in conjunction with the Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited citywide festival
Presented as part of Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, a seven-month, citywide retrospective featuring theater, poetry, music concerts and humanities events curated and produced by MAPP International Productions through a major partnership of 17 cultural and educational institutions.
Sekou Sundiata was a prolific New York City poet, performer and teacher who articulated a keen observation of sociopolitical issues and deftly wove them into the body of his work. Known to frequently collaborate with and be inspired by dynamic women throughout his career, SummerStage’s longstoryshort: Remixed part of the city-wide Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited retrospective curated and produced by MAPP International Productions, celebrates his idea of the influential female muse through the performances of three commanding female artists: Nona Hendryx, Sandra St. Victor and Toshi Reagon, all known for their powerful voices as well as their socially relevant lyrics. These artists will perform their own work as well as selections from Sundiata’s last CD, longstoryshort. The show will also be punctuated throughout with performances from cutting edge poets performing some of Sundiata’s classic works and new pieces inspired by his artistic legacy.
Nona Hendryx’s legendary career spans six decades of sound and style evolution. Longtime Hendryx fans know her as one of the founding members of the Doo-Wop girl group, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles. When the British invasion of Rock & Roll took over, the Bluebelles grew afros and reinvented themselves as the iconic Funk group, Labelle, which racked up three gold albums and a #1 worldwide platinum hit with the single, “Lady Marmalade” before disbanding in 1977. Hendryx fans would welcome the split, as she embarked upon an impressive solo career, spanning eight albums, several top ten hits and a GRAMMY nomination. Her albums remained edgy; provocative and full of double entendres, with hits including “Bustin’ Out” and “Why Should I Cry?”. In 2012, Hendryx released Mutatis Mutandis, a CD that has both politically and socially relevant lyrics wrapped in funky grooves, soulful vocals, and driven by rock charged rhythms.