Category Archives: video

The duo ‘Climbing PoeTree’ is art meets activism in its most powerful revelation

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These two young ladies “ALIXA + NAIMA are at the forefront of using art to speak, to inspire and to share thoughts on the state of affairs in the world at large.  They have inspired me for a few years now.  As a poet and mother of a young lady, I am thrilled to share the story of these immense artists with my daughter and those I come into contact with.  They epitomize exactly what we do here with NevahBlackDown, we use art to uplift and promote positive change.  They bring truth gloriously mixed with a passion that creates a template to be honored. (photos by Pablo Aguilar)

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“Creativity is the antidote for violence and destruction. Art is our most human expression, our voice to communicate our stories, to challenge injustice and the misrepresentations of mainstream media, to expose harsh realities and engender even more powerful hope, a force to bring diverse peoples together, a tool to rebuild our communities, and a weapon to win this struggle for universal liberation.”
– Alixa + Naima

“Over the last 13 years, Climbing PoeTree has infused our movements for justice with healing and imagination, inspiring thousands through their award-winning multimedia theater, dual-voice spoken word, visual art, sustainable touring, and community organizing. Co-creators Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman are cultural architects committed to reframing the story through multi-voice spoken word, hip hop, world music, and multimedia theater that translate deep research around the most pressing issues of our time into stunning artistry that catalyzes their audiences to activate the transformation they wish to cultivate within themselves and their communities.” Read and find out more about CLIMBING POETREE

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Climbing Poetry has just released their latest album “INTRINSIC” A must purchase for your music collection!

On 3/31/2017 Climbing PoeTree released a new collection of rebel-rousing anthems, bilingual ballads, and unconventional love songs. Backed by 33 world-class musicians, vocalists, and producers, Alixa and Naima’s impassioned lyricism propel 17 soulful compositions bridging electronic music and live instrumentation, combining hip-hop, spoken word, rock, blues, folk, and Afro-Latin beats.

Produced by the powerhouse music legend, Toshi Reagon, INTRINSIC features an incredible cadre of collaborators including Carolyn MalachiRising Appalachia, B Steady, Taina Asli, Arooj Aftab, Juliette Jones, Ayla Nereo and many more.

Check out the official video for ‘WE SURVIVED’

There is so much more to check out with these powerful young ladies.  I suggest a visit to their website CLIMBING POETREE

NevahBlackDown is proud of the profoundly positive and strong images these young ladies present to the world.  I hope they continue to speak up and share their gifts with the world!

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Gina Breedlove: Her Voice & Soul Can Heal All Wounds

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There is nothing more powerful than a voice filled with soul, raw emotion and the alchemic brew to heal and bring light to darkness. Gina Breedlove fashions her sound in a way that draws you in and envelopes you in love and magic.  She lifts you up and leaves you feeling empowered and strong.  There is nothing holding back, there is nothing hiding, there is nothing selfish, there is nothing egotistical about this song bird.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Gina sing (on more than one occasion) and getting to know her personally through friends. Her softness and Goddess like nature has and will always inspire me.  She is feminine strength and power personified.  I watched her and learned.  I listened to her and imagined.  I sat in her space and grew. That is what Gina brings to the world, she brings change, she brings truth and she brings the bridge where all can cross and find passion, love, and balance.

She began performing at age 15, singing back up for the incomparable Phyllis Hyman. Since, gina has toured all over the world with artists who, like herself, define and redefine genre; Harry Belafonte, Toshi Reagon, Ronny Jordan, Ani Difranco, Craig Harris, and Sekou Sundiata, to name a few.

She calls her music Folksoul, a coalescence of Rhythm & Blues, with story telling cadences of Folk, Soul, and the gospel truth. Folksoul is music that lifts the Spirit, opens the heart and allows one to find their way. Breathing into the Sound of this woman’s voice, gina embodies healing artistry. An Actress as well , gina created the role of “Sarabi” for the Broadway production of “The Lion King”, and recently appears in 2 Spike Lee films, ”Living Da Dream” for NBA 2k16 and “Chiraq“.

If you don’t know anything about her you must visit here website: ginabreedlove.com

If you have never seen her perform you must see her show if she is in your town.  Find out more about her tour schedule @ her website in the above link! Lucky for those in NYC, Gina will be at Joe’s Pub June 20th! joespub.com

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We are all very lucky that a spirit like Gina is roaming the earth with here healing nature.  We are all blessed to have our sister in love walk the path of helping to heal the wounds of the world.  We are so very blessed to have an image such as Gina to share with our girls! Yes yes we are blessed!

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Colin Kaepernick is Exceedingly Empowering

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Not talking football and the NFL here! (smiley face).  I want to showcase what Colin Kaepernick stands for, albeit kneeling during the National Anthem.  It was a courageous and hugely inspirational stand-up moment in the history of activism.  I admire and think he is a profound gentleman.  To say something in the manner with which he did it is truly empowering.  Many of you may already know something about him and others may not.  What is really important here is that we share the information as much as we can.  Positive images within the Black culture is of great importance.

It was while sifting through my feed on FB that I came across a video of Mr. Kaepernick donating his exceedingly large sneaker collection to a local homeless shelter in the Bay Area that caught my attention.  I couldn’t shake the image from my mind.  There is something powerful in this most simple act.  The giving away of things.  Things we hold sacred in this society of excess.  In so many ways through the media we see people telling tales of what they have and what they have accumulated…money included… I sat before my computer and began my research.  I wanted to know who this magnificent character was and is off the football field.  I was driven to his WEBSITE  where I came across his “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS CAMP AND CAMPAIGN”.  Brilliant was the first word that quietly tumbled from my lips as I perused the website.

