After suffering a violent fall on a Lower East Side sidewalk in 2018, Burnt Sugar family member Mikel Mwalimu-Banks saw a neurologist. The appointment proved a fateful turning point in his life. Mikel was diagnosed with a form of Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic disease that affects the muscles of your face, shoulders, upper arms, and lower legs. The devastating diagnosis upended what was once an active life in the arts, culture, and music industries. More egregiously, the condition devastated Mikel’s ability to generate a sustainable living from his craft. Having contributed his unique style of artistry, fashion, and overall humanity to New York’s progressive Black underground scene for more than 50 years—half a century—the community he inspired and influenced is now returning the favor.
Please join us for a fundraising event in support of Mikel & his family
as he fights Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Joe’s Pub NYC425 Lafayette Street
(at Astor Place)
Marque Gilmore’s DRUM-FM, Captain Kirk Douglas’s hundred Watt Heart and The Paradigm Shift featuring V. Jeffrey Smith, Melanie Athena, Shelley Nicole, Marcus Machado, Ben Tyree, Leon Gruenbaum and James “Biscuit” Rouse.
Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber conducted by Mikel Mwalimu-Banks
with special guests Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets, Vernon Reid, Captain Kirk Douglas, and many more.
‘Artists for Mikel Mwalimu-Banks’ is a non-profit-based fundraising initiative which allows him to afford the costly expenses of maintaining his care through FSHD, including medical care, specialized equipment and added living expenses. Donations go toward experiences that nourish Mikel’s soul, and help him move forward in strength through creative inspiration. Your contribution also helps build the Mwalimu-Banks FSHD Foundation, which will provide direct support to individuals struggling through the financial challenges of living with FSHD.
You can donate directly here: mikelspeaklife.com
Learn about Mikel’s journey with FSHD and the impact of disability in the Black community in this piece written by his wife – our sister Desiree.
Check out SPEAK LIFE
A culture, lifestyle, & music podcast for artists living with disabilities & their community allies.A talk space about disability culture in the arts, black men’s wellness, the healthcare industry, and aging rites of passage.