Kameron McCullough and Nile Ivey were having a rough year.
It was December 2012, and the two friends hatched a plan to simultaneously wash away their troubles and usher in a more buoyant 2013. They settled on hosting a small game night.
Mr. Ivey, a D.J. and music blogger, had been laid off from his job at BET Networks. Mr. McCullough had been fired from his job at Condé Nast just a few months after being evicted from his apartment.
They planned to keep the invite list short, ensure that it included plenty of women and inform attendees that gaining entry required two things: a bottle of Hennessy cognac and a bucket of fried chicken.
“It’s going to be a Henny Palooza,” Mr. McCullough recalls one friend joking.
Seven years later, the event — now known as D’ussé Palooza — has grown from an East Harlem house party attended by barely 50 people to an event that drew 9,000 to Barclays Center in Brooklyn this month, while expanding to more than a dozen United States cities.
The party attracts thousands of fans every year, a group that includes professional athletes like the N.B.A. star Kevin Durant and the New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, music industry luminaries like the New York radio hosts Charlamagne Tha God and Ebro Darden, sports journalists like Bomani Jones of ESPN and Jemele Hill of The Atlantic, and the hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper.
“It’s the best party in America,” Reginald Ossé, a podcaster and onetime Source magazine editor known as Combat Jack, once declared. (Mr. Ossé died in 2017.)
The event’s new name is the product of a multimillion-dollar deal with Jay-Z, the music star and entrepreneur. Mr. McCullough, 34, and his team have entered into a rare partnership with Jay-Z’s music label, Roc Nation. As a result, the cognac brand D’ussé, which the rapper is an investor in, now sponsors the event.
AMERICAN BALLET THEATER’S NEW YORK SUMMER INTENSIVE
at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (July 26, noon and 2:30 p.m.).
Curious about the next generation of dancers? Two afternoon performances
wrap up Ballet Theater’s 24th annual training program, directed by Kate
Lydon, for dancers ages 12 to 20. Students of the five-week intensive,
under the instruction of former company members including Cynthia
Harvey, Leslie Browne,
Lupe Serrano and Cheryl Yeager, will perform selections from
“Coppélia,” “Don Quixote,” “Giselle,” “La Bayadère,” “Swan Lake,” “The
Sleeping Beauty” and August Bournonville’s “Le Conservatoire.” 212-477-3030, ext. 3416; abt.org
at Gerald W. Lynch Theater (Aug. 1-3, 7:30 p.m.). This East London
hip-hop group, last seen at the 2018 White Light Festival, returns to
Lincoln Center for an encore of its acclaimed political and virtuosic “Blak Whyte Gray.”
Presented this time by the Mostly Mozart Festival, the company explores
themes of oppression, identity and transcendence. Michael Asante (also
known as Mikey J) is credited with creative direction and music, while
Kenrick Sandy (who goes by H2O) is the piece’s choreographer. 212-721-6500, lincolncenter.org/mostly-mozart-festival
YOSHIKO CHUMA AND THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS at the Invisible Dog (July 26, 7 p.m.). Chuma, a veteran experimental choreographer and conceptual artist, presents the final presentation of “My Diary: Secret Journey to Tipping Utopia.” In it, musicians, dancers and designers interact, but never directly as fragments of sound, text and action — a metaphor for the cycle of life — fluctuate between states of utopia and war. Chuma has been in residency at the Invisible Dog since July 1. theinvisibledog.org
COMPAGNIE HERVÉ KOUBI at Prospect Park Bandshell (July 27, 8 p.m.). For the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, this company led by Koubi, a French-Algerian choreographer, presents his evening-length “What the Day Owes to the Night.” With a cast of 12 French-Algerian and African dancers, this vibrant production combines capoeira, martial arts, hip-hop and contemporary dance; it’s Koubi’s signature work and his second collaboration with street dancers from Algeria and Burkina Faso. 718-683-5600, bricartsmedia.org
JACOB’S PILLOW DANCE FESTIVAL
in Becket, Mass. (through Aug. 25). This weekend, the festival hosts
the Paul Taylor Dance Company in repertory works and the tap
choreographer Caleb Teicher with the composer and pianist Conrad Tao for
their collaboration “More Forever” (both performances run through
Sunday). In the coming week, “The Day,” an anticipated piece by the
cellist Maya Beiser, the dancer Wendy Whelan and the choreographer
Lucinda Childs, has its premiere; the production, which features music
by David Lang, explores memory and resilience (Wednesday through Aug.
