteenth celebrations evolve, the future promises continued growth and community engagement. The occasion carries a spirit that lives on in the hearts of the community – a reminder of the past, a celebration of the present and an inspiration for generations to come. It’s a spirit, as Harris says, “that never gets old.”.

Editor’s note: For more information about the Juneteenth Music Festival, volunteer and vendor opportunities, visit www.JuneteenthMusicFestival.com

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Black Alternative Music

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed a decree naming June as a month of recognition, honoring Black people’s contribution and involvement in the creation of music.

Despite hosting a celebration on the White House Lawn, Carter did not sign a special presidential proclamation to make the ongoing celebration official. In 2000, the bill establishing Black Music Appreciation Month was passed by the U.S. Congress to highlight Black influences on American culture.

The history of Black music predates written records, tracing back to the drumbeats heard throughout the Motherland, to creative expression through modern blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, funk and hip hop. Even genres that have a predominantly white base of creators and audiences, such as classical, country and the many derivatives of rock and roll are evolved from the influence of Black song makers.

Like most activities and forms of recreation, generalizations and stereotypes regarding who likes and listens to which type of music underestimate areas where diversity thrives. Just like there are numerous Black instrumentalists who create beautiful classical music, and singers who have helped shape country music, there are diverse audiences around the world whose music tastes are not limited by racial boundaries.

When it comes to rock and its modernized alternative sub-

genre, the Black influence and audience deserves to be acknowledged.

The History of Alternative Rock

The late 1960s and early 1970s were tumultuous times in American history, marked by significant social and political upheaval. The Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam War protests and the Women’s Liberation Movement were just a few of the prominent forces driving change during the era.

Alternative rock, or Alt-rock, has deep roots in rebellion and counterculture, stemming from a desire to break away from mainstream norms and express individuality. While they may have been initially associated with certain demographics, particularly young white males, it is imperative to recognize the contributions of Black artists to the genre.

Rosetta Tharpe, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix and Prince are some of the pioneering Black musicians in rock and roll history whose legacy is often recognized as the earliest inspiration to modern rock musicians today. Tharpe, a self-taught guitarist, crossed over from gospel to rock and roll music and created the classic rock sound, earning the affectionate title of “The Godmother of Rock and Roll.”

Hendrix, who is recognized as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century,

pioneered the possibilities of the electric guitar, forever changing the genre.

Evolved from independent music scenes that valued artistic integrity over commercial success, Alt-rock encompasses a wide range of sounds and styles, united by a shared ethos of independence and non-conformity. Black artists have played pivotal roles in shaping rock music in all its forms, bringing unique perspectives, talent and experiences to the forefront of the genre.

Ultimately, Alt-rock serves as a platform for expressing rebellion, conciliating alienation and satisfying a desire for authenticity. It is known for lyrics that address social concern, blending influences from punk rock, hard rock, hip hop and folk music. Though it may have originated from specific cultural contexts, its influence and appeal extends far beyond narrow demographics, resonating with anyone who values creativity, individualism and the power of music to challenge the status quo.

Black Alt-Rock Artists

The emergence of Black rock bands in the 1980s brought forth a dynamic fusion of musical influences and cultural expressions that is often overlooked in mainstream narratives.

Artists like Living Colour, Rage Against the Machine, Fishbone and Bad Brains have made significant contributions to the genre, pushing boundaries and blending different styles to create something entirely new.

The Black Alt-rock band, Living Colour brought a vibrant mix of hard rock, funk, and jazz to the forefront with their 1988 album “Vivid,” challenging stereotypes and garnering critical acclaim. Similarly, Rage Against the Machine, led by Mexican, African and Jewish singer Zack De La Rocha, fused elements of rap and metal to

create a politically charged sound that resonated with audiences around the world.

Rage Against The Machine brought a fierce political edge to their music, drawing from the rebellious spirit of punk and hip-hop to address social injustices. The Veldt and TV On The Radio continued this tradition of experimentation, incorporating elements of psychedelia, electronica and Alt-rock into their sonic landscapes.

Black Alt-rock bands have drawn upon international influences to create fresh, unique sounds. Fishbone brought an eclectic approach to music, incorporating ska, funk, punk and more, exemplifying the spirit of experimentation that characterized the Alt-rock scene of the 1990s. Bad Brains, pioneers of hardcore punk, infused their music with reggae and funk influences, further expanding the sonic palette of rock.

Together, these artists reshaped the landscape of rock music, demonstrating the power of diversity and the importance of embracing different perspectives and influences. Their legacies continue to inspire new generations of musicians and listeners alike, ensuring that the impact of Black musicians on rock music will never be overlooked again.

Black & Alt-Rock in Denver Elyjah “Tribe” Youngblood knows a lot about not judging a book by its cover. Towering

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 12

most people at 6-feet, 8-inches, the tall Black man with long locs is not the typical image of an Alt-rock artist.

“A lot of people are shocked that I play alternative rock music,” he says with a chuckle.

Youngblood is a Californian who moved to Colorado two years ago to pursue his musical dreams. His background consists of early exposure to gospel, funk and rock. As a child, he attended the Emmanuel Baptist megachurch in San Jose, a religious institution that drew the attention of famed musicians such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Bootsy Collins and others, who were known to hire musicians directly from the church band.

“I was like little Michael Jackson with the afro, singing in front of a large audience of close to 5,000 people a day,” he recalls. “I started singing to a large audience at the age of 7 in the church, and it exposed me to so much music.”

Youngblood was mentored by renowned drummer Louie Bellson, who has played with Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and James Brown. As he got older, he picked up the drums and found a connection between gospel and rock and roll. He stepped into Alt-rock after losing his voice as a teenager, and discovered that his matured voice had developed a vocal growl. At the same time, he was recovering from a torn ACL, which ended his basketball dreams and put him on the path to music education. Two days before his birthday during his freshman year at St. Mary’s College, he lost his grandmother and fell into a deep depression. Guitar was the light at the end of the tunnel.

He reflects on the difficult time, saying, “You can really see yourself. The guitar made me go to rock because I didn’t have the same melody.”

In 2019, he wrote his first Alt-rock song, “Don’t Make

Believe,” establishing his own signature sound. It pushed him to explore music further. Going on to obtain a master’s degree in piano, vocals and drums, he paired his classical training from school with his real-life studies about his favorite bands.

Currently, Youngblood plays in a two-piece band with a saxophonist, alternating between playing drums and guitar. In addition to Alt-rock, he plays reggae, jazz and funk. When discussing his experience as an Alt-rock artist and the audiences he plays for in Denver, he calls the stereotypical and discriminatory ideas surrounding music in the Denver scene as an “illusion of inclusion.”

“A lot of people are shocked and taken aback by the fact that I play the guitar and sing alternative rock. Why is this a shock? Rock music is a part of my culture. It is a part of me.” he says.

“Black people have stories to tell and we can tell those stories through alt-rock.”

Exploring New Genres

Denver is home to multiple musical ecosystems, with many band members playing in more than one band. Music enthusiasts who would like to explore Alt-rock and other forms of music from Black artists in the city can often find small venues that feature local bands with calendars containing diverse music styles and artists, in addition to utilizing event calendars for specific event information.

Music has been referred to as the “universal language of mankind,” and while Black influences abound in every genre, Black Music Appreciation Month is an opportunity to explore the cultural richness in music being made today, while remembering the contributions made throughout history..

May 5–August 11, 2024

IMAGE: DRIFT, Meadow (detail), 2017. Aluminum, stainless steel, printed fabric, LEDs, and robotics; dimensions variable. Represented by PACE Gallery. © 2024 DRIFT. Photograph by Oriol Tarridas, courtesy of Superblue Miami. Biophilia: Nature Reimagined is organized by the Denver Art Museum. It is presented with generous funds from Luncheon by Design and the Adolph Coors Exhibition Endowment Fund, the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the residents who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine and CBS Colorado.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 13

Groundbreaking Groundbreaking Celebration Celebration

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Celebrates New Center for the Healing Arts

F F acility expansion for the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD) Theatre in Denver kicked off on Wednesday, May 15 with a lively groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the highly-anticipated addition of the new Cleo Parker Robinson Center for the Healing Arts. National dance leaders, local civic leaders, philanthropists and supporters gathered together at the CPRD Theatre to celebrate the official launch of the facility expansion, which will serve as the largest African American cultural hub in the Rocky Mountain region upon completion.

The groundbreaking ceremony was emceed by CPRD President and CEO, Malik Robinson, who discussed the extraordinary effort made to bring the beautifully-envisioned space to fruition.

