What is freedom? It’s the power to speak and act without restraint. It’s the small act of resistance. And for poet Aja Monet, it’s the shared experience of power between Black women that speaks to our resilience and triumph, no matter our situation in life. Here, Aja takes us on a journey of a time she felt that empowerment and liberation, a time where fellowship among Black women allowed freedom to float up beyond walls mean to keep it suppressed. Here is the coloring of Aja Monet.
January 21, 2017 1:10 PM EST – Artist Aja Monet recited a poem titled “My mother was a freedom fighter” at the Women’s March on Washington. Monet told the crowds that language is powerful and it was “the power of words” that got President Trump into office.(The Washington Post)
Nobel Women’s Initiative is celebrating a decade of supporting the women’s peace movement and amplifying women’s voices for peace, justice and equality!
In September 2016 a book launch was held in Ottawa to commemorate 10 years of women-led action for peace. When We Are Bold: Women Who Turn Our Upsidedown World Right at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on September 27. When We Are Bold is a collection of 28 essays about women peacemakers by notable women authors, academics and activists. CBC Ottawa’s Lucy van Oldenbarneveld and Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams were joined by When We Are Bold authors Madeleine Thien, Aja Monet and Casey Camp-Horinek for readings and discussion. Click here to see photo highlights from the book launch.
aja monet’s essay on June Jordan and Tara Thompson entitled, “I’m Trying to Find My Way Home” is included in this incredible collection of women’s voices. for more information and to purchase book click here: http://whenwearebold.com/
Carrie Mae Weems (Artist), Aja Monet (Poet) (photo: William Struhs)
“I’m deeply aware of the stress that’s put on our community, the stress that’s put on black women, the stress that’s put on black men. It’s not a play, it’s really this battle.” — Carrie Mae Weems
Today’s ART21 Exclusive features Carrie Mae Weems staging Grace Notes: Reflections for Now, a performance that examines the escalating racial tensions across the United States, and the role of grace in the pursuit of democracy. Although known for her work as a photographer, in Grace Notes Weems blends spoken word, music, projected video, and dance to commemorate the tragic deaths of young black men like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.
THAT IS REALLY THE ULTIMATE CALL OF GRACE.
“The thing to me that is remarkable about our history, about who we are, about how we have conducted ourselves in the onslaught of history, is to maintain the core of our dignity,” says Weems to the show’s cast during a rehearsal. “That is really the ultimate call of grace.”
Grace Notes was commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA and performed in June 2016 to honor the nine churchgoers who were killed one year earlier at Emanuel AME Church, located just three blocks from the College of Charleston Sottile Theatre where Grace Notes was performed. It will be performed again at the Yale Repertory Theatre in September, as part of the No Boundaries Series.
Aja Monet Of Cuban-Jamaican descent, Aja Monet is an internationally established poet, performer, singer, songwriter, educator and human rights advocate. “Education was the village that raised me,” she stated. “I care about it because I recognize the difference it makes in my life and the impact it has on fine-tuning my vision.” Last spring, Aja relocated from her native Brooklyn to Miami, FL to open up Smoke Signals Studioalongside her partner umi selah.
Art can be entertainment, a relief from the struggles of our day-to-day lives. But it can also be a tool to make sense of these same struggles. Often there is an inherent tension in trying to reconcile the escapist qualities of art with its transformative power. In an age when the day-to-day has become life or death for many Americans facing systems that are inherently, and too often silently, discriminatory, where does art end and activism begin?
This is a question that Aja Monet, an Afro-Cuban poet, educator, and activist from Brooklyn, has been giving a lot of thought to in recent years. “If you’re reinforcing that money will set you free, that’s only oppressing our people more,” she tells me over the phone. “Let’s stop supporting the things that are hurting us and use music for a spiritual reckoning of our ancestors.” Last spring, Monet relocated from Brooklyn to Little Haiti, Miami and went from pondering to acting. The result is Smoke Signals, a music studio where art and community can come together.