As we celebrate the 39th federally recognized Black History Month, many are

As we celebrate the 39th federally recognized Black History Month, many are

As we celebrate the 39th federally recognized Black History Month, many are struggling with the reminder that the course of black history is one of perseverance against the oppressive structures on which our society is built. The accumulating murders of young black men like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin as well as black LGBT folks like Lamia Beard, Lamar Edwards, and Penny Proud are a dark reflection of how far we have yet to go in the journey to racial justice.

Black lives matter indeed, and Black Weirdo, a blog and cultural movement created by THEESatisfaction’s Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White, has something to say about that. In 2008 the pair set up a blog (uniquenoir.tumblr.com) to bring together pieces of black culture that “attracted [their] eyes.” Since the blog’s inception, Black Weirdo has grown to encompass tours, clothing, and the Black Weirdo Party, a traveling affair filled with DJ sets, live performances, and dancing.

Otis Calvin III, aka OCnotes, has become a staple at them, DJing several parties in Seattle, Oakland, D.C., and Brooklyn. Originally from Tucson, OCnotes has been making music almost his whole life, with over 20 albums to his name and a new one dropping soon. The artist connected with Stas and Cat over a shared love of creating. “We just all have respect for each other’s art,” he says.

All three are also linked through Black Constellation, a black artist collective that is the brainchild of Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler. Last year, OCnotes and other members of Black Constellation hosted a well-received night at the Frye Art Museum with live music and visual art. It may seem like a cool club, but in reality Black Constellation is a concept as abstract as its art. “It’s more about the authenticity than it is about some sort of crew,” says OCnotes.

The same goes for Black Weirdo. In this day and age, he says, when black culture is (literally) under fire, it’s important to have a place for folks to come together and appreciate blackness outside of the categories and boxes imposed by society. “You can never put any one thing into a certain type of category or box, feel me?”

“There’s a zillion people who just like to get down to good music, that are peaceful, loving, and black.” OCnotes points out. “And it’s always not just black people, it’s always all people,” he says of Black Weirdo Party. “It’s a great love experience.”

For OCnotes, Black Weirdo is about owning your identity and representing your own truth, and he’s grateful to be a part of it all. “I get to stir people’s souls up with my tunes and get people free for a minute,” he says.

“I have daughters, I have younger family members,” he goes on. “It means a lot to me that, when I’m dead, cats will see that I represented something, I stood up for truth.”

ateodoro@seattleweekly.com

BLACK WEIRDO PARTY With THEESatisfaction, DJ OCnotes, DJ Mursi Layne. Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., 518-6000, naamnw.org. $20. 21 and over. 8 p.m. Fri., Feb. 20.


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