Artist Profile: Juba Kalamka by Leroy Moore
The convergence of knowledge about race, identity, sexuality, class in pop culture, and music history that flows from Juba Kalamka’s mouth is hypnotizing. In a brief conversation, he can weave facts from contemporary culture, Hip Hop culture, Black culture, Black history and personal experience with fluid style. And that is why he is performing in the upcoming Sins Invalid performance (get your tickets here).He is an involved community scholar, activist, artist, mentor and father. Perhaps you are a young, queer Black man testing the waters of the Black community as a gay man and testing the waters for white supremacy in queer culture – if that’s you, even if you haven’t met Juba, he has probably crossed a path close to yours. Juba began his roots in this area in the mid-90’s, building a community in the San Francisco Bay Area that he now calls home. From these roots, he moved from acceptance to celebration and curated the PeaceOUT World HomoHop Festival, co-founded the group Deep Dickollective (D/DC) and helped granddaddy the HomoHop Movement, all work that helped queer folks all across the continent (Black and broader POC communities, and white allies too) to not only feel accepted but to proudly fly their politics through music and culture.In this year’s show, he and I are collaborating on Domino Effects, a piece about black men’s masculinity as impacted by ableism and homophobia. Creating and developing this piece opened up our forgotten family conversations – Juba recalled his mother’s polio and her strategies for she coping with it, the often ignored chronic pain and sports’ related injuries; I was brought back to my father’s idea of the Black community as a monolithic group, his image of toughness and “keeping it all inside” as a Black man.Juba has traveled the world performing and speaking on Hip-Hop, sexuality and his personal experiences and thoughts of the music industry and underground music community. His latest solo recording, Ooogabooga Under Fascism will be released in 2011. Recently, his writings were published in the collection Total Chaos: the Art and Aesthetics of Hip Hop and The Yale Anthology of Rap. Most days, however, Juba is a family man and an HIV testing counselor and client advocate for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Oakland.Sins Invalid has actively sought men of color who want to perform about their sexuality within the framework of intersectional politics, and it has sometimes been a challenge to find men willing to engage with us. We are pleased and proud to collaborate with Juba, a man who is open and unafraid to speak about any aspect of his identity.Think about it – how often do you see two Black men on stage, one queer and the other disabled, embracing each other's stories, struggles and bodies? That time is here, at Sins Invalid’s fifth annual show at Z Space (formerly Theater Artaud), 450 Florida Street in San Francisco, on April 8th – 10th. Tickets are available here!