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Legacies: Music, Sculpture Or Orange Dust?

Black Friday concert

Owuor Arunga “The Sultan of Swag,” a world famous trumpet player, organized an astonishing Black Friday concert at the Langston Hughes Cultural Center. As he explained to us, almost all the now successful performers who shared their talents with us that night got their start as youth who first performed on the very stage where the concert took place. It was a moving evening, as we watched old friends greet each other, mentors give short presentations, and singers, rappers and musicians give extraordinary performances.

Owuor Arunga spoke of his own mentors in the Central District and at Garfield High School, and he, in turn, is mentoring many others. Some of the incredible performers with a wide range of ages, included singers Marissa Garret, Dadabass, Adra Boo, Otieno Terry, Black Stax (four musicians, with a political and avant-garde edge) , rapper Yirim Sec, and the distinguished Josephine Howell. Owuor believes that music can “heal the world.” Several of the musicians are part of the One Vibe Africa’s Music and Art Program, based in Kisumu, Kenya.

Each performance was punctuated by astonishing solo trumpet playing by Owuor along with his friends on trumpet, guitar, drums and keyboard. The importance of the Central District as an epicenter of Black culture in Seattle for decades disappears more rapidly every day as gentrification ravages the neighborhood. Wyking Garrett spoke of current efforts to save African American culture and businesses. One critical location is the block at 23rd and Union. The UmojaFest Peace Center is located on the Southeast corner at 24th and Spring Street. At the Black Dot Cultural Innovation Space on the other side of the block, participants are working on solutions to keep affordable rentals and businesses in the Central District.

Fountain of Triumph