Sunday, June 6, 2010

Voices Rising

- by Stacey Prince

On May 29 Liz Goodwin, Anne Phillips and I attended the seventh event by Voices Rising. This organization was founded by poet/performer/event producer Storme Webber, with fantastic programmatic support including graphics, marketing, organizing, and photography from Naomi Ishisaka. Voices Rising has become the premiere showcase for LGBTQ artists of color in the Pacific Northwest. This time their performance took place at Southside Commons, a renovated church in Columbia City that has become home to several progressive nonprofit and grassroots organizations dedicated to social, racial and economic justice.

The performance featured artists from Seattle, California and Chicago who combined spoken word with music, song, and video. It was a powerful, moving, and electrifying night. Here is one audience member comment that captures well the essence of the night:

Voices Rising is an essential cultural event highlighting the truth and culture, spirit and art of people that are marginalized even within an already marginalized community. Queer folks of color must be heard in order to bring to light a fuller diversity within the queer community and culture.

Reprinted here with permission is one piece that was performed by Malkia Cyril, an artist, activist and journalist from Oakland, California.

The Redemption of My Criminal Body

by Malkia Amala Cyril aka Red Son Rise
June 2009

run run my momma say mourner run
beautiful butch and black
welcome the Native son
Oh Pirates yes they rob I
this black woman’s body I got been
cannon shot and systematically spread
over centuries of dead gospel lined with living truth
the way I hurt is living proof that I was
raped as a child
but I’d still rather be nine
so I could be three sides of three dimensions at the same time
cause/we been cannibalized burned alive beaten alive till God cried out
we been hog tied convicted before we was tried by
stacked juries laced with white power tracks
I wanna paint y’all in color but can’t find you in black
And I need y’all back homeys to show me how
I lost my soft places between then and now

Oh Pirates yes they rob I
Stole I to the merchant ship
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit

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