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1 min read

Amy Sherald to paint Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait

Baltimore artist Amy Sherald, who graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2004 and just joined the faculty there, has been commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery to paint the official portrait of former first lady Michelle Obama.

New York-based Kehinde Wiley will paint the official portrait of President Barack Obama.

Kehinde Wiley

The paintings are scheduled to be unveiled next year and added to the National Portrait Gallery’s popular collection of presidential and first lady portraits.

Sherald’s portraits of African-American models are known for her use of gray skin tones.

Last year, she became the first African-American and first woman to win the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition; she was chosen for the $25,000 award from among 2,500 entrants.

Work by the Baltimore-based Sherald, 44, is in collections of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

She will give a free talk at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 26 in Room 101 of the F. Ross Jones Building, Mattin Center, on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University.


Source: The Baltimore Sun

5 mins read

Garden of Black Art goes Viral Online

When Columbus, GA artists Najee and Seteria Dorsey purchased a house six months ago, they wanted the yard to reflect their love for art.

While searching their belongings, they discovered some aluminum/ployethylene artwork that Najee created four years ago.

Dorsey, Najee (YARD ART-Bond Women Share)

The pieces — 28-inches tall and 11-14 inches wide — displayed Black women picking flowers wearing big summer hats.

Recognizing the potential for lawn art, the couple wondered if there was a market for that sort of thing.

On May 20, they took about a dozen pieces to an art show in Washington, and got the answer to that question.

“I sold every piece I had and took some additional orders,” said Najee. “And we were like, ‘Wow, it’s kind of blowing up.’ So we ramped up our production.”

Crossroad Blues

Once back in Columbus, Najee shot a video of the artwork by the fountain on Broadway. On June 1, he posted the video on Instagram and Facebook, and was shocked by the results.

“I was looking and next thing you know, I had 4,000 views, 5,000 views,” he said. “… The numbers continued to climb hour after hour and within three days we had eclipsed over 500,000 views.”

Big Mama

Now, the Dorseys are getting orders from all over the United States, many of them from Georgia, California, Texas, the Carolinas, Chicago, New York and New Jersey.

“What we found is that there are a lot of people that garden and take pride in their homes that didn’t have any representation of themselves that was available to them,” Najee said. “When you do a Google search for African-American lawn art, you get the old black jockey, you get an angel or two, and that’s about it. And so it’s like a ‘who knew?’ kind of thing.”

negro league player

The couple wanted to develop a brand, rather than just a product. So they adopted the name “Garden Art for the Soul” to reflect an ongoing narrative. Najee said each piece helps tell the story of black self-identity.

“It’s a Southern narrative probably closest to a Gullah Geechee or African-American-Sunday-after-church kind of thing,” he said. “These are images that most people can relate to in terms of African American culture.”


The couple started with three images. Najee said they’re now up to eight, and they will continue adding more to the catalog.

The Dorseys, founders of a Black Art in America website, moved to Columbus from Atlanta three years ago. Last year, they opened the local BAIA gallery at 1433 17 St.

In 2014, Najee’s multimedia artwork was featured in a Columbus Museum exhibit titled the “Leaving Mississippi — Reflections on Heroes and Folklore: Works by Najee Dorsey.”

The exhibit won Najee many local fans, including Aflac CEO Dan Amos and his wife, Kathelen, who later donated $100,000 to the Columbus Museum for a black art initiative. Aflac also purchased one of Najee’s pieces.

“Garden Art for the Soul” is just the couple’s latest endeavor.

“It was basically inspired by us recently buying a home and digging deeper roots here in Columbus,” said Najee, who lives with his wife on 18th Ave. “One of the things that we always wanted to do when we got our own space — after renting lofts and different condos in Atlanta — is to be able to curate and make it our own. Building a garden was one of the things that we were really interested in.

“And so, as a result of getting the house, spending a lot of time in the backyard, and getting our living space right, we saw a need to extend our love of art into yards,” he said.

Alva James-Johnson: 706-571-8521, @amjreporter
6 mins read

29 Black Owned Businesses in Philadelphia

I recently moved to Philadelphia and I must say, as someone who loves art and food, the City of Brotherly Love doesn’t disappoint. Apart from great restaurants and hole in the wall “hood spots”,  the city has a thriving art scene and an up and coming tech startup scene. Check out some of the many Black Owned Businesses that have got you covered if you live here, decide to visit or are doing some online shopping.

Black owned Businesses

Veronica Marché is a freelance illustrator who’s artwork features women of all ethnicities and celebrates the glamour of a multicultural world.


