Elevate Difference


“Necesito gritar!” bellows Adele Nieves in response to the question she poses with her spoken word piece entitled “Why Do You Speak?”, which is the first track on the album. Through the unrestrained strength and rage smoldering behind every word, Adele provides a call to action against the overwhelming powers of erasure, invisibility, and silence that is exhaustively pushed upon women of color for centuries. Speak!, an explosive powerhouse of an album created by the Speak! Radical Women of Color Media Collective, uses spoken word, song, and poetry to detail the ins and outs of oppression and intersecting injustices, personal and collective struggle, and the redeeming powers of love, conviction, and pride.

Each piece pulses with vitality and pure unbridled emotion, whether somber or tempestuous in tone and content. The album in its entirety promotes the importance and the force of women’s voices, elaborate and concealed histories, and personal and collaborative forms of resistance. The individual artists weave together testimonies on their personal experiences with discrimination and hate, the dissolution of their intricate identities in favor of assimilation, and their reclamations of self and radicalization in a way that further illuminates the falsehood of the 'American Dream', as well as the continued necessity for political mobilization.

Pieces like “Slip” reveal the relationship between language and violence, showing the ways words embody hate and act as catalysts to brutality. Furthermore, many of the works analyze the ways the lives of women of color are invalidated statistically, in academic and political arenas, and in the day-to-day interactions with other people. Not only are there clear and poignant narratives on cultural genocide and racist and sexist hypocrisy, there is also a spirited display of hope, inspiration, and community in the face of the often crippling effects of adversity.

Ultimately, the passionate messages of beauty, love, and a constant determination to survive and prosper resound throughout the album. Coming out, the listener is motivated to assume their right to organize and to treat their illustrious identities as personal and political sustenance.

SPEAK is having a listening party in Brooklyn tonight. Wanna go?

Written by: Renee Leonowicz, May 16th 2009

Ines-your review of the review cracked me up. Seeing that she only mentioned track one and three, I had thought that maybe the reviewer didn't listen to the whole CD, but I wasn't going to SAY that--but since you started it :) I bought this CD about half way through attending a university required poetry class--overstuffed with dead white guy poetry that used symbolism, allusions and metaphors that I just don't get--probably most of the class didn't get it. Anyway, listening to this CD on the way to class made it all bearable--though I rally much rather have sat in my car and continued--thank god there is beautiful, relevant work out there, just don't expect to find it easily. One of the cool things about this an anthology is that these women WORK--their stuff is all over the web and in other publishings. I suggest folks buy the CD and then track down the artists' other work one by one. It is enough to sustain anyone--until they put out the next one! Oh and it comes with a ZINE! AND the proceeds go to helping create MORE awesome media. Oh and Ines, since you asked, "Wishful Thinking" by Alexis Pauline Gumbs has been rocking me hard lately, but my fav keeps changing. "My Cats" by Baby BFP gets me everytime! Love and Peace, ~Brooke

Interesting review, feels incomplete though. You only get a feel for one of the pieces (the introduction) and who wrote it.

When reading about a compilation/anthology, I want to know who else was involved, get a sense of how those different pieces tie together and what ROCKED the reviewer and what didn't.

It's a very general, overall sentiment. Could have been written about quite a few other projects I've read/heard. Did the reviewer connect with it, feel uncomfortable with it, like it, not like it, etc.?

Pretty words, with no real meat.

Thank you,

Ines eyesonyouevents@yahoo.com