Muriel Cooper & Jada Irwin
WASHINGTON – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc (CBCF) and the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses will recognize the contributions of two icons in the arts, 8 p.m. -10:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18, during the 17th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This fundraising event for scholarships in the performing and visual arts kicks off the 43rd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from Sept. 18-21.
This year’s honorees are film director and producer Antoine Fuqua, visual artist Carrie Mae Weems and author Tananarive Due.
Best known for the highly successful police drama, Training Day, Mr. Fuqua’s diverse body of work includes Brooklyn’s Finest with Richard Gere and Don Cheadle; Shooter starring Mark Wahlberg, and Tears of the Sun with Bruce Willis. Most recently, he directed the box-office hit Olympus Has Fallen. Mr. Fuqua produces and directs projects under the banner of his production company, Fuqua Films and is currently in production on The Equalizer with Denzel Washington for Columbia Pictures.
Artist Carrie Mae Weems uses photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and most recently, video to tell the story of human life. Known for her documentary photographic series including: Family Pictures and Stories (1978-1984); Ain’t Jokin’ (1987-1988); Colored People (1989-1990); and the Kitchen Table series (1990), Ms. Meems explores themes including family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems.
Tananarive Due is an author, screenwriter and producer. She is currently the Cosby Chair in the Humanities at Spelman College and teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. Ms. Due is an American Book and NAACP Image and Kindred Award recipient who’s authored twelve novels and a civil rights memoir. She is a leading voice in black speculative fiction, the author of the African Immortals series that began with 1997’s My Soul to Keep.
In addition, 20 undergraduate students studying performing and visual arts will be recognized as scholarship recipients. More than 250 performing and visual arts students applied for CBCF’s national scholarship program in 2013.
“Mr. Fuqua is one of the few African Americans in Hollywood leading his own production company while Ms. Weems and Ms. Due are independent artists, versed in a variety of mediums, whose works have been admired by millions in worldwide,” said Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. “These groundbreaking artists, trailblazers in their own rights, perfectly embody the theme of this year’s ALC, It Starts With You, and we are pleased to recognize and celebrate their valuable contributions to African-American culture.”
This year’s ALC theme, “It Starts With You,” is a call to action urging individuals to champion much-needed change in public policy. The conference features the Exhibit Showcase, which offers educational, health and business-related opportunities for ALC attendees and an outreach project with Thrive DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people facing the dire consequences of economic upheaval, including homelessness and housing instability. The premier ALC event, the Phoenix Awards Dinner fundraiser, supports the Foundation’s educational programs, scholarships and research initiatives. The conference includes a prayer breakfast that features gospel recording artists, including Marvin Sapp, who will deliver the morning message.