|In honor of Women's History Month, metroconnection.info turns its focus on the musical movement known as the B-Girl Manifesto.
The entertainment industry, notorious for its male domination, has seen few attempts at a shift of gender power. While the few female executives that hold high positions contrast greatly with the men, the most glaring instance of this disparity is the lack of venues for female entertainers. Many creative outlets for artists, particularly those of a more hip-hop mindset, are almost hoarded by men. This has lead to agitation from many female artists not only in the metropolitan area, but also in large numbers nationwide.
This obstruction has given birth to a new movement: The B-Girl Manifesto. The movement began last October because Kimani Anku, a Maryland-based producer and artist, was trying to find creative outlets for one of his artists. Afi Lydia, mother of twins and Howard University alum, was the Manifesto's flagship artist. A singer, songwriter and fledgling producer, Afi has used this platform for her art and she explained that clearly understands the importance of her position. Anku and Afi eventually saw the need to expand the Manifesto's roster so they introduced the idea to all local artists. With the wealth of talent in the D.C. area, it took very little time for more members to join the pair in defining the core group.
Moonshine (Birth name withheld), considers herself simply an artist. Involved with Anku in the beginning of her storied career, she's since joined the ranks of the Manifesto as its most interesting proponent to date. In a recent discussion, Moonshine revealed herself to be enigmatic but warmly engaging. Her self-proposed agenda is "to do what it takes" to give the best performance. She chooses to define her work as the Creator's energy working through her and her passion for "estrogen energy" is obvious.
"Perfomance is a gift from the Creator so I take that responsibility very seriously. Nothing is done through my own creation...it is all the Creator's work." She went on to state that while its customary for women to show support for men while performing, she wants the Manifesto to encourage a bit of role reversal. "Basically for us, the B-Girl Manifesto represents the B-Girl. You know how B-Boys have their own thing, breakdancing in ciphers, freestyling, graf shows...we want the same on OUR side. It's too one sided in this game. If the brothers can do it, then so can we." Possessing a strong presence, she alone could help achieve this part of the Manifesto's mission
Afi Lydia, who earned her BA in Fine Arts at HU, has a nurturing aura. That could be easily attributed to the birth of her twin girls, a constant at all her local performances. She's one of the Manifesto's more traveled artists, having performed in many venues up and down the eastern seaboard. She shares Moon's vision that the Manifesto will help to encourage more female artists to step forth. "The more we create, the stronger we get. We must take the stage and own it," she insisted.
Forever supportive, Moon and Afi often mentor many women who come to them after performances they may have shared. They are humbled by there beginnings and realize the difficulties these young women face.
But the Manifesto isn't just for women. men are encouraged to join as well. In the B-Girl showcase, there is even a brief section for men. But the primary focus never changes. Female artists of any racial demographic can come to the B-Girl Manifesto family and know that they have a place that is their own.
You can catch Afi and Moon at the following venues:
- Sunday, March 18, 2001, 3-9 p.m. Womanifestation, featuring: Rah Goddess, Afi (B-Girl Manifesto), The Gypcees & more at Old Dominion University, Webb Center (Norfolk, Va.) Admission $5/$7 at the door.
- Saturday, March 24,2001, 7-11 p.m. Mothers Milk, featuring: Nikki Jean, Queen Zenobia and Moonshine (B-Girl Manifesto) at State Of The Union (Washington, DC). Admission: $7.
For more information visit their website.