A dissertation could be written on this review. There is an obvious local bias, and the writer just does not get it. Mr. Herrington apparently is challenged to understand the structure (published performance times are not fixed, for one) and that there are a number of artists competing who could have been in the finals, but only a certain number can go. It is a matter of how the numbers fall in scoring. Many performers were probably pretty close – neck ‘n’ neck – for the stand-outs.
Demographics has no place in competitions. There are no cultural quotes having to be fulfilled - just pure talent and presence. As the saying goes: "It's not Black. It's not White. It's just the Blues." Valerie June is unique and her enjoyable performances provided a higher-pitched twist to the historical classics she presented. But Ms. June should not be in the IBC Finals on Saturday just because of her color, interests and her appreciation of the historic Blues. Advancement is based on talent and the various judges' perception of this in the performances engaged.
Kudos to Harrison Kennedy for returning with several moving sets throughout the IBC week and placing in the Finals. Having spoke with Mr. Kennedy just following his BBC interview, he was honored and humbled. Ms. June should take notes from Mr. Kennedy noting diligence can prevail. Hope to see her return to the IBC in great form for the 2012 competition. Best wishes to her and all the performing artists who gave their best.
By Richard Alley
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