How are you? It's been a month since we went into quarantine and I know for many people like myself, the new normal is calm yet scary. The unknowns of the future post Corona Virus is something I know we're all thinking about. So many unknowns. However, there's a lot of great things happening all around us at the same time. I see it on social media when there's videos of people singing off their balconies to cheer up their neighbors. I see it when I go to the grocery store and the clerk shares that he is working extra hours to stock up on fresh produce for everyone. I feel it when I wake up, by the grace of God, able to breathe without hesitation. I know when times are hard, we often think about all of the challenging things at the same time, but let us not forget the blessings we take for granted.
One thing that has not only kept me occupied but sane and more importantly inspired is art. All types of art. Everyday this month I wake up and draw. Some days I watch dance videos on Youtube to learn a new style. And what I am so thankful for is the ability to read for pleasure. I know it may be silly but having the opportunity to read books that have been stored in my house forever or finally listen to all my audiobooks I've collected in my Audible library, I am grateful. One of the subjects I am reading and listening to the most is POETRY!
April is National Poetry Month and I am very grateful for it. It may different this year but I have to admit, I do enjoy reading or watching Spoken Word performances from the comfort of my home. Don't get me wrong, I would travel back in time to witness a LIVE poetry performance somewhere in a Boston cafe, surrounded by beautiful faces and open hearts. But I’ve been watching YouTube clips of some of my favorite Boston artists and discovering new talent. One of them goes by the name of Ms. Sublime Luv.
She is a powerful Spoken Word Artist, Motivational Speaker & Teaching Artist and for the past eight years has been performing at venues throughout the city, the state and making major strides with poetry that educates and empowers the masses. When I reached out to her to ask if she would be our first featured guest VIRTUALLY, she was kind enough to accept and ladies and gentlemen, we are lucky enough to hear her inspirational story.
I've always admired how poets can express a thought, a story or a message through a beautiful chorus of words. Its a unique superpower. When I first watched a video of our extraordinary guest this month, Ms. SublimeLuv, I was taken a back by her power on stage. I like that she not only projected her voice with confidence, but the words and messages that came out were relatable to me.
Amber Aliyah Williams, who goes by the stage name of SublimeLuvis a Boston native who has loved poetry from an early age. Amber first performed poetry when she was 10 years old. She recalls how her mom was curating an event that had over 500 attendees and wanted her to perform something for the crowd. Most kids might feel overwhelmed or nervous to do such a big favor for their parent but young Amber had a courageous soul, even before she created a stage name for herself. She performed Maya Angelou's famous poem 'Still I Rise' and the crowd stood on their feet with a burst of applause. "I performed it without mistakes and felt really proud of myself." This ladies and gentlemen, was the start of a future career in the performance arts for the young talent.
As Amber grew up, she continued to write. She recalls how her mom's surprising reactions to her poetry made her feel really good about her growing work. "This must be really good if my mom thinks I plagiarize it," she joked in the interview but it was this odd confirmation from her mother that compelled her to keep writing.By the time she became a college student, Amber was a constant performer at every open mic.
Amber identities as a Black Queer Womanist and she channels those identities with pride and often incorporates those experiences in her poetry. "Being a woman is hard, being a Black Woman is super hard, you're always having to assert yourself. Sometimes when you assert yourself, you're labeled the 'B' word or seen as super aggressive, when you're really just existing." She further expressed how being queer is also hard because it is often persecuted and misunderstood. As she became more immersed in her writing and developing her stage presence as a Spoken Word Artist, she made sure to always talk about those diverse and intersectional experiences. This allows the world to understand her story and others who live a similar experience. When I asked Amber when was the persona SublimeLuv born, she talked about a collective that's dear to her heart; The ‘Feel it, Speak it’ Open Mic tribe.
The ‘Feel it, Speak it’ Open Mic is the only monthly open mic dedicated to the LGBTQI community of Color and its Allies. This is where Amber describes as her "home mic" and the place where her skills and confidence grew tremendously. Being in that environment influenced Amber both as an Artist and fan. She began to study how other legendary Spoken Word Artists performed their poetry and their interaction on stage. She admired their work ethic. "I began to memorize my work to take it to the next level." Soon enough, Amber was also performing with more energy and developing into a working artist. She needed one thing to complete her transition; a stage name. Ms. SublimeLuv was born.
Sublime is defined as excellence or something you have great admiration for. Luv, she spells it that way because "it symbolizes revolutionary love! Thats love for oppressed peoples, Black love, Trans love, gay love, disabled love. No matter how society deems us, worthy or unworthy, we should love ourselves and each other."
Last spring, SublimeLuv opened up for the Grammy nominated singer Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum here in Boston. "It was an honor to open up for her as the first act that night." The big crowd at the sold out show definitely had SublimeLuv feeling a little nervous. She shared that what uplifts her during moments like that, is starting off with an intro piece.
