About The Columnist
Haikeem Stokes, (Pronounced HAKEEM) a South Philly native, is the eldest of three brothers and three sisters. He first fell in love with writing in the third grade. In junior high school, Haikeem wrote several short stories, then later illustrated and penned a series of comic strips. In the eighth grade, he used those creative-writing skills to transform short stories into rhymes. By the twelfth grade, he won several first-place trophies for rapping in talent shows. It was during Haikeem’s high school years that his skills in rhyming had evolved into poetry. He has taken his passion for wordplay and literary arts and cultivated it into the dream of creating, “Works of Heart.” These “Works of Heart,” include 2 novels, I Need You Too, At 12, After, 4 books of spoken word, Reality Life Conscious Struggle, Earlixer, Concepts of Intimacy, and Melodies of Lullabies. His latest efforts are non-fiction and deal with the sometimes-complicated relationships between sons/daughters and absentee fathers entitled, The Purple Orchard Syndrome and Littered Fields. Haikeem believes that the gift of writing allows one to blend imagination and reality to create their own universe. He writes from his heart in order to convey his message of life and love.
Ravi Coltrane is a critically acclaimed Grammy™ nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. In the course of a twenty plus year career, Mr. Coltrane has worked as a sideman to many, recorded noteworthy albums for himself and others and founded a prominent independent record label, RKM.
Born in Long Island, the second son of John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane, Ravi was named after Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar. He was raised in Los Angeles where his family moved after his father’s death in 1967. His mother, Alice Coltrane, was a significant influence on Ravi and it was he who encouraged Alice to return to performance and the recording studio after a long absence. Subsequently, Ravi produced and played on Alice Coltrane’s powerful, ‘Translinear Light’, which was released in 2004.
Read Haikeem’s review here…
When you’re anxious to see an entertainer perform and they surpass all expectations, one feels absolutely fulfilled. This is my takeaway after seeing Mr. Bilal Sayeed Oliver aka Bilal in concert at the legendary City Winery Philadelphia located at 990 Filbert Street. Although, in one of the venue’s larger theatres it still felt very intimate, which made the experience all the more incredible. Bilal, being one of Philly’s favorite native sons, I took for granted that he would bring the heat, and he definitely didn’t disappoint.
Bilal captured the audience’s attention from his very first note and didn’t release custody until the finale. Since it was the 22nd anniversary of his debut album, 1st Born Second, we were mostly treated to this critically acclaimed body of work. Yet, in true Philly fashion, Bilal did sprinkle us with gems from his extensive catalog which made his star seem to shine even brighter. Bilal genuinely seemed as happy to be performing at home, as we were ecstatic to witness his greatness and it showed in audience participation.
A long time ago, before downloads, streaming, and social media ruled the land, there were colossal giants called record stores. And in these places of refuge, you could purchase records in the form of 12 inches or 45s, cassettes, or CDs. I know the concept may seem cumbersome or far-fetched, but many primitive individuals performed this practice for decades prior to the millennium. To make matters worse, these sources of sound flowed from boom boxes, turntables, Walkman’s, and the dreaded Discman, which was conveniently, inconvenient.
In all seriousness, I do miss the days when you could stroll into a store that was dedicated to all things music and purchase items that made your listening experience spectacular. Whether it was a new needle for a turntable, the newest hi-fi speakers, a Walkman with advanced features, a poster of your favorite artist, etc., etc.