“Get Dressed,” a Homage to Queer Clubbin, the Early Years

Flyer for Gladys Bentley at Mona’s Club

As I’ve been immersed in the life and unsung legacy of Gladys Bentley for the past 20 months or so, I began thinking about the juxtapositions  the queer club scene has safeguarded over the course of our morphing times. I imagined being on the repressive side of a closed door, while behind it, warm, rebellious bodies gyrated in secret and safety, carving out an openness otherwise threatened by the light of a straight world’s dawn.

I created a video homage consisting of archival photos set to “Get Dressed,” the opening song from my debut solo album, “Twilight for Gladys Bentley,” as an ode to the timeless defiance of queer clubbin. My hope is that it highlights a moment that has definitely perpetuated the way we–particularly queer people–protect, politic, and party, brandishing deviant bodies while stripping naked of repressive norms, orchestrating debauchery, and inviting a tinge of naughtiness to the notion of ‘a good time.’

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NYE Party + T4GB Re-Release + European Tour


Surf Club’s  NYE Bar Party serves many purposes for shirlette [T4GB]!

Final DURM Performance for an Extended Period


shirlette [T4GB] kicks off 2014 like a size twelve to the backside with a NYE Bar Party at Durm’s favorite waterin hole, Surf Club (Rigsbee Ave) on December 31st at 10pm. The evening begins and concludes with DJ sets by my T4GB bandmates, Tommy and Gabe. Sandwiched between is a set of T4GB originals right after the clock strikes midnight. We will also use the evening as a sendoff for T4GB bandmate Gabe Turner who will be spending a few months in Paris, France, which will limit our performances for a spell.
You are cordially invited to come usher in a year of new beginnings with us.


Twilight for Gladys Bentley Re-Released by Springstoff Records


I’m also pleased and grateful to announce that Berlin-based Springstoff Records will issue a digital re-release of Twilight for Gladys Bentley in December 2013 (like, now:). The re-release features a bonus remix of “Eatin Out” produced by The Apple Juice Kid and a guest appearance by my new Springstoff labelmate, sookee! Visit www.springstoff.de to browse the entire roster of Springstoff artists!


 And last but not least…. 2014 European Tour!

In May 2014, shirlette [T4GB] will embark on our first ever tour outside of the US with an international triptych of quing emcess reppin 3 different continents–sookee (Germany), Lexicon (South Africa) and shirlette [T4GB] (US).  Check www.springstoff.de for an official announcement of the Purple Velvet International Female Hip Hop Tour on 1.1.14 as well as a schedule of confirmed performances throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

To say I’m excited is a gross understatement. Learn more about my quing comrades below:


sookee: Berlin’s original Quing Emcee, sook and I have toured the southeast US twice in varying configurations of Pretty Precious Cargo. will be releasing a new album in April 2014. This tour in support of the new release, will begin in sook’s native Berlin, Germany and span dates in Austria and Switzerland as well as other parts of Germany.





Lex La Foy

Lex La Foy:
 Hailing from Durban, South Africa, Lex La Foy is a Poetess and performing Femcee  who’s prefix Lex is derived from her alias ‘Lexikon’ by which she was known from 2005-2012.As a musician, her style is derived from a  fusion of  Electro, Dance (EDM), Pop and BoomBap.

shirlette [T4GB]: As a native of rural Mount Olive, NC, it’s overwhelming to consider how amazing it is to join these dope emcees who represent various global experiences that are kindred to my own. i won’t bore you with my resume. since you’re already on my website. you’re welcome to look around:)

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Two unreleased songs from shirlette [T4GB]‘s Hopscotch Performance


shirlette [T4GB] at Hopscotch Music Festival, Sept 2013 courtesy of www.wral.com

The following video(courtesy of Hopscotch Music Festival, Dan Schram, and Ash Crowe) is from shirlette [T4GB]‘s Hopscotch Music Festival performance at Tir Na Nog on September 6, 2013. The first is, “Joy Division,” the second is called, “Expensive Experience.” Each video is followed by the song’s lyrics and each song is yet-to-be-recorded or released. Hope you enjoy! T4GB personnel is Gabe Turner, Tommy Rau, and shirlette ammons.


 Joy Division

Verse I:
I embrace the art of things
this music is my doppelganger
each lyric is like my pinkie ring
except its on my middle finger
been known to take a bit of change
make lots of sense,  that’s Bentley shit
forgive and then forget about it
submerge it in my converses and walk it out
it’s like don’t be an imbecile
overplaying in local places and
underrating my way with decibels
plus I’m adversarially literary
So I fux with dewey decimal
while you bloated up on hype and notion
regaining a lame and lost composure
I’m over it like  OWN and Oprah
whoa what I mean is
just breathing is as cheesy as Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’
so I wail against the pavement
til its blue beaten and bleeding
with a legion of deviant intentions
misfits horny loud and listless
listening to Joy Division

Verse II:
Your mission is an atrocity exhibition
In a gallery of flesh and canvas
an acrylic of cynics full of divots
Drippin like dalis clocks on acid
I’m in the corner making love to corporate daughters
They want a taste of poverty and magic
Trust funds wilted with guilt
I’m teaching them filth
they callin me mammy and daddy
I’m mistaken honesty for promises
Meaning whatever you want you can have it
Tonguing a descendent of gluttonous men
Again she screams again and again
She’s a pleasure heathen so I ain’t leaving
And I’m a bastard so I ain’t comin either
misfits in love horny lord jesus
It’s that Joy division

Expensive Experience
Verse I:
Too often its cosmetic
you show for the shows
on this whole come get it
few dollas at the do’
and some mo for a beverage
I’m guessin
you mad cuz the ticket price wasnt half price
like if my rhymes were half nice
logic deaded
I don’t serve refreshments
yet my chords are liquid swords
plus warm and quenching
Don’t ride benches
I’m a first stringer
with lyrics fully loaded
I’m coaxing my trigger finger

thank you ladies and gentlemen
your time and attention
your presence is of the essence
this experience expensive
now lay it back now
it aint what you paid
its how you overreact now

every seizure of the speakers
is a payment to the people
every lyric from the spirit
of the record and the needle
before the stage is preparation on paper
fuck the feeble, unrehearsed
this artistry is my carpentry


I can’t say I’ve licked a pair of lips in the back of a limousine
I can’t even say that that’s a likelihood or fantasy
A six figure salary that may never happen for me
Sometimes I feel resigned to keep gambling
I can say I’ve loved in black and white and also stereo
I can say my favorite cassette was In Effect Mode
I can say that I can take
A slap on the hand, but not the face
Retrace my pace name my mistakes
Lately they made of lace and sharp edges
Hot to the touch and fuck I get burned quick
what’s too much for some Is my not enough
And I fiend for this like an addict
so thank you ladies and gentlemen


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shirlette Teaches 4-week Lyric Lab for Teens at The ArtsCenter

Lyric Lab: The Art of The Emcee (Tuesdays, 4-6pm, November 5-24th)

An emcee is known by many names – MC, master of ceremonies, microphone controller, poet, griot, lyricist, rapper ["some people thinking MC is shorthand for misconception" - Talib Kewli]. in this class we will explore the art of emceeing, which includes writing rhymes, freestyling, & study emcees who are considered dope and why.

The class, inspired by UNC’s new Emcee Lab, is taught by shirlette ammons, will feature guest emcees, & will conclude with a recording session at Chapell Hill’s new Beat Making Lab housed at Street Scene Teen Center!

Register by clicking HERE or visiting The ArtsCenter’s box office at 300G E. Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510 


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shirlette [T4GB] Shakori Hills Performance (Video Snippet)

Fall 2013 Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance

Thanks to T4GB’s Gabe Turner for capturing this snippet from shirlette [T4GB]‘s Saturday night performance at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance. This was Gabe and Tommy’s first Shakori experience and it’s my pleasure to extend a huge THANK YOU to the always energetic Shakori audience for popping their Shakori cherry in such memorable fashion. “Like” Shirlette (Twilight for Gladys Bentley) to keep up with future goings-on as we have big things in the plans that we look forward to sharing with you very soon! Thanks again Shakori for being the perfect place to conclude a month of unforgettably dope performances!

