Thursday, April 28, 2011

Capital Hip Hop Soul: Choklate (@choklate)

Many artists dreamed of success in the entertainment industry before they even started on their journey.  Some artists, like soul singer Choklate, however, followed a different direction before realizing that music was her passion.  But--lucky for us-- after realizing that she had dreams to sing and with the support of an encouraging employer goading her on, she decided to follow the path that has brought her music to our ears.

Born in Seattle, WA and raised in San Diego, CA,  Choklate is a Seattle-based singer/songwriter who infuses various genres into her music. She has performed on stages with Bilal, Eric Roberson, Raheem DeVaughn, Dwele and other artists who fall into the neo-soul genre.  Choklate has released two albums -- Choklate (2006) and To Whom It May Concern (2009)-- and she credits the "Left Coast"--her term for both Washington and California--with its heavy Hip Hop and R & B influences for having a huge impact on her "musical being". 

Choklate will be featured along with DC singers Eva Kennedy and Snúhgie Stocks, in LivSuite presents Spring Soul Session Vol. 1 on April 29th at Washington DC's Twelve Restaurant and Lounge.  We caught up with her for a Q &A before the big event.

Choklate's "Grown Folks" music video from her album To Whom It May Concern:

Liberated Muse: What was your initial reaction that you will participate in the Spring Soul Session Vol. 1 event on April 29th? 

Choklate: I was just happy to be afforded the opportunity to return to an area that initially gave me so much love and support in the very beginning of my career and returning in a manner that I think will serve both myself as a performing artist as well as the fans that like the music that I do.  [I'm] very excited about the show.

Liberated Muse: What do you have in store for the audience at the Spring Soul Session Vol. 1 event? What should they expect?

Choklate: A really passionate, humbled and grateful person on stage singing honest songs that she wrote [with] a great crew of musicians.  That's what they can expect.  I'll leave pieces of my heart and journey [with] them and hopefully they enjoy the experience."

Liberated Muse: What is the meaning behind your stage name, "Choklate"?

Choklate: It was a [nickname] that stuck.  Someone referred to me as Choklate Angel once when I first started doing music and I hated it.  I got them to drop the Angel part as I [was] quite a [tomboy] at the time but the Choklate part stuck... couldn't shake it for the life of me.

Liberated Muse: How would you describe your sound? 

Choklate: I don't have a sound.  I'm rebellious.  I sound like freedom.  I do anything I feel like doing. I sing what I want, what the music tells me to...sometimes it's soul, sometimes it's rock, sometimes it's hip hop, sometimes it's dance, pop...whatever I want to sound like at the moment is what I sound like at that particular moment.

Liberated Muse: What is your preference: being a live performer, recording in the studio, or both? Please elaborate.

Choklate: I love both. I think in the studio you get to breath[e] life into your creative impulses and lay them down and pad them and embellish them but then on stage you get to really tell the story.  Really lay it all on the line. I think I'm rather boring in the studio honestly but I feel like the fire comes from me live, when I remember the moments the songs where written or the scenario that prompted them. I enjoy the exercise of the vocals [more so] on stage than I do in the booth cause you can belt out your pain or happiness and it's almost tangible but I'm finding a nice balance more recently.

Liberated Muse: Please describe any feelings you get when you perform.

Choklate: I dunno, I'm always pretty nervous to begin w/ and then I black out sometimes and then sometimes it's like talking to a [bunch of] friends while interacting w/ the audience...sometimes I get sad, overwhelmed, really charged up [with] energy like a lightening bolt strikes me...sometimes I get stuck [with] a massive brain freeze on stage, like I've been sucking on a 7/11 Slurpee.... It's a strange place that conjures all sorts of feelings inside.

Liberated Muse: You traveled to various countries such as France, Italy, Sweden, and many others.  What are your feelings about traveling to different countries?

