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Voting Ends Thursday – Reza Rites Nominated for Spoken Word Artist Award

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Voting for the 2017 Motif Theater Awards ends Thursday, August 3. Click here to access the information and ballot. 

PROVIDENCE, RI – Hi friends, crazy awesome news happening here in the universe of Venus Sings, 3 AM IS THE NEW BLACK and the #AmbitiousBlackFeminst: Yours truly, Reza Rites, has been nominated for a 2017 Motif Theater Award. As I’ve told some folks recently, this was already feeling like a good year in poetry for me. From performing at the RI site of the Women’s March on Washington, participating in the 30 Poems in 30 Days meditation, creating “I Am Salt Water: Honoring the Sacred Motions of Gaia LaVonne Gallactica” an interactive performance art piece and theological fantasy story built off of my poetry, and creating a manuscript tentatively called “Planet Love” which was inspired by a performance curated by Roz Raskins of Roz and the Rice Cakes,  I was already feeling positive about my progress as a poet. After all of that, to then get the news from fellow nominee Vatic Kuumba that I was among those being considered for a Spoken Word recognition – well it truly served as a certain type of icing on top. Thanks for all the support over the years; support for this effort expires Thursday, August 3, 2017, while the event where winners are announced happens Sunday, August 13. To see the other nominees, to find info on voting, and for details on the August 13 event, click here.

Sunshine and laughter,
Reza Rites

P.S.

  • To see video footage from my Women’s Rally performance, click here.
  • To learn more about “I Am Salt Water,” see a short teaser and trailer here.
  • To view and follow my art, essays and poems, visit @3amblack on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • To be in touch about ways to access projects and performances ready for the public or to book me, email rezaclif@gmail.com or message me on Twitter or Facebook @3amblack or @rezaclif.
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Reza Does Reggae: Sunday, March 5, 2017 on WRIU

Soul Rebels Unite TODAY (Sunday, March 5) when Reza Wreckage brings the Venus Sings Edition of The Reggae Showcase to WRIU, 2-5 pm (EST) on 90.3 FM in/around RI or through the live stream at http://www.wriu.org. 

Make it a date and don’t be late. 

Venus Sings and Votes: Election Day Reflections and Tips

Venus Sings and Votes: Election Day Reflections and Tips

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by Reza Corinne Clifton

PROVIDENCE, RI – People have a lot to say about the elections. Well I too wanted to say a little something even though I too am suffering from election coverage fatigue. Specifically what I’m sharing below is a list – a guide of sorts, really – for how to navigate, circumvent, or quickly put aside questions like these: “Why are you even voting? How can you vote for her (or him)? Why are you voting for a third party? Aren’t you selling your soul by showing up to the polls? Why aren’t you voting for someone you believe in? Are you trying to ruin this election?

When these inquiries abound, and when your sense of optimism, cynicism, reality and the underworld combine to make your head explode, consider these ideas instead:

1) Yes I think folks should vote. The struggles, the blood, the ongoing conflicts around the world that are fought in pursuit of the ballot…yes. Vote.

2) Every election isn’t everything. Local elections, county elections, ballot initiatives – these are closer to everything. How you treat your neighbors and those different from you, what you do when witnessing injustice or after a mirror has been put up allowing you to see the injustices you carry out, helping the next generation, supporting the previous generations – these things are everything.

3) If you live the average life cycle of Americans, you will vote in many elections. Sometimes you will vote for things, sometimes you will vote against things. Yes, it’s okay to vote against something just as it’s okay to vote for something. It’s also okay to vote while leaving feelings aside and outside of the polling places.

4) The people running for the presidency are basically cardboard cut-out figures. Yes. Cardboard. Or maybe those flying vinyl dummies outside of car shops and furniture stores. They will sway this way for this money, this way for this arms deal, and this way for this political ally. Stop giving so much of your emotions to cardboard. Hear what they’re saying, hear what others are saying, vote and move on. Remember, cardboard and vinyl dummies can’t fully be relied upon to withstand the rain, never mind your emotions. Try not to give so much of your heart to these people and this process.

5) If you want to vote third-party, consider what you’re going to do after Tuesday to strengthen that alternative party’s positioning in the next election. And by all means, try to make it work! But whatever you do, don’t give too much attention to the folks berating you for not going with a third party. Trust me – many of these folks are hypocrites and assholes. No really…assholes. I know some of them and they’re the type to manipulate, denigrate and abuse women, to call for unity while being decidedly abrasive to those trying to unify, and to give attention only to national races when any seasoned community organizer will tell you to keep your eyes on the local prize. Seriously, vote 3rd if you want, but not because some pseudo-intellectual with a sea of disgruntled community members always in tow told you so. Also see numbers 2-4.

