Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 10 Liberated Muse Highlights of 2009

This year for Liberated Muse Productions was one of many highs which I would like to take the time to share today on New Year's Eve. If you participated in any of the highlights mentioned, would love to read your feedback and comments. Thanks for being part of the community!

Moon of

(In Photos: The first live reading from the book Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul, at the Potter's House in Washington DC, featuring various artists from the community, including Margaux Delotte-Bennett, Stone/Wright, James Terrell, Quineice Clarkson, Gary Young and Anonamas)

Highlights of 2009-

10. Liberated Muse Joins the World of Facebook and Twitter!
In 2009, the expanded its realm of communication when Liberated Muse started a fan page and profile page on Facebook and began an online Twitter feed. The world of Facebook and Twitter has enabled members to interact more readily and determine more easily the level of connection they wish to have their community. Facebook has allowed more real time updates to reach members and is a great platform for members to tag photos of themselves and add photos from Liberated Muse events from their own Facebook photo albums. The Facebook fan page has already exceeded 800 members and continues to exceed the number of active members on the Ning network.
9. Liberated Muse members Dee Stone and Head-Roc are nominated for Washington Area Music Association (WAMMIE) Awards
We always love to broadcast good news about our members and this news was well-deserved. We wrote about it HERE in an earlier blog.

8. Liberated Muse Continues to Be Home to Some of the DC Area's Hottest Artist All-Stars
The caliber of talented folk on continue to be impressive. Award-winning doll artist Sherry Burton of Sankofa Doll Artistry, the talented LOVEthepoet, songstress Teisha Marie and hip-hop dynamo Substantial are just a glimpse into how rich the flavor of the membership is on Contributing to forums, interacting with each other off and online, the Liberated Muse community continues to thrive and is one of the highlights we are most grateful for this year.

7. Liberated Muse (LM) Partners with the 2009 International Soul Music Summit (ISMS)
While in 2008 Liberated Muse co-founder Khadijah "Moon" Ali-Coleman was a panelist in the International Soul Music Summit in Atlanta, GA, nothing could be more pleasing than seeing a partnership form between LM and the ISMS which entailed members receiving a discount to participate in the summit and members from the network actually performing at the event. Big ups to those Liberated Muse members who performed and participated, including Chaquis Maliq, Al Chestnut, and Colie Williams. Co-founder of LM, Maceo Thomas got to see first-hand some of the members doing their thang in Atlanta, an arts mecca for performers of color.
6. Liberated Muse's 2nd Annual Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest a Summer Hit Again
Featuring phenomenal performances by numerous acts from the nation's capital and beyond, the CHHSF was a hit, despite park renovations at the festival site and a scorching heat index. The event headliners included Bomani Armah, Head-Roc & GODISHEUS, Teisha Marie, Marcell & the Truth and other faves that were captured in photos you can check out on The fest led to our next highlight which was...
5. Liberated Muse's Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest featured in the Press
Appearing on FOX 5 with Gwen Tolbart to promote the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest was definitely one of the livest press moments of the festival in 2009. Coverage was much appreciated this year, helping to garner the sponsorship by some of the 2009 sponsors of the fest including the US Census Bureau and State Farm Insurance. Festival director Maceo Thomas made rounds sharing the news of the fest, being featured in several print and online publications including National, The Afro, and We can't begin to thank our media partners enough for their support, with special thanks to Capital Community News for their continued media sponsorship. Click HERE to read LM press coverage for 2009.
Liberated Muse members new and old contributed to this book anthology which features prose, poetry, visual art and essays that interpret the concept of the soul and this thing we call freedom. The book became the featured book in the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest and sold over 100 copies in the first month and a half in print. The release of the first literary anthology produced and edited by Liberated Muse's Khadijah "Moon" Ali-Coleman was a 2009 highlight that led to the following top three highlights...
3. A Musical Book Tour to Promote Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul
Putting a spin on the tradition book tour which features readings and author Q and A, the Liberated Muse book tour featured writers from the book and musical performances from performing artists who are members of the Liberated Muse network. The kick-off started at the Potter's House and included stops at the Artomatic and the art store ArtSpring in Silver Spring, MD. Special thanks to all those who were featured during the shows: Quineice Clarkson, Gary Young, Farah Lawal, Stone/Wright, James Terrell, Anonamas, Margaux Delotte-Bennett, Alan King, Ananda Leeke, Jade Andwele, Maureen Mulima, Ozara Ode, Colie Williams and to all of those who attended. All of our book tour shows at the Potter's House allowed us to raise money and have our next highlight...
2. Raising Money for Area Groups Serving Our Community
Our first book tour stop in June at the Potter's House allowed us to raise over $400 to assist students in the DC College Success Foundation's Acheivers Program. While the program assists students in paying for college tuition upon successful completion of high school requirements, the program did not assist with fees associated with room and board application fees, student activities fees, etc. The money raised helped four low-income students pay for these fees and begin school this past Fall 2009. Our show on September 11, 2009 raised funds for the arts collective The Saartjie Project and our last show on November 20, 2009 at the Potter's House raised funds for arts programming at Southeast Ministry, a nonprofit that helps adults earn their GED and fine-tune employment skills.

