All posts by nevahblackdown

Hi, my name is Karen Gibson Roc and I am the creator of NevahBlackDown. I am a Mother first and foremost. Poetry is my gift and I use it to speak to my own heart as well as those who choose to let my words in. NevahBlackDown is an ongoing conversation that I am choosing to have with those who care to listen. I share my work and the work of others who feel that art, voice, and expression is a powerful means to share positive imagery and inspiration.

Featured Event: Somi @ The Clarice Performance Arts Center, University of Maryland (Dreaming Zenzile: Work-in Progress) Sunday, August 20, 2017 . 4 PM

20729691_10155256011695589_7977099732533519697_nDreaming Zenzile is a modern jazz play based on the extraordinary life of late South African singer and political activist Miriam Makeba. Written by vocalist & songwriter Somi, the play features both original music and reinterpretations of Makeba’s popular repertoire through the modern jazz idiom and small ensemble arrangements. Dreaming Zenzile is set in Castel Volturno, Italy on the night of Makeba’s final performance. Somi performs the role of Miriam Makeba.  Framed as a meta-performance, Makeba moves between the memory and evocation of real and dreamed experiences about her life journey.  This project is largely inspired by Somi’s recurring dreams of being in conversation with Makeba that Somi began having after the loss of her father. During those conversations, Makeba would try to explain life choices Somi made as a professional artist to her father despite what he might have traditionally expected of Somi as an African woman by using Makeba’s own life in America as an example he might better understand. The piece, therefore, is a reflection on both Makeba’s biography and of those dreamed conversations. The word “Zenzile” is actually Makeba’s true first name, which means “you have done it to yourself” in her native language of Xhosa. In short, this work is meant to be an exposition of the burdens and freedoms that accompany the gift of song.

Produced in association with Octopus Theatricals

Somi wishes to thank The Miriam Makeba Estate and Mama Africa Cultural & Social Trust for their support and permission to create this work


I have followed Somi’s career for many years.  She has risen to the top with both her tenacity, talent, and beauty.

This forthcoming project looks and feels like it will truly make a statement.  Be sure to check out who and what Somi is all about!

For more info : Creation Residency 2017-18

Artist info: Somi

Somi on: Facebook

#NEVAHBLACKDOWN

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Featured Event: Exhibit 632 A Pop-up Mixer for Creatives –SATURDAY AUG 5TH– LA

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OK, all who live in the Los Angeles area come check out this event on Saturday, August 5th from 12-7pm @ 4759 W. ADAMS BLVD.  You won’t be disappointed I guarantee.  The space, the place, the people, the vendors, the drinks, the food and the hosts are wonderful.

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Kim Porche and Antonio Adams bring love, cool vibes, presence and a place to share in the creative energy that is so needed in this crazy world.

Here are a few pics from the last EXHIBIT 632:

Bring your friends, your kids and or share the information.  There is so much to be thankful for in this world and Love632 is one of them.

More info @ www.instagram.com/love632studio

#NEVAHBLACKDOWN

Haitian musician Paul Beaubrun sings for his people, he sings for his country! (@CAAM live performance event)

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Yes, I made it to CAAM (California African American Museum) earlier this month for their LIVE PERFORMANCES to catch one of my favorite artists to date, Paul Beaubrun

He made his way toward the stage with such a calm and humble manner it made me rest easy and look forward to what was to come. There was no huge fanfare just Paul and his percussionist Morgan Zwerlein –they took to the stage and made the entire room feel welcome.  He played with such raw enthusiasm and love.  Every now and again I find so much truth in watching an artist perform.  Beaubrun is definitely one of those rare ones.

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Together they brought the audience to their feet, freeing the room from any restraints. At one point Paul was joined on stage by legendary drummer Munyungo Jackson lifting the entire room into one beautiful frequency.  In that moment, we were in the presence of pure spirit.

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Paul Beaubrun’s music not only pulsates with rhythm and force, it also makes you think.  His love for Haiti and its people is commanding.  Paul gave us a window into what being Haitian is all about.  Check out the clip below.

