OK, are you back? Great event right?!
During this event, I had the opportunity to talk with a few of the performers and speakers, including music artist @Raheem_DeVaughn and actress @DianeGuerrero_. I also spoke with a "new to me" visual artist, @DemontPinder.
While signing my complimentary copy of her book, Diane asked me if I spelled my name D-I-A-M-O-N-D. I said yes and she laughed while saying there's a girl in my book whose name is Diamond, when you get to that part you'll see why I asked.
It was great to hear Diane's unique perspective to US immigration laws at this event and to talk to her one on one afterwards. She's super sweet, passionate and down to Earth. I encourage you to check out her book if you haven't and get involved in this social issue if you're interested in this cause.
Good thing I had her along to wake me up ;) Tracks 2 & 4 gave me life!!!
Mr. Ashe has been a long time personal inspiration and hero of mine since I was in elementary school. As an African American high school and collegiate tennis player, there were very few success stories to aspire to in my day but there were some. Zina Garrison and Arthur Ashe were the most well known examples at the time. The Williams sisters, (Serena and Venus of course) and I are around the same age so their stories were unfolding as I grew up.
While Raheem sang and Demont painted, I had no idea what he was creating, but as soon as Mr. Pinder began painting those trademark frames my heart skipped a beat. I decided in that moment that I wanted to meet Demont and inquire about his artwork.
But I digress...
When Mr. Pinder arrived, I told him how much I enjoyed his portion of the show and the special connection I had to Mr. Ashe. He graciously accepted my compliments and agreed to take the picture below. I also asked if the painting was for sale. He told me that unfortunately it was already sold :( He did offer to make a 8" X 10" of the same painting or another painting of someone else, a generous consolation :) I told him I would think about it while I enjoyed the rest of the event and we exchanged information to stay in contact.
Later that week, he shared a bit more about himself and some of the other pieces he has created. He's been touring with Raheem for about 15 years, has been featured in @BlackEnterprise magazine and has made artwork for many names we all know. Take a look at his Muhammad Ali painting below!
The Keep the Promise AIDS awareness affair was awesome in itself but personal interactions like these made it even more special for me. If the city of Cleveland serves as a host for this FREE event again I'M THERE! #beatyouthere