TREND ALERT: Portland’s collection of hip-hop and (sometimes) soul-focused monthlies is having a domino effect! First there was the Thesis at Kelly’s Olympian, now there’s Mic Check at White Eagle, the semi-monthly YGB, and I just heard the Fixin’ To in St. Johns has added its Northward rap and hip-hop showcase on every third Saturday. But Andrew Stout and Jonny Sanders (AKA Jonny Cool of TYuS’ Rose Tribe) are bringing a weekly installment to the scene’s table: the Love Movement, a party/show that aims to serve as a “home away from home for the woke.” And it’s no coincidence that it’s kicking off on January 20. In fact, the Love Movement will provide a fun-loving safe space as a clapback to the evils being sworn into power on Inauguration Day. It’s not so we can fiddle while Rome burns (er, twerk while Amerikkka self-implodes?), it’s because this resistance is taxing, and it needs joy to be successful.
In a press release, Stout explained the “series was conceived as a way to strengthen our friends and each other as we enter a time in which many forces will try to weaken and ultimately break us.”
Fittingly, the love-centric event is being held at Valentine’s, and the $2-5 sliding cost of admission is meant to accommodate those with lower incomes. Showgoers can decide what they can afford to give the artists that week. “We know Donald and his droogs seek to accomplish this first by riddling us with anger and fear. Which is why it’s important we continue to dance together, vibe together, and most importantly, just BE together and have a good time,” Stout writes.
The first lineup is promising as fuck, headlined by performing artist and multi-instrumentalist Amenta Abioto. The Memphis-based singer hasn’t performed in Portland since her striking performance at last September’s TBA fest (check out Robert Ham’s review of her set, “TBA Review: Amenta Abioto Nearly Achieves Transcendence,” Sept 16, 2016), but Portland crowds likely remember Abioto for her use of a Loop Station to make experimental and gospel soulscapes. Both her music and her monologues embody the kind of emotional intelligence and political savvy that the Love Movement wants to emulate in its vibe.
This Friday’s event also features excellent new age hip-hop duo Neka & Kahlo, PDX hip-hop veteran Mic Crenshaw, up-and-coming rapper Rasheed Jamal, and NYC’s Solomon Starr. So if you’re feeling afraid, angry, or alone this Friday, here’s one more place where you can come to support and be supported by a relatively diverse group of likeminded individuals.