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'Focus: Black Oklahoma': education funding disparities, Oklahoma County jail grand jury report, Tulsa Jazz Fest

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This episode of Focus: Black Oklahoma features reports on Tulsa education leaders advocating for more equitable funding, a grand jury released a report detailing conditions at the Oklahoma County jail, and the 2023 Tulsa Jazz Fest.

Education funding disparities continue to adversely impact students in underserved communities who suffer from limited opportunities for success. Anthony Cherry talks with education leaders in Tulsa who are committed to advocating for more equitable funding allocations from the legislature. Special thanks to an aspiring journalist named Harley Smith for her contributions to this story.

Since the Dakota Access Pipeline protests that began in 2016, pipeline projects have come under wider scrutiny from the public. Now another marginalized community, in this case in Texas, faces down a natural gas giant in an effort to protect their land. Dr. Nick Alexandrov has the story.

In our March 2023 episode, Focus: Black Oklahoma covered efforts to reform the Oklahoma County jail. Since that broadcast, a grand jury released a report detailing conditions at the controversial facility. Shonda Little has the update.

A proposed bill aimed at prohibiting discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles failed to pass in the current 2023 house session. Dawn Carter speaks to Representative Monroe Nichols, who introduced the bill, and Dr. Tameeca Rogers, a professor and filmmaker advocating for the bill's passage.

The 2023 Tulsa Jazz Fest, produced by Taylor Entertainment Group, is happening on June 2nd, at Guthrie Green from 6-10PM. John Taylor, owner of Taylor Entertainment Group, is an artist manager, booking agent, digital media entrepreneur, and impresario with a passion for spreading awareness of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s abiding relationship with jazz music. Though Oklahoma has a vibrant Jazz scene, nationwide its popularity has waned over the last few decades. Early June in Oklahoma will be filled with live Jazz around the state. The 32nd Charlie Christian International Music Festival, produced and presented by the Black Liberated Arts Center, Inc. will occur in Oklahoma City June First through the Third on the Oklahoma City Community College Campus. Tickets and additional information can be found at www.tickets.occc.edu or www.charliechristian.org.

There are a number of women rappers topping Billboard charts in 2023, winning Grammy Awards, and dominating popular culture. But artists like Ice Spice wouldn’t be able to blow up overnight without the strong foundation laid by pioneers over the preceding decades. Here’s Savai with more.

Mothers: you can’t live with 'em, you can’t live without 'em. Usually we have to worry about our moms telling an embarrassing story about us, but for Michelle Cullom the shoe is on the other foot.

Focus: Black Oklahoma is produced in partnership with KOSU Radio, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and Tri-City Collective. Additional support is provided by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and the Commemoration Fund.

Our theme music is by Moffett Music.

Focus: Black Oklahoma’s executive producers are Quraysh Ali Lansana and Bracken Klar. Our associate producers are Smriti Iyengar and Jesse Ulrich. Savai is our production intern.

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