MaDamn Noire Reclaims the ‘Angry Black Woman’

On March 31st at the closing ceremony for FREE AGENT, MaDamn Noire strolled up to the stage with a white Barbie doll on a leash in tow. I was eager for the performance as I already knew that it would be the representation of MaDamn Noire frustration of whiteness. In preparation MaDamn Noire , Obsidian, Curtis Luvell, and I held a ritualistic ceremony where each of us gave a blessing over MaDamn Noire and her performance. I’ve come to love and cherish my relationship with each of these beauitful black femmes, we poured that love over her as a reminder that her life long dance career aligned with her knowing her fullness in her idenity that she was more than ready for this. It was scared, intimate and healing space that we held just for ourselves among the others preparing for the show.

As the music started so did she, MaDamn Noire was the embodiment of the rage black women feel and the liberation from letting it free not afraid of who may see. On the stage she moved fiercely with a sexiness that felt natural to the raw anger energy. Over the music and the crowd roaring their delight of consuming her vibrant dancing, her body screamed its disgust from the treatment that white folks have put her through. Challenging major Grace Jones vibes she bites then spit out the head of the Barbie in the face of a woman in the front row that sent the crowd into a louder uproar. In that moment my heart swelled with pride for her boldness and it ached for her sacrifice she had made performing this in a predominately white space.

Black folks in the audience knew that with each twirl MaDamn Noire swung that Barbie above her head represented what she really wanted to do after every unwarranted hair grab by a white woman that just wanted to feel it. Black folks knew that with each shake she gave that Barbie was for each time she was harassed by a white coworker that went unnoticed, for each condescending comment made to her face and every stereotype that had been nailed to her back. She danced for every slight and large injustice, mircoagression, and hidden racism that black femmes face daily that looks at us with thin lipped smiles and eyes that willingly go blind to black violence. She danced to communicate that we will not idly play along with your games. We will not entertain without forcing you to see what you have done to me, to my people, and our collective ancestors. We will disrupt all aspects to your lily lives as ours has been until you work to correct the harm that we are currently in.

She trotted off the stage and out the door giving the perfect end to the event. I felt joy of her releasing so much of the pain we suffer through, I felt her soul being free as she let her artistry channel who she was physically. I felt healed watching her reclaim what I had been told until now was some far off mythology of liberated black femme sexuality.

Photo cred. @pjeightyeight/instagram.com

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How Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic Improved how I Self Love

After returning home from BOLD’s National Gathering I spent the following week feeling deeply into the amazing power and joy of black people. BOLD, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity, is a network of Black Organizers from across the country that bases it training in political education, somatic practices, and building conections across the country. Among the most cherished experiences that I had was the lunch conversation with Adrienne Maree Brown on Pleasure Activism. “Adrienne Maree Brown is author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. She is a writer, social justice facilitator, pleasure activist, healer and doula living in Detroit.”(brief bio, Adrienne Maree Brown) . Being committed in healing journey and bridging the gap of what I desire to actually embodying in my activism drew me to Adrienne and also just me wanting to fangirl over one of my favorite black femmes in this movement.Adrienne suggested, and I suggest to y’all listening to the youtube video of Audre Lordre’s Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as power. In this speech and released publication Audre speaks to a deeply powerful energy that lies within femmes that has been demonized by patriarchal society. This has been done through suppression of our erotic selves within our oppression in a dominate male world and gaze, denying us power that in many ways and times while manipulate us for men to be on the receivingof it.Audre goes on to define eroticism as “the measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos and power of our deepest feelings, it is our internal sense of satisfaction that once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire … this depth of feeling and recognizing its power and self-respect we can require no less from ourselves”.(Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic I listened to this daily at work on my break as I took brisk laps around my school. I listened to her words to inspire and affirm my commitment to growing black folks through the resources of education for our collective liberation before returning to work. I feel the importance from the students I work with of my presence mattering, but struggle within feelings of obligation of service to other areas of my job. By feeling more into those areas of discomfort while looking for the pleasure of being in the current moment has improved my sense of fulfillment. With each passing day I felt that fullness deeper, amazed by it I wondered what that pleasure would feel like sexually in relation to myself . “the erotic offers a well of replenishing and provocative force to any woman that .. Hasn’t succumbed to the belief that sensation is enough”- Audre Lorde, Uses of th Erotic: The Erotic as Power.Until this past week I used masturbation just to get myself off when experiencing sexual tension or frustration but, then I realized I had denied myself touch in a way that truly fulfills my needs. My sexual performance with partners has been more passionate in using ways that I know will best pique my own arousal in relation to heighten my partner’s experience. Last month for the first time I used those same tricks and techniques in service of me: I played the music I like to hear, moved at the pace, rhythm that felt best to me and switched to the positions I wanted when needed accurately. I loved on myself in a way that up until then I still struggled with due to its taboo nature that was projected on to me. I still battled with shame attached to it from growing up in a conservative Christian household that ruled by sexual ignorance in hopes that would deaden any sexual exploration. For the first time I committed to being in the fullness of eroticism for me. I orgasmed from myself for the first time and felt love for myself differently, from the tender and caring lover that I had been complimented as by partners but never knew personally. I know now that this feeling was never given to me through any other person than me- that is empowering. It felt empowering to carry that joy of self into my job performance, into my creative writing process and embracing being in love with me. I felt a rare level of intimacy with myself that was both intoxicating and healing. The uses of eroticism in connection to self-love is radical AF and yet so necessary to femmes and folx across the gender spectrum just do to for ourselves, to discover more of our identity and seeing ourselves in our full dignity.

