Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dr Maya Angelou and Hip Hop Saves Lives

From the busy streets of New York to my Kampala touchdown, the journey has been long and liberating.  And as I sit here I feel the need to first reflect on my leaving the city that never sleeps.

I think I have to start with my family.  Some old and some new who have made this trip worth every breathing moment. Mushana, women working under one sun, I met Angela through a friend Babaluku Coolbaba.  Angela and her husband John work double time to create and push Ugandan Art.  Her company helps to sustain a community of women and children in Uganda through art and bead work.  Taking raw materials and turning them into beautiful art pieces with the help of jewelers such as Trevor Hartman.  But what has been most capturing about meeting these people are their welcoming spirits and support in all endeavors, going above and beyond to make sure you are always in the right place at the right time, sharing contacts and networks openly in order to support the arts.  

My last night in New York I was privileged enough to attend, with my Mushana Family, a gathering of women at the Fairleigh Dickinson University to hear the prolific Maya Angelou speak and recite.  From the notes I have scribbled into the program I can feel the same gratitude to her as I did in those moments of listening.
From the moment she walks on stage I feel my heart stop beating, frozen in awe the room is filled with silence and she sits on the tiny platform with nothing but a seat and a microphone.  I only have two minutes to take any photograph with a flash, as the rest of the time it is not permitted. I almost feel like taking pictures might cause me to miss something crucial! And she sings, loud and inspirationally, it feels like I have goose pimples coming out from my bones.  The subject matter, jokes about her childhood, her grandmother, her abuse, and everyone’s ability to be a Rainbow in Somebody’s Cloud.  The woman is beautiful and elegant, making the crowd laugh and move with every word spoken.  I hope that all of you can hear a caption of her words as you are reading this from the link I have attached to the bottom of the blog.  I leave this experience with a deep sense of her words and an appreciation of my ‘Rainbows’ past present and the ones still to come. 

My evening moves quickly on to a second event.  Hip Hop Saves
Lives.  An organization that uses Hip Hop as a tool to support communities and causes through benefit shows and events.  Tonight’s activities aim is to fundraise for water pumps in Haiti and it is a blessing to see artist and friends step up in an effort to help their peers. There is a massive atmosphere of love and support in the room and the artists photographed bellow are just some of the performs.  However, being a Ugandan I must focus on showcasing our representative, Babaluku Coolbaba and his friend Okai from Negus.  Okai, originally from Haiti plays the Jemba with rhythm and passion alongside Babaluku.  The message is an empowerment of self and the want to put back into the community. Both artists present a perfect example of Luga Flow and although both speak different languages the message is still heard loud and clear.
New York JFK two-hour delay… hour flight…..transit London Heathrow ten hours….London Heathrow eight hour flight to Entebbe….forty five minute drive to Kampala…..I am tired. But I can’t sleep trying to find the conclusion to my travels.  And wanting to  thank everyone who helped me on my trip to progress my projects and allowed me into the spirit of the work they do with young people globally please take a minute to check out the links below:
Bavubuka Foundation: Facebook  CDBaby  Website
Mushana: Website
Maya Angelou: Website
Sulu Nation: Facebook
Noah G-Pop: Website
Toni Blackman: Artist and activist Website
Trinity Hip Hop Festival: Website
Hip Hop Saves Lives: Website

Also look out for my next shoot for Mushana and the Contemporary Tribe, until then Peace, Love and Blessings…

the quality of the video is not so great but the sound speaks for itself....if you cant see this follow the LINK 

Dr Maya Angelou Audio sound bite