4). Also, A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham offers a mixed repertory program, which
includes his own works as well as one by Andrea Miller (Wednesday
through Aug. 4). 413-243-0745, jacobspillow.org
MADE IN N.Y.C. 2.0: NEXT GENERATION TRADITIONS at Hearst Plaza (July 28, 1 p.m.). As part of its Heritage Sunday series, Lincoln Center Out of Doors presents this free, mixed bill featuring Redobles de Cultura, a collective of three New York City Afro-Puerto Rican bomba practitioners; Sri Lankan Dance Academy of New York,
an intergenerational group based in Staten Island; Michael Winograd
& the Honorable Mentshn, a Brooklyn klezmer group; and Inkarayku, an
Andean band that performs Quechua folk songs and dance music. This
presentation highlights the art and culture of first- and
second-generation New Yorkers. 212-721-6500, lincolncenter.org
92Y MOBILE DANCE FILM FESTIVAL
at the 92nd Street Y (July 27, 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m.). How often have you
lost track of time watching dance videos on your smartphone? Here’s an
opportunity to see three programs’ worth
— 48 films in all — at the 92Y’s second annual festival celebrating
works shot on mobile devices. Its international jury considered more
than 100 submissions from 14 countries, including Argentina, Cuba,
France, Greece and Japan. The selected films include David Fernandez’s
“The Clock,” Rebecca Gillespie’s “The French Girl,” and Roma Flowers and
Nina Martin’s “Secondary Surfaces Redreamed.” 212-415-5500, 92y.org
YOUNG DANCEMAKERS COMPANY at various locations (July 26, 7 p.m.; July 28 and 31 and Aug. 1, 2 p.m.; July 30, 1 p.m.; through Aug. 3). This dance ensemble,
which comprises students from New York City public high schools,
continues its 24th annual touring season, taking place at different
locations across four boroughs, from the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan on
Friday to the Kumble Theater in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Since the end of
June, the young dance artists have developed original choreography under
the guidance of Alice Teirstein and Jessica Gaynor, as well as the 2019
guest artist John Heginbotham, and now present the end result in these
free public showings. youngdancemakerscompany.org
Put 70-year-old Grace Jones in a metallic leather jacket and gold mesh bodysuit on your runway and you’ve got yourself a hit. Tommy Hilfiger brought the pop star out at the end of his latest celebrity collaboration last night — with the actress and singer Zendaya — which toasted diversity, in race as well as age and size, with a cast that included Beverly Johnson, Pat Cleveland, and Veronica Webb.
For Zendaya, the Hilfiger platform — in the middle of Paris Fashion Week — was a great way to call attention to the general lack of diversity in the entertainment and fashion industries, not just on the catwalk but in power positions. And let’s hope that Hilfiger, 67, who has built his name and fortune by selling images of white privilege — with recent collections evoking the Ivy League, Mustique, and Savile Row — makes true diversity his business, because he hasn’t always in the past.
without such overt messaging, though, designers are making powerful
statements about feminine strength and self-representation.
At Hermès, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski opened with black leather, lots of it — hot pants, sharp coats, and little fanny purses emblazoned with an H. Given that the soundtrack had a hard, thumping beat, I wouldn’t have been surprised if one of the kohl-eyed models had suddenly produced a whip from her tiny purse. And I don’t mean the equestrian kind. Seriously, though, it was great to see Vanhee-Cybulski venture into more daring territory for classical Hèrmes. Designers should be free to explore and propose, and she has already demonstrated that she can do light, eclectic sportswear, as she did in her dazzling spring show. Apart from the hot pants, the mood of this collection was strict and rather buttoned-up, with pencil skirts in textured leather shown with matching boots and long-sleeve, mock-turtleneck tops in solid hues of orange and moss silk that were a novel treatment of the house’s famous scarves.
