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In Nashville, preserving a Black neighborhood’s music legacy

In Nashville, preserving a Black neighborhood’s music legacy

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In Nashville, preserving a Black neighborhood's music legacy

 Country music capital Nashville was once also a hotbed of blues, rock and jazz, thanks to a historically Black neighborhood that brought then-budding greats like Jimi Hendrix to town.

But Jefferson Street’s vibrant community and its robust club scene faced mid-20th century decimation after the construction of an interstate highway slashed it in two, a classic tale of ruinous urban planning that all but extinguished the area’s rich musical legacy.

Lorenzo Washington, a lifelong Nashville resident who grew up in the area, has been vying to keep that history alive, operating a small museum out of his home that’s chock-full of music ephemera as well as records and maps exhibiting the district’s long-lost vitality.

“We had it all. We had banks, we had grocery stores, clothing stores, flower shops, ice cream parlors — just whatever you would need to survive as a community was right here on Jefferson Street,” the 81-year-old told AFP.

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He recalls a strip lined in revelers spilling out from supper clubs, speakeasies, dance halls, dives and pool rooms, a string of venues where on any given night you might catch stars from Hendrix to Etta James, Ray Charles to BB King.

“Everybody had fun on Jefferson Street,” Washington said with a wide smile, sporting a sharp blue suit jacket and felt hat. “That’s just the atmosphere that we had built.”

For decades Jefferson Street was a hotspot on the Chitlin’ Circuit, a network of venues where Black entertainers were welcome to perform in the era of racial segregation in the United States.

Hendrix arrived in the early 1960s, nabbing a residency at the Club Del Morocco and living in a Jefferson Street walk-up.

But the 1968 construction of Interstate 40, a major east-west thoroughfare, cut directly through the neighborhood, displacing more than a thousand Black residents and destroying the cultural and business district, triggering a severe economic decline.

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The clubs shuttered and all but one, Club Baron, was demolished.

Artists gravitated elsewhere — Memphis or Chicago, for example — and “the blues left Nashville,” said Washington.

“That was tragic to the city when we lost Black music,” he continued, saying the city was focused on its country scene and paid little attention to Jefferson Street.

“It was tragic to see our musical culture being split up like it was, the different artists and musicians just sort of scattered,” Washington said. “They went to wherever they could find work, or a record label, that would record them.”

“So it all left Nashville, and it was heartbreaking.”

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‘My part of town’

Washington is not a musician himself, but he did own a record shop throughout the 1970s and grew up surrounded by artists, his friends including Jefferson Street fixtures like Herbert Hunter and Marion James.

He moved back to the neighborhood in 2010, inspired by a newspaper article he’d seen in which a councilman friend of his said the only way to revitalize Jefferson Street was for Black folks to return and open businesses again.

“I need to move back to Jefferson Street — to my part of town,” Washington recalls thinking.

“And so that’s what I did.”

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Friends of his including the late James — Nashville’s “Queen of the Blues” — encouraged him to open the museum in a bid to “do more about keeping our legacy going.”

“They said you could be the curator. And I said, ‘The curator? Now what does a curator do?’” he remembers with an infectious chuckle. Well over a decade later, he says, “I’m still here on Jefferson Street representing the artists and musicians.”

Along with the museum, which officially opened in 2011, Washington operates a recording studio out of his home, along with a small performance space.

Washington was integral to ensuring the Club Baron — where then up-and-comer Hendrix lost a famous guitar duel to Nashville bluesman Johnny Jones — would get protection via designation as a local historic landmark.

The building now is owned by the local Elks Club, a fraternal order, and efforts are underway to begin hosting shows there once more.

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Today’s Nashville is “an aggressive city” compared to the city Washington knew growing up, he said, where high rollers call the shots.

“It’s sort of sad to see that all of this isn’t existing now,” Washington says, as he points out all the old haunts on a lot map hanging in his museum.

“My intention was to… encourage other businesses to move back to Jefferson Street, so we could pick up sort of where we left off at.”

