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"Fire Shut Up in My Bones" at the Metropolitan Opera

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All of us have watched Charles Blow's success with admiration and respect, so you can imagine how thrilled we were to learn that his 2016 memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones was the inspiration for the libretto of the new opera by Terence Blanchard, that had its Metropolitan Opera premiere to open the 2021-2022 season last Monday night. Most of us know of Blanchard's success via his film scores and his performances as a jazz trumpeter. The audience at the Met last was treated to several jazz numbers, the music of a gospel choir, and a "step" dance by pledgees of an HBCU fraternity. Charles Blow Blow's memoir is the story of his return to the town of his birth to seek revenge against an older cousin who had raped him as a child. The opera opens with him in his car and a gun in the passenger seat. The story is told via a series of flashbacks culminating in the moment when he must decide whether to murder his cousin and potentially go to prison, or learn to live with th

Nina Kennedy Interviewed for Nashville Public Radio

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Nina Kennedy (photo by Kathy Ray) In anticipation of the Jubilee Day celebrations scheduled for next month, a producer for Nashville Public Radio reached out to Nina Kennedy to ask about a possible interview to be used as part of a project in recognition of "Jubilee Day," Fisk University's Founders' Day, on October 6th. Classical music journalist  Colleen Phelps  is  on a team at WPLN-FM producing a special for the upcoming 150th Jubilee Day, and is currently working on online content that will be released related to the special .  During a short text dialogue, Colleen revealed that she had been watching the documentary film Nina had produced on her father titled  Matthew Kennedy: One Man's Journey . Matthew Kennedy had directed the Fisk Jubilee Singers - who are considered to be the founders of Fisk University  - from 1957 to 1986.  Though the Free Fisk Colored School (named for Union Army General Clinton B. Fisk) was founded by the American Missionary Associatio

Nina Kennedy's "Practice What You Preach" is Here!

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  The sequel for Nina Kennedy's Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Practicing for Love: A Memoir , is finally on the shelves. Practice What You Preach continues the story of Nina's adventures in New York City, and her return to Europe where she resides in Vienna, Cologne, and Paris. Early in the book, Nina receives news of her mother's death and must return to Nashville for the funeral. While cleaning out her parents' house, she unearths material for a documentary film which she spends the next six years producing. That film, Matthew Kennedy: One Man's Journey  - on the life of her father who was a concert pianist and director of the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers - becomes an award-winning hit at international film festivals. While in the U.S., Nina becomes involved with an African diplomat who forces her to come to grips with new levels of sexism, homophobia, and anti-Americanism that permeate many African cultures. She learns to appreciate her national identit

The Sounds of INFEMNITY's "It's World Pride" Fill the Air in Copenhagen

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Brenda Alderman, April Gibson, & Nina Kennedy It's hard to believe that the international club launch of "It's World Pride" happened more than two years ago at the Stonewall Inn, presented by DJ RiMiX. Produced for World Pride 2019 in New York, INFEMNITY Productions pulled together bassist/producer Brenda Alderman who composed the beats, April Gibson who composed the lyrics, and Nina Kennedy who executed the vocal performance (saying the word "Welcome" in ten languages!). We are happy to announce that the World Pride Copenhagen Committee informed us that our dance single will be included in their August festivities. We wish we could be there to experience it, or perform it, even. Hopefully by the next World Pride celebration our planet will be COVID-free! Enjoy this video of RiMiX introducing the international club launch of "It's World Pride" at Stonewall: To hear the complete recording, click  here .

Ann Allen Shockley: An American Literary Icon

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Celebrated author Ann Allen Shockley will celebrate her 94th birthday next week. She was so kind to send me this quote for the cover of my new book  Practice What You Preach : "Not only is Nina Kennedy a renowned classical pianist, but she now reveals her versatile talent as a marvelously engaging memoirist." - Ann Allen Shockley, author of Loving Her Her 1974 novel Loving Her, to quote Wikipedia, "... is widely considered to be one of the first, if not the first, published piece of  black lesbian literature ,  as it openly features a black lesbian protagonist and an interracial lesbian relationship."  Here is the rest of her Wikipedia article: Ann Allen Shockley (born June 21, 1927) is an American journalist and author, specializing in themes of interracial lesbian love, especially the plight of black lesbians living under what she views as the ‘triple oppression’ of racism, sexism, and homophobia. She has also encouraged libraries to place special emphasis on

