Friday January 19, 2007

Equal Rights: Reggae and Social Change

Peter Tosh Equal Rights album cover [MDPL press release]

Equal Rights: Reggae and Social Change
January 11 – February 28, 2007
Main Library, Auditorium

This traveling exhibition tells the story of 30 years of Jamaican art, music, and social change throughout the African Diaspora with words and amazing album cover art from landmark records by Ras Michael, Louise Bennett, The Skatalites, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, and many more. Co-curated by Herbie Miller and Josh Chamberlain, and organized by Catherine Amidon and the Karl Drerup Art Gallery and Exhibitions Program at Plymouth State University.

On January 20th, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., get schooled in reggae consciousness, culture and history, as Herbie Miller, manager of the late reggae legend Peter Tosh, reggae historian, and co-curator of Equal Rights: Reggae and Social Change, presides over an afternoon of art, performances, and discussion, including performances by Millenium Band featuring King Arthur and dub poet Malachi Smith; and a conversation with radio host, historian, and community leader Winston Barnes; Lloyd Campbell (Producer, Joe Fraser Records); Reggae Vibes DJ Lance-O; Hal Anthony (of Millennium Band) and Malachi Smith.

[also on view:]
To the Barbershop: Call and Response Series #2
New work by Noelle Theard and Works from the permanent collection by Richard Davenport
January 11 – March 20, 2007
2nd floor exhibition space, Main Library

Author Craig Marberry writes that the black barbershop is “a world of kinetic jazz and air you could see and grownups who actually knew how to laugh…a think tank…a comedy showcase.” The show started with a series of photographs by Richard Davenport from the Library’s permanent collection, depicting black barbershops in Miami during the early 1980’s. Miami photojournalist and documentarian Noelle Theard created a new body of work, snapping some of the same barbershops—including Liberty City’s Mop City and Overtown’s Green & Fort—26 years later. Together, the old and new sets of photographs convey a sense of the permanence of these neighborhood institutions—the decor and “No Profanity” signs have pretty much stayed the same—and the breakneck change of the Magic City outside.

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  1. Tere    Fri Jan 19, 09:02 AM #  

    The Skatalites are among the best musicians EVER.


    I’m so pissed I’m moving tomorrow and will miss the Herbie Miller event.

    I’m hoping to take the 4th off (off from parenting, cleaning and setting up house) to visit the exhibit.

  2. alesh    Fri Jan 19, 09:43 AM #  

    Confirmed: the Skatalites are the bomb. I saw them at a club called Churchill’s (no, not THAT Churchill’s, this was in Broward!) years ago.

  3. D.    Fri Jan 19, 10:26 AM #  

    Thanks for the plug, Alesh! The show is really wonderful, Herbie Miller is a goldmine of reggae history, and the leader of Millennium Band has promised to mash it up at the library tomorrow…

  4. rastagrl    Fri Jan 19, 10:33 AM #  

    I’m DEFINITELY going to go! It’s gonna be awesome…and free!

  5. kingofrance    Fri Jan 19, 01:00 PM #  

    I have to say that of all the things this city does wrong, they’ve some how done a great job with the library system. One of the great things about working downtown is walking over to the library and checking out the exhibits. I was looking at those barber shop photos yesterday wondering if the Critical Miami dude had seen them.

  6. I was there    Sun Jan 21, 01:38 PM #  

    The reggae exhibition was a Big Let Down.
    I was expecting to see original artwork and Reggae ephemera, such as photos and otherwise “never before seen” items.
    Instead it was framed album covers and text panels describing the type of reggae on each album. I saw one CD player with head phones.
    It was a nice attempt, but could have been better.

  7. Todd    Mon Jan 22, 02:04 AM #  

    I agree with the posts recognizing the Skatalites greatness. I had the honor to see them and was blown away. I can’t wait for the exhibit.

  8. Art Services    Mon Jan 22, 10:13 AM #  

    The exhibition is promoted as being “[c]omposed of record album covers, text panels, film and sound clips and voice and music samples” and “tell[ing] the story of 30 years of Jamaican art, music, and social change throughout the African Diaspora with words and…album cover art.“ There are two CD players which visitors can use to listen to sound and music compiled by Herbie Miller, as well as a video of a rare interview with Peter Tosh. Many of the text panels do describe what is on specific albums—including mento, ska, reggae, and dub poetry—but they also elaborate quite a bit on the origins, historical events, politics, and cultural context for the music. Thanks for coming out to see the show!

  9. alesh    Tue Jan 23, 10:16 PM #  


    The exhibition was put together by Denise Delgado, who’s been kicking ass as the Library system’s curator for a little over a year(?). She’s the one who put together the art blog panel and the everglades exhibition.

    I occasionally visit the downtown library, and noticed awhile back a bit improvement in the quality of what I was seeing there, only in retrospect realized that it probably coincided with her being in charge.

    As for the Reggae thing, did anyone attend the event itself? (I missed it . . .)