Friends, Meet Imani


Folks, I’m going through it a little bit this week.  Just a lot of complex stuff coming up.  Haven’t found the right words for sharing it here, yet.  But in the meantime, this video of my friend and fellow Goddardite — vocalist, composer, interfaith priestess, and cultural worker Imani Uzuri — made me smile today in a full, full way.  Not only does Imani bless the world with mad artistic skills (including, but not limited to, the most moving voice I’ve ever heard in person in my whole entire life: no lie), she also illuminates the people around her with her spiritual reflections, historical insights, unbeatable hilarity, and genuine compassion.


Here, she reminds us of the importance of exploring and loving our always-complex selves.  It reminds me of an essay I read yesterday in the current issue of make/shift: a piece by Alexis Pauline Gumbs called “M/Othering Ourselves: A Black Feminist Genealogy, Or, The Queer Thing.”  The essay in turn takes its inspiration from a line from Audre Lorde: “We can learn to mother ourselves.”  Gumbs asks:

What would it mean for us to take the word mother less as a gendered identity and more as a possible action, a technology of transformation that those people who do the most mothering labor are teaching us right now?

I hear this question (and its associated family of questions) echoed in Imani’s 120-second share.  (And enacted, unwittingly, in the sweet out-takes in the final few seconds.)


Imani’s work itself is powerful enough; being in her presence during Goddard residencies, and seeing the mind, soul, and radical self-mothering behind the music, has been an extraordinary gift to me.  She’s real and grounded, as well as spiritually developed and crazy talented.  Quite the combo.  Check her out, and join me in celebrating the friends who inspire us, even unknowingly, while we’re slogging along.


One thought on “Friends, Meet Imani

  1. Laura Di Piazza February 17, 2011 / 11:11 am

    Thank you so much Katie for this very uplifting post on Imani! She exudes sunshine and yet is balanced to acknowledge the shadows of human emotions. Her voice is truthful and so the emotions evoked when hearing her sing is true, present, real…
    Send you Katie ninja-like-mental-moves to get through what you’re working through. Hugs from VT.

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