MARC BAMUTHI JOSEPH
The multihyphenate artist and national creative leader is The Kennedy Center’s first VP and artistic director of social impact.
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The bicoastal talent is prepping for the opening of the REACH expansion in September.
“A conversation with Simone Eccleston, the director of hip-hop programming at The Kennedy Center, convinced me that this [new role] was right for me. I was inspired: We are in a political moment in our history, where understanding of humanity is a point of emphasis for art. The center is an important place of leverage for that. I’m an educator who performs and administrates. They all emanate from one value system that wants to see a more inclusive, engaged world. But the question is how to show that art is a tool in cultivating creative agency? My position... isn’t just about engagement, but empowerment and answering that. For many years, the center has been a place for witness. But with the REACH, we become a place for animation of the public imagination. I appreciate the scale of the opportunity and that we traffic in the aesthetics of sublime. I love the people, the context and the stakes.” kennedy-center.org
The founder and music director of The American Pops Orchestra was recently named the newest and youngest board member of the New York Festival of Song.
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The APO’s 2018-19 season, which includes numerous productions (Here & Now: The Music of Luther Vandross, April 6; and a tribute to legend Jerry Herman, I Am What I Am, May 18), leads into the troupe’s five-year anniversary in 2020.
“Starting an orchestra is a risky move, but that’s where the greatest joys in life are—going out on a limb. I select all of the programs for the APO, the performers and artistic components. I love to create new work; APO creates every show from scratch. This is unheard of in the orchestral world. I love the energy of assembling outstanding musicians and guest artists to create something magical. I also select artists and create concepts for Nouveau Productions [I’ve served as artistic director since 2014]. I love the variety of my work and actively thinking of ways to bring new people to live musical events. And I’m always looking at ways to give back to the community. Every month, I curate a series of free concerts for senior citizens, and those are often some of my favorite performances. One of my proudest moments was presenting a 10-show tour of a recent APO children’s show to underserved schools in West Virginia and Ohio. The arts changed my life, and I want to pass that on as much as I can. [Otherwise,] I’m really looking forward to our… tribute to Jerry Herman. That’s its own reward.” theamericanpops.org
HA’SEAN “HA HA” CLINTON-DIX
The Loudoun County, Va.-based free safety finished his first season with the Washington Redskins before landing a yearlong contract with the Chicago Bears.
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As he enters his sixth season with the NFL, he also hopes to earn his master’s (he has his bachelor’s in criminal justice).
“In 2011, I graduated as the No. 1 ranked safety from Dr. Phillips High School [in Orlando, Fla.]. I attended the University of Alabama, where we won two national championships. I became a first-team college All-American, 2014 NFL draft first-round pick, 2016 Pro Bowl player and second-team NFL All-Pro team, with many more goals to reach. I am a strong advocate for doing the right thing. I want my kids and children of the future to follow the examples I’ve shown. What I find unique about my profession is the opportunity to grow and not be limited to being only an athlete. [For example,] the NFL has a program that allows players to go back to school to finish their degrees and be successful after football. [Also] up next is to complete a five-year contract as an individual, as making it to free agency is already a great achievement. I can control my future and destiny at this time, and it’s going to be a fun process. I have the chance to win a championship with a contender organization and change my family’s history with me earning a second contract as a top safety in free agency. I’m excited about this journey.” nfl.com
The New Delhi, India-born aviation industry pro and ex-airline pilot has changed course with his new Punjab Grill DC.
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Once the DC restaurant has hit its stride, he plans to expand.
“My desire to bring refined Indian cuisine to an American audience is the foundation for Punjab Grill. [I hope to] make Indian food more prevalent in the United States and bridge the culinary disconnect. I see that change happening now, and I want to play a big part in making it more accessible. The biggest business success [thus far] is tying all the loose ends together for the space, which is a complex project. Considering that the restaurant was shipped from India, getting everything together has been a huge milestone. For almost five years, Punjab Grill has been a slow build. Seeing my vision come to fruition has been a very proud moment. All of our focus is on the DC establishment during the opening phase. After that, we plan to move into aggressive expansion mode and will start focusing our energies on the next project (most likely a Punjab Grill in another city). We’ve started the ground work on future locations, but our main goal is to grow our U.S. presence. I love what I do, and it makes me happy that, in the restaurant business, I get to make others happy. Bringing joy through food is my motivation.” punjabgrilldc.com
The GM of the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC—and triathlete—now also serves as regional vice president of the brand.
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He’s leading hotels from Jackson Hole, Wyo., to Baltimore—with more to come—and the local spot through its 40th year.
“I grew up in Burgundy, France. My parents and grandparents were bakers in Roanne. My grandfather wanted me to take over—my father passed away when I was 10, and at an early age, I had to work to support the business. One day I asked to work at the restaurant across the street. My grandpa thought that by agreeing to it, I would realize being a baker was the right path. The contrary happened. ... I joined the Four Seasons 20 years ago in Dallas. Working in the family business and, subsequently, in fine-dining establishments, there was no room for cutting corners; the work had to be performed precisely. Our reputation depended on it. [My promotion] comes as the hotel celebrates being chosen as No. 1 in DC and No. 15 in the United States, and turning 40 years young. Regionally, [I’m excited to] become a more diverse businessperson. In regard to our anniversary, it is rare to have such a loyal workforce who cares about the hotel, colleagues and guests as much as they would their family. It’s challenging to spend as much time on what matters, as we tend to get pulled in many directions, especially with multiple properties. But I have to trust and keep priorities in order. It is like a well-balanced diet: You eat a bit of everything, but with moderation.” fourseasons.com/washington