The play Running: AMOK is about women who are juggling the everyday while parenting. We wanted to use this space to showcase some of the women– these Bad Ass Mamas (BAM)– in real-time who are doing just that. Check out these artists, entrepreneurs and bloggers and support them.
AFI SOUL, Singer- Washington, D.C. brought legends to the world of soul music—ranging from Duke Ellington to Marvin Gaye. Indie soul singer Afi Soul has been making her own mark on the Nation’s Capital and beyond, finding independent success as a music maker while building a family as a hard-working mom. With a sound that is steeped 100% in the soul genre, Afi Soul excited about her burgeoning career that has not been halted in the least by her commitment to her growing family. This upbeat and positive singer talked to SoulTrain.com recently about her pregnancy with her fourth child, the challenges of being a mother and performer and the longevity of her 2008 release Lovely that is still enjoying attention. READ THE ARTICLE HERE.
SESHAT WALKER- Writer, Entrepreneur, ArtistConsultant
Seshat Walker is a small town gal and creative director and founder of the general store, inc. She’s a songwriter, freelance writer, consultant, mama and wife. She is also creator of the motto “less talk, more walk” and editor of “Special Itemz”. Over 12 years and today she has lent her creativity, knowledge and concepts to the following: The Art of Living Women’s Conference, The Black Luv Festival,Groove Gumbo, The Afro Punk Festival, Central Park CenterStage, The H Street Festival and Race for the Cure. She has lent PR expertise to the following artists: Opus Akoben, Kokayi, Carolyn Malachi and Tamara Wellons.
In 2009, she debuted a reading her play “Will She Love Me When I’m 64”. A full staged reading is being planned for March or April of 2010. The full production debut is planned for August 2010. She is currently looking for a director, set designers and light techs. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her on LinkedIn HERE and check out her MySpace for her most recent project, The General Store.
This grandmother to 12 grandkids is not your average grandma. Born May 17, 1958 in Washington DC to Margaret E. Artis, a single mother living with her parents, Demetra Jonvere “JonVee” Artis emerged. She was only thirteen when she entered an art contest and the people showed up at her door wanting her to attend their school of art. But her family, struggling for money, could not afford this. She, instead, attended the local public school, Johnson Jr. High School in S.E. DC where she began to explore her feel for singing, acting and running track. She even did a couple of plays then. However, her gift in the arts was overshadowed by her academic progress. No matter how hard she tried she just could not keep up academically in school; so, she gave up. She dropped out of school, got married and had her first child all at the age of seventeen.
Life was hard with her husband and money was tight. Soon, more children came and though she tried to pursue other careers such as modeling for catalogues such as Sears and JC Penny’s, her role as a mother and wife required more of her attention. So, she decided to stay put– be a stay at home mom, only taking jobs when money got extremely tight. She started writing with, reading to and teaching her children at home. She soon realized that if she could teach her children to read, write and recite poetry all before they started school, then she really wasn’t as slow of a learner as she had been told. So, when her youngest child was in high school she told him that she would graduate before he did, and she did. She scored highest in history and science. She had colleges asking her to attend for studies in science.
She decided to attend Strartford Career Institute for Interior Decorating and later went on to Sheffield School of Interior Design and received her Certificate of Graduation from both schools. In 2007, Jonvee began college at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. She turned 50 years-old in 2008 and does not have any plans of slowing down. She says that life is just beginning and it’s never too late to try. Visit her webpage HERE.
Valjeanne Jeffers is a mom and a graduate of Spelman College, a member of the Carolina African American Writer’s Collective and the author of the science fiction novels Immortal and Immortal II: The Time of Legend. Her novels are available at IndieBound, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Valjeanne also writes under the pen name Valjeanne Jeffers -Thompson. She has been published in: PurpleMag, Revelry, Drumvoices Revue, The Ringing Ear, Pembroke Magazine; Little Black Book Volume II, Liberated Muse: How I Freed My Soul Volume I, The Obamas: Portrait of America’s First Family, and the Black Science Fiction Society Anthology: Future Passage (in press). Her novel Immortal received a five star book reveiw from APOOO Bookclub and both Immortal second edition and Immortal II received the EDC creations “Best Books of 2009″ award. Valjeanne is currently writing her third novel: Stealer of Souls. Preview Valjeanne’s literary works at http://www.freewebs.com/msvaljeannejeffers and http://afroalternate.spruz.com
Khadijah Ali-Coleman is mother to the world’s most beautiful little girl, Khari, and is a writer and an arts communications professional with significant work in theater arts, music, and youth development. She has performed nationally as a vocalist and theater actress for over fifteen years. Her performance credits include roles in The Vagina Monologues, The Medea Myth, The Life, and other contemporary plays. She has also written works for the stage, including her play Shades of Black: a thought in progress which debuted on stage in Baltimore, MD in 2008. Production of Shades of Black: a thought in progress sparked her interest in using theater as a tool to reach and educate audiences on how to advocate and create change in their communities.
A founding member of the theater company, The Saartjie Project, Moon has received acclaimed recognition as a playwright, performer and educator. Currently, she is producing her second play Running: AMOK, which will appear in the 2010 Capital Fringe Fest in Washington, DC.
