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  • S. Dani

Earnest Pugh Emmy Party

March 1, 2018 the city of Houston gathered at The Buffalo Soldier National Museum to help gospel singer Earnest Pugh celebrate the debut of his video for his record “Survive.” The night included special performances from gospel powerhouse Cheryl Fortune, Kiland, who sung a rendition of Pugh’s song “Rain On Us” and season 5 runner up from BET’s Sunday’s Best Alexis Spight. Although the Emmy Party was about celebrating Pugh for winning an Emmy and the release of his video “Survive,” Pugh used this opportunity to honor Mr. Curtis King for his impact on “The Black Academy Arts And Letters.” Before the party kicked off the night started with a red carpet affair hosted by "Unplugged Praise" Amber Shaw and KB. During his interview Pugh said that he was “honored” when he received a call from Curtis King of Dallas Texas asking him to be apart of a concert that featured Bilal and Malik Yoba. “We sung on the concert & thousands of people came out to be apart of it and the TV stations picked it up and the actually won an Emmy for doing that amazing production.”

Dr. King who has worked with Erykah Badu, hopes to leave behind a legacy that he has “done something in the artistic community that young people I have had the opportunity to work with pick up my work and carry on to make sure that it is crystal clear for the next generation.” “They should be encouraged, they should have pride, they should have dignity, they should have the knowledge, they should read and continue, to study.” King wants to encourage the youth and make sure they never give up. King helps his students “set their own dreams, goals, and aspirations.” King encourages students to stop using words and phrases that put limits on their dreams. “When I work with young people, can’t isn’t in their vocabulary. I think isn’t apart of their vocabulary. You say I will, I am going to.” King’s affirmation for the students is “you are the queen/king.” “Your focus is to make everybody in the room look at you because you are the center of attention, not in an arrogant way.” “When you walk in a room, walk with your head up with proud so everyone can say who is that young lady/ man?”

Who Is Curtis King?

Curtis King, founder of The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Incorporated (TBAAL) of Dallas, Texas, was born December 20, 1951, in Coldwater, Mississippi; his father, Jonah King, was a farmer, and his mother, Elizabeth McGee King, was a schoolteacher. King graduated in 1969 from segregated Tate County High School where he enjoyed writing and acting in plays. At Jackson State University, King was mentored by poet Margaret Walker Alexander, who sent him to Chicago in 1972 for the historic Black Academy of Arts and Letters (BAAL) National Conference to Assess the State of Black Arts and Letters in the United States of America. At the conference King was not only inspired by John Oliver Killens, Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Romare Bearden, Alvin Ailey, Charles White, C. Eric Lincoln and others, but got their phone numbers as well.

Earning his master's degree in theater from Texas Christian University in 1974, King worked for the Mayor's Council on Youth Opportunity in Fort Worth, and the Sojourner Truth Theater Company after graduation. King was teaching theater at Shaw University in 1977 when he learned that the BAAL had gone defunct in 1976. Using $250, King formed the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters (later The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Incorporated, or TBAAL) in homage to BAAL in 1977. TBAAL went on to become the only African American multidisciplinary cultural arts organization housed inside a major urban convention center. TBAAL occupies 250,000 square feet of space in the Dallas Convention Center, and includes: the 1,750 seat Naomi Burton Theatre, Clarence Muse Cafe Theatre, James E. Kemp Art Gallery, and the Eva Jessye Gift Shop. TBAAL attracts hundreds of thousands of people annually.

Known for his artistic and administrative skills and celebrity contacts, King produced various celebrity tributes. King also produced the National Civil War Gala at Washington's Lincoln Theatre Center for the Performing Arts in 2000. King is the recipient of the Larry Leon Hamlin Producer's Award, Man of the Year Dream Makers Award, Esquire Magazine Register Award, the Dallas Historical Society's Arts Leadership Award, the Texas Ambassador of Goodwill Award and the World Peace Award in the Arts from the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace in 2004.

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