Modern Griots Reviews: State of Grace – Grace Jones Retrospective

Grace Jones Retrospective at Joe's PubGrace Jones’ exemplified “the human right to self-express,” singer Davi said before he performed Jones’ song “Living My Life.” The Jamaican-born British singer did just that with her commanding stage presence never apologizing for who she is, her androgynous look, striking beauty and out-of-this-world style. And neither did any other of the performers for the night matching Jones’ suave and yet assertive persona.

Presented by Black Rock Coalition, who will be celebrating 30 years next year, and curated by musicians Gordon Voidwell and Tecla,the show featured several musicians, including Daví, Tamara Renee, Angelica Bess (Body Language), Shannon Funchess (Light Asylum), and Bryndon Cook (Starchild, singing their own tributes to various Jones’ songs. Joining them in the band were other noteworthy names from the co-curator Tecla on keytar to Val Jeanty on electronic percussion.

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Otherworldly Videos: Tamara Renée’s The Moon Goddess

Last Friday, I attended Black Rock Coalition‘s State of Grace: A Grace Jones  Retrospective and Tamara Renée was one of the musical guests for the night. So, before I give you the review for the show tomorrow, here is her latest video for “The Moon Goddess.”


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Moving on the Wires: Recent News and Posts

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This post has been missing for the past couple of weeks, so here is a combined one:

Rasheedah Phillips’ “Black Quantum Futurism” theory

*Should Science Fiction and Fantasy be Included in the “New Wave of African Writers”? on Books Live: Since Science Fiction and Fantasy are still considered genre fiction and not high literary fiction, I can see why this happened. Still not right though.

*”So I Geek Yeeah: Six Black Women Geeks You Should Know” on For Harriet.

*”Afrofuturism through the eyes of Bill Campbell” Interview on Oak Park: “Oddly enough, I’m one of those artists who’s not really into definitions. However, I think of Afrofuturism as an artistic movement spanning the different disciplines where the Diaspora gets to examine its own past and future, its own humanity within the context of speculative fiction. It is global and quite disparate and, to me, incredibly hard to pin down in just a few words. I think that’s why I like it so much. There are so many possibilities within Afrofuturism — and within all of us.”

MLK, science fiction, innovation, creative thinking and Afrofuturism” Interview with Ytasha Womack on Chicago Tribune: “[Afrofuturism is looking at alternate realities through a black cultural lens. It’s expressed in so any different mediums, but it brings in science, math and philosophy. It provides a window to look at all these different ideas.”

*Submissions call for next issue of Joint Literary Magazine: “Capitalist Realities and Their Consequences.

We are looking for work that responds to the question, “How do capitalist conceptions of time expand or limit how we perceive reality and negotiate our identities as persons within the African diaspora?” Consider capitalist notions about time and space, the commodification of body and/or intellectual resources, etc.”

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Modern Griots Interviews: Colored Girls Hustle Part 2

Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape*Become a patron and support my blog and other writing endeavors on Patreon!


Here is part two of yesterday’s interview with Colored Girls Hustle’s Taja Lindley and Jessica Valoris.In this part, they talk about their plans and expectations for the mixtape and Colored Girls Hustle, and how their work is both futuristic and ancient. Enjoy!

5) What other plans do you have in addition to the release of the mixtape? Will be there be a Volume II in the works?


Taja: Right now, we’re focused on promoting this mixtape. We want as many people as possible to hear it, bump it, get with it, love it and love on themselves. In the next year we’d love to bring this show on the road! We’ve got some performances coming up and a menu of workshop offerings will soon be available so folks can bring us to their schools/universities and communities. And while we plan to continue to make songs on our own and with other artists, I’m not sure about another project just yet.


Some Colored Girls Hustle swag is on the way! We’re working on t-shirts and a mixtape zine will soon be available. These things will be available for purchase later this summer.