Modernized Beauty with Timeless Features

Designed by Fentress Architects, artistic renderings of the Center for Healing Arts exterior depict a gorgeous, modern building addition fea-

turing a two-story glass atrium. The project will be brought to life by Mortenson Construction, with the most remarkable feature of the new center embedded along the entire East-facing exterior wall of the building.

Labanotation, an archival movement transcription system predating video and digital technology, is the written score of choreographed movement. Similar to sheet music used by instrumentalists, Labanotation contains vertical scales and symbols which represent a dancer’s steps, leaps, pauses, groups and other movements, codifying in spatial terms what an audience sees throughout a performance.

The East wall of the Center for the Healing Arts will be layered with environmentally-sustainable solar panels, with Labanotation of Parker Robinson’s “Mary Don’t You Weep” masterwork choreography layered into each panel.

Created over 50 years ago for her “Spiritual Suite” performance, the choreography depicts a moving story of love, loss, comfort and the reclamation of life. The original 1971 performance was created by Parker Robinson as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.; it also expresses her deep grief following the loss of her younger brother, John Whalon Jr., who died in his sleep at age 19.

Professor Emerita Patty Harrington Delaney of the Southern Methodist University

Dance Division, and Professor of Dance Julie Brokie of the Kenyon College Dance, Drama and Film worked to transcribe “Mary Don’t You Weep,” using the archival method of transcription. The Labanotation specialists stated, “The walls outside will reflect the legacy of the work inside.”

For Parker Robinson, who founded CPRD one year before choreographing “Mary Don’t You Weep,” the momentous full circle occasion and use of her iconic masterwork is especially endearing.

“If the walls of our beloved Historic Shorter AME facility could speak, they would share our story,” she said. “They have seen the light and beauty of a strong community. I am deeply honored that the extension of this space and the new walls include my choreography and its timeless story.”

A Joyous Occasion

West African drummers and musicians played the soundtrack for the outdoor groundbreaking event, elevating the environment with riveting sounds and evoking excitement among guests as a number of speakers gave heartwarming addresses in support of CPRD and its future endeavors.

City leaders, including former Denver Mayor Michael J. Hancock and Denver Councilor Darrell Watson were in attendance to show support for the cultural institution.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis appeared by video to congratulate the organization, pledge his support, and thank the dance company for the cultural and educational impact made over its 53-year history.

Virginia Johnson, a founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, dubbed “the Misty Copeland of her generation,” was in attendance, along with Joan Myers Brown, founder of PHILANDANCO! and the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD).

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 14

Several dance enthusiasts, including Marissa Hollingsworth, founder and artistic director of Presenting Denver and an alum of the CPRD ensemble, spoke about the importance of the organization’s programming in Colorado Communities. CPRD Vice Chair Dr. Shale Wong, discussed her experience as a mother of two CPRD Youth Ensemble dancers. As executive director of the Eugene S. Farley Health Policy Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, she commended the organization for its positive impact on health and wellness.

CPRD was also recognized for its educational outreach programs throughout the state of Colorado by Amy Parsons, president of Colorado State University; and for its civic engagement and social justice impact by Nita Gonzalez, principal of Nuevo Amanecer

Latino Children’s Services LLC.

Another noted attendee was cultural arts leader George Sparks, CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Breaking Ground

CPRD’s renovated, ADA accessible theatre is home to nearly 30 nonprofit and arts organizations who rent and use the space to support their work. The organization facilitates the CPRD Ensemble, the Cleo II second ensemble, a Youth Ensemble and a Junior Youth Ensemble. It also hosts a yearround Academy of Dance, teaching 1,000 students of all ages and hosting an international summer dance institute along with in-school lecture demonstrations. The Arts-InEducation outreach program provides curriculum to nearly 80 schools, and the Arts-InWellness program creates collaborative partnerships in the areas of movement, health, civic engagement, community events

and policy development for arts advocacy in education and health equity.

The expansion of CPRD as a dance and cultural anchor in Denver will have international repercussions, as the organization’s artistic and educational impact is poised to grow stronger throughout the world. It will also facilitate job growth and workforce development, with technical learning programs for aspiring theater professionals.

Set to open in September 2025, the new space will add to the institution’s magnificent legacy, with 25,000 added square feet containing a new theatre, ADA-accessible reception area, new movement studios, offices, rehearsal spaces and classroom spaces.

At the end of the ceremony, Parker Robinson gave closing remarks, speaking eloquently about her lifelong devotion to the art of dance and her com-

mitment to Colorado’s ongoing advancement through the Center for the Healing Arts after years of programming excellence and growth. To officially break ground on the land where the new Center for the Healing Arts will sit, five shovel groups representing IABD Founders, the CPRD Capital Campaign and Facility Development Team, Denver Public Officials, Key Foundation and Community Supports, and CPRD Founders and Legacy Supporters dug into the hardened earth as attendees cheered.

With a vision derived from Parker Robinson’s childhood, CPRD has made a groundbreaking impact on the community of Denver and in the world of dance, with a legacy that will live on well into the future. .

Editor’s Note: For more information about CPRD’s events and educational outreach programs, visit www.cleoparkerdance.org

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 15
An Elegant Evening of Entertainment DENVER URBAN SPECTRUM 37TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION ROSALIND “BEE” HARRIS RETIREMENT PARTY RUTH BOYD ELDER ABUSE FOUNDATION BENEFIT honorary chairs GREG AND NINA HENDERSON MOORE NOOR EVENT CENTER - 6 TO MIDNIGHT Call: 303-292-6444 Email: denversvoice@gmail.com Tickets: https://bit.ly/4aDq0J2 Visit: www.denverurbanspectrum.com OCTOBER 19, 2024 comedy • spoken word • dance • musicians • singers National Recording Artist www.iamsuch.com Such www.nooreventcenter.com Theo “Lucifury” Wilson · Vickilyn Reynolds · Shane Franklin · Mary Louise Lee · Sam Adams · Louis Johnson · Darryl Collier Ron Ivory · Tom Sandquist · Gregory Goodloe · Tony Exum Jr. · Skip Lynch · Jeroan Adams · Tony Price · Sethe · Linda Theus Lee Linda Styles · Chester McSwain · Julius Williams

Such Celebrates with Denver Urban Spectrum

A Soulful Salute to 37 Years

Her soft, melodic tone is reminiscent of the rhythmic soul sounds of the 1990s. Her dynamic vocal range and impassioned lyrics encapsulate a myriad of emotion, taking listeners on a journey into the human experience. She is a refreshing breath of air in an industry saturated with sameness. She is unique. She is divine. She is Such.

On Oct. 19, the sultry songstress will grace the stage of the Noor Event Center in Aurora, singing in celebration of Denver Urban Spectrum’s 37th year in publication and headlining the Denver’s Voice anniversary event. Though she lives and performs locally, her talents have taken her around the world. The opportunity to see her perform live is a special treat.

Early Beginnings

Born in Boston, the East Coast native grew up in Long Island, New York; the Hyde Park neighborhood in the southernmost part of Boston; and in Lancaster, a small town west of the city where lush greenery and farmland abounds.

Her moniker, a combination of her birth name, Su, and a surname acquired by marriage, Charles, made headlines in the Mile High City back in 2012, when she was vying for the top spot on season 11 of the popular singing contest show, “American Idol.” Yet, the path to her musical purpose began long before the Idol stage.

Such’s earliest introduction to music was in church. She was raised by parents who immigrated from Haiti; her mother worked as a school teacher and her father was a pastor, so she sang in the choir and ultimately fell in love with music.

In school she explored musical arts further, playing the flute and joining every choir she could. Recognizing her natural talent, her jazz band director urged her to audition for a group called the High School Grammy Jazz Ensemble (now Grammy Band). She nailed the audition, and was whisked away on a 10-day, all-expensepaid trip to Los Angeles, where she and her bandmates performed at jazz clubs all over the city. The band even recorded an album, and performed at the official Grammy nominee party before attending the prestigious Grammy Awards ceremony.

“I was completely intimidated, because every kid there knew that they were going to be musicians. They all went to performing arts high schools, and some of them were already on their second and third albums. It was a whole different world,” she recalls.

“It was a slice of a musician’s life; and it was at that moment that I was like, ‘Oh, I could do this!’”

Upon returning home, she created a PowerPoint presentation as part of an appeal to her parents to allow her to attend the nearest performing arts high school. Her parents recognized her talent, but the nearest school was an hour away. They endorsed a more grounded approach, encouraging their courageous daughter to have a backup plan that she could rely on if music couldn’t sustain her right away.

Deciding that music would be her outlet, Such graduated from high school and traveled all the way to Riverside, California, where she earned a degree in exercise science from La Sierra University. She continued to sing in praise groups and church choirs on the West Coast, then moved to Chicago, Illinois, impressing church audiences throughout the Windy City as she praised.

