Musician Brandon Woody is everywhere. He has performed at Maryland Governor Wes Moore’s inaugural celebration, in large and small venues all around the city, and beyond. Woody represents the latest generation of Baltimore’s important cultural contributions. It’s an honor to have him grace our cover and to profile him in these pages.
“Playing the trumpet is like something that is like self-care for me,” he told Baltimore Beat Arts and Culture Editor Teri Henderson. “I think my music has the ability to move people. So I want to foster movement, and just keep going.”
My story for this issue is about the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and the work they are doing to create a sustainable future for this city. Many people talk about silos in this city — the barriers that make it hard to communicate and collaborate to develop solutions to deeply entrenched issues. Here, these city employees are trying to make the conversation about the city’s Climate Action Plan as inclusive as possible. But will they be successful?
“The impacts of climate change are becoming undeniable, and more and more people are paying attention,” Aubrey Germ, climate and resilience planner at the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, told me. “Residents are noticing how climate-related events such as increased precipitation and changing weather patterns are impacting themselves, their homes, and their neighbors. They are noticing negative consequences such as increased utility bills and poorer air quality. Throughout the Climate Action Plan update process, we have seen robust participation from residents and stakeholders across Baltimore.”
Also in this issue, writer Bry Reed reviews Claudia Tate’s Black Women Writers at Work. When the pandemic first hit and it felt like the world was ending, I decided to read more — and to read Black women especially. This was one of the first books I picked up. Many of the battles that are new to us are actually very old. The conversations detailed in Black Women Writers at Work can provide a roadmap to the future.
Speaking of timeless lessons, our resident art critic Dominic Griffin uses this issue to delve into the film “Chevalier.” The film details the life of Joseph Bologne, a biracial musician who was born in France in 1745.
“He’s an exemplary performer and an impactful storyteller. These skills allow him to schmooze at all the high society gatherings, despite his skin color, and as most of France suffers and starves,” Griffin writes about Bologne. “Still, despite his wit and talent, the long shadow of racism follows him.”
Last but not least, we have another poem, this time from Writers in Baltimore Schools participant De’Sherra Gaston.
Thank you for reading issue 18 of Baltimore Beat.