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Modern Griots Interviews: Colored Girls Hustle Part 1

Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape

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Hey, everyone! I’m returning after a short break with an interview I did with Colored Girls Hustle’s Taja Lindley and Jessica Valoris. A few weeks ago I did a review of their Colored Girls Hustle Hard mixtape and below they talk about their inspirations for the mixtape and the process of making it as well as upcoming performance they have planned. Tomorrow I will post part two!

1) What inspired you to make the mixtape and who or what were specific inspirations for each of the tracks?

Taja: Back in 2012 we were both talking about how Colored Girls Hustle needed an anthem… a remix of a popular song that talks about hustling. Jessica and I have been friends for 10 years and we’ve spent about half our friendship as roommates. So, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and we were stuck in the house for several days, we got the inspiration to finally write the anthem. That was the genesis of the mixtape. We released a webcam video of us rapping the “Colored Girls Hustle Hard Anthem” and we were surprised by how many views we received so quickly. Friends shared the video. Friends of friends. And their friends. And we got so much positive feedback! From there we were like yeah, lets keep this going. Lets continue to make songs! It was fun for us and people liked what we had to say. That led us to create the Colored Girls Hustle Hard Mixtape.

Inspirations and meanings behind various tracks:

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The My-Stery: Magic, Mystery, Spooks, Superpowers and the Future in Blues

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A couple of days ago I was searching for blues artists that I haven’t heard of and I came across Willie Brown and his song, “Future Blues.” The song inspired me to create a short playlist with blues songs of a speculative nature. As for the title of the playlist, it comes from a book I stumbled across while looking for songs, Mark Winborn’s Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey. Also, for additional reading, here is Victor Kennedy’s essay called, Magic and the Blues. Enjoy!

Songs in Playlist:

Wilton Crawley and Jelly Roll Morton’s “Futuristic Blues”

Willie Brown’s “Future Blues”

Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Ain’t Superstitious”

Willie Dixon – “Seventh Son”

J.T. “Funny Paper” Smith – Seven Sisters Blues

Junior Wells’ “Hoodoo Man Blues”

Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train”

Memphis Minne’s “Hoodoo Lady Blues”

Bessie Smith’s “Blue Spirit Blues”

Bessie Smith’s “Cemetery Blues”

Bessie Smith’s “Spider Man Blues”

Muddy Waters’ “Got My Mojo Working”

Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man”

Muddy Waters’ “I’m a Man (Mannish Boy)”

Koko Taylor’s “Voodoo Woman”

Koko Taylor’s “I’m a Woman”

John Lee Hooker and Carlos Santana’s “The Healer”



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Modern Griots Reviews: Rasheedah Phillips’ “Recurrence Plot and Other Time Travel Tales”

Recurrence Plot cover

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Experiment: Write a letter to your future self or past self. Try to meditate and astral project yourself into the body of one of those selves before or while you are writing to do so. Can you remember past and future memories?

(Not from the book but in the style of it)

If you study metaphysics and archetypal psychology, you might have heard the term synchronicity. Popularized by Carl Jung, synchronicity is defined as “the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events…that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality” or as he describes it, “synchronicity is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer. I’ll be honest I do believe in synchronicity because I have had numerous strange coincidences maybe because I was intuitively looking for something and happen to come across it, or I set things into motion by looking for something in one place and stumble across something relevant in another. For example, I applied for a poetry fellowship and I was compelled to go through the list of the previous fellows; one of them was Reginald Dwayne Betts. I read some of his poems and happened to like them. About a week or two later, I went to the library and randomly decided to look through the poetry section and found a collection of Robert Hayden poems. I remembered enjoying his poetry as well, so I flipped to the forward and started reading; the writers description sounded familiar and I didn’t realize why until I looked at the cover again and realized that it was written by Betts. How did I stumble across a collection introduced by Betts soon after I just found out about him? Hmmm? Does it mean something? I don’t know, but it was spooky.

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