Warm Daddy’s is an atmospheric soul food establishment known for live blues and R&B sets plus a Sunday jazz brunch. – Owners: Robert and Benjamin Bynum


The African American Museum in Philadelphia presents the achievements and aspirations of African Americans from pre-colonial times to the current day. – CEO: Patricia Wilson


BlackStar Film Fest is a celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of African descent. – Founder & Artistic Director: Maori Karmel


S&B Event Concepts and Catering is family owned and operated full service event planning and off-premise catering company. Owner: Sodiah Thomas


Duafe Holistic Hair Care‘s mission as an elite and holistic hair salon is to ensure that each client gets the best and most professional service available. – CEO: Syreeta Scott


Paris Bistro and Jazz Cafe is a snazzy neighborhood eatery with classic French bistro fare & a downstairs lounge with weekend jazz. – Owners: Robert and Benjamin Bynum


Maxamillion’s Gentlmen’s Quarter is a a networking destination where you can get a fresh cut and have great conversations with Philly’s movers & shakers. – Owner: Maxamillion A.J. Wells III


1617 Master Barbers and Stylists bring you the ultimate experience in OLD school professionalism with NEW school flavor. – Owner: Talib Abdul Mujib


Ton’Sure Grooming Studio offers the feel of a classic barber shop with a touch of modern day technology. – Owners: Kenny Tha Barber and Chink da barber

4df1ff27884803.5636c37880351Nile cafe is a laid-back, counter-serve eatery specializing in plentiful portions of vegan & vegetarian soul food and desserts. It gets my personal stamp of approval. – Co- Owners Aqkhira and Khetab Corinaldi


Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse is a comic book store and coffee house for fans, hardcore gamers, movie addicts, television connoisseurs. – Founder: Ariell R. Johnson


Blue Sole Shoes is a shoe store specializing in fashion-forward footwear for men in styles from dress to casual. – Owner: Steve Jamison.


Little Delicious is neighborhood hole in the wall that serves hearty portions of Caribbean dishes. I give this one my personal stamp of approval also.


Koco Nail Salon & Wax Studio is a quaint boutique pampering destination that offers a quaint boutique pampering destination. – Owner: Onisha Claire


United Bank of Philadelphia is the only Black owned and managed community bank in Philadelphia –  President & CEO: Evelyn F. Smalls

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2B Groomed Studios offers stylish haircuts, facials, a wide variety of shaving options, beard coloring, bump extraction and complimentary shoe buffing with every service. – Owner: Jahmal Rhaney


Onehunted closes the gap between smart consumers and products that align with their values. Owner : Isaac Ewell

Philadelphia Print Works is a t-shirt company that encourages a culture of activism and inclusion. – Donte Neal, designer and Maryam Pugh, owner and co-founder.

black owned


Team Clean is a premier commercial janitorial service company, and is the largest woman and minority-owned company in the greater Philadelphia area. – Owner: Donna L. Allie, PhD.


Iron Lady Enterprises is a construction and concrete reinforcement contractor and supplier of construction materials. – Owner: Dianna Montague.



Kilimandjaro Restaurant – Senegalese fare served in casual, warm-hued quarters with African artwork & artifacts. – Owner: Youma Bah


Mellow Massage Therapy Center is home to a team of licensed wellness therapists who strive daily to bring restorative therapeutic treatments to their clients. – Owner: Gerrae Simons


Black and Nobel  – Independently owned store featuring books, DVDs, art & events related to African-American culture. – Owned by Hakim Hopkins


Color Book Gallery is the nation’s oldest multicultural children’s bookstore. It offers has retail operations, reading activities, seminars, educational displays and exhibits. – Owner: Deborah Gary


Natures Hair Food products are chemical free products that contain all natural ingredients that promote hair growth and restores the hair to a healthy, lustrous state. – Owner: Angela Tyler


B’ella Ballerina Dance Academy is a non-profit organization that offers a comprehensive dance curriculum to students ages three and up. Founded & directed by Roneisha Smith-Davis


Little Giant Creative works with local and national companies to develop custom brand strategies, design collateral, and awareness promotions. – Founder: Tayyib Smith


The Philadelphia Tribune, founded in 1884 by Christopher James Perry, Sr., is America’s oldest and the Greater Philadelphia region’s largest daily newspaper serving the African-American community. – President & CEO: Robert W. Bogle


Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

1 min read

Black Owned Businesses in Paris You Should Know

We’re back at it with another guide to shopping Black in the Diaspora. This time, we’re highlighting Black owned businesses in Paris.  Let’s show some love to our brothers and sisters in the “City of Light”.

Black Owned Businesses in Paris

Café Dapper by Chef Loïc Dablé  is located a stone’s throw from Champs Elysées. The restaurant Café Dapper Loïc Dablé is set in Dapper Museum, a place dedicated to Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and its diasporas. black owned businesses in paris


Natasha Baco

black owned businesses in paris

Sakina M’sa

black owned businesses in paris

Adama Paris

black owned businesses in paris


black owned businesses in paris


black owned businesses in parisHOME DECOR

Myriam Maxo tells a story through fabrics with abstract patterns and wax that provide a touch of fantasy with contemporary design.

black owned businesses in paris


Visiter L’Afrique or “Visiting Africa” ​​is an interactive digital platform dedicated to tourism and culture on the African continent.


Présence Africaine is a pan-African quarterly cultural, political, and literary magazine, founded by Seneglese-born Alioune Diop in 1947.

black owned businesses in paris



Alexis Peskine is a Parisian resident who is renowned for his work on race and identity issues in France.

black owned businesses in paris


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