Final Schedule and link for Black Women’s Arts Festival 2022

The 16th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival is this weekend, September 17 – 18, from 1pm – 7pm both days! You can watch the livestream at our long-time venue The Rotunda’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/therotundaphilly

Here is the schedule:

SATURDAY 1pm – 7pm

1:00 – 1:10 Introduction of event and next act
1:10 – 1:55 Tamara L. Xavier (movement/lecture)
1:55 – Introduce Kai
2:00 – 2:30 Kai Moon Oceans (inspirational talk)
2:30 – 2:50 – Glynnis Reed (fine art/poetry)
2:55 – Introduce O
3:00 – 3:45 – O (performance art)
3:45 – 4:35 – Badd Gurlz Inq. (music)
4:35 – Introduce Stephanie Durann
4:40 – 5:00 – Stephanie Durann (poetry)
5:00 – 5:15 – Cassendre Xavier (music)
5:20 – 6:10 – Erika Richards (illustrator/PowerPoint presentation)
6:10 – 6:30 – In Memoriam: Monette Sudler; Niama Williams
6:30 – 6:55 – Sincere Melody (spoken word) tentative
6:55 – 7:00 – Closing comments

SUNDAY 1pm – 7pm

1:00 – 1:10 – Introduction to the event and the next act
1:10 – 1:30 – Sincere Melody (spoken word)
1:30 – 1:45 – Angel Hogan (poetry)
1:47 – Introduce Tamara L. Xavier
1:50 – 2:25 – Tamara L. Xavier (movement/lecture)
2:27 – Introduce Kai Moon Oceans
2:30 – 3:10 – Kai Moon Oceans (inspirational talk)
3:10 – Introduce Asha Mollock
3:15 – 3:45 – Asha Mullock (filmmaker)
3:45 – Introduce Nikki Powerhouse
3:50 – 4:10 – Nikki Powerhouse (author/performer)
4:15 – 4:35 – Cassendre Xavier (music)
4:35 – Introduce Erika Richards
4:40 – 5:25 – Erika Richards (fine artist/PowerPoint presentation)
5:25 – Introduce Glynnis Reed
5:30 – 5:50 – Glynnis Reed (fine art/poetry)
5:50 – 6:05 – Keisha Oliver (artist/writer)
6:05 – Introduce Ghettosongbird
6:10 – 6:55 – Ghettosongbird
6:55 – Closing Comments

Hope you’ll join us!

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Festival Flyer (Black Women’s Arts Festival 2022)

The SIXTEENTH Annual
Black Women’s Arts Festival

Streaming LIVE at YouTube.com/TheRotundaPhilly

Saturday – Sunday  September 17 – 18, 2022
 
  1pm – 7pm both days
 
Featuring…
 
Stephanie Durann (Poetry) | Ghettosongbird (Music) | Angel Hogan (Poetry) | Asha Mollock (Film) | O (Performance Art)| Kai Moon Oceans (Speaker) | Nikki Powerhouse (Author) | Glynnis Reed (Fine Art/Poetry) | Erika Richards (Illustrator) | Cassendre Xavier (Music/Host/Founder) | Tamara L. Xavier (Choreographer/Speaker) | More TBA

Inquiries/Submissions/Contact: BWAFphilly@gmail.com

Social Media: FB & Twitter: @BWAFphilly

Visit www.facebook.com/BWAFfanpage for festival and community news & updates!

Sponsored by www.TheRotunda.org

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Black Women’s Arts Festival, Sept. 17-18, 2022

Announcing the 16th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival – an annual showcase of multi-media arts by women of African heritage! Virtual/live streamed on Zoom and viewable and archived on The Rotunda’s YouTube channel on Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18, 2022 from 1pm-7pm. Featuring Stephanie Durann (poet), Ghettosongbird (musician), Angel Hogan (poet), Asha Mollock (filmmaker),O (performance artist), Kai Moon Oceans (speaker), Glynnis Reed (fine artist/poet), Erika Richards (illustrator), Monica Robinson (artist), Cassendre Xavier (musician/host/founder), Tamara L. Xavier (choreographer/speaker), and more TBA. We welcome more (small stipend offered), so if you’re interested, and you can livestream from your location, please email us at cxwriting (at)gmail.com!

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Green Smoothie Raw Blog – 4/20/22

Contents of Table…

1) GREEN SMOOTHIE RAW BLOG – 4/20/22
2) WITH A LITTLE HELP FOR MY FRIENDS
3) MY LINKS

Table of Contents…

1) GREEN SMOOTHIE RAW BLOG – 4/20/22
Hello, friends!

I am thrilled to be sharing this update with you!
In the olden days, circa 2007-2008, I wrote a regular blog called “Green Smoothie Raw Blog.” It started when I was living in raw vegan community in Lansdale, PA – in a raw-friendly/supportive home and doing a work exchange at a raw vegan cafe. I was shedding excess weight and posting pics of my changing body. I called them “During” pics, instead of the somewhat hurtful “before and after.”

Because my circumstances had changed and I was no longer doing raw nor in a raw supportive environment, and gaining rather than losing weight, I stopped posting that blog. But I’m making green smoothie again, albeit in a somewhat raw hostile environment and decided to share what I’m doing to – once again, in the hopes that it may help or inspire someone who would like  to be healthier with raw foods, without making a big move to all raw or even high raw – just more raw.

I live with two people, one of whom I try to stay away from as much as possible. This means I keep to myself most of the time, except when she’s out. I desperately want green smoothie in my life and innards so now I look out for when I’m home alone and then I take that opportunity to make green smoothie.

I’ve learned that I don’t need a four-hour block to make a couple of weeks worth of green smoothie. I can make a decent amount in under an hour.

This morning, from 7am – 7:40am I blended 96oz of the glorious stuff. Three 32oz containers that had held delivered Chinese vegetable soup!

