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OCU Alumni to Receive Awards

Two OCU alumni will receive awards during the Blac Liberated Arts Center's 21st annual Recognition and Benefit Dinner on Saturday.

Tinasha LaRayé (BA Theater Performance ’09, MLA ’10) will receive the Alfre Woodard Theater Award. LaRayé identifies as a renaissance artist. The poet, actress, director, filmmaker and former Miss Black Oklahoma’s acting credits include Michelle in “Dreamgirls” and Lil’ Inez in “Hairspray” with Lyric Theatre, Nettie in “The Color Purple” with Poteet Theatre and Mrs. Muller in “Doubt, a Parable” with Carpenter Square Theatre. In Los Angeles, LaRayé originated the role of PFC Linda Baldwin in the world premiere of “StandOff at Highway #37.” She was also featured in “Queenie Pie,” a Duke Ellington opera with Long Beach Opera. Her film credits include Jasmine in “Unsolved” and Andrea in “San Andreas Quake.” LaRayé is an award-winning and Heartland Regional Emmy-nominated filmmaker for her documentary short, “First & Female.” She most recently was nominated for several awards at a California film festival, including Best Local Short for her romantic comedy film “Punchline.”

Edgar Cruz (BM '86), will be honored with the Charlie Christian Award. Cruz is considered Oklahoma’s premier solo guitarist since 1976. He performs in multiple styles including Latin, jazz, rock, Spanish, classical Celtic, blues, pop, swing, original and more. He has 18 CDs, two award-winning DVDs and performs 200 times a year in state and abroad. He was also added to the Hispanic exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center. He has millions of hits from multiple videos on YouTube. His video of “Bohemian Rhapsody” has more than 16,000,000 hits worldwide and has inspired hundreds of other guitarists to cover his arrangement. He has appeared in the Charlie Christian International Music Festival in Oklahoma City and Lawton over the 30-plus years of the event.

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