With aspirations of becoming a physical therapist, Such made her way to Denver. When she arrived she switched gears and attended Regis University’s nursing program, graduating in one year and working as a registered nurse before deciding to sing full-time. Now, along with her singing career, she helps families find their forever homes as an experienced real estate agent.

Finding Her Sound

For the last 10 years, Such has refined her sophisticated sound with the help of a vocal coach, adding to the real-life performance experience gained from a lifetime of singing in church choirs.

“Unlike other instruments, my instrument is housed in my body, which is a whole different ball game,” she laughs. “So much of singing is not about what you hear, because what I’m hearing is not what you’re hearing. It’s sort of vibrating through my face – it’s in the bones. It’s very different. So, singing as a vocalist is so much about how it feels, and learning

that has been one of the biggest and most empowering things.”

Inspired by R&B and neosoul music from artists like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Maxwell and Music Soulchild, 90’s R&B is at the foundation of Such’s uniquely sweet, satisfying sound. Every song tells a story of love, longing and life, with themes of strength and revival. Her studio recording sessions feature live bands and the richness of real instrumentation, but her performances are what capture the hearts of each crowd she entertains.

“I think the magical thing about performing is that it’s literally co-creation between myself and the audience. So even if I’m performing the same show 10 nights in a row, every night is going to be different because the audience needs different things. And we’re creating this space, right? I like to think that I also adapt to the vibe of the audience,” she muses. “It’s definitely interactive.”

Creating a Modern Legacy

From concert halls around the globe to small, intimate venues, fans are enamored by Such’s vibrant spirit and beautiful personality. The musician has mastered the art of social media marketing as a way to connect directly with her supporters.

Modern approaches to fan base interaction involve a great deal of technological connection, and unlike many entertainers, her online presence is curated as an extension of herself.

“It’s really important for me to be authentic and not be manicured,” she says, noting that she prefers the person-to-person interaction that live performance provides because “that’s where the real magic happens.”

In 2019, Such released her sophomore album, “Wide Nose Full Lips,” capturing the attenContinued on page 18

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 17

What genre of music do you play, and do you play any instruments?

I’m a contemporary smooth jazz guitarist. I also play R&B, gospel, blues, rock n’ roll and standard jazz. I play guitar, drums, bass and keyboard, and I’m a songwriter and music producer.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in Park Hill.

What motivated you to start performing for audiences?

At age 14, I wanted to honor the elderly, so I started playing at nursing homes.

Are you self-taught, or did you study music?

I’m self-taught, and I received a music scholarship to Bishop College in Dallas, Texas.

How would you describe your artistic/entertainment style?

Some of my favorite groups and performers are Earth, Wind & Fire, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Ohio Players, The Zapp Band and Nile Rodgers of Chic. My style of playing guitar also comes from my friend and mentor, George Benson, and early influences from hearing John L. “Wes” Montgomery’s music when I was too young to hold a guitar. My cousin, Larry Goodloe, told me, “If you can play like this, then you will be there!” I recently performed a tribute show in honor of Montgomery. I also have to

mention that Ronny Jordan, B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix have been a significant influence on my playing style.

Who/What is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is The Most High God, because without him there would be no me.

What is your favorite thing about being an entertainer?

The ability to help others. I say this because I remember playing The Copper Mountain Jazz Festival a few years back, and a couple came to me in tears and said, “We didn’t know what we were going to do til we heard you.” I’m like, “What?” They said that they were headed for divorce; So whatever magic happened during that show caused them to stay together. Music is love!

If you could collaborate with any other performer from any time-period, who would that be and why?

I would collaborate with Sade right now, in this day and age because she is extraordinary!

Do you have any upcoming performances?

I will be appearing on Sirius XM radio’s “Watercolors” and on all contemporary smooth jazz radio stations near you! Locally, I will be performing my latest song “Groovin’ On,” along with other favorites on June 2 at the Beautillion-Cotillion’s 14th Annual Gala; June 16 at the Juneteenth Music Festival; July 13 at the Colorado Black Arts Festival. Then I’ll be on tour in Phoenix, Arizona from Oct. 9-12 before returning to Denver to play Denver Urban Spectrum’s “Denver’s Voice Anniversary Event on Oct. 19.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise our readers.

I’m a No. 1 Billboard, Grammy-considered, platinumselling recording artist; I’m the CEO, and executive director of Hip Jazz Records Inc.; and my uncle is blues singer Vernon Garrett.

Denver’s Voice: An Elegant

Celebrating 37 years of community reporting

For nearly four decades, Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) has represented Colorado’s communities of color, amplified underrepresented voices and partnered with organizations and individuals to shine a light on the stories that matter most. In this time, the publication has hosted numerous exciting events, welcoming community members to celebrate the lives and legacies of impactful men and women whose leadership has advanced social, educational, business, political and cultural institutions.

Founded in 1987 by publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris, DUS has survived the many challenges facing newsrooms across the country, including mass-digitization, economic recessions and technological transitions. Harris fought against every obstacle while creating relationships with city and community leaders and establishing the publication as a staple in households throughout the city of Denver. She persevered in spite of professional tribulations and personal challenges and managed to create opportunities for dozens of aspiring writers and journalists along the way. The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame inductee has served as a champion for community, an advocate for youth and a successful, well-respected businesswoman whose civic, business and nonprofit contributions have earned a plethora of awards.

Now, after 37 years of stewardship, DUS’ beloved leader is relinquishing her role and preparing for the next chapter in her journey –retirement and a meaningful new beginning.

In a celebration of the publication’s longevity and to thank Harris for her unparalleled impact

Such... continued from page 17 tion of music lovers everywhere. The title track is an empowering, conversational piece that speaks to loving every part of her natural self in a way that encourages others to follow suit.

Now preparing for the release of an extended play (EP) album and an autumn tour, Such is

on Denver and its surrou DUS will host Denver’s V of Entertainment, on Satur Event Center in Aurora. will be hosted on Oct. 18 Cableland mansion. In ad the momentous 37-year a cation, Denver’s Voice w unwavering commitmen into her next venture.

On the eve of Nov. 3, campaign rally took plac and the nation awaited th 2008 presidential campai the rally when her teleph repeatedly. Her exciteme Barack Obama becoming president turned to desp terrible news that her mo been killed in her home i Michigan.

In her memoir, “The S pays tribute to her mothe death inspired her new t tion of the Ruth Boyd Eld (RBEAF). At age 80, Boyd elder abuse, a horrific ph one out of six adults over effort to save lives and im ditions for aging adults t advocacy, the Denver’s V mark RBEAF’s first fund ceeds being used to supp tion’s mission in addition operations as the owners ensues.

excited about where she is, and where she’s going.

“My goal is for every song to be the fullest expression of itself,” she says. “I’m really open to growth, with an understanding that there may be differences in my sound and things have changed over the last four years. …It’s a very different world than the world that we’re in today. And as I work on new

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 18

tEvening of Entertainment

g and the next steps for Denver’s media maven.


unding communities, Voice: An Elegant Evening rday, Oct. 19 at the Noor A special VIP reception at Denver’s historic ddition to recognizing anniversary of the publiwill honor Harris for her nt and provide a glimpse 2008, a Democratic ce as votes were tallied he results of the historic ign. Harris was leaving hone began to ring ent at the prospect of g the nation’s first Black pair as she received the other, Ruth Boyd, had in Grand Rapids,

Story of Ruth,” Harris er’s life. Her untimely trajectory and the creader Abuse Foundation d was the victim of henomenon that affects r the age of 60. In an mprove living conthrough education and Voice celebration will draising effort, with proport the new organizan to sustaining DUS ship bidding process

The Elegant Evening of Entertainment will feature an array of performances by local and national talents. Denver’s own poet, television host and orator Theo Wilson, will perform exceptionally styled spoken word, followed by the rhythmic choreography of tap dancer and drummer Shane Franklin.

Special guest singers Vickilyn Reynolds of Los Angeles, Mary Louise Lee of Denver, and Julius Williams of Atlanta will perform inspirational songs, along with a special appearance by national recording artist, SUCH. In addition to being entertained through spoken word, song and dance, comedians Darryl Collier, Sam Adams and Louis Johnson will set the tone for the evening, with uplifting humor to keep guests laughing and in good spirits.

The event, which will begin at 6pm and last until midnight, will also feature an all-star showcase, with appearances by Tom Sandquist, Jeroan Adams, Skip Lynch, Tony Exum Jr, Gregory Goodloe, Linda Theus-Lee, Ron Ivory, Tony Price, Sethe, Chester McSwain, Linda Styles and Al “Your Pal” Taylor.

