About valaida

writer. thinker. listener. idea whisperer. traveler. mad word geek. absolute scrabble freak. drinker of life. da*n good friend. ridiculous foodie. imaginative dreamer. afflicted party planner. kind conqueror. okra lover. hillbilly w/ southern roots far-stretched global sights. author of book that reframes portraits of philanthropy. Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists | http://bit.ly/htLxQU

Come to Dinner with Me in Charlotte July 28th!

Afroculinaria

ABOUT THIS EVENT

Menu:

Okra Soup

Mary Randolph’s Yeast Rolls

Fried Chicken

Madeira Ham

Cornbread Kush

Sautéed Greens

Peach Cobbler

Food for thought and for your palate with Culinary Historian Michael W. Twitty

The Harvey B. Gantt Center is a proud partner with Duke Energy in presenting the new Heritage & History series. This program series features nationally noted artists and scholars who are preserving Black culture through an array of disciplines. In hosting each culture keeper, the Gantt Center invites public participation in special events and experiences that illuminate important stories and engage audiences.


Presenting Sponsor

Headquartered in Charlotte, Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Visit Duke Energy’s websitehere.

#Gantt2016 #FeastOnCulture

BUY Ticketshere!

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hand. me. that.

Truth Hand

A word cloud composed from the poem Truth Be Told, holding imagery and verse that remind me and ground me in unsettling times

— VF

Sunny

When sun shines on me
rays from its stare melt my cares
and peace is present.

VF photo collage

Wishing you peace on Independence Day!

Feast on Culture!

Food for thought and for your palate with Culinary Historian Michael W. Twitty

Michael Twitty Image_IMG_6500My work continues with the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture on its Heritage & History series. Next month, the Center will host Michael W. Twitty, a 2016 TED Fellow, chef and independent scholar on African American food, folk culture and culinary traditions of the African Diaspora.

Michael first came to my attention in 2013 while watching the documentary “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Soon after, I began following Michael’s popular blog Afroculinaria.com, the first website devoted to the preservation of historic African American foods and food ways. He’s a living history interpreter who “re-constructs early Southern cuisine as prepared by enslaved African American cooks for tables high and low.”

As a Southerner, ridiculous foodie, descendent of enslaved African Americans and forever-eager student of a long line of housekeepers and cooks who were my elder kin, I found Michael’s work fascinating and resonant. A seasoned presenter, Michael has delivered talks and cooking demonstrations at the Smithsonian, Monticello, Williamsburg and Oxford. His public talks, writing and meals stir dialogue about Black identity, the South, the African Diaspora, cultural appropriation and the racial legacy of America.

I reached out to Michael about 18 months ago to inquire what it would take to bring him to Charlotte. Admittedly, I fanned-out when he responded immediately and personably to my email. My giddiness increased when we spoke by phone and synched up our thinking to create a vision for a Charlotte food event. We gravitated to the idea of a talk and tasting of authentic recipes, informed by WPA narratives of formerly enslaved people from the Carolinas. Wow! Both my mouth and my eyes watered at the thought.

After much anticipation, Michael will present in Charlotte this summer as part of the Gantt Center’s Heritage & History program. It is a programming series that I’ve had the joy of conceiving, naming and shaping to spotlight nationally noted artists and scholars who are preserving Black culture through an array of disciplines and media. In hosting each culture keeper, the Gantt Center invites public participation in special events and experiences that illuminate important stories and engage audiences. Duke Energy is the Center’s sponsoring partner on the series. The inaugural Heritage & History program took place in March.

Michael’s talk will take place at Founders Hall, located at 100 North Tryon Street, smack dab in the center of Charlotte—the city’s historic heart and centuries-old trading crossroad. The irony of the event’s venue isn’t lost on me. How can you not marvel at the juxtaposition of a program centered on the antebellum stories and foods of enslaved Black cooks relegated to lowly hovels and a venue characterized by an expansive vaulted atrium, marble floors and 21st-century modernity. Further, Founders Hall sits in Charlotte’s tallest building—headquarters of the nation’s largest bank. The symbolism and seeming incongruity are remarkable yet representative of the curiously tangled American story. I trust the Ancestors will smile upon us as we remember them, learn about their lives and lift up their stories in one of our grandest  and most relevant places.

On Thursday, July 28, please come meet and experience Michael. And you can sample food of our collective ancestral roots. Buy your tickets here.

— VF

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Michael W. Twitty and me

XOXO | Ten Years of A Circle & Love

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On June 9, 2016, Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists celebrated its 10th anniversary at The Wadsworth Estate. Giving circle members—current, past and prospective—gathered for “White Party, Black Giving,” an event with food, drinks, live music, reminiscing, friendship and shared purpose.

See a couple of event photos below, and dozens at: XOXO | Ten Years of A Circle & Love

NGAAP X INVITATION COVER 3

See The Power of Ten

 

Watch our newest video Power of Ten

 

Original iContact communiqué: See The Power of Ten

June 8 marked the 10th anniversary of New Generation of African American Philanthropists. Celebration of the occasion took place on June 9 with a “White Party” at the Wadsworth Estate, where the giving circle’s initial gathering took place in 2006.

