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World Wide Arts Federation gets political with art battle No. 6

Beef spells relief for Fabian Williams, aka the Occasional Superstar

About three years ago, Atlanta artist Fabian Williams read a blog post on an Ebony/Jet-run site about the depiction of African-American men in the work of Fahamu Pecou. A fellow Atlanta artist, Pecou often satirizes male hip-hop culture in his large-scale paintings. Williams responded to comments by a woman about irresponsible behavior from black men, saying that she should date "some nice guys." Soon after, another artist joined the fray, pelting Williams with questions about his artistic merit. What ensued led to the makings of his next creative move.

"I challenged her to an art battle," he says. "If you're gonna attack me academically or artistically, then we've got a major beef." Williams backed away from his potential opponent so as not seem like a bully and decided to channel the energy elsewhere. "That felt good to talk shit like that," he says with a laugh.

So Williams founded the World Wide Arts Federation and began hosting art battles, wildly theatrical confrontations between artists that put race and gender politics at the fore. (The WWAF was CL's 2011 Critics Pick for Best Local Art Beef). WWAF art battles are as much about the paint as they are about the pageantry. Originally held at Stuart McClean Gallery in the Old Fourth Ward, past showdowns have included "The Art of the War of Art" and "Composition of Chaos" in which competitors channeled influences ranging from the ostentatiousness of wrestler Ric Flair to the sublime cool of painter Bob Ross.

This time, the battle is political. Williams, aka the Occasional Superstar, decided to capitalize on Decision 2012 with "The Election of the First President" of the WWAF. Pecou will provide commentary and participants will vote for a representative from one of three competing parties: the conservative Renaissancecan, the forward-thinking Contemporaricrat, or the independent/libertarian-inclined Urbatarian.

Unlike a campaign, proceeds for this election won't fund any particular candidate. Instead, they'll go toward the Grace Kisa Donation Fund. Kisa, an Atlanta-based visual artist and participant in previous shows, recently suffered a stroke. Williams wanted to rally his peers to assist in her recovery. "She's a beautiful person and we want her back on her feet," he said on his Facebook page.

For the election battle, Williams wanted to go deeper. "I thought it would be a cool way to address politics and our weird political system; how nasty it can be sometimes," he says. "It's getting bigger than the artist-on-artist dis. It's about the institutions that each artist represents; the system that creates the conflict."



More By This Writer

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Article

Tuesday October 17, 2017 08:09 pm EDT
Shannon Barbour reflects on the festival's 2017 return | more...
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Andwele Gardner, better known simply as Dwele, is a true Detroit player, and a powerful, yet underrated force of nature in the post-Motown landscape. Dwele’s resume boasts of past collaborations with Kanye West, Slum Village, and the likes. But the Valentine’s Day-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist abandoned hip-hop long ago. These days his blend of live instruments with a warm, lush voice gives rise to a peace-loving neo-soul vibe. His next album is due out later this summer — his first since releasing 2012’s Greater Than One. In the meantime he’s on the road, revisiting songs such as  “I’m Cheatin,’” “I Think I Love You,” and “Find a Way.”

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Tuesday January 3, 2017 04:31 pm EST
The neo-soul singer and songwriter delves into his back catalog while prepping his first new album since 2012 | more...
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Tuesday December 20, 2016 10:53 pm EST
Hometown rapper, singer, and multi-instrumentalist returns for his annual Christmas Eve concert | more...
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The tune also serves as the theme to ''[http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/11/opinions/cnn-films-we-will-rise-michelle-obama/index.html|We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World]'', the outgoing first lady's film. It's also part of Day’s powerfully delivered live performances at the Democratic National Convention, a Hillary Clinton fundraiser, and a tribute to the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.Day’s voice, often described as “haunting,” gives even her most commercially successful work a deeper, more urgent sound than youth-driven pop fare. You could say she’s a student of the game in jazz vocals with classic sounds reaching back to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, or Amy Winehouse, in the more recent past.She stunned audiences in September during her performance at 2016's [http://www.onemusicfest.com/|ONE Musicfest] at Lakewood Amphitheatre —her first appearance at the festival.Details regarding what Day’s next album entails remain to be seen, but she’s interested in working with Laura Mvula and Esperanza Spaulding. "[I'm planning on] going back in the studio at the start of 2017 to work on a new record and doing one off days," she says."
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Tuesday November 29, 2016 04:42 pm EST
The Stevie Wonder protege is on a roll | more...
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ONE Musicfest’s seventh year was indeed one for the books. During the morning hours of Sept. 10, leading up to the noon opening time, attendees flocked to Lakewood Amphitheater. The much anticipated headlining performance of the entire Dungeon Family — André 3000 included — lead to a sold-out, packed-out event filled with a full day of top-notch shows from a diverse group of artists.

Earlier in the day, before the Dungeon Family’s historic reunion, fans braved the 94-degree heat to take in the afternoon’s performers.