Choklate: It's a blessing to have been to those places. To have seen other cultures and how they live and how they enjoy life and do things differently.  The different foods and such etc. The language, the vibe of the parties, the fans.  It's always a humbling experience. You never realize how big the world is until you set your eyes on a place you never knew existed and then how small it is when they are singing the songs along [with] you. It's all just been a real blessing to have seen and witnessed.

Liberated Muse: As a songwriter, what are your inspirations to write songs?

Choklate: Real life. Real emotions. Real feelings. The moments and people and situations in life that demand a melody."

Liberated Muse: On your website, you stated music wasn't an option initially.  What was the turning point in your life that changed your mind about pursuing music as a career? 

Choklate: I'm always stumped [with] this one. I can't [even] pinpoint the actual moment or point... I guess when my boss fired me and said that I should go and chase my dreams.  Or at least [that's] the point I remember today. She said that she couldn't stand by and watch me lead both lives anymore...heck her husband and mother were fans and she just wanted me to go and chase it... she let me return when things got slow cause I was addicted to working a regular job and they needed someone who knew the ropes so it worked...I'm still on the fence. It's a tough job/career...always looking for the right position [with] the right kind of flexibility and a steady paycheck so that I can do both work and music...[I'm] petrified sometimes thinking that one day it will spit me out after it's devoured my very being, we'll see tho.

Liberated Muse: What are your thoughts about your fans? What are your thoughts about non-supporters (haters) of your music?

Choklate: I really love my fans. I really do. I can't do music without them. They are the reason I can still do this at this point in my career. When I ask them to pray for me they do. Whenever I'm in the dumps about something a few of them will chime in and encourage me or send me positive thoughts, vibes or quotes. I love them. They're bomb dot com. Real talk. My non supporters/haters? I don't even have time to consider them.

Liberated Muse: Lastly, are there any other thoughts, opinions, etc. you would like to share with us? 

Choklate: I appreciate all the people that take a moment to learn my story, to share my music [with] their family, friends and [co-workers] are my industry and I am grateful to you for extending to me this amazing platform". And i'm an e-social site junkie so come find me!!!

Tickets to the LivSuite event can be purchased now.


-Candace "Ama" Boahene

 Candace "Ama" Boahene is an up and coming peformer and online writer with a promising future in Entertainment by God's grace.  She is an MSU Alumnae and strives for educating individuals about the importance of the arts. Visit her profile on Liberated Muse HERE.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Children's Defense Fund Wants You to Turn On Your TV. Read Why.

Please join Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund for a free special celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides. Learn more about the historic movement that changed America forever. Get inspired and motivated by meeting some of the extraordinary Freedom Rider heroes who changed our world.

Fifty years ago, the Freedom Riders—more than 400 Black and White mostly young people—risked their lives and freedom to face down segregation in the Deep South. A powerful new Stanley Nelson film, “Freedom Riders,” chronicles their bold and dangerous journey riding commercial buses into Alabama and Mississippi and challenging Jim Crow, while facing angry mobs, terrible beatings, fire bombings and imprisonment. Here’s a sneak preview:

What: Join Civil Rights leader and Children’s Defense Fund’s president Marian Wright Edelman for a “Watch Party”. Be inspired by her call to action, and by the words and music of Freedom Riders and Freedom Singers at this special event we will stream live online over the web. Together we will then watch the world premiere of “Freedom Riders” presented by American Experience on PBS. After the film participate in a live question and answer session with Freedom Riders moderated by Marian Wright Edelman.
When: Monday May 16th from 8:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. EST

Where: Your home (wherever you are) by joining us online, Click here to sign-up to have a Watch Party!
Sign-up to have your own Watch Party today! Host at home, in school or in church. Invite your friends, families and congregations to share in this rich educational and inspirational experience. We will provide you all the materials you need to organize your own Watch Party including a sample invitation for you to email to your contacts and background on the Freedom Riders you can give to your guests.
The Children’s Defense Fund grew out of the civil rights movement under the leadership of Marian Wright Edelman. Today, CDF is a strong, effective, independent voice for all children.
Click here to have a Watch Party on May 16 for “Freedom Riders” and inspire your community to stand up for the rights of all children. Stay tuned for more information.