More than 60 circle members and friends attended the event. Tin Kitchen food truck was on site to prepare made-to-order specialty tacos and sliders with fresh gourmet ingredients. A Jazz trio, featuring bass player Tim Singh, performed throughout the evening. Photographers Ebony Stubbs and Michael Dantzler captured moments and scenes from the party, including NGAAP Charlotte’s annual group portrait.

A program with brief remarks from members was followed by a new video, chronicling the circle’s philanthropic work and membership from the past decade.

The celebration continues all year, and you are invited to participate in these ways:

  • Apply for a GRANT thru July 8
  • Become a MEMBER at $365/year—a dollar a day
  • Attend upcoming FORUM w/ NBMBAA on June 23 (see flyer below)
  • Make a gift to the GIVING BACK PROJECT, which produced the book Giving Back, launched the groundbreaking exhibit “The Soul of Philanthropy” and continually promotes conscious giving for social change

Join us in exercising the power of 10!

NBMBAA Leadership Forum 2016 v1[2]

Power of Ten

Today, 8 June 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of my giving circle New Generation of African American Philanthropists!

Celebrate the POWER OF TEN with us by making a gift to the Giving Back Project, our civic engagement initiative to reframe portraits of philanthropy. Read our story below.

NGAAP 10 Years

Here’s our history:

Founded in 2006, New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP-Charlotte) is a giving circle with members who share values around philanthropy and pool charitable dollars to give back to the community. We envision “a healthy, safe and prosperous community for African American families to live, work and flourish,” Our mission is “to promote philanthropy-the giving of time, talent and treasure-among African Americans in the Charlotte region, with the goal of enhancing the quality of life within our communities.” Our circle’s fund is hosted by Foundation For The Carolinas.

On June 8, 2006, a committee of the African American Community Foundation hosted a gathering at The Wadsworth Estate.  The meeting was held in collaboration with community organizers Darryl Lester and Athan Lindsay, under a Ford Foundation-funded initiative to engage Black donors across the American South. In a room full of 60 people to generate ideas and momentum, a group of Charlotteans embarked on what would become the founding of New Generation of African American Philanthropists.

Through collective giving, civic engagement and grantmaking, we explore new as well as time-honored ways of giving and embrace a definition of philanthropy that encompasses gifts of not only money, but also time, energy and intellect. The Giving Back Project is our civic engagement initiative to reframe portraits of philanthropy and reclaim the root meaning of philanthropy—love of humanity—by celebrating African American history and traditions. The initiative began when we published the book Giving Back and has now evolved into a vehicle for sharing our collective stories, promoting inclusive and responsive philanthropy, stimulating reflective community giving. The multimedia exhibit “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited,” our latest endeavor, is touring colleges and museums across the country. You can support and participate in our work by becoming a donor or donor-member of our giving circle.

Past anniversaries

Our giving circle began with 17 members as well as numerous friends, and over the past decade has grown to include over 30 members and a growing number of friends.

The 17 Founding Members of NGAAP-Charlotte:

  1. Men Tchaas Ari
  2. Renee L. Bradford
  3. 
Heather Carty Ward
  4. Deborah Charles
  5. Rashad Davis
  6. Diatra Fullwood
  7. 
Valaida Fullwood
  8. 
Ohmar Land
  9. Eric Law
  10. 
Tameka Lester
  11. Patricia Martelly
  12. Fontella McKyer
  13. 
Vernetta Mitchell
  14. 
Cathy Peterson
  15. Jenene Seymour
  16. 
Jehan Shamsid-Deen
  17. Annette Taylor

Float, Fly

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“The man with no imagination has no wings.” 

― Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

On The Ball

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Recent months have been a whirlwind. Never one for a dull moment, I jumped when presented an opportunity to attend the 2nd annual Masquerade Ball of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City. Hat tip to Melissa and David for clearing the path for my attendance.

Laurie Angela Cumbo is the museum’s founder. Her graduate thesis at New York University led to the creation of MoCADA in 1999. It has evolved considerably in 17 years and is now pursuing a move to a larger facility.

MoCADA’s Mission

“Through exhibitions and programming, MoCADA incites dialogue on pressing social and political issues facing the African Diaspora, and fosters a dynamic space for the creation and continuous evolution of culture.”

A visual feast, the MoCADA Masquerade Ball fed my curious eyes and every sense and inch. The event space at BAM was filled with gorgeous decor and sitting areas, art and other items being auctioned, plentiful NOLA-inspired and Cuban cuisine, and of course NYC’s most gifted artists and beautiful people from across the Diaspora and beyond.

The program recognized the Museum’s impact and honored individuals who have positively influenced contemporary African diasporan arts, Brooklyn and the wider community. Singers Maxwell (!) and Estelle, along with style maven Bevy Smith were Honorary Gala Chairs.

As with past soirees (like this one and this one), experiences at MoCADA’s gala fueled ideas for the Gantt Center’s Jazzy Holiday Gala and other events. Unsurprising though, being a guest is way more fun than working as an event planner. That’s how it goes. — VF