DUS is thrilled to celebrate this momentous anniversary, Harris’ bittersweet retirement and the official launch of RBEAF with longtime friends, family and the entire community. Each month leading up to the event, Denver’s Voice artists and entertainers will be introduced to readers to prepare for an evening of fun, festivities and a roaring good time..

Editor’s Note: Sponsorship opportunities and general admission tickets are available at https://bit.ly/4aDq0J2. For more information, call 303292-6446 or email denversvoice@gmail.com.

music, I think I’m so intimately aware that I’ve changed in so many ways. I want that to be reflected in my music.”

Using music as a vehicle to give back through inspiration, empowerment and the promotion of positive messages, Such’s legacy of musical storytelling and harmonic healing is setting the stage for the modern era of R&B.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Such on Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) or at www.IAmSuch.com. Listen to the full Spectrum Talk with Ruby interview on the DUS YouTube channel. For tickets and more information to Denver’s Voice: An Elegant Evening of Entertainment, visit https://bit.ly/4aDq0J2.

What genre of music do you play, and do you play any instruments?

I am a national recording artist, saxophonist and radio host. Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I moved around quite a bit with my stepfather, Ret. MSGT Steve Loftin, and my mother Germanette (Francis) Loftin; we lived in a little spot called Vogelweh, outside of Kaiserslautern, Germany, and in Phoenix, AZ; New Orleans, LA; and Biloxi, MS before moving back to Colorado in 1989. What motivated you to start performing for audiences?

I was raised with music as a key part of my everyday life. I used to spend hours listening to Parliament-Funkadelic, Slave or music from the Jeff Lorber Fusion and The Jacksons. I feel as though music found me. My uncle Larry Francis Jr. played the saxophone, and as a kid I watched him practice. I received a toy saxophone as a gift at the age of 3, and I decided that I wanted to be a musician in 1986, while watching my uncle perform with the US Army 4th ID Ironhorse band. I decided to make music my career years later, when my father, Tony Sr., took me to see Al Jarreau and David Sanborn at Fiddler’s Green. That one performance sealed my fate…I knew my journey in life was ordained. Are you self-taught, or did you study music?

I began playing as a middle school student in Biloxi, MS. I was educated formally at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music.

How would you describe your artistic/entertainment style?

I describe my music as “Rhythm N Smooth.” It’s a blend of Adult R&B and “smooth” or contemporary jazz and funk sensibilities, with traditional jazz influences.

Who/What is your biggest inspiration?

Grover Washington Jr, whose sound is absolutely beautiful. His sense of melodic development, soulfulness and command of the fundamentals of saxophone and signature licks are deeply interwoven into my musical approach. What is your favorite thing about being an entertainer?

I like the creative part of it all. Being an entertainer is a reflection of God’s permissive will to allow me to be a messenger and a vessel. I love creating music and the feeling that comes over me onstage when the music and atmosphere are just right. It’s a gift loaned to me by the Most High.

If you could collaborate with any other performer from any time-period, who would that be and why?

Miles Davis, Prince, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix for obvious reasons… GREATNESS! Do you have any upcoming performances?

I am playing at the Taste of Stockton Jazz Festival in Stockton, CA; TEG International Jazz Fest in Tulsa, OK; Juneteenth events in Denver and Colorado Springs; and a Rocky Mountain PBS event in Denver on June 27. I’m looking forward to DUS’s Denver’s Voice on Oct. 19.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise our readers.

I used to be a licensed insurance provider and worked for Allstate, Progressive and USAA.

Tony Exum Jr. www.tonyexumjr.com Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 19

Norman Harris isn’t just a businessman; he’s a community champion who remains deeply connected to the soul of Five Points. In 2022, he and his family entered into a business agreement with co-owner Wayne Vaden, purchasing Spangalang Brewery.

Harris’ passion for entrepreneurship is interwoven with a profound appreciation for the rich history of the neighborhood. He played a pivotal role in reviving Denver’s Juneteenth celebration, a testament to his commitment to cultural heritage. His involvement with the Five Points Jazz Festival further solidifies his dedication to the ongoing vibrant, artistic spirit of Welton Street.

Fashioned in the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance, Spangalang Brewery offers a unique blend of fresh, highquality craft beers; but it isn’t the typical taproom. The brewery features a stage with live music performances, hosts popular trivia nights and welcomes pop-up chefs and vendors, bringing Harris’ vision of a business founded in community dedication to life.

“I hope it will become a permanent fixture in Five Points, representing unity and cultural appreciation,” he shares.

The building that houses Spangalang tells a story itself. Once the Five Points Department of Motor Vehicles,

Where Jazz Meets Hops

it has been given a new lease on life, transformed into a welcoming space that celebrates the past while looking toward the future. The industrial aesthetic has been carefully curated, retaining a touch of the building’s former purpose while creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

The centerpiece of the taproom is the stage, a platform for local jazz musicians to showcase their talents and revive the neighborhood’s musical legacy. Spangalang welcomes pop-up chefs such as the culinary staff of Welton Street Cafe, transforming the space into a dynamic venue that pulsates with energy. Here, patrons can indulge in a carefully crafted IPA while enjoying a live jazz performance, surrounded by local art exhibits that pay homage to Five Points’ artistic heritage.

The name “Spangalang” is a subtle, yet powerful nod to the history and spirit of Five Points. It references a signature cymbal rhythm – a sound synonymous with jazz music and the genre that served as the soundtrack to

the neighborhood’s cultural renaissance in its prime. This intentional choice reflects the brewery’s dedication to both the neighborhood’s past and its vibrant artistic present.

Vaden highlights the brewery’s excellent service, beer and its role in hosting local jazz musicians and community events. “We’re really excited that we’re able to have a venue for tremendous local jazz musicians to play and for people in the community to hold family and community events,” he says, emphasizing the importance of the business’ ability to listen to the community’s needs and continuously improve.

“We’re sort of on the pulse of what is being done. And I can tell by the response we’re getting that people really enjoy us being there.”

Vaden and Harris, both with deep roots in Denver, understand the importance of giving back. They operate Spangalang as a vehicle to uplift the community, hosting local jazz performances and family gather-

ings. Vaden has dedicated over 30 years to serving the community, both through his legal practice and coaching high school track.

“We’re really excited to have a venue for not only local jazz musicians to play, but for people to hold family and community events because it’s lacking,” says Vaden, who views his legacy as one of service and helping people, businesses, families and young athletes reach their full potential.

By merging their passion for brewing with a deep appreciation for the neighborhood’s rich history, the owners’ vision of Spangalang serves both as a tribute to the past and an example of innovation in Denver’s ever-evolving craft beer scene.

“We’re looking ahead to an exciting summer filled with jazz music, good beer and a safe and welcoming environment for the community to enjoy,” says Harris.

“You can look forward to an exciting summer of jazz, good beer and entertainment, in a safe, fun, comfortable place...You know, that’s really what we’re there for,” Vaden adds. “Come have fun in an environment that provides you with that comfort of knowing that you are welcome. A welcoming environment. That’s really what we want to create.”.

Editor’s Note: For more information and event calendar visit www.SpangalangBrewery.com

Your retirement... DREAM or NIGHTMARE? Myra Donovan, CFP Financial Adviser* 3200 Cherry Creek Drive South, #700 - Denver, CO 80209 303-871-7249 Office • www.myradonovan.com Call today for a free consultation! *Registered Representative for NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC), a Licensed Insurance Agency. Financial Adviser for Eagle Strategies LLC. a Registered Investment Adviser. Eagle Strategies, LLC and NYLIFE Securities, LLC are New York Life companies. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 21
A Celebration of Community at Spangalang Brewery Celebration of Community at Spangalang Brewery

In February, millions of people tuned in to watch Super Bowl LVIII and the collection of standout commercials aired during the game. The advertisements, which elicit great enthusiasm, are an added highlight to the final football game of every NFL season. They are so popular in fact, that in 2024 a 30second ad cost between $6.5 and $7 million. Each year, competing companies aim to leave audiences awe-stricken with humor, emotion and unpredictability. This year, the most talked about commercial featured the major cellular company, Verizon, with a special guest appearance by R&B and pop music superstar, Beyoncé.

The Verizon commercial had two messages: the first being that their cellular service remains at the top of the charts when it comes to reliability; the other, that the beloved singer, songwriter and actress had a tremendous surprise for her fan base and music lovers around the world.

“Okay, they ready? Drop the music!” she exclaimed.

Within an hour, two new visualizer videos for “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” appeared online to the delight of fans, confirming speculation that the artist was taking a courageous leap into a genre outside of her normal repertoire –country.

