The Value of Black Queer Creativity
Just launched via Kickstarter, "Honey" is a musical project that will dive deep into telling black queer love stories authentically. The good, the bad, and everything in between.
Photo by Alex Webster
The following post is from the Kickstarter campaign I just launched TODAY. I am terrified but I feel the best things happen in my life when I lean into my fears. Check it out below and if you can’t donate please share or send words of encouragement. Thank you for your support!
Since I was eight years old I've been deeply invested in the art of performance. I remember grabbing my hairbrush and belting "Signed Sealed Delivered" by Stevie Wonder in the mirror – while staying in a motel in Houston, Texas after my mother lost her home. Music has often been my greatest escape from the harsh realities of being Black in America, and now that I'm older, I've realized how much power lies within a melody, and how transformative music can be. This project titled "Honey" is an opportunity for me to share harmonies and lyrics rooted in the bittersweet reality of my black queer experience. These songs were written about the frustrating moments I've experienced navigating love as someone who is openly non-binary, and how that process lead me on a journey of self-love and exploration. I am starting this Kickstarter to assert my value in a world that tries to make my ideas and talents unworthy and to specifically insert the value of black queer creativity into spaces we deserve to be in.
I started recording music when I was 18 years old. I had just moved to New York to study musical theater with 50 dollars in my pocket. After acting classes, I would visit my friends in Harlem who would encourage me to sing. They recorded numerous videos of me, and after sharing them on Youtube, I met a producer out of Brooklyn named Tev 95. We worked through hints of what would be my journey for years to come.
For Ten Years, I independently produced shows and musical works around New York City. I spent prominent moments of my early twenties singing for coworkers and close friends in nearly empty bars in the Lower East Side. With time those stages turned into private sponsored parties with influencers and key decision-makers. I had many ups and downs on this creative journey. I've been featured in magazines while my phone was cut off. I've worked at restaurants where tables would flag me down because they heard my song on a blog. But the one thing that kept me grounded was the opportunity to share my authentic self with my community. I kept going until I couldn't anymore, and one day I decided I would never sing again.
However, I still couldn't shake the feeling of wanting to be on stage. I started diving deep into alternative ways of performing. Without a band or a track, how can I make my voice heard? That lead me on a journey of experimenting with comedy and drag. I began exploring costuming and seeing how radically honest I could be on stage. I used comedy as a way to sing my frustrations without the notes. I ended up performing at the historic Stonewall Inn. I even got the opportunity to work with comedians from HBO, be featured on Pose FX, and film comedy segments for Buzzfeed. I worked comedy clubs all around town and won competitions but in my heart, I still had melodies that I couldn't get rid of, I still had songs I wanted to sing.
At 30, I met a producer while traveling. We clicked instantly. I used the studio time as my therapy sessions as I sang about heartbreak, life, gender, and my experiences with my sexuality. I knew instantly that this would be a special project if I gave myself permission to dream, explore, create, and if I remembered the childhood version of me who sang in the mirror when there was nothing left.
This project isn't just for me it's for queer folx across the world to know their dreams have value, their stories are valid, and after 10 years of doing it on my own, I am now relying on the support of my community to take this project to the finish line.
This will be an EP featuring work from an international team of diverse artists. A music video for the title track "Honey" is currently in production. This project has already been funded independently by me but I am seeking the support of my community to help cover promotional costs, performance costs, merch costs, and other final logistics that will help me continue to create and build upon this work for the rest of the year. Lastly, I plan to donate a percentage of proceeds to BTFA – an organization that helped me understand my value as a non-binary artist.
With the funds from this campaign, I will invest in my community and bring value and opportunity to queer creatives across the globe. All I have in my life is my creativity, my dreams, and my intentions. And I've now reached a point in my life where I realized that is all I need.
Please consider sharing and supporting via Kickstarter here.
Remember you’re are more powerful than you know ✨