One thing i noticed when i walked into the unconfetence i noticed that the atmosphere was very wonderful. Everybody was being respectful and and appreciative of the opportunity to come to a event like this. Cecile Hansen stood out to me. She has been working with the Duwamish Tribe since 1975. One that that Cecile said when she spoke was that we as students need to make a big change in the city of Seattle. She said the change won’t happen with just one of us it will happen when a big group of us decided to make a change. Lulu Carpenter owns a radio station that is based of out of the central district area.
During the panel they talked about how a change can be done in communities. One thing that came up often is that now a days money has a lot to do with power. It has now shaped who can speak and who cannot speak. It has shaped who people will listen to and who people will not listen to. Ixtlixochiti Salinas talked about how money shouldn’t have with anything. She also said if you want to make a change you don’t need the high status along with it. She also talked about how you need to be who you are don’t change to fit in be you. Black mama talked about how it’s not only happening here in North America it is also happening all around the world. She said in order for this to work together bring ideas together and not stay isolated like we have been.
Blog Post #1:
What a Day!
Off to a great start. The Women Who Rock Conference held at MOHAI started with a bang.
It was a beautiful day in Seattle. Sunny, but not too cold.
MOHAI served as a great stage for the Womxn Who Rock (UN)Conference. Attendees seemed pleasantly surprised by the amazing space.
When I walked in, I was immediately taken back by amazing setup. I was drawn to the Altar, where many stories of female strength in music were shared.
At around 10:45 am, attendees were enthralled by an Opening Blessing by Dwamish Tribe Chairwomen Cecile Hansen. She was very thankful to be included in the Agenda for the day. I found it funny when it said that “the Dwamish are still here”, reminding conference attendees that Native American heritage is still alive and well in the Pacific Northwest. The ceremonial blessing was a nice way to start out the conference because it helped to get people into the mood. It also made people thankful and appreciative of all the work that women did in this world that helped pave the way for future advancements in music.
Blog Post #2:
Claiming Space Breakout Session
The first breakout session was quite informative. The first breakout session, Claiming Space as Womxn Of Color. Inspired me about the topic of “equitable, sustainable development” in the Seattle area that can help young artists on the uprise. Currently, “the city is getting more crowded and expensive to live in”. This seems to be pushing out marginalized peoples in the Greater Seattle Area. We’re gonna have to come together and fight together to prevent “millionaires and billionaires from kicking us out”.
One speaker talked about how we must stand up, come together, and stand together to creative lasting change in Seattle and the World.
One impactful idea I got from one of the speakers is to own who you are. I think that this idea is very valid and applies to school, professional work, and life. It’s also very true in the music industry as many African-American female musicians kept on singing and being themselves, which ultimately lead to their success. After many years of oppression and negativity, these artists’s work finally started to get played on the radio.
After a full day of events, here at the Womxn who Rock (Un)conference, we begin to wind down a day of appreciation, respect, understanding of the musical activism in the changing city scene with a performance from Ana Cano, also known as Black Mama, a musical feminist from Ecuador with myriad musical backgrounds and traditions that manifest themselves in her music and influence the message her art purveys. Ana Cano’s musical messages speak right to the heart of this conference, as she embodies the goals and purpose of why we all came today. She speaks for freedom and equality, for fighting back the oppression by the majority power against those who are not white heterosexual males, especially in the violence and neglect of black women around the world. Her presence today speaks to the magnitude of this issue that we face today, beyond just this city but to places around the globe. And, in corroboration with Ana Cano, we have music with Dr. Jade Power-Sotomayor, that together, creates a mixing of melodies that emphasizes the mixing of cultures in unity for the same goal. In order to combat and protest this status quo, like those featured on the Altar in the grand atrium, we must speak out and celebrate those who risk and sacrifice themselves in order to enable others to experience respect, power, and equality in a better quality of life.
One of the first panels of the day discussed the loss of spaces to the growing wealthy corporate culture in Seattle and, in particular, the effect of this on communities of color. Among questions asked were communities can do to reclaim these spaces in a city that is known for its liberal politics and awareness and yet still falls prey to gentrification and inequality. While these obviously questions proved to be difficult to find a singular answer, this spurred an interesting and important discussion on the extent of change that awareness can cause and issues of lip service. This was to be indicative of the in-depth discussions that would happen throughout the day which were powerfully paired with artistic expressions like a showing of the film “The Promised Land” and music performances by various womxn artists. This combination of discussion and arts offered an interesting meditation on the power of combining academia and intellectualism with the arts and how this pairing can impact social change.
