Black Future Month // 2-23-11 // Kara Alexis Young, Sage

Posted on February 23, 2011

Alright, so a few weeks ago I made a not-so-stealthy call to all of my academic friends to put me on. Tried to find a video of one of the homies presenting their brilliance at a conference. Wanted a bit of a dissertation. A smidge of an abstract. Silence on the collegiate front. True to form, these friends of mine are least likely to toot their own horns. Academics are a little different than emcees it turns out.

And while today’s feature, Kara Alexis Young, is in fact pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley — while she is all kinds of intellectual — while she spends the good deal of her time teaching undergrads — she ain’t send me any of her academic materials either. Maybe, I should just go ‘head and apply to some Doctoral programs. That way I could see the work up close and personal-like — and understand that they’re probably too busy to send work to this little blog o mine.

But belligerent as ever, raised by the music of Boots Riley, I’m always pulling hustle moves. I think I was voted Most Likely to Sneak into Eastmont Mall Cinema in 1999. Which is well after our little hood theater closed. So, I’m gonna put you on to Kara Alexis Young, come hell or high water. Good thing that in addition to being an intellect, and a poet, and a healer, she’s also a musician, with a unique voice, both literally and lyrically. A phenom on acoustic guitar with a penchant for honest lines and unorthodox breaks to said line — Kara’s the truth. When I listen to her music, I feel as if it’s what happens when a Hip Hop head deals primarily in folk songs. I’m not saying that she spits like an emcee, but I will say that she’s from Ohio, and something in her delivery does have a hint of Bone Thugs to it. Like Bizzy Bone meets Fiona Apple — AND a touch of Farah Jasmine Griffin. ‘Cause Kara’s an academic, remember?

In any case, check one of her recent videos, On Repeat, here. Props to Dan Truog on cinematography. More on him once February ends. You can find more of Kara here.

And to tie Kara to her iconic predecessor, here’s a bit of Nina Simone (more props to Jessica Disu for the link). I know a lot of folks will think I’m audacious to make this correlation, but I don’t think it’s too far off. Both have distinctive voices. Both write from a place of historicity, fury and love. Here’s Nina’s “I Loves You Porgy”.

Thickwit celebrates #BlackFutureMonth through the uncanny, unyielding presence that is Nina Simone — and the burgeoning brilliance of my good friend and sage, Kara Alexis Young.


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