Tag Archives: Washington DC

Modern Griots Reviews: Birth of a Dark Nation


Imagine seeing the journey of the Black Atlantic through the memories of a centuries-old vampiric human. A DC IT specialist working at an HIV organization Justin Kena is privileged with this information when he falls for one named Dante. As he falls in love, he learns of the ancient indigenous Yoruba group, the Razadi, who are vampiric and witnesses to pre-, during, and post-slavery times in Rashid Darden‘s Birth of a Dark Nation.

Birth of a Dark Nation flips the script on traditional vampire tales from its shifting narration to its inclusion of slave narration and cultural rituals to non-Western views of the vampire to it as a same-gender loving story that confronts those who say it is a recent Western phenomenon. Darden’s previous work, Lazarus, Covenant, and Epiphany has centered on black LGBT experiences, and now he has taken that and extended it to black speculative fiction.

The story begins with a Razadi receiving orders from an elder to watch over Justin because he is considered the “key,” similar to Neo in the Matrix or any messiah-like character. Later, we are introduced to Dante, a street hustler, who Justin randomly notices and to whom he has an instant attraction. When Dante finally reveals who he is to Justin, Justin begins his transformation from the computer guy at a dead-end job to part of the Razadi family and leader in his community.

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Moving On the Wires: SHAOLIN JAZZ L!ve in DC


For those in the Washington, DC area today, Shaolin Jazz is doing their first musical performance tonight at the legendary Blues Alley. It is the first DJ-led performance at Blues Alley including DJ 2-Tone Jones, the co-creator of SHAOLIN JAZZ, his fellow band members of Sound of the City and special guest artists.. Their repertoire will consist of tracks from the SHAOLIN JAZZ – The 37th Chamber album. Shaolin Jazz fuses the raps of the Wu-Tang Clan with instrumentals and samples from jazz classics. For more information read below and here.

  • Date: Monday June 25th
  • Time: 8pm and 10pm shows
  • Tickets: $18 – link
  • Location: Blues Alley 1073 Wisconsin Ave NW (in the alley)