ed. x vol. i

 

welcome to the edition x of the brown pages. they are thick. cause you know, it's been a minute since the last edition. so take a moment. breathe. maybe grab some tea, a pbr, water, a snack. as i always say the juice is in the details. Enjoy 'em!

Jeezy's Juke Joint

Did you miss our annual weekender in Chicago? This year felt even more kinetic with the addition of Miss Toni Elling, a black burlesque legend from Detroit. Who loved on all the performers and sprinkled her wisdom and joy everywhere she went. 

Thank the Lorde for Shimmy Laroux who captured our conversation with Miss Toni on video. It's to the right. Among the  cast photos taken by greg bell & and divine xo photography.  

good choice!

pro tip for my desktop top viewers. get busy with that mouse. hover over images for hidden content. 

“Nina sang for all her pain, her joy, her confusion, her happiness, her sickness, her fight.  She fought through all the stereotypes. She fought for her identity. She fought for her life.

-Mary J Blige | Nina's Induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 

black skin on midnight waves. a rippling of reflections. you see fragments of yourself in nina. as i in you. in lorde.

 

i recently heard one of the author’s of the book, lifting as we climb,express  her anger and disinterest in history as it is often told in our education system. an erasing. a literal destruction of black history. an omission.

 

Wondering we're talking bout

Everybody know what dis song's about

They be trying to hide the history

But they know who we are

Do oh you want to see

Everybody rise to this degree?

Raise ya hands high if you agree

Just say yes siree oh

Yes siree

If you agree say

Yes siree oh

Yes siree (erykah badu)

 

since learning of lorde. i’ve been even more invested in unearthing and preserving black women’s legacies. our stories. our struggles and victories.

 

mary, have you heard of audre lorde? read her work? i ask because so much of what she wrote is felt and heard in your voice. i think you know something about survival. about “standing upon the constant edges of decision. crucial and alone.”

 

your name will be remembered among nina’s and lorde’s. i created a piece of performance art, called ,”Go Mary!” about you. in honor of you.

 

think drag meets impersonation meets mash up meets satire meets burlesque meets church meets meme culture

 

i’ve loved your music since hearing real love in my youth. blasting from a boom box. flipping the cassette tapes over and over. listening to what's the 411? on repeat. as i dug into your music and your life i realized how broad your discography swept. 

13 albums spanning the course of 25 years.

you forged a space for your music where there wasn’t one. creating a genre that would allow for folks like aaliyah to shine.

you were among the first hip hop/r&b artist to be invited to the met gala. (gaining success and recognition in a time when hip hop and r & b artists were still judged by where they came from)

how many black women have wiped their tears to your voice? found strength through your affirmations? 

go Mary! an ode to

go Mary! inspiration

no more!

no more!

no more!

no more!

no more!

through channeling your spirit:  i found some slick dance moves. a human attempting to find connection and love. i found another black woman using her light to heal not just themselves but others. i found a good pair of hoops. joy and laughter. some swag. i found audiences that loved you and your music. i found a dope pair of knee high boots and a newfound appreciation for my thighs.

 

“it’s up to us to choose,

whether we win or lose

well i choose to win”

 

i want to ensure that not only is your legacy preserved but that you are praised. i think it would be life shifting for all who is down to take an evening and praise mary j blige. bring you offerings. to properly thank you for "dancery." sing your songs like hymns. have a praise break to family affair. have a preacher break down the meaning and how to apply your songs to daily life. your life + your work have much to teach and damn it if i gotta sing into a drumstick to help with showing folks that, then i have officially made it apart of my ministry!

this is probably one of dopiest things i've discovered this year. two incredible black women put together a book that currently has my world shook. this book connects the legacy of over 30 black women to 44 southside monuments that are often hidden in plan sight. this book encourages folks to take a self-guided tour through Chicago southside. particular my hood, bronzeville, all while learning about the lives of black women. ya'll i went to a talk that featured both of the writers both of 'em said things that have resonated with me since. i got a bootleg, cell phone, recording of that talk if you wanna listen to two black organizers tell a room of Depaul stundents how they created this project, why self-care is a product of captilism, and more!

this is a bit late BUT did you catch me in ep. 5 of The Big Reveal? HUH? What is The Big Reveal? The Big Reveal is an interview series created by burlesque photographer Greg Inda , and seeks to unveil the artistic process behind burlesque. Co-direction and Editing by Lindsey Marks of Lady Jack Entertainment.

in this interview i talk about getting sick of acts while serving serious hand gesture realness. get into it 'cause greg + lindsey did a great job!

The Comple Wokers of Pat Parker

Since beginning to read Sister Love, I went ahead and got the complete work of Pat Parker. Tho' i've really only been able to skim. Her work already is giving me life and proving as timeless as her comrade. She has a poem entitled "You can't be sure of anything these days"

what i been reading

Sister Love is a series of letters written between Audre Lorde and Pat Parker. so much love between each line. hardship and courage. it also has inspired me to write more letters to folks. one of my favorite lines so far is "ANY DECISION WE MAKE ABOUT OUR OWN BODIES AFTER CONSIDERING FACTS IS THE RIGHT DECISION!"

 
arm-2029989_960_720.png

what books have inspired you recently? Leave your answer below.

i have been sending out the programs left over from thank the lorde to folks who i think would enjoy them. want one? send me your address and i'll send you one for free! don't worry i don't leave the house enough to show up to yours.

Po'Chop's

College Tour

Columbia College Chicago

I performed at Northwestern with B. Burlesque. a student ran burlesque showcase "that aims to empower and celeberate the beauty, strength, and individuality of poc in an annual burlesque show." the only documentation of these two shows is the below screenshot of jeezy (who mentored + choreographed for b. burlesque) calling me out for making (What i thought) was a smooth exit during a 30+ person soul train line aka curtain call.

 

burlesque b was successful in meeting their mission. i found myself crying as i watched one of the acts. two black women created a piece as their coming out. i love when burlesque/art can be a means to heal, process, and rejoice. damn i wish i had a photo to share.

Northwestern  University

Loyola University

had a blast speaking on the Female Figures: Then and Now Panel at In/Motion alongside Deana Haggag + Bobbi Jene & moderated by Jenai cutcher west. 

out here looking for a mentor and encouraging college students to find and listen to their voice. #hireme

the below embedded webpage, loads weird on mobile devices. scroll down past the embedded page's header to read a piece i wrote for The Dance Center's blog.

Sometimes you just gotta stare at some swirling glitter and chill. frfr. try it!

i hope you enjoyed this edition. don't worry, i won't keep yall waiting too long for the next one... until next time, call someone you miss and tell 'em you love 'em. Thanks for reading!

Before you leave. Join me in wishing Tiff Beatty aka The People's Champion aka Pyro Poet aka the official editor of The Brown Pages.... Happy Birthday!! 

Happy Birthday!

this one goes out to all my taurus! my this new trip around the sun brings us good food, a releasing of old ways and the fruit of our hard work.

stay for awhile. take a peak around the place.