This morning’s batch consisted of:

Bagged shredded collard greens
Bagged spinach
2 bananas
2 apples
1 32-ish ounce container of raisins, soaking in water
3 packets of stevia/erythritol (one for each 32oz green smoothie container)
Filtered water

(I also have a full gallon of green smoothie plus 32oz all of which I made a couple of days ago with:

Bagged collard greens
Bagged kale
Bananas
Apples
Soaked raisins
Stevia/Erythritol
Spirulina
Cacao

So tasty!

While I find the bagged greens to be a lifesaver, they are not as cost-effective as loose greens by the bunch. Very convenient and worth the extra cost – it gets you blending much more often, easily, and quickly. And that’s what counts – just blending and drinking all that sweet country goodness!
Another drawback of the bagged shredded collards is that they include all the thick stem, which normally would be removed by hand if you were handling them by bunch. The stems have an odd, tangy, unpleasant taste. But again, I’d rather have more green smoothie, more often, with that weird subtle taste, than to struggle to find the time to make green smoothie when I have to wash and cut them before use. Up to you!

If you’ve watched me on YouTube, you know I often say, “Start Where You Are, Do What You Can.”

That’s why I’m sharing that I made 96oz of green smoothie this morning. It’s because I’m proud of myself and I want to help anyone who is curious about trying green smoothies or are already familiar and want to start up again. They are so good for you and you don’t have to change a single thing about any other aspect of your diet or lifestyle to enjoy the benefits of!

Wishing you the best!

Cassendre

2) WITH A LITTLE HELP FOR MY FRIENDS

A) Gina Renzi, Director of The Rotunda
I met Gina in the early 2000s when I performed in events being produced at The Rotunda. Then in 2003, we launched the first Black Women’s Arts Festival there, which has been the BWAF’s primary venue since. The Rotunda is a marvelous community cultural arts venue, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, and one of my favorite places on earth. And Gina is one of my favorite people on earth! Visit http://www.TheRotunda.org

  B) Stacey Lorin Merkl, Executive Director of Realize Your Beauty
Stacey is a long-time friend whom I met through her husband, singer-songwriter Rupert Wates, whom I have performed music with several times. Realize Your Beauty teaches young people to love themselves so that they develop healthy body image and reduce the likelihood of developing eating disorders. This is how I describe it in my own words. To see how RYB describes themselves, visit  http://www.RealizeYourBeauty.org

  C) Robyn Trask, Executive Director of Loving More (Polyamorous Organization)
Around 2011, I attended the Poly Living Conference in Philadelphia. It was produced by the Loving More organization based in Colorado. Shortly thereafter, I was meeting significant others there and presenting workshops there as well. Loving More is a community spread throughout the nation, of lovers, friends and family of choice. It is inclusive as it is educational about finding and maintaining successful polyamorous relationships, or even of how to be a content and functional single person, which is the key to every good relationship. To learn more, visit http://www.LoveMore.com

  D) Naomi Dogan, The Joy of Consent
At Poly Living Philadelphia in February 2020, I met Naomi Dogan. Later she told me that she and a few friends, some of whom I also had met or been friends with, were creating a nonprofit. They are all very close and are involved in the poly community as well. The best way to describe their mission is to visit them at http://TheJoyOfConsent.org

  E) Tom Daubert, Co-Founder of Magic Flower – Bud Finisher
In May 2019 I became friends with Tom Daubert, a very interesting, semi-retired former political lobyist, and lifelong painter. A few years ago, he and a business partner/close friend started a company called Magic Flower – Bud Finisher. This is an all-natural product that speeds the ripening of buds as well as working as a highly effective pesticide. If you are a grower, you may want to visit their website to learn more: http://www.MagicFlower.com

  F) Rupert Wates, Singer-Songwriter
Rupert Wates is a British-born (got the accent an everything – in fact, on the phone I can hardly understand him – ha!), New York-based singer-songwriter I admire a lot. He and I have the same birthday (in February – we’re Aquarians), and he tours about 150 shows a year. He has been a mostly silent musical mentor of mine since I met him. Rupert is highly prolific, releases one album a year, and I have been on one of them – I sing “Snow in New York” on his album Joe’s Cafe. As you know, the pandemic has made it more challenging for artists to ply our trade. Somehow – well, I know how, through intelligence, tenacity, and a lot of hard work, folks like Rupert have made it work nontheless. Creativity is part of it, too, and going with the technologies – the virtualities and whatnot. Anyway, Rupert’s music is marvelous. He does 95% original songs – all his songs on his albums are original. And he always has themes and inspirations. Check him out at http://www.RupertWatesMusic.com

  G) Krista Nelson
I met Krista years ago through the Black Women’s Arts Festival. She is a multi-book author, a self-publisher, and an inspiring life coach. I really admire Krista a lot. You can learn much more from visiting her at https://justgetitdonenow.com/

  H) Giscard “GIZ” Xavier, Record Producer, Engineer, Graphic Design, Photography
My brother is a creative genius. Just sayin’ 🙂 However, as you know, sometimes geniuses can be elusive and, dare I say, a mite annoying? I know I am! (Annoying that is – I don’t know how effectively elusive I can be.) My brother is one of the three producers of the City High song “Caramel,” featuring the rapper Eve. He had many other musical credits, all of which are easily Google-able. But try to find a website for him, good luck!
If you are a singer, songwriter, musician, and/or you would like to make an album, and you can get to Wilmington, Delaware, working with my brother may really work for you. He’s very good at his work, very intelligent, and has a great sense of humor, all of which helps to make the hours of studio work go by quickly.
Even though he’s on Twitter and I think Instagram (abandoned the Facebooks long ago), I am so square all I have to use to search for him is his legal and nickname. Yielded musical items for sale and that’s pretty much it – no contact info. What I have is too private to post here – phone number and email, etc.
So, iff’n you are potential client, please direct message me here or email me at cxmusic (at) gmail dot com. It’s just that simple!
 