1. Transforming Places Into Art Spaces: Our First Art Exhibit
The Potter's House became the official brick and mortar home of Liberated Muse in 2009 when the wonderful bookstore, performance venue, restaurant, etc. became the art gallery home of our first art exhibit-- Celebration of Freedom, curated by Liberated Muse member Sharon Burton. The exhibit, inspired by the book Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul featured artists from the book and other artists from the Liberated Muse network, including Prudence Bonds, Stephan Cox, Keisha Cox, and other artists. Read our past blogs about this wonderful exhibit which ran from Sept. 11 to Dec. 1.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Goapele Show is a Night of Hits and Many Misses

(In photo: Songstress Goapele performs at Liv Nightclub in Washington DC where a packed house enjoyed her classics and tunes from her upcoming CD "Milk & Honey". Photo by Khadijah Ali-Coleman.)

The line was long. The line was wayyyy long. On Dec. 27-- a Sunday, no doubt-- at about 6pm, folks with advanced tickets to Goapele's 7pm performance stood in line at Liv Nightclub on top of Bohemian Caverns to get in early to grab seats to watch the songstress perform her classics "Butterfly Kisses" and "Closer" with new tunes from her upcoming release "Milk and Honey".

Unfortunately, in this case of waiting in line early, the early bird DID NOT get the worm.

Those of us in line early, arriving at 6:30pm or earlier for the show waited for at least 45 minutes in the bitter cold as the Liv Nightclub staff kept us outside for what they said first was "technical difficulties" then, when one of our group went to inquire 20 minutes later, we were told they were moving tables and chairs. When we saw Goapele actually leave the building at about 6:55pm and jump in a red truck, we weren't feeling too encouraged that the show was going to take place. "She's just going to get something to eat," said one of her entourage members as the door closed, but, of course, we were not thrilled to hear this. It was cold.

(In photo: Goapele's opening act, DC native VRich. Photo by Khadijah Ali-Coleman)

After waiting in line for a good hour or so and enduring the neighborhood line heckler who had imaginary conversations with folks in line and loudly proclaimed victory over football teams while shouting praise to his religious deity while the infamous DC rats scurried to and fro, we were let in-- we being those with tickets purchased online. Those who had endured the cold in line with us and had expected to buy tickets were told they would not be let in any earlier than 8:30pm and only if space was allowed.

(In photo: Goapele warmed her audience up with some of her favorites, including a cover of Diana Ross' "Love Hangover" Photo by Khadijah Ali-Coleman)

So those of us with our tickets thawing in our hands walked upstairs to find that when they said earlier that they had moved the chairs and tables, they weren't kidding. They had moved them completely out of the room. There was only standing room. (There were three couches in a roped off area). So, those of us who had waited in line for over an hour to merely get inside had to then stand for the entire show which, at this point, was going to probably extend past 11pm and not start until 8pm. When going to the bar to get warm on liquor, to make matters worse, we were dismayed to find that there were limited selections of alcohol, with some choices just absent-- including Remy and Hennessey--which continued the tone of the evening.

The room quickly filled with folks and before long, we were standing shoulder to shoulder in the small area that contained the small stage, the bar and a roped off area for VIPs who were allowed to sit on a choice of two or three couches. We weren't VIPs on this night, so we continued to stand.

The energy slowly begin to thaw and circulate some positivity when the DJ began to play some music in the interim. He was fantastic. The growing crowd grooved to old school hip-hop and some classic R & B before Goapele's opening act VRich came on stage to perform, with local superstar Alison Carney on backing vocals.

(In photo: Liberated Muse member Hook of MYST studios and Liberated Muse co-founder Maceo Thomas. Photo by Khadijah Ali-Coleman)

The evening did get gradually better with the line-waiting fading into distant memory as VRich entertained, showcasing exceptional piano skills and Goapele finally emerging and coming onstage, garbed in a black dress and green stillettos.

"I love your shoes," yelled a gaggle of young women on the side of the stage and Goapele smiled as she warmly greeted her fans.

Her performance began in good humor despite terrible sound which buried her soft vocals underneath the pitchy strike of each note the keyboardist hit. The keyboards were up so high that there had to be dogs down the street that could communicate with each note played. This is not a diss on the keyboardist's skills-- on the contrary. Goapele's entire band of musicians were extremely gifted with her lead guitarist and drummer insanely dope. However, the sound settings were so erratic, and you heard so little of Goapele's voice, that the musical prowess of her musicians could not disrupt the growing frustration over not being able to hear the lyrics long enough to begin singing along with them. The spontaneous screech of the feedback in the speakers that pierced the eardrums of those of us standing closer to the front did not make well the night either.

