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.
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
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?
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!
i return often to the below material to refine, revist and refresh Go Mary! here's a bts glimpse.
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!