It was such an honor to get a snippet of time to share with Paul.  Artist to artist we connected instantly and I was able to impart my respect and admiration for his work and his presence.  Look for a new album coming late 2017! Follow Paul Beaubrun on Instagram

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Paul Beaubrun is a scion of Haitian musical royalty, Paul has spent his life living to the beat. Son of the Grammy nominated band Boukman Eksperyans, his earliest memories is of rhythm and sound. Moving to New York as a youth he was inspired by his heritage to begin crafting a sound all his own. Constantly aware of his roots, the struggle of an immigrant and the drive of New York life, Paul began to create a path where music, activism, and history meet. Read and find out more:

Paul Beaubrun

I had a wonderful time.  CAAM is a great place to see live music.  The room is inviting and of course, the shows are free!

All photos & video courtesy Philippe Roc

#NEVAHBLACKDOWN

 

Tara Ngozi Mixon writes “Your Mother was a Panther – Stories in Verse”

Every so often an image and a few words will draw you further into a story that needs to to be shared.  Tara Ngozi Mixon and her new book “YOUR MOTHER WAS A PANTHER – Stories in Verse” is one of those stories.  I came across her through social media.  I followed her and contacted her to find out more about who she is and what she is truly about.  We corresponded and I decided to share some information about her –  and her must read –  amazing new book!

“We all come from different backgrounds and have different stories but the one theme many of us Black Women can celebrate and share are our stories of our power, stories that help us stand up and stand out.  We must embrace and pay homage to each other.  It is mandatory at this time.  When I say ‘THIS TIME’ all of us know what I am talking about.”  KAREN GIBSON ROC

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An orphan is adopted by a storm; a grandmother taps into her ancestral powers and a pregnant woman prepares to give birth as her husband is about to die.

These stories examine what it means to be a black mother in America,  and how her mere existence defies time and space. Through magical and musical verse, Mixon deconstructs the archetype and gives voice to the black mother in all of her forms.

Faradai Press

Tara Ngozi Mixon was born in Orlando, Florida in 1974.  She is an illustrator, award-winning poet, and the author of Why Women Have Hips.  She served as creative director for Testify Sister Magazine and curated the Raising Poetry Anthology. She is the founder of Black Girl Narrative and a graduate of University of Central Florida’s creative writing program. Your Mother Was A Panther is her first short story collection.

“YOUR MOTHER WAS A PANTHER – STORIES IN VERSE” is available July 11th, 2017

Tara Ngozi Mixon (official website)

Instagram

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That dude Tai Allen, POET, MUSICIAN, A MAKER OF THINGS

Tai Allen

Yes, I know this guy and proud of it.  We have shared stages and shared non-conversational moments of the poetic kind.  I have respect and admiration for the continuous presentation of his gifts. He speaks in ways that hold us accountable as human beings.  He is in your face with that confident wordsmith kinda power. He doesn’t have to speak loudly or often to actually be heard and remembered, I think that is what has always drawn me to his work and to keep up with what he has going on.

VISIT: TAIALLEN.COM

From across the landscape, I have sometimes wished I was hangin’ back in Brooklyn with some of the folks, Tai being one in particular. That’s ok though, I can read and listen to his new works!

“The award-winning poet/soul singer’s new project uses poetry and songs to create a narrative around innocence lost to abuse and weaponized love.”

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#NoJewels is a book that tries to narrate a young man’s life that was loved well, loved wrong and, once, not loved at all. Sadly, this story is not an aberration or oddity. There are numerous No Jewels tales in every city. This book of lines, devices, stanza, and spaces hopes to serve them all.

The 20-poem chapbook reinterprets classic literary forms, such as triolets and haiku, to create a narrative of a young man’s loss of innocence. The book follows a psychological path of being subjected to an abuser’s potent mix of love and abuse and the subsequent emergence.

“There’s a lot of trauma in the world, in this story,” explained Allen. “But, even in the midst of that, the collection is about finding yourself. You can emerge on the other side.”

