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Somi's Petite Afrique Co-produced By Etienne Charles Wins NAACP Image Award

East Lansing, Michigan, United States

The National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People NAACP Awards The 49th NAACP Image Award For Outstanding Jazz Album To Petite Afrique By The Acclaimed Vocalist Songwriter Somi Co Produced By Trinidad Born Trumpeter Composer And Michigan State University Associate Professor Etienne Charles Given Annually The NAACP Image Awards Celebrates The Accomplishments Of People Of Color In The Fields Of Television Music Literature And Film And Also Honors Individuals Or Groups Who Promote Social Justice Through Creative Endeavors

As An American Singer Of Rwandan And Ugandan Descent Somis Petite Afrique Sony Music O Keh Is A Homage To Her New York City Upper Manhattan Neighborhood Of Harlem One Of The Meccas Of The African Diaspora And A Vital Part Of New York Citys Culture Populated Predominantly By A Francophone West African And Muslim Community This Strip Of Harlem Is Referred To As Little Africa Or Petite Afrique By The Local Community Many Of These Working Class Residents Immigrants Cum Citizens Are Now Serving As Taxi Drivers Zipping Other New Yorkers Through The City Theyve Called Home Since The 1980 S

Charles Served As Associate Producer On Petite Afrique Co Writing Five Songs The Gentry Black Enough Let Me Midnight Angels And Theyre Like Ghosts Arranging All String And Horn Parts In Addition To Performing As Both Percussionist And Trumpeter I First Worked With Somi On Her Album Lagos Music Salon On A Horn Arrangement For A Piece Titled Akobi Said Charles She Then Reached Out To Me About Writing And Producing For Petite Afrique Just Following The Release Of That Album Petite Afrique Is Important Because Of Its Depth In The Message And I Am Honored To Be A Part Of This Creative Team And Ecstatic That The Album Has Received This Award

With The Albums Focus On The African Immigrant Community Of Harlem Somi Wanted The Legacy Of Jazz Represented In The Music And Enlisted Charles Etienne Has A More Straight Ahead Approach To Jazz But He Also Really Privileges Afro Caribbean Heritage And Has A Deep Understanding Of The Diasporic Expression Of Ourselves And Black People Of The World Commented Somi Charles Learned Of Petite Afrique NAACP Success Following His Sold Out Concert Carnival The Sound Of A People 2 0 Which Took Place At Queens Hall In Trinidad On The Sunday Night Of The Awards

Charles Has Received Numerous Awards Including A 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow In The Creative Arts A 2016 Jazz At Lincoln Center Millennial Swing Award And Was Featured As A Panelist And Performer At The White House Briefing On Caribbean American Heritage In Washington D C In 2012 He Was Written Into The US Congressional Record For His Musical Contributions To Trinidad And Tobago And The World And Was Awarded The 2013 Caribbean Heritage Trailblazer Award By The Institute Of Caribbean Studies In Washington DC

Charles Holds A Bachelors Degree From Florida State University And A Masters Degree From The Juilliard School In Addition To His Professorship At Michigan State University He Has Produced Seven Solo Albums And Tours With His Band Creole Soul

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