weirdooftheweek

Black Weirdo of the Week #34: Trae Harris

Name: Trae Harris From: Baltimore, MD

Performance artist and writer currently living in NYC, making my mark on the omnivores one utterance at a time! Travel, witchcraft and the esoteric ritual are my interest! What is your craft/career/creative expression? My craft is performance: acting, dance and poetry! I work as an actress and thankfully this is my only job now!! How long have you been working at your craft? I began dancing at the age of 4 but have officially been pursuing my craft for about 15 years!! I always knew exctly what I wanted to do!!  Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo? I mean, ppl have called me a weirdo and I am black but I dont think I ever actually called myself that lol!!! BUT I suppose being the only artist in my military corporate family automatically kinda makes me a weirdo!!!   What inspires you? I’m inspired by reading and traveling, also certain smells really inspire me! Aromatherapy saved my life lol  Who is your weird black muse? Ummm lol, I don’t really muse its so weird to me lol… But my fiancé Dynasty Ogun (of L'Enchantuer) has been a HUGE inspiration for my writing! Plus she is super talented in hella ways AND shes gorgeously handsome AND she is sooo Brooklyn which I love… Yea I guess she is totally my life muse! Links/Social Media:  www.traeharris.com  IG: @gypsybruja TWITTER: @gypsybruja TUMBLR: gypsybruja.tumblr.com  FB: Trae Harris 
Upcoming events/ projects? im guest starring in the first episode of Orange is the New Black!! Starring in an off broadway play entitled And I and Silence which runs in August!! Working on a few webseries! Still completing my poetry book and album! WitchesBrew/Pagan Gospel collaborations with my best friend Josiah Wise the SERPENTWITHFEET ANDDD continuing to grow my line of aromatheraphy oils, hoping to get in some stores soon!!

Black Weirdo Of The Week 22: Morgan Parker

Name: Morgan Parker

From: Grew up in SoCal, in a relationship with Brooklyn

Mini Bio Morgan Parker’s first collection of poems, Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night, was selected by Eileen Myles for The 2013 Gatewood Prize and is forthcoming from Switchback Books. Recent poems are forthcoming from Tin House, jubilat, and Forklift, Ohio. A graduate of NYU’s Creative Writing MFA program and a Cave Canem fellow, Morgan lives with her brother and her dog Braeburn in Brooklyn, where she is Education Director at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA).
What is your craft/career/creative expression?  Poetry & Education
How long have you been working at your craft?  When I was 9 I wrote my first story about a pizza, bought a blazer and called myself a writer. That year I also started a publishing company, Parker Publishing House, on the blacktop during recess. But I’ve been hustling in the literary games since moving to New York 8 years ago.
Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo? I don’t fit. I’m upfront and honest, even and especially when that’s unpopular, unpleasant or irregular. I’m ambitious, confident, hip, inquisitive, loud, ridiculous, funny, and authentic. I don’t really have the time to be anything else. It’s not my place to ban labels like “bossy,” “queen,” or “feminist,” but I am tryna shift, complicate and repurpose those terms all the time. Whether it be through teaching, art-making, community building, or just taking control of my own language, I’m trying to revolutionize how I think about what it means to be a Black woman right now. I do this by uplifting, representing and supporting my folks, even if that just means giving them voice in the line of a poem or inviting them over for a glass of wine and some bad TV. 
Links/Social Media:  www.morgan-parker.com | Twitter: @morganapple | insta: @morganapple0 
Upcoming events/ projects? I have a few awesome readings lined up around NY this spring and will be promoting my first book in the next year. This summer I’m looking forward to attending the Cave Canem retreat. I’m also working on my second collection of poems, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé.

Black Weirdo Of The Week 14: Tiona McClodden

Name:
Tiona McClodden

From:
Born in Blytheville, AK. Raised in Greenville, SC. Living in Philadelphia, PA.

