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Jasmine Guy Brings Show To San Antonio Inspired By Harlem Renaissance

Calvin Evans
Jasmine Guy

Jasmine Guy has acted on several hit TV shows, but now she’s doing something different.

“Well I’m very excited to be coming to San Antonio for this show,” she said.

Guy is an actor, singer, and dancer and now she’s coming to the Carver Cultural Center for "Raisin’ Cane, what she described as "an odyssey of the Harlem Renaissance.”

That Harlem Renaissance was a short-lived but very noteworthy period for art in Harlem.

“1919 to 1929,” Guy said.

Arts were exploding, and jazz was synthesizing in the neighborhoods where much of the music she is performing at the Carver was created.

“We feature in the piece a wonderful jazz trio, the Avery Sharpe Trio" she said. "This was the period where jazz was born so we feature music by Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong.”

She so enjoyed talking about it that I had to ask, “So you having any fun?”

“I’m having a ball," she said. "I love doing this show. We have beautiful images in the background of the piece where you can actually see the art of the times, of that period.”

This entire performance is a concept piece. It looks back on the Harlem Renaissance through its music, poetry and art. Images from the period are projected behind her at times during the program.

“Most people don’t know about the Harlem Renaissance” Guy lamented.

And then I changed the subject. I told her I was a big fan of "Dead Like Me," the quirky show where she played a grim reaper disguised as a meter maid.

“I loved "Dead Like Me!" she said. "I think it’s the only time I cried when something got canceled. Loved my character. I didn’t have to wear heels!"

Guy has had hit TV shows, she’s been a producer, performer and hit singer so I asked what she has not done that she wanted to do?

“I want to be on 'Dancing With The Stars,' " she said.

You can see the star herself this Friday at the Carver Cultural Center.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii