We throw a couple of editor’s picks into the mix for our annual Best of Arkansas poll.
Best Pandemic Portfolio
Dazz and Brie
Look, the pandemic wasn’t a competition in productivity, nor should we treat it as such. But nevertheless, count us as admirers of the ways in which Dazzmin Murry and Kabrelyn Boyce — the two halves of the core of rock outfit Dazz & Brie, known for their dynamic live performances — traded the stage for other opportunities, many of their own making.
Each became a member of the Grammy Foundation’s Recording Academy, which means they’ll have a vote in the Grammy Awards. Murry launched a nonprofit called Creators’ Village, an organization that aims to link musicians in underserved communities with opportunities for mentorship, publicity and training in songwriting and production, and is planning a summer songwriter’s camp in Little Rock. Boyce, in her new base in Atlanta, began a side career as a voice actor as well as a performer with Southern Belle Princess Parties, donning fairy-tale wear and entertaining kids as a Power Ranger or Disney’s Princess Tiana. The pair wrote, produced and recorded a catchy theme song for a new educational summer series from Arkansas PBS called “Rise & Shine.”
Murry started up a solo project under the name King Honey, as well as a clothing line called Honey House. The duo landed yet another song in “Come Back Home,” a Tyler Perry film starring Cicely Tyson and Phylicia Rashad. And Boyce is writing a children’s book series called “The Human Beans.” Take that, COVID.
Best T-Shirt to Wear in Yell County
“Bible Belt Heathen” by AR-T’s
If your summer road trip plans involve the nether regions of rural Arkansas, don’t leave home without, well, your mask. And a fully vaccinated immune system. But also, this T-shirt. Get ready, Dardanelle denizens, because we are coming to your Walmart and we are wearing this damn thing. Might even stroll into the Hobby Lobby in Batesville. Or the Chick-Fil-A in Searcy. If the culture war is on, at least Justin Sharp of AR-T’s — newly merged with Little Rock’s screenprinting darling Electric Ghost — is helping us heathen soldiers look cute whilst we battle.