Posts tagged “Afrofuturism

Throwback Thursday: Kandia Crazy Horse x Sheila E. x D.A. Pennebaker @ Yale University | Repose en paix Butch Trucks

I am still recovering from the sonic & social whirl of this past week in Connecticut where we were engaged in mounting the #DavidBowie & #Prince memorial conference “Blackstar Rising & The Purple Reign,” organized by my dear friend & Yale University scholar Dr. Daphne A. Brooks. A good deal to reflect upon from all I heard from my former rockcrit colleagues including Ann Powers of NPR Music & Michaelangelo Matos & Greil Marcus, as well as those of the Academy such as Tavia Nyong’o of Yale & Eric Lott of CUNY Graduate Center. I do appreciate the wide audience that my session with Sherae Rimpsey & Alan Light — Everybody Still Wants To Fly — garnered due to our being the lead-in to Solange Knowles’ keynote address. My take on Prince as Mystery Cult via the prism of what Harold Bloom has denunciated as “California Orphism” was interesting to some folks (smile). And my Texan bandmate KAR / Kimberly Robison kindly traveled up from the Hamilton Grange to support me in my presentation & also did some vital research at Yale on Emily West aka the Yellow Rose of Texas for an upcoming project we wish to mount – stay tuned!

I was also very sad to learn upon my arrival in New Haven that Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks was gone to Glory. A lot of flashing on my time spent on-and-off the Road that goes on Forever with the Allmans is surfacing & I am doing a lot of listening to my favorites among their compositions — particularly one of my 3 most treasured songs: “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed.” So, more to come after a spell on what transpired last week…yet here’s two precious souvenirs of my time spent in New Haven — meeting one of the scions of the great Escovedo family of American music that has had a profound influence on me since I initially grew up in a colony of Aztlan, a Chicano barrio in Chocolate City; I am very much a follower as a singer-songwriter of Sheila E. & her uncle Alejandro Escovedo…& as a past film school graduate and lover of concert cinema, I have also been influenced by D.A. Pennebaker who made my beloved Monterey Pop. An honor all ’round to briefly share space with them…A’ho*

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( Sheila E. & Kandia Crazy Horse of Cactus Rose @ Yale University last Friday night, New Haven, Connecticut )

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( Kandia Crazy Horse of Cactus Rose & legendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker @ Yale, after screening of his 1973 David Bowie documentary “Ziggy Stardust” )

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Kandia Crazy Horse x Prince x Stevie Nicks @ BlackStar Rising & the Purple Reign 1/26

Dearly Beloved, I hope you shall join us this week @ Yale University in New Haven for the Prince – David Bowie conference: BlackStar Rising & The Purple Reign

In the lead-in to the Solange (Knowles) keynote address, I shall be holding forth on Mystical Prince, the Afro-Native spirit of his jazz belle mother Mattie & his Muses including my key sonic foremother Stevie Nicks (of course, Stevie & Prince collaborated on “Stand Back” & among other thangs, Prince clearly derived some of his famous style from Stevie’s bespoke sartorial aesthetic). Rather than due to Prince’s most adored blackface-wearing, jazz fusioneer heroine Joni Mitchell (who transformed from Saskatoon prairie flower trilling songbird into a black pimp who punked the Asylum gang royalty of LA with her own alter-ego Art Nouveau), I am a latter-day Lady of the Canyon because of my heroine Stevie Nicks — & a select elite of cult favorite canyon muses including Wendy Waldman, Essra Mohawk, Claudia Lennear & Judee Sill; they are all collectively the Muses behind songs of mine such as “Quartz Hill,” “Cowgirls,””Songcatcher,” & “Rare Bird” (& yes, my sophomore album was titled Canyons). As a sonic & spiritual acolyte-turned-Adept of Queen California’s Electric Eden (who possesses the Source Family lineage name Songbird Aquarian), I am looking forward to being purified anew in the purple-hued waters of Lake Minnetonka.

A-ho*

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Kandia Crazy Horse x Prince x David Bowie @ BlackStar Rising & The Purple Reign

Hope y’all enjoyed the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday; I spent mine meditating on the post-60s emanations of The Dream — as well as its limits as manifest in the oeuvres of Black Atlantic & Heartland rockstars David Bowie & Prince. I am finally at liberty to invite y’all to join us in New Haven @ the end of the month for the “Blackstar Rising & The Purple Reign” rock conference. Courtesy of an invite from my longtime dear friend of the Black Rock scene, former Princeton professor turned Yale scholar Dr. Daphne Brooks, I shall be presenting on Prince & activism @ Yale University; my evening program on 25 January also features Solange (Knowles) as keynote speaker & former SPIN magazine editor Alan Light.