So EZ – Take A Chance Directed by DJ Slim Gus [VIDEO]

Brand new visual release by my boy So EZ, Cleveland representa, by way of my hometown Buffalo, NY, called “TAKE A CHANCE” just dropped!!!  The video was sponsored by EZ’s Sangria brand, Sangriafive – go check it out, its an amazing recipe guaranteed for the exquisite fade at every function you hit!

The ladies switch roles w/ the fellas on this one!
Director: @iamslimgus
Creative Director: @laythemedgeslayton
Starring 🌟🎬:
@ceecee_rei
@nataysia_
@e_babii_
@x_effloresce
@zaymonaephotography
@oh_la_livia
@joywokeaf
@jimmyhustle
@thisisulysses

Shouts to EZ and Slim Gus for inviting myself (@buffalowe_) and my boo @chan_420 for the dope cameo with us that fly ass Federal Agents and Good Ol’ Dank merch you can cop exclusively at ShopRhondaJane.com!!!

Stream the brand new 4-track EPSOEZSUNDAYS, which contains the hit single “Take a Chance” on Apple Music, Spotify and more!

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Jhene Aiko feat. Kurupt – Never Call Me (Slauson Hills Edition) Dir: Top Shelf Junior [VIDEO]

Fellas, you ever did a pretty girl dirty and wondered why once her bros rolled up on you?  Don’t be that guy.  Call shorty back or keep it real.  Its necessary.  Tell ’em Jhene.

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“Oh boy, I’ma have to call them boys on you
Aw damn, aw damn, I’ma have to call that man on you
Something, something, something must be really wrong with you
Why can you just tell the fuckin’ truth now?
Yes your mama did, she raised a fool, wow
What the fuck did you learn in that school house?
To chasin’ thrills, takin’ pills in the hills
Slauson Hills, Overhills might get you killed
And I won’t come ’round them parts no more
Do not run your mouth no more
I can’t protect you no more
It’s out of my hands for sure”
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Watch the new video below featuring some high profile LA cameos from the likes of some of my favorite Los Angeles natives on the scene, Nipsey Hussle, Lauren London, Jay 305 and more!

Nonchalant Savant – ¡Spark! [ALBUM]

Grab a bottle of “Vino” and gear up for a sensual, slippery ride with Miguel’s younger brother, who goes by the stage name Nonchalant Savant.  This 11-track album is sure to put you in a good mood, as Nonchalant carves his own alternative r&b lane outside of his big brother’s shadow.

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Lowe’s picks: Vino, Deepends, …Calling, Same Way, Via Leaves

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Stream the ¡Spark! album here:  iTunes | Spotify

I Felt That Shit: The Power of Art & Uses in the Movement

In a dimmed room Eve rose from the front row with her poems in hand then began speaking. Her words bore life to worlds I never seen but through her knew, she shared who she was that was hidden beyond view of who stood before us of her childhood scars to her travels; then she read I don’t want my baby to be a hashtag. Her voice spoke the fear that I had never said aloud, the  joy and pain I have as I watch my son grow was hers too and the sobering knowledge of what this country can do. As her pace speed up saying what I had known to be true, tears swelled and wetted my cheeks by the way she had captured a black mother’s pain so beautifully. That was the first time I watched her perform a set, and the first set that I had seen in my adult life that had hit me so hard to inspire me to action. At nine months pregnant with a four year old and trump presidency on the horizon, I hungered even more to be the change I wanted to see, if not for myself for my family. Now as I reflect back on my origins to organizing I realize how important radical art was to becoming a part of this movement.

