I've read at other spots where the vibe is so siddity that the audience just sits there like Black republicans at an Obama rally! But at Sister's Uptown Bookstore & Cafe da vibe is always fam and real, with pan-African books and art against the walls that invite you to browse and let go of any type of pretense.
This past Thursday I stopped by to promote my second book, The Dredlocks Tree and brought along some of my students to read their own work. Not only did they represent but the audience turnout was more than we had anticipated. Not even an evening rain stopped folks from coming. Below are some photos from the event--
MC and griot, Bro. Steve who also blessed us with his songs.
Actor/poet David 'D-Black' Roberts had us laughing 'til it hurt!
Yohance Murray--Doctor Murray, that is-- came thru just to show quiet support, then shocked us all when he decided to jump in and read a gut-wrenching piece he wrote about teen pregnancy.
We all teased him at the end saying it's always them quiet ones who end up stealing the show!
An audience member obviously moved by Murray's poem.
Like I said, the youth represented big time! This is Lawrence. He thought we were going to let him get away with just one piece 'til we said, Hell no! We wanna hear another one!
I like this photo, especially. It's a typical Ocean Morisset with both light and speed moving through the reader's hands!
Jason, another one of my students. He was nervous, at first, but then once he began he was kickin' it to us like a pro!
Jason and his mother. It was her first time seeing him read and she was showing mad pride!
Another upcoming poet representing the Urban Juke Joint downtown.
Bro. Steve introducing the next reader coming up as the audience looks on.
Standing room only in the back!
Bro. Steve introduces Jadon who won 1st prize at last week's BMCC's poetry slam that I helped put together.
Poetry is spirit trying to get at something...
Hand clapping for Jadon.
This kat took us back to ol' skool with his Trans Europe Express piece...."From Be Bop to Hip Hop and back to new Pop!..."
D-Black and me pose for a shot.
Murray and me. We actually work together; and it was a special treat for me to see a whole other side of this good brotha!
This sista from Sierra Leone brought the house down with her piece on the atrocities of children in Africa being kidnapped and forced into slave labor for the sole benefit of diamond smugglers and our insatiable appepite for bling...."While you in the West use your legs and arms to dance, we here whose limbs have been cut off..." Well, you get the point. She had us hollering and stomping our feet...
...so much that it was feeling like church up in there!!!
One of my street sons, Logic and Conscious Roots Bobby who designed my book cover.
The lovely Sachelle, a future Phd who can appreciate grassroots research.
Bro. Steve and Dr. Joy, our neighborhood folk storyteller who dropped in to close the event.
And yea, I read too with my latest book in hand. Morisset caught me giving my 'Sometimes Black folks just get on my damn nerve' face while I was reading my piece Black Man Scared.
An enthusiastic fan invites me to an upcoming open mic.
Bro. Steve and I talk shop.
Group shot with Murray and some of our students.
Algeria on my mind....but it's really Houston and 6th...Only in New York!!!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
No poetic fortitude this time around. Just words of profound thankfulness for our White American allies who refused to allow fear to guide their decision in this historical presidential election, along with the mass of Black and Brown people--our youth, especially--who came out to vote; some, like my daughter, for the very first time....Toussaint, Garvey, Jackie, Martin, Malcolm, and now Barack. We keep coming back and coming back, coming back and coming back for spirit never dies. Only the ability to look beyond walls and barbwires!!!