Ferguson, Missouri

Rosa Clemente: This is the picture taken by the Daily News. Talib, Jessica Care Moore and about five other people on the other side, you might see my hands up, those are some other young men as well as brother with the Peace Poets. Since apparently to some people we need evidence as our experience is not enough.

Jessica Care Moore (b. 1971) is a poet, playwright, and performance artist, who in 1997 founded her own publishing company entitled Moore Black Press, dedicated to promoting a new generation of African American authors.

In 2004 she introduced the Black WOMEN Rock! Exhibition, showcasing some of the best musicians in the country. The foundation that bears her name focuses on promoting literacy and expression through art.

Live from #Ferguson by Rosa Clemente:

An hour ago, Jessica Care Moore Talib Kweli, folks from the Fellowship of Reconcillation, Philp Agnew of Dream Defenders, Bgyrl ForLife Malik from Occupy the Hood and Trymaine Lee from MSNBC and many others were chased like animals by the cops. We ran to get away and were surrounded on a small path on bridge, surrounded by all types of police and told to lie down and put our hands up. We complied and we were told if we did not stop moving we would be shot. We were breathing. The young brother lying on my feet as I was holding him was not able to control his breathing he said “I’m choking” the cop told him to stop or he would shoot him. I told him “try not to move, just lay still I got you.” The gun was at his chest. I looked at the cop and said “please, he is not doing anything” I tried to record but the cop had his finger on the trigger. I could feel Talib’s hand on my back and Jessica behind me. We laid there until one Black officer said “Let them go, we got who we wanted.” In all my life I have never been so terrified. The young brother Devin said thank you I think you saved my life. What is going down here in #ferguson in all my years of activism, organizing, I have never seen. This is a war zone, a military occupation and our children are the cannon fodder. P.S. The white boy who threw the water bottle a big fuck you, I am sure you were an agent provocateur. But for the police to act this way, they are itching to kill more of us. P.S. Women are also brutalized and terrorized by the police, at the end all of us are Black and Brown and animals to them.

Black Women Rock is a living tribute to Betty Davis — one rocking Black woman.

Davis, at one point married to legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, influenced his music and went on to create a sound and imagery all her own. An icon to pioneering Black rock figures ever since, Davis is still largely unknown. BWR is a reminder.

Moore says BWR is a tribute to the “amazing lights, so many Amazon women” who are not in the mainstream.

Brooklyn-based punk artist Tamar-kali, a BWR vocalist and guitar player, says the “ground breaking and self-defining music” of Davis parallels the lives of many of the BWR artists.

“I hope to continue the legacy of Nina Simone, Grace Jones, Betty Davis,” Kali told the Michigan Citizen. “So we can (understand) that iconography or imagery is in line with true artistry.”

BWR reminds us that though the path for Black women, artists and otherwise, can be daunting, it’s not crippling.

“Despite what some say, I believe Black women always have to fight a little bit harder. Have to love a little bit deeper. Have to stand a little bit stronger. We know how to make the best out of any bad situation. There is a collective experience that deep down we understand,” says Steffanie Christi’an of BWR, who attended the African-centered Aisha Shule/W.E.B. Dubois Prepatory Academy and Wayne State University.

Steffanie Christi'an, Tamar kali, jessica Care moore & Maimouna Youseff - They Say I’m Different (2012)

Warriors Walk Alone

Warriors walk alone
But stay protected by their pack
Give them everything they wanted
Then take it all back
Make them find their icon in the mirror
Sprout their own fear and watch them grow
Tell their story – cry when you do it
Turn your blood to funkadelic polkadots
Sign your name in red
Change the I to why
Because we have to change
Because black girls are dying
Because no one showed them how to live
Mama fish, the children will revolt
Whispers and reports of oil spills
Will kill the women
Who make revolution, food for their children

A penny bank full of butterflies
Will never cocoon into enough cash
To pay for the expectations of spectators
Gypsy haters
Wash your colorful wings in the well
Know that all your wishes
Add to our spicy bitches brew
We are who was sent to you
So, who sent you?
When the shit goes down
Will you remember which way the blue bird flew?
I advise you carry your compass and your scissors
Next time you go fishing for the worst part of good
I hope your ideas of consciousness
Can get you out this hood
In one piece
We wolves always come in peace
We are the traveling leaf, that cries for trees
Music angel.
Stretch your warrior marks
Mark your warrior path
Stretch marks tattoo your temple
Swallow your dimples
Hide your style/market your spirit/sell something/cut it off/save
them/sacrifice/drink water/pray/laugh and breath/cross your legs/get your
gun/wage the war/make them buy it/bat your eyes/rock it out/make them
beg/put the hits on the b side/smile warrior
Listen for your tribe

Here we go!