3) MY LINKS
MUSIC:
Spotify: http://tinyurl.com/CXSpotify
iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/CXiTunes
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/CXAmazon
Bandcamp: http://www.cassendrexavier.bandcamp.com

YOUTUBE:
YouTube: http://www.tinyurl.com/CXYouTube

WRITING:
Since 2009 I have written for Wisdom Magazine’s online edition on various topics: Personal Growth/Inspiration/Self-Help, Spirituality, Soulmate Attraction, Mental Health Issues
Wisdom Magazine: http://www.tinyurl.com/CXWisdom

SOCIAL MEDIA
Facebook: http://facebook.com/cassendrexavier
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cassendrexavier
Instagram: @CassendreXavier

EMAIL
Music: cxmusic (at) gmail dot com
Writing (or anything other than music): cxwriting (at) gmail dot com

(c) Copyright 2022 by Cassendre Xavier. All rightsen reservenitzken.

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Diary of a renaissance negresse – April 8, 2022

Diary of a renaissance negresse
A Museletter of Cassendre Xavier

Table of Contents…

A) GREETING
B) WHO IS THE RENAISSANCE NEGRESSE
1) MENTAL HEALTH UPDATE
2) BEARD UPDATE
3) WRITING UPDATE
4) MUSIC UPDATE
5) HOUSING UPDATE
6) BLACK WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL UPDATE
7) WITH A LITTLE HELP FOR MY FRIENDS (AND ASSOCIATES)
8) MY LINKS
Z) FAREWELL BLESSING

Contents of Table…

A) GREETING
Gosh, I wish it hadn’t been so long since I last wrote. Staying in touch with my reading audience, fans, m/patrons, supporters, etc. is so essential to my work as an artist and to my joy as a persun. Since I was asked by the persons I live with, in September 2019, to curtail my “sharings” of certain aspects of my life, and since time has passed to change the way my email lists work, I have been largely silenced. It’s become too complicated for me to figure out a way to speak freely, yet safely, I haven’t sent out my museletters regularly in a long, long time.

Well, you know how I like to say, “We are meant to need each other”? Well, the reason I am here now, writing this, is because I am helping a dear friend promote a new company (Magic Flower – Bud Finisher, see below for details).
Often times, helping others turns out to be super good for us, too. I don’t know if my efforts will make a significant difference, but over time you may see me post updates about Magic Flower.

It feels great to write again – it always does. But this time, I’m not stressin’ and a strainin’ about how it’ll “get out.” If I trust in the joy of writing, I believe that joy will carry and reach the right eyes, ears, and heartal reggiones 🙂 And, in due time, my circumstances will allow me to speak with the same unabashed,  unbound freedom I have always shared about so many aspects of my life, revealing, risque, and hopefully inspiring. Thanks for listening!

B) WHO IS THE RENAISSANCE NEGRESSE?

Haitian/Chinese-American multi-media healing artist Cassendre Xavier coined the term *”renaissance negresse” in 2002. A musicianwriterfine artist, and actress, Cassendre (who also works under the names Amethyste Rah and Amrita Waterfalls, and who also became an ordained Interfaith Minister in September 2010) says the term describes a black woman who is skilled or gifted in 3 or more arts. Xavier is a recipient of a $15,000 Leeway Transformation Award which “supports women and trans artists creating art and social change”. Cassendre founded and directed several Philadelphia arts initiatives including The Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002) and The Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003). She also teaches classes, and leads or co-leads workshops and support groups related to creativity, personal growth, recovery (from abuse and addictions), relationships, and yoga. She is originally from Brooklyn, NY and has been living creatively and joyfully in Philadelphia since 1990. [*”Negresse, Negre: In the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean Islands, these words often have a connotation of affection, entirely non-racial in meaning. `Ma petite negresse, mon negre, are equivalent to `My dear, my darling, my sweet.’” [From Masters of the Dew, a contemporary classic novel by the Haitian author Jacques Roumain, translated by Langston Hughes and Mercer Cook.]

More to come…


1) MENTAL HEALTH UPDATE
Why do I start here,  you ask? Well, I feel like the head comes first, then everything else. The brain moves the body. The heart is best to lead, but the brain makes the physical and the most basic activity happen.
I have had a change of diagnosis. About two years ago I received an additional diagnosis that I haven’t shared with the general public because of internalized fear and stigma. In the olden days, when I was in my 20s and 30s, talking about my bipolar disorder felt scary. Now it’s run-of-the-mill. Everybody and their sister has bipolar disorder. Or PTSD, my secondary diagnosis also since my 20s. I have no qualms talking about this. But this other diagnosis is a little scary for me to share publicly. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who feels this way.
I’ve been trying different medications and have achieved some success with a couple. I don’t like being on conventional pharmaceutical medications and dealing with their side effects (I’m even on a drug to deal with a side effect of another drug), but I’m indigent so I’m letting Medicaid pay for my meds. This brings me much comfort, to know that I never have to worry about how I’ll get my meds. Iffn’ I had my druthers, or when I have the funds, I would love, love, LOVE to do things naturally – go back to the lithium orotate I used to take, only hire a holistic doctor to give me the proper doses to take.
Anyway, I don’t know where the time went, but apparently an entire year or even more, has gone by since I said I would start my third attempt at getting Social Security disability benefits. Applying for disability is like being a writer submitting work for publication. The more rejections you get, the more accomplished you can feel, because you’re that much closer to a yes. So I have two “no’s” from the Social Security Disability Administration. I’m closer. Who knows. It’s kind of discouraging, actually. But what the hey. One of these days, I’ll try again. Let me not be such a bummer 🙂 If you are applying for disability, keep the faith, use all the resources available to you, and try, try again. I’ll be rootin’ for  ya!

