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

Advertisements

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!

‘All the Stars’ Visuals are the embodiment of Black Pride & Majesty

Last night Kendrick, Sza, Dave Meyers and the homies dropped the visuals for ‘All the Stars’ and I’m still in amazement.

It was announced that Kendrick Lamar will be composing the soundtrack for Black Panther, and earlier this week the playlist was released inspired by what we have yet to see on the silver-screen. ‘All the Stars’ was the first single from the soundtrack we were blessed with and the now these beautiful visuals to accompany it.

It opens with Kendrick standing majestically looking out beyond the sea of black folks he is being carried over to a scene with a patron black Woman overlooking black children dressed is African Regalia.

I got emotional watching Sza dance among the stars embodying verses I have written in my own poetry of black women becoming one with other Dimensions .

Each scene ranges of dominate bold colors like red, blue and gold while incorporating vibrant African Prints. Black Pride is felt throughout this with the representation of dances from African Countries and overall Continental images.

The imagery of black women being exalted into their full lengths standing fully in their power as Kendrick is left in awe of it, I can only imagine what the Dora Milaje representation will be in the Black Panther Movie.

Click this All the Stars link to view this black magical experience. 🖤✨🙌🏽

Dive in with Tiffany Gouchè

California based R&B singer Tiffany Gouchè captures the art of musical storytelling in her latest single ‘Dive’. Tiffany opens singing about wanting a woman that is apprehensive. Not wanting to rush her, but making intentions clear by the chorus Tiffany’s sultry voice sings away any remaining fears. Her lyrical word play captures the essence of those new found emotions: The trying feeling within the beginning stages of not wanting to be too much, battling feels of lust, building until that moment of shared acknowledgment and passion.

I’m in love with this song because of its raw emotion, for it’s unapologetic expression of black woman sexuality. Tiffany’s embrace of her sexuality as a queer black women while simultaneously encouraging vulnerability for the sake of connecting intimately is a vibe I have been channeling in 2018. Give this Song a listen , Tiffany’s yearning voice over the smooth nostalgic r&b beat creates a vibe that can be left on repeat!

‘Along The Edges’: An Artistic Wonderment of Black Femme Imagination 

Along Allen Street in a quant buffalo art space called Pine Apple co. is featuring the art instillation ‘Along The Edges’ by Obsidian Bellis, a local black femme artist currently on raise.


“‘Along The Edges’ is predominantly inspired by the emotional labor of black femmes through adversity expressed with elements of mysticism and nature.” -Best described by the artist herself Obsidian.


Obsidian’s artistic style can be described as a mixture of mythical creatures with strong influences of black Afro- American culture. Obsidian also highlighted that her work is inspired by thriftier trinkets and items she would see at her grandmothers house .


On August 4th, opening night of this exhibition, Obsidian featured the talents of Curtis Lovell vocal accompaniment to Ebony’s Burlesque performance that embodied all the elements of Obsidian’s pieces. Curtis Lovell’s original songs vocalized the imagination and Ebony’s hypnotic movements brought the fantasy of the night to life.


The collision of still , dance, and vocal art entranced the audience to a silence, stopped and brought people in off the street to witness this magical performance. The celebration of black femmes creativity created a warm radiating energy that consumed the artists as well as everyone in that space.

All the pieces featured and what remains , are currently up, but won’t be for long!
‘Along the Edges’ instillation ends on August 27th!
Stop in for the last weekend to experience the fleeting moments of this black girl magic instillation!

Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival Review 

The inaugural Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival kicked off its event with an amazing blues performance by Zuri Appleby, best known for playing with Nick Jonas as his bassist and closed with the anticipated performance of Venzella Joy, best known for playing with Beyoncé as her drummer. These famous Buffalo natives performances got the crowds excited and secured the heightened energy throughout the Festival. 

Beau Fleuve was held at the Buffalo Riverworks, a new and unique venue for an festival that was quiet the same.Upon entrance to the venue, there was a restaurant and bar with a large open space that would be used as an Exhibit Room featuring art exhibits, fashion art, speaker series and vendors. 

Along the back wall there was an entry way down to an arena that offered space to two main stages ,the river stage, more vendors and a stair case that lead to the silent disco located on a stage above the middle of the two main stages. 

On these three stages every art form imaginable was on display: all genres of music from country,Hip Hop, R&B, Neo Soul, Jazz, Indie and more, dance, spoken word, and live performances by painters & barbers. 

Amidst all this talent performers often found themselves competing with each other for space to be heard by their audiences. The amount of talent showcased at this event was astonishing and at time confusing.

 From the festival goers I had the pleasure of speaking with they all wished there was an event program given upon entry detailing the time/location of each performance to ensure they didn’t miss certain sets, but were also optimistic that by next year’s festival these minors kinks would be worked out.

Some of the highlights of the night were the Neo -Soul performances from Drea D’Nor and Lindsay Niccs that drew some of the largest crowds. We Stole the Show and The Pit Dance Crew raised the energy of the crowd as they interacted with festival goers within their sets. But above all, it can be agreed upon that the Silent disco was a definite favorite. 

Upon arrival to the silent disco stage each person is given special headphones that can switch from the three different dj’s mixing on the stage in front of them, these headphones would light up the color of whatever station they were currently listening to. The liveliest time of this was during Truey V’s set where crowds swarmed in circles dancing out to current and classic popular music as well as tunes from Buffalo’s own underground scene.


My personal favorites of the festival were the youth performances, the food, and the overall vibe of the festival. 

The multitalented set performed by the students from Buffalo Center of Arts and Technology was both beautiful and refreshing to see the amount of talent these youth possessed, what they were capable of when given creative freedom and a platform to showcase it. The indoor restaurant offered a delicious twist to the traditional Buffalo Chicken Wings with their Duck Wings rendition, which is meatier than their fellow feathered friends but with all the great flavors of a buffalo wing ! 

Festival goers were all in high spirits and friendly creating a welcoming family friendly environment. There was a strong sense of community among the artist that were mostly all Buffalo natives, their support of each other’s crafts extended beyond their performances, but also to their growth and accomplishments. 

I can go on about the wonderful experience I had at this Festival, it was truly a unique celebration. A celebration of a new Buffalo were artists are given not just space to showcase their craft and perform but a community that fully supports them.  

I look forward to attending next year’s festival and hopefully seeing the work of many other artists from the Buffalo & Western New York area. 

Lauren Levi – By Lauren With Love [MAR 26]

FC2

The beautiful, multi-talented Lauren Levi is bringing fans more delights with her solo exhibit entitled ‘By Lauren With Love’. The pieces reflect Ms. Levi’s colorful and classy personality with tasteful combinations that will transport you to paradise. So make sure you make it there LA! There’s sure to be good vibes to accompany the great art.

Click the link the RSVP!

& show Lauren love via her Instagram! Tell her Flagrant City sent you ❤