"Buy Black" Business of the Month

IMG_0015Strut Runway LLC

A new business in the Valley that provides runway walk coaching for clients. Alexis Hamilton, the Phoenix Fashion Week 2011 Model of the Year and the Phoenix New Times 2014 Best Model, is the company’s founder and CEO. 

"Young, Gifted, & Black" Child of the Month

mopaMoriah Paynes is a 10-year-old, 5th grader at Eagle Harmony College Prep. She has performed the National Anthem at games for the Phoenix Mercury, the Phoenix Suns, and the Arizona Rattlers. She also sang at the Arizona Democratic Party National Fundraiser and a Martin Luther King Jr. event.

AZI Artist of the Month

MichaelPowers“I think my music would be akin to a smorgasbord, a full buffet – it is designed to be eclectic in the truest sense of the word. A plate full of blues, jazz, and Spanish guitar, with a side dish of classical, funk and hip hop topped off with a slather of the Nawlins gospel sauce. Then for dessert I would say a dish of swing, be-bop, and progressive jazz!” – Michael Powers

Go see "The Boy Next Door", in theatres 1/23

"The Boy Next Door" trailer

Jennifer Lopez leads the cast in The Boy Next Door, a psychological thriller that explores a forbidden attraction that goes much too far. Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious) and written by Barbara Curry, the film also stars Ryan Guzman, John Corbett and Kristin Chenoweth. The Boy Next Door is produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, Lopez and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas of Nuyorican Productions, Benny Medina of The Medina Company and John Jacobs of Smart Entertainment. www.theboynextdoorfilm.com

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Michael Powers - AZI Jan 2015 Artist of the Month

Michael Powers is a musician with over 30 years of experience. His music is mostly categorized as jazz, but if he had to put a label on it, he would call it contemporary instrumental music.

“It’s a sound rooted in the Jazz tradition that keeps pace stylistically with Pop, R&B, and Blues; with Blues being at the core of my inspiration,” said Powers.

His musical career began as therapy, when at the age of 15 he took up strumming the guitar to strengthen his wrist after a skateboard accident. After graduating from high school early, he moved to Seattle and frequented local jam sessions, keeping his fingers on the guitar strings and his mind on making his music reach a wider audience.

“I learned how to play by sitting in at as many places as I could, developing eclectic tastes by playing with all types of bands: Jazz, Rock, Blues, R&B, and Top 40,” said Powers. “I wanted to learn how to play any kind of music that featured a guitar as a solo voice.”

Powers said as his musicianship progressed, his interests broadened to include music theory. He enrolled at Seattle’s prestigious Cornish College of the Arts where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Composition and Performance in 1982. While at Cornish, Powers studied under composers Gil Evans and Sam Rivers, bassist Gary Peacock, pianist Art Lande, and trombonist Julian Priester.

Powers says his style was influenced by a diverse group of musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Charlie Parker, George Benson, Stanley Jordan, Miles Davis, and Kevin Eubanks.

He has performed with, recorded with or shared billings with several legends, including Herbie Hancock, Dr. Cornel West, Ray Charles, and Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Bio edited by Ariyanna Norman

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