2) BEARD UPDATE
After a few years (about three, I think) of having it, a few weeks ago, it began to feel time to get rid of my beard. Some of you have seen it – a goatee. I liked it a LOT. And I’ve had it two other times in my life. It seems I go for years without, then I need a break from the painful hair removal, and then I go “natural.” And then it’s time to change again.
This time, I felt the need to heal some of the lowered confidence that being a bearded woman gave me. I had been afeared of going out, being seen, being made fun of, being stared at. I wanted to increase my conventional attractiveness for various reasons from professional to personal. For every situation there are pros and cons. Having a beard has many pros that I already miss. I miss my mustache mojo. Being a female with facial hair is extremely powerful and attractive in its own ways. But I was starting to feel like my beard was becoming a gimmick, and I didn’t want to be that way. Lots of reasons to have my beard, and benefits to not having it. I can’t have it both ways. I’m sad to be without it, but I’m facing the opportunities to boldly look at people again without fearing their judgement. Ugh, I sound so weak! I hope you understand. And thanks everyone who has loved and accepted me with or without.

3) WRITING UPDATE
This is so painful to write. I feel like my heart is being strapped down by carseat straps. Those things are so durable and difficult to tear apart. For over five years, I have been living someplace I am very grateful for, and greatly appreciate, but is totally not set up for me to write. I have tried five different places in two different rooms to write, and haven’t been able to. I’m in a hotel right now. There’s a desk here. I can work with that. A very dear colleague-friend mailed me a table, but it’s too large to use in the bedroom I am usually in, and it won’t work in the living room, either.
In September 2019, I was a featured reader at a Moonstone Poetry event, where I shared from a new manuscript about abuse and erotica. I worked briefly with someone to publish it, but I wasn’t able to keep up with his production schedule (mental health issues make me super slow, as does not having a “room of one’s own.” Virginia Woolf really had something there).
Most of the writing I do these days, when I do write, is erotic and I can’t send you any links because of my “confidentiality agreement.” But again, someday, my freak flag will fly free again! All I have to do is move elsewhere. Somehow, some way, someday. Sometimes I feel like it’ll never happen. But back to the subject at hand. Yes, I am writing. I journal, I write poetry (including NON-erotic poems), and I look at the manuscript that I hope will someday soon (within a year) become a printed book. I can’t believe it’s already been three years since I’ve started that manuscript. If you’re working on something, and you have a lot of barriers to completion, keep positive and take baby steps. Recently I wrote a chapter to my manuscript and I felt really good about it. When you take even the smallest step towards a dream, your vision of it becomes clearer and it strengthens the feeling of it in your heart that makes you feel completion is possible.
There’s more going on with my writing, which I will share in a future issue 🙂

4) MUSIC UPDATE
My most recent album, Hope, was released in February 2015. I can’t believe it’s been seven years already. Where does the time go? My brother, Giscard Xavier, who goes by “GIZ” co-produced and engineered that album, along with my 2009 album Capable of love, and engineered a couple others for me.  We started again with a recording session on March 5th. I have new challenges as a recording artist. Previously, I was performing regularly, either busking or onstage. With my various challenges, not to mention the pandemic, I have rarely ever taken out my guitar or practiced singing. So I’m really out of shape. This is the first time I’ve ever walked out of a recording session not having put anything down worth keeping. Still sounded decent, but nothing was good enough to keep. That’s okay. Just more practice and then we’ll get some in the can. My brother and I are recording not only one musical album, but two spoken word guided meditation albums to complete my first two in my “Affirmations for Survivors” series which were released in 2007 I believe. “Self-Love” was the first, “Spirituality” was the second, “Sexuality” will be the third, and “Life Skills” will be the fourth. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of all of these, and I’m grateful to be “working” again, as complex and difficult as it often is. It’s also sometimes fun.
There’s more going on with my music, which I will share in a future issue 🙂

5) HOUSING UPDATE
In February 2017 I moved to a suburb just outside of Philadelphia. I am staying with a friend who understands my difficulties and/or inability to work. The situation has its challenges for all involved, but has mutual benefits as well. My friend and I really like a peaceful home, and we care for each other. I feel truly blessed. But I am working towards an even better situation, which would help all involved. I am hoping, praying, and moving towards a situation where I am in a home with mutual care, emotional safety, and where I can be myself – write what I want, and be all of who I am, as I used to and as my readers are accustomed to. That is my dream.
It’s hard to dream big when one’s resources don’t appear to be able to attract that. That’s when it’s time to dream bigger. There are lots of things I want and think about and the more research I do in various ways and the more mystical I allow  my thoughts to become, the more I know what is possible.
This reminds me of the “Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us” series I write at Wisdom-Magazine dot com. Soulmate attraction is something I thoroughly believe in and practice regularly. I don’t have much resistance there at all.
Sometimes it’s helpful to take some faith and ease we have in one area of our thoughts and faith and apply it to another. When author Arielle Ford was in her 40s, she suddenly realized she had forgotten to get married. She used the same law of attraction skills she had used to build an incredibly successful career as a publicist to a bevy of New York Times bestselling authors to attract her husband Brian Hilliard. She shared what she learned in her book “The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction.” I’m guessing at the subtitle, but it’s close.
One of the things that hangs me up is my non-working, no-money-having status. But then I remind myself that I’ve had a home before without paying rent. It can be done. I’m working on opening my mind, and relaxing and believing in what’s possible.
How I manifested my now 5 years of housing was by praying that I would be a blessing. I was street homeless at the time and put out a call to the Universe: “Let me be a blessing,” and I swear, within weeks I had a roof over my head, and it’s been five years. Well, I’m ready to not only be a blessing this time, but to also live with someone who is a blessing to me. My current co-habitating friend is and has been a blessing to me – but the next one will be even more compatible with me, and everyone who lives there will want and like me to be there.
If you’re having housing difficulties, and the usual/typical housing services/avenues haven’t worked for you:

A) Try, try again. Something may be different this time.
B) Make a list of what you have to offer, what you have to give, how you can benefit a person or household.
C) Recognize your worth. You may not have a job, income, or the means to contribute financially to a household. But you may be able to provide assistance in various ways and companionship to someone that doesn’t need your income. Someone who would love your company and help around the house/farm/ranch, and you both, or all, may be very happy together. There are as many ways to do home and family as there are different thumbprints and people. Dreaming up what you desire will send a signal to those who would love to know and live with you!

