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During this tragic time in America, with a verdict that cries out a message of injustice I feel the calling as an artist to engage in civil action. It feels like I went to sleep and woke up in a twisted 21st century version of 1965. As I am disgusted and saddened like so many others, I am also inspired. Inspired by greats like Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Harry Belafonte whom were not just great in the craft but activists in the community. Thanks to artists like them, we are able to travel, perform and express our art in ways we weren’t able before. There is a calling upon our generation to “pick up the baton” and continue the fight.

I am so thankful & privileged to be a part of a community that is Broadway Black, Casting Actors of Color and those of the like that are rising to the call and are out in honor of Trayvon Martin. I am in awe of young film maker Ryan Coogler who’s film, “Fruitvale Station” which sheds light on the American tragedy that is Oscar Grant,opened to selected theaters on Friday, July 12th. (Nationwide release on July 26th) The eerie timing of this film’s release t,he night before we were all rocked to our cores with the “NOT GUILTY” verdict of George Zimmerman is profound. Emotions were high on the evening of July 12th and grown men of color were leaving the theater in tears. Please watch the reactions from audience members below:

In light of all that is happening I think of this quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
In an artistic community that can tear you down, be competitive, and bring out the ugliness in folks, BE THE CHANGE you want to see in the World. I decided to create Celi’s Hangout. A new interactive web talk show for the inspired artist. Creating an “Oprah for Artists” as some have compared to provide a platform that engages, encourages and inspires. Please check out the latest episode, “From East to West- Industry Professionals Make the Move to LA’ as we shed light on the industry in NY vs LA as well as expound on how or what effect Trayvon Martin’s death has on our work as artists.

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