Shameeka Dream joins the Monument Quilt…… An Ineffable Journey

The Monument Quilt Tour – Stop 1.. Arden, NC

Shameeka Dream holding space and performing at Roots Fest in Arden, NC.

Shameeka Dream holding space and performing at Roots Fest in 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

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.

Rising Appalachia

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:

 

 

Black Shesus and Her Disciples

This is an exciting time in the artistic community. We had the pleasure of interviewing and spending the day, and in the case of Dream, a few days with the incredibly talented emcee, performance artist, and thoughtful visionary, BFLY.

The emcee and first lady has been expanding her artistic expression and has started a movement with what I’m calling the Black Shesus Experience. We were going to originally post this interview prior to her showing at the Force Field Project in Philadelphia, PA. Unfortunately, some technical issues and changes to the weekend’s format delayed our posting of the video.

However, undeterred and determined to do what good performance art requires–confront, provoke and begin conversation–BFly and the Baltimore Girls, traveled to Force Field anyway, where they transformed into Black Shesus and the Disciples. The goal was to have the audience think about images of black womanhood and to really explore what each audience member knows, thinks and feels about the individual black women in their lives. BFlY through her character of Black Shesus, explores the divinity of black womanhood and the dichotomy between the holy and unholy, the good and the bad, and the all and the nothing that makes up the human experience. She takes stereotypical images of blackness, sporting a stylized, beautiful version of black face, and flips them on their head with a flick of the hand of the silent goddess that is Black Shesus. Taking this a step further than her earlier installations, she took on the crowd at the only part of Force Field that remained in effect, a dance party. Adding to the impact of the moving installation, she included a collective of amazing woman artists in their own rights, the Baltimore Girls, all donning gold flecked black faces as their Disciple selves. Show on or not the art must go on.

To understand the motivation and how BFly developed Black Shesus watch our interview with BFLY here.

For more on Black Shesus, please visit http://www.blackshesus.com
For more on BFLY, follow her on twitter @THEREALBFLY
For more on the Baltimore Girls, visit their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreGirls

Love LOVE

(MC) x (MC) Vex DaVortex and Wombatt55

Vex DaVortex of Boogie Monsters fame joined us in the lab Saturday. This emcee, visual artists, graphic designer, producer, game designer, app designer–man of many talents–blessed us with some exclusives from his yet to be released The Muddy Contender. Wombatt55–emcee, drummer and new father–was also in the lab. We played joints from his last project Lord Baltimore with a few exclusives from his newest project Ignorance or Indifference which drops on 12/12/12 to be shared next Saturday. Make sure you tune in. Of course the emcees as is our must, dropped freestyles as well as their thoughts about making music in the industry today. Grown Up Hip Hop was definitely fully represented by the work of the two emcees as those who didn’t know became converts of Vex and Wombatt.

Check out the show here:

New Vex DaVortex


New Wombatt55