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Pretty Precious Cargo Recap: Vol III (Highlights from the Last Leg)

I love writing these Pretty Precious Cargo Tour Recaps because, to a certain degree, they serve as tour diaries.. I am also challenged to make time to pen them, as “real’ life usually resumes immediately after the tour’s end. So, in this final installment, I figured I’d spare you the gorgeous details and accentuate a few of the many highlights of sharing the road with my Pretty Precious Family. Here they are in somewhat chronological order:

Hopscotch Day Party Presented by Cardigan Records

As anybody who’s ever participated in a Toon and The Real Laww Situation knows, the Saturday Day Party was a hype experience peppered with a plethora of good music and an audience of equally good people. Sookee’s set was positioned smack dab in the middle of the day, before which, we sat on the grass for a spell, a moment PPC Photographer, Just captured for posterity:

the grass grows like laughter

Q: Where’s Manager Meredith?
A: In the grass.

We made our way back inside for sook’s set, rejuvenated by the sunshine on what was nothing short of a beautiful day. FYI: sook and Boogie Dan rocked Tir Na Nog (as if…). Here’s proof:

Shiprocked Like What 
Somewhere between Charleston, SC and the endlessly boring terrain known as I-95 (the Berlin faction headed to Florida for a couple sookee solo dates), sook caught the vapors. I’m no Trapper John M.D., but my guess was that she caught some 24-hour bug floating in the air near South of the Border. Anyhow,  I reconnected with the PPC crew in Charlotte after their gigs and beach trip to Florida, which means I was not present when Boogie and sook did this:

breakdancing to breaking waves


I took the Amtrak to Charlotte, which was a highlight. I love the solitude of a train ride and the rhythm at which the terrain paces by. I think I’d  do well to take more short-distanced train trips in the future.

Hotel, Motel (former Day’s Inn)
At the hotel’s front desk was Ms. Peaches. I don’t have a picture of her, but she was sweet like her name. She had a copy of Charlotte’s Creative Loafing Magazine tucked beneath a pile of invoices on top of her printer.

“An Ideal Partnership,” Creative Loafing

Sookee was feeling pretty shitty, so in an effort to nurse her back to health, I copped some raw broccoli and v8 from the grocery store. For some reason, she found both options disgusting and opted for deep rest and coconut water, which, by showtime, seemed to do the trick. We met up with the Durm PPC’ers at Snug Harbor and PPC alum JWaves (aka Jon Gregory) who opened the show with a dope, mic-dropping set.  Waves definitely set the tone for the evening as the crowd thickened with beautiful freaks (my favorites!) eager to get up and get involved.

Sook mustered up the energy to put on a solid set, after which, she received an affirming fist bump from Chaka Wolf Fever, Shiprock’s Mister(ess) of Debauchery, Disco, and Matrimony + smiles and applause from the Shiprocked faithful.

ship gets sookrocked



In The Quing City
The next day, well-rested, with a few hours to spare before heading to Greensboro, we connected with JWaves and mobbed about Charlotte for a spell, eating brunch, thrift store shopping, and coppin fresh edge ups. It’s all here:

to do list: 1) loose expensive headphones 2)punish ears with cheap ones.
3) talk on phone

J(us)t lookin at us lookin at pictures of us


edges don’t just BE fresh by themselves!


check the spreadsheet, mob out (always in that order)

Beat Boom Instrumental Pineapple Edit
Producers name they beats crazy shit sometimes.  Boogie Dan (that DJ with the Midas Touch) suggested sook and I create a new tune while we were together, in real time, no interweb exchanges, write together, record together, boom! So, at some random BP en route to Charleston, Boogie played a couple tracks for us. The one entitled “Beat Boom Instrumental Pineapple Edit,” really lived up to its name–naturally sweet with tons of bottom. Sook and I took to writing. As a consummate A-gamer, I frankly found the following photo a bit intimidating:)


…cause this shit is bangin intersectional/for the ones that we love and the rest of y’all…

Gabe agreed to record the new joint at his home studio on Saturday before we ventured to Wilmington for our final show. Just to timeline all of this: Charleston (Sunday), Florida (Monday, Tuesday), Charlotte (Wednesday, Thursday), Greensboro (Friday), record (Saturday day), go see my momma’nem (Saturday afternoon), Wilmington (Saturday night). Woman. Up.