6) BLACK WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL UPDATE
The next one will be Sat – Sun September 17-18, 2022, from 1pm – 7pm. Like last year, it will be virtual, viewable, and archived on our venue The Rotunda’s YouTube channel. I recently began booking it and I feel relaxed and positive about starting the process of seeking artists to feature.
Stay tuned for more details!

7) WITH A LITTLE HELP FOR MY FRIENDS (AND ASSOCIATES)
  A) Gina Renzi, Director of The Rotunda
I met Gina in the early 2000s when I performed in events being produced at The Rotunda. Then in 2003, we launched the first Black Women’s Arts Festival there, which has been the BWAF’s primary venue since. The Rotunda is a marvelous community cultural arts venue, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, and one of my favorite places on earth. And Gina is one of my favorite people on earth! Visit http://www.TheRotunda.org

  B) Stacey Lorin Merkl, Executive Director of Realize Your Beauty
Stacey is a long-time friend whom I met through her husband, singer-songwriter Rupert Wates, whom I have performed music with several times. Realize Your Beauty teaches young people to love themselves so that they develop healthy body image and reduce the likelihood of developing eating disorders. This is how I describe it in my own words. To see how RYB describes themselves, visit  http://www.RealizeYourBeauty.org

  C) Robyn Trask, Executive Director of Loving More (Polyamorous Organization)
Around 2011, I attended the Poly Living Conference in Philadelphia. It was produced by the Loving More organization based in Colorado. Shortly thereafter, I was meeting significant others there and presenting workshops there as well. Loving More is a community spread throughout the nation, of lovers, friends and family of choice. It is inclusive as it is educational about finding and maintaining successful polyamorous relationships, or even of how to be a content and functional single person, which is the key to every good relationship. To learn more, visit http://www.LoveMore.com

  D) Naomi Dogan, The Joy of Consent
At Poly Living Philadelphia in February 2020, I met Naomi Dogan. Later she told me that she and a few friends, some of whom I also had met or been friends with, were creating a nonprofit. They are all very close and are involved in the poly community as well. The best way to describe their mission is to visit them at http://TheJoyOfConsent.org

  E) Tom Daubert, Co-Founder of Magic Flower – Bud Finisher
In May 2019 I became friends with Tom Daubert, a very interesting, semi-retired former political lobyist, and lifelong painter. A few years ago, he and a business partner/close friend started a company called Magic Flower – Bud Finisher. This is an all-natural product that speeds the ripening of buds as well as working as a highly effective pesticide. If you are a grower, you may want to visit their website to learn more: http://www.MagicFlower.com

  F) Rupert Wates, Singer-Songwriter
Rupert Wates is a British-born (got the accent an everything – in fact, on the phone I can hardly understand him – ha!), New York-based singer-songwriter I admire a lot. He and I have the same birthday (in February – we’re Aquarians), and he tours about 150 shows a year. He has been a mostly silent musical mentor of mine since I met him. Rupert is highly prolific, releases one album a year, and I have been on one of them – I sing “Snow in New York” on his album Joe’s Cafe. As you know, the pandemic has made it more challenging for artists to ply our trade. Somehow – well, I know how, through intelligence, tenacity, and a lot of hard work, folks like Rupert have made it work nontheless. Creativity is part of it, too, and going with the technologies – the virtualities and whatnot. Anyway, Rupert’s music is marvelous. He does 95% original songs – all his songs on his albums are original. And he always has themes and inspirations. Check him out at http://www.RupertWatesMusic.com

  G) Krista Nelson
I met Krista years ago through the Black Women’s Arts Festival. She is a multi-book author, a self-publisher, and an inspiring life coach. I really admire Krista a lot. You can learn much more from visiting her at https://justgetitdonenow.com/

  H) Giscard “GIZ” Xavier, Record Producer, Engineer, Graphic Design, Photography
My brother is a creative genius. Just sayin’ 🙂 However, as you know, sometimes geniuses can be elusive and, dare I say, a mite annoying? I know I am! (Annoying that is – I don’t know how effectively elusive I can be.) My brother is one of the three producers of the City High song “Caramel,” featuring the rapper Eve. He had many other musical credits, all of which are easily Google-able. But try to find a website for him, good luck!
If you are a singer, songwriter, musician, and/or you would like to make an album, and you can get to Wilmington, Delaware, working with my brother may really work for you. He’s very good at his work, very intelligent, and has a great sense of humor, all of which helps to make the hours of studio work go by quickly.
Even though he’s on Twitter and I think Instagram (abandoned the Facebooks long ago), I am so square all I have to use to search for him is his legal and nickname. Yielded musical items for sale and that’s pretty much it – no contact info. What I have is too private to post here – phone number and email, etc.
So, iff’n you are potential client, please direct message me here or email me at cxmusic (at) gmail dot com. It’s just that simple!
 
8) MY LINKS
MUSIC:
Spotify: http://tinyurl.com/CXSpotify
iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/CXiTunes
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/CXAmazon
Bandcamp: http://www.cassendrexavier.bandcamp.com

YOUTUBE:
YouTube: http://www.tinyurl.com/CXYouTube

WRITING:
Since 2009 I have written for Wisdom Magazine’s online edition on various topics: Personal Growth/Inspiration/Self-Help, Spirituality, Soulmate Attraction, Mental Health Issues
Wisdom Magazine: http://www.tinyurl.com/CXWisdom

SOCIAL MEDIA
Facebook: http://facebook.com/cassendrexavier
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cassendrexavier
Instagram: @CassendreXavier

EMAIL
Music: cxmusic (at) gmail dot com
Writing (or anything other than music): cxwriting (at) gmail dot com
 
Z) FAREWELL BLESSING
Until we meet again, I hope you’ll be kind to yourself, do your self-love affirmations in front of the mirror,  practice forgiveness, put more boldness behind your dreaming, be there for your loved ones and allow them to be there for you. Thank you for reading. Stay well and stay safe!