In 2022, Beyoncé released an album that explored the influences and nuances behind dance and house music, in homage to her Uncle Johnny, referred to as her “godmother”

Cowboy Carter

Shining a Light on the Origins & Impact of Black Country Music

and the first person to expose her to the Studio 54-reminiscent culture that inspired the album.

The album’s name, “Renaissance: Act I,” suggested there would be a follow-up, but with the secretive style representative of the artist’s creative process, nobody knew for sure which direction the sequel would take.

“Cowboy Carter” travels the expansive frontier of country music while pushing past traditional boundaries and spotlighting artists such as genre pioneers Linda Martell and

Rhiannon Giddens. Yet, her sudden announcement regarding the project drew ire and criticism from people who view country music and cowboy culture as exclusive to white Americans. The immediate controversy that swept through the media and music industries was reflective of the motivation for the entertainer’s creation.

In 2016, while performing at

have displayed territorial tendencies, viewing Beyoncé as an outsider and feeling as though stardom achieved in more urban genres shouldn’t cross an invisible boundary into “theirs.” The album release provoked responses that resounded of racism, with cynical opinions going viral across the internet. In a TikTok video released shortly after the announcement, an Indiana State University student declared, “I’m sorry, but if you’re Black, you’re not country.”

the Country Music Association’s (CMA) Awards, Beyoncé received a cold reception from the crowd. “This album has been over five years in the making,” she wrote on Instagram following the release of “Cowboy Carter.” “It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed…and it was very clear that I wasn’t. But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of country music and studied our rich musical archive.”

“My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant,” the post concluded.

While fans have taken to social media platforms with dance challenges for “Texas Hold ‘Em” and a soulful rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” not everyone appreciates Beyoncé’s latest body of work.

Released on Mar. 29, “Cowboy Carter” debuted atop the Billboard Top 200, and the musician became the first Black woman to score a No.1 album on the Top Country Albums chart. Yet, a staggering number of country music enthusiasts from the white community

Media responses to “Cowboy Carter” have been varied. Some headlines read, “Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ Is an Epic Tour De Force,” and “Beyoncé’s Country is America: Every Bit of It;” while others are less favorable, calling the album directionless, boring or “too simple.”

Regardless of the controversy, the second act of the Renaissance saga sparked much-needed discussion about culture and history, highlighting the lesser-known influence Black musicians have had on the genre as it has evolved over time. Though some may not realize or care to acknowledge it, Black country music artists –both past and present – helped define country music.

A Ride through Time

National Public Radio (NPR) compared “Cowboy Carter,” to a “sprawling Western epic,” explaining that the Texas-born artist “finds her ideal figure of the American West and South.” The western-themed character Beyoncé embodies is rooted in the history of Black men and women who migrated to the American West and made vast contributions to the sport of rodeo while living a life similar, if not the same as historical depictions of western life.

Over the years, Denver Urban Spectrum has featured numerous articles about the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR), with information about the origins of the Black

Cowboy Carter
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 22

American West. BPIR showcases contemporary excellence in rodeo, encouraging and nurturing new generations of Black cowboys. Like the rodeo and other modern nuances urging people to explore the Black influence on cowboy culture and the West, “Cowboy Carter” is positioned to draw attention to the historic influence in spite of negative feedback from individuals who wish to dispel or ignore it altogether.

“The criticisms that I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me. Act II is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres together to create this body of work,” Beyoncé wrote on Instagram. “...This ain’t a country album. This is a ‘Beyoncé’ album.”

Her attitude and intent mirror those of earlier Black musicians who created art that still resonates decades after they set upon a musical odyssey without concern about prescribed labels and limitations.

The Jackie Robinson of Country Music

Charlie Pride became a country music superstar and stalwart not by crossing over into the genre, but rising within it.

After playing professional baseball, Pride embarked on a music career, ultimately scoring successive country hits like “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’,” “Crystal Chandeliers” and “Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town.” Throughout his career, he made a total of 29 No.1 Hot Country Songs and 12 No.1 Top Country Albums.

While the fame and hit discography suggest that the country music community eagerly embraced him, his ascendance wasn’t met entirely with acceptance.

“Pride seemed to spend a great deal of his career trying to have as few conversations about his race as possible,” Rolling Stone reported in a 2020 article titled “Rewriting Country Music’s History.” “He’s not especially confrontational or cagey about it, despite the stories of hostile audiences and institutions numbering in the dozens.”

Another oft-told example from Pride’s heyday indicates that it wasn’t exactly open arms across the country music landscape. In one instance, country music star Loretta Lynn was slated to present him with a Living Legend Award, critics predicted a career setback if she were to give Pride a celebratory kiss onstage. She defied the warnings, and as she recounted in her autobiography, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” proceeded to “give him a big old hug and a kiss right on camera.”

In 1971, Pride won the CMA’s award for Entertainer of the Year – the association’s highest honor. In 2000, he became the first Black artist inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame. His career achievements prompted many, as the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) noted, to call him the “Jackie Robinson of country music.”

The Genius of Soul… and Country

The incredible singer, songwriter and pianist known as “the genius of soul,” released several country music masterpieces throughout his 50-year career. Ray Charles’ “Modern

Sounds in Country and Western Music” topped the Billboard Top Country Albums chart in 1962, followed by “Modern Continued on page 24

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 23
Tawny | Montbello Resident

Continued frompage 23 Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume 2,” which reached No.2.

Overall, Charles released seven country albums spanning three separate decades, in addition to participating in several other country collaborations. In 2023, he was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, becoming the third Black artist in its history.

On one special occasion, Charles performed a Johnny Cash special at the Grand Ole Opry in the 1970s, along with country titans June Carter Cash, Waylon Jennings and Jessie Colter. Cash’s mother-in-law, Mother Maybelle Carter who was a pillar of modern country music, appeared on the same program.

The Influence Behind the Sound

Carter was a guitarist best known for her role in the original Carter Family act from the late 1920s until the early 1940s. The Carter Family is heralded as the architects of country music, but behind the music lies a strong influence directly from a Black musician. Some attribute their success to Lesley Riddle, a Black man who took an interest in the guitar and mandolin after a cement factory accident led to the amputation of his right leg.

When she was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970, Carter credited Riddle for his influence on her innovative approach to the genre. The man who created the “Carter Scratch,” playing the melody while using his thumb to keep the rhythm on the bass strings, provided guidance to the family, urging them to attend Black churches to find inspiration for material. Rolling Stone reported, “Today, the Carters are in the pantheon of country, but there’s a good chance the last paragraph was the first time you’ve heard Lesley Riddle’s name.”

Digging Up the Roots

In the same Rolling Stone article, another artist featured on “Cowboy Carter” is brought to the spotlight. Rhiannon Giddens is a two-time Grammy Award, MacArthur recipient and Pulitzer Prize-winning singer and instrumentalist who plays the fiddle and banjo. Founder of the country, blues and old-time music band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, she is mixed race with a white father and a Black mother. Her website plainly states that she has “centered her work around the mission of lifting up people whose contributions to American musical history have been previously overlooked or erased.”

“At the turn of the 20th century,” Giddens said, “Half of the string bands are Black. Within 20 to 30 years, you have complete erasure because what gets recorded is what gets remembered.”

Colorado’s Black Country Connection

While much of the country music industry gravitates around Nashville, Tennessee, there are a number of Black country music artists who have called Colorado home.

Grizzly Rose, a country bar, nightclub and dancehall in Denver, salutes the state’s country singers and Beau David is among those celebrated.

David, whose real name was Newrise Battle, was “one of the men of color to change the face of country music, and he was a founding member of the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame,” the venue writes on

its “Country Singers from Colorado” webpage.

Like the Black string bands denied history’s spotlight, David wasn’t a household name. However, he was a considerable talent and his musical contributions to Colorado’s country music scene are not forgotten. Hillbilly-Music.com states that along with being a country music entertainer, he was an actor and held a graduate degree in psychology.

Before he passed 14 years ago, David performed in bands such as The Day Drinkers and Rawhide, and made an indelible mark on Colorado’s country music scene.

Rudy Grant is another Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame inductee who enjoys impressive acclaim. When Westword reported Grant’s retirement from venue performances in 2022, the publication recalled his long and successful career.

Inspired by meeting and talking with Charley Pride, Grant eventually established a career as a country music legend whose work resonated largely outside of Colorado as he toured the nation and throughout the world.

Like Pride, Grant’s venture into country music had its initial hurdles. “In the early days, he and his band played country joints around town, including the Seasons and Zanza Bar (also known as the Z-Bar), as well as places in Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska, where Grant played a particularly memorable gig,” Westword relayed. “He remembers that he came out to a cheering crowd, but says that

once the audience noticed he was Black, it went so quiet you could hear a mosquito flying.”