She created the online social network Liberated Muse in 2008, which is an online portal for literary, performance, and visual artists, and shortly after, co-founded Liberated Muse Productions which produces annual festivals and benefit concerts, including the annual Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest. She edited the book anthology Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul (Outskirts Press, 2009) recently, and is currently on tour promoting the book. Moon’s prolific work has positively impacted the exposure of numerous emerging artists through her various roles as a journalist, event producer and educator.
Moon is available for speaking engagements, workshops, performances, hosting assignments, interviews, photography, and writing assignments. She is currently scheduling appearances and book signings for the book Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul. She is also available on a limited basis for event planning and consultation. Contact Khadijah “Moon” Ali-Coleman at LiberatedMuseProductions@gmail.com for business inquiries HERE or click HERE. View her online photography portfolio HERE.
Starting out at a very young age Pam Ward, a native of Washington, DC, has long been a lover of music. In the church is where she began to develop a deep appreciation for gospel music, which can be heard in her singing. Pam honed her skills by singing with many choirs, groups and bands throughout the D.C. Metropolitan area. She has performed on the stages of Constitution Hall, the “World Famous” Apollo Theater, The Lincoln Theatre, The Washington Convention Center and Radio City Music Hall along with other venues up and down the east coast. Ms. Ward has a solid fan base in the Washington, DC area and is usually a crowd favorite wherever she performs.
In 2001, Pam branched into theater and acted in the stage play, Divided We Fall, at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium. Pam’s versatility was discovered as she played three different roles on stage each night. Her roles in “Divided” lead to her next play, Lord I’m Coming Home. She was cast in the lead role of Tammy where she shared the stage with Sherman Hemsley, Rev. Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers and the late gospel great Brenda Waters. Pam became the 2006 Grand Champion of the World Championships of Performing Arts competition where artists from over 40 countries come to compete annually. In 2007, she performed the Tribute Productions’ play, SPUNK, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center which received great reviews from The Washington Post and many other publications. Pam traveled to Trinidad and Tobago in June 2008 where she was a featured artist in the Signal Hill Alumni Choir’s Glorious Gospel Celebration. Her most recent projects were In Series Theatre’s musical production titled From U Street to the Cotton and Red Branch Theatre’s production of Seussical.
Many have described her as having a powerful voice with incredible range and captivating stage presence. Pam’s dynamic vocals have afforded her the opportunity to share the stage with great artists, such as, Jennifer Holiday, Rahsaan Patterson, Regina Belle, LaShun Pace, Dorothy Norwood and Patti LaBelle for whom she sang background vocals at the 2000 Essence Awards in New York City. Her influences include the aforementioned women, as well as, Karen Clark-Sheard, Chaka Khan, Stephanie Mills, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, and Yolanda Adams. She hopes to inspire others as she has been inspired by many great talents. You can learn more about Pam at her online spaces HERE, HERE and HERE.
Born LaToya Monique Lindsey, Sumayyah Talibah always knew she wanted to be a writer. At an early age, she began to entertain her family and friends with stories and songs. As a teenager educated in the Detroit Public School system, Sumayyah decided to take her writing seriously. Poems and critical essays were her main focus at that time, although she did attempt a novel that remains unfinished to this day.
At age 24, she converted to Islam and adopted a new name. She chose the name “Sumayyah” to honor the first martyr of her religion and to remind herself to remain steadfast in the face of adversity. “Talibah,” meaning “seeker or acquirer of knowledge,” is a nod to her passion for reading and learning. Recently, the learning and reading has started to pay off. With several short stories and countless poems, one of which appears in Liberated Muse Vol. 1: How I Freed My Soul, Sumayyah Talibah is finally coming into her own.
She currently lives in Michigan with her husband, the hip hop artist Tasherre D’Enajetic, and their two children. Her work can be found on her website, Sumayyah Said So.
“It took me a while to figure out what exactly my voice would in the world, I changed my major 3 times while attending North Carolina A & T and still found that I was unsatisfied. In 2004 I moved to the DC/MD area to find a good job and get some real experience in the corporate world, I was 19. Six months later, I was pregnant with my first child. Unlike many others, I was not stressed about the life growing inside and welcomed the new chapter I was about to start.While on maternity leave, I started taking photos of my baby and noticed how well they came out.. so then I began to branch out and shoot friends and family.. not like staged stuff.. more natural events and normal interactions. These photos were beautiful. More and more people were telling me that I should do this professionally.I am a proclaimed, “self taught” photographer and I love knowing that fact that this all comes natural to me. I can’t sing, paint or draw, but I can take a beautiful photo. So, with that, I found my voice.I started a blog, www.freebirdphotography.blogspot.com in 2008 and named it”freebird” after the Lynard Skynard song. It rings true to who I am and always will be. I posted a little on it at first, but this year, I decided to jump back on the blogwagon and share my works from the past few years. I also write another blog www.freebirdfinds.blogspot.com, where I share my love for music, books, art, food and other general interests taking place in my community. As a mother of two now, this is a way for me to connect and grow as an artist and still have time to raise my girls. I’m currently building my portfolio to eventually have enough for a book. I have had my work featured on the cover of an arts magazine out in Chicago, H.A.S magazine and expect to have an article in the September issue of Marie Claire. My dream job is to be sent on location to a far away place for National Geographic.I love being a mother and a liberated artist not afraid to share my voice!
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