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Arts & Culture
Each Thursday, WFAE checks in with a local arts and entertainment reporter about things to do in Charlotte during the upcoming weekend.

Comedians Wayans, Brown Headline A Robust Weekend Of Entertainment For Charlotte

Damon Wayans and J Anthony Brown
Instagram / Summit Comedy
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Comedians Damon Wayans (left) and J Anthony Brown perform in Charlotte this weekend.

It's another full weekend of entertainment and activities in the Charlotte area. There’s Jazz at Victoria Yards in uptown, Petra’s in Plaza Midwood is hosting one of the godfathers of hip-hop and spoken-word poetry, and two well-known comedians are in town, as well — actor and comedians Damon Wayans and J Anthony Brown, a Columbia, South Carolina native.

With WFAE's "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn to talk more about them and other events for this edition of Weekend in Entertainment is Patrick Moran, a writer for Queen City Nerve.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi Pat!

Patrick Moran: Hi, Gwendolyn. Thanks for having me.

Glenn: Let’s start with J Anthony Brown, since he’s a kind of local guy who made it big, first on the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" and now you can hear him every morning on the syndicated "Steve Harvey Morning Show."

Moran: Yeah, J Anthony Brown has had a really interesting story. He's a tailor turned comedian. He was starting to be a clothing designer at Denmark Technical College. That's an HBCU in Denmark, South Carolina. He went on a local "Gong Show" contest. And there, you know, he found his calling. He moved to L.A. He became a staff writer for "The Arsenio Hall Show." And he later wrote for sitcoms such as "Parenthood." And then from there, you know, he picked up a mic and hit the stage. Most people are familiar with his work with Tyler Perry. So he's around a lot.

Glenn: OK.And also on the comedy front, the star of numerous movies, television sitcoms and a former "Saturday Night Live" cast member, Damon Wayans will be in town. Pat, tell us more about him and his well-known family.

Moran: It's an extremely talented family. Damon Wayans is probably best known for his successful TV sitcom, "My Wife and Kids." He was an action movies, "The Last Boy Scout" with Bruce Willis. But first and foremost, he's a brilliant comic. And ground zero, I think, for his fans is the classic comedy variety show "In Living Color," which was done with some family members. Keenan Ivory Wayans, he created a bunch of characters, maybe is best known as Homey the Clown. This is Wayans' "Just Saying" tour, and he's basically going back to his roots. He started out as a stand-up comedian in the early '80s.

Glenn: Where will he be, times and dates?

Moran: This will be at the Comedy Zone Thursday. It's at 7 p.m. There are two shows on Friday and Saturday and then one show at 7 on Sunday.

(recording) Umar Bin Hassan Of The Last Poets: Tormenting one another, trying to ease the strain. Dreaming of tomorrows we'd like to know. Repressing our thoughts, but wanting to row. The heart and soul and not involved. Idle chatter becomes reality. My problems go unsolved.

umar-bin-hassan.png
Petra's
Umar Bin Hassan

Glenn:
That was Umar Bin Hassan, one of the members of the iconic The Last Poets. The original group formed in the late 1960s during the Civil Rights/Black consciousness movement. Pat, tell us more Bin Hassan and the impact The Last Poets had on the country.

Moran: Bin Hassan was a key member of The Last Poets. They released albums in the '70s. They inspired jazz artists like Pharoah Sanders. But mostly Hasaan and The Last Poets are the godfathers of rap. They're a big influence on Public Enemy, who in turn were a big influence on many performers. And they've collaborated with Common, the Wu Tang Clan and many others.

Glenn: And of course, one of my favorites. Now, he was not with the original Last Poets, but the subsequent members. One of my favorites was Gil Scott-Heron.

Moran: Correct. And Hassan is at Petra's on Saturday. He will also be appearing with our own spoken word giant, Boris Bluz Rogers. And then also Tony McCullough of the Charlotte-based jazz-funk band Groove Eight will also be on the bill.

Glenn: What time does everything start on Saturday?

Moran: Saturday at 8 p.m.

Glenn: OK and more on the music front, Ross Adams is performing Thursday at River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Moran: So, Adams is a Charlotte singer-songwriter and his songs, they're driven by his guitar, which can be lyrical, can be propulsive. These are pensive and powerful songs. Often they're clever, witty, short stories, or maybe even thumbnail sketches about heartbreak, redemption. You can spot influencers like Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell. But Ross is his own man. It is a distinctive Carolina voice.

Glenn: Sounds great. What time does the concert start?

Moran: Thursday at 7 p.m.

Robyn Springer
karmstrong
Robyn Springer

Glenn: And Pat, the final show of the year in the Jazz at Victoria Yards Summer Series is Saturday with Robyn Springer headlining. Tell us about her.

Moran: Robyn Springer is a vocal powerhouse. She can catapult you from a church pew to a juke joint to a sophisticated jazz club. She can go from smooth to sultry to uplifting. She has played a few times at the Jazz Room at Blumenthal Arts Center, including in 2019 a wonderful Stevie Wonder tribute. Her latest album is called The Acoustic Project, and it is an acoustic collaboration with guitarist and songwriter Greg Cagle.

Glenn: Time and date?

Moran: Friday at 6 p.m.

Glenn: Great. Country artist Jason Aldean hits the PNC Pavilion Thursday at 7 p.m. Multi-platinum rapper Rick Ross will be at the Fillmore on Friday, as well. The show starts at 9 p.m. The Starving Artist Market is Thursdayevening at 5 at Armored Cow Brewing, and on Saturday night, Alanis Morrisette will be at the PNC Pavilion at 7 p.m.

Pat, thanks for joining us on this edition of Weekend in Entertainment.

Moran: Great. It's been a pleasure.

Glenn: Patrick Moran is a writer for Queen City Nerve.

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