Grant felt the noticeable shift in energy and approached each performance with the intention to win the crowd over. Eventually, audiences responded to the band’s music rather than Grant’s race.

A Lasting Influence

Country music is a genre founded and molded by the innovative blend of many genres, with influences from people with diverse experiences of the lifestyle. It is impossible to deny the impact of Black musicians within the genre, from its earliest existence to modern interpretations that represent a country way of life.

Attitudes are changing in the 21st century with the help of country music stars like Mickey Guyton, Kane Brown, Jimmie Allen, Brittney Spencer and Willie Jones.” With Beyoncé now firmly situated in that list, her innovation has superseded stereotypes and expectations, forcing the acknowledgement of Black country music pioneers and paving the way for others to join in the diversification of the genre.

Beyoncé’s new project not only allows her to explore music that represents her own cultural upbringing in the southern and western environment from which she hails, but it shines a spotlight on the many contributions made by Black people to country and other genres of music. Her resistance in the face of criticism and bigotry is a testament to the use of the music as a vehicle for the expression of struggle and emotion, and it looks to the future, serving as a potent inspiration and example for aspiring artists considering a country music career.

Perhaps the most consequential act of Renaissance Act II will be the reminder that Black country music artists not only exist, but they excel.

Rudy Grant
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 24

High School - 1700 E. 28th Ave., Denver, CO June 10-21, 2024 - From 10 AM to 3 PM

The Basketball Camp will be directed by Coach Rudy Carey of East High School and Chucky Sproling from Manual High School. Life Skills Workshop will be conducted by Civil Rights Activist Alvertis Simmons Free breakfast and lunch served daily! $100 Free Throw Shooting Contest for all ages!

3nd Annual Special Basketball Game - Thursday, June 20: Campers VS. Cops “Field Trip to the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library and Skate City”


Platinum Sponsors: Walmart, Colorado Rockies

Gold Sponsors: Nike, Webb Group International (Wellington and Wilma Webb), Former Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Roger Sherman (CRL), Hensel Phelps, Radio Host Tom Martino

Silver Sponsors: Dave Logan, Maria Garcia Berry

Bronze Sponsors: Colorado Convention Center, David Cole & Associates (Fabby Hillyard), UFCW #7, Amazon

Supporting Sponsors: Geta Asfaw/McDonalds, Black Denver Sheriffs, Black Police Officers, Fraternal Order of Police, Moses Brewer, Tish Maes, Mary Le wis, Kroenke Sports (Denver Nuggets), Sista Love (Joy Walker), All In 1 Hosting, Prof. Richard Jackson (MSU), Coach Rudy Carey, Dawn Bookhardt, Milton Garlin, Fundamental Fund, Inc., Simmons & Associates, Alisha Gafney, Grant Lebahn, Roy Gentry, Tilyn Walker, Tim Sayler, Buffalo Wild Wings, Evan Dryer, Maaco, Space Age Marketing, Senator Michael Bennet, Frank Duran (The Real Estate Man), Sheila McDonald, North Aurora Chiropractic, Hai r Works (Tracy), Buffalo Wild Wings, Gary Community Communications, Senator James Coleman, Rep. Leslie Herod, Rep. Jennifer Bacon, Tanya Diabagte, Denver Urban Spectrum

18 18 th Annual Life Skills/Basketball Camp th Annual Life Skills/Basketball Camp Manual
a FREE community event for youth (co-ed) ages 7 to 18.
303-521-7211 or 303-249-2196
Registration deadline: June 8 - Visit www.sfycbasketballcamp.com A 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization

Embracing the Great Outdoors

Overcoming Barriers and Building Community

In a society dominated by work, necessity and obligation, slowing down to answer the call of the great outdoors has never been more enticing. Outdoor activities invite people to indulge in the natural wonders of the world while offering a stimulating escape from the monotony of daily life. Colorado offers serene hikes through lush forests, with numerous bike trails and ample rocky hillsides for climbing, exploring and admiring.

While the beautiful landscape of the state is perfect for anyone seeking adventure, there may be obstacles which prevent some individuals from taking part in various spring and summer activities. Financial constraints, including a lack of transportation or funds to purchase equipment are some of the main barriers to outdoor exploration, with historically limited access adding to the disparities.

In 2020, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) published a report titled, “Existing Conditions, Trends, and Projections in Outdoor Recreation,” which states, “the most frequently cited reasons not to participate in outdoor recreation include: being too busy with family responsibilities, outdoor recreation equipment is too expensive, not having anyone to recreate with, and lacking the skills and abilities.”

According to the report,

national outdoor recreation participation rates in 2016 showed a great disparity, with white participation at 50%, Asian participation at 51%, Hispanic participation at 48% and African American participation at only 33%.

Research also showed a notable differentiation in the length of recreation, with Hispanic groups reporting greater single-day outings than other groups, which were shown to take longer trips.

Additional results of the CPW report showed young adult participation rates to be the highest, with young male recreation reaching 64% for ages 6 to13.

Forty-six percent of Americans who do not currently participate in outdoor recreation, have a desire to. Yet, for Black and Hispanic Americans who are impacted negatively by significant wealth gaps, expense and accessibility are hurdles that local organizations are working to overcome.

CPW notes that Colorado is the seventh-fastest growing state in the country and claims that as population continues to increase at a rapid pace, the state is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Growing interest in outdoor activity to support mental health and physical wellness is driving more people to explore the great outdoors, and nonprofit organizations are stepping in to bridge the gap between the city and the vast natural resources that may otherwise be out of reach.

Reaching to New Heights

For individuals who want to get active and try something new, Beast Finger Climbing is a resource in Denver that offers an exhilarating option suitable for all ages and experience levels. Founder Aman Anderson has operated the organization for eight years, providing mentorship and youth programs in Globeville and the greater Denver Metro area.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 26

“The mission has always been to provide access to climbing in places where climbing doesn’t have much exposure,” stated Anderson in a 2023 interview with 9News.

The innovative, Black-owned gym seeks to add diversity to the sport of rock climbing and caters to adults and children with a range of recreational and competitive programs. Several Beast Fingers Climbing members have participated in national competitions, implementing the training they received from Anderson and others and obtaining regional championship titles.

Anderson provides state-ofthe-art training, believing that rock climbing enhances children’s mental skills, fosters strategic thinking, promotes problem-solving and strengthens critical reasoning.

Equity in the Great Outdoors

Beyond utilizing a traditional gym membership for physical exercise, joining outdoor groups like Blackpackers can offer a cost-effective way to explore various activities, including hiking, rock climbing and nature clean-up activities.

Blackpackers is a nonprofit organization that strives to ensure that outdoor spaces are accessible and fun for everyone. With a mission to meet at the intersection of underrepresentation and economic vulnerability, the organization facilitates outdoor excursions and provides equipment at low or no cost. It also connects participants with volunteer and internship opportunities to create a pipeline from outdoor recreation to careers centered around outdoor industries. Executive director and founder, Patricia Ann Cameron, says “The goal of Blackpackers was always to create curriculum-based programming that’s accessible to everyone.”

Pointing out that enjoying the outdoors isn’t limited to hiking and other structured activities, Cameron emphasizes the importance of getting outside by any means, whether walking around the park or simply relaxing in the backyard. She stresses the importance of equity and inclusion and not feeling limited due to skill level.

“BIPOC people have always taken part in outdoor recreation as a part of our daily lives”, she says. “We have always been outdoor recreationists, outdoor enthusiasts and people who have used the outdoors as part of our living.”

Blackpackers offers a range of no-cost programs, including swim lessons for all ages, camping, skiing and backpacking. Additionally, the organization hosts a monthly climbing clinic at CityRock Climbing Center in Colorado Springs. As part of its commitment to community service, the group has adopted the Sand Creek Trail in Southeast Colorado Springs, where a Stroll & Stewardship Trail Cleanup is scheduled for June 16.

Healthy Bodies & Minds

Another organization is working to achieve health equity in Colorado’s Black community, and outdoor recreation is one of the methods by which it aims to promote physical health and emotional wellness.

Jessica Newton, CEO and founder of Vibe Tribe Adventures (VTA), was in the process of creating a meetup opportunity for Black women to hike together, when women from all over the state began to reach out to her to express interest.

“Prior to starting this group, I was a project coordinator for Dr. Terri Richardson at the Colorado Black Health Collaborative,” she recalled in a 2021 interview with Shoutout Colorado. “She educated me on the importance of Black women’s health declining due

to Cardiovascular Disease and stressed that we need more local opportunities to fix this problem.”

