Committed to Change – Bashi Rose, Filmmaker, Playwright & Actor (Blog Chat Series)

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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Photo courtesy of Bashi Rose
Photo courtesy of Bashi Rose
These days some African-American artists prefer not to carry the weight of race within their work. “Excuse me,” Bashi Rose says, his deep voice unwavering, “that’s bullshit.” Rose, a Baltimore-based filmmaker, actor, playwright and co-founder of Nommo Theatre does not sit on his words. 
In 2011, he won a Baker Artist Award, followed, in 2012, by a fellowship with Open Society Institute (OSI), an organization working for lasting social and political change. Rose developed D.R.A.M.A. (Direct Responses Alleviate Misdirected Aggression) as an OSI fellow, along with inmates at the Maryland Correctional training center. The program reached black men within five Maryland prisons, teaching them about using the art of theater and film as a tool to overcome conflict.

He is an avid student of the Black Arts Movement which began in the 1960s, and includes voices of such literary luminaries as Amiri Baraka (widely credited as “The Father of the Black Arts Movement”), Sonia Sanchez and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others. Rose sees self love and knowledge of history as a critical piece of our own evolution.

The Park Heights native credits Baltimore’s poetry scene with expanding his worldview and in a fundamental sense, saving him. “Even though I never left the city I was still in whole different world.” Fellow poets pushed him to read Richard Wright, author of the classic Native Son, and Algerian thinker Frantz Fannon’s challenge to colonialism and white supremacy, Wretched of the Earth. 

A multifaceted artist, he learned his craft hands on, “similar to the way of my ancestors in West Africa,” he says. “Whether they were sculptors or Griots, they learned it in their community.” Rose has performed or directed in venues throughout the state and in New York City including Theatre Project, Creative Alliance, Howard University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Center Stage, among others. Some of his film projects include Love Deferred and Me Myself and Us (based on the play by actor Robert Lee Hardy). 

I hope you’ll enjoy listening to my interview via Soundcloud below with this prolific artist as he discusses creative influences (African filmmakers, French New Wave cinema, etc.), his mentor and Nommo Theatre co-founder, Mitchell Ferguson, collaborations with other artists such as Vincent Thomas and LOVE the poet, and much more.

https://soundcloud.com/live-in-color-blog/live-in-color-blog-chat-witsah

Stay Connected to the Work:
Check Bashi out on Vevo.  I included a few clips – one from his recent short film, Love Deferred and a poetic ode to family life, A Mother’s Love.

Nommo Theatre

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bashirose@gmail.com

 

Gregory Porter, A Thoughtful Voice in Jazz

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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Photo source: Owl Eyes Lovely Magazine

There is something about jazz music. Its melodies and spontaneous rhythms elevate my spirit; I feel connected to American history while being rooted in the creative community of today.

Last week I wrote about Cécile McLorin Salvant, an acclaimed jazz artist under 30. Well, Gregory Porter, another dynamic singer and songwriter, creates thoughtful work, and is appreciative of his musical predecessors. The California native speaks often about early exposure to Nat King Cole through his mother.

You can hear the influence of the musical icon in Porter’s lucid delivery, at once heartfelt and deeply personal. It’s the only kind of music I devour these days – uplifting and thought provoking.

As seems the case for many talented American musicians, he is more celebrated in Europe, despite being nominated for a Grammy. Maybe one day some of us will move beyond the vacuity of the kind of music dominating corporate radio.

In the meantime, I could not be more grateful for artists like Porter, who is a testament to authenticity and beauty. His latest album, Liquid Spirit, released just last month is already garnering praise with Huffington Post hailing him as “the brilliant new voice of jazz.

I am sharing some behind-the-scenes footage from that CD, and a few  of my favorites. Enjoy, darlings!

Live In Color – E

Janelle Monáe, Erykah Badu & Mod Style

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Q.U.E.E.N., celebrates bold and radical style, and a staunch determination to remain original. “You can take my wings,” Monae sings, “but I’m still goin’ fly.”Oh, I love the power in those words!

Check out some of my favorite ensembles from the video, a nod to the 1960s mod style. The best part? It’s easy to explore these looks inexpensively on your own:

Live In Color – Emelda

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