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"Soul Food: Art As Nourishment for the Mind, Body & Spirit"

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Shawnee Benton

Shawnee Benton

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Every person in the universe has been blessed with the gift of creative expression and for many, during childhood, these gifts were revealed, recognized and celebrated by others. When we are free to express ourselves artistically, sheer beauty and divine flow become the essence of our reality. Unfortunately some artists were not supported,as children, in the development of their gifts. Some were even forced to hide, negate and/or avoid their artistic expression which left a yearning – a feeling that something was missing – and they ultimately grew into adults that were not able to embrace the power, purpose and divinity of their artistry. • What happens when children are not able to express themselves creatively? • What are the dynamics that create true levels of support from family and the community at large? • What age is considered “old enough” for a child to declare what career he/she desires to pursue ? • How do parents and caregivers discern the difference between supporting and nurturing their child’s gifts and talents from a desire to live vicariously through their child in order to fulfill the dreams that they, themselves were unable to manifest in their youth? Tonight's show will explore some of the answers to these questions and will address the challenges and triumphs that our panel members have experienced as they have supported their artistic children as they pursue careers in the entertainment industry. Our dynamic panel will consist of Melissa Anderson and her 3 artistic sons, Jabori, Aubrey and Jelani, Nicole Duncan Smith, the mother of Eden, a young Broadway actress who is newly cast in the Broadway Production of the Lion King; Richie Melody and his son Crise, an aspiring hip hop artist and; Deborah St.Clair and her son Nigel, a choreographer, dancer and model. Feel free to tune in, call in and weigh in. The number to call is 347-945-6551.

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