Bay Area Artists to Perform at the Tenth Anniversary Commemoration of LOVE SEPARATED IN LIFE…LOVE REUNITED IN HONOR

The event will take place on March 9, 2024.

By: Feb. 25, 2024
Bay Area Artists to Perform at the Tenth Anniversary Commemoration of LOVE SEPARATED IN LIFE…LOVE REUNITED IN HONOR
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President John F. Kennedy was not an artist but rather a champion of the arts, states the Kennedy Center website. “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him,” President Kennedy said in 1961. “We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”

The truth is John F. Kennedy gave the order in February 1963 for Jacksonville, Florida native, Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. to deploy to Vietnam as an “Advisor” along with The 114th Aviation Company out of Fort Knox, Kentucky.  In November 1963, Sp5 Wright's Commander in Chief was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  On March 9, 1964, less than 120 days after President Kennedy's death, Sp5 Wright followed his leader in death along with fellow fallen hero PFC John Francis Shea of Willimantic, Connecticut in a helicopter crash in Vietnam's Mekong Delta River serving the United States of America and ‘The Cause of Freedom' in Vietnam as an Honor Guard for Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara.

The healing power of the arts which “is a form of truth” as President Kennedy said six decades ago, is being employed for the Tenth Anniversary Commemoration of “Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor.”   What is “Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor”?

In 2014 as the nation celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement and Arlington National Cemetery it's 150th Anniversary, The four children of Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. had their parents Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. and Ouida Fay Wright, exhumed and reburied at Arlington National Cemetery after finding out their father a decorated Vietnam War Hero had been buried for 50 years in a segregated cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.  The Wright siblings righted a wrong against Sp5 Wright who died in a foreign country for democracy and justice for others yet was denied the honor due his sacrifice. 

Now sixty years later since the March 1964 burial of Sp5 Wright in a segregated cemetery, three artists who are professional singers will be on the program of the Tenth Anniversary Commemoration of “Love Separated in Life….Love Reunited in Honor”:  San Francisco Opera Singer Hope Briggs; R&B and classically trained singer, Lawrence Beamen, and Atlanta's “Songbird of the South” Sylvia Camille, a singer, actress and host. 

Through their talent the artists will reinforce “Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor” themes of love, family, racial reconciliation, and resilience to overcome even death and time in order to correct the injustice of racial discrimination that can follow one into death.

Hope Briggs: as a critically acclaimed Verdi soprano is known for the depth and beauty of her voluptuous voice. Ms. Briggs is hailed as “an artist of vocal sensitivity, theatrical wisdom, and integrity.” Her commanding stage presence and moving interpretations have brought her to great success singing the title role in Aida with Nevada Opera, Sacramento Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera and Leonora in Il Trovatore with El Paso Opera, Opera Roanoke and Festival Opera of Walnut Creek as well as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera with Festival Opera of Walnut Creek.

Lawrence Beamen 's musical career took off at the age of 16 when he was invited to sing for Rosa Parks. He captivates audiences not only with his rich baritone voice, but also in his humbly charismatic demeanor and strong physical presence. His music has been compared to such icons as Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Paul Robeson, Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass. He integrates his classically trained vocals with a versatile range of musical abilities that maintain a familiar soulful richness with spiritual undertones and values.

Every song that Beamon sings is a devotion of the heart, striving to inspire the hearts of listeners. Whether it is Christian, Classical, Adult Contemporary, R&B, or Negro Spiritual, the through line is felt with soulful intention. Through song, Beamon bring back the depth of Barry White, the soul of Mahalia Jackson, and the honesty and rhythm of Bill Withers, because music is the power!” Prior to his commemoration performance, Lawrence Beamen's TEDX Talk, “Reclaiming the Power of I,” notes the history behind the iconic civil rights song, “We Shall Overcome, March 2, 2024 -Click Here for Details.

Sylvia Camille, an original Georgia Peach is a singer, actress and host. Sylvia Camille has many memorable accomplishments in the music sector: Third Place Vocalist at the Adult Vocal Competition in Columbus, Georgia '00, Best Vocalist '07 in a Theatrical Play (The Journey), the April “Just Keep It Clean” Talent Competition 2009, Runner Up to the Canton Jones “Just Keep It Clean” finals, and being named the 2010 Atlanta Gospel Fest American Idol Winner.  Her contributions to acting include The Wedding (Lead), Before Black Lives Matter, When Love Calls Your Name (Lead), The Corner, 16th Street Baptist Church, #myAlabama, The Journey, The Mercy Seed, The Right Praise, A Song for Adaeze, and The Present Day Ruth (Lead). Sylvia Camille is the niece of Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. and Ouida Fay Wright, the sister of her late father U.S. Army Veteran Alex Zack McLendon. It's often said of Sylvia Camille that she has the "resemblance and beauty of her Aunt Fay."

“Having worked with Jackie Wright in South Africa, New Orleans and other U.S. cities over recent years for projects using the arts to help people such as the victims of Hurricanes Iota and Eta, that's how we first met over the Internet, she and the Wright Family understand the significance of incorporating the arts to bring healing and to improve our lives,” said Damon Batiste, of  the Batistes, NOLA's Royal Family of Music and founder of NOSACONN (New Orleans South Africa Connection) Inc. “I commend Hope Briggs, Lawrence Beamen and Sylvia Camille for bringing their artistry to speak ‘truth' as President Kennedy said.   I will also take this opportunity to thank Jackie for all the support shown to Batiste Family in New Orleans and across USA and the African Diaspora including helping our family heal as we just recently lost a genius musician, my brother Russell Batiste, added Damon Batiste.

“Utilizing the arts to assuage trauma was a definite motivator for Jackie Wright, a publicist for the San Francisco Black Film Festival and Oakland International Film Festival, when I first met the former Red Cross employee and asked her to join the recovery efforts for the survivors of Hurricane Iota and Eta,” said Charles D. Sharp, Chief Executive Officer of Black Emergency Managers Association (BEMA) in Washington, D.C.  “I'd like to congratulate the Wright Family for inspiring us all to use the power of the arts to help us make it through the tough times.”    

Purpose of “Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor 10th Anniversary Commemoration:”

The “Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor” commemoration is more than just a family recognition as the Wright family gives a glimpse of the suffering of millions of U.S. families that have sacrificed for freedom over and over again in U.S. history.  To honor one is to respect all as in the case of John Francis Shea of Willimantic, Connecticut, who died in the helicopter crash with Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. on March 9, 1964, serving the United States of America as Honor Guards for then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara.

The experience of reburying their parents introduced the Wright siblings to others impacted by the Vietnam War, Mrs. Ginger Shannon Young of Lynchburg, Virginia, the widow of 1st Lieutenant Kenneth A. Shannon, who died piloting an under-fire helicopter on March 15, 1964, six days after Wright's death, and George Moll of Houston, Texas, who was 19 years old as a gunner in Vietnam whom Sp5 Wright mentored.  Both attended the “Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor” reburial of Sp5 Wyley Wright and Ouida Fay Wright, March 10,  2014, the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights movement and 150th Anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery.

The upcoming commemoration will be in tribute to Sp5 Wyley Wright and Ouida Fay Wright's eldest son, U.S. Army Veteran Joe N. Wright, who served in Korea, where his father faced his first war, The Korean War after he volunteered to serve at the age of sixteen.  Joe N. Wright, who founded the “Street Disciples” in Columbus, Georgia and with his younger brother Stanley Wright, the very popular community event, “Home Boys and Home Girls Reunion.”

The public is welcome to attend the ceremonies.

Visit www.lovereunited.org for more information. 




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