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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.
6) You mentioned before that you liked my idea of being “a future ancient.” How are you and your work both futuristic and ancient?
Jessica: Ok. Now my time to philosophize!! We both acknowledge that we’ve been here before. The universe is not linear; time is an illusion; nothing is new. We come from an incredible legacy of people who have been using the drum, the beat, music and rhythm, to tell our stories, to create affirmations, to speak of love and abundance, to affirm community, and family, and sisterhood. So, in that way, this is some ancient ish… and at the same time, we are also celestial beings, made from stars, sent from other worlds to this world with a divine purpose. Bringing ancient practice and wisdom into new forms. I think of the pyramids of Giza, how they mapped out the universe. How human beings have the magical ability to tap into the unknown and create new worlds….worlds that have always existed for us, waiting for us to tap in, wake up, and step out! This mixtape is our creative pyramid, our divine galaxy.
Taja: And our work is so vintage. We’ve got a 90’s flow. We love 90s beats. And while the 90’s are far from ancient, all of this is to say that our work and who we are is in conversation with our past. Who I am is informed by who I’ve been, where I’ve been, where I’m from, who my ancestors were. I create futures with a rich legacy. In our songs we call out our ancestors, people who have made it possible for us to be here today. For example, in our song “Beez” we say “In the matrix superman ain’t coming/we going underground get free like Tubman.” As we are visioning our freedom futures, we call on the legacy of Harriet Tubman. A future ancient indeed.
7) What other plans do you have for Colored Girls Hustle?
Taja: I’ve got big visions for the future of Colored Girls Hustle! In the short term I’m interested in building our team. We do a lot on our own and we could use some support to build our capacity. The more folks we have on our team, the more we can accomplish. I’m preparing a new line of adornment, so be on the lookout! Performances and workshops coming to a neighborhood near you. Check our website in the late Summer/early Fall for more details on how you can invite us to your school or community.
Jessica: There’s just so much room for our sound, our message, and our energy! I’d really love to continue to share this project through performances and workshops. As an educator, I’m excited about sharing this work with young people and I’m excited about the opportunities to collaborate with artists who are creating in the same spirit!
8 ) What do you want listeners to experience or take away from the mixtape?
Jessica: I want people to feel lifted and affirmed. There is so much juicy goodness in the mixtape that I feel people can really identify with. Its definitely a reflection of what I wrestle with and what I love and this journey in courageous creativity. Through this work, I have been building my muscles against fear, practicing putting myself out there, and embracing the truth of my quirkiness, my corniness, my silliness, and my brilliance. Loving all parts of me: my political convictions, my family love, my twerking sensibilities, my ratchet, my righteousness, my weirdness. So I guess I say that all to say, I want people to feel loved in all of who they are too. I want people to use this as morning hype music, put it on their exercise playlist, or use it to pregame before a party, or at the party! I want people to be able to embody the swagger by singing along and applying the songs to their own lives and the powerful contributions they make to the world.
Taja: I want folks to feel uplifted, turned up and fortified! To feel this music in their spirit. To turn on our tracks when they need to be reminded of their brilliance and their courage. That’s why I made this music. And it’s why I listen to our music. My biggest hope is that listeners feel affirmed in their ability to embrace their full selves. So often we’re taught to choose to be one part of who we are and focus on that at the expense of the other parts of ourselves. Fuck that! Lets be all of who we are. Embrace our whole being. I can be intellectual, sexy, and funny at the same damn time. I can be an entrepreneur, artist, and writer at the same damn time. I can re-invent who I am at anytime, at any age. We all can.
9) How can listeners support the mixtape and Colored Girls Hustle?
Taja: If you’re feeling us, please share and tell your people about us! www.ColoredGirlsHustle.Bandcamp.com — Share our link on your social media and blogs, email it to your friends, call and text someone about it! We want the whole world to hear our music.
If you’re REALLY feeling us: please donate! On our website there is a link to our Paypal as well as our mailing address. Donations make it possible for us to build out the project and to bring our work to communities that may not be able to afford our fees.
10) What advice do you have for other woman of color who want to be in the creative fields and do similar projects as you do?
Jessica: I would say the most important things for me have been to find my people and to trust in the creative process. Its been so important for me to engage my friends, family, and community, and share this work with people who reflect positivity and affirmation back to me! I’m glad to be doing this work with my sister-friend, Taja, checking in and encouraging each other. Just stay in the flow, keep creating, stay in action, share your work.
Taja: Do it. Don’t wait. Get started. There’s a line in our song “Get Out My Head Yo!” where we say: “Drowning in to do lists, next week, and maybe tomorrows/But today is a precious gift that tomorrow only borrows/Time is a trick, someday is a myth.” Word.
And it can be so easy to get scared and stop. Building community with people who are doing similar things and are working in the same way is important. My creative community keeps me grounded, keeps me encouraged and keeps me accountable to my dreams.
Colored Girls Hustle at CLPP (Civil Liberties and Public Policy) Conference