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The program also includes Sheila E., Kimbra, Questlove & others + a closing concert by TV On The Radio. More info & registration instructions linked: KANDIA CRAZY HORSE presentation @ YALE UNIVERSITY for Blackstar Rising & The Purple Reign 1/25

Looking forward to my rebirth in the purifying waters of Lake Minnetonka: HARTFORD COURANT on BLACKSTAR RISING & THE PURPLE REIGN

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“Manhattan Given Back To Indians…” & Benny Andrews’ Bicentennial Blues & Frohawk Two Feathers’ Frenglish New York

Given that I was out all day yesterday — primarily attending an uptown art salon in Lower Harlem, where I sang — I completely missed this odd bit of NYC local news: MANHATTAN GIVEN BACK TO INDIANS (well at least a part of it)

Although I have some close ties with the Ramapough Lunaape and am acquainted with Chief Dwaine Perry, I have not to my knowledge crossed paths with the New York Post article’s cited chief Anthony Jay Van Dunk nor have I met the cited son of artist Louise Bourgeois — I have been a fleeting fan of hers due to her longevity/continuing to create but expertise on her life & oeuvre lies with my twin sister, the art historian — Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois. I don’t know quite what to make of this transaction, but if the ultimate result is a patahmaniikan (prayer house) then fine. I did not get to participate in the Ramapough winter ceremony this past Saturday out @ Split Rock, for it was cancelled due to snow/inclement weather; so I have not heard any direct commentary from the Source, as it were.

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The article says Bourgeois fils has been a Standing Rock benefactor, yet I was more interested to learn of other Natives’ participation in the Occupy Movement for in all the months I was involved in it, particularly Occupy Music, I never met any. Now, if only this M. Bourgeois would get behind the fight to establish Indigenous Peoples Day in NYC. Overall, it was just a little odd piece of news to be sent to me by other Urban Native friends, at the end of the year when Standing Rock has become such a Hollywood trendy Cause (Elvis’ grand baby appearing at hyped LA benefits) & indigenous chic itself has been atomizing err’where — especially on the backs of musical artists with no Native roots including hip-hop ones & judges of The Voice like Alicia Keys — but I am still encountering folks who never heard of what’s going on with the Dakota Access Pipeline (or any other of this land’s black snakes). It’s weird to be revisiting the apocryphal sale of Manhattan by the Lenape to the Dutch, even as our Tri-State news is dominated by news of president-elect Trump’s vast real estate holdings here, the need to barricade Trump Tower in Midtown, and the ongoing discussion of the City as Trump’s fiefdom. I hope the Ramapough do not get targeted by limousine liberals, due to their local residence. Meantime, instead of hashtagging activism, focus & funds need to be directed to the many Native protectors of Standing Rock who are now facing felonies / about to have their cases trafficked through the courts in North Dakota — and there’s inadequate legal representation for most. Some of us staying woke despite the narcotic of holiday cheer.

#IStandWithSplitRock

manhattan-1 (Chief Van Dunk, Ramapough, & art patron/architectural historian Bourgeois via New York Post)

Anyroad, I believe this story jumped out at me due to a long conversation about Native American roots out of the Mid-Atlantic and “outsider art” creation we had on Friday afternoon in Chelsea, on the verge of a gallery crawl through the ‘hood to see Titus Kaphar’s opening @ Jack Shainman & the great Bicentennial Series show of one of my favorite painters/fellow Georgian Benny Andrews @ Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. Some strange confluence out of the dialogue and Early Colonial (Kaphar) plus Bicentennial/Jim Crow reflection (Andrews) stirred things up…& made me recall the peculiar but beautiful work of Frohawk Two Feathers who was de vogue a few years back, with prominent Chelsea gallery representation & who I have never met but this particular project is extremely similar to my inner imaginorium/worldview – although he is younger than I, born (interestingly) in the year of the American Bicentennial, 1976: Heartbreaking and shit, but that’s the globe. The Battle of Manhattan 

a60adce41d365c68346a252c4e24cb33 (By Frohawk Two Feathers)

Chicago-born, LA-based Frohawk Two Feathers is the alias of Afro-Native artist Umar Rashid (who also does vanguard and alt-hip-hop music under the monikers Kent Cyclone & Tha Grimm Teachaz); and the 2014 culmination of a series of his work blending Afrofuturism and fact / fiction of early settler colonialism in the Americas caught my notice for decades prior to my arrival in New York City — in part due to my Native American great aunt Helena’s residence in Harlem since the 1930s — I had been an (alternative) history buff preoccupied with the lore of the Ramapough, Jacks-and-Whites / other isolates of the area; the apocryphal sale of Manahata and the Algonquin villages of the landmass; and the religious/occult traditions arising from the upstate Burned-Over District. [Which also drew my interest to the now-defunct Sundance network show The Red Road, which focused on Ramapough, starring half-Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa who claims Native American & for which my cousin’s wife Marcey Tree-In-The-Wind served as a consultant.] Two Feathers’ work seemed to at least gloss similar concerns:

“Bonnie Prince Johnnie, flamboyant pharaoh of New York; Francesca, a.k.a. Tisiphone, Native American assassin; Maurits de Wolff, former slave and soldier extraordinaire; Akosua Van Der Zee, wrathful feminist and malicious schemer.
These are a few of the characters in a wildly original telling of the fictional Battle of Yonkers in 18th-century New York; their portraits and those of other tattooed warriors, misled rulers and vengeful women…
…[final] installment of “The American Proteus: An Invocation and the Wars Between the Rivers,” an alternative account of the colonization of northeastern North America that is both written and visual in form, epic in scope, and built around the imaginary Republic of Frengland (a combination of England, France and Ireland).”

There were paintings that were meta portraits or sometimes reminiscent of historical battles depicted on deerskins or echoing ledger art, mixed with art forms of ancient KMT & tipis on display as well. They were somewhat unnerving, for it was like an unknown Spirit had excavated my interior landscape & reproduced it for all eyes to see. And I will leave it at that for now, for there’s far more concerning this work that I wish to explore…A’ho*

frohawktwofeathers-1024x683  (By Frohawk Two Feathers)