Its hard to know what to believe in when we are bombarded daily by images and thoughts fashioned by corporate interests, conservatism, sexism, misogyny, and time worn racism.
Its hard to know what to believe in when we are bombarded daily by images and thoughts fashioned by corporate interests, conservatism, sexism, misogyny, and time worn racism. Where do yo go to find the wisdom to keep you on your path, to regain your optimism?
You look to your community, to your friends, your loved ones, “then turn your talk into action,” so says Toshi Reagon. Toshi’s latest project a (which wrapped last Sunday), week long festival Word*Rock* & Sword: A Festival Exploration of Women’s Lives, was conceived as an event to gather people, in the name of justice and Women’s rights through music and performance.
Toshi Reagon has been known as a rockin’-take-no-prisoners song-writer for decades, but on closer inspection you’ll see her music serves an inspired activism. She has been walking her talk for a very long time—filling shoes once worn by her mother.
Remember when everyone was throwing around the term “community organizer,” but yet no one really knew what one was? Well, Its no catch phrase because when you see it in action, as you do in Reagon, you feel an infectious call to action.
On the night I attended Word*Rock* & Sword, with my friend the talented photographer Desdmona Burgin, Toshi handily commanded a stage full of performers with numerous acts. The evening was a call out of our lethargy, our disappointments, and defeatism in our government. It was a pointed barb at the notion someone else will fix our problems.
While one part social activism the evening was also mysteriously soul stirring. When Judith Casselberry launched into the MichFest anthem Amazon Womyn I felft that spine tingling sensation of the sisterhood, which I can only best describe by this phrase from the I-Ching: The enthusiasm of the heart expresses itself involuntarily in a burst of song and dance.
Here are a few shots from the night courtesy of Desdemona Bergin:
Co-producer of WRS, singer performer Tamar-kali. (who is absoultly f.i.e.r.c.e.)
Do you know Joan As Police Woman? No? Stop and google her right now… she can arrest me anytime.
Meshell Ndegeocello, I mean, does she need an introduction, really?
I feel in love with Arooj Aftab. Take a listen to this sufi inspired singer. Allah Hu.
Rice, rice, baby. Slanty eye-ed Mamas, what’s not to love.
Tonya Ingram is an award winning poet who sports a list of acomplishents… and she is just a junior at NYU.
Marcelle Davies Lashley made sure we knew that this was not merely a concert it was a congregation.
Mother Goddess of Funk, Nona Hendryx. She is a legend. You must watch this.
Imani Uzuri , Alsarah, Stephanie Battle, and Invincible in the finale. There were many more musicans and performers I’ve failed to fit into these pages. But if the spirit has so been moved, I believe there will be many more opportunities to congregate, Sisters.
So keep tabs on Toshi.