Elevate Difference

Aqua Beats and Moon Verses: Volume I

Chicago based performance artists camil.williams and veronica precious bohanan (a.k.a. AquaMoon) explore womyn-centered issues, such as rape, molestation, incest, and women in hip hop from an African American perspective. These themes are interpreted through the use of choreopoems (poems intended to be acted out on stage), and there is also a CD that comes with the book. The message is about speaking out, standing up and becoming empowered (hence the subtitle: Dismantling The Culture of Silence!)

The voice is strong and brave, often swirling and soaring with the zeal of true spiritual questing. The writing style is hip, colorful and there is a wonderful buzz of energy in the writing (and the music) that makes you want to bust through every wall of bs and suppression. It’s like a new age Allen Ginsberg rant at America, spelled with a k. These poets are all about encouraging African-American woman to free themselves in order to self-define their roles in the Black community, hip hop culture and overall society.

A few weeks ago when the entire country was having a conversation about the nasty “nappy headed hos” comment, hip hop moguls and male artists were called on the carpet for adding to a culture growing increasingly tolerant of demeaning women in lyrics and videos. While listening to the CD, I thought it would be great to see an in-depth discussion about the world of hip hop inhabited by men and women, say, between Russell Simmons and these fierce artists!

I also really loved a scene called "Lullaby: Girl-Childs." At one point in the scene, Aqua Beats says “Everybody talks about the fatherless black boy.” And Moon Verses responds, “But what about the fatherless & the motherless black girl?”

What about her, indeed. She deserves support and a voice. Through AquaMoon, she’s got it to the beat of Sista-Soul-Friends!

Written by: Cheryl Reeves, May 3rd 2007

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