LGBTQ artists demonstrate hip-hop's transformative power
by Luzviminda 'Lulu' Carpenter -
Special to the SGN
OUTERSPACES TOUR 2012: POWER IN THE MARGINS
On Thursday, November 29, at 7:30 p.m., Las Krudas from Havana, Climbing PoeTree from Brooklyn, and Invincible from Detroit will bless the historic stage at Washington Hall, located at 153 14th Ave. (www.washingtonhall.org). These LGBTQ artists use their art for social justice, and their cultural work supports the transformation of communities by making knowledge accessible through hip-hop, poetry, and other media art forms.
Seattle is the kickoff to their nationwide tour, called 'OuterSpaces Tour 2012: Power in the Margins.' Often times, these cultural workers are not supported by the mainstream music industry, because the messages in their lyrics point toward social change and challenge systems of oppression and violence in complex and intersectional ways.
'More than a performance, OuterSpaces is an experience,' the artists say. 'Audiences will step into a parallel universe where possibilities are endless. Invincible's impeccable lyricism decodes complex truths of power and politics, and the science of social change. Climbing PoeTree's compelling cadence stretches the mind and expands the heart on the edge of outrage and inspiration. And Las Krudas twist fierce feminist hip-hop and Afro-Cuban flavors to uplift a message that makes movement irresistible. Accompanying the wordplay of these five dynamic performers is stunning video projection, beat-boxing (human breath pounding out rhythms on mics, pan flutes, and bottles), hand-made music boxes, and cutting-edge instrumentation. At every tour stop, the artists create intentional spaces that not only lift consciousness around social and political issues, but also expand audiences' capacity to imagine another world.'
The struggles these performers articulate in their songs and other art forms speak to historically marginalized communities. Be part of the shift in culture to support community artists who are communicating through art and bridging communities on a global scale.
The Seattle show is presented by Uzuri Productions with the support of many community collaborators such as the 206 Zulu Nation, Hidmo, Jewish Voice for Peace, Ladies First Collective, MAGNet, Roscito's Tamalitos, NW Network, YouthSpeaks, Zenyu, and the wonderful street outreach team that is focusing on raising funds and getting the word out on the streets. The organizations involved bring diverse audiences that often would not be in the same space. To donate, please contact Lulu Carpenter at email@example.com or (425) 224-6511, because all funds have not been raised for their guarantee. We want to show the collective power of sharing resources, skills, time, and energy across communities.
For more information about the show, go to www.outer-spaces.com or www.facebook.com/events/428319403902718. Follow the tour on Twitter: #OuterSpacesSeattle.
ABOUT THE TOUR
OuterSpaces is a visionary force of emcees and hip-hop poets representing the strength in marginalized identities. Featuring the spitfire wordplay of Invincible (Detroit), the soul-stirring spoken word of Climbing PoeTree (Brooklyn), and the irrepressible flow and flavor of Las Krudas (Havana), this international, bilingual, pansexual, polyracial, multimedia, cross-genre collaboration of artists nurtures parallel universes where our visions for planetary transformation become possible.
Everywhere in nature, the strongest, rarest, and most uniquely evolved species thrive in the margins - in the outer spaces. The natural environment shows us that in the borders between ocean and shore, wetlands and forest, is where new life begins. OuterSpaces is a brigade of shape-shifting, gender-bending artists and activists who refuse to deny any aspects of their dynamic identities, seeking to explore the crossroads of these margins where new ideas emerge and grow.
The OuterSpaces tour will present multi-dimensional performances, interactive workshops, and dialogues addressing some of the most pressing social justice issues of our times. Bridging the gap between the personal and political, OuterSpaces aims to inspire audiences and participants to free their imaginations and become agents for the change the world thirsts for. Their art is a spacecraft breaking through to uncharted territories in our planet's capacity to come into balance, and illuminating the borderlands where we can bring our whole complex selves.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Invincible - It is truly rare to find an artist like Invincible. Her spitfire wordplay has gotten her acclaim from hip-hop fans all across the world, while her active involvement in progressive social change has taken her music beyond entertainment and toward actualizing the change she wishes to see. The Detroit-based artist and activist began penning lyrics at the age of nine, shortly after learning English by memorizing her favorite songs. She founded her own label and media company EMERGENCE, through which she released her critically acclaimed debut album ShapeShifters in 2008. Invincible has also produced several award-winning videos and directed The Revival, a short documentary series about women in hip-hop. She teamed up with longtime producer Waajeed in 2010 to release a limited-edition 7-inch single, 'Detroit Summer/Emergence.' Invincible + Waajeed's upcoming collaborative project will illuminate the connections between complex science, social movements, and hip-hop. Invincible is a fellow of Kresge Arts in Detroit, and the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for Women and Gender in the Arts and Media.
Climbing PoeTree - Climbing PoeTree is the combined force of two boundary-breaking soul-sisters who have sharpened their art as a tool for popular education, community organizing, and personal transformation. With roots in Haiti and Colombia, Alixa and Naima reside in Brooklyn and track footprints across the country and globe on a mission to overcome destruction with creativity. In 15 self-organized independent tours over nine years, Climbing PoeTree has blazed stages from Oakland to Atlanta, South Africa to Cuba, with powerhouses such as Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys, Danny Glover, Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, The Last Poets, and Dead Prez. They have led workshops in institutions from Cornell University to Rikers Island Prison, and have toured over 11,000 miles on a bus converted to run on recycled vegetable oil, bringing their soul-stirring performances to thousands of people across the nation. Climbing PoeTree interweaves spoken word, video, sound collage, and award-winning theater to expose injustice, heal from violence, and make a better future visible, immediate, and irresistible.
Las Krudas - Odaymara Cuesta and Olivia Prendes are Cuban hip-hop emcees, independent musicians, poets, and theater performers representing the activism of womyn, immigrants, and Queer people of color as a central part of world change. Both born and raised in Cuba, they choose art as a weapon to fight for their rights, for balance, and for justice against oppression. Formed in 1999, Las Krudas has earned international acclaim performing, recording, facilitating workshops, and touring in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean, bringing Cubensi hip-hop, dancehall, cumbia, and old- and new-school beats from around the world laced with their extraordinary Afro-Caribbean rebel lyrics and indomitable voices to empower communities. Las Krudas have performed in spaces such as the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (2011-12), Antimili Sonoro Festival (Medellin, Colombia, 2011), XI Encuentro Feminista Latinoamercano y del Caribe (Mexico City, 2009), Festival Internacional de Hip Hop Cubano (La Habana, Cuba, 1998-2004), House of Blues (Chicago), and S.O.B.s (New York City), collaborating and performing alongside the likes of Sekou Sundiata, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Susana Baca, Quilombo, and many more.
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