East Coast, West Coast, and Down South artists attracted people from as far away as Canada, ONE Musicfest founder Jay Carter offered during a brief backstage chat.

First-time ONE Musicfest performer Andra Day, paused after her set to take pictures and talk about her experience. “I’m a fan of so many of the people performing today,” she said.

Anderson .Paak’s soulful funk drew a crowd to the outdoor stage. And as singer Jazmine Sullivan closed out her powerful set, Gary Clark, Jr. switched guitars at least three times to deliver his blues revivalist sound. Later, Busta Rhymes kicked off the salute to old-school hip-hop with crowd pleasers “Whoo Hah (I Got You All in Check)” and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.”

On the Zeus stage, Ice Cube took fans back to the late ’80s and early ’90s with hits from NWA and his solo albums such as “Straight Outta Compton,” “Jackin’ For Beats,” and “Check Yo Self” from the Friday soundtrack — it was a good day, indeed.

Erykah Badu returned to OMF with classics “On and On” and “Tyrone.” She even shouted out regions of the metro area like Stone Mountain and “East Purnt” — that’s East Point for the uninitiated. 

When the sun went down, OMF revelers turned up at the main stage for the stars of the show. The Dungeon Family moved the crowd with a rare performances of songs from their only collective album, Even in Darkness. Diehard fans sang along to “Follow the Light” and “Trans DF Express.”

André 3000 glided across the stage as though he were unaware of the heightened screams and applause at his presence. Organized Noize singer and producer, Sleepy Brown joined him on vocals for his metaphorically driven rhymes on “I Can’t Wait.”

Among the surprises of the night, Bonecrusher, T.I., and Killer Mike took the stage to perform “Never Scared.” Erykah Badu took the stage for “Liberation” from OutKast’s critically acclaimed album Aquemini. She and CeeLo Green stole the show with their strong vocals. DF closed the show with “Gangsta Shit” from Stankonia. 

After delivering so much in a one-day festival, it’s hard to imagine where ONE Musicfest can go next.

Unlike André’s social message jumpsuits of the 2014 OutKast tour, the Dungeon Family wore attire strictly to rep their city. CeeLo stood out in a Deion Sanders Falcons throwback jersey and guest Ed Lover got in on the act with a College Park T-shirt. And the timing of the DF reunion couldn’t have been better. In the same week of Donald Glover’s funny but gritty Atlanta series debuted on FX, the ATLien pride was undeniable. When the crowd jumped, they weren’t just enjoying a concert, they were celebrating over two decades of music and culture. They were honoring a city that some call a place with an identity crisis, while others recognize an influence so strong that rappers from other cities and countries attempt to emulate a Southern accent in their flows. Any doubters about Atlanta's global imprint can hush that fuss. 

See a full gallery of photos from One Musicfest 2016."
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[http://www.clatl.com/music/article/20832371/the-entire-dungeon-family-headlines-one-musicfest|ONE Musicfest]’s seventh year was indeed one for the books. During the morning hours of Sept. 10, leading up to the noon opening time, attendees flocked to Lakewood Amphitheater. The much anticipated headlining performance of the entire Dungeon Family — André 3000 included — lead to a sold-out, packed-out event filled with a full day of top-notch shows from a diverse group of artists.

Earlier in the day, before the Dungeon Family’s historic reunion, fans braved the 94-degree heat to take in the afternoon’s performers.

East Coast, West Coast, and Down South artists attracted people from as far away as Canada, ONE Musicfest founder Jay Carter offered during a brief backstage chat.

First-time ONE Musicfest performer Andra Day, paused after her set to take pictures and talk about her experience. “I’m a fan of so many of the people performing today,” she said.

Anderson .Paak’s soulful funk drew a crowd to the outdoor stage. And as singer Jazmine Sullivan closed out her powerful set, Gary Clark, Jr. switched guitars at least three times to deliver his blues revivalist sound. Later, Busta Rhymes kicked off the salute to old-school hip-hop with crowd pleasers “Whoo Hah (I Got You All in Check)” and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.”

On the Zeus stage, Ice Cube took fans back to the late ’80s and early ’90s with hits from NWA and his solo albums such as “Straight Outta Compton,” “Jackin’ For Beats,” and “Check Yo Self” from the Friday soundtrack — it was a good day, indeed.

Erykah Badu returned to OMF with classics “On and On” and “Tyrone.” She even shouted out regions of the metro area like Stone Mountain and “East Purnt” — that’s East Point for the uninitiated. 

When the sun went down, OMF revelers turned up at the main stage for the stars of the show. The Dungeon Family moved the crowd with a rare performances of songs from their only collective album, ''Even in Darkness''. Diehard fans sang along to “Follow the Light” and “Trans DF Express.”

André 3000 glided across the stage as though he were unaware of the heightened screams and applause at his presence. Organized Noize singer and producer, Sleepy Brown joined him on vocals for his metaphorically driven rhymes on “I Can’t Wait.”