- Children's Defense Fund

Monday, April 25, 2011

Help Us Pick a Flyer & Win FREE Tickets to Show

Running: AMOK, a Liberated Muse Production, will run from Sunday, May 15 to Saturday, May 21 at three arts spaces-- Germano's in Baltimore, MD, The Corner Store in Washington DC and The Bonifant Theatre in Silver Spring, MD.

As we promote the show online and on the street, we are asking YOU to help us pick the image that should grace our promotional cards, flyers and posters. Here are your six options:

To place your vote, visit our Facebook page at and "like" your favorite. We will select each day one lucky person who leaves a comment and award them with a free ticket to the show. Leave a comment and you could be a lucky winner!! Visit our Facebook page or the play's website at for show times, dates and locations!

Running: AMOK stars Quineice, Deja Belle, Rayona L. Young, Nia Simmons, Lyn Artope and Colie Williams as "Mama Belle".

Running: AMOK is written, directed and produced by Khadijah Ali-Coleman, with music composed by Gary Young and Ben "Hook" Dawson. During our Germano's and Bonifant Theatre shows, live music will be directed by Derrick Marquis.

Enjoy this behind-the-scenes footage from our rehearsal this past weekend:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Capital Hip Hop Soul: Corneille (#Corneille)

It's not a simple journey to reach stardom as an aspiring artist.  However, Rwandan/Canadian R&B Soul singer Corneille was able to transform from international star to an up and coming US artist.

Here is Corneille's cover of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" and "Lets Get It On":

Many people may not be familiar with Corneille's music since he has not reached mainstream status yet, but that doesn't mean he isn't worth getting to know. 

Corneille Nyungara was born on March 24, 1977 in Fribourg, Germany where his parents attended college. At age six, he and his parents returned to Rwanda, their native country. In his early years, he had a passion for music and with his father's encouragement, decided to embark on his musical journey.  His musical influences were Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Prince and others.

At age 16, Corneille made his first musical recording and was selected as a music contest finalist, for a state run television show in Kigali.  In 1994, when Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana was assassinated, soon followed the Rwanda Genocide which over 800,000 Rwandans were killed. Corneille's parents and some family members were killed in the genocide.  He managed to escape to Kinshasa and later to Germany where he stayed with family friends.

After three years in Germany, he moved to Montréal.  By then 20-year-old Corneille formed the band O.N.E. (Original New Element) and they disbanded in 2001.  In 2002, Corneille's first studio album Parce Qu'on Vient de Loin was released in Canada but achieved minimal sales.  Meanwhile, Parce Qu'on Vient de Loin was discovered in France and became a huge success.  With the success of this album, it was re-released in Canada, the single "Rêves de Star" reached platinum status and earned him his first Felix Award for Best Male Artist. 

His humanitarian achievements were becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and the Red Cross Canada spokesperson. In 2005, he and Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour recorded a song in support of UNICEF and the fight against AIDS. That same year, his second album called Les Marchands de Rêves was released.

Read more HERE

-Candace "Ama" Boahene

 Candace "Ama" Boahene is an up and coming peformer and online writer with a promising future in Entertainment by God's grace.  She is an MSU Alumnae and strives for educating individuals about the importance of the arts. Visit her profile on Liberated Muse HERE.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Killer Stilts by Susan Faucon-- A Fun Conversaton About Being a Human

Raise your hand if you are totally self-actualized and free from the daily war on your self-esteem. Anybody, anybody?

If you are like the majority of us, then you are living a human existence always striving to live your personal best even when everything around you tries to pull you in the other direction. This premise is the foundation of the stage show "Killer Stilts" by singer/songwriter Susan Faucon who presented her original show she calls "theatrical jazz" to a full house yesterday at the Takoma Auditorium located in Takoma Park, MD.

