Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Photography of my Mind


The pictures I have posted were taken by Samsam Yusuf. She is a wonderful photographer and I was happy to pose for her portfolio. She also happens to be my friend. I am inspired by her work because she is an African woman taking pictures of African women and working to re-present images that capture our beauty and struggles.
She cares deeply about social justice and says, "I'm interested in change and I consider myself the change I want to see in the world!" I am happy that she is using the power of photography for social justice. Much respect!
She currently resides in Seattle, Washington so if you're looking for a photographer give her a shout out. Yusuf will be showing more of her photography on her blog http://komaala.blogspot.com. She can also be contacted at jazrah@gmail.com. Below you will find her picture and then some photos she took of me. Enjoy!






Monday, June 28, 2010

pieces of a love letter

i’ll remember us in nature

before I thought I would be untamed if I sat too long

when I tried to still the buzzing of flies

and stomp on the little red ant’s groove

glare the sun down to become more temperate

i was something different then

someone who didn’t want the wind to breathe on my skin

or my feet to sink too deeply in the earth

but you followed nature

and I followed you

when you kissed me in the grass

(pushed my body so hard in the ground we left a mark there)

it was my first love affair with nature

a first love affair with you

Friday, June 18, 2010

Niahra and Mama's Conversation PART I

“Count me out of it!” Mama says, “Because I want nothing to do with it. Not a thing…” Her hands grasp the steering wheel. “Count me out, count me out, count me out.” Mama mutters this to the air. She’s speaking as if the air has a bone to pick with her. And she intends to win. “No. Thanks.”

Niahra and her mother have some of their most intimate conversations in an old tiny white car. Whenever you think that piece of junk is going to break down it manages to keep driving until it gets itself home. Then. In the morning you put the key in the ignition and the car won’t start. The engine will make a little hum and then almost whinny like a horse. You put the key in the ignition and try. Again. And what do you hear? The engine’s hum and its wimpy horse whinny. And there you go. Reliable on the road, but can’t start it in the morning.

Well. At least you can trust it to drive you where you need to go when it’s on the road, because the car has yet to break itself during one of Niahra and Mama’s epic conversations.

And it’s in the car where Niahra touches stories with her Mama. Figures out where her Mama’s story ends and where hers begins. And that’s why the girl never leaves the car. Always thinking of some errand to run, or something that she just so “happened to forget.” It’s to bide time. No matter how long the ride is, no matter the circumstance, she’ll stay. Don’t want to miss this! I may never get to hear it again! She thinks as she watches her Mama’s hand turn the steering wheel. This one is gonna be good. She anticipates. This one is gonna be reaal good.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bag of Sparks Part II

This is a more finished version and extension of my previous clip, "Bag of Sparks." Again...another more "finished work" in progress.
Also, more Niahra stories will be coming soon. Hope to get some posted within the next two weeks. If you have any thoughts, drop a line!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Images in Contradiction

"A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double."

Toni Morrison

Sister in my image/we’re something like a double/but we’re not twins/cut from the same dark cloth/birthed from similar ancestors/carry in our tongues/our voices/our appearance/our truth-tellings/our dispersed lineages and shaken histories/broken realities/no one can make heads or tails of our being here/to them it remains a problem to solve/to explain the legacy of us/sister/sister in my image/I believe we are walking contradictions/and I call u mine/because it is you I lay myself down with in those still places/when I want to cover myself in nighttime and have the stars as my night lights/Sister in my image/you recognize that I am yours/and you are mine/and we can see/see ourselves/you become the stars and I nighttime/and I the stars and you night time/you see me/Cuz you got my eyes/I hear you/Cuz I have your ears/we wrap around the darkness and light/and we call each other/mine/say hush-hush secrets/compare our scars and bruises/count the tears we've cried/and watch our harmed spots turn into calluses/cuz we know we need thick skin/but/in this still place we hug our contradictions/love on fresh cuts/and ask them to stay/and we gaze in on ourselves/only us sister/we escape the imperial gaze/and talk-talk hush hushedly/you and me/organize our stars to see our common enemy/and devise plans to resist/you go this way/I go that way/we’re cut the same/but/in our stillness/u see this/and I hear that/we disagree/the contradictions of doubles but not twins/contradictions in the way we think/”Here’s the struggle you won't hear”/I say/”No!"/You reply/"That’s the beauty you won't see…”/Sister in my image/cut from the same dark cloth/doubles maybe/but not twins…

Monday, June 7, 2010

NEW SONG


This is the summer of music. I am writing songs, revising songs, throwing away songs and keeping the good ones to start performing and recording. Thankfully, I am living with a great musician and we are jamming and working to showcase our music this summer. I promised that I would start writing full length songs and I am starting the process. I'll also be keeping updates on other creative endeavors that will be sure to happen this summer. This song is still a work in progress and needs some tweaking and working here and there. Lyrics and song are posted below. Enjoy a song in progress!

The Other Side



Verse 1:
Seeing you on the other side
Standing near but not too close by
Oh my love
My love what you do to me

yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
You are sweet
So sweet
So kind
yeah-yeah,yeah-yeah,yeah-yeah,yeah-yeah
My love
I'm seeing you on the other side

Hook:
Now unrequited love
Is the worst kind of love
It's the love that'll do you in
It'll make you give up all you have
'Til you ain't got nothing left
I'm seeing you on the other side
Yup!

Break:
(ad-libbing skatting fun!)

Hey! You! I like you alot!
See you so close from afar
Wanna be right where you are
Baby!
Hey!
You!
Friend!
Lover! Companion! Confidante!
Get on my side!
Baby!
GET ON MY SIDE!
HEY!

Back to Beginning:

Seeing you on the other side
Standing near but not too close by
Oh my love
My love what you do to me...