“When they see me coming they know it’s me. I walk, talk, and breathe poetry.” Starting off with a quick intro like that breaks the ice for her because its a way to assert her presence and inner power in the room. Her stage persona fearlessly appears and soon those nerves fade and its just a intimate artsy experience with the audience. For new writers or people experiencing writers block, doing exercises like this can also help you tame your stage freight. Furthermore, if you're feeling anxious during these quarantine times, than poetry can be a coping mechanism for you too.
SublimeLuv shared how she battled with mental illness since she was a kid. It's hard, especially if your family is suffering too but she was gifted a journal at a young age and it made a big difference in her life. "Writing saved my life. Its like icing on therapeutic cake when I get to perform." With the Corona Virus pandemic taking over our world right now, poetry can also be a great tool to use to ease our anxieties. "Poetry can really let those emotions come out. Even if you're not a poet, just free writing" is a good exercise. She recommends for us not to judge ourselves when we free write and to date our work "because you can look back on it and have a personal historical account" of where you were mentally, spiritually and emotionally during this shift in our world.
Right now, SublimeLuv is staying at peace during quarantine by creating. "That's what always gets me through. It's National Poetry Month so I'm writing a poem everyday." She read one of them on our virtual interview! Check it out below.
SublimeLuv shares her daily poems on her Twitter and Instragram account everyday. She's staying at peace by "really trying to remain centered and have faith that this too shall pass." I think as a community, we can channel that same energy.
This month the ‘Feel it, Speak it’ Open Mic is hosting a virtual open mic every Thursday in honor of National Poetry Month and they'll continue till the end of quarantine. Here is the info and no problem ºF-TV, you're welcome <3
To stay updated with Queen SublimeLuv, follow her at @MsSublimeLuv on social media and Subscribe to her YouTube channel @SublimeLuv Brand. Visit her website at www.sublimeluv.com.
During this episode, we also took the time to check in with our ºF-TV family to see how they're doing. Our Season 3 guests, Bianca Rose & Charmaine Santiago, shared how they are coping through the #coronavirus crisis and their advice on how to stay at peace during this difficult moment.
Bianca Rose(S3EP16) She started off by sending off prayers, good vibes and love to those who are suffering or effected by the Corona Virus and a "huge shoutout to all those who are holding humanity down right now." For Bianca and many of us, this pandemic is not something we'd ever imagine in our lifetime. However, having a break from the everyday work/life ritual is something she (and I) is grateful for. Bianca's top advice is to invest in yourself during quarantine. The whole world is at a standstill right now and this is a perfect opportunity to do something you've always wanted to do while indoors. "This is the time to CREATE! This is the time to go off on yourself."
Investing in yourself looks different for everyone! It could be
Investing in more time to rest (sleeping more, taking mental breaks, meditating, etc.)
Learning a new hobby or skill (Youtube University is your friend)
Building or rebuilding relationships (call up your homies and family)
Reinventing yourself (because you deserve to!)
Take this time to have that internal conversation with yourself on what you think you need to change (within your power) in order to have a better future. "Self care, self love, meditate, take care of your skin, eat good... build habits, use this time to evolve." Bianca is taking this time to write another brilliant book and we are so proud of her! We can't wait to read it queen!
Charmaine Santiago(S3EP4) is staying at peace by watching less television and connecting with her family and friends via epic Zoom parties. She described these "well checks" as ways to still stay connected with the people she loves while practicing social distance. The amazing dancer says she's also staying active by solo dancing when she can and eating lots of nutritious food. Its something she highly recommends all of us to do in contain a strong immune system. She shared with me the nutritional value of sea moss and its something I wanna to try! Nonetheless, she advises that we, "eat healthy, stay active and do something creative."
I was inspired by what Queen Charmaine was saying about maintaining a strong immune system that I decided to make a
Immune Booster Punch/Tea this episode. Its very easy to make!
All you need is 2 Oranges, 1 Lemon, Fresh Ginger, Clove of Garlic and Cayenne Pepper.Add all of those sliced ingredients into a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes and you'll have a cup of fresh Vitamin C. You can drink it cold but its best served hot! Check out the FULL episode here.
Please continue to stay safe friends. We are incredibly thankful for all of our heroes out there (medical professionals, delivery drivers, grocery store clerks, gas stations, technology workers, etc.) who are fighting for our humanity and keeping us afloat. If you can, support these people by donating to a charity, keeping them in your prayers and continuing to practice social distancing. We love you all <3
Our next episode premieres Thursday, May 28th LIVE @ 8:30pm on the Boston Neighborhood Network ( Comcast 23, RCN 83 & Verizon 1960). Can't wait!