"Killer Stilts", featuring jazz vocalist Karla Chisolm, the winning Liz Briones and Faucon is a unique presentation that includes a conversation between three women who, Faucon says, "are the voices in my head." The three characters-- Pari Noya, Narci Systic and Miriam Webster, are a fiesty trio who bicker and contemplate creation as they transition from song to song with effortless ease.

While the dialogue is often lacking in direction, the music is the definite highlight of this show that won a 2011 Washington Area Music Award (affectionately called a "WAMMIE") earlier this year. From uptempo numbers brilliantly executed by the charming Briones, to bluesy ballads conveyed with heart by Chisolm, the songs are the jewel of this production. Faucon who wrote all of the songs and composed them with the help from the band-- Ro Cube, Wardell Howell and Eric Haskin--also shines vocally as Miriam Webster, giving gentle sincerity to her renditions of her songs "If I Could Just" and "Sweet Surrender", two highlights from the show.
The Killer Stilts band, led by Cube is exceptional.
"Killer Stilts" will be showing in June 3 at Germano's Traittoria next, but before then, Faucon is auditioning interested actresses to play the role of Miriam Webster. You can call 301-793-6550 or visit to schedule an audition. You need to be an actress who sings with professional resume.

-Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman

The International Film Festival is Happening Now

What's the only place you can watch over 70 indie films for a small fee?  Well the answer is Washington D.C. at the International Film Festival, taking place April 7-17.  At the festival, anyone can watch various movies from all over the world for $11 as a regular screening.  This week-long event showcases films from France, Iraq, the US and other countries to mark their 25th anniversary. 

The International Film Festival's opening night featured the premiere of Potiche, a stylish French farce, and closing night will show a Swedish comedy called Sound of Noise.  This year's main geographic region series are Nordic Lights: The Old and the New which are new films from Scandinavia and New South Korean Cinema. This event takes place in 9 venues.

Ever since it was created in 1986, the festival's purpose is celebrating all international films, filmmakers, and displaying these movies for movie goers.

For more information about the Filmfest and volunteer opportunities, please check out their website at

-Candace "Ama" Boahene

 Candace "Ama" Boahene is an up and coming peformer and online writer with a promising future in Entertainment by God's grace.  She is an MSU Alumnae and strives for educating individuals about the importance of the arts. Visit her profile on Liberated Muse HERE.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Call for Submissions for Liberated Muse Volume II: Betrayal Wears a Pretty Face

Call for Submissions for Liberated Muse Volume II: Betrayal Wears A Pretty Face
In 2009, Liberated Muse presented our first anthology How I Freed My Soul-- an anthology that featured the literary and visual art from members of our network and others from around the world. Our first anthology featured the visual art of Liberated Muse members and renowned artist Turtel Onli, mixed media artist Shanta Monroe, singer/photographer Angela Ballard and painter Mars Davis. Writers Serena Wills, Farah Lawal, Amy Blondell, DJ Gaskin, Margaux Delotte-Bennett and whole host of other phenomenal talents were featured as well. We had numerous events celebrating our book in 2009 that took place throughout the DC area and beyond. Now, we are back at it again.

We are now putting out a call for writers and visual artists to submit work for consideration for our upcoming anthology Betrayal Wears a Pretty Face. The theme of betrayal must be implied in your submission-- whether it is betrayal of trust, love or expectation. Your story or artwork of betrayal can lead to a story of triumph or lend a heavy lesson to bear. The idea of betrayal is not merely something that we feel within relationships of friendship and love. Our political leaders may betray us. Our teachers may betray us. We may betray ourselves.

Your submission of betrayal can be in the form of original essay, short story, poetry or prose. Your entry can not exceed 5, 000 words and may be edited if selected for inclusion. Visual art submissions must be submitted in jpeg form and be your original work.

There is no submission fee. Entries selected for inclusion will not be paid, however authors and artists will receive a free copy of the anthology* and free tickets to Liberated Muse events. Selected authors and artists will also be included in upcoming performance tours promoting the book.
Submit your work to for consideration. Submission deadline: June 15, 2011.

*Free copy received once one copy is sold