A Brief Reflection on “Free Angela”

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We asked some of our guest from our screening of “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” to share their thoughts about the film. Our first guest blogger is Anthony Smith. Thanks Anthony for your support and sharing!

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A Brief Reflection on Free Angela

By Anthony Smith

On May 29th Toni (my wife) and I hung out with our friends and gospel co-conspirators Dustin and Hannah Wilson to see the new documentary about professor, activist and revolutionary Angela Davis titled “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners”. The event was hosted by The Vine Events, a local group that curates educational, cultural and community events whose lead organizer is Tonya Miller Cross.

Free Angela covered the events surrounding Angela Davis’ imprisonment in California during the late 60s and early 70s. The documentary itself did a great job in weaving her personal story within the larger social and cultural tumult of the 60s.

Rather than a re-cap I’d like to just simply point out random ideas, thoughts and observations that emerged for me on that night.

1. It only takes a handful of committed change-agents to demonstrate that another world is possible. In particular, Davis’ connection with various organizations within the black power movement, Communist party, and other radical movement groups during this period. These folks literally saw themselves ‘ushering in’ another world characterized by equality and freedom. Today, we need more leaders with this kind of mindset. Reminds me of the conversation in larger liberationist movements that focus on pre-figurative politics and what some followers of Jesus would describe as a kind of eschatological politics….whereby a group of people demonstrate in the present moment a more just and peaceful lifestyle in the midst of societal oppression. Will you play a part in ushering a different more just world?

2. You don’t need permission to start a revolution. I was inspired by Davis’ self-possession. She had a strong sense of self and identity as a woman, revolutionary and human being. Her courage to distinguish herself from the patriarchy and nationalism of some of the black power organizations demonstrated her willingness to be about revolutionary projects that fit her own particular story. Also her ability to see herself unfolding within a larger story with different streams pouring into her personal story. She did not distance herself from all that made her who she was and is. She weaved into her story her life as an entrenched Continental Philosopher, child of the Jim Crow South (hailing from the black elite in Birmingham, Al); an elite education and other elements you’d think would disqualify her from solidarity with the oppressed and marginalized. Her elite education did not stop her from joining in the social revolution. But she realized she had to dig in and get her hands and feet dirty. She was not afraid to be her own person thus demonstrating her equality whether it was recognized or not. What revolution will you start?

3. Raison d’etre. This word was used a couple of times during the documentary. I was asked its meaning by someone watching it with me. It is a French phrase that means ‘reason for existence’. It also means to possess a sense of purpose or direction. Dr. Davis represented a human being who discovered her raison d’etre. Also, someone that made an intentional decision to unfold and flourish in it. Unfortunately, the graveyard is overflowing with people who never discover nor walk out their raison d’tre. What’s yours?

Anthony Smith lives in Salisbury, NC. Anthony is one of the co-hosts (along with this wife Toni Cook-Smith) of Mission House, a kingdom experiment in Salisbury, NC. He is the ‘resident emerging theologian’ of an Emergent Village cohort in Charlotte and a co-host of the emergent cohort in Statesville, NC. He also serves on the leadership team of TransFORM, a global network of missional leaders and communities. He facilitates a blog, Musings of a Postmodern Negro, that is an investigation into the intersection of theology, philosophy, race, popular culture, politics, and emerging culture

We Did It! “Free Angela” Is Coming

Free Angela PromoWe gave our community a challenge and they rose to the occasion! The Vine Event Planning will host a screening of the documentary “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” on Wednesday, May 29, at 7:30 pm at AMC Concord Mills 24 Theatre in Concord, NC.

Together we met the goal of 81 tickets purchased for the documentary of “Free Angela” to come to our area. Our vigorous social media campaign and networking with a team of community leaders and organizations paid off. Now our mission is to “pack the house”! Tickets for the documentary can be purchased online at http://www.tugg.com/events/4065 and will be available up until the day of the event; however, tickets will sale out once sales reach 130. Ticket cost is $12.

“Free Angela” is a historic account of the events that landed Angela Davis, a controversial political icon, in jail. Davis, a philosophy professor, was accused of kidnapping and murdering a judge during a shootout at a California courthouse in 1970. Davis then fled the country, convinced that she would not receive a fair trial and was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Two months later, she was captured and charged with murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy. After a two-year legal battle, Davis was acquitted of all charges.

For the first time ever, Davis tells her side of the story, along with others who lived through the events. Our hope is that people will gain a better understanding of American History during the Civil Rights Movement. We know the story the media created and the story the government wanted us to know, but now we will hear Angela’s story.

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Black History In The Making…

For the month of February, The Vine Events is celebrating Black History Month and we will highlight African American entrepreneurs on our social network pages. Our theme is “Black History In The Making” and our focus is “Community”. We’re kicking off our celebration with an article about high fashion designer Avnah Davis-Long written by guest blogger Desere’ Cross. We chose Mrs. Davis-Long because her life experiences parallel the story of struggle and triumph of African American people.

