The Monument Quilt Tour – Stop 1.. Arden, NC
I joined Force as their Resident Healing Artist for the Monument Tour this summer. To be clear, I started to be involved in this movement at the first workshop, held at the Spiritual Empowerment Center in Baltimore, where I worship. The Monument Quilt is an artist collective of stories of survivors of rape and abuse. As I travel with Founders and Warrior Princesses Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle, I serve to create a safe healing space at each site where the quilt is displayed, and on the journey itself. If someone needs extra support, be it Reiki, hugs, an ear, or extra words of support and encouragement, I work to provide that to the best of Spirit’s ability. The additional gift is that I get to meet and engage with new artists at every stop! Which leads me to our first stop – Roots Fest, held in Arden, NC.
Roots Fest is a week-long gathering of community artists and activists held annually in Arden, NC, hosted by Alternate Roots, an organization that “supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in community, place, tradition or spirit. [They] are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together.” The quilt was displayed on the community day. Well, on this first stop, we held the rain until the performance that brought folk to the quilt. As a group of women in all white sang “No More Auction Blocks” I prepared myself. They held the space as I performed No Means No and brought the rain as I went through Rise Up. They held it with their eyes. And their spirits. Sonia, and the women who walk with her bring the ancestors to US. They bring the memories, the lessons, the rope, the chains that we are breaking through collaboration. They sing, chant, walk, move, stand in silence, demonstrate solidarity, and gave me some of the healing and balance that I needed.
As the rain began to pour down I felt the vibration move to one of true undivided individualism; everyone worked together to bring all of the quilts and display materials to dry space in under 2 minutes. Afterwards, Spirit came to me in the form of an angel singing the refrain with me- “We are all spirits, this is a body.” I ran and danced in the rain, allowing myself to be baptized by the aftermath of art in action as healer.
THIS IS NOT WHERE IT ENDED! I FOUND MUSIC!
Colored Girls Hustle
Jessica Valoris, our contact at Roots Fest, also happens to be one of the members of Colored Girls Hustle, along with Taja Lindley (more like Taj Mahal). What! Colored Girls Hustle?! Yes. In fact, they do more than that. According to their website, and what I experienced first hand:
- Colored Girls Hustle creates and sells handmade adornment that affirms our bodies and encourages us to be our boldest selves.
- Colored Girls Hustle invigorates and nurtures creative practice and self-expression.
- Colored Girls Hustle amplifies women of color artists, entrepreneurs, healers and activists who hustle hard for our communities.
They released the Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape on June 19, 2014, and let me tell you, this FREE DOWNLOAD is worth it! The Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape is using powerful beats and powerful words to catalyze audacious self-expression and authentic living.” Some of my favorite tracks are the “Colored Girls Hustle Hard Anthem” and “Ooh oh #PirateBooty” (Twerk!). These two sisters are hip hop afrofuturistic godesses with the truth in hand. Make sure you listen to the mixtape, download it, and share! By the way, if you like the Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape, you will also love The Reintroduction of Mumu Fresh Mixtape! When Jessica asked if I had heard of Maimounna Youssef, I was like”Oh my God, we played the mixtape almost the whole way down here!” Talk about like minds! On a side note- Hannah and Rebecca love Student Loans and Crunch n Grub. The essence of collaboration, community, and forward progress are throughout all of these artists’ work.
Their website says:
Music has become our script for vision, not for aural pleasure, not just for hobby, but now to connect and create in ways that we aren’t taught by mainstream culture. We are building a community and tackling social injustice through melody, making the stage reach out with octopus arms to gather a great family.
Talk about the truth. You know when you see spirits walking in physical bodies, and you know they are spirits just walking. Rising Appalachia is spirit walking on earth. This band, led by sister duo Chloe and Leah, blessed the Good Music Good People Show with Filthy Dirty South, their fifth cd. From the first crystal note on the cd, I knew that the Monument Mobile would be filled with musical blessings. This live recording is replete with native harmonies, highs and lows, subtle warnings- “if you muddy my water I will come after you”. Since we love music that goes beyond genre, I was pleased to hear traditional Appalachia, gospel, blues, spoken word, east African music, and more all on one cd!
Overall, the first stop was chill, dramatic, invigorating, surprising, and healing. I think that’s GOOD GOOD!
Back onto the road we go, but first, sleep in a treehouse!
To find/connect with any of the above mentioned artists/movements, see below:
- Force: the Monument Tour
- Spiritual Empowerment Center
- Alternate Roots
- Colored GIrls Hustle
- Rising Appalachia
- Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh