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Venus Sings by Reza Rites

Month

August 2020

Hi friends, as I mentioned a couple days ago, I am attempting to wind and pare down some of my Dance as Discourse activities as part of transitioning back to work and school. However, I have to admit: this is going to be a lot tougher than I expected. I am at a point in my journey where I have to give less of myself toward a project that has kept me joyful and literally alive and functioning these last few months to, instead, begin the preparations that would see me in a setting where people may have a harder time seeing the small things I try to do to bring or facilitate joy, liberation, and awareness. In contrast, so many of you have publicly and privately shared that the dance videos and posts have inspired, motivated, instructed, comforted, and/or energized you in some way. Your words of solidarity and gratitude will be the pillows I lay on at night, especially on the days most devoid of love; thank you for sharing them.

To continue building with and showing appreciation toward my community, my Black August post today includes another list of Black musicians I danced, smiled, and/or floated to during a dance session. Whereas the post from Friday was just reggae artists, this crosses genres and includes Afrobeat and Neo-soul artists. This is far from a complete list, but since a common type of inquiry or request over the last few months has been to identify the artists I’m dancing to, I want to share whatever I can. You’ll also see that I have provided two YouTube links, and names of “stations” in Pandora that also helped satisfy my dance needs. I hope this helps if you were curious! Sunshine and laughter. – Reza Rites

P.S. Dancing today at 11:30am (EST) if you want to sync up.

#danceasdiscourse #vanity4themovement #joyisthemovement #ambitiousblackfeminist #rezarites #3amblack #carefreeblackgirl #blackaugust #blackgirlmagic #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter #sayhername #rezadoesreggae #venussings
https://www.instagram.com/p/CEPKc6an0Sb/?igshid=woo3d7p9juyr

Hi fam, with the new school year and life in general knocking loudly on my door, it’s time for me to wind down and make changes to the #danceasdiscourse project. As I’ve shared previously, the two-hour sessions from which I pull the videos are actual scheduled workout slots I create, and I need to continue incorporating exercise into my life, so hopefully that part won’t change. However, it is likely that I will decrease posting new batches of videos, and it is likely that I will switch entirely to stories and/or other less labor-intensive alternatives, when I have time to share any videos at all. I will try to continue posting content to commemorate Black August, but I do anticipate a general drop in output, and I’d like to be transparent about that.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to commune around music and movement, and I feel so grateful to have had this space and these conversations with you amidst this worldwide pandemic. To show my gratitude, and to continue sharing the gifts that come with music and dance, today’s Black August post includes a list of some of the reggae artists I have danced to and shared through my videos. It is in no way exhaustive, but I did, intentionally, leave off members of the Marley family for those trying to find artists outside of the musically mighty klan many of us already know. Have fun finding the chunes – and your groove. And thanks again. Sunshine and laughter. – Reza Rites

P.S. Dance session tonight at 7pm (EST). Sync up and vibe out with me later or find your joyful movements when you can!

#danceasdiscourse #vanity4themovement #joyisthemovement #ambitiousblackfeminist #rezarites #3amblack #carefreeblackgirl #blackaugust #blackgirlmagic #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter #sayhername #rezadoesreggae #venussings

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Lila Ike
Koffee
Chronixx
Konshens
Mortimer
Tanya Stevens
Mr. Vegas
Sean Paul
Half-Pint
Red Rat
Beenie Man
Bounty Killer
Barrington Levy
Vanessa Bling
Yellowman
Shenseea
Hollie Cook
Red Dragon
Tenor Saw
Shabba Ranks
Buju Banton
https://www.instagram.com/p/CEKnjQbnpO6/?igshid=t512aizfvy44

Earlier today, the topic of shrimp and grits came up, which got me thinking about New Orleans. What a rich history that city truly holds. Things certainly changed there after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but things have also become quite different EVERYWHERE, lately, thanks to COVID-19. Traveling might be tricky if you aren’t close by, but the internet is still a place for adventures.

Today, for Black August, I’m not going to say much more. Instead, I’m providing a few links and a list with keywords you can use to find other new or interesting pieces of information that go beyond food – though this shrimp and grits meal I cooked up is about to send me away like Calgon. Sunshine and laughter. – Reza Rites

P.S. I’m dancing tonight at 9pm (EST) if you want to sync up. How? Log in or pop in you favorite mix, hit play, and dance knowing I’m right there with you or check the comments and stories for my “happy feet.”

#danceasdiscourse #vanity4themovement #joyisthemovement #ambitiousblackfeminist #rezarites #3amblack #carefreeblackgirl #blackaugust #blackgirlmagic #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter #sayhername #rezadoesreggae #venussings

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INTERESTING SEARCH TERMS

New Orleans and HBCUs
New Orleans and Haitian Revolution
New Orleans and Birthplace of Jazz
New Orleans and Congo Square

***

SAMPLE OF INTERESTING ARTICLES

https://64parishes.org/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-congo-square

https://slate.com/human-interest/2015/08/the-most-successful-slave-rebellion-in-history-created-an-independent-haiti-and-secured-the-louisiana-purchase-and-the-expansion-of-north-american-slavery.html

https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-10-27/new-orleans-and-haiti-are-linked-culture-food-and-history
https://www.instagram.com/p/CEIOzWFHsXY/?igshid=1jcbsmxjxfm0k

Angela Bassett is the queen. That is the conclusion reached by many, over and over again, but what about her husband; are his accolades as plentiful and mighty as hers? If you are not sure, let me assure you: cinema-files and Hollywood-watchers have answered, resoundingly, yes. That is, yes, Courtney B. Vance holds a scepter of his own, and it’s time we show him the love he has earned (if you’re not already).

