A long way from the block

Anthony Thomas

Stories of how passion and craft take us to different corners of the world.@alongwayfromtheblock@dialoguesofjazz
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Born in Grenada and raised in Brooklyn. My conversation with Gregg Bishop, Executive Director of the Social Justice Fund.
Gregg Bishop is currently the Executive Director of the Social Justice Fund, an initiative funded by The Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation. The Social Justice Fund centers its work around racial justice and economic mobility. Bishop has over 13 years of government experience, serving under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio. From 2015-2020, he served as the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), where he was charged with running a dynamic City agency focused on equity of opportunity, leading to economic self-sufficiency and mobility for New York City diverse communities.  During his tenure, he connected small businesses to over $200 million in capital, certified a record 9,000 Minority and Women business enterprises, connected over 100,000 New Yorkers to good-paying jobs, and invested over $10 million in capacity-building programs across the five boroughs. In addition, over 10,000 city residents were trained with new skills in the technology, healthcare, industrial and manufacturing, and hospitality sectors. He also developed and launched several initiatives aimed at structural barriers minorities face, including Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC) and Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC).  Born in Grenada and raised in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Bishop received a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing and Management Communication from Florida State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Business Administration from Florida A&M University.
1 hr 22 mins
How perseverance, dedication and passion for Afro-Cuban dance led Juan Carlos from Havana to world renown dancer and choreographer.
Juan Carlos Blanco Riera was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, where he performed with several professional companies for over 15 years before coming to the U.S.  As a youth, he started his performance career with the folkloric arts group, Cumballe, and Oba Ilú, in his home town of Guanabacoa.  He later joined one of Cuba's most renowned folkloric companies, Raices Profundas (Deep Roots), directed by Juan De Dios Ramos Morejon.  He spent nine years with Raices Profundas, where he rose to the level of lead male dancer and soloist, touring Latin America and Asia.Mr. Blanco's desire to deepen his knowledge of his cultural expression drove him to become involved with several diverse art groups in Havana.  He performed with Teatro de la Havana in a number of theatrical plays including De Mi Tierra Vengo, Maria Antonia, Santa Camila de la Havana Vieja, and Requip por Yarini.  He danced, acted and choreographed with Arte Popular, a popular theater company directed by Tito Junco.  Mr. Blanco performed with the innovative modern dance company Alabama.   He also spent several years working with the Franco-Haitian company Ban Rra Rrá, directed by Isaias Rojas Ramirez as percussionist and instructor of Afro-Cuban dance.While in Cuba, he was charged with the responsibility of training both professional Cuban dancers and educating foreign students through the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Escuela Nacional de Arte.  He served as artistic director for the folkloric ensemble Arawe that toured Peru in 1997.  He also choreographed several productions in Havana, including Afro-Peru, a collaboration with Peruvian singer Argelia Fragoso, and Trilogia, produced with Raices Profundas.Since coming to the United States, Mr. Blanco has been featured in various Afro-Cuban productions in the California area as dancer and guest choreographer for groups such as Olorun, Alafia, and Taifa.   In 1998 he founded the San Diego-based Afro-Cuban folkloric ensemble, Omo Aché, which serves and performs in schools, universities, and multi-cultural venues throughout California.  For more information on classes, workshops and performances please visitomoachecubanculture.org
Jan 17 2022
1 hr 37 mins
A MAN OF FAITH. My interview with Michael Smith. Father, Husband, Mentor and Elder.From humble roots to working with some of the biggest names in Jazz, Chris Mees documents his journey.From stickball to the big leagues, Tom Goodwin shares his love for the game and the importance of always having fun."EXHAUST THE MOMENT" An in-depth conversation with fitness guru Hannibal SmithFrederick Marx discusses the value of rites of passage and mentorship in today's times.A conversation with Tenor Saxophonist, Bandleader and Educator Javon JacksonAncestral Storyteller Alyce Smith Cooper talks family, community and the importance of knowing your historyA Discussion on all things Jazz with historian, journalist and producer Ashley KahnFamily, Football and Fiction. A conversation with Andre Hardy.An in depth conversation with my childhood coach and mentor "Yogi" NajeraJazz Drummer and New Orleans native Joe Dyson talks about his musical journeyA conversation with Eso Won Books co-owner James FugateFrom Saint Lucia to London England, Kervin Marc documents his amazing journey.Mark Davis tells his amazing journey from the inner city to Major League BaseballA conversation with Lolis Elie, writer, journalist, filmmaker, and food historian.A Conversation with Be Bop legend Charles McPherson"The Jazz Journey" By Chuck McPhersonMy first Coach. An in depth conversation with Coach Rick Javey