Newton envisioned healing that prioritized physical activity and “Green Therapy,” but found that people living in the Denver Metro area were experiencing recurring challenges when it came to engaging with local outdoor organizations. Reliable transportation and programming that aligned with work hours were the biggest obstacles to overcome, so she started Black Girls Hike and later transitioned to VTA to ensure greater inclusivity. The organization provides a low to no-cost gear locker that allows aspiring recreationists to borrow paddleboards, bikes and camping gear. “We also offer to pay for swim classes which is a part of our drowning prevention programming,” adds Newton.

“I wanted to be more of a service to my community and really help break down the barriers that we deal with on an economic level, on a health level, and it’s been such a blessing to watch that happen,” she adds, making sure to include previous generations of BIPOC Colorado Outdoorsmen, such as James Beckwourth, Sid Wilson, and the Beckwourth Doers. “I think that Vibe Tribe is the third generation of outdoorsmen in Colorado…so there’s a historic space for us to be outdoors, and it’s really cool to carry that torch.”

VTA offers mentorship and programs for all ages, with activities like mountain biking, 14er mountain climbing training and monthly hikes. On June 8 and 15, the organization will host nature walks in collaboration with GirlTrek, a movement inspiring Black women to walk daily for health and empowerment.

Adventure is Better Together

Feeling out of place can make hobbies difficult to enjoy

for some. After negative solo outdoor experiences, Romell Ward founded the BIPOC Mountain Collective (BMC) to build community.

The organization’s website says that all are welcomed, stating “If you’re not sure if you fit in anywhere else. Then this is the club for you.”

With a tagline of “Never Ride Alone,” BMC started with only five members but has since expanded, with branches in Denver, Colorado Springs, Seattle, Canada, Washington DC and at Howard University.

Ward, who has PTSD and anxiety, says that the adrenaline rush from mountain sports is soothing. “The calming effects of the mountain helped mellow me out. I hope to bring that to everyone and allow people of color to experience that and bring our culture to the mountains.”

Founded upon the idea of a shared commitment to uniting and empowering communities of color who share a passion for snow sports and outdoor adventures, BMC is partnered with VTA, and facilitates over 50 meetups per year.

David Noland, a father in Colorado Springs, joined the organization and went from thinking, “That’s white people’s stuff,” to teaching his six-year-old daughter how to snowboard. Noland’s experience is not uncommon, and Ward has observed introverted group members bonding over mountain sports while forming friendships within the community.

As the winter snow season quickly draws to a close, BMC will host monthly camping trips along with biking and hiking excursions throughout the spring and summer months.

“We are all a little nervous the first time we do it,” encourages Ward. “But if you don’t try, you’ll never know.”

Wilderness Within Reach

With organizations working to increase accessibility for outContinued on page 29

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 27

Body Awareness Helped Former Model Diagnose and Receive Treatment for Ovarian Cancer

15th Annual Jodi’s Race Raises Awareness of Gynecologic Cancers

Sometimes you just know something isn’t right with your body. That was the feeling that hit Denver resident, Dr. Felicia Clark, during a modeling photoshoot in New York City in 2012. She recalls being so exhausted that she could barely complete the basic tasks of daily life. Clark had been modeling for years, practiced a holistic lifestyle including a vegetarian diet, didn’t consume alcohol or soda and was in great shape. She was very in-tune with her body, so she made an appointment with her physician as soon as she returned home. Perhaps because she was in her mid-40s and the average age for an ovarian cancer dia-

gnosis is 63, doctors didn’t perform any of the tests that would have led to a diagnostic ultrasound to discover the cancer. Instead, they told Clark, who

Celebrating Black Music Month with the Queen of Urban Gospel, Yolanda Adams and the impact she's making beyond the music. Tune in for exciting Juneteenth announcements from Norman Harris, Denver’s Voice celebration event featuring national recording artist, Such, and the impact of Black artists on music today and throughout history.

was a plus-sized model, that her symptoms were the result of being overweight and encouraged her to diet and exercise. Clark’s severe exhaustion continued and she started having difficulty breathing so she consulted additional physicians. Eventually, a resident who was intrigued because her symptoms didn’t match with her excellent blood pressure, cholesterol and blood oxygen levels decided to run additional tests and reviewed the results with the medical team. Two and a half years after Clark first experienced symptoms, she finally received a diagnosis: she had a rare, slow-growing form of ovarian cancer.

1,500 people to support, celebrate and memorialize those who have battled gynecologic cancers. In addition to education, the event includes a 5K and 1-mile Run/Walk, a Family Fun Zone, Survivors Breakfast, Expo and Team Village.

For Clark, one of the best parts of Jodi’s Race is the feeling of community. She shares, “It’s just amazing seeing men running with their children in custom t-shirts to support a woman that they love and groups of families and friends joining together to honor a loved one.”

About Jodi’s Race for Awareness

A few years after undergoing surgery to remove the tumor, Clark heard about the Colorado Gynecologic Cancer Alliance (CGCA), formerly called the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance. She decided to attend Jodi’s Race, an annual educational and fundraising event hosted by CGCA. She recalls being handed several strands of beads to celebrate each year of survivorship since her diagnosis. As she was walking through the crowd, a woman wearing one strand of beads grabbed her hand while looking at Clark’s strands and said with tears in her eyes, “Thank you. I’ve been so scared, but seeing your beads makes me feel like I can beat this.”

Clark later joined CGCA’s board of directors. Because there is no screening test for ovarian cancer, she feels it’s very important to educate others about the symptoms and paying attention to their bodies. “You know when something is wrong,” says Clark. “Don’t be afraid to speak up. If your doctor doesn’t listen, then keep searching until you find a doctor that does.”

On June 8, CGCA will host the 15th annual Jodi’s Race for Awareness at City Park. Each year, the event is attended by

Jodi’s Race for Awareness was started in 2010 by Jodi Brammeier, a young wife and mother who believed her cancer would have been discovered earlier if she had known the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Jodi’s Race has raised more than $3 million to educate and assist Coloradans diagnosed with gynecologic cancers. Although Brammeier lost her battle with ovarian cancer shortly after the inaugural race, her spirit lives on at the annual event that helps raise awareness so that others might find their cancer earlier and stand a better chance of survival. Online registration is available at www.jodisrace.org

All money raised from Jodi’s Race remains in Colorado and funds initiatives that support those impacted by gynecologic cancers, including COCACares Financial Assistance, Nicki’s Circle Support Groups, a Gynecologic Cancer Resource Guide, Comfort Kits for the newly diagnosed, Carol’s Wish Financial Navigation, an annual Raise Awareness campaign, and Survivors Teaching Students®, a national program of the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA). More information about CGCA and its programs is available at www.gyncancercolorado.org.

X Stream on denverurbanspectrum.com Denver Urban Spectrum and KGNU Radio present a magazine-style community news radio program that amplifies the voices and stories from people engaged in progressive action work in the metro Denver area and surrounding communities.
Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 28

Demystifying Closing Costs

What Every Home Buyer and Seller Needs to Know

Buying a home is an exhilarating journey filled with anticipation and excitement. Yet, amidst the thrill of finding the perfect property, there lies a maze of financial intricacies awaiting every homebuyer: closing costs. These fees, often shrouded in mystery, can catch even the most seasoned buyer off guard. In this article, we aim to shed light on this essential aspect of the homebuying process, unraveling the enigma of closing costs to empower you, the homebuyer, with knowledge and confidence.

underwriting the mortgage. Appraisal fees ensure that the property’s value aligns with the loan amount, providing assurance to both the buyer and the lender. Title insurance, another crucial component of closing costs, protects the buyer and lender against any issues with the property’s title, such as liens or ownership disputes.

mind and safeguarding their investment.

To illustrate the importance of understanding closing costs, let me share a brief anecdote from my own experience in real estate. Recently, a first-time homebuyer approached me with excitement, eager to embark on the journey of homeownership. As we navigated through the process, I noticed a hint of apprehension in their eyes whenever the topic of closing costs arose.

Sensing their unease, I took the time to explain each fee in detail, demystifying the complex world of closing costs and empowering them to make informed decisions.

The Great Outdoors

Continued from page 27 door recreation, there are far more opportunities for disenfranchised groups and underrepresented communities to get outside and explore.

Let’s start our journey by exploring the fundamental question: What exactly are closing costs? Simply put, closing costs are the fees and expenses incurred to finalize the real estate transaction. They encompass a wide array of charges, including lender fees, title insurance, appraisal fees and taxes. Both buyers and sellers have their respective closing costs, each serving a unique purpose in the transaction.

