TWO WEEKS AFTER THE Baltimore riots, I went to an outdoor screening of “A Dream Preferred,” a short documentary about the amazing young guys who started Taharka Brothers Ice Cream.
Before the film, I got to know the sweet lady sitting next to me. Her name was Mary Humes—and, the night before, she had received an award from Johns Hopkins for being a community hero. (She’s the kind of woman who opens up her own home to help people in need.) For the next 22 minutes, we watched the film together—side-by-side, in folding chairs. She must have felt me shaking, as I tried to hold back tears during a scene that so movingly captured the impact of white privilege on young black men in this city, I will never be the same.
I soon found out that Devon Brown, the big-hearted star of the movie, is Mary’s grandson, who now works for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Devon introduced me to the whole Taharka crew, including the guys who’ve stayed on to grow the business, and their mentor, Darius Wilmore, who gave up an enviable career working for hip hop mogul Russell Simmons to come home and try to change the world.
That’s why “A Dream Preferred” (see review here) is my favorite pick in Culture Club STYLE’s annual guide to must-see movies, concerts, theater, art, dance and more this fall. Much like ice cream, the arts bring people together and promote understanding.
So why aren’t we funding it better?
Bret McCabe investigates that question in For Art’s Sake, where he chats with advocates who are fighting to keep Baltimore’s scene growing. That includes our cover models—Evan Moritz, Carly J. Bales and Ric Royer—from Le Mondo, and Amy Cavanaugh Royce, from Maryland Art Place, where I’ve proudly just joined the board.
Art was also my initial connection to Rahne Alexander, who is one of five beautiful transgender souls in Say My Name. I didn’t think much about the fact that Rahne was trans when we met. I was more obsessed with her job at the Maryland Film Festival. But in interviewing her, I was struck by her courageous journey—like how simply going to work in a video store in the 1980s (i.e., serving the public as an openly trans woman) was queer activism.
I think Rahne (and all the inspirational humans in that essay) will love this detail: When I went to spell-check this issue of STYLE, “transgender” wasn’t yet in the dictionary. The word suggested to replace it? Trailblazer!