Our friend Jahweh David had quite a busy final weekend in September. First she opened her very first art show at the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts on Friday evening. Friends, family and supporters were treated to a variety of images which master drummer Afreekan Southwell described as “the visual expression of her journey from that other place.”
And what a journey it has been.
The space at VICA was electrified by the sounds of heart-thumping drumming as guests arrived to view the artworks and share a simple repast after which they were invited to show off their dance skills. The event kicked into high gear when Jahweh opened the microphone and shared one of her poems, entitled, “Afro Hues.”
Tregenza Roach followed with a poem especially for Jahweh called, “All This is Love” from the collection of the same name featuring fellow VI poets, Daisy LaFond, Elaine Jacobs, Hilda Joyce and Jeanie O’Day. He also shared a powerful poem about slavery that left many gathered murmuring throughout his reading. Musician Vince Wallace, who we usually see on bass, took to the drums and then shared some of his poetry, entitled, “Stolen Moments,” “Heartfelt” and “Rechecking,” which he joked many would understand on the way to their cars.
New Yorker Sister Kuumba did a stirring recitation, and Dara Monifa read her tribute to Jahweh. The final poet of the evening was Akin Chinnery, who did a praise tribute to Jahweh, which ended with a simple “Thank you Miss Artist.” Thank you indeed!
Among those enjoying the good vibes and soaking up the electric energy were Jahweh’s devoted Mom, also Doreen Walsh, Benita Martin Samuel with her son, Ahmad, Chinwe Osaze, K Leba Olaniyi, Augustin Holder, Allen P Brown, Nzeeba Rabsatt, Tiana Williams, Ja’Nel Harrigan, Kwabena Davis, Dilsa Capedeville, Veronica Handy Smith, Yvette and Vernon Finch, Gail Callwood, Nayda Young, Felicia Blake, Ritzia George and Jahweh’s mentor and friend, artist, Not Nu.
On Saturday, as the rest of the world gathered poets to share verses as a part of the event entitled 100 Thousand Poets for Change (taking place in 450 cities in 95 countries), here in St. Thomas we gathered in Emancipation Park. And sure enough Jahweh was there to share more of her poetry and encourage some in the audience to add to the global recitation. The poems shared were moving, thought provoking and beautiful. The small gathering turned out to be an intimate sharing like amongst family.
Among the poets who shared their voices were many who attended Jahweh’s opening, as well as Jennie Alvarez, Elaine Jacobs, Eugene Kuntz, the singing postman, and Carmelita. We were treated to a special song, “Freedom is on My Mind” by Maryland resident, Yvonne Washington-Turay, who told us that the piece was inspired by the St. Croix rain forest. Among those attending were Robert Fazzarano, Ricaldo Richarson, Rashida Francis, Jahzan Rush and Frank Jackson. Huge kudos to Dara Monifa for coordinating the event.
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