‘Of Ebony Embers’ showcases historic African-American artists

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‘Of Ebony Embers’ showcases historic African-American artists

Dracyn Blout performs with Mikael Darmanic accompanying him on piano. Photo credit: Luis Miron

Dracyn Blout performs with Mikael Darmanic accompanying him on piano. Photo credit: Luis Miron

Dracyn Blout performs with Mikael Darmanic accompanying him on piano. Photo credit: Luis Miron

Dracyn Blout performs with Mikael Darmanic accompanying him on piano. Photo credit: Luis Miron

By Margot Rowe

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Sounds of poetry and jazz rippled throughout Moorpark College’s Black Box theater. The Ebony Core Ensemble presented an event to educate students on African-American artists during the Harlem Renaissance. Over 60 attendees stomped to the production titled “Of Ebony Embers.”

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President Sanchez addresses students about the show and the importance of Black History Month. Photo credit: Luis Miron

Multicultural Day specialist professor, Tamarra Coleman, put together the event to celebrate Black History Month by introducing students to the works of African American artists.

“I hope they can appreciate poetry and jazz,” Coleman said. “I hope they hear the notable names of African American artists.”

Some of those artists included famous jazz musicians like Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. Poets such as Aaron Douglas and Langston Hughes were among those showcased as well. Those are just some of the big names that made history during the Harlem Renaissance.

Between 1918 and 1937, the Harlem Renaissance was a movement expanding African-American culture. The movement started in Harlem, New York, eventually spanning across the Midwest.

The Core Ensemble featured a live trio of musicians composed of Mikael Darmanic on piano, Ju Young Lee playing the cello, and Michael Parola with percussion. The trio played songs from the famous artists of that time to accompany the poems being performed by actor Dracyn Blount.

“It’s entertainment and education,” Coleman said. “It’s just a real accomplishment from those artists that those students have never heard of before.”

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Core Ensemble actor, Dracyn Blout, portrays famous poet Aaron Douglas. Photo credit: Luis Miron

After the performance, audience members were treated to a talk-back where they could ask questions. Students such as Paige Chumley, 20, commented on how she liked the musical interpretation and what she learned from the performance.

“I learned a lot about the history of the Harlem Renaissance,” said Chumley. “I learned a little more about the poets and I believe it’s very important for people to see this show.”

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Students and faculty listen to the responses of the performers during the talkback given after the show. Photo credit: Luis Miron

Black History Month showcases the achievements of African-Americans throughout history which the show brought attention to. These figures in someway whether it’s artistically, socially, or politically, have shaped American culture and continue to influence.

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