Arts & Entertainment

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After decades of running and resisting, Sonia Sanchez locked down a permanent residence in Philadelphia. And after 30 years or so, her vast influence in this amazing-but-troubled city is finally being fully celebrated.

Knowing your purpose is one thing. Properly executing that purpose in the world requires a different kind of spiritual fortitude.

The documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” plucked the scabs off of old wounds around the often tortuous fate of Black genius. We cannot rewrite history, but we can do a much better job of surrounding, protecting and nurturing it for future generations.

Black Music Month is like a second birthday celebration. It is a wonderful reminder of the role that music has played not just in my own development, but as a vehicle for expression and success for my entire family.

Forgive me if I seem a little sassier than usual on the air this week. I’ve been inspired by Dee Rees’ amazing new HBO biopic BESSIE, starring Queen Latifah. It’s time for me to reclaim some of my artsy edge.

After being selected as President Obama’s first inaugural poet and the critical acclaim she’s gaining for her new memoir, Elizabeth Alexander is destined to become the household name that her pedigree demands. But she’s been a rock star to me ever since my freshman year at Penn, when she helped an insecure teenager accept her gift of verse.

I can barely imagine being alive for 50 years, yet Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea have been professional colleagues and personal buddies since the 1960s.

De La Soul is my favorite hiphop group of all time. And as they near their 30th anniversary in the music business, they are rethinking their relationship with the creativity they love and seeking new collaborations and forms of expression to extend their storied career. I am watching and learning.

In life, as it is in music, “getting free” still requires some level of structure. A beginning. A theme. An ending. No matter how innovative we think we are.


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