Monday Open Thread | Black Child Prodigies Week | Andrew Koonce

Today’s featured prodigy is Andrew Koonce.


Andrew Koonce, 15, is a talented African-American violinist from Atlanta. His list of awards and titles are impressive. As an eighth grader, he ranked first place at the Heritage Music Festival in Florida, winning the Maestro Award for best solo.

Young Prodigy Andrew Koonce Reminds Us to Follow Our Dreams

Andrew Koonce is an extremely talented African-American violinist based in Georgia. He is well on his way to becoming a world-recognized name in concert halls. Along with winning numerous awards and competitions, he has held some of the highest positions in well-respected youth orchestras in Atlanta.

While other kids might be idolizing rappers or pop stars, Andrew is taking violin lessons and honing his craft as a virtuosic violinist capable of keeping up with a professional musician twice his age. He’s an inspiration to children and teens, showing them what happens when you get involved with something and stay committed to it.

His list of awards and titles is very impressive for his young age. As an 8th grader, he ranked first place at the Heritage Music Festival in Florida, winning the Maestro Award for best solo.

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38 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Black Child Prodigies Week | Andrew Koonce

  1. rikyrah says:

    ForUS50 @FORUS50
    How Stuart Scott Paved the Way for a New Kind of Black Voice in Sports Media … via @slate
    7:29 PM – 5 Jan 2015

  2. rikyrah says:

    Stuart Scott’s Courage

    Published on Jan 5, 2015
    Stuart Scott’s courage came to the fore long before illness did. Keith tells stories about someone he admired as much as anybody he’s worked with in sports.

  3. rikyrah says:

    TomJoyner Foundation @TomJoynerFound
    The 1/16 Deadline For TJF’s Full Ride Scholarship Is Quickly Approaching! Have A High School Senior You Know Apply
    Retweeted by PragmaticObotsUnite

  4. rikyrah says: ✔ @UPI
    Marion Barry’s son has announced his intentions to run for his late father’s D.C. council seat.

  5. rikyrah says:

    PragmaticObotsUnite @PragObots
    .@VibeMagazine Jay-Z has a very simplistic view and erroneous view of the state of race relations in the U.S..

  6. rikyrah says:

    End of Sleepy Hollow…



  7. rikyrah says:

    Jude™ @TheEntropicMan
    Son Allegedly Killed Millionaire Hedge Fund Father Over Cut To Allowance

    • rikyrah says:

      He was 70. Killed by son because of ‘cut to allowance’. Let’s say Pops waited until 40 to father the kid…the kid has to be at least 30…..30 and mad about allowance being cut….

      uh huh

      uh huh

  8. rikyrah says:

    Chuck D ✔ @MrChuckD
    Deep down I sense a underlying vibe of disliking the Mayor of NYC because of who he’s married to from various sides all at once

  9. vitaminlover says:

    I so love intelligence especially when it is displayed in young people. This young Mr. Koonce just oozes intelligence, discipline and class

  10. rikyrah says:

    @donnabrazile: Selma Director on LBJ Criticism: ‘I Wasn’t Interested in Making a White-Savior Movie’ #Selma

  11. rikyrah says:

    The state of the GOP’s minority outreach efforts
    01/05/15 11:05 AM—UPDATED 01/05/15 11:23 AM
    By Steve Benen
    A week ago today, there was a narrow window in which House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) looked like he was in real trouble. The Louisiana Republican confirmed that he’d spoken at a white-supremacist event in 2002 and it seemed like the sort of controversy that might force Scalise from his leadership post.

    It didn’t. The Majority Whip and his allies scrambled to keep a lid on the controversy, and less than 24 hours later, the House Republican leadership rallied behind Scalise. At this point, literally zero GOP lawmakers in either chamber have called for the far-right Louisianan to step down, and when members elect their leadership team for the new Congress tomorrow, Scalise will not have an intra-party rival.

    Over the weekend, we were reminded of the party’s eagerness to simply move on.
    Rep-elect Mia Love, the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, stood by Scalise and his leadership role after he apologized for giving a speech at a white supremacist conference in 2002. […]

    “I can say, as far as I’m concerned, with Rep. Scalise, he has been absolutely wonderful to work with. He’s been very helpful for me and he has had the support of his colleagues,” Love said. “I believe he should remain in leadership,” Love added.
    On “Meet the Press,” Republican Sen. John Barrasso, a member of the Senate GOP leadership team, added, “I’ve just gotten back from Wyoming [and] this has not come up as a discussion in Wyoming.”

    I’m curious, though, about what happens now. I don’t mean Scalise’s future, which has apparently been decided in his favor by his GOP allies, but it’s hard not to wonder about the fate of the Republican Party’s minority outreach efforts

    • eliihass says:

      “I can say, as far as I’m concerned, with Rep. Scalise, he has been absolutely wonderful to work with. He’s been very helpful for me…”

      That’s right. Scalise has been “helpful for” Mia Love, and that’s just about all that’s important and really matters – and all anybody ever needs to know.

