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Fulton Art Fair


Youth Coordinator  Tabitha Theogene email:

Artist statement


"Why do you listen to rock & roll?"


"You're strange for listening to these kind of music."


"What's so great about these kinds of music?"


Being a black kid trying to learn about herself and who enjoys blues, jazz, and rock & roll was not easy. Singing along with your siblings to Deedee Bridgewater's "Tokyo Blues" on repeat, laughing and spending time with your brother while he tries to play some of his favorite metal rock bands on his guitar or crying after Billie Holiday opened your eyes to the pain of our ancsetors, are some of the things many in my generation wish to try not to understand. I wasn't normal when it came to accepting certain things in my world. Even within my family, my father didn't approve of some of the genres I listened to, especially punk rock. Later on, I learned he was an advit listener of Jimi Hendrix. 


But, what was the hardest thing for me was having to defend my right to listen to what I want. Often times, I used pieces of history to defend my actions. Jazz and blues were easy, they raised me along side rock & roll and Motown. And having a mother who listened to French music, alternative rock, Motown and pop, French jazz and blues became. I fell for Josephine Baker and other performers like her, when I delved deeper into the history of Surrealism and everything surrounding it. But when it came to rock, it usually came at a blank. Many would attack for not being a typical black girl. It didn't matter where it came from, I was punished for not being what everyone wanted me to be. But pretty soon, I studied the history of rock and learned a lot. Pretty soon, I started hearing names like Chuck Barry and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Next thing you know, I feel lighter than a feather. 


It became fun again to be a lover of rock, blues, and jazz. Hearing the raw sounds, with little filter, the chilling feeling running down your spine from the power of emotion resonating out of the vocals and lyrics, felt amazing. But sometimes, I wish more in generation and the next, would learn more about these artists. If they were to just embrace the tiniest amount of curiousity for these artists, they would be surprised to the amount of inspiration. Many look up to many artists for inspiration and someone to relate to. 


I thought that maybe, if changed their image a bit to a more modern flair, a light may click. Many would look at this pieces and wonder, who are these people? They look mesmerizing and important. I have to learn about them. 


Once they learn the history and hear their music, maybe they would enjoy them as much as I do. It would be nice to hear the sounds of our ancestors in the singing voices of today. 

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