Stefano – Tracey – Egan – part of the Umojah Nation Family getting in a good rehearsal.
The long-awaited debut album for our reggae family called Umojah Nation is set! Check the flyer for details and get Ready, Ready to join us! – Peace
Joining us on stage will be throwback Umojah, Hybrid Shakedown and Passport Project
Sometimes you don’t know where inspiration will come from.
I am about to start a bucket drumming club with youth at the local Harvey Rice School in Cleveland on Tuesdays. Since proclaiming that I would start such a club, I have been in need of a push – just a little nudge to give me some motivation. I had no idea what was coming!
I was invited by a Sista of mine to attend a presentation of the Ugandan Orphans Kids Choir some months ago. I received constant reminders about the upcoming show, but still didn’t quite remember. That’s the busy life! However, on the morning of the show, I got that final reminder and rushed out the door to find Imagine Academy in Cleveland’s Harvard neighborhood to see the performance. As I pulled into the parking lot I felt this energy. There were a number of cars parked as well as the large, nicely painted van for the Childcare Worldwide organization. I was excited!
As soon as walked in the school auditorium, it was time for the show to start. I would very soon find the inspiration that I needed.
The past few months have been a bit of a challenge. In fact, this whole year thus far has been more than a challenge, but I am thankful in the moment. In late April I lost the earthly presence of a friend and brother Rayshawn D. Armstrong a.k.a Jigg a.k.a. Da Ghost, Most Wanted Trapped in the Universe. Well, he is truly among the universal principle now, floating among the greats (i.e. Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou – wow). His legacy will indeed live on. Much love to my Brother Ray, a Warrior Poet.
Come INjoy the sounds of Intercourse the Collective, as we take a moment
to celebrate the legacy of one of Cleveland’s finest poets.
Sacred Moments and Materials That Rayshawn and I shared
Calling Ohioans “Buckeyes” goes back to the 1830’s. The buckeye is seen as a sign of good luck. Ohio State seems to personify this “myth” of luck, always winning everything, growing at an astronomical rate, leading in education, etc.
Well the Buckeye neighborhood of Cleveland could say just the opposite. This area once showed extraordinary promise as a sustained, attractive area mostly inhabited by Hungarian immigrants. Fast forward and you see the common African American neighborhood, full of liquor, violence, saggin pants, potholes, boarded up houses, etc. all throughout.
“Things can happen in a band, or any type of collaboration,
that would not otherwise happen.” Jim Coleman
We often drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out: “Where do we start?” Well, I have to say, the answer has never been so clear to me. The answer is through the arts and collaboration. Simple as that. Yes, it is simple. Yes, it takes tons of work, but so does creating counterfeit money, or obtaining a college degree, or selling drugs, or talking to a beautiful woman who doesn’t fall for the same line. Everything takes work. People are even working hard at doing nothing! Looking at it from this perspective, you really have to wonder, what is the real problem here?
Lack of focus, from lack education, from lack of hope. The arts have to be the answer. The arts equate to edutainment, where motivation is born. That is what Buckeye represents. I have always been cautiously optimistic about the plight of African Americans, always thinking that underneath it all, we WILL overcome this dead mentality. I thought that it was inevitable. That we had to wake up at some point. But, it wasn’t that easy. I never gave up hope, but began to gradually realize that the system was not set up for African Americans to succeed. Simple stuff: you release an enslaved people with little to no assistance to adjust to the world they created, but never lived in and you get modern day urban America.
Despite all, I have seen how the arts and the collaboration of groups throughout the Buckeye, Shaker Square, Larchmere and Woodland Hills areas have began to come together en masse to make the real, sustainable difference. Mark my word and take note, this will serve as the microcosmic solution to the Cleveland delimma. Hopefully, Cleveland can become the microcosm of a Renaissance for the entire state, country, and Diapora as a whole.
We’re going to break it all down very soon. Going to name some names and give some hard facts – good stuff though!
Stay tuned on this one my people….