En route to Gabe’s for our recording session, sook and I tried our verses a couple of ways before settling on some back-to-back mixtape bumrush-the-track-type approach. Here’s a video sneak peak of our latest (and soon-coming!) collab. Props to Boogie Dan for capturing the moment where we found that oft-illusive sweet (pineapple) spot:

Ok. That, up there, was cool. We finished recording and shot an impromptu video (coming soon), then immortalized the moment in traditional b-girl/boy stance.

Dope recording session at Gabe’s Clubhouse of Cavernous Sounds & Wonders

Welcome to The Olive Mountain
It’s difficult to conjure this memory without feeling an orb of extreme emotions.

Before leaving for Mount Olive, my hometown, where we had planned to stop on our way to Wilmington to meet my mom (Ms. Puddin) and a handful of my 13 aunts and uncles, I received a call from my twin (whom you met last post) regarding my aunt who’d recently had surgery to have stones removed from (in or around) her liver. Anyone who has a wealth of aunts knows that each aunt plays a particular role that is reinforced by her personality. There’s:

  • the ‘fun’ aunt (after whom one models their ‘wild streak,’ drinks, plays the numbers, boisterous for any and no reason at all)
  • the confidante aunt (who knows everything you will eventually tell your momma, first)
  • the ‘wise’ aunt (the one one intuitively knows what’s goin on with you–when you’re in trouble, when you’re exceptionally well, when you’re sexually confused, when you start doing ‘gay stuff”—has a bank of parables and bible verses that she delivers to you in the most timely manner)
  • the ‘crazy’ aunt (i mean, ‘crazy’ the way black people mean crazy: she talks mad shit and makes oddball, out-the-blue statements, which somehow reinforce your creativity. she’s the one who says stuff that only makes sense to you simply because you’ve known her your whole life and  she’s always said cray shit so you, by association, speak the language of her cray. she also gives you money).
So, the crazy aunt’s the one who had the stones. I called her earlier in the day to say I was coming through with my friends from Berlin. She was thoroughly excited, but, I could hear in her voice that she wasn’t feeling well. 

So yeah, I got a call from my twin post-recording session saying that they’d taken my aunt back to the hospital because she was complaining of pain in her mid-section. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the doctor had not removed all of the stones from her insides and they needed to perform another surgery–at her expense! I’m recounting this whole scenario for a few reasons I deem important:

1) to demonstrate that life goes on and takes unexpected turns even as you’re on the road having the best time of your life and it snaps you out of a perfectly peaceful place and back into a reality that reminds you that capitalism takes advantage of poor people and, no matter if you’re rolling around in a Chevy Suburban the size of your hometown, you’re still a product of poverty and that reality has a free pass to rear its ugly head whenever it so pleases.

2) people work hard and still live check-to-check (my aunt works at the turkey plant downhome like many of the women her age/skill level) and when they need help from this system, they are often taken advantage of because the information is presented in a way that is overwhelming and the ‘experts’ whom they are to trust don’t have their best interest at heart and do a sloppy job of taking care of them despite the fact that they have sisters in the waiting room, nieces stopping by while on tour, church members in prayer, and co-workers on the packing line who love them and are invested in their health and well-being.

3) this same system doesn’t care if you endure the growing pain in your mid-section as long as you possibly can because you want to see your niece of whom you’re infinitely proud and long to meet her friends from another part of the world and be able to brag about her like you’ve done ever since she was born ‘a-alike/b-alike,’ and showed expert spelling skills, and began drawing, and writing poetry, and having her name in the local paper, then having her name and photo in local papers in other local places and plus, through her, you see how big (and small) this world is and you, in some way, travel it’s roads and airways, and continents through her.

All this to say, we stopped in Mount Olive, but was unable to visit my aunt (and many of my aunts) because they were all at the hospital, waiting on doctors to do the job they didn’t do the first time, irrespective of the residual financial and social effects, both financial–a much, much larger commentary, I know, but I would be remiss not to mention it here.

The Good News: my momma was able to meet us at the house on keith beaver lane along with my stepdad, sister and niece. The Berliners seemed to be overwhelmed by the vastness of the land and the density of the solitude. I explained to sookee that this is where all of my common sense, my love of openness, my ability to be watchful, and my adoration and respect of the sky (and its weather) originates.