"The Noshing with Nina Show" Wins 2021 B Free Award

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On April 24th, the eight annual B Free Awards were held in a live virtual ceremony broadcast on BRIC TV. BRIC's B Free Awards celebrates local journalism and the community-made stories that air on its Brooklyn Free Speech TV and Podcast Network. The Noshing with Nina Show  was nominated in two categories: B Entertaining and B Harmonious, and won the B Entertaining Award. The episode that won was the show that was produced in Vienna, Austria . Producer April Gibson accepted the award in a pre-recorded acceptance speech, in which she told the story of INFEMNITY Productions'  trip to Vienna in the fall of 2019, and how happy she was to be able to bring along her mother and aunt for their first trip to Europe. She also shared with the audience how the show's host,  Nina Kennedy , had just learned that her new book,  Practicing for Love: A Memoir , has been nominated to receive a 2021 Lambda Literary Award. Nina was also interviewed during the show's opening Red Carpet.  Thi

Remembrances of the Clit Club

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The first time I tried to enter the Clit Club, I didn't even make it inside. A beautiful young lady picked me up right there at the entrance, and took me back to her apartment. A few weeks later when I actually made it all the way inside, I saw that the atmosphere was highly sexualized. Topless dancers shook their stuff on the stage, on top of the bar, and on various elevated platforms. When I ventured downstairs, women were dancing, grinding, making out and making love in dark corners. Hostesses Julie Tolentino (made famous by the photo montage with her partner Alistair and Madonna in the book Sex ) and Jocelyn Taylor (aka Jaguar Mary) gave birth to the infamous party in the Meatpacking District, where celebrities including Debbie Harry and Madonna were often spotted. Photographer Lola Flash was behind the bar, and often displayed slides of her photographs on the walls. There was usually a line of people waiting to get in, and the dancefloor was normally so packed that we could ha

On This Day: April 5th, 2021

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Today, on the anniversary of my New York Recital Debut at Lincoln Center, I am celebrating the news that my first book of memoirs is a finalist for a 2021 Lambda Literary Award. While in the throes of writing and editing this work, I never imagined that my story of struggle as a concert pianist - who is also a woman and an African American - would be singled out for such an honor. It has renewed my faith and encouraged me to put more of my stories on paper. Celebrated women concert pianists are few and far between. I am reminded of a certain female pianist who has enjoyed much fame and success, who started out in her career as the wife of a famous orchestral conductor. As marriage to a man was out of the question for me, I missed out on some of the perks that a wife enjoys. I never knew how to flirt with conductors or concert agents to secure contracts, as many of my white female heterosexual colleagues were able to do. In addition to bearing the burden of being a female without male s

Nina Kennedy's "Practicing for Love: A Memoir" is Nominated for 2021 Lambda Literary Award

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  On March 15th, the Associated Press announced the finalists for the 2021 Lambda Literary Awards. Practicing for Love: A Memoir by Nina Kennedy is nominated in the Lesbian Memoir/Biography category. Kennedy is the only African-American author nominated in this category. Lambda Literary has championed LGBTQ books and authors f or over 30 years. To quote their website : " We believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read." The announcement of the finalists as reported by the Associated Press  has appeared in Publishers Weekly , Kirkus Book Reviews , NYU Press, among other publications. Meshell Ndegeocello Finalists and winners will be celebrated in a virtual award ceremony on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021, which will feature a performance by  Meshell Ndegeocello , along with other guests. Nina Kennedy is a world-renowned conc

Bill Egan on "The Noshing with Nina Show"

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  Nina Kennedy and Bill Egan Bill Egan, author of the new book  African American Entertainers in Australia and New Zealand: A History, 1788-1941 , is our special guest on this month's episode of  The Noshing with Nina Show . Filmed while he was in New York on his way to the Duke Ellington International Study Group Conference in Washington, D.C. - which was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic - Bill sat down with us in the lobby of the Empire Hotel near Lincoln Center to discuss his book. Bill shared with us his enthusiasm for Broadway star Florence Mills, and how his research on her life eventually led to further research on other African American performers who came to Australia and New Zealand in the 19th century and beyond. We first came in contact with Egan when he responded to host Nina Kennedy 's  blog on pianist Leota Henson , who traveled to Australia as piano accompanist for Frederick Loudin's Fisk Jubilee Singers. He even requested permission to publish the

