Current Inspiration: New Orleans CULT-cha

 I’ve been researching and studying the amazingly, enigmatic city that is New Orleans.

From the birth of Jazz, to Hurricane Katrina to Mardi Gras; this city is full of layers of significant history and people.  From its deep-rooted French culture, due to the Louisiana Purchase, intertwined with echoes of African Voodoo carried through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade; there is something about this town that is totally fascinating and complex.

One of the most interesting things I’ve come to understand and love about this city other than its music scene (New Orleans Bounce music, primarily), is the history of the Mardi Gras Indians.  Their inception started over 100 years ago from a group of Louisiana natives whose ancestors were of African and Native American decent.  As most Americans know, miscegenation between these two groups were very common during the days of slavery and colonialism.  And New Orleans is one of the only cities in America that has recognized the importance of this and its affect on their culture as a city within Louisiana.

The Mardi Gras Indians prepare all year for Fat Tuesday.  Meetings, practices, sewing sessions, collecting money and resources for their group/organization/tribe etc…  People see the second lines and parades, they stand in awe of their extravagant costumes and the moving vibrations of their singing and chanting, yet, rarely understand the hard work and dedication that it takes to do what these people do.  And it’s all in the name of tradition, strengthening their legacy and paying homage to their forefathers and foremothers who evoked this special tradition years ago.

I plan on attending Mardi Gras 2017 and cannot wait to have a taste of New Orleans and Louisiana culture for myself.  I look forward to seeing the Chiefs chanting their tribal songs throughout the streets, seeing the legendary Baby Dolls dancing in their satin corsets and umbrellas and just seeing people from all over the world having a good time.  But for now, I’m going to enjoy the King Cake that I bought from my local bakery and savor in its flavors until February 28th, 2017.

“Ya heard me?!”

 

The Submerging Marriage of Two Subcultures: Vogue and Bounce

I literally just stumbled across the greatest thing, EVER, during a routine Sunday night Google search.  And what do I see?  A picture of some of my faves together.  Big Freedia, a legendary New Orleans Bounce artist and Kassandra Ebony and Leiomy Mizrahi, also two legendary figures of the infamous Ballroom/Vogue Scene.  The beautiful thing about this is that, NOLA Bounce and the Ballroom Scene are worlds apart in artistic comparison, but so very similar in cultural form.  And to see that people of both communities have come together is very monumental, on so many levels.  Kind of makes me feel emotional.

The picture is from a Masquerade Ball that occurred in early May centered around bringing together artists and dancers from these two distinctive emerging cultures to showcase their talent in an artistic exchange through a competition.  Our good people at OkayPlayer were lucky enough to document this night of splendor and miraculous fun, and you could just sense the majesticness of the event in the video.  So Avant-Garde, dark and raw.  I also love the historical and personal commentary given by Mother Jack Mizrahi and the way in which everything gelled together within this mini-documentary.

I refuse to say anything else, but that I am so happy to see two former underground cultures created by people of color in America rise to the forefront of American culture and be acknowledged the way it has been in the new millennium.  History was made this night and it is continually being made, the more we share and accept the diversity amongst each other, the more profound our experience of life will be.  All in the name of art.  Do yourself a favor and watch the video below, prepare to be blown away.  #Magical