If you are up-to-date and tuned into new TV programs, Vance’s name might sound familiar. That’s because he is one of the stars in the new show, “Lovecraft Country,” which I wrote about yesterday. With all the acclaim the show is receiving, it would be easy to infer a link between the excellence of the show, and Vance’s talents – and it would be the right thing to do! Vance’s career has spanned multiple decades, with roles across and within multiple film/tv genres, and there is much more to come from him.

For today’s Black August post, I wanted to take some time to celebrate the achievements and artistic mark left, so far, by the great Courtney B. Vance. Whether you know him as one in the trio fighting Jim Crow laws and ugly monsters in Lovecraft Country, or you know him as one of the attorneys taking criminals to task in Law and Order, Criminal Intent, you know that we are lucky for the drama, laughter, tenderness, and honesty that regularly characterizes the performances and portrayals delivered by Vance. Check out the abbreviated list in the comments, which shows some of the programs that impressed me, surprised me, or made me smile remembering him in it; hopefully you see a title or two you might want to peruse as you prepare to celebrate the king. Sunshine and Laughter. – Reza Rites

P.S. I’m celebrating Courtney B. Vance and other Black voices and faces through dance TONIGHT! Sync up and join me at 9:30pm (EST) if you want to honor these talented people – or your body.

***

#danceasdiscourse #vanity4themovement #joyisthemovement #ambitiousblackfeminist #rezarites #3amblack #carefreeblackgirl #blackaugust #blackgirlmagic #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter #sayhername #rezadoesreggae #venussings
https://www.instagram.com/p/CEF5OITnv2l/?igshid=698b6cyrm7x7

Like so many around the country, I had a chance to catch HBO’s new show, Lovecraft Country, and I was pleasantly stunned. I have also been reveling in the variety of think-pieces and celebrations of Black authors and artists who dabble in science fiction, speculative fiction, horror, and “Afrofuturism.” Blerds are back, baby!

At this point in time, most people part of my extended community have heard of Afrofuturism, but I also know that many are still trying to figure it out. That uncertainty or confusion might be due to the fact that Afrofuturism is a variety of genres, beliefs, and styles, and it is something that can be identified and labeled by both creators and by critics and curators. To that end, To close today’s Black August post, I am providing a short list of resources that I use and turn to when I think about or offer instruction related to Afrofuturism, or when I’m seeking production space as a writer, artist…and Afrofuturist. Sunshine and laughter. – Reza Rites

P.S. I’m dancing later this evening if you’re interested in syncing up. Updates will be in the comments and stories.

#danceasdiscourse #vanity4themovement #joyisthemovement #ambitiousblackfeminist #rezarites #3amblack #carefreeblackgirl #blackaugust #blackgirlmagic #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter #sayhername #rezadoesreggae #venussings

***

“AFROFUTURISTS” (not a full list)

– Janelle Monae – Many Moons – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHgbzNHVg0c

– Kamau Brathwaite – http://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/masks-i-libation-ii-making-drum

– Octavia Butler – https://www.biography.com/people/octavia-e-butler-38207

– Sun Ra – https://youtu.be/1qjiQwD7VCI

***

AFROFUTURISM SAMPLES FROM ME, REZA RITES (not a full list)

Slave Ship Sink Deep – https://youtu.be/dvyzjnyWg_g

Afrofuturism, Education and Digital Literacy…https://vimeo.com/rezarites/corneliuschat

***

SITES & RESOURCES TO LEARN OR ENGAGE (not a full list)

Ted Talk from Ingrid LaFleur, Founder of The Afrofuture Strategies Institute – youtube.com/watch?v=x7bCaSzk9Zc

Black Quantum Futurism (on FB and IG): @blackquantumfuturism
https://www.instagram.com/p/CEC_5MXn0Fp/?igshid=7ap23s5okzja

Feelings. Who needs ‘em; am I right? Well it was the combination of those buggers, combined with other self-care needs and must-attend-to factors, that made a dance that should have happened on Saturday not happen till today. I will confess, with the final days of summer upon us, and the new school year starting soon, I am busy trying to soothe a mourning muse who resides in my heart, throat, hips, and fingertips.

Art from any medium can help break that, which is one reason I have focused so heavily on hair, make-up and fashion during my dance sessions and social media extended scrolling. That is also why for today’s Black August post, I want to celebrate a Detroit-based Black-owned company that has helped me elevate my looks and aesthetic: Diop. In the video attached here, the bandana I’m wearing is one I acquired from there, and I have purchased many different styles that I’ve both kept and gifted. Diop is a Black-owned company based out of Detroit, but of course they ship/deliver.

Before I sign out, and to honor my muse, I am also sharing a poem I wrote a few years ago, which you might connect with if you are an artist, “creative,” or innovator who has experienced blockages or extended breaks. Sync up time is 2:30 PM if you want to dance with me. Sunshine and laughter. – Reza Rites

***

FIND / SHOP DIOPSocial Media: @weardiopWebsite: www.weardiop.com.

***

Crafting Archipelagos
By Reza Rites

Crafting words
But falling Into an archipelago
Of nightmares
And notions
Where all of life’s
Precious gifts live
Slightly out of reach
Thanks to a reef so
Great
That it shields
Its secrets
With layers of colors
Textures
And civilizations
Still unexplored

I will write you
Today
Instead

Tomorrow
The nucleus of
An opus

Awaits.

***

#danceasdiscourse
#vanity4themovement
#joyisthemovement
#ambitiousblackfeminist
#rezarites
#3amblack
#carefreeblackgirl
#blackaugust
#blackgirlmagic
#blacklivesmatter
#blacktranslivesmatter
#sayhername
#rezadoesreggae
#venussings

https://www.instagram.com/p/CD__kizn6JW/?igshid=imsx0zgiwwu8

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