HAIFAH WALIDAH / “Do You Mind”
I met Olive Demetria and Hanifah Walidah during the desperate days immediately after Katrina. I was spending most of my time on the road doing video interviews with evacuees, performing poetry and giving talks about New Orleans. I was invited to visit the People’s Republic of Brooklyn to be part of a benefit at a small club. I got there about twenty minutes early and sat at the bar peeping the proceedings.
It didn’t take five minutes for me to recognize the obvious: this was a lesbian affair. I was both humbled and impressed. Womyn-idenitifed sisters were throwing a benefit and had invited a male to speak. It was a good night and I got a chance to hear from a deep layer of a true underground; even met a sista from New Orleans in the house.
I’ve kept up with the crew via the internet. They started a multi-city viceo-documentary series with the self-explanatory title U-People. In addition to producing events, Olive is a serious videographer. Their I Love U-People website currently features music from an ever growing U People Soundtrack.
If you dig any of these tracks, go to their website and support our sisters. I’ve selected five tracks as a sampler.
Shelley Nicole/Blackbush works in the tradition of Nona Hendryx producing a hard rock edged R&B. Her “Blackgirls” is a (wo)manifesta call to pride.
Red Summer is a performance poet/vocalist out of Chitown. “Stillettos” is a song about hurt, hurt that masquerades as fashion.
West coast emcee Kandi Cole drops a defiant push up rap throw down called “Grownwoman” sounding to my ears like a cross between MC Lyte and early Queen Latifah.
Toshi Reagon is the best known of this grouping. The daughter of Bernice Reagon, the founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock, Toshi has a mature groove that builds on a whole list of big voice, big bodied blues women. “Is Love The Reason” is a strong song and could easily hold its own on the radio.
Hanifah Walidah’s “Do You Mind” channels Meshell Ndegeocello’s style in delivering a slinky, sexy seduction song. Plus, there is a visually arousing video for this woman-centered piece of pleasure. I really, really like the musicscape, the mix of sounds, the layering of over-dubbed voices, the electronic accoutrements, including a chiming vibes like keyboard. Hanifah tours as a vocalist with Brooklyn Funk Essentials, a New York City funk ensemble of note.
So to all you U-People out there, whoever you are, wherever you are—you know who you are—and to U-People supporters here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to groove on, to get to, to turn others onto, to spread and share with love. You don’t have to be lesbian to love and respect women!
—Kalamu ya Salaam
This entry was posted on Monday, September 22nd, 2008 at 3:32 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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