NYPD commander at a Brooklyn precinct is currently being investigated
after allegedly telling his group of officers to “shoot” 50 Cent “on sight” at a boxing match in the city last spring. Per People, deputy
inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez made the alleged remarks to his staff at a
roll call before the NYPD-sanctioned sporting event took place, which he
tried to pass off as a joke in the moment. However, the rapper became
aware of Gonzalez’s comments on Sunday morning after The New York Daily News broke the story,
and is considering legal action against the commander as a result. “Mr.
Jackson takes this threat very seriously and is consulting with his
legal counsel regarding his options going forward,” his spokesman said
in a statement. “He is concerned that he was not previously advised of
this threat by the NYPD and even more concerned that Gonzalez continues
to carry a badge and a gun.”
“This is how I wake up this morning,” 50 Cent added on Twitter. “This guy Emanuel Gonzales is a dirty cop abusing his power. The sad part is this man still has a badge and a gun. I take this threat very seriously and I’m consulting with my legal counsel regarding my options moving forward.” Peoplenotes that the duo previously crossed paths within the law. Gonzalez filed an aggravated harassment complaint against 50 Cent last spring, which stemmed from the rapper reportedly making threats against Gonzalez on social media after the commander shut down a popular Brooklyn strip club.
NEW YORK >> First-time documentary filmmakers Tina Brown and
Dyana Winkler lugged their cameras to Central Park in New York one day
to capture the last few people still passionate about roller skating.
Rinks across the country were gone. The activity seemed dead.
“We were shooting a piece about what we thought was the end of the
era of skating with what we thought were the last men standing,” said
Winkler. “We thought, ‘Who roller skates anymore?’”
They may have come for a funeral but they found something else entirely. Two young African-American skaters approached them and asked them what they were doing. “They said, ‘Skating’s not dead. It just went underground,’” Winkler recalled.
Winkler and Brown decided to go find it. Five years and 500 hours of
footage later, they’ve emerged with the HBO film “United Skates,” a
fascinating look at the rich African-American subculture of roller
skating, which is under threat.
“We hope that our viewers will learn something they didn’t know
about, fall in love with something they didn’t know about, and maybe be
compelled to care enough to protect it,” Winkler said.
The documentary explores how roller rinks were the sites of some of
the earliest fights of the civil-rights era and how they later became
the launching pads for hip-hop artists.
It shows how unofficial segregation lives on, with so-called “adult
nights” that feature metal detectors and masses of police, something not
used when whites come to skate. It also shows how rinks are being
closed as communities chase more revenue by rezoning for retail use.
“There’s a bigger story to tell and we can use the joyous beauty of
roller skating as the sugar to spoon-feed some of these bigger issues.
That’s when we started to peel back the layers,” Winkler said.
That day in Central Park changed the trajectory — and the lives — of
the filmmakers. The young skaters they met invited the women to come and
see what had happened to skating. And so they got on a night bus to
The duo — one Australian, one American — approached a roller rink at
midnight. It was far from funereal: There was a line down the block,
music was pumping, skaters were dressed to kill and everyone seemed to
know each other.
“We stepped into this world,” said Winkler.
They soon learned that each city had different skate dance styles —
Baltimore has “Snapping,” Atlanta has the “Jacknife” and in Texas you do
the “Slow Walk” — and how such a tight fellowship among skaters is
forged that they will fly across the country to get together.
Embraced by the community, Winkler and Brown never paid for a hotel
room or car rental or a meal while crisscrossing the country
interviewing some 100 skaters. The skaters themselves opened their homes
and drove them around.
The documentary features interviews with hip-hop legends like
Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio and Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature. John Legend is an
executive producer and the film received the Documentary Audience Award
at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The cameras also follow Reggie Brown, a roller-skating ambassador and
community advocate. In a phone interview, he explained that roller
skating teaches patience, athleticism, purpose, positive reinforcement,
determination — and getting up after a fall.
“Roller skating is a little bit more than going in circles on a
couple of wheels,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s an enjoyable exercise. It’s
healthy and there are a lot of great benefits. But the socioeconomics
benefits to roller skating are higher than anybody can think of.”
“Name me another activity that’s family-affordable, that you can go
to on a Saturday and take five members of your family and you can skate
for four hours and everybody can have a good time and exercise.”
“United Skates” is a documentary made partially by the subjects
themselves. Winkler and Brown, who began the project as beginner
skaters, enlisted skaters to shoot scenes and used their rink skills to
help capture footage.
“They would push us from behind at these high speeds and we would
just focus on the camera and just pray,” said Winkler. “It really was
collaboration. They like to say we taught them how to shoot and they
taught us how to skate.”
The cameras capture one suburban Chicago family-owned rink’s
gut-wrenching decision to shut its doors — among thousands that have
done so in the past decade — and the filmmakers are not shy about hoping
their film can stem the tide of closures.
“Obviously if we could save one rink, if we could have one rink
reopen because of this film, that’s a huge step forward for this
community and we hope that will have a ripple effect,” said Brown.
Of all New York City’s classic attractions, a stroll through Times Square may be the one that least appeals to people who live in New York, especially at rush hour. But on Thursday evening, there was reason to brave the crowds, the noise and the invitations to take a photo with Spiderman. Danspace Project, an East Village organization housed at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, had come to Midtown.In Danspace Project at Times Square, presented with Times Square Arts through Sunday, three new works — by Laurie Berg, Luciana Achugar and Full Circle Souljahs — allow even the most jaded New Yorker’s to see the city’s commercial epicenter through fresh lenses, sometimes literally.
Full Circle Souljahs presented “Behind the Groove — Times Square Edition,” a showcase of hip-hop styles.
Before watching Ms. Berg’s enchanting “scape,” in Duffy Square at 47th Street, viewers were encouraged to grab a pair of 3D glasses. As seven dancers appeared, walking calmly through the throngs with linked hands, you could see — but only through these frames — messages printed on their vibrant patterned costumes (the work of Liliana Dirks-Goodman, Jaime Shearn Coan and the designers at Print All Over Me). Some read as subtle calls to action (“Is it a show? Show up.”), others as checks on our scattered attention (“Look again.”).
For a long time, being online was where Aaron Philip felt most confident.
She began documenting her daily life on Tumblr when she was 11, writing about her love of anime and the experience of growing up in New York City with cerebral palsy. In those days, Aaron got online with a MacBook and a personal Wi-Fi hot spot at a homeless shelter in Manhattan, where she lived with her father after her medical bills became too expensive.
“I took to the internet to find community and build a space for myself where I could be loved and appreciated,” she said.
Despite her circumstances, Aaron projected a positive attitude online, once telling her followers: “Sometimes, it’s you who has to trigger your own happiness.”
Aaron, 17, now lives in an apartment in the Bronx. She doesn’t go anywhere without her iPad, which usually sits on a tray attached to her motorized wheelchair. She’s graduated from Tumblr to Twitter and Instagram, where she has become a champion of issues affecting gay, transgender and disabled youth.
Last fall, Aaron announced her ambition to become a model. “I bleached my hair, and I bought a new wardrobe with the intentions of going viral, which is crazy,” she said with a laugh.
Aaron’s confidence is no longer confined to the internet. To jump-start her modeling career, she used Instagram to send messages to fashion photographers and set up photo shoots, which landed her campaigns with brands such as ASOS and H&M. In July, she became the first black transgender model — and the first physically disabled model — to be signed to Elite Model Management.
The signing comes at a time when the fashion industry is starting to respond to decades of criticism for practices that made tall, thin, white women its standard for beauty.
Nearly 40 percent of the models at New York Fashion Week in February were models of color, up from 21 percent in 2015, according to an annual diversity report conducted by The Fashion Spot.
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