  12. rikyrah says:

    McConnell has a confrontational course in mind
    01/05/15 09:20 AM
    By Steve Benen
    The Wall Street Journal reported the other day that the Republican-led Congress plans to quickly take up “legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” which President Obama is likely to reject.

    “Such a move could antagonize Republicans,” the newspaper noted.

    It’s always fascinating to see the ways in which political observers accept certain premises. In this case, Republicans aren’t “antagonizing” the president by pushing a dubious policy they know he doesn’t like; rather, it’s the White House antagonizing Republicans by rejecting their bad idea.

    And looking ahead, we can apparently expect quite a few antagonizing moves from GOP lawmakers.
    Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid out Sunday his conservative priority agenda for 2015, and warned that President Obama might not like what’s coming down the pike.

    “We’ll be voting on things I know he’s not going to like,” McConnell said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” … McConnell said the new Republican-controlled Congress, which convenes Tuesday, will kick off the year with more attempts to repeal what he called Obama’s “terrible piece of legislation,” the Affordable Care Act.

    To borrow a phrase, such a move could antagonize the White House.

    • Ametia says:

      no surprises here. SSDD=Same shit, different day from McTurtle.

      • eliihass says:

        We never expected McConnell to suddenly become a man of honor and integrity, or to place the good of the country before his political survival. Many had hoped, but the leopard never changes its spots, and not when he thinks he’s riding high.

  13. rikyrah says:

    ‘Beyond The Lights’ Director’s Cut Coming to Blu-ray Feb. 24

    By Sergio | Shadow and Act
    January 2, 2015 at 12:05PM

    Though it may not have been the box office hit that was hoped for, Gina Prince- Bythewood’s romantic drama musical, “Beyond the Lights,” starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Danny Glover and Minnie Driver, was pretty much loved by those who saw it, when it was released in November

    Now, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the film on blu-ray on February 24th, and it will include a special director’s cut of the film. Though no details were given, one has to assume that it will be a longer version of the film, with additional scenes, and perhaps, some alternative takes of certain scenes.

    The blu-ray will also include other features, such as, audio commentary by Ms. Prince-Bythewood, with cinematographer Tami Reiker and editor Terilyn Shropshire, deleted scenes, a “Masterpiece” music video, a “Changing the Conversation” feature, as well as “Escape to Mexico 2.1,” and “Gary Theard: Boom Man” featurettes.

  14. rikyrah says:

    This Week in God, 1.3.15
    01/03/15 08:42 AM
    By Steve Benen
    First up from the God Machine this week is the increasing relevance of Pope Francis on domestic politics.

    The conservative Washington Times reported this week, for example, “President Obama increasingly is finding a key policy ally in the Vatican, with Pope Francis standing virtually shoulder to shoulder with the White House on” several key issues.

    The Hill added the same day that the pope “is increasingly driving a wedge between conservatives and the Catholic Church.”
    The magnetic pope has sparked new enthusiasm around the world for the church and has flexed his political muscles internationally, most recently by helping to engineer a new relationship between the United States and Cuba.

    But Francis’s agenda, which also includes calls to address income inequality and limit climate change, is putting him at odds with Republicans, including GOP Catholics in the United States.

    This dynamic is likely to intensify fairly soon – Francis is reportedly investing considerable time, energy, and focus in 2015 to urging Catholics around the globe to combat climate change, an environmental crisis that many American Republicans continue to argue does not exist.

    Sister Simone Campbell, perhaps best known for organizing the “Nuns on a Bus” tours, told The Hill, “Pope Francis’s message and tone are making Catholic Republicans a little uncomfortable. He’s stirring the concern on issues like poverty and the economy.”

    • eliihass says:

      “Pope Francis’s message and tone are making Catholic Republicans a little uncomfortable. He’s stirring the concern on issues like poverty and the economy.”
      Tells you a lot about the core and heart of these folks. No good.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Weekend B.O. Jan. 1-4 and the ‘Selma’ Non-Controversy

    By Sergio | Shadow and Act
    January 4, 2015 at 12:19PM

    Of course the film that we’re most interested in, at least on this site, is Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” and how it did this weekend – especially given the controversy it’s attracted over the accuracy of the film.

    In case you haven’t heard, it all started when Joseph Calfano Jr., who worked as a domestic policy aide in the Oval Office for President Johnson during the 1960’s, called out the film in an op-ed piece for The Washington Post, saying that it totally distorted Johnson’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, even going as far to say that the Selma march was actually Johnson’s idea, and that “the movie should be ruled out this Christmas and during the ensuing awards season.”