The Womxn Who Rock (Un)Conference begun with a blessing by Duwamish tribe chairwoman Cecile Hansen that included the powerful statement, “the Duwamish are still here.” This recognition of Seattle’s history as Duwamish land kicked off the recurring theme that was mentioned by various speakers about the spaces that we occupy. In a practical sense, the conference was organized into an assortment of spaces. This included spaces recognizing historical women, black communities in Seattle, and spaces of quiet designated for those who needed a break from the conference’s activities and noise. One of the goals of the conference was to “create brave spaces” for discussion and to find answers in a city facing issues of inequality and oppression. The 2018 Womxn Who Rock (Un)Conference has kicked off to a strong start and is showing itself to be a unique and powerful event for the city of Seattle.
Chloe Yeo, Group 11
While gentrification and creating affordable housing are hot topics, I had never considered the intersection of gentrification and creating creative spaces. During the CAP (Creation, Activation, Preservation) Report session, I enjoyed hearing recommendations and Seattle’s attempts to define creative space and preserve cultural landmarks. It’s incredibly nuanced and faces significant historical barriers because of systemic racism through redlining, financial institutions, and misconceptions about artists. I never understood the need for studio space for visual or performing arts in terms of city planning, or how these cultural districts can help inform housing and retail space decisions. The CAP report discussion illuminated the potential for arts and housing equity to work hand in hand, which I found inspiring and grateful that these talks are happening at a city level.
Following this table talk, the atrium was opened up to a lovely blues jam session. As a person who strongly values representation, I loved seeing women of color collaborating and creating sounds together in a space that isn’t directly celebrating diversity. In the context of MOHAI, the activities of this (un)conference almost seemed at odds with the space. My initial reaction of MOHAI was that it was built to “sell” people on the idea of Seattle, and dismissed any impact of race, class, or gender caused by rising industries. Therefore, it is important and necessary to put MOHAI and this conference in conversation with each other, and continue to do so in various spaces throughout our changing city.
A documentary was featured at the Womxn Who Rock (Un)Conference was Promise Land which is about the struggles and hardships the Duwamish tribe has gone through here in Seattle since the beginning. The Duwamish tribe is the only tribe that was not given a reservation due to the white settlers not wanting to give them their land. The land that they lived was slowly burned to the ground, became a dumping ground and was taken from them. A woman who co-directed the documentary has been an activist for the Duwamish tribe and has been the Chairwoman of the tribe since 1975 is Cecile Hansen. A story she told was that she stopped sacred land, which was an old village of the Duwamish, being destroyed by standing in front of the bulldozer. On her way home, she saw a bulldozer near the old village about to destroy it, she ran home and called the right people and they called off demolishing that piece of land. Because of Cecile Hansen, that old village, an important part of the Duwamish tribe was saved.
The Blues Jam is beginning in the Atrium of the MOHAI. Annette Taborn, blues singer and archivist, and Reese Tamimura, blues guitarist, are leading the discussion of blues and their performance. Annette loves to teach about the history of music and explains how you can trace history of the United States through music.
They started their performance with a traditional blues in C major with Annette playing harmonica and singing. The next song they picked up the tempo by performing “Johnny B. Goode”. A song originally written and recorded by Chuck Berry back in 1955. For this song, they got the crowd involved! They brought a student up to play tambourine, which made it a more fun and interactive experience for the audience. Following Johnny B. Goode, our professor Michelle Habell-Pallán got on stage to play some tambourine and the drummer started singing while playing drums!
Through their performance we went on a trip through history of blues. Especially when Black Mama came up stage for a song to freestyle because it showed the essence of blues that still can be heard within hip hop today.
In the panel discussion part of the Women Who Rock (Un)Conference, which was the Claiming Space in the Changing City a discussion question that was important was, How do you all see people being pushed out of their respective spaces and what are they, or you doing to stop it? The first women to answer was Black Mama, a femenista artist from Ecuador. She responded to the question by telling us, the audience that one of the ways artists claim space by doing graffiti across the city to convey the message. Another way people claim space is going to restricted areas and have concerts and plays in those areas. They try to spread the information through action since they cannot get it featured in the news.
As soon as you open the main doors to MOHAI, the sound of blues echoes throughout the atrium, filling the wide open space with the ringing of music. Annette Taborn, Reese Tanimura, and other musicians stand upon a stage and alternate between jamming out and describing their life experiences and involvement with music during their life. Their music enlivens and excites the atmosphere, as people in the crowd get into the groove, dancing, clapping, and rocking out in the beat of the bass line, Annette’s harmonica riffs and signature voice, and the rhythm of the percussion. Annette Tabor is described as someone who has been involved with music her whole life, and is a musical archivist with a personal connection with blues and jazz music. Not only does this performance energize the conference as a whole, it reminds us that beyond the archives and the history, we are all here to celebrate the involvement of women in music and to create a center of appreciation and respect for those who are often excluded from the platform.