The artists of the Women’s History Open Mic at New Spire Spaces are making sure women of color are not forgotten. The event, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, will feature Twin Jude, Anu Yadav and Charity Blackwell. These artists explore many different creative mediums. Jude releases experimental music in her “MEM” project, Yadav is an actress, writer and educator, and Blackwell is a spoken word artist who has competed and hosted poetry slams in New York and Washington, D.C.
Before the Women’s History Open Mic, we conducted an email Q&A with Twin Jude. She is a member of the Maryland-based art collective QODESH, which has several Oakwood University alums including Twin Jude herself. This historically black Seventh-day Adventist school is known for producing Take 6, the popular a cappella group.
Twin Jude has pared down production that employs ambient sounds and airy vocals. Her voice can seem tucked into her music’s production, hidden from view. But song lyrics, sung like a meditation, can be haunting and resonant. Twin Jude shared her thoughts on the influential women in her life and where her art is going.
Women’s History Month celebrations can sometimes overlook women of color. Who are some unsung women heroes you feel should get more attention?
There are so many really, but my personal women of color unsung heroes are poets Sonia Sanchez and Audre Lorde, and painter Lois Mailou Jones.
What women artists have had the biggest impact on your art?
The women artists that have had the biggest impact on my art are actually my friends and colleagues in the art realm, amongst many others. So many have poured into me and sent healing to me just by being themselves, especially Achene and VHVL. Princess Nokia, Moor Mother, Grouper and Warpaint always inspire me!
Your project, “MEM,” “translates from ancient texts as water, the womb, and complete power.” Why did you feel it was important to ground your music in this concept, and were there moments when you felt like you were in a womb while creating?
I felt it was imperative to ground myself in these ideas because these concepts aided in connecting me back to my lineage, reformation of my identity and inherent feminine power from within. It became a rebirthing of self and identity for me. Awakening to the true power that is inside of me. Growing up in a patriarchal society can inherently teach young women/girls/femmes that their experiences aren’t valid and they aren’t powerful. If nothing else, I wanted this project to be the representation and empowerment I craved as a kid. I created the song “Like A Child” after a life-changing experience at the ocean. I felt the waters cleansing me, bringing me back to who I truly was and in a sense “re-wombed.”
What artistic concepts are you exploring right now?
Currently, I’m working on another project exploring time and how we relate to it — looking outside of linear models of time and how they can affect every aspect of our lives.