Mini Bio:
I produce and distribute my work through my film and media imprint, Harriet’s Gun Media. Most of my work examines the queer black experience in the most specific ways and broad ways simultaneously.  My work takes a look social realism, re-memory and more recently biomythography. I’m trying to build a decent body of work and so far I’ve completed these films- black./womyn.: conversations with lesbians of African descent, a short narrative film Bumming Cigarettes, and an experimental film portrait, roots.|&|rigor. featuring my buddy and Philly based sculpture artist Lorna Williams. I also just had my first solo exhibition of the first part of my upcoming four part series, Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic, Movement I - The Visions which I plan to mount in a few cities this year. I try to stay working for the most part.

What is your craft/career/creative expression?
Filmmaker and visual artist. I produce conceptual narrative work-I’m into that “head to the hand” art thing and I’m constantly trying to work that out through motion picture format and now through physical production using my hands. I’m in a transition from primarily documentary moving into this hybrid fiction/non-fiction place of work. I’m into producing “insider art”.

How long have you been working on your craft?
Professionally since 2002 when I quit working at a café, dropped out of college, and started working with a mentor at the time.

Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo?
I’m cool with fucking around with the formula that makes me who I am. I’m black, queer, woman, and a bunch of other shit and I refuse to partition my shit. I’m definitely about Black Excellence at all times, no matter the form of work or presentation. I’m anti square shit and monolithic. I embrace my weirdness and that of other folks. I move in my body and work with all these things at the same time unapologetically. I think the idea of Black Weirdo is fitting because it has no limitations really, there is no blueprint, and so I’m down for it.

Links/Social Media
Instagram:
@tionam
Tumblr: www.tionam.com
Website: harrietsgunmedia.com

Upcoming events/ projects?
I’m creating some new work with some of my fellow artists and friends called #DRUGMONEYBOUGHTTHISDRESS which is looking at black artists, the work we produce, accessibility to that work and class politics. Still screening my short Bumming Cigarettes and working on my second installment of my Be Alarmed film series, The Seamstress. Finishing up a script to my experimental narrative fiction feature Flowers which will feature black queer femme identified folks as the main protagonists. And working on a music video project with you folks-THEESatisfaction for your new album!

Black Weirdo Of The Week 19: Son Of Baldwin

Name:  Robert Jones, Jr.

From: Brooklyn, Brooklyn (Always funky fresh!)

Mini Bio:
A winning combination of luck, good-looking-out from dozens of people, and a sense that I was here to do something of worth got me through what some would consider a hard-knock life in the projects of Brooklyn. Lots of stumbling, falling, and epiphanies led me to my purpose, which is writing–especially in the realms of fiction and social justice. (Shout out to James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Octavia Butler, each of whom saved my life.) 

What is your craft/career/creative expression? 
I am a writer. I think I can now say that with full confidence. I am currently a content writer for the communications and marketing division of an institution of higher learning. I am also the creator/curator of the social media brand, Son of Baldwin.

How long have you been working at your craft?
I’ve been writing consistently since I was 12 years old (so something like 31 years); and I have six years of academic training in the craft (I have a B.F.A. in creative writing and an M.F.A. in fiction).

Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo? 
Come on, yo. Gay. Agnostic. Radical. Nerdy. Geekish. Bookworm. I can jump double dutch, but can’t catch a football. Plus I know the dance steps to every Janet Jackson video from “Dream Street” to “Got ‘Til It’s Gone.” I’ve got eight of the thirteen necessary qualifications to be considered a Black Weirdo. Don’t ask me what the other five are. :) Links/Social Media:
Facebookwww.facebook.com/sonofbaldwinfb; Twitter: https://twitter.com/SonofBaldwin

Upcoming events/ projects? 
I am currently working on my first novel. I’ve just finished the most recent draft and I’m now working on the revisions. It’ll be out precisely when I stop procrastinating, finish it, get over my fear of not being good enough and get it published.

