West Side residents get loose at Sankofa

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At the Sankofa Cultural, Arts & Business Center on June 6, patrons listened to rhythmic drumming, soulful singing and smooth R&B music at Sankofa’s Get Loose event.

An intimate crowd of about 60 community members gathered Thursday evening at Sankofa, 5820 W. Chicago Ave., to attend Get Loose, which showcases live, local spoken word and musical artists.

Sankofa began hosting the event after Rickie Brown, president of the West Side Historical Society, and founders of Sankofa started reminiscing about playing an instrument, Brown. said

From there, Brown said the center began hosting “Get Loose” as a venue for local talent and a way to raise money for the Juneteenth Festival, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Local vendors came out to support the organization and to sell their merchandise. Sharon Lacy, an Austin resident who sells discounted DVDs and CDs, said she sold her merchandise for the past six months at Get Loose because she supports Sankofa.

“[Get Loose] brings back old memories,” Lacy said. “It’s nice to come somewhere for free and enjoy yourself.”

“Get Loose” is a free, family-friendly event during which people can listen to live entertainment and network with each other.

“We as an African-American community need to get together and have camaraderie again,” Brown said. “[Get Loose] is the opportunity to talk, tell old stories, meet new friends and network.”

Eight performers sang, rapped and recited poetry Thursday evening.

Kelvin Chambers, drummer for the TC Express Band which performed that night, said the performers had a great deal of potential. Chambers said he felt events like these provide an alternative outlet for youth.

Chambers said he’s been drumming since age 5. He said music was a significant  influence in his life, and he hopes activities like this will help decrease crime and spread live music.

“If we give the youth more activities to do, then we’ll have less crime,” Chambers said. “If you can come in with the talent you have on a positive level, you can sustain [yourself].”

Frequent attendees come to hear live music and poetry and wind down. Jo-Anne Terrell said this was her third time coming to “Get Loose,” which is held the first Thursday night of the month. She said the event helps her to relax after a long day.

“I love it, because it’s family-friendly and everybody is themselves” Terrell said. “It helps me unwind at the end of the day.


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