Richard Lawson And Tina Knowles Lawson Launch WACO Theater Grand Opening - Arrivals
Getty Images

Tina Knowles & Richard Lawson Launch Theater Center To Aid In Arts Education

The Lawsons kicked off the grand opening weekend of the WACO Theater Center on Friday with a private reception.

At a time when arts education is facing an unclear future, Tina Knowles-Lawson and actor Richard Lawson have officially opened the doors to their WACO Theater Center (Where Art Can Occur) in an effort to keep the arts accessible to all.

After Knowles-Lawson's daughters Beyoncé and Solange co-chaired a star-studded inaugural Wearable Art fundraiser for the theater in April - which featured Magic Johnson, Octavia Spencer, Kris Jenner, Samuel L. Jackson and Arianna Huffington among invited guests - the Lawsons kicked off the grand opening weekend of the center on Friday (Nov. 3) with a private reception.

The cast of Detroit, longtime family friend and artist Kelly Rowland and actress Vanessa Bell Calloway were among the family, friends and supporters of the initiative that celebrated the opening of the theater center filled with rotating art exhibits and a space that will house performances, mentorship programs and workshops. The celebration continued throughout the weekend with the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to award-winning theater director Woodie King Jr. as well as screenings and a staged reading from veteran actors of The Talented Tenth By Richard Wesley.

The Lawsons, longtime friends who have been married for over two years, both reconnected through their dedication to arts education. Tina originally was searching for a place to open an arts community center in Texas while Richard - an actor who has been a teacher for over 30 years - had an agenda for arts outreach as well. The two realized they had the same dream.

Richard Lawson says the center was, "something that fell together naturally. Even though we were doing it separately it was really driven by the same purpose which is to make a difference and help other people – especially kids – to change their lives."

Both Knowles-Lawson and Lawson's mentorship programs "Tina's Angels" for girls and "Richard's Warriors" for boys will continue to play a significant part in the theater center. The programs support young kids between 13 and 15 years of age with "Tina's Angeles" equipping girls with etiquette training, professional development, exposure to the arts, trips to see performances such as Alvin Ailey productions (where Beyonce made an appearance) and visits from "honorary angels" in the entertainment world.

"We just felt like it’s such a time that you need to mentor these young people and try to encourage them and he believes in using art so this is really important to us," said Knowles-Lawson.

In addition to the mentorship programs, the WACO theater is planning on expanding with a Mobile Arts Theater Season where traveling cargo vans will set up a theater space in local L.A. communities for weekends of diverse entertainment.

“It’s been a vision of hers for years so to see it flourish today I’m so excited for her,” said Rowland as she arrived at the grand opening. Rowland, who is a part of the theater center's advisory board along with Beyonce, Solange and Queen Sugar actress Biana Lawson hopes to get more involved with the kids who will be using the center and shared her main piece of advice for young aspiring artists is to “listen to their gut.”

“They are smarter than they think. They are greatness,” said Rowland. “They have to find what they are passionate about. What wakes you up in the morning. What is the thing that gives you joy every day and completes you as a person."

This story was originally published on The Hollywood Reporter

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Future Says Russell Wilson Needs To Be 'A Man,' Does Whatever Ciara Tells Him To Do

Future is not holding back in a new interview featured on FREEBANDZ Radio via Apple Music. The "Crushed Up" rapper discussed his new album The WIZRD with host Big Bank Black, and things got tense when he was queried about the mother of his son, Ciara, and her relationship with her husband, Russell Wilson.

“[Wilson] do exactly what she tell him to do!" Fewtch said in reference to the NFL player. "I feel like he not being a man in that position. He not tellin’ her, 'Chill out with that on the Internet. Don’t even talk to him [Future]. I’m your husband! You better not even bring Future’s name up!’"

He continues by saying that if he was still with Ciara, bringing up an ex's name in conversation wouldn't even be part of a conversation.

"If that was me, she couldn’t even bring his name up,” he continued. “She know that. She couldn’t even bring her ex's names up. I don’t care what they gave you... Don’t bring their names up in an interview! No! Don’t give that sh*t no energy. It’s about me, whatever, I’m taking care of everything, I'm a thousand percent. I live by a different kind of rules.”

"You know I'm taking care of my kids, whats the real issue?" he continues. "Y'all get married, and [Ciara] was like "I want you to meet Russell now," man, y'all already done did all the damage." However, he did give Wilson his props for helping his son learn how to play sports, and he doesn't look at that negatively.

Future and Ciara have not had an amicable split. They have gone back-and-forth with their words on social media, and attempted to settled a custody battle for the four-year-old son, Future.

Listen to his comments below.