Pretty Precious Cargo with Ms. Puddin, down in the country

Anansi showing off her new “Solidärität, Respekt & Konsens” t-shirt, a gift from sookee

Before hitting the road to Wilmington, we paused for a Pretty Precious Family Photo in front of my Gramma Adell’s house, the home that reared me. Missing from the photo (but definitely present in spirit),” my aunts: Aunt Lillie B, Aunt Annette, Aunt Earlene, Aunt Bobbie, Aunt Rudy, Aunt Jesse Mae, Aunt Jean, Aunt Louise (not to mention the wealth of cousins, uncles, cousins-of-cousins…)

Pretty gets Precious down keith beaver lane

I feel this is a good place to cap the recap. So, many people to thank for food, shelter, good energy, great conversation, for active, listening ears and eager, moving bodies. An extra special thank you to the Pretty Precious Cargo Crew themselves: Tommy Rau, Gabe Turner, DJ Boogie Dan, Just, Jon G, NoBigButtL, Sonja, and, sookee. And the ones behind the scenes: Meredith and Anna. Pretty Precious Cargo has happened once again because of all of you. I am ‘unpayably’ grateful.

p.s. stay tuned




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Pretty Precious Cargo Recap Fall 2013: Vol II


Berlin faction of PPC at Cirque de Vol. photo courtesy of Simon Nshuti

Our Hopscotch Music Festival experience began pretty early on Friday with both sook and I performing sets at Bitchfork, a day party held at Cirque de Vol in Raleigh showcasing women-led bands.

sook pleading her case about something extremely important to the twins at Cirque de Vol. photo courtesy of Simon Nshuti

This was also the first time the Berliners met the new NC Pretty Precious comrades. Introducing Gabe (left) and Tommy (right). I took this photo in Asheville the morning after a gig. Gabe and Tommy are in fact, holding tiny cups:

Gabe T and Tommy R

Gabe handles knobs and whistles. Tommy’s in charge of strings and thistles (makes sense once you see us live:)

Cirque de Vol
The space was really vibrant with energy and made more so by the presence of kids and aerial dancers. We arrived and ran into a slue of familiar faces including the homies from Pink Flag. They asked me to sit in with them on a song. Jess and I talked through the percussive details and here’s the the thing that resulted:

I can now effectively remove ‘perform with Pink Flag,’ from my bucket list, although, I hope more intentional collaborations wait on the horizon. As aforementioned, their was some artistic intersectionality going on, the aerial dancers taking turns scaling the cloth, defying gravity in time to indy rock and hip hop beats. It was an awesome sight from any vantage point:

Photographer Extraordinaire, Ash Crowe immortalized the entire event. Get dizzy HERE.
Also, I’d be remiss not to shout out the crew of lil  cats ‘trying out’ hip hop for the first time. Not too much in age or height, this crew of about 5 dudes ages 6-10, were working out hip hop moves they’d never tried before and it was a pleasure to have them rocking with me up front and center.

Pretty Precious Encounter
After the inspiring (and tiring) Cirque event, we, the Pretty Precious Crew, decided to head back to the hotel for a bit of R & R before my official Hopscotch set that evening at Tir Na Nog. En route to the hotel, we noticed this strikingly gorgeous human, maybe the only person to ever make a tie-dye t-shirt look like the unrepentant choice of a hip hop fashionista. Upon a short moment of calculation, we recognized this human to be Mykki Blanco, AfrofuturistQueercorePunkRaspyRapper hailing from Raleigh. I knew Mykki as “Michael,” in days long past when Raleigh was my formative stomping grounds. We pulled up next to Mykki and chatted, me taking a moment to remind him/her of memories I worked hard to conjure and make concrete. I saw Mykki doing the same before a moment of recognition turned the entire exchange into a truly heartwarming, time-lining experience. “You had long locks and you used to work at Fresh Mart,” Mykki recounted. Even I had forgotten that I worked at Fresh Mart. My memory was jarred and I could recall standing at the counter while this awesomely nerdy black kid who won The Indy’s Indie Spirit Award at 15 for the performance collective he founded called Paint In Consciousness Experimental Theatre, aloofed about. We exchanged salutations and made plans to catch Mykki’s set at CAM later that evening.  PPC in-car Photographer, Just captured the exchange:

Catching up with Mykki Blanco

After some down time at the hotel and dinner at The Burrough, we headed over to Tir Na Nog, mobbing through a downtown Raleigh crowd that had certainly thickened over the past hour or so, lots of folks wearing Hopscotch wristsbands, as many not. It was cool to see so many folks trampling around the Cap City, music seeping out of every possible cranny and joining us in the streets.  Twin and I stopped to people watch at a bar on Fayetteville Street neither of us had ever visited. I felt good, my butterflies were stirring, the night was ripe with promise.

