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James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri.
He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City. He famously wrote about the period that "the negro was in vogue", which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue".
Patrick Kelly (September 24, 1954 – January 1, 1990) was an American fashion designer. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Kelly studied art at Jackson State University and then attended Parsons School of Design. While in New York Kelly Struggled to find steady employment. To support himself he had many jobs that included a part-time job at Baskin Robbins while continuing to sell his own designs. After receiving advice from his friend and super model Pat Cleveland and an anonymous one-way ticket he moved to Paris in 1979. Once there Kelly was promptly hired as a costume designer for a nightclub called Le Palace. In a small apartment which he shared with a model, he continued to sell his own creations and even homemade chicken dinners to make ends meet. While living in Atlanta at age 18 Kelly sold reworked, recycled clothes and served as an unpaid window-dresser at Yves Saint Laurent. YSL chairman Pierre Bergé personally sponsored Kelly in 1988 to form the Paris-based womenswear fashion house Patrick Kelly Paris. Kelly achieved his greatest commercial success in the late 1980s and in 1988 Kelly became both the first American and the first person of color to be admitted as a member of the Chambre Syndicale du prêt-à-porter des Couturiers et des créateurs de mode.Kelly died at age 35 on New Year's Day, 1990. Originally Kelly's causes of death were reported to be bone marrow disease and a brain tumor, but the actual cause of death is now acknowledged to be complications of AIDS.
Working from Paris, Kelly produced collections for five years, beginning in 1985 and continuing until his death in 1990. After receiving financial backing from the U.S. based fashion conglomerate Warnaco in July 1987, Kelly was able to hire a staff and eventually achieve wholesale sales of US $7.2 million per year.Kelly's designs were sold in upscale retailers including Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale's and were worn by celebrities including Isabella Rossellini, Bette Davis, Cicely Tyson and Grace Jones. Kelly's designs frequently incorporated bright colors, were often embellished with ribbons and buttons and suggested a sense of whimsy and joy while sometimes addressing difficult issues of race. This was pointed out by the giving his audience a tiny brown doll with molded black hair that could be most accurately described as a "pickaninny". Kelly also used motifs such as watermelon and the golliwog. He was known to walk the runway in baggy overalls and used a large spray paint heart as the background to his fashion shows.
Kelly was described as an extremely hard working individual and gained a reputation for demanding his staff match is work ethic. He was also an advocate for models of color and often made a point to include them in his work.
In 2004, The Brooklyn Museum presented Patrick Kelly: A Retrospective, a show featuring more than sixty Kelly designs.In 2014, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presented the exhibition Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love.
Jean-Michel Basquiat Basquiat first achieved fame as part of SAMO©, an informal graffiti duo who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s where the hip hop, post-punk, and street art movements had coalesced. By the 1980s, he was exhibiting his neo-expressionist paintings in galleries and museums internationally. The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of his art in 1992.
Basquiat's art focused on "suggestive dichotomies", such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting, and married text and image, abstraction, figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.
Basquiat used social commentary in his paintings as a "springboard to deeper truths about the individual", as well as attacks on power structures and systems of racism, while his poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle. He died of a heroin overdose at his art studio at age 27.
On May 18, 2017, at a Sotheby's auction, Basquiat's 1982 painting, also Untitled, created with oil stick and spray paint and depicting a skull, set a new record high for any U.S. artist at auction, selling for $110,500,000.
Patrik-Ian Polk (b. July 29, 1973, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, singer, and actor. Polk, who is openly gay, is noted for his films and theater work that explore the African-American LGBT experience and relationships.
Polk made his feature film directorial debut with Punks, an independent feature that he also wrote and produced. Often described as a male Waiting to Exhale, Punks had its world premiere in January 2000 at the Sundance Film Festival. The film won several awards at festivals around the world and was released theatrically in November 2001. He also directed the film Blackbird in 2014.
Polk is also the creator of the television series Noah's Arc, which made its debut on the Logo television network in October 2005.