On Nov. 2, at the Hosanna House in Wilkinsburg, a beautiful celebration took place. The Eighth Annual Keepers of the Flame Awards Ceremony & Gala was held. The evening began with a VIP reception and silent auction, followed by the centerpiece of the evening, “Little Haiti on The Hill” featuring the Legacy Arts Dancers, poets and Kwame Azalius Ross, who is artist, musician, choreographer and Artistic Director and Founder of KAR Dance Project. As Legacy Arts’ first artist in residence, Ross brings a bevy of talent and historical knowledge to share with the Pittsburgh community through his choreography and music, and his ability to integrate his talents into a production memorializing Pittsburgh’s rich African history while incorporating music throughout the African Diaspora. Nana Malaya Rucker served as the mistress of ceremonies.
Rucker is a dancing diplomat, poet, choreographer, writer and director, and we must mention that she is the mom of actor and producer Lamman Rucker. She was charged with the welcome and libation. The performances included: Community Cause, The light on the Hill, Safe Spaces, The Market Place and Passing on the Legacy.
The conclusion of the evening was the Keepers of the Flame Awards. The awards were presented to Alice Pittrell, an artist whose interest in art began at 9 years of age. She could copy anything that was produced and sold everything she created. Pittrell has been involved with the Legacy Arts Project since its inception. Betty Lane, aka Mama Molimo Makasi or Mama Betty, was presented with the Keeper of the Flame Award as well. Her interest in African culture began in the ‘90s when she found herself interacting with a group of young men 14-16 years of age that lived in the community.