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

 

Wondrous Words – Questlove’s Memoir, Mo’ Meta Blues

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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mo'metta blues

 

“You have to bear in mind that [Questlove] is one of the smartest motherf*****s on the planet. His musical knowledge, for all practical purposes, is limitless.”
-Robert Christgau

I usually share videos on Music Mondays, but today, I am excited about a recent book from thinker, artist and veritable renaissance man, Questlove (drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, composer and DJ).

Several months ago he appeared on Democracy Now, and discussed everything from police brutality and systemic injustice to hip-hop legend Biggie Smalls.  I listened intently.

For years, I followed The Roots, but hearing music is a much different experience than beginning to know an artist and their life, the issues they wrestle with daily. So his memoir, Mo’ Meta Blues, is on my latest list of must-read books.

Photo source:  The Power House Arena
Photo source: The Power House Arena

Shannon and I are seekers of inspiration, always encouraged by folks who keep pushing, despite the odds. Who embodies this ethos more than hip-hop artists from humble beginnings?

Stories of struggles and success are fuel. They motivate us to keep reaching for our goals, bypassing obstacles with fearlessness and grace. We’re excited about Mo’ Meta Blues, and the lessons we’ll take away.

Have you read Mo’ Meta Blues? What did you think? Any other favorite memoir by a musician?