No Jewels

nothing to offer
but remembers (without “whys”)
of a fall i raked,

bagged and placed on the
curb — cliche-close to the cans
waiting for trash day

-tai allen

released April 11, 2017

Available on Amazon

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Please be sure to check out the sound that accompanies the book!!! Get ready to Groove to truths and beats!! Right up my ally!! THE “TRAVEL SONG” HAS ME SWAYIN’ AS I WRITE THIS PIECE…YES, I PUT IT ON REPEAT!

Tai Allen is a respected creative who excels in multiple disciplines. The Brooklyn-based creative director is a poet who sings over music he has produced. His poetry has been published in noted tomes ( Bomb, Killens Reviews, OPEN and African Voices) and his music has been heralded by such publications as SoulTracks, CentricTV, Soulhead, Okayplayer and Uptown Magazine. He has headlined such venues as BAMcafé Live in Brooklyn, Nighttown in Rotterdam and the American Jazz Museum’s Blue Room in Kansas City, as well as co-hosted the main stage for Art of Cool Festival in Durham.

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Be sure to check out this artist and his work.  Please feel free to share any and all information you find here!

Thank-you Tai Allen for using your story and your art to open hearts and minds.  To bring things to light!  To create spaces and places for us to shine!  1Luv always!

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

#NEVAHBLACKDOWN

 

 

Hanifa Queen former BGIRL turns painter with a twist

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Hanifa Queen rose to fame in the 80s as the only female member of Wolverhampton’s famed B-boy group. Known as Bubbles, she was the leading female break dancer in the world and internationally known in her field.

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Since then Hanifa has trained as a nurse and has become a mother, but her strong passion for break dancing remained. After a lengthy break from the field, she has returned to B-boying, but with an artistic twist!

Hanifa is making a name for herself yet again – by incorporating painting into her impressive dances.

The talented mother of two spends her days spinning around her home covered in paint and creating amazing works of art.

“I call it ‘b-boying on canvas’ – b-boying being the original name for breakdancing,” says Hanifa McQueen Hudson, from Newhampton Road West, Wolverhampton.

“Hanifa is one of my favorite artists to date.  She is a teacher of her craft and has taken her art to a place of extreme originality.  She combines her dance moves, her sneakers, her paint, and her canvas transforming her moments into something beyond words.  She herself is a work of art, blending her presence with her tools.  There is definitely nobody else like her.  Her artistic image and perseverance as an artist is something to be celebrated and presented as an overwhelmingly positive image for both our children and our community. ” #NEVAHBLACKDOWN

The above images are a few of our favorite pieces! To find out more and to stay connected to Hanifa Queen aka Bubbles visit her website: CLICK HERE

Check out Artbreaker – The Process

Check out a few great articles:

UK’S FIRST BGIRL HANIFA QUEEN AKA BUBBLES DOIN ART

Break dancing on canvas

FOLLOW HANIFA ON FB

Please feel free to share any information! Peace and Light

#NEVAHBLACKDOWN

Featured Event: LA Screening of “I AM BOLT” The Story of the fastest man alive! June 16, 2017

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imagesCaribbeanLens International Film Festival is pleased to partner with Los Angeles-based Jamaica Cultural Alliance (JCA) to bring the story of the fastest man alive to Los Angeles.
Usain Bolt is a globally adored icon. He is a man who defines athletics, transcends sport and embodies his homeland, a man whose signature lightning pose has become a symbol of inspiration for generations now and to come. He is a man we know from the track – his focus, his smile, his winning and now I Am Bolt lets us see the real man behind the Triple Treble Olympic Gold Medals for the very first time.
 
Please join us as we experience the real Usain as you have never seen before. Raw, revealing, joyful and inspiring. 
Tickets are $10.00 and include complimentary beverages and finger food. Click here for more ticket information: TICKETS 
(seating is limited so get your tickets as soon as possible)
Location: Veterans Memorial Building Rotunda 117 Overland Ave., Culver City, CA 90232
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