Search

Venus Sings by Reza Rites

Tag

poetry

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

image1
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.
Advertisements

Young, Gifted, Black…and Arrested: #BlackLivesMatter on #SonicWatermelons, Part I

IMG_2581

Young, Gifted, Black…and Arrested
#BlackLivesMatter on #SonicWatermelons
Sonic Sunday Podcast, August 14, 2016

Depending on who you talk to, Christopher Johnson may not quite fit under the moniker of young. Or maybe you think the 45 year old does. Still, there is no arguing that the poet, playwright and actor is gifted and Black, to borrow from the wise words of Nina Simone. In fact, just this past May, Johnson was interviewed by the office of RI state Governor Gina Raimondo for the position of state poet laureate.

However, Johnson now may also be known to some as the “poet” who “was arrested in Providence for ‘walking while black’.” That is because earlier this week on August 10, the Providence Journal published an article sparked by an August 3rd essay written by Johnson, for Motif Magazine, in which he discusses being “stopped by a police officer while walking home from a bus stop in May.” And on August 4, Bob Plain of RIFuture.org, also published a piece about Johnson and his arrest, including the perspective of Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steve Pare who said “‘The officer is going to have to articulate to the court why he asked this man his name and where he was going.’” Matt O’Brien’s piece in the Journal reminded readers that Governor Raimondo “is considering about 20 candidates for state poet,” with a note from the governor’s spokeswoman Marie Aberger saying that an “‘arrest would not preclude someone from being named to the position’” though acknowledging that “‘the seriousness of the alleged offense…[and] the circumstances surrounding it and the outcome’” may be considered.

This is indeed a serious matter, and this is an ongoing case, all of which should help you understand some of the work Johnson shares, and why he sometimes writes, posts and advocates in the name of or with the inclusion of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Luckily for all of us, he has developed this craft of joining words to create something new, and whether it’s love, racism, or violence, Johnson holds a mirror up to the world we live in, not to placate and soothe us but to ensure that the truth, sometimes harsh, sometimes beautiful, is told. Johnson is not only the face of racial profiling or another victim of police brutality, he is an artist. And that’s the man who joined Sonic Watermelons on June 28, 2016, when Johnson visited the show as a guest to tell us about his relationships and network in Providence, the many projects he has worked on, and the amazing opportunity he was embarking on the very next day in Sedona, Arizona.

No, we didn’t talk about his experience with being profiled and harassed on a short walk home one night this past May. Because we don’t need violence and death to remind us to talk about why #BlackLivesMatter on #SonicWatermelons. To listen to the podcast, “Christopher Johnson Visits Sonic Watermelons Y Las Vidas Negras Importan” click here: http://bit.ly/2aTY7EP. Subscribe to “Sonic Watermelons” on iTunes; follow the show on FB, SoundCloud and Instagram @sonicwatermelons and on Twitter @watermelonradio; and hear the live show via webstream every Tuesday, 7-8 PM on bsrlive.com.

Read/Learn More:

More About Sonic Watermelons:
“The world is a big place. With big ideas. And lots and lots of music.” That is the theme of Sonic Watermelons, a radio show on Brown Student and Community Radio (www.bsrlive.com) started in 2010 by Reza Clifton (Reza Rites), an award-winning multimedia producer. Sonic Watermelons can be heard / streamed live every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 PM (EST) on bsrlive.com, where Clifton is now joined by co-producers and crew members Jose Ramirez, Deejay Kellan, Jessica LaBrie, and other rotating volunteers. Every Sunday, the team publishes and shares podcast versions of previous episodes and other multimedia tidbits; #BlackLivesMatter on #SonicWatermelons is a series that will be shared in that space. To listen live or find archive links (going back to 2010), visit http://www.bsrlive.com. Follow Sonic Watermelons on Facebook, Soundcloud and Instagram @SonicWatermelons, on Twitter @watermelonradio; subscribe to podcasts on iTunes under “Sonic Watermelons.”

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

057
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.

I May Move: A New #3amblack and #RezaRites Flick


Sometimes you have something to say. And sometimes it’s time to walk away and move on. But where do you go?

That is one way to describe the newest short film – and question – produced by 3 AM is the New Black and Reza Clifton called “I May Move.” The video features a short poem written by Clifton as well as photographs, drumming and an audio clip from a graduation program honoring adults and teens who completed a community-based Black Studies course on August 14, 2015 in Providence, RI. Clifton served as the graduation speaker, delivering an address she called “Getting the Revolutionary Word Heard.”

Click on the video above, or here, to view the film. Learn more about the class, talk and partners involved by visiting the links provided below.

***

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

To learn about, donate to, and read class materials from the DARE Black Studies Program
http://dareblackstudies.com/

To read more #3amblack poetry from Reza Clifton
http://3amblackpoetry.tumblr.com/

To read the full Washington Post article referenced in the talk
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/08/12/black-poverty-differs-from-white-poverty/

To see the “PVD Black Resistance Zine” produced by the first graduating class of the Fred Hampton Institute for Resistance
http://issuu.com/sophiarwright/docs/pvd_black_resistance_zine_-_color_-?e=18914926/15234109

To read/follow #3amblack updates and other arts/culture updates
http://venussings.com/

For access to Reza’s “Confessions of an AmbitiousBlackFeminist” blog
http://ambitiousblackfeminist.tumblr.com/

***

FILM CREDITS

Producer/Director: Reza Clifton

Poetry/Graduation Address: Reza Clifton

Photography: Reza Clifton, Fred Hampton Institute for Resistance

Video: Reza Clifton

Music/Drumming: Sidy Maiga, Rachel Nguyen, Marco McWilliams

Additional Thank you’s to: Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), Rheem Brooks, Marco McWilliams, Cherise Morris, Kabir Olawale Lambo, and Sophia Wright

REMIX! New Social Media and Blogging Workshop Starts Tomorrow, May 7, 2015 at AS220

Hi Friends,

I’m super excited to present a remixed version of my social media/blogging class starting this Thursday, May 7 at 6:30p at the As220 Media Labs in downtown Providence (entrance on Lucie Way).

What’s the difference between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? How do I start a blog and what the heck is Tumblr? What’s the right platform for sharing my talents and skills online? What’s the trick to posting daily?

These are just some of the questions I’ll explore while participants select a platform and implement my compilation of tips and best practices for showcasing art, interests and talents online.

I look forward to seeing some new faces and I hope you’ll help me spread the word.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP: http://shop.as220.org/collections/workshops-media-arts/products/blogging

Sunshine and Laughter,
Reza Rites

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: