Hanifah Walidah Makes a Move

 
 

Walidah has enjoyed acclaim in the United States as well. In 1993, she signed with Imago Recordings/BMG Records and released the critically acclaimed LP A Headnadda's Journey to Adidi-Skizm. The Boom Poetic was part of Lollapalooza in 1994, and Walidah toured with the Brooklyn Funk Essentials throughout the 1990s. In 1998, Walidah co-wrote, produced and performed in the Hip Hop Theater production of Bloom — Ain't I a Woman and was awarded the 1999 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry.

In 2002, she developed and performed in the play Black Folks Guide to Black Folks, which has been performed, among other venues, in New York at the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, in San Francisco at the National Queer Arts Festival, and in Seattle at a sold-out show in the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

In 2006, she wrote, produced and directed the music video for her single “Make a Move,” which aired on Logo, AfterEllen.com's parent company; the complete album, Once Upon It Is, will be released in February 2007. The video was important to her because she wanted to show gay 30-something women of color, a group severely underrepresented in the media and that had never been shown exclusively in a music video before. “I also wanted to show women with some style,” Walidah says, laughing. “There are some amazing women in that video.”

But Walidah isn't stopping at music. She co-wrote the new James Spooner film White Lies Back Sheep, and has a short film currently in production called Hot to the Last Drop, a futuristic comedy that will look at global warming through the eyes of African Americans. In addition, she plans to release U PEOPLE in 2007, a documentary about making the “Make a Move” video that will reveal behind-the-scenes discussions and intimate moments caught on film during the shooting of the video.

Walidah says that her sexual orientation has had a purely positive effect on her career. “Whenever I got onstage, I was Hanifah Walidah before anything else, and I was always able to capture my audience and take them where I needed to take them. And somewhere in between they were realizing I was gay … whether it was the song I would sing or something I would say, I would out myself if they didn't already know. By then there was no complaints; I was always accepted, or if people had issue with me, they never came to my face, because I always garnished respect amongst my peers.”

Laughing, she adds, “Once I was out, that was it, and honestly, my smile has opened more doors than my sexuality has closed.”

Watch the "Make a Move" video here

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