For buyers, closing costs typically include expenses such as loan origination fees, appraisal fees, credit report fees and title insurance. Loan origination fees, charged by the lender, cover the cost of processing the loan application and

On the seller’s side, closing costs may encompass expenses such as real estate agent commissions, transfer taxes and title transfer fees. Real estate agent commissions, typically the largest portion of the seller’s closing costs, compensate the agents involved in the transaction for their services. Transfer taxes, imposed by state and local governments, are levied on the transfer of real property and vary depending on the location of the property. Title transfer fees cover the administrative costs associated with transferring the title from the seller to the buyer.

Now that we’ve identified the key components of closing costs, let’s delve into the rationale behind these fees. Each fee serves a specific purpose in facilitating a smooth and secure real estate transaction. For example, appraisal fees ensure that the property’s value aligns with the loan amount, mitigating the risk for both the buyer and the lender. Similarly, title insurance protects the buyer and lender from potential title defects, providing peace of

As we approached the closing table, I could see the relief wash over my client’s face as they signed the final documents with confidence, knowing that they were equipped with the knowledge to navigate the process successfully. It was a gratifying moment, witnessing the transformation from uncertainty to empowerment, fueled by understanding and knowledge.

Closing costs are an integral part of the homebuying process, serving to protect and streamline the transaction for both buyers and sellers. By understanding the purpose and rationale behind these fees, homebuyers can navigate the process with confidence and clarity, ensuring a smooth and successful real estate transaction. So, the next time you embark on the journey of homeownership, arm yourself with knowledge and embrace the process with confidence, knowing that you hold the keys to demystifying closing costs..

Editor’s Note: Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate with the Super Agents Collaborative Powered by eXp Realty. He has been an agent since 2001, and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information, email: barrysellsdenver @msn.com or call 303-668-5433.

Transportation barriers can be overcome by carpooling, participation in group travel, or public transportation services such as the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Bustang service, which provides various mountain routes to meet the short and extended trip needs of travelers. The City and County of Denver’s Parks and Recreation department also offers outdoor recreation programming with guided adventures including hiking, biking, climbing and other activities.

Affordable outdoor equipment can be helpful to individuals just starting out who aren’t able to purchase high-cost gear. In addition to utilizing resources offered by nonprofit organizations, finding second-hand equipment in thrift stores or online marketplaces and shopping off-season can result in much lower prices.

In an increasingly busy environment with everyday life dominating a majority of time and energy, immersion in the great outdoors offers a muchneeded respite, with positive impacts on mental and physical health. Organizations working to overcome historic disparities are eliminating barriers caused by financial constraints and unfamiliarity, while providing plentiful opportunities for inclusive, life-changing experiences.

As the flowers bloom and the ice melts, a journey of exploration awaits..

Editor’s Note: For additional information about: Beast Fingers Climbing, visit www.beastfingersclimbing.com; Blackpackers, visit www.blackpackers.org; Vibe Tribe Adventures, visit www.vibetribeadventures.org; and BIPOC Mountain Collective, visit www.bmcsnow.org.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 29

Denver Celebrates Opening of 49 Affordable Homes in Five Points

On May 9, Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST) and partners celebrated the grand-opening of The Burrell, a permanently affordable condominium project offering 49 income-restricted units. The celebratory event featured food, entertainment and a special guest appearance from jazz singer Dianne Reeves.

Named for jazz icon Charles Burrell, the development features one-, two-, and three-bedroom units which are restricted to households earning at or below 80% f the area median income.

“Affordable homeownership opportunities are vital for thriving cities, and we’re proud to provide essential gap financing that makes these homes available for hard-working individuals and families,” said HOST Executive Director Jamie Rife. “Being able to afford a home is a huge step on the path to longterm stability and building community, and we are excited about this step toward a more equitable city for all.”

Developed by Shanahan Development, in partnership with Elevation Community Land Trust (ECLT) and the Urban Land Conservancy, The Burrell marks the culmination of a collaborative effort to provide affordable homeownership opportunities to Denver residents. Units are available for sale, with prices ranging from $205,000 for a one-bedroom unit, to $328,000 for a three-bedroom corner unit.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of The Burrell Denver and welcome homeowners to this vibrant community,” says Jeff Shanahan, Shanahan Development Owner. “This

project represents our commitment to creating sustainable and inclusive communities in Denver, and we are excited to see the positive impact it will have on the Five Points neighborhood.”

Located along the northwest border of Five Points, along the South Platte River, the condominiums are near major thoroughfares, new restaurants and shops in a rapidly developing area.

“It is our hope that The Burrell will not only be a home to existing Five Points residents who have not had the opportunity to own, but will also be a path for families with historic neighborhood roots to come home,” says Stefka Fanchi, CEO of ECLT.

The Burrell is a testament to the power of collaboration and community engagement in addressing the pressing need for affordable housing in Denver. By providing affordable homeownership opportunities, the project aims to promote economic stability and create a more equitable city for all residents.

“Any time we can help residents into homeownership, we are combating displacement and establishing stability for generations to come,” said District 9 Councilman Darrell Watson. “Thank you to our partners who helped bring this vision of affordable homeownership to life in Five Points.”

HOST provided a $3,185,000 performance loan for the project, which will be forgiven after

99 years so long as the project remains in compliance with the affordability restrictions. An additional $5 million HOST construction loan was provided, which will be repaid as units are sold to qualified buyers.

The Colorado Division of Housing also provided funding for The Burrell. Other partners include construction by Brinkmann Constructors, architectural design by Studio Completiva and sales representation by Invalesco Real Estate.

The Burrell is the latest city-

supported affordable housing development to take shape in Denver. A total of 1,685 affordable units that have received city financing are currently under construction/preservation at 21 sites throughout Denver. An additional 456 income-restricted units are in the planning stage..

Editor’s Note: Learn more about affordable housing inventory at the Denver Affordable Housing Dashboard. Sales information for The Burrell is available at www.theburrelldenver.com

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 31

On May 10, the History Colorado Center opened a new mezzanine exhibition, “Owl Club of Denver: Legacies of Excellence,” which explores the rich traditions of a prominent all-Black debutante cotillion club in the Mile High City. Built from oral histories, and featuring a remarkable collection of photographs, “Owl Club of Denver: Legacies of Excellence,” recounts the rarely told history of debutante culture from the perspective of African Americans who were historically excluded from the beauty standards of this Europeanborn tradition.

Founded in 1941 by eight hardworking railroad pullman, waiters and businessmen, The Owl Club of Denver was created to recognize the academic excellence of young African American women from Denver. Drawing early membership from the Five Points,

History Colorado Presents New Exhibition Highlighting All-Black Debutante Club in the Mile High City

Exhibition Celebrates Black Excellence and Recognizes the Contributions of the Owl Club of Denver

Whittier and Park Hill neighborhoods – which were some of the only areas where Black Denverites could live in the 1940s as a result of restrictive covenants and redlining – this social club provided a safe space where community members could feel a sense of belonging and celebrate one another’s achievements.

“The Owl Club of Denver set the stage for many Black Coloradans who became anchors of their communities,” said Tyler Allen, Exhibit Developer & Public Historian for History Colorado. “This exhibition gives us the chance

to celebrate and honor these young debutantes as well as this vital organization that continues to uplift its community to this day.”

While debutante culture originated in Europe as a way to debut young women who were eligible for marriage, it took on a different role for African Americans, and organizations like the Owl Club became spaces to defy stereotypes placed on Black people and their culture.

“The young women recognized by the Owl Club were selected for the core of their character and their contributions to the community as well as their academic success,” Allen said. “Rather than preparing women for marriage or acceptance into high society, African American debutante clubs provided opportunities for professional development and networking, as well as chances to become accustomed to being in spaces outside of their protected and familiar communities.”

Prominent Owl Club debutantes include: Condoleezza Rice, the first female African American Secretary of State and first woman to serve as the National Security Advisor; Charleszine “Terry” Nelson, retired Senior Special Collections and Community Resource Manager of the BlairCaldwell African American Research Library; and Allegra “Happy” Haynes, former executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation.

Beyond celebrating the successes of debutantes, “Owl Club of Denver: Legacies of

Excellence” also recognizes the contributions of Black women and men to communities and families.

“This story debunks the misconception that Black men are not present in their families’ day-to-day lives by showing us the presence of fathers, uncles, brothers, and other male role models,” Allen said. “The men who founded the club did so with their own resources. They created something that benefits the entire Black community and the fact that it has continued for so long speaks volumes of the benefits it brings.”

“Owl Club of Denver: Legacies of Excellence” is possible thanks to the collections maintained by the BlairCaldwell African American Research Library branch of the Denver Public Library. The History Colorado Center is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and provides free general admission to kids 18 and under every day. .

About History Colorado: History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 144year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to archaeology and historic preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2024 32
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