“I will donate one million dollars plus all the proceeds of my jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities, 100k a month for 10 months.” – Colin Kaepernick

True to his word he is making this all happen, check the website!  I was also moved by his 10 point platform!

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10 Points

 1. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE FREE.
 2. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HEALTHY.
 3. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE BRILLIANT.
 4. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE.
 5. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE LOVED.
 6. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE COURAGEOUS.
 7. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ALIVE.
 8. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TRUSTED.
 9. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE EDUCATED.
 10. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS CAMP is a free campaign for youth, fully funded by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness on higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.

This is what our children need to see and be inspired by.  These powerful words can and I’m sure will make a difference in many lives.  That is what NEVAH BLACK DOWN is all about.  Using your voice, your image or your celebrity, in Colin’s case, to make a change during the climate of the times is tantamount.

There is so much more to know and much is swirling around about this amazing spirit known as Colin Kaepernick.   Football or not he is someone to be celebrated.  He is someone to be lifted up, not torn down.

Personally, I hope he is able to continue the great work that he is doing.  I hope he will continue to have the courage and strength to disarm the criticism from those who do nothing to make a change.

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CHEERS TO YOU COLIN KAEPERNICK
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Val Jeanty: A Powerful Spirit

 

Few people in the world bring something different, stamped with an originality that can’t be compared.  I guarantee you’ve never seen or heard anything like the presence and sound of Haitian artist Val Jeanty known as VAL-INC.  She has been mesmerizing audiences around the world for some time, her RESUME is long, her artistry is profound, her place in the world is needed.  She brings you into a dimension where boundaries are broken and the shape of the room changes with her music.  Energy shifts as she takes you journeying through passages never before traversed.

The producer, drummer, DJ, turntablist, teacher and sound engineer has created a distinctive style of music called Vodou Electronica which she also refers to as Afro Electronica. Her music is a fusion of electronics and African Vodou rhythms.

Below is a performance @ National Sawdust –Performance center & recording studio located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn

On her music, Jeanty says: “I use these electronic tools, but the music is spiritual—something you might hear at church, or in any other religious ceremony. It’s the kind of sound that gives your spirit freedom to roam.”

It is sublime knowing that in Brooklyn, NY there resides a passionate artist that shares exactly what is in her heart.  She is important during these times as her image and confident music goes a long way in showing our children that following your own truth and passion is what is important.  Labels don’t define us.  Boxes can’t hold us in and with Val Jeanty, we can be assured that this idea won’t fade!

Keep up with Val Jeanty on INSTAGRAM

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how much am i lovin’ the brand new Arrested Development song and video

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Always been a fan and always will be a fan of Arrested Development.  This new song/video In 1 Day (Whole World Changed) is so fresh and needed at this time.  Arrested Development has always been able to say something strong and keep the groove going. This track makes you dance, think and smile while making you vibe on life!

Enjoy!

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Black Hair: A Modern Day Controversy

These days I find I can continuously ask myself this question “Why is black hair such an issue?” After all,  it is an unquestionable natural state.  My hair doesn’t grow out of my head straight, it grows out of my head frizzy, somewhat curly and nappy.  That is a definitive fact.  My ten year old daughter’s hair is the same way, my mom’s hair is the same way, my two sisters have the same texture hair.  I am surrounded by a plethora of black women with the same hair.  So why ohhhh! why is this such a huge discussion.

So (lol) I answered my own question with another question:

“Does BLACK HAIR instill in others the fear that black women have actually found and have fallen in love with their truth?  With their beauty?  With self?”

Please feel free to answer this question in the comment section below! I would love to hear from you!

“Art stems from the concept of being or tuning into one’s authentic self both on the inside and out.  Our hair is natural.  Our hair is our natural expression. Our hair is our art!” Karen Gibson Roc

Fifteen years ago my sister dared me to grow out my natural hair and wear an afro.  At the time I thought she was absolutely mad.  Why did I have that reaction?  This is another question I have pondered on.  What was I afraid of?  Back then not many people were doing the big afro natural thing.  In our little bubble of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, we held each other up so we could express ourselves in whatever natural and artistic way we wanted.  I was cradled as an artist so I went ahead and followed through on the dare from my sister.  I loved rocking my afro.  I loved everything about it.  I stood out in other areas of NYC, people stared, wanted to touch all that crazy shit!  Now, however, an afro is a natural sighting pretty much anywhere.  So why still the controversy?

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Karen Gibson Roc Live @ The Whitney Museum 2005

Does it have anything to do with the climate of the times? Oh gosh! another question! That’s what this topic unearths.  It unearths questions and more questions, truth, power, self love, empowerment and the natural gift of hope for something/someplace more loving and accepting!

Check out this most powerful SpokenWord piece by: Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a world wide discussion. I hope that through our daughters something will burst through and really make a change!

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Benjamin Clementine Live on The Tonight Show

NevahBlackDown features Benjamin Clementine performing Cornerstone

Live on The Tonight Show! –Summer of 2016

What can I say about this genius! He is one of the most talented artists I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.  I love the fact that he considers himself a poet!  I came across him through a friend from Spain.  I was mesmerized.  His voice, visual, and music ability is astonishing! I am sharing this because he is a powerful black performer and at the same time he is “simply” an amazing performer. His image, honest poetry and passionate delivery is inspiring and unlike most I have seen or heard in todays musical landscape. Please check out Benjamin Clementine

more info for Benjamin Clementine here

by: Karen Gibson Roc