In art and community,
Cassendre Xavier
(also writing and recording as Amethyste Rah, Amrita Waterfalls, and Endowed Goddess)
Multi-Media Healing Artist
http://www.cassendrexavier.wordpress.com

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Diary of a renaissance negresse – October 29, 2021

Hello, friends,

Here I am for my periodic-wish-it-were-more-frequent literary therapy 🙂
Hope you’ve been well and taking good care of yourself. It seems strange to be in this in-between stage of the pandemic – not out of the woods but definitely not as bad as it used to be. But still pretty bad in a few ways, and not a whole lot of good feeling for the future.
It’s been hard for many of us artists to stay in touch with our audience, because heck it’s been hard just to keep our heads above water. But I’ve also seen other artists navigate it really well. We all have different resources and abilities. I’m grateful to have the ones I have and I apologize for not being in contact for so long. I hope to post more regularly soon.

CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT UPDATE
It still stands, and is the primary reason why I have not been posting as freely and as frequently as I used to. I still am doing my erotic artist work, just much more discretely. It gives me strength, and I posted an erotic writing before sharing this “Diary” update. Then I will continue and do more erotic writing after I post this. So, they feed each other. It has been very difficult to have a muzzle and still try to express myself, but I must keep the faith that with continued practice, I will find more and more ways to express myself safely.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR LATE BLOOMER/CHALLENGED/SPECIAL NEEDS ARTISTS
It’s never too late and things are never too messed up to do something – to take small baby steps. One thing that helps to engage your inner artist is to feed that artist in ways that appeal to you. To keep learning and growing – to be the perpetual student (if I’m using that word correctly. I miss the days of having my dictionary/thesaurace on my desk as I wrote!).
I’ve been listening to Temple Jazz 90 / WRTI dot org because the classical music is really good for my brain. It’s healing and I listen as I write.
I am in a group therapy series for 6 weeks which teaches songwriting as a way to treat trauma. It’s been interesting and not something I would have taken years ago. I have already been using songwriting for decades to address my trauma. But then I remember that Luciano Pavaratti’s father took singing lessons into this 90s, and that one can always learn new things and improve by trying things we may not necessarily like.
I’ve been singing and playing guitar more often. I’ve also been doing prayer and meditation more regularly, and a smidge of exercise now and then. I would like to increase the exercise, for heart health reasons.

MENTAL HEALTH / DISABILITY UPDATE
Part of me wants to talk about medication and my recent changes and why, but I also realize this is not going to my email list, it’s going out to the world in a much more public way. That’s okay, I can talk about it in a way that’s safe but hopefully still helpful.
It can take years to find the right combination, and as a friend told me, after you find the right combination, that combination stops working and you have to start all over again. It’s the wisdom of the body and how it manages the toxin that these medications are.
I had been on something that I liked, but my psychiatrist said wasn’t working well enough, because I was still having severe mood swings. But we’ve begun the process of my stopping that medication because it’s hard on the kidneys and I’m concerned about that, given some family history of kidney issues.
If you’re taking mental health meds, I encourage you to keep trying until you find the right kind(s) and dosages for you. It’s not something that is usually done quickly. Have patience, and you may feel significantly better and see some positive results you never expected. In the 30 years I’ve been in therapy and on medication for my bipolar and PTSD, I have experienced many benefits from both.
I’m also hoping that someday I’ll have the funds to work with holistic healthcare providers and be able to hire them to assist me in taking the right dosages of mineral and herbal supplements. I’d been using them on my own and having some benefits, but trying to figure out my own dosages wasn’t really effective. Also, my financial issues made it difficult to always have everything I needed in stock all the time. I don’t have that problem with Medicaid. All my mental health meds are covered, 100%. It’s hard to pass that up. Anyway. Onwards and upwards!

MUSICAL UPDATE
I am happy that I wrote a new song a few months ago. It was called “Let’s Be Authentic” and it’s for an album being produced by CosaCosa, a Philadelphia arts organization. Before that, I hadn’t written a new song in years, and trying to write a new song now is such a difficult prospect that it seemed a very far away idea for me. This kept me from singing even just for fun.
But over time I’ve started singing just for fun, along to music I like on YouTube and along to my own songs.
Then I realized I could still sing, even if they weren’t my own songs. I’m pretty sure that most of my songs that are listened to are my cover songs. So that means it’s okay if I want to “just” sing cover songs, especially since the way I do cover songs usually they are my own interpretations.
Over time, I would like to report back here that I’ve posted new music on my YouTube channel, be it original or cover songs. Wish me luck and thanks!

YOUTUBE CHANNEL UPDATE
I have a couple of videos in my phone that need to be uploaded to my YouTube channel. I also need to make some new videos, because it’s important for me as an artist to be fully self-expressed, and also because I am following some Divine Guidance to “do the work” and “put [my]self out there.” I have several personal and professional goals, including relational/relationship ones and those will be better achieved if I show my face and let my spoken and musical voice be heard.
It feels great to have YouTube as an outlet. I just need to use it more.
Happy memory: A few years ago I was at City Hall in Philadelphia, walking towards the subway. I was stopped by two people (who appeared black and female, in their mid 20s). One was smiling very widely when they flagged me down and told me that they knew me from YouTube. I felt so proud!!!
Also, one of my dearest friends, while we met in life – I first discovered him on YouTube. I love YouTube and want to give you more content de Moi over there real soonishlike!

Thank you for reading and take good care of yourself 🙂

In art, spirit, and community,
Cassendre

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Diary of a renaissance negresse – September 17, 2021

Dear folks!


How are you? I hope you’re doing well!

The most important thing I want to share with you is:

THIS WEEKEND – THE BLACK WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL!
BWAF Philly 2021, Philadelphia’s 15th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival is happening online tomorrow, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th.
1:00 – 7:00 PM both days.
Viewable through, and archived at, the YouTube channel @TheRotundaPhilly (if you search that on YouTube, it’ll pop right up). I’m not putting it here because some places having a link just complicates things and makes the entire post much less visible. I’d rather this entire post show up and folks type a few characters to see the show!
This year I was not able to be as attentive as I was last year, and as a result there’s been a lot less promotion, including not having the artists pics, bios and links sent out as I would have liked. I apologize. Hopefully 2022 will be a kinder year!