Black Weirdo of The Week 11: Storme Webber

Name:

Storme Webber

From:
Seattle (NYC London Berlin &)

Mini Bio:
Phoenixologist. Incantationist. Shapeshifter. Soulsurvivor.

What is your craft/career/creative expression?
Interdisciplinary Artist building words, songs, performance, curation and art into healing moments.

How long have you been working at your craft?
Lifelong & worldwide.

Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo?
I’m second generation Black Native Two Spirit from my inception. A child of a lesbian mother & a bisexual father, raised in pre Stonewall queer bar community, blessed with a loving grandmother and a dreaming head & heart. I create transforming/transformative art that aims to honor invisible lives while dreaming of unseen futures to be. Walking all these margins gave me sure steps.

Links/Social Media:
Storme:
Website: www.stormewebber.com
Twitter: @stormewebber

Voices Rising:
www.voicesrisingseattle.org

Upcoming events/ projects?
Presentations of recent hybrid spoken word/music CD “Blues Divine” and video/performance installation “Noirish Lesbiana: A Night at the Sub Room” - Queering the International/Queer Arts Fest, Vancouver BC.

Publication: “Wild Tales of a Renegade Halfbreed Bulldagger”- experimental memoir/ speculative fiction mixblood work.   

Why We Love Storme:
Storme was the first person to offer us a show :) She has been a champion of her work on this planet. She continues to open doors to young performing artist. Her warm spirit we are drawn to.

Black Weirdo of The Week 6: Kimberly Drew

Name:
Kimberly Drew

From:
Orange, NJ

Mini Bio:
Kimberly Drew received her B.A. from Smith College in Art History and African-American Studies, with a concentration in Museum Studies. An avid lover of black culture and art, Kimberly first experienced the art world as an intern in the Director’s Office of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her time at the Studio Museum inspired her to start the Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art, sparking her interest in social media.

What is your craft/career/creative expression?
Full time I’m a marketing assistant for Hyperallergic/Nectar Ads. Even fuller time I founded the tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art.

How long have you been working at your craft?
I’ve been doing social media since Mark Zuckerburg let us high schoolers join the book in ’05.

Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo?
As Zora Neale Hurston put it, “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.” I’m of the can’t hide it variety. My parents raised me to love every facet of my blackness and that kind of self love in our society is often seen as a pathology. I’m a black weirdo because I don’t let that stigma inhibit my existence.

Links/Social Media:
Kim:
Blog: blackqueerdo.tumblr.com
Instagram: @museummammy
Twitter: @museummammy
SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/maudmammy
4sq: foursquare.com/museummammy

Black Contemporary Art:
Blog: blackcontemporaryart.tumblr.com
FB: www.facebook.com/BlackContemporaryArt
Instagram: @blackcontempart
Twitter: @blackcontempart

Upcoming events/ projects?
March 16th- Black Contemporary Art, Cave To Canvas & Tumblr Present:
New York Art Walk

Why We Love Kimberly Drew:
Kim is one of our best friends. With style and grace (and a lil rachetness) she guides folks through a thorough Black experience in the visual arts. Not only is she well versed in the work of Black artists throughout time she is constantly researching and gathering more knowledge to spread about Black involvement in the art scene. She is a unique entity that is soon to
blow your mind (if she hasn’t already!)

Black Weirdo of The Week 12: King Texas

Name:
King Texas

From:
Brooklyn (HLYLND), NY

Mini Bio:
I am a photographer born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.  I am completely intrigued by the way people navigate the world, and I love to document that process and connection. 

What is your craft/career/creative expression?
Creating meaningful visuals.

How long have you been working at your craft?
A very long time, and the process will never end.

Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo?
Sometimes, it is difficult to walk into the world every day and face the continuous battles that may never disappear. Courage, determination, love, creation, and a good group of people to surround yourself with makes things a lot lighter. I am powerful, intelligent, resilient, and fierce. 

