Poetry and Purpose

There are people in Detroit that very seldom get the recognition they deserve.  Crime and Kwame Kilpatrick seem to dominate the news these days and there is no room for good people.  I want to change that.  Today I want to tell you about someone who does a lot of good in the city of Detroit not to mention extremely talented! That person is Ber-henda Williams.

Ber-henda is known throughout the city as one of our top poets.  She has several books to her credit and dazzles audiences by performing in both English and Spanish.  Ber-henda also hosts a reality show titled “B in the City”.   Her most notable achievement is founding the The Power of Girlhood girls mentoring program.  In this program, Ber-henda uses poetry to inspire girls in the areas of self-esteem, education, and setting goals.  Most importantly, she also stresses an important relationship with God.  No matter where she performs or who she speaks to, her faith is always at the fore front.

“I want to change how people view poetry, ” said Williams. “Some say it’s a dead art form, but not in Detroit. It’s poetry that’s relatable, to help answer questions about God, Faith and Life.

This Thursday September 13 at Artist Villiage, you get to see that firsthand. There will be a special performance of  “One Night With The Honey B and Friends” hosted by Khary Kimani Turner.  Ber-henda will be unleashing poetry, inspiration, and praise along with her friends: Walter(HAZMAT)Howard, Rosemarie Wilson (One Single Rose), and Nathan “Drizzle” Johnson.  I am also hearing whispers of a surprise guest or two.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door (See the link below).  The best thing about the prices, is the fact that a portion of the proceeds go to Power of Girlhood  girls mentoring program!  The show is from 6pm-9pm so that makes it the perfect afterwork event.  Artist Village is located at 17340 Lahser Rd Detroit,MI 48219 near Grand River.  I advise everyone to check this out!!!  This is Hollaifyouhearme.com approved!

-K. Greene

For Tickets and info:

 www.onenightwiththehoneyb.eventbrite.com

Local Artists Taking Off

Greetings people!!!  I hope everyone is still praying for our city.  Judging by the news, we need it now more than ever.  I know many of you are angry and discouraged by the actions of a few, but good people still make up the majority of our city.  Now, onto the business at hand!

In a prior blog I envisioned 2012 as a big year for Michigan artists. It appears that I was right.  Kai Mann released “30 Day Notice” and Andrea Daniel released “Like Gwendolyn” earlier this year.  Both books received great reviews.  Also, the anticipated Indie film “Sext Messaging” began filming here in Detroit; at the end of February. However, March is bringing in the big guns!

Motown Writer’s Network founder Sylvia Hubbard is releasing her latest book, “Hope Is Love”.  This Saturday, March 10th, you can get your hands on a copy and meet with Sylvia at Tom’s Oyster Bar on Jefferson in Downtown Detroit.  Sylvia has published 28 books prior to this one and promises to release at least one more before the year is over.   This is pretty extra-ordinary for a single mother of three!

March also has another female powerhouse throwing around her literary weight.  Fresh off tour performing in the Netherlands with the Dutch group Wunderbraun, poet and singer Rosemarie Wilson is ready to release her second book entitled “Out of Darkness into Light”; and I had the pleasure of reviewing this book ahead of time. If you want to know what I thought of it, you can read my review on the back cover of the book!  Also, on March 16th at Manila Bay Café, Rosemarie Wilson will be hosting her Birthday/Book Signing and Release Party.  I will definitely be in the building!!

This year is starting off great for our authors and artists, but I have one question, where are our male authors? C’mon fellas, let’s step it up… Including me!!!!  I am currently working on my debut piece, but in the meantime, let’s support our entire family of Detroit artists.  Only by supporting each other can we become great as a whole! Holla if you hear me!!

-K Greene

Lights, Camera, Detroit

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder ended tax breaks to the movie industry this year and the fallout has been harsh.  Michigan lost a lot of Hollywood projects including Marvel’s upcoming “Avengers” movie.  In case you are wondering where it was shot instead of Michigan, I hate to tell you…Ohio.  I know, It’s like turning the proverbial knife.  While some argued that Hollywood productions leveraged too many of their own in-house staff instead of hiring Michiganders, others seized the opportunities of having Hollywood productions in the state.  Many landed walk on roles and got work as extras.  Shops and businesses near the sets saw increases in profits.  Rick Snyder however, didn’t see it that way.  Local independent filmmakers felt the worst of the cut.  They are already using their own money to produce a quality film.  Now, that same film just became more expensive to make.  A 42% tax break is huge when you are doing it yourself.  I thought about all of this as I headed to the second casting call for the movie “Sext Messaging”.  The first casting call was held in an elementary school classroom.  This one was held in a studio.  This would be the final casting call before making their final casting decisions.  Having the casting call at a studio definitely set the tone and those who auditioned did not disappoint!  Even the level of talent that came out was upgraded!
 
The waiting room was filled with familiar faces.  Many of them knew each other from the set of “Sparkle” which was recently filmed here.  Actress A. J. Williams was there looking to add “Sext Messaging” to an already impressive resume.  Lenderrick Bauss Jones was in the house to audition as well.  Lenderrick found himself a spot on “Sparkle” as well!  He also co-wrote and directed the indie movie “Chasing Smoke” also filmed in Detroit.  He admitted to me that it was humbling being on the other side of the table for a change.  In our conversation, he also pointed out the fact that this and other projects like this are really important for the city.  He said “We have good stuff here! We do not need Hollywood.”  I personally believe we can definitely benefit from Hollywood but I admired his faith in Detroit artists.  That type of faith is important to have around.
 
Judging by the auditions, He was right. We do have good stuff here! Each performer gave big time emotion as these were big time auditions.  Every word of dialogue was scrutinized to the fullest.  The Production team was not going to let sub par performances ruin a potentially engaging film.  There were a few times when I found myself so wrapped up in the performance, I almost forgot that it was an audition.  Before I left, I noticed a slight smile in Phette’ s poker face.  She could already see the characters in her book coming to life.  For an author, there isn’t a much more exciting time.  Her time is now and she isn’t the only one.  Rosemarie Wilson was seizing her’s as well and I found myself a willing participant.
 
Rosemarie Wilson is one of Detroit’s top poets.  Not only that, she is an excellent singer.  I have seen her perform a few times and each time was a treat!  She brought the house down at Echo Verse’s Passion Fruit Festival 7.0 with the poem “40 Niggas Deep” and she is currently working on a CD and DVD.  Recently, she asked me and several other metro Detroit artists to join her in filming a scene for her poem “Detroit aStigmatized”.  We braved the cold and supported our sister.  The poem “Detroit aStigmatized” is her way of showing her love for the city and putting Detroit pride on full display!  She will be touring with a theater group from Amsterdam called Wunderbaum next year with shows in Amsterdam, Belgium, and Pittsburgh.  Not bad for a young lady who only started performing in 2010.   The lights and cameras are truly on Detroit and I can’t wait to show the world what we got!  Holla if you hear me!
 
                                        -K. Greene