Art is one of the main uses of propaganda- in film, television, visual arts, music, theater and literature because of its undeniable power. When we interact with it, listen to, see it, we resonate with art on a level of shared experiences within the audience and artists.  Which is The purpose of art: to incite emotions- whether they are true or not doesn’t matter as long as the intended audience got the message and felt that shit.

Back when black folks first were “freed” from slavery, films like ‘Birth of a Nation’ were created to affirm the fear white Americans had towards black Americans and that in order to preserve the sanctity of white people that there was a need for the KKK. Moving forward Jim Crow the popular character of a minstrel show, a musical show of the 1830’s that featured white entertainers in blackface, became the slang term for the racist laws that kept the caste system functioning despite the end of slavery.

In the midst of this prominent misuse of art was the rise of black entertainers that portrayed their truth and reality in this country in what is now known as The Harlem Renaissance. Artists like Zora Neele Hurston reclaimed African American Language in their literature as a radical act of personifying black folks for generations to follow. Fast forward to the civil rights era Nina Simone, James Baldwin and Maya Angelou were popular artists that stand out for being vocal about their distrust of this country as black folks and their desire to be free through their art.

To now- Beyoncé shutting down the 2016 Super Bowl performance of Formation in Black Panther inspired regalia then later released visual album that incorporated the work of past and current black artists. Kendrick Lamar that same year used his Grammy performance to showcase that slavery never ended, but shape-shifted into the current prison system.

Their big names drew more attention to the calls of action of Black Live Matter/ Movement for Black Lives than the media had intended to cover. Black artists of the past and currently living understand the responsibility that their talent provides relief to their audience and is a preservation of their time period- the beliefs of that era, the shared feels and experiences with it.

To all my artists’ friends You Matter. Your work Matters. History will thank you for your contributions.

To honor y’all I will be starting an appreciation series dedicated to the talented black and brown artists that are killing shit and those who are working in the movement!

Issa Interview: The Othrz

Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing the musical duo Reginald (Sir Michael Prince) and Stephon (K- Swift) that are known as The Othrz about their recently released self-titled EP. We talked about their creative processes, inspirations and motivations. Enjoy their insights!

Here’s a quick key so y’all can follow:

Q: Question

K: K-Swift

R: Reggie

 

Q: How did you to meet and begin working together ?

K: We met when we were both 15 years old, have known each other for over ten years and have been working together three years.

R: We wanted to work with more people and were planning on collaborating with other artist but it didn’t work out- that’s how we came up with the name ‘The Othrz’.

Q: what is your creative process?

K: (Our) Creative process to make music is to make people feel good. I pick sounds that sound new and just living in that moment of creating what comes to us.

R: It all depends for me and the feel. I listened to the beat for ‘Don’t let me fall” for four months before writing the lyrics and freestyled “Ride”

K: yea, depends on the vibe.. Quick back story on “Can We” the first song on the Ep:

I went on a date to the Albright Art museum, myself and my date were walking around not feeling anything we were seeing. Then we stopped and looked at this picture I called it “love and cautious” just from feel of its wild colors. When I got home I began working on the beat inspired from it from 8pm to 2am and from 2 am on I wrote the lyrics then called Reggie. It turns out the name of the piece was conversions, which means a place where two places meet and that’s what this was: The correlation of art and music. The beauty of creating something out of no where and having someone years later relate to it. When you creative inspiration in you it comes out randomly.

R: For me it’s speaking your truth. In my life I put people ahead of me but now I need to look out for me. Because if you are not cool with yourself, if you are not right within you not going to be able to relate or be with anyone.“In my arms” was inspired by that beginning phase of a relationship, just when it starts up and being true in that.

Q: What keeps you motivated and going musically ?

K: My passion for music. I like so many different artist of all genres, languages – if it feels good and sounds good. It doesn’t matter to me if people like it, but how I felt making it keeps me going that feeling I have making it and I’m open with doing it. Don’t put yourself in a box. Timberland and Pharrell inspire me, watching them and how they’ve changed, its fun.

R: growing up around the way you see everyone doing the same thing. I didn’t want to grow up and be average. I was surrounded by artists – my brothers, uncles, they all were in it. I looked up to Usher, Michael Jackson, Miguel, I knew and saw that words had such an impact. I cant move or function without music. I just kept pushing, moving and hanging around the right people, like minded individuals.

Q: Any last remarks ..?

K: If Anyone is ready or looking for work, we’re here!

If you haven’t check out there latest EP, check it out Here !