Opening Reception at Prince George's African American Museum and Cultural Center
Chocolate Cities: The History, Legacy, and Sustainability of African American Urban Enclaves An Artistic Exploration of History and Social Justice
The term Chocolate City has historical significance in Washington, DC. Coined in the 1970’s by local radio personalities and made popular by the funk band Parliament, the term did not solely indicate the color of the population but also the vibrant communities and cultural pride among its residents. For Deejay Bobby “The Mighty Burner” Bennett, Chocolate City “was the expression of DC’s classy funk and confident Blackness;” it was about being Black, proud and in power. Not only were Black people the majority, but they also had strength within the city through politics, business ownership, music and culture.
However, in the past decade, Washington, DC and Prince George’s County have dramatically changed due to population growth, gentrification and government policy. It is no longer the same Chocolate City that the funk band Parliament referred to in the 1970s, but it still remains distinctively DC. The work included in this exhibition seek to encourage discourse on displacement, cultural sustainability and economic growth in a way that recognizes individual experiences as well as collective memory. By examiniaming what it means to be a Chocolate City, this exhibition encourages intergenerational discussions on historical legacy as well as methods of sustainability in the face of a rapidly changing cultural and economic landscape.
Chocolate Cities showcases original works by featured artists: Tim Davis, Lloyd Foster, Lionel Frazier White III, Sheila Crider, Michael Booker, and Larry Cook.
Footage captured and edited by Antonio Vicunyah Hernandez.