BLACK WOMEN ROCK CELEBRATES 10 YEARS
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Black Women Rock was the spectacle of the city this past weekend, as many of Detroit’s most dynamic women gathered together at two separate venues to celebrate their feminine strength, beauty and fire through music and dance.
Hosted and organized by poet jessica Care moore, the main concert on March 15 at the Charles H. Wright Museum featured six headlining artists, including Wunmi, Imani Uzuri, Tamar-kali, Kimberly Nichole, Steffanie Christi’an and moore.
“I did Black Women Rock because I wanted to be around women who are like me,” said moore during the March 16 panel discussion. “Whatever the genre of music is, it’s the life that reminds me of myself, and so I bring women who are like-minded and like-spirited together to present in front of people. And that’s the idea, it’s not even if we play rock and roll, it’s about what we do to put food on our table, the way we live our lives.”
During the panel discussion, the women discussed being independent artists, using their talents for social justice, and “the return of the matriarch to the forefront of society.”
“(We are) building our very fantastic queendom with an east wing and a west wing,” said moore. “If some of these brothers can’t figure it out, we’re going to have to create the space, and they are just going to have to show up the way they need to show up, with roses and things that we need, taking care of us in a certain kind of way, not waiting for you to figure it out and grow into your man-self.”
Moore says never been an artist who’s scared to be around other powerful women. “It makes me feel good to be around women that are more powerful than me,” she said.
The audience and panel host Ramona Prater asked the ladies questions, who responded openly from their experiences.
“We’re consuming so much and creating so little,” said Tamar-kali of Nlack women in today’s society. The Brooklyn rock singer has visited Detroit several times in the past few years. “We feel like our little bit isn’t going to do much, but it’s little bits that birth movements. It’s never these big actions, it’s that build up,” she said.
“I’m a full time artist,” said Wunmi from Nigeria, who has earned international acclaim for a 25-year career traveling the globe as a dancer, singer and fashion designer. “To do that, you choose, you make choices, strategize. I did it without knowing I was doing it. I love to dress, but the dressing wasn’t about dressing up, I didn’t want anyone else to look like me.
“Choosing an artist’s life,” said Wunmi, “you have to figure out between the loving it and the pain built. You do something you love and you come home and you haven’t eaten, and your rent is due. It is a strategy between us.”
During the seminar, moore credited her parents for her entrepreneurial spirit, saying they were “the reason why I’m not just an artist, which is why I love producing and presenting other people, not just with Black Women Rock.” Before that, (since) 1997 Moore has been running an independent small press that publishes poets.
“You don’t choose it,” she said. “Some of it is gift, it’s a delicate balance between gift and spirit.”