Among the surprises of the night, Bonecrusher, T.I., and Killer Mike took the stage to perform “Never Scared.” Erykah Badu took the stage for “Liberation” from OutKast’s critically acclaimed album Aquemini. She and CeeLo Green stole the show with their strong vocals. DF closed the show with “Gangsta Shit” from Stankonia. 

After delivering so much in a one-day festival, it’s hard to imagine where ONE Musicfest can go next.

Unlike André’s social message jumpsuits of the 2014 OutKast tour, the Dungeon Family wore attire strictly to rep their city. CeeLo stood out in a Deion Sanders Falcons throwback jersey and guest Ed Lover got in on the act with a College Park T-shirt. And the timing of the DF reunion couldn’t have been better. In the same week of Donald Glover’s funny but gritty Atlanta series debuted on FX, the ATLien pride was undeniable. When the crowd jumped, they weren’t just enjoying a concert, they were celebrating over two decades of music and culture. They were honoring a city that some call a place with an identity crisis, while others recognize an influence so strong that rappers from other cities and countries attempt to emulate a Southern accent in their flows. Any doubters about Atlanta's global imprint can hush that fuss. 

__[http://www.clatl.com/music/media-gallery/20833374/photos-of-one-musicfest-2016|See a full gallery of photos from One Musicfest 2016.]__"
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ONE Musicfest’s seventh year was indeed one for the books. During the morning hours of Sept. 10, leading up to the noon opening time, attendees flocked to Lakewood Amphitheater. The much anticipated headlining performance of the entire Dungeon Family — André 3000 included — lead to a sold-out, packed-out event filled with a full day of top-notch shows from a diverse group of artists.

Earlier in the day, before the Dungeon Family’s historic reunion, fans braved the 94-degree heat to take in the afternoon’s performers.

East Coast, West Coast, and Down South artists attracted people from as far away as Canada, ONE Musicfest founder Jay Carter offered during a brief backstage chat.

First-time ONE Musicfest performer Andra Day, paused after her set to take pictures and talk about her experience. “I’m a fan of so many of the people performing today,” she said.

Anderson .Paak’s soulful funk drew a crowd to the outdoor stage. And as singer Jazmine Sullivan closed out her powerful set, Gary Clark, Jr. switched guitars at least three times to deliver his blues revivalist sound. Later, Busta Rhymes kicked off the salute to old-school hip-hop with crowd pleasers “Whoo Hah (I Got You All in Check)” and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.”

On the Zeus stage, Ice Cube took fans back to the late ’80s and early ’90s with hits from NWA and his solo albums such as “Straight Outta Compton,” “Jackin’ For Beats,” and “Check Yo Self” from the Friday soundtrack — it was a good day, indeed.

Erykah Badu returned to OMF with classics “On and On” and “Tyrone.” She even shouted out regions of the metro area like Stone Mountain and “East Purnt” — that’s East Point for the uninitiated. 

When the sun went down, OMF revelers turned up at the main stage for the stars of the show. The Dungeon Family moved the crowd with a rare performances of songs from their only collective album, Even in Darkness. Diehard fans sang along to “Follow the Light” and “Trans DF Express.”

André 3000 glided across the stage as though he were unaware of the heightened screams and applause at his presence. Organized Noize singer and producer, Sleepy Brown joined him on vocals for his metaphorically driven rhymes on “I Can’t Wait.”

Among the surprises of the night, Bonecrusher, T.I., and Killer Mike took the stage to perform “Never Scared.” Erykah Badu took the stage for “Liberation” from OutKast’s critically acclaimed album Aquemini. She and CeeLo Green stole the show with their strong vocals. DF closed the show with “Gangsta Shit” from Stankonia. 

After delivering so much in a one-day festival, it’s hard to imagine where ONE Musicfest can go next.

Unlike André’s social message jumpsuits of the 2014 OutKast tour, the Dungeon Family wore attire strictly to rep their city. CeeLo stood out in a Deion Sanders Falcons throwback jersey and guest Ed Lover got in on the act with a College Park T-shirt. And the timing of the DF reunion couldn’t have been better. In the same week of Donald Glover’s funny but gritty Atlanta series debuted on FX, the ATLien pride was undeniable. When the crowd jumped, they weren’t just enjoying a concert, they were celebrating over two decades of music and culture. They were honoring a city that some call a place with an identity crisis, while others recognize an influence so strong that rappers from other cities and countries attempt to emulate a Southern accent in their flows. Any doubters about Atlanta's global imprint can hush that fuss. 

See a full gallery of photos from One Musicfest 2016.             20833451         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/09/df_010.57d6f74a7d917.png                  Live review: One Musicfest "
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Article

Monday September 12, 2016 06:42 pm EDT
The Dungeon Family, Organized Noize and many more made Atlanta proud | more...
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