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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.

Providence-based Artist Explores Intersections of Race, Videography and Social Media, Locally and Globally, in Race Matters! A New Exhibit at URI

Providence-based Artist Reza Clifton Explores Intersections of Race, Videography and Social Media, Locally and Globally, in New Exhibit at URI

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(Music Moves at Race Matters! full release below. Click here on the image to link to an extended release)

WHO:

Reza Clifton, Digital Storyteller

Steven Pennell, Gallery Director & Urban Arts and Culture Program Coordinator

Twenty artists working in different visual arts formats.

WHAT:

“Race Matters” an exhibit honoring Black History Month by celebrating racial and cultural diversity and examining the long history of horrible acts of racism across the nation and the world through the visual arts.

“Music Moves” a photography exhibit and multimedia project created by RI-based writer, “digital storyteller” and cultural navigator Reza Clifton.

WHEN:

Exhibit dates: January 25, 2016 to February 26, 2016.

Building/gallery hours are

  • Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Friday and Saturday, 9:00 AM to 4;00 PM.

Reception: Sunday, February 7, 2016, 1-4 PM

WHERE:

URI Providence Campus, 80 Washington Street, Providence, RI.

INFO

***

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Providence-based Artist Reza Clifton Explores Intersections of Race, Videography and Social Media, Locally and Globally, in New Exhibit at URI

PROVIDENCE, RI – “Race matters, and music moves; just look around you.”

That is how Providence, RI-based writer, cultural navigator and “digital storyteller” Reza Clifton describes her participation in an art exhibit currently on display at the Providence Campus of the University of Rhode Island (URI). Race Matters! features a collection of artwork from over a dozen different artists who contributed pieces to help highlight the beauty of racial and cultural  differences as well as the urgency behind the need to end racism. Among the artists exhibiting is Clifton, who submitted pieces from her project called “Music Moves.”

Clifton describes Music Moves as a photography exhibit and multimedia project she launched in 2014 “to explore and celebrate the different effects and benefits delivered through music.” She does this by sharing photographs, multimedia interview clips, and stories captured in places as wide and diverse as Madrid and San Sebastian, Spain; Austin, TX; Asheville, NC; Providence, RI; and Brooklyn, NY.

Clifton, also known as Reza Rites, Venus Sings and Reza Wreckage, has acquired several nicknames because she has worked as a blogger, community organizer and DJ, independently and for organizations across RI, for over a decade. She has produced content for radio dating back to 2001, and has been known as a pioneering blogger, podcaster and social media user and a busy freelance writer since 2004. Clifton was awarded Diversity in the Media Awards in 2007 and 2009 for work that appeared on her blogs and podcasts, and she has been recognized for leadership as a community organizer and contributor to the music and art scene in and outside of Rhode Island. She currently teaches writing and digital media at various sites (schools and community centers), and she can be heard weekly on Brown Student and Community Radio where she shares music, airs interviews and reports on the intersections of art, social media, race, gender and poverty on her show, “Sonic Watermelons.”

Despite these accomplishments, Clifton says she has experienced the kinds of barriers that women and people of color working in the media frequently reference in anecdotes, and which can be seen in digital media campaigns, like the #OscarsSoWhite conversations, and in research.

For example, the Women’s Media Center found that out of the 250 top-grossing domestically made films of 2013, women accounted for only 16 percent of all directors, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors. Similarly, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), in their “Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media,” found that men hold 73% of the top management jobs compared to 27% by women.

Clifton says Music Moves is a testament to the fact that focusing on the things you love can get you past these barriers. And she says the photos show it. For example, currently up at URI are photos from the 2015 Afro-Latino and Afropunk Festivals, Brooklyn, NY, which she attended and blogged about last summer, and the 2009 Jazzaldia Jazz Festival in San Sebastian, Spain, which she covered as part of her former production and hosting work on WRIU, a student and community-run station located on the URI Kingston Campus. Clifton also submitted photos from the 2012 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX, and from a day at the park, specifically Recife Park in Madrid, Spain.

Like her other exhibitions, Clifton selected photos that also fit into one of three sub-themes: 1) Music Moves Ideas and Cultures, 2) Music Moves Across and Through Space and Time, and 3) Music Moves the Human Spirit. Reflecting on the links between the Race Matters themes and Music Moves, Clifton explained:

“For me, focusing on music has led me to 1) work in a field, journalism, infamous for its low numbers and skewed representations of women and people of color, while 2) allowing me to to experience live performances and artist interviews in locations and with artists from all over the world, especially with women and musicians with West African, Caribbean, Latino, and/or Black American backgrounds. What I have found? Music Moves!”

The Race Matters! exhibit is on display now and until February 26, 2016, 80 Washington Street, Providence. Building/gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Friday and Saturday, 9:00 AM to 4;00 PM.  The reception for the event is scheduled for Sunday, February 7, 2016, 1-4 PM.

For more information, click here to read the full release, which includes information about photos in the current exhibit, visit www.VenusSings.com/music-moves, or do a search through all online posts containing the hashtag #MusicMovesReza. To follow Clifton, follow her Tumblr page, www.AmbitiousBlackFeminist.com, or follow @3amblack on FB, IG & Twitter and/or @rezaclif of FB and Twitter. 

