"I am a woman, and I am beautiful, and I am black," says Panther, a spoken-word artist. "We are all sisters, and we are all beautiful, and everyone else needs to know that now."
Panther joins forces with poets Bianca Mikahn and Lady Speech in Black Woman Love, a hip-hop burlesque love story that debuts Saturday, July 5, and Sunday, July 6, at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre.
The trio says the evening will be a verbal assault on stereotypes of women of color. Though the artists have blazed stages across the metro area individually (all three poets had successful runs at last month's Ladyfest Out West), this is the first performance they have banded together for. "I love working with these girls, because they are soldiers," says Mikahn.
"We share the reality of black women and own every aspect of our sexual being," says Lady Speech. "When black women are portrayed on television, we don't see our image."
Black Woman Lovemay be targeted toward African-Americans, but the poets stress that people of any creed or color are welcome. "Love is love, and women are women," says Mikahn. "Women in general are pitted against each other, and we have to counteract that."
"Poetry is therapeutic," states Panther. "White women, Asian women -- all women -- can come and see how black women love and realize we are all just alike."
As for the source material, the creators agree that it is highly personal.
"This is what I've gone through as a woman, and it's not cute, but it is who I am," says Lady Speech. "I am a goddess worthy of respect and love. This is a declaration of myself and my existence."
Adds Mikahn, "Black Woman Love covers all the aspects of love and how we respond to it."
As for the impact, one of the group has a quick take.
"I'm trying to change the world," says Mikahn. "Maybe I'll be able to change it tomorrow -- after lunch."