by Lisa Edge
Monique Franklin is a multi-disciplinary artist and self-described performance introvert. Her exposure to the arts began as a toddler under the guidance of her mother, who led family plays in the living room of their Rainier Valley home. Music spoke to Franklin first, followed by dance. She has fond memories of dancing on a mini trampoline while listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, and Lionel Richie. Next was the written word.
“It wasn’t until I hit my teenage years, and life got complex as teenage years do. And I started writing,” Franklin shared. “I started journaling, and that was my entry into poetry, writing poetry as journal entries. And I did that for many, many years and never shared my poetry with anyone.”
Continue reading Music and Words Flow Through Poet Monique Franklin
by Kathya Alexander
On Friday, Nov. 12, Monique Franklin will take the stage to share a reading of her provocative play Mama’z Muezz. The performance starts at 7 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Accompanied by a live four-piece band, Mama’z Meuzz examines the experiences of African American mothers from present-day, historical, and ancestral perspectives.
Franklin will also share part of Mama’z Muezzeum, an interactive and introspective experience full of artifacts, adornments, and ancestral altars that acknowledge what many consider universal experiences (like conception and birth) that for many mothers are traumatic experiences that involve grief and trauma and that need healing.
In addition to free tickets, Black women attending the performance who are mothers will get a signed copy of the “Mama’z Muezz” chapbook, a collection of the poems from the play. They will also receive a flower, a magnet, royal seating at the front of the house, and a free digital download of the “Mama’z Muezz” mini album.
Continue reading Mama’z Meuzz: The Beauty and Pain of Black Motherhood
by Susan Fried
Melba Ayco, the founder and artistic director of Northwest Tap Connection is a Gullah Geechee and Creole storyteller and last Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17, Northwest Tap celebrated their third annual Seattle Gullah Geechee Festival. Ms. Melba told stories about Gullah Geechee traditions around food, culture, and heritage. She talked about the importance of family and the practice of lifting the baby up during a Gullah christening, the significance of the conch shell in Gullah spirituality, and the history behind the “Emancipation” maypole. In-between the stories, Northwest Tap dancers and instructors performed numerous dances inspired by Gullah Geechee heritage.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Northwest Tap Connection’s Third Annual Gullah Geechee Festival