Links/Social Media:
Tumblr: www.kingtexas.tumblr.com
Twitter: @KingTexas
Instagram: KingTexas

Upcoming events/ projects?
I am currently working on several photo and video projects. I writing my first screenplay in which I form my own black transgender narrative. I also hope to be a part of some exhibits this year.

Why We Love King Texas:
Bright in spirit and energy, King amazes us with his passion. We met in 2010 at a show in New Jersey and have been fascinated by his work ever since. His art challenges our gaze and perspective. Overall, he’s an outstanding photographer, a hard worker and a good friend.

Black Weirdo Of The Week 13: Tyree Sheppard

Name: 
Tyree Jonathan Sheppard

From: 
Los Angeles, CA

Mini Bio:
I am not originally from Los Angeles, I was born and raised in Seattle and moved to LA when I was 21. I am 28 and at the beginning of my eighth here in this vainglorious city, I feel like I grew up here. I became the person that I am going to be for the rest of my life here. My child is going to be born here (my girlfriend is eight months pregnant). I still have love for Seattle and how it framed and informed my childhood and many lessons about how to be and who I am, I knew there and I love going back there from time to time but I know that I will never live there again. Los Angeles has been my home and will be my home for the foreseeable future.

What is your craft/career/creative expression?
The great Percy Shelly said that “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the universe.” I am an unacknowledged universe legislator. I am a poet and a writer. My first book of poetry, Someone Sinister, was published last May and I update my website frequently with new poems. I used to be somewhat of an essayist, writing about injustice and disparity as my experience and studies enlightened me but I grew darker and more cynical as I perceived the universe descending. I love the classic poets (the English Romantics and poets of the Enlightenment), and the structure and meter that they employed/invented. They heavily influence my writing. I have also written and directed many video interpretations of poems I have written. Sometimes I dabble in photography. I publish all of my work under my own imprint, Bad Thoughts Publishing.

How long have you been working on your craft?
I have always been a writer. I must have been because I can’t remember a time when I was not.

Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo?
I don’t think I consider myself a Black Weirdo. I definitely consider myself a Black man and some would say that I am an awkward person but I am at this stage in my existence that I don’t know how to label myself or if labels even matter to me. I know they matter to people looking at me but again, I don’t really give a fuck about them. I am Tyree Jonathan Sheppard. I am a poet and a writer but I don’t know if I have to link my heritage to both of those beautiful things. I guess I am becoming very weary of being labeled a “Black” artist instead of just an artist (not that I’ve been labeled either). Fuck it, I am a Black Weirdo I am proud to be a Black person, a Black human. I am sullen, glum, dark, torrid, an unbearable person, a person nearly incapable of appreciating light despite knowing that it is the crux of my being. I am confused. 

Links/Social Media
Website: www.allhailchief.com
Twitter: @thebigchief

Upcoming events/ projects?
I am currently finishing up my second book of poetry, Universe Unravelling, which will contain the sequel to my epic poem, Heavenly Decay (featured in my first book of poetry Someone Sinister), as well as many more compositions. I hope to have this published early this Spring. Also, I am working on publishing a book of short stories I have written, this Summer.

Black Weirdo Of The Week 15: JusMoni
photo credit Jah Grey

Name:
JusMoni

From:
Town. Seattle, WA

Mini Bio:
She believes most in integrity, loving what you do and becoming one with what you receive and what you exude. Future electric soul.

What is your craft/career/creative expression?
I am a singer. I enjoy rapping sometimes, too. 

How long have you been working at your craft?
I’ve been pursuing music for about 5 years. But I can remember being really young and doing this life work. I don’t know, forever, ever?

Why do you consider yourself a Black Weirdo?
Black Weirdo, is remembering why we exist, and honoring that. Most importantly, remembering the queens we be, the Gods we be, and being that. Black Weirdo is free. Free is what I want to be. 

Links/Social Media:
http://www.soundcloud.com/JusMoni