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wendell-pierce (The Griot) – Ator Wendell Pierce shared excerpts from his new memoir, Wind in the Reeds, with an enraptured audience this past weekend in Brooklyn, New York.

Radio host Terrance McKnight hosted the intimate brunch, which filled Central Brooklyn’s Skylight Gallery. Pierce used his booming baritone to impart stories that were sometimes hopeful, funny, sad or all three.

The book offers a kaleidoscopic look into Pierce’s family tree and a variety of warm and raw anecdotes about growing up in New Orleans’ Pontchartrain Park (aka “Black Mayberry”). It also examines the history of New Orleans and what it’s really like to live there as an artist.

Pierce was equal parts eloquent and animated when he spoke of Congo Square in New Orleans and how enslaved Africans took their “free time” to express themselves with music there.

“They created what we now know as the social justice movement,” Pierce said. “People said ‘I’m gonna find within my art, a way to free my soul and literally free my physical bondage.’ Art is not just a piece of entertainment. In the great tradition of New Orleans, art was always an act of insurrection, an act of rebellion, a social justice movement of social aide and pleasure club. We understand the pleasure part and we can not forget about the social justice part.”

Read more here.

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