Hopscotch Official
The thing about hip hop–the thing that even I as an old skool, black queer, woman rapper succumb to at times–is the posturing, the need to pump oneself up on competitive energy that posits one emcee against another as opposed to pulling on the energy within. Hopscotch is a firebomb for such a thing, so many acts playing at the same time, so much vying for the attention of a finite audience who are deciding between national touring acts and local favorites, the latter desperate to use the experience to expand their own audience. When I have a moment to breathe and stop (as Q-Tip so eloquently asserted in the nineties), I’m able to re-channel this energy and center myself in the notion that all I have to bring is my best self, and then, as my high school basketball coach would instruct before each game, leave it all on the court.

Hence, I carved out a moment to mentally chill and focus on what I wanted to bring: good energy, crisp, savvy, articulate lyrics, a party wide open to all. The crowd that had gathered for Dub Addis (who played before us) was warm and set the tone for the evening complete with a rambunctious 4-year old who refused to detach herself from the dancefloor.

It was so comforting to see the mix of familiar and new faces as we took the stage for our 45 minute set. As folks inched toward the front, Tommy, Gabe and I, launched into our set, which felt oozy-good from beginning to sweaty end. Thanks to www.wral.com for the following photos:

courtesy of www.wral.com


courtesy of www.wral.com

As per always, my favorite part of the Pretty Precious Cargo experience is when sookee and I team up for “Eatin Out.” The Hopscotch version included a bit of call and response. Video courtesy of THE Ash Crowe:

…also a couple snippets from our Hopscotch set courtesy of an old friend, Trevor Holland. First, a mash up of “Microphone Fiend,” and “Lost Ones:”

This is “Gut Lightning,” complete with orgasms and melodica:

I hopped off stage spent, but eager to make it over to CAM for Mykki’s set.  Oh, and shouts to Blurt Magazine for naming shirlette [T4GB]‘s performance a festival highlight:

6) Shirlette Ammons T4GB. Militant-yet-personal hip-hop from this proud ‘n’ loud black lesbian MC—utterly riveting rhymes and tales. Special props to her band, too, and in particular to German rapper Sookee (also lesbian, white) who came up to guest on a couple of songs during Ammons’ Tir Na Nog showcase.”


I’ve attended the past 3 Hopscotch Festivals and have had an amazing time discovering new artists and seeing artists live whom I’ve only heard on record or seen in YouTube videos. To characterize the difference between a 2-D and a 3-D Mykki Blanco experience is like differentiating between Kix with sugar and Kix without sugar (“crunchy lil cornballs, no color, no flavor…”).  After a dope opening set by Psycho Egyptian….

No lightbeam or rafter was safe from Mykki’s Spidergrrl act, slinking about the stage asserting a most theatrical type of ownership. At times, wielding the mic stand like a crucifix across his/her shoulders, Mykki’s eyes appeared fiery, transfixed and possessed, and also free. I searched the interwebs for video of Mykki’s Hopscotch performance to no avail. Here is video from Mykki’s OFF Festival performance earlier this year:

Mykki’s been quoted as saying, “Hip hop is scared of me.” I find so much truth (and so much Bentley Mode) in this statement.

After meeting Mykki’s mom (who was at the show with Mykki’s nieces and nephews), sook, Mykki and I had the opportunity to hang out and politick on the steps of CAM:

sook, mykki, and me

sook, mykki, and me courtesy of just


sook, mykki, pasties, flowers courtesy of just

 It was truly a pleasure to share each Friday Hopscotch experience with the Pretty Precious Cargo crew. Every moment seemed specially designed for us.

Tomorrow’s recap includes sook’s day party performance with Toon and Laww and a road trip to Charleston.





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Pretty Precious Cargo Fall 2013 Recap: Vol I

It happened again. I know because i was there and am happy to recount another Pretty Precious Cargo experience.