6) Whether it’s your candidate that wins or the other gal, if you think something’s wrong, you should start trying to fix things in your own community, in your own way, and/or with support from neighbors. Don’t put all your stock in cardboard. Don’t. They’ve got enough support; someone else needs you.

Interview with Danay Suarez, Part 2: Different Festivals, Different Countries, One People

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Interview with Danay Suarez, Part 2:
Different Festivals, Different Countries, One People

By Reza Corinne Clifton
(with translation work by Reza Clifton, Tamara Diaz, Bryant Estrada, and Jose Ramirez)

It’s been almost a year since Cuban Hip Hop Emcee and World Music artist Danay Suarez hit the stages of the Afro-Latino Festival in NYC, and much has happened in between. She’s been featured in the Fader Magazine, on CNN, and in dozens of other news sites, blogs, and multimedia spaces. She has also continued touring and making art.

The year before, Summer 2014, was the first time I met Suarez. I was at the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC), also in NYC, and she was one of the artists I had hoped to see perform and/or who I hoped to interview. The interview didn’t work out, but because of mutual friends of friends, I did meet Suarez, and she was kind and inimitable. With one set of incorrect directions too many, my friend and I, upon arriving at the venue, found that we missed Suarez’s performance. We still liked some of the bands who performed, like Sante Les Amis from Uruguay. However, the sting of missing Suarez was sharp.

This wasn’t so a year later. That is because in 2015, at the Afro-Latino Festival, I saw Suarez perform on the opening night. I was in the front row, dancing, singing, smiling and catching footage to accompany my interview, which came a few weeks later. Mostly, though, I danced.

Earlier this year, around the time that President Obama visited Cuba, I shared part of the conversation between Suarez and I in which she discussed diplomatic relations between our two countries, and how she produced a rap song following similar releases by Jay-Z, Pitbull, Wyclef and Common. Suarez was the only rapper who released an “Open Letter” verse who actually lived in Cuba – the country at the center of the musical and political debate among the artists.

But it’s June now, and the summer festivals have begun, which means LAMC is coming up, the Afro-Latino Festival is coming up, and even here in Providence, PVDFest already comes to a close on Sunday, June 5. Why do these spaces and sites matter? What does using a term like Latin Alternative or Afro-Latino signify? How do festivals and the culture of festivals change from one country or continent to another? These were additional topics discussed during the 2015 interview I did with Suarez, which was conducted in Spanish. Click on the Soundcloud link below to listen to that excerpt.

As you will hear in the segment, Suarez, who lives in Cuba but tours internationally, also talked about her journey from being a computer programmer in Havana to an internationally-known Universal Music Group artist. It started with hip hop in many ways, for it was the rap movement in Cuba that inspired her to move from wanting to be a singer to grabbing a microphone and notebook, and writing and recording songs in the studio. Today she also sings, writes and performs in different jazz, reggae and hybrid styles, and dabbles in visual and multimedia arts. Overall, Suarez says she considers herself a composer of ideas, and any idea is within bounds, as is clear in her music and in listening to her views on macro and micro festival cultures.

Suarez says she understands that people need cultural movements, religion, etc to identify with and feel part of something and to feel like life has purpose. However, Suarez says that when she is part of these festivals, her message is that there shouldn’t be flags or borders. We are all from the same place, says Suarez, and we are all owners of all territories (aka we all have claim to this earth). To hear more, click here or listen to the podcast above.

To hear her music, and to follow Suarez, search for and follow Danay Suarez on Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud.

Visit the following link for more information about the Latin Alternative Music Conference: www.latinalternative.com/

Visit the following link for more information about the Afro-Latino Festival: www.afrolatinofestnyc.com/

Visit the following link for more information about PVDFest: www.pvdfest.com

To follow my #rezarites #venussings #sonicwatermelons and #3amblack coverage, follow http://www.venussings.com, http://www.ambtiousblackfeminist.com, and @rezaclif on Facebook and Twitter.

For tips and recommendations on 2016 Summer festivals, listen to “Sonic Watermelons Summer Guide, 2016 and Bonus Danay Suarez Interview, May 10, 2016,” a Sonic Sunday Podcast released Sunday, June 5, 2016.

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