"The Noshing with Nina Show" Nominated for 2020 B Free Award

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The 7th annual B Free Awards were held last Saturday in a Virtual/ Zoom format presented by BRIC Arts Media. Last year, the B Free Awards took place in May, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's awards ceremony was postponed to October. Also in 2019, The Noshing with Nina Show 's producer April Gibson was nominated as best director in the First Amendment category. The episode on "The People's State of the Union" and our coverage of "The Poetic Address to the Nation" won the award. April Gibson accepting her B Free Award in 2019 This year, the episode with special guest Kimberly Nichole was nominated in the B Harmonious category. Kimberly Nichole, also known as "The Rock Ballerina," was the star of NBC's The Voice for several episodes. Her voice incorporates the elements of soaring gospel and R&B, over a distinctive foundation of Rock & Roll. Kimberly came into the studio for an hour-long interview, and even gave us an impro

"Practicing for Love" - A Review by Michelle Veras

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  Practicing for Love  - A Review By Michelle Veras September 28, 2020 Practicing for Love , Nina Kennedy’s recently published memoir, is a beautiful chronicle of the author’s childhood, lifelong passion for music, and her journey from Tennessee to New York City, and eventually, across the globe. The text is an intimate glimpse into Kennedy’s early life as a child prodigy, and later, her career as an internationally acclaimed classical pianist. Along the way, Kennedy confronts the complex and interconnected realities of racism, sexism, and homophobia.  The only child of musician parents, Ms. Kennedy spent her childhood immersed in the world of classical music. The author recounts her experiences traveling to performances with her parents, sitting in on the classes they taught at Fisk University, and the countless hours she spent practicing at the piano. For those of us with fairly limited knowledge of classical music, Kennedy’s memoir lays bare her conflicted feelings about her choice

What People are Saying About The Anne Gamble Kennedy 100th Birthday Celebration/Virtual Exhibit

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"Congratulations to you for the excellent exhibit you produced in honor and memory of your dear mother ANNE GAMBLE KENNEDY in celebration of her 100th Birthday. What a superbly well-documented work of art it is, indeed! Thank you for your invitation to attend this memorable event."  - Richard M. Turner III, Chair of the Music Department, Fisk University, 1968-1971 "It was a pleasure to participate in this Celebration!...I really enjoyed the presentation, and also purchased it...Congratulations, Nina, on an outstanding job!...I'm sure your parents would be proud of you."  - Leah Travillion Rollins, singer/songwriter, former student of Anne Gamble Kennedy "Just watched my copy of the video on the life of your mom, Anne Gamble! Bravo Nina, what a fascinating woman. You did some great storytelling. I hope many people will see and enjoy a jewel that was kept in the box for so long. Anne Gamble Kennedy! xoxoxo"  - George Cooper, pianist, founder, Ella Sheppa

"The Noshing with Nina Show" in Vienna, Austria!

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TNWNS host Nina Kennedy Nina Kennedy, in her role as concert pianist, hosts this special episode of The Noshing with Nina Show in Vienna, Austria, where she was invited to film a music video. In the show we witness her visits to one of the oldest cathedrals in Central Europe, the summer palace of the Austro-Hungarian emperors, and the Vienna State Opera House. In the Royal Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace Nina interviews the manager of the showroom for the Austrian piano maker Bösendorfer , who shows us the pianos owned by Oscar Peterson, Leonard Bernstein, and Michael Jackson. Nina performs on the Imperial Grand owned by these three artists. With Bösendorfer showroom manager Vladimir Bulzan We hear much glorious music in this episode, including clips from Mozart's final opera The Magic Flute , Schumann's "Widmung" which Nina recorded for the music video, and of course the famous waltz by Johann Strauss, "The Blue Danube." During one magical clip filmed inside

Looking Back on 2019

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2019 has been a banner year for INFEMNITY Productions and  The Noshing with Nina Show (TNWNS) . The year began with the broadcast of our recap of “The People’s State of the Union” in January. For Black History Month we broadcast the first of a two-part series on the award-winning documentary film  Matthew Kennedy: One Man’s Journey , produced and directed by host Nina Kennedy. In March, the Rock Ballerina Kimberly Nichole was our special guest on  TNWNS . Kimberly is most recognized for her amazing performance of “House of the Rising Sun” on NBC’s  The Voice . Nina Kennedy directing the Fisk Jubilee Singers Also in March, the Fisk Jubilee Singers performed at Carnegie Hall under sponsorship of the H.T. Burleigh Society, and Nina was asked to participate in a panel discussion with the descendants of Ella Sheppard, Harry Burleigh, J. Rosamond Johnson, W.C. Handy and Bob Cole  on the legacies of famous African American musicians. After that panel di