african diaspora awards

Recap: Performing at the African Diaspora Awards by Shanelle Gabriel

This past Saturday, I was blessed to be the opening performer for the 6th Annual African Diaspora Awards at the Florence Gould Hall on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Hosted by comedian and Instagram sensation, Dulo (@iamdulo), the show recognized some powerhouses who've made great contributions to the African community and the world around us. 

I was asked to write a poem for the event which is below. It was great to see the other performers grace the stage including Ayo (who was EXCELLENT and a privilege to meet), Afrobeat artist Owen, soulful singer Mayoa as well as the internationally known Sarcodie.  

I opted to wear a dress that formerly was my mother's. It felt appropriate thinking about legacy and ancestors within the Diaspora who've bestowed their spirit to us in their passing. Check out the photos below! 

Pre-show posing with Dulo, our host

Pre-show posing with Dulo, our host

A blessing meeting Ayo.  

A blessing meeting Ayo.  

The Kingsmen Band backed me up for my performance. They were so dope (and quite dapper!) 

The Kingsmen Band backed me up for my performance. They were so dope (and quite dapper!) 

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"If you wan chop frog, make you chop better frog, make you chop better frog, make you chop better frog"

I found this saying odd/ until I learned the importance of/ always doing things big/ huge/ tremendous/ If you gonna do it/ then you better do it/ in some cases less isn't considered more/ especially when it comes to hands, to hearts/ to black skin/ that melanin that holds fast to the legacy within/ call every tribe kin/ whether naija or Brooklyn/ whether from the soul of the Congo or the streets of Chicago/ we're not as different as we seem/ the same history/ the same painter but varied color schemes/ your heart pumps fire from heaven just like mine/ and it's a waste of time trying to keep us divided by bloodlines/ we're in the same family connected by ties that are divine/ whether African or African-American/ Caribbean/ or if you   Reside in another nation/ you're still the Diaspora's foundation/ and if we come together/ imagine the trails we'll blaze/

So let's be butterflies y'all/ but with caterpillar ways/ flap our wings always shine but never forget the ground from which we came/ take the hard world around us and turn it into silk/ no reason bridges crossed and broken can't be rebuilt/ whether it's by plane or via ship/ whether dropped off at islands during the trip/ whether hands were bloodied with liquid, solid gold or sugar cane strips/ whether cotton or coffee/ we lived to see this/ we breathed to be this/ We fought to be this/ unified by clenched fists/ unified by clenched fists/ unified by clenched fists/ Let them know we were born to be this/ we were born fly like this/ yes we woke up like this/ yes we woke up like this/ we rock our crowns like this/ and we're united like this/ we dragging a painful past/ together reclaiming our worth/ Baanu so a emmia/ When two carry, it does not hurt/ So here's to he Diaspora united/ Sprinkling our blessings on this earth

UPDATES!!!!! (Shows and more) by Shanelle Gabriel

Hello family, 

You know 2016 is over once (the holiday formally known as) Thanksgiving hits. I can't help but be thankful for the blessings in my life: watching my niece get a perfect score on her spelling test for the 6th time, graduating my first cohort of students at the life skills and job training program I work for, finishing a song with the great folk at JahRock'n Productions, the upcoming events I'll be performing at, and reflecting on the past. Man, I'm blessed, and I know 2017 will be even more amazing. NYC, check out these events, one of which will be streamed live on Facebook for my non-New Yorkers. Also, check out some videos you may have missed. 

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Upcoming Show:
The 2016 African Diaspora Awards Saturday, 12/3 @ 6pm

Florence Gould Hall (55 East 59th Street New York, NY 10022)

This Saturday, I'll be performing at the 6h Annual African Diaspora Awards, a special initiative that aims to celebrate exemplary individuals who have made a significant difference in the African community in the United States. This black tie event will be hosted by African comedian/Instagram sensation Dulo (@IamDulo) and will be honoring some amazing movers and shakers in the community. Oh, and with the promo code "ADA2016" you can get 30% off your ticket! 

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/6th-annual-african-diaspora-awards-tickets-28716778658

 

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Upcoming Performance: WWOC Coat Drive & End of the Year Reading (Thursday, 12/8 @ 7pm)

#DECOLONIZETHISPLACE Gallery (55 Walker Street, New York, NY) & LIVE Facebook Stream

Performing a poem of my own and one from my favorite woman writer of Color on Thursday, Dec 8th @ 7pm at the #DECOLONIZETHISPLACE gallery in downtown Manhattan. Hosted by The Women Writers of Color Group & Reading Room. This event will also be available via Facebook live. It is free and for the people. We ask that you bring coats and/or offer a donation to the shelters we'll be supporting. Hosted by Mahogany L. Browne, and also featuring Lynn Procope, Crystal Valentine, Venessa Marcos and more. 
 


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Throwback: "Damn Near" Official Music Video

In case you missed it, this was one of my FAVORITE songs off of my second album, AIM HIGH. The video for "Damn Near" was done by Broadie from Wasted Imagination Productions and has some DOPE visual effects at the end. Shoutout to model Krystal Garner and stylist Q Diva (on the keys) for making cameos, as well as Therapy Wine Bar for hosting us. Check out the video here and lyrics below: https://youtu.be/alYhiKy_TrQ 

DAMN NEAR

You've been the spring in my step
7 months of intimate breaths
You say I'm the one but not yet
(You might be my next regret)

Priority to me
Yet you can't say the same for me
Sayin what will be will be
(Like we don't shape our own destinies)

I'm damn near your everything
As if damn near is comforting
Got my heart on string
On your words dangling

Bridge:
Given you the world
I don't understand
Why I'm not your girl
You're not my man
But I'm damn near it
Ain't that some...

Hook: 
Damn near (4x)
Ain't enough

Poem: Tired of orbiting around your world but never landing/ Made you my galaxy/ 

Thought our love would come crashing together/ 

but you got me drifting/ You know what...

My patience is running thin
You say wait but I don't think I can
Asking me to give you all of me
(Like getting half of you should make me happy)

You say what did I expect
Well we didn't damn near have sex
My heart you didn't damn near protect
You're just another regret

And I'm supposed to act like it's all fine
When damn near's just a freaking waste of my time
Damn near doesn't even make you mine
This is it, it's the last time I settle for…

Hook

Ooh, I want it all baby (repeat 8x)

Collecting broken women to make yourself whole
This type of game I pray gets old
This kinda lovin' you can't afford
It's high risk but high reward

Hook

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Thank you for being a friend. Keep in touch on social media! 
Take care,
Shanelle Gabriel
HBO Def Poet/ Singer/ Activist & Lupus Advocate

www.shanellegabriel.com
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