Continue Reading
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Three Chicago Officers Acquitted Of Covering Evidence In Laquan McDonald's Death

On Thursday (Jan. 17), Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson acquitted three Chicago officers who were on trial for covering evidence behind Laquan McDonald's shooting death, the Associated Press reports. The teenager was shot 16 times by former officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. The officers in question faced claims of burying the truth behind the shooting since dashcam footage contradicted the incident's initial report. According to NPR, decades have passed in Chicago since an on-duty officer faced a murder charge for a shooting.

The officers, Joseph Walsh, David March, and Thomas Gaffney, were originally charged with official misconduct, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy. On the judge's decision, Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes noted that this ruling should ignite a shift within police culture.

"We do hope that this has been a crack in the wall of the code of silence and that others will think twice about engaging in conduct that might land them in an investigation such as this," Brown said per AP.

McDonald's sister, Tariana, wrote a statement for The Chicago Tribune where she expressed her disappointment in the judge's decision. "Words couldn't explain how hurt I still am," she said. "...Not only did I lose a brother, I lost my best friend. People don't understand how I feel not to be able to talk to my brother, let alone see him again. That's why I feel like justice should be served."

At the time of the shooting, McDonald was said to have been acting "erratic" with a small knife in his hand. Van Dyke said he ordered the teen to drop the weapon. But according to video footage, McDonald was walking away from the police when he was gunned down in the back.

Van Dyke, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, will be sentenced on Friday (Jan. 18).

Continue Reading
A$AP Ferg (L) and A$AP Rocky attend A$AP Mob Yams Day 2019 at Barclays Center on January 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

2019 Yams Day: A Millennial Hypebeast's Wet Dream

It's somewhat fitting that the theme for the 2019 Yams Day is WWE wrestling. While it pays homage to the late Yams' favorite sport and pastime, it perfectly encapsulates today's concert culture for the millennial hypebeast.

After wading in the brisk weather of one of the colder Thursday's of Jan. 2019, 20-somethings and late 90s babies flocked to their assigned sections of Brooklyn's Barclays Center to pay tribute to the founder member and enjoy A$AP Rocky's "Injured Generation Tour."

The crowd is more salt than peppered, even more than a Lil Wayne concert. Puffer jackets decorate the rows of the rickety stadium chairs. And young clear girls donning cornrows, tube tops, cropped shirts, and a rainbow of colored, high-waisted camo pants weave in and out of the aisles. Boys in beanies, florescent skullcaps, and cross-body bags are seen down below migrating in huddles by the main stage and sub-arena masquerading as a wrestling ring. If you needed a gentle reminder of just how influential black culture can be, you found it here.

Rocky, the mob's fierce leader, encouraged the crowd to form a pit in the center of the venue. And just like WWE, a single spotlight highlights the pit as shirtless boys crash into one another, limbs failing and heads bobbing. It surely looks like it hurts, but as mentioned several times throughout the night, it's all for show, and for fun of course.

Each mosh is ricocheted off of one another so much so that from the lower level (which is actually one level above the floor), looked like a violent sea rolling up to shore.

The only thing keeping these kids up, besides the body of the person beside them, seems to be the revolving doors of performers which included a long list of ragers like Ski Mask the Slump God, Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$, Metro Boomin, and of course A$AP Mob.

Weed fogs the air as fans light up to commemorate the fallen members of hip-hop. That includes more than Yams today, as XXXTentacion recently passed away in 2018. And it wouldn't be a night if someone didn't yell "Free Tekashi 6ix9ine." "No one deserves to be locked up," it was stated.

"Millennial" and "hypebeast" haven't always found the perfect harmony, but when they do it produces a unique experience. Black boy joy is one of the better products. A$AP Ferg and a variety of other friends and family partake in a fun-loving game of dance-tag, flinging their arms and bodies around as Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz's "Uproar" cuts on. Other jams of the present and past like Crime Mob's "Knuck If You Buck" and Kendrick Lamar's "M.a.A.d city" also blast through the speakers, while the n-word echoes through the spot.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

$ummer $lam or #YamsDay? 😂

A post shared by Barclays Center (@barclayscenter) on Jan 17, 2019 at 6:08pm PST

Millennials are fearless. What's more courageous than the kids entering the pits of destruction, are the musical acts that run off the cliff of the stage into the audience. They are so certain their fans will catch them, they often dive head first, flipping into piles of extended arms.

The surprise guests of the night, Meek Mill and Soulja Boy, are perhaps the most trending acts in the social realm. Soulja Boy reenacts comedic interview from The Breakfast Club, reciting "Draakee" as he walks from one end of the stage to the next. Meek creates a "moment," performing "Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by VibeMagazine (@vibemagazine) on Jan 17, 2019 at 10:47pm PST

Bedtime is approaching but there's not a yawn in sight around this crew. If you're looking for the millennials, you can find them turning up at Barclays.

Continue Reading

Top Stories