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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 4, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 23
Voices Rising performance a 'sheer privilege'
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Voices Rising performance a 'sheer privilege'

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Voices Rising
May 29
Southside Commons, Columbia City


Voices Rising, the ongoing series of performances by LGBTQ performers of color, held its most recent show on May 29 at the Southside Commons (3518 S. Edmunds St.) in Columbia City. According to Tamika Jackson, a fan of Voices Rising, the production 'brought together the hope and honesty of youth, strength of butch experience & and a critical analysis of culture and the foundational anchoring that can only be found at these events.'

Performers included Mami Watu and Avery Young, emcee Chad Goller-Sojourner, Malkia Cyril, Mikeya Jackson Harper, and Storme Webber, the founder and organizer of Voices Rising.

According to Jackson, all the performers were absolute showstoppers.

"Emceed by Seattle native artist Chad Goller-Sojourner, I again was reminded that 'church' can be experienced anywhere, due to his giving of the opening poetry prayer and closing show benediction," said Jackson.

"I had never had the sheer privilege of hearing her [Mikeya Jackson-Harper's] art. Young Mikeya's reading had me on the edge of my seat. The strength of 10 lifetimes shines through in her work," she said.

Malkia Amain Cyril of New York City used song-inspired poetry to tell the story of a black family touched by sickle cell anemia, the legacy of child abuse, and the dreams of black masculine women born in the fire of the 1980s, hip-hop, and the aftermath of the Black Panther Party.

The featured artists of the May 29 show, Avery Young and Mami Watu, closed the show with their gospel, funk, and jazz style and decades of collective experience.

Voices Rising strives to create a safe and nurturing community for LGBTQ artists of color and in so doing empower them to strengthen the whole LGBTQ people of color community as they raise awareness of the community and its issues within the community and beyond.

Webber founded Voices Rising in July of 2007 as a program designed to promote and nurture the arts and culture of LGBTQ people of color, and to build community across cultures. Webber said she saw a real need for an arts project that would promote LGBTQ artists of color.

"I saw many incredible artists who deserved and needed support," Storme told SGN. "LGBTQ artists of color are often marginalized - [Voices Rising] is a place where we are celebrated."

Webber says her goal with Voices Rising is the same as those of the artists she nurtures: to "present fabulous, fierce shows where we celebrate together."

"I think [the show] was absolutely exemplary and I think it was the kind of art that was very inspirational because it is so outstandingly done. It's just a great pleasure and joy to me," Webber told SGN.

The next Voices Rising is scheduled for June 26, at the Richard Hugo House. For more information, visit www.voicesrisingseattle.org.

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