 

REZA DOES REGGAE: Venus Sings on Reggae Showcase, Sunday Jan 31, 2016

PROVIDENCE, RI – Hi friends, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted here on VenusSings.com. November 12, 2015, to be precise, was the last time I shared anything new. In the interim, I have set some things up, lined some things up, and hung some things up. There is more info and there are more posts coming soon; one hint and way to catch up in the meantime is by following me @rezaclif on Facebook and Twitter.

photo 2One update:

TOMORROW, Sunday, January 31, 2016, I’m covering The Reggae Showcase, a weekly program produced by Peter Dante for WRIU, a broadcast service of the University of Rhode Island. I am one of several different DJ’s selected by Dante to guest-host annually on the Reggae Showcase, which has been on-air for over twenty years. Chune in!

THE REGGAE SHOWCASE
Venus Sings Edition
Sunday, January 31, 2016
2:00-5:00 PM

LISTEN LIVE: 90.3 FM / http://wriu.org/listen.html

cropped-venus-sings-website_logo1.jpgA few other notes to put in your ear:

Photos from my Music Moves collection are currently up at the URI Providence Campus and the reception for it is Sunday, February 7, 1-4 PM, 80 Washington Street, Providence, RI. More info about the exhibit – Race Matters! – and the inclusion and integration of my work, are coming soon right here to VenusSings.com. In the meantime, searching through #musicmovesreza and @3amblack on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter will take you to behind-the-scenes and up-to-the-minute updates about the project. Or visit the Music Moves page here on VenusSings.com.

 

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A final update:

A quick shout-out is owed to my team at Sonic Watermelons, the show I started in 2010 on Brown Student and Community Radio (BSR). Not only are Jose and Deejay Kellan working as hard as ever to help keep the show full of interesting guests and great music, they have also joined me in extending our net to bring more people onto the team. Special thanks go to some of our earliest and most dedicated new recruits (and former guests, in some cases) Jessica LaBrie, Michelle Arias, Rachel Simon, Erroll Lomba, Vatic Kuumba, and Kabir Lambo.

sonic flyer_summer_2015Follow/share Sonic Watermelons:

With new faces, voices and talents at the table, Sonic Watermelons experienced an exciting start to the new year with a flurry of inspiring visitors and conversations as well as a bump in listener traffic and community engagement. We also have more expertise at the table, which means our podcast game is about to get serious too. If you’re not tuning in weekly yet, you should probably start:

Sonic Watermelons ~ Every Tuesday, 7-8 PM ~ bsrlive.com/live-stream ~ @sonicwatermelons on Facebook ~ @watermelonradio on Twitter 

***

I look forward to returning and adding more content here to VenusSings.com. And I look forward to continuing to build with you folks.

Sunshine and laughter,
Reza Rites

 

#3amblack and #RezaRites at Afropunk 2015: Video and Photo Coverage

#3amblack and #RezaRites at Afropunk 2015: Video and Photo Coverage
by Reza Corinne Clifton

BROOKLYN, NY – On Sunday, August 23, 2015, two women hit the road for a one-day voyage to the annual Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn, NY. Why would two women spend six hours in a car for half of a festival? Take a look at this video for hints, cues, and clues about what makes this growing cultural gathering a force that can’t be stopped and a destination not to be missed if you identify with words like underground, alternative, Pan-African, weird, different, black….

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With performers like Lauryn Hill and Grace Jones, Afropunk producers proved they were willing to offer big names while also displaying a high level of consciousness as far as the importance of including women in festivals. Unfortunately I missed both Hill and Jones, the latter of which performed and produced a show that prompted a high volume of chatter on social media afterward.

On day two, upon arrival, I shopped…a LOT because the vendors and overall marketplace there speaks to me aesthetically, personally, and culturally. Apart from that, one of the most memorable parts of the day was catching the performance by Gary Clark Jr., who I realized I recognized from his performance at this year’s BET Awards (see video clip below), when I was also impressed with his chops. I also got to catch some of the multi-decade career-spanning beautiful brown rocker, Lenny Kravitz, whose enthralling set was loud and clear enough for decent cellphone footage – featured in the #3amblack and #rezarites at #afropunkfest15 video podcast above.

Photos can also be seen on Facebook in one of the 3 AM Is the New Black photo albums; click here to link to it. Below are credits for the Vimeo film embedded above.

Gary Clark Jr. performs with Anthony Hamilton at the BET M

Producer:
Reza Clifton

Music:
Live cell phone footage of Lenny Kravitz at Afropunk, 8.23.15

Photography:
Reza Clifton and Sophia Wright

Info on Afropunk:
afropunk.com
afropunkfest.com
@afropunk on FB and Twitter

Info on #3amblack and #rezarites
venussings.com
ambitiousblackfeminist.com
@3amblack on FB, IG, and Twitter

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From Providence and NYC to San Sebastian, Spain: A 2015 Venus Sings and Sonic Watermelons Music Festival Guide

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(Captured here, from left to right, are Reza Rites / Venus Sings, performer Danay Suarez, and artist Tamara Diaz)

PROVIDENCE, RI – “It’s summertime in the city and the festivals are hot!” That was the theme of the June 16 episode of Sonic Watermelons, the show I produce alongside Jose Ramirez and Deejay Kellan for Brown Student and Community Radio (www.bsrlive.com).

After a group discussion about the June 11-14 Providence International Arts Festival, I ran down a short “Venus Sings” list of events I highly recommend. That list is below.


Danay Suarez, featured in the video above, who was a 2014 LAMC artist, is on the line-up for this July’s Afrolatino Festival, a space described as a gathering to “celebrate the contributions that people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean have made to (NYC) and the global culture as a whole.”

Catch Sonic Watermelons every Tuesday from 7-8 PM (EST) on http://www.bsrlive.com. And follow music news and cultural tidbits on VenusSings.com, AmbitiousBlackFeminist.com, and @3amblack on FB, TW, and IG.

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