Desert Messenger

June 15, 2022

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22 June 15, 2022 The couple, known as Mr. & Mrs. Country Soul, will be honored by the Fort Worth-based National Multi- cultural Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame Saturday, July 23. This year will mark the 18th annual in- duction into the hall of fame, which honors men and women committed to the preservation of the old West and the western way of life. Traveling across the nation, the couple performed with many fa- mous bands and country artists. The couple loved to visit Quartzsite each winter playing at the World Famous Main Event "back in the day." They even composed and sang a song called, "Quartzsite." Essie Morris told Desert Messenger, "We just love Quartzsite! Essie called her husband Al to the phone, and together they sang por- tions of the song "Quartzsite" to Desert Messenger Publisher. Essie said, "We were the first Black Coun- try music couple. Black people don't sing country like we do. We sing it just like we would sing it in the cotton fields." In addition to Al and Essie Mor- ris, other honorees include Danny Glover, Chris Navarro, Reginald T. Dorsey, Anthony Brubaker, Harry Belafonte and DeBoraha Akin- Townson.The museum will also induct signer Sammy Davis Jr. and actor Sir Sidney Poitier posthu- mously. Essie Morris, 87, said she and her husband, 84, enjoyed visiting Quartzsite for many winter seasons "back in the day." The duo performed nationwide known as: 'Mr. & Mrs. Country Soul" and was recognized in 1984 by The Academy of Country Music for their unique deliveries and credited with originating the sound of COUNTRY SOUL MUSIC. Essie Morris said she and her hus- band even got to perform with Willie Nelson when he had a concert at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan. "Al and I have been blessed and we have traveled all over America," Essie Morris said. "We have done more than 10,000 shows. Most of our shows have been at flea markets because that is where average, ev- eryday people are in America." A reception for the hall of fame ceremony will take start at 6 p.m. on July 23 at the Radisson Hotel in Fort Worth, 2540 Meacham Boule- vard. Those interested in attending the ceremony can call 817-534-8801 or email gaustin@cowboysofcolor. org to purchase tickets. Essie said, "We're not signing for music, we're singing for love!" COUNTRY SOUL FROM PAGE 12 PBS invites viewers to buckle up for a cross-country journey along histor- ic Route 66 in THE GREAT MUSLIM AMERICAN ROAD TRIP, premier- ing Tuesday, July 5, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, and the PBS Video app. The new three-part documentary se- ries follows a young Muslim Ameri- can couple—rapper Mona Haydar and her husband Sebastian Robins — as they explore America's "Mother Road" and its surrounding Muslim communities on a 2,500-mile drive from Chicago to Los Angeles. Portions of Episode 3: "Back on the Road Again: Arizona, Nevada, Cali- fornia" were filmed in Quartzsite, Arizona. The couple met with Matt Brennan (Mert Türkoğlu), Direc- tory of the Hi Jolly Documentary. Although they are practicing Mus- lims—Mona is Syrian American and Sebastian converted after meeting Mona — the couple, like most Ameri- cans, are unfamiliar with Islam's deeps roots in America. This road trip is an opportunity for them not only to experience the breathtaking panora- mas and iconic roadside attractions that have made Route 66 famous, but also to learn more about the history of their faith and what it means to be Muslim in America today. "PBS is excited to share Mona and Sebastian's journey along iconic Route 66, highlighting the diversity of Muslims in the United States," said Bill Gardner, Vice President of Multiplatform Programming & Head of Development at PBS. "Muslim culture has always been a PBS FROM PAGE 11 part of American history, a fact that THE GREAT MUSLIM AMERICAN ROAD TRIP explores throughout the heartland and its vibrant Mus- lim communities." Making more than a dozen stops, Mona and Sebastian meet authors, entrepreneurs, students and others, including Muhammad Ali's daugh- ter Maryam Ali in Chicago; Bosnian immigrants and restaurant owners Sulejman and Emmina Grbic in St. Louis; jazz musician Leon Rollerson in Tulsa; and award-winning actor and writer Amir Abdullah in Pasade- na. Their conversations uncover the deep roots and impact of Islam and Muslims in American history and culture. By the time they reach the West Coast, the couple have a better understanding of themselves, their relationship and the centuries-long Muslim experience in America. "Who knew that one of the first non-indigenous people to set foot in North America was a Moroccan explorer or that a Syrian camel driv- er helped survey the very road that has provided millions of American tourists their kicks on Route 66?" said Alex Kronemer, director and producer of THE GREAT MUSLIM AMERICAN ROAD TRIP. "It was an amazing and always-surprising experience to join hip-hop sensa- tion Mona Hayder and her husband Sebastian Robins as they explored both their Muslim roots and Route 66. People will never view Muslim Americans the same way again." ARIZONA PBS SCHEDULE for the 3 part documentary THE GREAT MUSLIM AMERICAN ROAD TRIP Episode 1: "Life is a Highway: Chi- cago to Joplin, Missouri" Tuesday, July 5, 09:00 pm on Ari- zona PBS HD Wednesday, July 6, 03:00 am on Arizona PBS HD Wednesday, July 6, 11:00 pm on Arizona PBS HD Saturday, July 9, 09:00 pm on World Sunday, July 10, 01:00 am on World Episode 2: "A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Tulsa to Albuquerque, New Mexico" Tuesday, July 12, 09:00 pm on Arizona PBS HD Wednesday, July 13, 03:00 am on Arizona PBS HD Wednesday, July 13, 11:00 pm on Arizona PBS HD Saturday, July 16, 09:00 pm on World Sunday, July 17, 01:00 am on World Episode 3 "Back on the Road Again: Arizona, Nevada, California" Tuesday, July 19, 09:00 pm on Arizona PBS HD Wednesday, July 20, 03:00 am on Arizona PBS HD Wednesday, July 20, 11:00 pm on Arizona PBS HD Saturday, July 23, 09:00 pm on World Sunday, July 24, 01:00 am on World ABOUT MONA & SEBASTIAN Mona Haydar and Sebastian Rob- ins first gained national and inter- national attention for their 2015 "Ask a Muslim" project—a booth offering free donuts in exchange for dialogue and questions in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino ex- tremist attacks. A few years later, the video for Mona's hip-hop an- them, "Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab)," went viral, gaining over 8 million views on YouTube, and was named one of the "20 Best Protest Songs of 2017" by Billboard. Together, the couple have been featured on NPR, CNN, The New York Times, BBC, People Magazine, BuzzFeed, Marie Claire, Glamour, Refinery 29 and many other pub- lications. Sebastian has a back- ground in education and a passion for sustainable farming. Mona has a master's degree in Christian eth- ics and is a fierce advocate for civil rights and inclusivity. For more information on THE GREAT MUSLIM AMERICAN ROAD TRIP visit

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