“This little place has gotten attention,” Washington said. “There’s not a lot that’s going on publicly in this city that represents the Black community, and that’s what we’re representing.” “It’s not huge, but I can see growth.” 

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Virat Kohli’s restaurant set to open in Hyderabad

Virat Kohli’s restaurant set to open in Hyderabad

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Virat Kohli's restaurant set to open in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, known for its rich culinary heritage, is all set to welcome a new celebrity-owned restaurant.

We are speaking about the launch of One 8 Commune, an eatery owned by none other than cricket icon Virat Kohli.

After winning hearts in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, One 8 Commune is set to open its doors in Hyderabad.

The excitement is palpable among Virat Kohli’s fans as One 8 Commune prepares to make its mark in Hyderabad’s bustling Hi-Tech City area.

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Located at RMZ The Loft, Knowledge City, the restaurant is poised to become a go-to spot for both tech professionals and families looking for a dining experience that combines style and comfort.

The anticipation has been building ever since the official Instagram page of One 8 Commune teased Hyderabadi foodies with a post captioned, “Hyderabad – Are you ready? Opening soon in the heart of HiTec City.

Get ready to level up your communing experience.”

The restaurant is now taking reservations for the 24th of May and onwards, signaling the start of a new chapter in Hyderabad’s dining scene.

Launched in 2017, One 8 Commune has quickly become a favorite among food enthusiasts, known for its comfortable and authentic ambiance.

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Sania seems happy as she shares nameplate for her house with son Izhaan

Sania seems happy as she shares nameplate for her house with son Izhaan

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Sania seems happy as she shares nameplate for her house with son Izhaan

Sania Mirza is currently enjoying a peaceful life with her son Izhaan Mirza Malik who is said to be affected by his parents’ divorce. 

A while ago, she gave a peek into her happy life with her little boy and her best friends.

Amid a busy work schedule, Sania Mirza is making sure to spend some time with her son Izhaan and unwind with her besties too.

She shared a photo gallery consisting of all the wonderful memories she made in the past days.

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The photo dump opened with a nameplate with her and her son’s name on it.

She also dropped multiple selfies of herself and Izhaan. In one picture, there’s a coffee cup that reads, ‘Choose to be happy’ while another says, ‘Fueled by caffeine and sarcasm.’

Soon after, her friend and actress Sagarika Ghatge Khan went to the comments section and showered red hearts on those wholesome images.

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Ranbir Kapoor’s film ‘Ramayan’ halted over copyright issue

Ranbir Kapoor’s film ‘Ramayan’ halted over copyright issue

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Ranbir Kapoor's film 'Ramayan' halted over copyright issue

 It has been rumoured that Ramayan has been halted.

The film stars Ranbir Kapoor as the lead character of Ram.

According to reports, allegations of copyright infringement have led to the pausing of the shooting schedule.

Producer Madhu Mantena was apparently part of the original production team.

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Although he backed out of the film, Madhu has reportedly requested the crew to halt production until a few copyright issues are sorted.

A source stated: “Filming continued for a few days after the notice, but has been on hold since last week.

“The legalities need to be sorted out and filming will only resume after a consensus is reached on the matter.”

In May 2024, it was also reported that producers intended to increase security on the film’s set.

Ramayan is set to be directed by Nitesh Tiwari, and will also star Lara Dutta, Arun Govil, and Sunny Deol.

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In April 2024, it was announced that Yash was signed as a co-producer for the ambitious project.
Delving into his involvement, he said: “As a third-generation filmmaker who has spent the last thirty years building a garage start-up into the world’s largest and most celebrated company in its field, I feel that all of my experience has been leading to this moment.

“Our interpretation will be told without compromise and presented in such a way that Indian hearts will swell with pride to see their culture brought to the rest of the world in this way.

“We are assembling the very best global talent – from our filmmakers, to our stars, to our crews, to our backers and investors – to tell this epic story with the care, attention, and conviction that it deserves.

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