Where to Begin When Begin is Just Beginning

Different than last outing, sookee and crew arrived at the airport and picked up a rental vehicle from a nearby agency. I waited eagerly to embrace sookee and meet her new Pretty Precious Crew. This time, she and I were both rolling with new personnel. Travelling with sookee from Berlin were:

DJ Boogie Dan (pictured above): Disc Jockey extraordinaire, gifted with the coveted “Midas Touch.” And… Just (pronounced Youst): Immortalizer Internationale, works in plain sight yet resides patiently behind the gaze.

Because of the Berliners’ late-night arrival in NC and an early-afternoon Hopscotch day party hosting gig for me, we were not able to connect until pre-sound check at The Pinhook on Thursday night where sookee was scheduled to perform with Hank and Cupcakes.

So, on Thursday afternoon,  after having the fortune of hosting Bopscotch, the official Hopscotch Day Party sponsored by The Art of Cool Project I planned to meet up with the Berlin faction of Pretty Precious Cargo. As the anticipation of reconnecting with sookee built and my hosting duties prolonged, I found myself getting mildly day drunk (thanks Jeanne Jolly :) ). That, coupled with the comradery of old friends and the Hot at Night’s killer set, made for a perfect preoccupation:

I left Bopscotch and headed straight to the Pinhook to meet sook and crew for soundcheck. The anticipation of Pretty Precious Cargo Fall 13 and reflections of PPC Spring (only 6 months earlier) raced and rambled through my mind as I cruised up 40 West, observing the prescribed speed limit, blasting Shalamar’s “Second Time Around.” 

I walked into Pinhook and sook was like the 3rd person I saw, an otherwise anti-climatic placement in the roster of soap operatic reunions, but seeing Manager Meredith and meeting Just and DJ Boogie Dan before sookee emerged felt like a divine and well-orchestrated reveal. Twas so wonderful to lay eyes upon her and reconnect with this woman whose work and politic I’ve embraced in kinship since Manager Meredith emailed about this Queer Feminist rapper from Berlin whose work challenged homophobia and misogyny and whose goal is to ‘purplelize hip hop‘ whilst spitting rhymes that ignite fires of contagion.

The Pinhook crowd wasn’t as thick as we would’ve liked (chalk it up to a school night and the beginning of Hopscotch Music Festival), but without question, a definitively good time was had by all.  This was also my first time peepin Hank and Cupcakes and they were like, whoa. High energy and fearless, a perfect match for sookee’s initial PPC Part 2 performance.

Hank and Cupcakes at Pinhook 9.5.13

After Hank and Cupcakes’ über dope set (which included some kick-drum-climbing and a run to the car to replace a broken bass string), sookee took the stage:

As with her March Pinhook performance, the crowd was eager and receptive, tossing all types of good energy toward sookee and the stage. If love and respect were flower petals, sookee’s purple Asics would’ve been covered to the hi-top.  A wonderful night with an audience populated with folks from Germany who knew sookee was in the building and came to dance, celebrate, and support her return to the Pinhook. Pretty precious, huh?

sookee at Pinhook, 9.5.13


Tomorrow’s recap will detail Pretty Precious Cargo’s unpayable Hopscotch Music Festival experience complete with photos, videos, and FKABL FMNST sightings:)



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shirlette + sookee: Pretty Precious Cargo Tour Fall 2013, Sept 4-14

Pretty Precious Cargo Fall 2013, Sept 4-14th!

I’m extremely excited that sookee and her crew including Berlin’s renowned DJ Boogie Dan and graff artist photographer and videographer, Just will join shirlette [T4GB] for an 8-city southeast tour. A listing of all dates follows this visual recap of our Pretty Precious Cargo Spring Tour:


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Pretty Precious Cargo Tour Vol I: Video Diary

photo by Elle Butt

In preparation for Pretty Precious Cargo Tour Fall 2013, compiled here are all the videos from our first outing (aptly named Pretty Precious Cargo Spring 2013). Click HERE to see when sookee and shirlette (T4GB) will be in a city near you! All video shot and edited by PPC OG, J Waves.

 Pretty Precious Cargo Video Diary, Entry I:
sookee teaches shirlette 5 German words (or not)

Pretty Precious Cargo Tour Vol I, Entry II:
working out with bentley mode & sookee:

Pretty Precious Cargo Video Diary, Entry III:
the road to charleston:


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