When I perform... Rasheena

My name is Rasheena. Rasheena is a play on the Muslim name Rasheeda meaning conscious, wise or mature. As a school teacher, I teach dance and provide the costumes for our yearly plays and holiday shows. Personally, I step and stroll with my divine 9 Greek letter organization Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, incorporated. I am also a fashion model. I started modeling at age 3 in Italy. I danced since I was in elementary school. Also stepping since elementary school.

I represent Your Queens. A costume company which evaluates, educates and expresses African lineage through storytelling song and dance. Dancing and performing is something I have participated in since I was young.

"When I perform, The feeling is surreal. Each time I perform, I completely transform and become my character. I no longer represent Rasheena, I am Queen Amina." ~ Rasheena

I feel honored to be able to share this magnificent story of our ancient Queen. I also feel proud of myself for taking that leap to share something that is not always received well.

I am not sure of my maternal side. My paternal side is Bajan, from Barbados. From my culture, I have gained a sense of black pride. I know I must work twice as hard just to be seen as "average". But I do not take it as a hardship rather an extra "ummph". I love our struggle, it makes us unbreakable. Some may crumble at the slightest idea of hardship. While we see hardship as a minor hiccup. I have also gained an appreciation for music. Through my culture, music heals many. We communicate with song and dance. Body language is important. Stories are told without any words.

BajanBarbadosstorytellingTeacher

 

 

 

When I perform… Ekiuwa


My name is Ekiuwa, My nickname is Eki, short for Ekiuwa. Eki means Joy or Market Place. Ekiuwa is from Nigeria- It means anything I touched is blessed. The forms of Performing arts I practice is dance, I teach, choreograph and perform jazz, modern, hip-hop, ballet, African and Liturgical dance. I am also a Jewelry designer and creative director of a costume entertainment company. I have been doing my art for over 20 years. I represent Eki's Famous LLC and Your Queens.

"When I perform I feel strong, powerful and know that I am providing healing, love and truth." ~ Ekiuwa / Your Queens

I am Nigerian, Dominican and West Indian. My parents are very cultural. I spent my childhood in Nigeria and had visited the Dominican Republic a few times and the Virgin Islands. I feel that I have gained a sense of love, understanding, determination from my rich heritage and family culture.

When I perform… Muslimah

I have always had a love for dance but was restricted from dancing until I was an adult. However, I am also an artist in other genres: I sing, write short stories and poetry, I also paint using watercolors but mostly charcoal. I have had only a couple of photography events. I also played the clarinet and most recently the guitar and of course drums (mostly dundun). I did theater years ago and even participated in an Indepent Film. ( I had enough hours to qualify for SAG) but I do not pursue acting.

I have done West African Dance for 22 years. I started briefly in Tucson but when I relocated to Phoenix I found the class after attending Sister Circles in the Valley and was later asked to audition.

I am a Contracted Artist of Kawambe Omowale for 18 years now and have been a Contracted Artist and Board member with the Cultural Arts Commission for approximately 8 years.

My personal relation with dance is emotional and Spiritual. I am grateful that I am even able to dance and the performing is secondary. This is helpful since having an authentic energy and maintaining integrity and respect for the dance and meaning are very important to me.

thwacpep - muslimah

 

“When I perform… I often feel it is a way of praise and an opportunity to connect others as well as honoring my ancestors.” ~ Muslimah

As an African-American who has yet to travel to the Continent all we have been able to do is research. We found out that I do have a Great, Great Grandfather that was from Nigeria. And when I first meet any new African Sisters and Brothers they tell me that is in my face. Of course there is supposedly Native blood, Blackfoot but that is not confirmed.

I gained an affirmation I guess, some validity for what my passion has been. It is obvious that I am of African descent but certain characteristics or interests that I have always felt a drive for was supported by my family and the research in where we as a People come from. I believe our DNA is the foundation for science and art but also in its respect for nature and community. I am not limited to names others try to give me such as Hippie, Socialist, Humanitarian, etc. I am a Daughter of Africa and that transfers into my artistry since I am representing myself and the ones before me; attempting to be my best self.