“Although my whole life was rough, God kept me and brought me out a new person with no limitation. He has instilled in my heart that everything that ever happened to me is my history, not my destiny, and I have seen Him work amazing things out in my life.” – Avnah Davis-Long.

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Our specialty is informative events such as, Q&A parties, screening dialogues, interpersonal workshops, and community forums. We offer both face-to-face and online event designs. Contact us today for a “free” consultation for your next meeting/event.

Black History In The Making – Avnah Davis-Long, High Fashion Designer

Avnah Davis-Long (center left) at speaking engagement.

Avnah Davis-Long (center left) at speaking engagement.

What does Kelly Rowland, high fashion, and Salisbury, NC all have in common? They have all come into contact with Avnah Davis-Long, a high fashion designer who has humble beginnings in Salisbury, NC.

Davis-Long moved from Ohio to Salisbury at age 12 and attended Knox Middle School, Salisbury High School, and Rowan Cabarrus Community College. At age 20, she moved to Atlanta, GA and opened a hair salon. From there, she grew her salon business. Inside of her salon, she would dress mannequins in her clothing designs. After receiving inquiries from salon clients about where they could buy the clothes draped on the mannequins, Davis-Long began to invest her income from her salon into fabric for her designs. The success of her fashion design business soon exceeded that of her hair salon, and she had to decide which passion to pursue; fashion designer or hair stylist? She chose fashion.

Davis-Long began crocheting when she was young. It was something her mom thought would be good for her to learn. This hobby that Davis-Long describes as something she was “forced” into doing, ended up jump-starting her career. Davis-Long’s first fashion line was a crochet swimwear collection, which resulted in her entering the fashion world as a notable crochet designer. In 2003, she trademarked the fashion line Avnah Couture and incorporated sewing into her line in 2006. In 2012, “Couture” was dropped from the original name, and the line was rebranded as AVNAH. AVNAH has been described as edgy, futuristic, and unique and has been featured at the New York Fashion Week, Atlanta International Fashion Week, and CIAA Fashion Week. Grammy award winner, Kelly Rowland, was the first celebrity to wear AVNAH. The collection is now being sold on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, CA and has been worn by Sasha Pieterse from ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, Cynthia Bailey from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and many more.

Being the owner of a high fashion boutique requires wearing many hats, and according to Davis-Long, this is one of many obstacles to being an entrepreneur.
“I do everything, from sewing to administrative tasks,” Davis-Long said. However, during 2013, she plans to have her fashion line mass produced in a manufacturing plant. This will allow her to focus on personal aspects of the design process, such as creativity. When asked if she had any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Davis-Long said “you have to have thick skin…sometimes, when you take criticism the wrong way, it hinders you.” She also encouraged entrepreneurs to persevere even after being told “no.”

Although Davis-Long moved to Atlanta because it provided her with opportunities for what she wanted to do, she has not forgotten Salisbury. In the past, Davis-Long has had several speaking engagements in Salisbury, including one at Salisbury High School. Ultimately, Davis-Long said she wants her brand to have meaning behind it. By giving back to those in her community who need help and guidance, Davis-Long is able to exemplify philanthropy. In Georgia, she has worked with the Boys and Girls Club on different events and projects, such as sponsoring sewing workshops. She has also provided free demos for cosmetology schools in Georgia.

If you’d like to find out more about AVNAH or shop at their online store visit http://www.avnah.com.

Desere’ S. Cross
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Journalism and Communications Studies Major
Class of 2014

Designs By AVNAH

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February: Black History Month

Dr. Carter G. Woodson is accredited for the creation of Black History Month. In 1915, Woodson’s desire to create an African American presence in United States history led him to establish the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson continued to educate African Americans about their culture, background, and significant achievements by launching Negro History Week in 1926. The second week in February was chosen as the commemorative week because the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were already two days celebrated by the black community during this week . In 1976, Black History Week was expanded into a month long celebration.

On February 1, 2002, the McDonald’s Corporation launched an initiative that celebrates Black History all year long with their 365Black Campaign. In 2003, McDonald’s took their initiative a step further and developed the 365Black Awards, which annually recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the African American community. For more information about McDonald’s 365Black Campaign visit www.mcdonalds.com/365black.

We hope you will join us as we celebrate Black History Month. Check out our Facebook page for regular post throughout the month that will highlight Black History facts and information at www.facebook.com/TheVineEventPlanning. PBS will also have a lineup of programs that will commemorate the history, culture, and contributions of African Americans. Check out the video below for more details.

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To find more information about Black History Month please visit http://www.infoplease.com/black-history-month/ .