All in all, some of us left early when photographers and others began to push their bodies forward to get to the front in the crowd that now had spilled out into the hallway and was now becoming a bit claustrophobic. As we left, we couldn't help but be a little disappointed that we forgot to purchase VRich's CD on our way out-- it was on sale that evening for only $5! As we paused on the steps, considering to get the CD now or order later online, the thought of wading through the crowed room flashed in our heads and we decided that heading home at that moment was in our best interest. At last check, we had been standing for over two hours straight and never in our lives had we longed for a chair so bad.

Saturday, December 19, 2009 Member Nominated for WAMMIE Award!

As a member of the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA), was excited to get the ballot to vote for the upcoming WAMMIE awards which will take place in February. The WAMMIES are big time here in the DC metro area and it would be wise for DC area artists to consider joining WAMA to be eligible to be nominated. As an indie artist, it is all about networks you build and broadening your audience. Joining organizations, social networks and associations is helpful because you are putting yourself in a postion to get info on opportunities to perform, market your music, etc. that you wouldn't be privy to as a lone wolf. This is especially true for those indies who don't have the funds to hire an agent or manager to do that on their behalf.

Liberated Muse WAMMIE nominee: Dee Stone of Stone/Wright

We are so happy to learn that Liberated Muse member Dee Stone is a nominee for this year's WAMMIE awards, sponsored by the WAMA and BMI. Dee, and her husband/band member Charlie Wright's first duo collab as Stone/Wright-- out for less than a year was nominated. We are thrilled for them and brag to everyone that we had them a part of our summer book tour shows. Here is their latest video. Enjoy!

Liberated Muse Attends 7th Anniversary of the Potter's House Sounds of Hope series

(In photo: Kristen Arant , Michael Kweku Owusu, Khadijah Ali-Coleman, & George Perry. Kristen, Kweku and George drummed during the celebration )

The Potter's House has been a valuable supporter of Liberated Muse programming this year-- from the book release celebration to hosting the first art exhibit produced by Liberated Muse productions-- Celebration of Freedom. We have raised funds for two three nonprofits-- DC College Success Foundation, The Saartjie Project & Southeast Ministry thanks to the support of the Potter's House.

To honor the wonderful space that is the Potter's House, Liberated Muse's co-founder Khadijah "Moon" Ali-Coleman accepted the invitation from Sounds of Hope producer Mary Shapiro to perform and help promote the event.

(In photo: Kristen and Kweku created glorious rhythmic sounds)

The event was wonderful and a great celebration of the holiday season. Check out some of our past events Liberated Muse has produced at the Potter's House:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Liberated Muse Production: Call for Actresses

Liberated Muse Production is currently seeking actresses for the production Running: Amok which is currently being considered to appear in the 2010 Capital Fringe Fest.

Here is the Call for Actresses:

We are seeking six women between the ages of 25-45 years-old for the production who are performing artists and mothers able to identify with this piece.

All those interested must have a performing arts talent such as singing, dance, spoken word or playing instrument and all must have acting ability.

If you are interested in being considered for this show, please submit your bio, a recent photo and link to your website (if applicable) to Please have your information in by Friday, January 8, 2009

In your email, please explain why you are interested in participating in this show.

Please click HERE to read more about what the production is about.

Auditions will begin in early 2010

Visit for more information.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Congrats to Grammy Nominee Christylez & Seeking Partners for the 2010 Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest

Southeast DC native Christon "Christylez" Bacon is a progressive hip-hop artist who is a modern-day Bobby McFerrin with his mission towards cultural acceptance and unification through music and multiple musical abilities ranging from rapping, singing, beat-boxing, to playing numerous instruments, including the ukelele. His recent collaboration with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer on a children's CD garnered him, Fink and Marxer a GRAMMY nomination, announced last night.

Christylez has had a phenomenal 2009, performing nationally and becoming the first hip-hop artist to be featured at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Christylez was one of the first featured acts in the debut of the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest in Washington DC in 2008.

Christylez is already poised to launch a new project in the early months of 2010. In partnership with stage director, Patrick Crowley, Christylez will produce an interdisciplinary concert which will use drama and dance to complement Christylez' musical work. During this production, the Christylez Bacon Orchestra and all new content will also be introduced. The production will result in a concert entitled; Christylez Bacon Theatricalized that will premier at Atlas Theater’s Intersections Festival late February of 2010 and will be comprised of two shows. The production will run until early March of 2010.

Visit Chrisylez' website at for more information on his work.

Liberated Muse Productions Seeks Partners for 2010 Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest

Are you an arts organization or business in the Washington DC metro area seeking an opportunity to be part of one of the largest events that takes place east of the river in Washington DC? If so, we would love for you to become a partner of the 2010 Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest. For more information, please email us expressing your interest and to receive an invite to our upcoming Partners Meeting to take place in January 2010. Visit for more information on the festival.