    Guess he’s pretty sore, huh? And he was followed by a few other people, including even Julian Bond, who said that the film painted an inaccurate portrayal of Johnson.

    Needless to say, many have answered those critics, including, of course, DuVernay herself, reminding them that Johnson was in fact no saint, and a very complicated man. In fact, he was a man who held strong racist beliefs and who, yet, somehow did the right thing, albeit somewhat reluctantly.

    As Larry Schwartz in a recent article on Raw Story last week said about LBJ: “Anyone who has read anything about the life of Lyndon Baines Johnson knows what a complicated and contradictory man he was. On the one hand, modern black America can look at LBJ as a partner in the long and ongoing struggle for civil rights in the United States. It was LBJ who pushed through the civil rights bills in 1957, 1964 and 1965 that finally gave African Americans the same rights (at least on paper) as white America. On the other hand, there can be no question that Johnson was a racist who looked down on people of color as inferior. In the 1940s, he referred to Asians as “hordes of barbaric yellow dwarves… During his congressional career, he was mostly a reliable part of the Southern bloc of politicians who thwarted civil rights bills at every turn. As president, when he appointed Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court over a lesser-known black judge, LBJ explained in private, “When I appoint a nigger to the bench, I want everybody to know he’s a nigger.” He even referred to his own Civil Rights bill as the “nigger bill.” Still, Johnson had enough self-awareness to say, about the struggle for civil rights, “It is not just Negroes but all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry.” There is little doubt he included (or should have) himself in that statement.”

    Of course you should realize that all the criticism is really about something else. As Anne Thompson said in a piece for her Indiewire blog, Thompson on Hollywood (HERE), what’s really going on here is a secret underhanded campaign by rival studios to lessen Selma’s chances of getting Oscars nominations. It’s a tactic that sometimes works, as in the case of “The Hurricane” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” and in other times, doesn’t, as was the case in “A Beautiful Mind.”

    Of course, just as importantly, it really disturbs some white people (and Julian Bond as well) to have a film where black people are the decision makers of their destinies, and not waiting for some benevolent white savior to help guide them out of the wilderness, to freedom.

    This leads to the question: will the controversy hurt “Selma”? Not in the least. “Argo” was about as fictionalized as any film I’ve seen about a real historical event (see its “by-the-skin-of-their-teeth-last-minute-escape-from-the-airport” sequence which NEVER happened in real life, to start). And, by the way, did you hear one single person criticize that film about its historical inaccuracies? Of course not; and it went on to win the Best picture Oscar. So don’t be fooled by this so-called controversy. It’s a game.

    But let’s get back to what I was going to say in the first place – just how did “Selma” do this weekend? Very well, in fact. The film was up almost 13% from last week, now playing in 22 theaters across the country, with the third largest per screen average of $29,300, for a holiday weekend take of $645,000, and a total of $2.1 million to date.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Race and Voting Rights in Ferguson
    January 4, 2015

    For most people, Ferguson, Mo., will be remembered for one awful August afternoon, when a white police officer there shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

    But that incident was only a snapshot in the town’s long and complicated racial history — a history characterized by entrenched segregation and economic inequality, as well as by familiar and systemic obstacles that have kept black residents from holding positions of political power.

    Ferguson’s population is two-thirds African-American, and yet its mayor, city manager and five of its six City Council members are white. So are its police chief and all but three officers on its 53-member police force.

    The school board for the Ferguson-Florissant School District is much the same: More than three-quarters of the district’s 12,000 students are black, but the seven-member board includes only one African-American.

    Last month the American Civil Liberties Union sued the school board under the Voting Rights Act, arguing that the way its members are elected blocks minority voters from fully participating in the political process.

    The method is known as “at large” voting, and lets voters cast ballots for all candidates in the district, regardless of where the voters live. Since the district’s voting-age population is 50 percent white and 47 percent black, and since both groups there tend to vote along strict racial lines, the white voters’ candidates almost always win.

  17. rikyrah says:

    For those of you who, like me, need a laugh this morning, I point you to Luvvie:

    The 25 Dumbest Tweets of 2014

    Luvvie — December 31, 2014

    When I did the first ever “Dumbest Tweets” list in 2010, it was with Miss Zindzi, the Matron Saint of Catching Twitter Foolery. That list started something ( so it’s only right that she come back to help do the 5th list.

  18. rikyrah says:

    This week’s topic should be informative and educational.

    To be young, gifted and Black…

  19. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  20. Ametia says:

    Happy Monday, Everyone! :-)

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      Love your theme for this week. Looking forward to every prodigy post :)

      Enjoyed Andrew Koonce’s stellar performance!

      • Ametia says:

        thanks, yahtzee. This week’s post will feature some stellar young folks. We know they’re out there succeeding and we’re bringing it!

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