Black Girls! Black American pearls. . .Crowned with tight curls. Unmonolithic and unapologetic for the gardens and tongues of their fruition. It was unusual work in creating this body of culture. This body of sound. This peculiar vibe. And you don’t apologize, in taking an authentic journey to create a culture and sound; serving as your very existence, and herstory book in these United States of America. The music, culinary, language, and persuasion. The endless variety, infinite possibilities, and wonder, derived out of Black America’s very presence (and ongoing continuation) ensures that this music, that way of talkin,’ that style is. . .Black American. And, YES, we DO have a. . .culture! And, YES, that culture was birthed, and created, by Black American women.
You know that style, and way, of rockin’ when you sway in a certain way. With Black girls, you don’t just walk into tunes, you rock with the tunes! You rock with Blues. You rock steady with Soul! You roll into Rock! You are that rock of Earth’s Rhythm and Blues. And when waters are troubled, Gospelic rocks quiet the rocking of unsettled bridges. There are different ways to rock in Black American beats. The question is how do you rock to your own steady beat? Contributing to the steadiness, and versatility, to rockin’ dances of Black American girls!
When examining these magical gardens of Black American women, there are so many layers, designs, patterns, stiching, colors, and decorative arrangements coming with it. Herstory and survival mandated so! The gardens grew rich, and were overflowing. It was necessary, and continues to grow, so that older and newly-produced seeds always flourish. This year’s 2019 production of Black Girls Rock was one imaginative lens of what one of those gardens would be, when in performance. If one garden in Black America would sing, what would be. . .her sound?
Throughout the performances, speeches, and presentations of Black Girls Rock 2019, the world is presented with a sensorical and picturesque view of Black American gardens. The feminine presence is abundant for all to see. Through Black Girls Rock 2019, viewers are exposed to the feminine aesthetics of Black American women. Something that was denied to them, or believed to have been lacking, in Black America.
One of the great highlights of this year’s program was how the humanity of Black American women were shown in different facets, through. . .song. Different ages, issues, and tales of Black American women’s experience. Those 90’s House legends as Crystal Waters, Robin S., and CeCe Penniston, showcased that these musical themes are relevant in 2019. Wanting true love, still giving love when not having much to give, and finally, getting the love of one’s desire.
Ari Lennox’s performance of “Shea Butter, Baby,” illuminates a Black American maiden’s ability to be lathered in natural products of another soiling. Her desire for love, and her celebration and description of Love’s sensory. Something that is also desired, and yearned for, in the feminine sector of Black American gardens.
Soulstress and R&B legend, Monica, breaks down the meaning of “Commitment.” Letting that simmer, and presenting women’s rights (and a women’s movement) into relatable terms for Black American maidens, and healthy relationships with Black American male counterparts. A unique take on the feminists and womanists lens.
The angelic (and light) flow of multi-racial artist Kiana Lede addresses the mental health among Black American women spaces. That, contrary to popular belief, we are not the “strong, Black woman,” character of saving the world, while others ride on our strength. We, too, need a break. And, sometimes we do fall apart. Kiana Lede’s presence, and performance in R&B, brings vigilance for multi-racial and bi-racial women to understand, and see Black American women in a different image. A perception, which shatters colorism’s scorn, and supposed hierarchy above them. This performance also liberates bi-racial and multi-racial women to observe the Black American part of them, not as a “stain,” but a tale of tactic to utilize a foreign culture, in assisting with the carrying of her tune. Continuing this reflection is Elle Varner, and her performance of “Number 1 Song.” In Varner’s presence, the bi-racial/multi-racial woman has found a balance between both worlds. A background in the jewels of midnight-blues decorated with pearl-colored chandeliers, once again the bi-racial woman honors that part of Blackness, within her. She sings whispers of serenades. And, in doing so, she also shatters colorist perceptions of a Blackened existence.
This story book performance in Black America’s gardens continues to weave harmony in a balance of the sexes, through musician, songstress, and Neo-Soul singer. . .India Arie. Dressed in black, performing in Blackened scenary, Arie takes us on a pictorial archive of Black American LOVE. How would it look, if performed in the Universal heavens? The feminine and masculine intertwining of Black American people. A portion of one lyric states, “he’s not enslaved to his pride.” Indications for the release of outdated egos, which have toxified masculinity, and prevents Black American men from aligning with holistic energies of harmony. Overcoming slavery’s attempts to instill chaos and destruction between the two principles. Those giant-like images of love, healing, and nurture between Black American women and men are visual healing anecdotes for where we are going. Black Love is dead? I think not!
Then, there are Black American men, themselves. Those men, produced (and birthed from) from Black America’s garden. Finding comfort in the garden, and serenading to it. This is the message of Hip Hop icon, Common and his performance with Gospel star, William Murphy in “God Is Love.” Ah! There is divinity and spiritual worship in this garden. A perfect reminder of Black America’s authentic culture being founded in Black American Church culture, environments, and spaces. Contrary to popular belief, it’s within their own cultural gardens, which gives them healing and refuge. When not tattered, ravaged, invaded, or having one’s feminine image replaced, its within these gardens that serves as the source of their salvation. No others. Common and William Murphy’s performance is illuminating. Furthermore, when in sparkled and untampered, Black American gardens, the brotherhood among Black American men is secured. Violence is not permitted, as peace solidifies their reign. Loving the garden, means that they heal thyself; while restoring their masculine wellness, alongside fellow brethren.
A living balance and performance of the intertwining of Black American masculine and feminine principles comes to light in Hip Hop & Neo-Soul songstress, Erykah Badu and Common. On stage that spiritual marriage is performed and in realization. Badu’s wearing of the color, white, is the final product of India Arie’s foreshadow of a Blackened, Black American Love. Visualized in the dark, and coming into fruition in. . .the Light!
Our beauty and light has been captured in our musical traditions and culture. In addition, it is also part of the journey of healing old wounds, and broken traditions, of the past. It is a nourishing element to know that music, and our gardens, were (and still are) our therapy; emotional, mental, and physical. What also comes into fruition is how they are sung into a re-birth of our very being. Black Girls Rock 2019 is just one imagination, and depiction of Black America’s healing gardens, for her people. The night was memoriable, and one to be remembered. Many gems to be rocked. And, if you stay rockin’ with Black American jewels, be prepared to be ROCKED, in your. . .own way! #BlackGirlsRock2019