Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hair Piecez - Natural Hair Anthology Book

Last night, I went to a book launch party for Hair Piecez, an anthology of hair poetry and stories edited by Akosua Ali-Sabree and Otu Kwaku. Akosua and Otu are pillars in Philadelphia's natural hair (and overall) community. Both are members of the Kuumba Family, founders of the International Locks Conference, which I believe is the longest running natural hair event in the country. The 12th Annual Locks Conference will be held this year in October.

Some information on the book from the Locks Conference website:

Hair Piecez: The Anthology
is a collection of thoughtful, inspiring, and power packed verses. This book is revealing, funny, and on time! It is a wonderful example of original poetry, short stories, interviews, and beautiful artwork and photographs. The combined writings of thirty selected artists from across the country make for interesting and mind opening reading that will touch your heart, tickle your funny bone, and stir fond and curious memories. This anthology provides reflection and truth in such a soulful way. The anthology illustrates the significant role that our "natural-when-born" hair plays in shaping our individual and collective consciousness from birth to death and in between, especially in our quest for psychic liberation and self-realization.

The editors have worked diligently to present a wholistic view of our natural hair experience and to make Hair Piecez a worthy commemorative publication celebrating the more than ten years of the Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Expo.

For more information and/or to order books through snail mail, contact Ujima Press RC at 215-754-1484

Click here to order the book for an $18 donation. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. (Nope, not getting paid to write this. Yes, I did buy a copy and it's autographed by Mama Akosua. Jealous? ;-))

I went to this event very late, about 30 minutes before the end, and I still got to meet the owner of
Empire Books, a Black owned bookstore with three locations in Philadelphia and Sicklerville, NJ. The sister was graciously processing all orders for Hair Piecez for the evening.

"Shuga Bear," the author of a series of erotic poetry was in the house. I wasn't
sold on the idea of erotic poetry in a performance setting, but he explained to me that all of his poems involve a victorious woman and a man getting left in a lurch. I thought that was an interesting spin on the subject. He also told me that he uses humor to lighten the message and connect with the audience. He holds an event called Love, Lust, and Lullabies, and says sistas love it.

I met
Sean Simmons, co-owner of Art Noir, the art gallery where this event was held. We talked for some time - he is passionate to the point of obsession about his business. We need that.

Also in attendence was Pamela Hooks, producer, director, and co-author of the stage play The Tenderheaded Diaries. Down to earth and encouraging, it was inspiring to talk to this sister. She's serious - and has the greatest high top curly fro (yup, the locs are gone).

To top it off, I met Doc Gibbs, who I know from the cooking show Emeril Live. Doc is a master percussionist, and recently released his debut CD, Doc Gibbs & Picante - Servin' It Up! Hot!. I have been a cooking show nut for 15 years, so meeting anyone from a cooking show is a high honor. What I love most about Doc on Emeril Live is when he customizes the music to go along with what Emeril is doing. When Emeril's sprinkling seasoning, Doc is playing "seasoning music" with some instrument I have never seen. I love it.

I met a lot of other great people as well. Some I have known for some time, some I have seen around the way. In 30 minutes I almost got more than I could handle - if I had gone when it started it may have taken me a few days to finish this blog! I say all this to say 1) Philly is the illest, and 2) go anywhere the Kuumba Family goes (like, to The Locks Conference in October, for example). The energy is positive, peaceful, and rejuvenating.


brunsli said...

Welcome to blogging Kaya!

I look forward to following your blog. :)


I am glad to see that you are bloggong but where do you find the time? Just like Brunsli I am looking forward to checking your blog out.

Kaya Casper / Naturally You! said...

Hey Brunsli, thanks for the note!

Tnappykinky, you see I haven't blogged in 3 days. :) My goal is a semi-daily schedule, but it will be a challenge. I am working on a new blog right now (currently in the draft phase), and I have a few more topics floating around in my head.

It actually helps me to focus and get more done as writing is a cathartic process for me. I think a lot!