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Venus Sings by Reza Rites

Month

June 2020

“Can I live?” is a line and song made famous by rapper Jay-Z (or Sean Carter, husband of Beyonce), and a refrain still heard colloquially today, including through my lips. Can I be Black? Can I be a woman? Can I have space to thrive? Can I live?! Ironically enough, Jay-Z’s answer, for a brief moment, appeared to be no a few years ago – if you saw the video footage of Beyonce’s sister, artist Solange, physically attacking the rapper in an elevator. It was reportedly related to infidelity on Jay-Z’s part. Why am I thinking about all of this right before I embark on a Bougie Black Girls (in masks) in Boston (ok Needham) trip? 1) it was Solange’s birthday earlier this week and the photos and videos and lewks she and others posted – ooooo child! 2) in honor of her birthday, I did a dance tribute set last night featuring a handful of her songs. 3) For me, Solange emanates and grants permission for us to be bougie, ratchet, artsy, intelligent, sensual, weird, loving, thuggish and loved. She is big hoops, champagne brunches, twerking battles and international flights; she is Black power, unyielding loyalty, and unapologetic curls; she is the best friend every Black girl/woman/femme deserves. I am lucky to know and have many Solange’s in my life (and you know who you are), so this set is also a tribute to you. Sunshine and laughter. – Reza Rites

#vanity4themovement
#joyisthemovement
#danceasdiscourse
#rezarites
#ambitiousblackfeminist
#3amblack
#carefreeblackgirl
#blackgirlmagic
#SolangeKnowles
#venussings
https://www.instagram.com/p/CB8ggtandya/?igshid=1b0atqcapso87

Today’s dance session is definitely about Friday night vibez. Wu-Tang is for the children, pineapple is for the sangria, and dance is for the joyful. We (I) dance at 10:30 pm.

#vanity4themovement
#joyisthemovement
#danceasdiscourse
#ambitiousblackfeminist
#rezarites
#3amblack
#carefreeblackgirl
#blackgirlmagic
#vannawakandablack
#wutang
#hiphop
#rezadoesreggae
https://www.instagram.com/p/CB67USLHLT7/?igshid=j4lf3lw7dlec

Hi friends, still tracking movements and joy, but yesterday it was about a different variety. Join me later today for another #danceasdiscourse session; video clips and start-time announcement coming later today. In the meantime, take some time to breathe and pay attention to your body. What does it want? What does it need? Have you provided those things? Can you provide those things? Can you be still enough to hear and feel when things come to you? Can you go with the flow like the Agawam River? These are the same questions I asked myself yesterday as I explored Wareham, MA with the company of no one and nothing other than the beautiful nature that surrounded me. I am stillness, and I am movement. I am tranquility, and I am passion. So are you.

#rezarites
#ambitiousblackfeminist
#3amblack
#vanity4themovement
#naturesovain
#joyisthemovement
#carefreeblackgirl
#naturephotography
https://www.instagram.com/p/CB52-z3Hn0x/?igshid=16sfd3hz16gdq

Multimedia Poetry Pieces for Those Who Love Black Girls, Women, Femmes

If you are in the business of caring for Black girls/women/femmes, you might be exhausted. There is the slow tide of justice moving in the Breonna Taylor case. There are all the misogynoiristic bottom-dwellers who emerged to tell Black woman hip hop artist and community activist Noname that she and other intelligent, justice-driven Black women need to be nicer and more accommodating to Black men who’ve never valued intelligent, justice-driven Black women in the first place. And there are the details that have emerged surrounding the tragic last days of activist Toyin Salau. This does not scratch the surface when we think of the continued attacks and murders of our trans sisters, the cultural and physical attacks on our younger sisters who are just trying to graduate high school, and my own biological sister, who is currently suing the ACLU SoCal for racial discrimination. And of course, there are the instances right out of my hometown – like the disrespect, disdain, and downright displays of discrimination recently directed at Providence City Council members Nirva LaFortune and President Sabina Matos. And oh, by the way, there is more.

It is exhausting.

That is why I want to ensure that I make my two most recent multimedia poetry videos and audio links available and easy to access in one place – in case you too are exhausted, and need some poetry and art to help you regroup. The two pieces were inspired by thoughts on community, leadership, joyfulness, Black Love, and resistance, and by the invitation to perform during the June 18, 2020 Campaign Kickoff event for Cynthia Mendes, a woman of Cape Verdean and Puerto Rican heritage who is running for office in the 2020 elections for Senate District 18, East Providence, Riverside, and Pawtucket, RI. rho

I love you/us, and I pledge to continue making art, poetry, and public statements that say so.

Sound only: https://soundcloud.com/rezaclif/reza-rites-and-cynthia-runs-preview

Sound only: https://soundcloud.com/rezaclif/reza-rites-cynthia-runs-campaign-launch

Dance session pro-tip for those of us of a certain age looking for hip hop: Tony Touch Radio on Pandora will do it.

#vanity4themovement
#joyisthemovement
#danceasdiscourse
#ambitiousblackfeminist
#rezarites
#3amblack
#carefreeblackgirl
#blackgirlmagic
#hiphop
#converse
#blackgothgirl
#vannawakandablack
https://www.instagram.com/p/CB02No8n_Tm/?igshid=j88j73rhhcmn

“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.” Yes, this is a lyric from the Destiny’s Child song “Bootylicious,” but it’s also a sentiment belonging to the daughters and descendants of Africa many centuries over, multiple continents deep. This week, it’s additionally served as the mantra I had to repeat to myself as I watched and rewatched videos that triggered my personal insecurities as I saw my normally shrouded stomach peaking out or on display in so many of these clips. In response, I looked that internal haterina directly in the eyes and simply said, “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly. But it’s here.” I’ve dealt in plenty of spaces and with plenty of folks who weren’t ready: school leaders, “White Feminists,” jealous or despondent romantic partners, newsrooms, misogynistic friends, disloyal colleagues, hypocritical nonprofits…That’s just the reality of being a Black woman in the US. But you know what? That has never stopped us. “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly,” but here we are, here we come, and recognize that we’ve always brought it.

#vanity4themovement #joyisthemovement #danceasdiscourse #ambitiousblackfeminist #rezarites #carefreeblackgirl #blackgirlmagic #blacklivesmatter #3amblack
https://www.instagram.com/p/CB0QfJMnUA2/?igshid=e7spynuljrv4

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