Reflecting on our documentary premiere

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The My Great Day in Harlem Documentary Premiere

By Hailey Stangebye
Photos By Kenny V.

One week ago today, we released our documentary, “My Great Day in Harlem.” 

As a part of our citywide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance in Columbus, we took five local, black artists on a life-changing trip to Harlem. It was an opportunity to exchange ideas, make connections and, of course, celebrate the history that led to our modern cultural community. This docuseries follows each artists’ journey. It also sheds light on the rich depth of our local arts community.



On Friday, Nov. 30, we premiered that journey on the big screen at the Gateway Film Center. Tickets were so popular that one showing quickly grew to two. Attendees enjoyed live music, a tree lighting ceremony on the plaza, question and answer sessions with the artists and, of course, each installment of the film itself.



Meet the stars of “My Great Day in Harlem”


“Art is not a right. It is a necessity by virtue of the people… I believe that art is the translation of the cosmos.”

Originally from the small town of Xenia, Ohio, Tripp Fontane moved to Columbus to find new opportunities in the realm of poetry. Before breaking into the spoken-word scene, Tripp focused primarily on rap. That all changed when he went to an open mic and decided to perform a song without the beat. People started calling him a poet, and Tripp says he still hasn’t corrected them. Today, he boasts international acclaim.



“We have so many talented people here. I think that the vision for the future of fashion in Columbus is bright.”

Samara was born and raised in Columbus. She left for college, but after graduating from Kentucky State with her degree in fashion merchandising and business management, Samara returned to Columbus where she ultimately opened a fashion boutique in 2005. For the next five years, she ran boutiques all around the Columbus area. Today, she runs a dance studio and continues to design. She plans to release her next clothing line in fall of 2019.



“Whether I affect one person, or five people, or a million people, I just feel like I have insight to add on the world today.”

Jay is a musician who hails from the north side Columbus, but he feels close to every corner of the city. He grew up surrounded by creative energy — his father was a musician and his mother was a dancer. With all of those influences, Jay developed a witty, creative sound from a young age. After lots of success with his former group, Fly Union, Jay set out to work on his solo sound.



“The older I get, the more I understand what it means to celebrate your heroes. My work celebrates heroes.”

Percy is a Columbus native who was raised on the south side of the city. He says that he’s always been an artist and a creative, but he didn’t think of pursuing art as a career until recently. Instead, Percy devoted most of his time to his football career. His creative outlet over the years became woodwork and home improvement. Today, he’s transitioned that passion for woodwork into fine art portraits carved out of layers of wood.



“Whenever I am honored to dance in front of other people, my goal — my intent — is to move them. Whether it’s to think a different thought, to take action on something, maybe it’s just to brighten their day or to  give them hope. It’s more than steps to a song.”

Lori has lived across the globe, from Dublin to L.A., but she’s originally from Columbus. Her passion is dance, which she started at only 3 or 4 years old. In high school, Lori briefly stopped dancing after hearing hurtful gossip from the dance community. Today, she’s proud to say that she doesn’t let someone else’s opinion define her or determine her future. Now, Lori inspires young dancers at Elite Performance Academy.




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