'Focus: Black Oklahoma': Greenwood District revitalization, HBCU Chess Classic, Dillon Peña
This episode of Focus: Black Oklahoma features a conversation on revitalization plans for the Greenwood District, a report on the development of the HBCU Chess Classic and the story of makeup artist Dillon Peña.
In Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, a battle against environmental and climate injustice is underway. As an Oklahoma energy company sets its sights on the Gulf, Nick Alexandrov reports on concerns mounting over the potential harm inflicted on historically Black towns in the area.
Partner Tulsa, a collaborative effort of civic leaders in the City of Tulsa, is spearheading revitalization plans for the Greenwood District. With projects like the Kirkpatrick Heights and Greenwood Master Plan, the aim is to honor the district's rich history while embracing future growth. Sondra Slade sits down with Partner Tulsa’s Jonathan Butler to discuss it.
For a long time, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been actively competing in sports leagues and tournaments, particularly in basketball and football. But the development of the HBCU Chess Classic marks a new era for the HBCU community. Jasmine Bivar-Tobie elaborates on this first-ever chess competition which promotes Black achievement in Science Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM fields, and was led by students and the first Black Chess Grandmaster, Maurice Ashley.
If you’ve seen a cover of Vogue or GQ magazines, you may have seen Dillon Peña’s work. Though he started out in a small town on Route 66, the Oklahoma native is now a renowned makeup artist and even created his own skincare line. Shonda Little speaks with him about his story.
In the center of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, where the echoes of history are still audible, Nuova Wright's literary work, "little wife: the story of gold," is more than a mere collection of eco poetry and memoir. Gabrielle Vickers reviews how this book gracefully interweaves the essence of Thoreau's "Walden" with Wright's personal story. With a strong sense of place as a foundation, the author carefully guides the reader through grief, resentment, and trauma that has been passed down from generation to generation.
From Florida to New York to Oklahoma, Tulsa Artist Fellow Kalup Linzy has blazed a trail across the world of performing arts. Carlos Moreno reports on his new solo album released this year.
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. Sharodon Jenkins is our production intern.