Check your footprints
Pick them up/shoot em down/take the a train/bite your story
Save your tongue//just get there sista/even if you have to leave a few of
behind/chant backward rhymes/store your milk for ammunition/ use your
intuition/shave your hair/wish them luck
tell the witch doctors/we don’t give a fuck/

scar your face/pierce your nose/unwrap the package
define the present

tell them no

just when they think they’ve have it

meditate while they criticize it/burn sage for the liars who print it/turn
down the stove/only boil with natural fire/burn down their house/watch the
words melt /save the ink/write a new song/return to the ocean/leave them
the mermaids/carry your pepper spray/wear your hooker books/tease
them prove their identity/brand it to their bodies/force them to pin a
to their clothes/convert the masses/design the logo/create a real

when no one’s looking

so they’ll never see us

Black Women Rock! highlights African American female musicians

Black Women Rock! united African American musicians from all across the country for an evening celebrating the music of cult hero Betty Davis. It also provided a platform for musicians who might be overlooked, says organizer Jessica Care Moore.

“I created it because you do have women listening to rock’n’roll, AC/DC, Rolling Stones,” said Moore. “As far as black music, rock’n’roll, it’s just the blues sped up. Even the Motown sound is rock’n’roll.”

Moore, an author, poet and event producer from Detroit, started the Black Women Rock! concert during the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta in 2004. This year marked the 10th anniversary.

“These women are playing guitar, writing progressive lyrics, jumping around on the stage,” said Moore. “I’m trying to represent this art form in the proper skin and the feminine form. Even at festivals that support black artists, they don’t have rock’n’roll artists.”

Black Statue of Liberty by Jessica Care Moore

I stand still above an island, fist straight in the air
Scar on my face, thick braids in my hair
Battle boots tied, red blood in the tears I’ve cried.
Tourists fly from all over just to swim near my tide
Or climb up my long flight of stairs
But they trip on their shoe string lies.
Piece by piece they shipped my body to this country
Now that I’m here, your people don’t want me.
I’m a symbol of freedom, but I’m still not free
I suffer from class, race, and gender inequality.
I wear a crown of knowledge, ‘cause I’m a conscious queen
My mask is one of happiness, though my history here is full of misery.
Done deliberately.
I am America’s true statue of liberty.
You placed a bible under my arm, after you ripped me of my faith
And made me pray to a fictional imposter
So, if you were trying to maintain liberty
Too late, you just lost her
'Cause her torch is about to serve as the night light for truth
In the slums and the ghettos that you find so uncouth.
Education will be delivered not from the tree, but the root.
So, little black girls and boys will check their pockets
For spirituality rather than loot
'Cause liberty is just old mother nature
And although you don’t lover her, she’ll never hate ya.
She’s earth, wind and fire, don’t tempt her to show her power.
Turning all weeds to flowers.
Looking into her wise eyes will make a blind man see
How can you dare name a eurocentric girl after me?
Assata Shakur Barbara Jordan Nikki Giovanni and Angela Davis.
These are the real symbols of liberty
'Cause that stone faced French woman ain’t gonna save us.
The same folks who enslaved us.

I’m sitting at the back of the bus, 'cause I feel like it.
And I play ball
Not 'cause you pay me to dunk it, dribble it or hike it.
I’m taking all my people back home, and breaking them mentally free.
I am the walking, talking, breathing, beautiful statue of liberty.
I sweep crack pipes out of school yards
I nurture my man when times are hard.
So, where the hell’s my statue?
What’s the liberated woman gotta do?
Place my name in wet cement
Every month I pay the rent.
Put my silhouette on a stamp
I’m not a ho, slut or tramp.
My children aren’t on crack, and neither am I.
I want to see the words, “Go, strong Black woman,”
When the Goodyear blimp flies by.
I can bake cookies, bear babies, preside over revolutions
Get rings out of tubs, wear a suit, sport baggy jeans, slick my hair back
Or tie it up in braids.
My aura is unafraid.
So, no statue in the big apple can mess with me.
I am the walking, talking, surviving, breathing, beautiful
Black Statue of Liberty.