the louderARTS Project

Good Sista|Bad Sista: Turiya Autry & Walidah Imarisha

WonderTwin powers, activate! The bi-coastal dynamic duo of Walidah Imarisha and Turiya Autry combine their poetic forces in the form of... Good Sista|Bad Sista!

These two amazing performers use spoken word to educate, entertain, share and enlighten audiences. When issues of race, gender, and class are presented with cynical wit, loving admonishment, righteous anger and most of all hope; it is wholly Good Sista|Bad Sista. Good Sista|Bad Sista have performed extensively around the country, appearing at colleges, poetry slams, national competitions, bars, coffeeshops, bookstores as well as concerts.

Good Sista

While wrapping up her MA in Creative Writing, Turiya Autry has also made time to run the Portland Poetry Slam, teach college level writing courses as well as writing workshops in the Portland Public Schools. Spring 2001 marked her theatrical debut as a lead character in the one act play Something's Got to Give by Sandra de Helen. Author of the chapbook In the Beginning... she has competed at the National Poetry Slam Competitions two years in a row.

Bad Sista

Walidah Imarisha was blown to the east coast, settling in Philadelphia, where she flexes her journalistic skills as editor of AWOL Magazine. She is one of six authors of Another World is Possible, the first anthology about 911. A three time veteran of the National Poetry Slam Competitions, she represented Portland in 1999 and 2000, then went on to hold down the Trenton, NJ team in 2001. She is the author of the chapbooks The Children of Ex-Slaves: The Unfinished Revolution and This Back Called Bridge.

Good Sista|Bad Sista set off on their first national tour July of 2001, The Shonuff Show Tour. After performing at over 20 shows in 30 days, making stops in Philly, NYC, New Jersey, Baltimore, Rhode Island, D.C, Massachusettes, as well as Texas, they decided to bring the show westward for 2002. In February, they launched The Big Pack Tour of the west coast, receiving amazing responses from colleges, coffee shops and after school programs.

Turiya Autry:
Walidah Imarisha:

Supa Soul Sistahs

I always wanted to be a superhero marvel comic book character,
action packed thrill a minute type of girl,
just hug my curves and hold your breath.
But i'd do it with a twist,
cause I didn't want to be no wonder woman or bionic woman
and definitely didn't want to be invisible woman
( Shit, I did that every day!)

No, i wanted to be a black female super hero,
kicking ass and looking damn good.
I wanted to be
from the X-men

Command the elements with a single thought,
shake entire continents with my wrath
and quiet the fiercest monsoons.

I used to wish to be storm
so when some stupid muthafucka
asked me
why I was so angry,
my eyes would widen with the awesome power
of nature,
I would raise my hands above my head,
power pulsating in between my fingertips,
i would make the sky darken and rumble my answer,
and then from the bowels of the clouds,
a lightning bolt would flash
and shoot him in the ass.

Ah yeah, that was a bad ass sistah!

Then the movie came out,
and my idol was...
               Halle Berry?
Oh hell no!
Come on now!
Storm was a goddess, worshipped by entire villages,
but she's going to get her ass whipped by a toad with a sticky tongue?
And Halle Berry does NOT have the thighs to be Storm!
Look at the comics,
sistah has some shonuff black girl thighs,
(thighs for days.}
but of course for the movie they had to put her on some
jazzercise thin and trim routine.

I knew then that no known image of black women,
created by white men
(of course)
could satify my longing to be a superhero.
I would have to figure it out for myself.
I would have to make myself over into...

the supa               souuuuuuuulllllll sistah!

That's right,
the white man will not be saving the universe this time!
Not Willis, not Schwarzenneger, not Skywalker
("But Uncle Owen I wanted to go to Tashi and get some power converters!")
the next superhero is a sister,
and not the generic ratings are going down
and we need something to perk up the show
safeway select of superheroes,
generic brand of freedom fighter.

No, this will be a sister
who can fly above the chains of ignorance
and whip out the tongue lashing of a life time:
"You think you know me?
I call upon the forces of Isis and Harriet Tubman
Sojourner Truth and Neferritti
Assata Shakur and Cleopatra
to reign down the fury of centuries of oppression,
degradation and silence on your head,
be:cause we will not be silent anymore,
and with the voice of a hundred million
sistahs moaning across the bloody pages of history,
you will feel our rage!"

Because I have the power to resurrect the past
train it like a pit bull
and sic it on your ass!

Or maybe my power would be held captive,
trapped like an angry storm cloud whipping out of my head.
My hair would rise up around me like a cobra's hood,
spitting venom and years of pent up frustration
of not good enough, not light enough, not white enough,
and you can touch it if you want to,
but I can't be responsible for the consequences.

I'll be responsible for
conquering corporate dominace with a smackdown
ending racial profiling with a swift crackdown
coming soon to a theater
(and streets) in your town!

Then I can tap into my special super empathy powered third eye...
and I.... sense... racism nearby.
Damn, girl, that ain't a power. That's just simple common sense.
You right! Every black woman, action figure or not,
comes equipped with that option.

This shit won't be televisied
cause the networks can't handle this much angry black woman juice
but it will be in your face!
We don't need syndication to open a can of whup ass
five times a week,
and twice on Sundays.
Take that for slavery,
and that's for segregration,
and that's for integration,
that's for the glass ceiling,
that's for me getting caught up in this corporate matrix
(where I am still Aunt Jemima talking bout 'have a cookie and you'll feel
and this is for my not ever being able to find flesh colored pantyhose
or my hair care products at safeway.

Forget the wonder twins!
We're the thunder twins
Kablam! Knocked that smirk right off the face of patriarchy!
Rewrote history and started my own galaxy
beyond the silver surfer's reach
cause you know he be trying to gentrify that shit
and no, we ain't letting them in to fuck up this new solar system too!
And hell no, the chief of police can't page us with a strobe light
shaped like an afro pick shining on the night's sky.
Charlie won't be on the intercom,
and if he pages us,
tell him we've decided to stop moonlighting
as angels
cause we've come down to earth
and pawned our wings for weaponry.

And you'll be captivated by our graceful motions
as we kick the asses of Judge Sabo, Pete Wilson, George Bush
(first and second),
Giuliani, Charlton Heston
(Chuck, let my people go!),
and every great white hope that ever arose,
we will whoop them like we was Muhammad Ali,
and we sting like a bee with a personal vendetta on ya,
like you said something about its momma

I tossled with an alligator
wrestled with a whale
handcuffed lightning
and threw thunder in jail.

Hold up:
instant replay that shit
so I can watch it again.
Aah yeh!

And don't even think about trying to get some
cause we ain't Clark Kent
and you ain't no Lois Lane
(and definitely not the other way around)
And we will unfurl a fury of afro swipes
Black Belt Jones "Enter the Dragon" style

Cause we are super Sooooouuullll sistahs
and you just found your way onto the bad side of our hair.

© Turiya Autry & Walidah Imarisha

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