Here is the schedule so far (I am hosting the entire event and performing music periodically on each day):

SATURDAY

1 – 1:15 – I introduce the event and the next act

1:15 – 1:35 – Angel Hogan, poet

====TBA====

2:00 – 2:45 – Kai Oceans, presentation on finding your voice

TBA

4:00 – 4:20 – Gigi McGraw, actor/talk

4:30 – 4:45 – Monica Fleurette, Actress

TBA

     6:00 – 6:30 – Stephanie Durann (Poet) 

7:00 – Closing

SUNDAY:

1:00 – Intro to BWAF and next artist

TBA

3:00 – 4:00 – Narissa Bond, singer-songwriter

TBA

4:45 – 5:15 – Eboni Zamani, filmmaker 

TBA

7:00 – Closing

I hope you will tune in during or visit the archive after. It’s a labor of love, formed by imperfect hands of us a lot of folks who need this medicine. What medicine – why art, of course! (Could I sound any hoky-er? Nope!)

BLISSFOLLOWAGE AT 52
Sometimes I think about how much freer I was to enjoy life when I was in my late teens and early 20s than I am now in my 50s. It would make sense, because in those earlier years, either I had no expenses or I was easily able to provide for myself.
I was thinking about how much more employable “kids” in their early 20s are, and how I was too during that time.
What happens after 40? We have obligations, expenses, debts. And if we have mental health issues, all those things are made even more challenging.
How does one follow one’s bliss (Google Joseph Campbell) with major challenges, and why bother?
I was just going to go into all kinds of detail, then I remembered that I have limited space – aaargh!
So, I’ll briefly say that bliss is our birthright. If you (hypothetically) have trauma issues or severe anxiety, the word “fun” may not be part of your lexicon. Try to be around people who use and have it. Fun and play are essential to bliss and to joy. Bliss relieves and sometimes prevents pain. Sometimes following one’s bliss can save one’s life. Everyone’s bliss looks different according to who they are and where they are in their life. There was a time that following my bliss meant writing songs and performing them, or writing poetry and reading it in public. Now, it is just singing along to YouTube, just to get back into it, and reading my already written poems. It’s writing essays and my “diary” series. It’s pausing to tune in and see how I am responding to a person, a moment, a situation, and then taking action from that observation. It’s mindfulness. It’s daring to hope and get my hopes up. I wish for you that you get closer to and more practiced with your bliss every day!

ARTIST UPDATE:

COSACOSA COMPILATION ALBUM PROJECT
Today I received the final payment for writing two songs for a CosaCosa compilation album project tentatively titled “Call!” It’s an album of 17 songs by 8 artists (I did 2 songs). These are protest songs for our times. My themes were being authentic and mental health awareness. I am extremely proud and honored to be part of this project, and every step along the way has been a gift, from being commissioned to write songs to the practice of everything I had to do to get from the first draft of the first song to my Uber rides after the last day at the studio. Amazing. And fun! I’ll be writing about this again. Visit CosaCosa at Facebook + Instagram: @cosacosaartatlarge Twitter: @cosacosaatlarge

I’M FROM DRIFTWOOD
Today I also received a message from the executive director of I’m From Driftwood, one of my favorite YouTube channels, which is about LGBT+ folks’ life stories and coming out experiences. I was asked to feature! I’ll write back next week to follow through on that, but the idea of being on openly queer bearded Haitian-American woman is BEYOND! SOOOOO much visibility is needed. Hey you know what? “Let’s Be Authentic”! (That’s the name of one of my CosaCosa songs!) I will keep you posted about this.

LATE BLOOMER INSPIRATION
Random thoughts: I’ve been reading and collecting books about late bloomers since I was 26. I think I must have known I would come into my stride at a later age. Go to websites and blogs and view YouTube videos about people who are or consider themselves late bloomers. It is never too late to exercise 🙂 The body is incredibly resilient and forgiving. Starting to move late in life is still incredibly helpful. Don’t devalue your current desires, and don’t place greater value on what you wanted when you were younger. Your current desires are just as valid and worthy of attention. Your passion, dedication, and focus may not look the way they did in your younger years, but they are still just as important. In your younger years, you had the benefits and vigor of youth. In your mature years, you have wisdom and the ability to impart more of your values to your dreams and goals. Create a support system and go for it!

Well, I would continue, but I’ve had a long day and should get to bed early for a very busy day tomorrow.

I should probably do some CX plugs:

My several albums of music and spoken word guided meditations/affirmations are at CD Baby, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube. My name is spelled “CassEndrE Xavier”

At least one of my chapbooks is on Amazon.

I’m a contributor to the webmagazine Wisdom.

I also write spirituality and erotica under the pseudonyms Amethyste Rah and Amrita Waterfalls, respectively.

Wishing you a splendid day or evening until I write again!

In art and community,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse
Multi-Media Healing Artist
Special Needs Adult 🙂
Late Bloomer Extraordinaire

Contact emails:
Music related: cxmusic at gmail dot com
Everything else: cxwriting at gmail dot com

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diary of a renaissance negresse – 04 September 2021

First I’d like to thank my GoFundMe community because that was the avenue I thought of when I was looking for a place to post this. I’ve desperately wanted to write as I always have – but in 2019 had to stop and become much more private for various reasons which hopefully will change at some point. I’ve been having a very difficult time trying to find and use my “voice” again as a writer, but haven’t had an outlet that worked for everyone in my life. GoFundMe occured to me as a place to post updates from time to time.

IN THE STUDIO AGAIN!
Recording studio, that is! I haven’t been in the studio since Feb 2015 for my album “Hope.” This time, I’m working on someone else’s project, an 8-artist, 16 song compilation album. I’m not sure how public they want me to be about it at this stage, so I’ll hold back for now. On the 23rd and 24th I was in the studio, and I go back this week for one day. It’s hard to describe how wonderful this opportunity has been for me as a re-emerging, late bloomer, special needs adult artist. I’m too sleepy to go into it all, but it’s very wonderful and inspiring.

