Hip-hop's place in Augusta examined

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Some of Augusta's top creative minds met Thursday with intentions of increasing local artistic appreciation and encouraging the development of various artistic disciplines.

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Kimberly "Isis" Wesby of Radio One Augusta, was a panelist along with Sister Mary King Cannon of WTHB, Gospel Alive radio.  Timothy Cox/Staff
Timothy Cox/Staff
Kimberly "Isis" Wesby of Radio One Augusta, was a panelist along with Sister Mary King Cannon of WTHB, Gospel Alive radio.

In a panel discussion dubbed The Black Aesthetic, The Current Status of Black Arts, an 11-member board provided personal insight on how to bring more focus on black artistic culture in Augusta. The event was held at The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History.

Jonathan Martin, of WRDW-TV, was meeting moderator, and he quickly spurred panel discussion when asking if today's hip-hop music has helped mute other art forms such as poetry and dance in Augusta.

Ferneasa Cutno-Booker, the founder and owner of Augusta's Cutno Dance Center, said hip-hop has its place, "but our city is in a state of emergency when it comes to dance."

To support her bleak outlook, she cited the demise of the Augusta Ballet and said no dance companies exist here.

Because of increased media focus on music videos, Mrs. Cutno-Booker said, many of her potential students' parents are inquiring about hip-hop dance lessons versus modern, jazz and ballet dance.

Also, to her dismay, she said the exotic dance industry has increased significantly in popularity among young girls.

Kimberly "Isis" Wesby, Augusta Radio One promotions director, defended hip-hop, saying the genre should not be viewed as the death knell of other art forms.

"You can't just get rid of hip-hop. It's also part of music evolution," she said.

The Rev. Dr. Chris Lowe spoke of his professional music experience with the Wilson Pickett Band and spoke in support of his co-panelist, Isis. He reflected on how disco's technical beats and keyboard-based horns replaced live horn players such as himself.

Dr. James Carter, one of the older panelists, told the group that hip-hop is part of a long line of new American music forms that traditionally put older generations on edge.

"It happened in 1947 with Do The Huckabuck and in the 1950s with Sixty-Minute Man by the Dominoes," he said.

Those songs once had sexual innuendo, "but are now like singing Mary Had a Little Lamb," he said to audience laughter. "It's all about evolution."

Christine Miller-Betts, Laney Museum executive director, said other panelists will meet quarterly in similar meetings to continue what she described as "healthy and timely dialogue."

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.

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ThurstonHowell 06/22/07 - 06:57 am
I saddens me to hear about

I saddens me to hear about the shortage of exotic dancers, we must do something NOW!

jaschild 06/22/07 - 07:05 am
perhaps they're doing the

perhaps they're doing the Huckabuck.

lmckie60 06/22/07 - 09:24 am
evolution of music is fine ,

evolution of music is fine , but i hope hip-hop or rap music does not mean the death knell for all other art forms.I was also a professional musician so i can really see all of these new changes in the music today, some are very good. but let,s not forget our roots, most young kids today have no idea of the legends of our musical heritage, so i hope all genres of our musical culture will continue and be passed on to our future generations.

Bigdogg 06/22/07 - 12:43 pm
David Everlast is the next

David Everlast is the next big star, he has an unique sound that blends with R&B listeners as well as hip hop listeners.

706letusunite 06/22/07 - 10:29 pm
Rooo!!!!! to the bruz. I

Rooo!!!!! to the bruz. I could of swore I saw David T. Everlast at Chastian Park on stage with New Edition... Oh (That was Ralph) my bad.......

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