Louisiana native Terence O. Blanchard is the first Black artist to debut an original Opera at the famous Metropolitan Opera House. “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” is based on the memoir of Charles M. Blow, another Black Louisianan.

Blow is a Best-Selling Author, New York Times columnist, CNN Contributor, and the host of Prime with Charles M. Blow on the Black News Network.

“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” tells about a young man’s journey to overcome a lifetime of trauma and hardship. The opera follows Charles through his adolescence and ultimately leads to a fateful moment: when he must decide whether to break free from his trauma and begin to rebuild his life.

“Terence Blanchard’s ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’ is the first work by a Black composer to be presented at the Met. Based on Charles M. Blow’s moving memoir of the same name and featuring a libretto by Kasi Lemmons, the new staging is co-directed by James Robinson and Camille A. Brown. Brown, who is also the production’s choreographer, becomes the first Black director to create a mainstage Met production. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a stellar cast, led by Will Liverman as Charles, Angel Blue as Destiny/Loneliness/Greta, and Latonia Moore as Billie,” according to the Met’s press release.

“I had no idea I was the first Black to have an opera at the Met,” Blanchard said in the “Creative Forces Behind Fire Shut Up in My Bones.” “It’s an overwhelming, huge honor, but I know I’m not the first qualified to do it,” Blanchard, a New Orleans native, adds.

Blanchard, 59, began playing piano by the age of 5, switched to trumpet three years later, and played alongside childhood friend Wynton Marsalis in summer band camps.

Blow marvels at the Met’s embrace of his memoir. “I’m still that little boy from a nowhere place in the world. For the Met to say it’s grand enough is truly an honor.

Charles McRay Blow, 51,  is a native of Gibsland, Louisiana. Gibsland is a town of 563 residents in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. The city is best known for its connecting railroads, the birthplace of Coleman College, and the nearby capture in 1934 of the bandits Bonnie and Clyde.

Senior VP at Harper-Collins, Jonathan Burnham, describes Blow’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” as a psychological thriller. During a public discussion about the memoir, Burnham questioned Blow about his motivation for writing the book.

“The title comes from the Bible,” Blow explains.  Jeremiah 20:9 says, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not hold back.”

At age 7, Blow was sexually assaulted by a cousin, Chester. Blow didn’t tell anyone about it. He struggled with the trauma Chester caused. As a young man, Blow had to accept that what happened wasn’t his fault. He also had to deal with confusion over his sexual identity.

The memoir opens with 20-year-old Charles sitting in a car, holding a gun, and deciding whether to kill his abuser. “To me Chester was the devil,” he adds.

He credits the self-sufficiency he learned watching successful Black professionals in a segregated community thrive while owning property, growing their own food, and leading institutions. Blow, like his mother, is a “super survivor.”

Blow came out as bisexual in 2014 upon the publication of “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” memoir. He is the divorced father of three adult children.

Blow survived the trauma, graduated magnum cum laude from Grambling University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, and became an award-winning graphic designer, journalist, author, father and husband.

“With an expansive body of work, including the scores for numerous Spike Lee films and an extensive discography, 2018 USA Fellow and six-time Grammy-winning trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements concerning painful American tragedies. He studied jazz at Rutgers University and was invited to play with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1982. Following a string of collaborative recordings, he released his first self-titled solo album on Columbia Records in 1991. In 2015, he released his first album with his jazz quintet E-Collective, and most recently, the ensemble collaborated with the Turtle Island Quartet for a new album, Absence, that released in 2021 on the Blue Note label. He was nominated for Academy Awards for his original scores for the films ‘BlacKkKlansman’ in 2019 and ‘Da 5 Bloods’ in 2021. In 2013, his first Opera, ‘Champion,’ had its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and six years later, that same company premiered his ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones,’” according to the Met.

Opening Night of the 2021–22 season, will be a historic occasion – the Met’s first performance of an opera by a Black composer. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Grammy Award-winning jazz musician and composer Terence Blanchard’s adaptation of Charles M. Blow’s moving memoir, which The New York Times praised after its 2019 world premiere at Opera. Theatre of Saint Louis as “bold and affecting” and “subtly powerful.”

Featuring a libretto by Filmmaker Kasi Lemmons, “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” is about a young man’s journey to overcome a life of trauma and hardship.

James Robinson and Camille A. Brown – two of the creators of the Met’s sensational recent production of Porgy and Bess – co-direct this new staging; Brown, who is also the production’s choreographer, becomes the first Black director to create a mainstage Met production.

“Baritone Will Liverman, one of opera’s most exciting young artists, stars as Charles, alongside sopranos Angel Blue as Destiny/Loneliness/Greta and Latonia Moore as Billie,” the Met reported.

“I want to make sure the people whose shoulders I’m standing on will be proud. My hope and dream is to have some little kids come up knowing they can overcome and succeed in life.”

“Terence is a genius. When this is over, I will have a soundtrack to my life written by Terence Blanchard,” Blow said gleefully.

“Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” a two-hour, forty-minute Opera, opens on Wednesday, September 27, 2021, and runs through October 23, 2021. metopera.org.

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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