THIS IS WHAT PTSD IS LIKE
So this evening I arrived at the train station closest to my home, after spending some wonderful time I can’t tell you about because of my confidentiality agreement 🙂 As I sat on the bench, relaxing for a while, I saw two young men walking towards me on the platform. One of them was bouncing a basketball. The last time I was approached by two young men with a basketball, I was mugged with a gun pressed into my thigh. Looking at these two kids, I was afraid it might happen again and wasn’t fully at ease until they had walked far past me.
Then I was walking and guy was coming out of his house with a dog that barked at me. I stopped and waited until the dog was leashed, and removed my umbrella from my suitcase, in case he charged at me. (I had read that if you’re attacked by dogs, it helps to have something to give them to bite and latch on to, because if it’s not that, it’ll be some part of your body.) I live in a very white, Republican suburb and this guy was white and wearing an American flag tee shirt (I can’t wait until that flag is friendly again). For whatever reason, they’re not always that careful about keeping their dogs calm and away. I’ve had 2 unleashed dogs run up on me in that neighborhood, plus one pitbull that tried to charge at me but was held back by a leash.
Visiting with friends yesterday I kept requesting that doors be locked. They live somewhere they feel they can leave doors open and not lock the screen doors. I grew up partly in Brooklyn, NYC and I also have PTSD so I can’t even relax unless I know that everything is locked as it should be.
Anyway. my anxiety has been higher than usual lately.
I mention these challenges in part because in the olden days I would share these feelings in song, poems, or my museletters sent to my readers and fans by email. In recent years, I’ve shared them with my therapists and peer support counselors, as well as with my friends. Instead of being creative, as I haven’t’ felt I’ve had an outlet, having no easy way to blog safely nor email (I used to use Yahoo Groups, but I can’t do that anymore), I’ve only kvetched or filled my time with comforting activities such as watching Judge Judy and true crime on YouTube.
But I really need to write so I’m going to try.

PHILLY’S 15 ANNUAL BLACK WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL
…is happening online only this year, as we did last year, on Sat – Sun, September 18 – 19, from 1 PM – 7 PM through our longtime venue The Rotunda’s YouTube channel. I’m excited about the lineup so far and I will keep you posted!

HOME SEARCH
The irony of my confidentiality agreement is that if I had the freedom to express myself as I have in the past and as I would love to as a multi-media and recently also erotic artist, I would likely attract the same kind of support and interest as any of my authentic self-expressions have in the past, thus creating opportunties and resources for me to find a more compatible residence. However, being silenced as I have has blocked that channel of possible revenue. I have a roof over my head and for that I’m very grateful.
I have slept on the ice cold marble floors of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station during winter. For some reason I thought newspaper would make it warmer. It didn’t help much. The floor was brutally cold, made more intense by how hard the marble is. Whenever I am having a challenge with my residence, I remember that, and somehow getting through another day becomes easier.
However, I had a breakthrough this week which showed me that it takes a lot of energy for me to be somewhat comfortable here, and I was not meant to use my energy this way. How I learned this was that I was doing blissful artwork (music recording), and then realized this was what I was meant to do a lot more of. I realized that I was neglecting some very important creativity in my life by filling my time instead with feelgood activities which helped to compensate my painful existence. It’s time to not suffer so much. I don’t know how that will happen, but having the realization is a step forward. So often we suffer and don’t realize how bad things are, until they either blow up, or we discover we can have an easier time, and/or both.

COACH YOURSELF!
We all give great advice to other people. Not so easy to take our own advice.
I realized that the biggest barrier to my making significant progress in finding a new home was that I wasn’t making it a priority to work on it. It just appeared to be one huge problem that I saw no way to solve.
Then I imagined helping someone else with this problem, if it were theirs instead of mine. Having led workshops and done angel/spiritual counseling for folks, and even done an advice column once or twice, I knew I could easily solve the issue for someone else. Why not me? Well, unlike the time, dedication, focus and scheduling that counseling someone else would take – I didn’t do it for myself. I would rarely think of solving the problem, and instead become overwhelmed and put the problem out of my mind because it hurt too much and I just felt trapped and powerless to change it.
So, what I did was told my therapist that I would like to work on self-coaching with my housing issue. This way, I could make more progress because I have accountability and focus built-in.
Things I would tell someone else would be: Don’t worry about getting from A-Z. Just do A-B for now. And then, we’ll do B-C, and so forth. I would also have them create a support system around this goal. Working with one person isn’t enough.
I would recommend energy work: doing positive affirmations, creative visualization, etc. And so much more.

Well, I’m not sure how much GoFundMe and Facebook will allow me to print here. I think I’ll also create a support team for my getting back to writing to my readers again, because it’s really essential.

I hope you’re doing well, and I thank you for reading 🙂

In art and community,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse
Multi-Media Healing Artist

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Healing Artist Blog

I’m trying to get back to being an active (albeit healing) artist again. This includes blogging/sharing my progress. So I’ll share that tonight I sang and played guitar along to a couple of my albums on YouTube. I haven’t done that since September. It also made me cry, so… Progress.

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Day 2 of the 14th Black Women’s Arts Festival!

Yesterday’s Black Women’s Arts (virtual) Festival was wonderful and I’m gearing up for soundcheck in a few minutes for the final day until next year! We have some space on the schedule and would love to feature a few more black female artists and performers and speakers, oh my! We have availability between 2:30pm EST and ending before 3:45pm! If interested, (and you have the latest version of Zoom and ideally a laptop rather than a phone or tablet which has poorer sound), please email your bio, pic, and link to BWAFphilly (at) gmail.com. You can watch us today from 1pm-7pm at the YouTube channel “TheRotundaPhilly” or at The Rotunda’s Facebook Have a great day 🙂

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