5th annual Word*Rock*&Sword Festival returns to NYC
Now on its fifth year, the annual Word*Rock*&Sword (WRS) Festival—led by singer, composer, producer, and activist Toshi Reagon—is back in New York City to champion justice as well as civil and women’s rights. Set for September 13-20, the Festival will include concerts, talkbacks, wellness activities, and film screenings.
The reason behind Word*Rock*&Sword
“While it’s been five years since WRS began, we still struggle with a political climate that tolerates and actively encourages systemic gender and race discrimination. I wanted to create a space where we can come together as a community and use our words, songs, and art to address our concerns on racism, violence, economic disparity, civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQI rights,” Reagon said of the WRS Festival.
“These eight days are a time to share our voices, our gifts, and focus our intentions for the greater good. And ultimately, result in these voices taking their rightful place in the mainstream,” Reagon added.
A concert at the Word*Rock*&Sword
The main event of the WRS Festival will be a capstone concert on September 19 at Le Poisson Rouge, with over 20 musicians and artists set to appear. Aside from Reagon, other artists who will attend are: Arooj Aftab, SassyBlack, Imani Uzuri, Joan as a Police Woman, Be Steadwell, Nona Hendryx, and Las Krudas Tamar-kali.
Dopeshoes will be the DJ of the event, while comedian Karen Williams will be emcee.
Other events at the Word*Rock*&Sword
Aside from the concert, there will be a performance and conversation at the Ford Foundation Auditorium on September 15. Presented by WRS, Ford Foundation, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, this event is called “Beyond the Hashtag: Using Art and Technology to Combat the Criminalization of our Communities.”
There will also be a live performance during the performance by acclaimed Cuban hip-hop group Las KrudasCubensi, will feature Ashley Yates (Black Lives Matter), Chris Bilal (Streetwise and Safe) and J. Bob Alotta (Astraea’s Executive Director).
Likewise, there will be a reading, discussion, and book signing at Book Court hosted by Jacqueline Woodson. Guests include Rita Williams-Garcia, Gayle Forman, Renée Watson, and Danette Vigilante on September 16.
On September 18, there will be a screening of “Treasure,” a documentary about 19-year-old Shelley “Treasure” Hilliard, a transgender woman of colour from Detroit whose brutal murder was not tried as a hate crime.
Lastly, there will be the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration on September 18, and health and wellness seminars throughout the week.
So if you’re looking for great music and events in Manhattan while exploring and celebrating women’s lives this week, why not come on down to Word*Rock*&Sword? For more information, check out the Word*Rock*&Sword website. (PR)