LBP in the News

Little Black Pearl is renowned for our world-class and trailblazing programming. We are committed to our mission to create opportunities for youth and adults to deepen their creative involvement through the arts, cultivate their entrepreneurial skills and use the arts as a means for economic empowerment and community transformation.  Little Black Pearl is proud to share with our supporters how our programming is making a difference in the lives of those we affect. We invite you to stay informed on the work we are doing and the growth of our organization. 


LBP & Ravinia

Little Black Pearl is pleased to announce our newest partner! Ravinia, North America's oldest music festival, stands today as its most musically diverse, presenting over 140 different events throughout the summer. These concerts run the gamut from Yo-Yo Ma to John Legend to the annual summer residency of the nation's finest orchestra, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Art & music transcend cultural differences!  Little Black Pearl uses music and art to teach our students that we live in a global society.  Ravinia has reached out to Little Black Pearl as a valued partner to embrace our community in a more intimate way.  We are excited that Ravinia understands the importance of exposing our students to world music as well as classical performers and performances.  We look forward to many opportunities to invite our students, families, and the community at large to join us as we all enjoy the wonderful performances at Ravinia and are even more excited about bringing Ravinia to the community! 

The 36-acre park is nestled in a gently wooded area that makes it an enchanting place to experience music. Guests can bring their own picnics or eat at one of the park restaurants. Children up to age 15, high school and college students are admitted free to the lawn for classical performances.

Art Masterclass and Book Signing

Former Southside Chicago resident, Craig "Rex" Perry ( returned to Chicago during the first week in May to promote the first book in his new children's series, The Soul of Harmony, during Children's Book Week, May 1-7, 2017.

The Soul of Harmony was inspired by the life of Robert Johnson, a 1920s blues singer and guitarist who is considered one of the greatest blues performers of all time. His songs, including hits "Sweet Home Chicago", "Hellhound on My Trail", and, "Crossroad Blues" have been recorded by Muddy Waters, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. Johnson died unexpectedly at the age of 27. He claims to have taken his guitar to a crossroads and made a 'deal with the devil' for his musical gifts.

The Soul of Harmony, a three book series published by Cedar Grove Publishing (, is an action-adventure, good versus evil plot that hinges on the love of family and redemption. The first book is entitled The Soul of Harmony: The Promise.

Craig "Rex" Perry conducted a masterclass for LBP art students on May 4th and conducedt a book signing on Friday, May 5th at Little Black Pearl from 6:30pm - 9pm.

Israeli Star Jams With LBP Students

A Tuesday lesson with Israeli music icon Idan Raichel at the Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center quickly devolved into an all out jam session and then a rehearsal.

The center, 1060 E. 47th St., invited Raichel while on a Chicago stop of his tour to come in to talk to kids in a music production class Tuesday about his work as a producer that’s given him a chance to duet with Alicia Keys and play a private concert for former President Barack Obama.

“The most important thing in art — it doesn’t matter if it’s cool — is to be brave and make mistakes,” Raichel said.

He played a song that he wrote with an Ethiopian monk to illustrate the power of collaboration in music. He then started to explain some common scales used in Israeli music and that’s when things skittered off into an entirely different direction.


National Day of Racial Healing

CARLSBAD, CA – With racial divisiveness rising in America’s urban, rural and suburban communities, today the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), together with more than 130 organizations committed to the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) enterprise, called for a National Day of Healing on January 17, 2017. On that day, activities by community, civic, government and corporate leaders will spur efforts to heal the wounds created by racial, ethnic and religious bias and build an equitable and just society so that all children can thrive.

Little Black Pearl is honored to partner with W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) enterprise in calling for healing within and across our community.  On January 17, 2017 Little Black Pearl will participate in the National Day of Healing by having our dance students collaborate with dancer Yossi Chaikin, who is currently starring in the Chicago run of Hamilton, to create an interpretive dance to commemorate the day.  Our talented students are excited to have an opportunity to learn from this acclaimed Julliard trained professional! 

Located in the evolving Kenwood and Bronzeville area for more than 20 years Little Black Pearl has seen the effect racial divide, defamation, and degradation have on our youth and our community.  Through our Little Black Pearl Academy (LBPA) we provide a unique academic environment for students’ in 9th – 12th grade.  Our dedicated faculty and staff engage and educate our youth to be the change they wish to see.  Little Black Pearl is developing our future leaders by appealing to and leveraging their interest in the creative arts and critical thinking. 

Little Black Pearl is pleased to share this video featuring a song written and performed by an esteemed member of our Board of Directors, Ms. Lizz Wright.  Join in using our voices and social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) to stand up for healing across our community and our country.  Don’t forget to use the hashtags #TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation), #TheDayToHeal, and #DayOfRacialHealing so everyone can find it.

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The White House
White House Highlights Monica Haslip as National
Forum on Youth Violence Prevention “Champion of Change”

WASHINGTON, DC - Tomorrow, Wednesday April 4th, the White House will honor Monica Haslip as one of twelve leaders recognized for their work to prevent youth violence within their communities as part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (the Forum). Launched at the direction of President Obama in 2010, the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is a network of communities and federal agencies working together to share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Ms. Haslip along with the Forum’s Chicago team, reported on their progress at a national summit yesterday in Washington, D.C.

“I’m proud leaders like these have found new and innovative ways to prevent youth violence,” said Director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson. “If we’re going to combat violence and keep our kids safe, then we need to ensure we dedicate time and manpower to the issue. These leaders have done just that, and this is what makes them true champions for their communities and our country.”

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

To learn more about our Champions go to


O Magazine
Helping Kids Paint a Brighter Future on the South Side

Chicago, Illinois, January 1, 2012 – Community arts entrepreneur Monica Haslip is the featured local hero in O Magazine for her labor of love, Little Black Pearl (LBP). Located on the South Side of Chicago, LBP has been impacting the lives of young people and their families for 17 years with fine arts and a little TLC.

“I began art workshops in my basement for neighborhood children because I wanted them to see people who look like them, making living as artists,” says Haslip, Founder and Executive Director. That vision has come full circle with the opening of Options Laboratory School in fall 2011 which is housed in the gorgeous Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center. The curriculum is integrated with arts and technology as well as the core classes we expect in high school. However, Haslip will tell you that this is just the beginning.

“Art touches kids in ways that other things can’t,” Haslip explains. “As a society, we are at a critical point… our kids need to be inspired, they need our support.” LBP provides a unique type of support which is evidenced in the success stories that can be traced back to the program. LBP’s goal is to change the lives and futures of children.

LBP offers arts programming for youth and adults throughout the year. It also hosts many community events designed to increase the community’s access to and knowledge of fine arts. Arts classes offered include ceramics, glass blowing, painting and multimedia. Youth are taught “the business of art” and many sell their pieces in the LBP gallery.

Little Black Pearl is a 501 c 3 organization that combines art, education and entrepreneurship to challenge the minds of urban youth and their communities. The LBP mission is to create opportunities for youth and adults to deepen their creative involvement through the arts, cultivate their entrepreneurial skills and use the arts as a means for economic empowerment and community transformation. Visit us at