(Photo credit: Rae Maxwell)
From Nona Hendrix and Grace Jones, to the Afro punk warrior goddess Tamar Kali, Black women artists are inextricably woven into the fabric of rock and roll. During Women's History Month, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History and the Jess Care Moore Foundation will pay homage to this crucial aspect of history with the fourth annual "Black Women Rock!" (BWR!). The art exhibition, live music concert, and Sunday afternoon workshops and community celebration will take place March 16-18 at the museum.
In 2004, renowned poet and performer Jessica Care Moore created "Black Women Rock! A Tribute to Rock Icon Betty Davis" in conjunction with The National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta to showcase independent women artists of color who made a living as composers, guitarists, vocalists, producers and arts educators in the rock and roll genre.
These contemporary artists defy stereotypes of what a rock and roll artist looks and sounds like and are the spiritual descendants of Betty Davis, Etta James, Grace Jones, Tina Turner, Nona Hendrix, and Patti LaBelle. They have spent their careers breaking down barriers of image, politics and sexuality in the music industry. In honor of Women's History Month, "BWR!" debuted in Detroit in March 2010 to a standing-room-only audience.
The free art exhibition curated by Sabrina Nelson and Jessica Care Moore kicks off this year's event on Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m. The acclaimed "BWR! live rock and roll concert returns to the Wright Museum's General Motors Theater on Saturday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m., and features performances by Dionne Farris, (Arrested Development), Martha Redbone, Ursula Rucker (The Roots), Kat Dyson (guitar player for Prince), Canadian rocker Saidah Baba Talibah, and Detroit's own Jessica Care Moore and Steffanie Christi'an. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $25.
The events conclude on Sunday, March 17, with a Community Celebration to raise funds to benefit rock icon Betty Davis. An intimate Commnity Conversation/Panel Discussion titled "We Are Not Urban Fiction" with the headliners, plus special guest comedian and WJLB on air personality, Coco is at 12:30 p.m. The suggested donation is $10, but the Sunday activities are all free.
A special book signing with Laina Dawes, author of "What You Doing Here? A Black Woman's Life in Liberation in Heavy Metal," will occur after the talk.
All "BWR!" events will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The museum is located at 315 East Warren Ave. near Woodward. Tickets for the Saturday, March 16, concert can be purchased at www.thewright.org