Jessica Care moore’s story reads like an old Hollywood discovery story. You know how it goes. Pretty girl from Kansas sits at the drugstore counter with a root beer float and becomes a star. Except this pretty girl was from Detroit and she went to Harlem. And instead of drinking a root beer float she was spitting verses. Verses so tough that she won five consecutive times on “It’s Showtime at the Apollo.”
She continued to make history by establishing Moore Black Press and publishing Saul William’s The Seventh Octave: Early Writings of Saul Williams before he became a star in Slam. Poetry has taken her all over the country, to Europe and to Africa. But for this internationally renowned poet, raised on Detroit’s northwest side, poetry is only one of her loves. The art world is her oyster and Renaissance Woman, jessica Care moore, regularly creates pearls. She recently sat down for a virtual chat with the Examiner.com.
What inspired you to write?
My drama teacher and class, La Troupe Des Arts, opened me up to the stage and encouraged me to find and read amazing writers like Ntozake Shange. That changed my life. My drama coach, Susan Storey, is a legend. She’s inspired so many of us that came out during that time period.
How does poetry connect you to film and theatre?
When I was working with Nas on Nastradamus, he told me that each line of my poems was like a movie. That always stuck with me and to me the connection is natural. I want to tell stories and I love the page. But I want to move beyond the stage even. I am focusing my stories into film more than ever. I have to keep reinventing my work; my writing has to evolve, so I don’t get bored!!
Why did you choose to do a One Woman Show?
God is not an American is my third solo show and my 4th play. There are No Asylums for the Real Crazy Women and Alphaphobia were the first two. I am soooo inspired and consider Roger Guenveur Smith one of my mentors. His amazing piece, Huey P. Newton Story, blew me away. It shows what an actor can really do, to be able to capture an audience with words, and minimal stage props, etc. I also studied John Leguizamo’s Freak!! Amazing show… God is not an American is multi media. I couldn’t just tell it with poems. I had to have songs and my vocalist, Steffanie Christi’an, is sick. She makes me cry on stage.
What are your upcoming film and theatre projects?
I’m adapting my play, The Revolution in the Ladies Room, into a film with my film associate, Herman Jenkins. I’m co-starring in an indie feature being shot in Detroit this month called A Solemn Trance and I’m the lead in a short film being shot in LA in September by West Coast poet/filmmaker CBONE jones about the Virginia Tech Shootings. God is not an American will be available on DVD soon!!!!
Why did you return to Detroit?
My son, King Thomas, is my joy and the devil was working on stealing my joy in Atlanta. I had to do what I had to do. Coming home has been a blessing. Don’t know if I’ll stay forever, but it’s perfect for now. But, oh, these winters… Won’t be around for that!!!
How does the Detroit arts and culture scene compare to other scenes across the country?
Detroit is special. We are blue collar poets. We are working class people which makes for working class writers and artists. It’s been hard for me because there aren’t many or enough full-time artists here. We need to create money, grants and opportunities for artists to continue to make viable art here, so artists like myself and others can feel supported and believe they can make a life in our city.
What is your favorite thing about Detroit?
The way the men walk.
When is your show coming to Detroit?
My show is coming to Detroit as soon as a producer steps up and produces my show here. It’s so bittersweet for me. My show is being produced by Apollo and then by city parks in Brooklyn and Harlem. And my show is all about Detroit. I’d love to do it here. So, somebody holla at me!!!
Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
I’m going to be doing a REAL release of God is not an American in September and you can get the book online when it’s available: www.mooreblackpress.com. Party to be announced!! Please support Moore Black Press and authors!! I’m going to be having a fall sale of books in general. I need to keep the press going and I can’t do it without support!!! The Jess Care Moore Foundation is about to jump off and I’m already working on my first community project in Detroit.
jessica Care moore will be performing at the 27th Annual African World Festival and International Caribbean Festival & Parade on Saturday, August 15 at 9:30 p.m. This free show will be held on Detroit’s Hart Plaza at the Underground Cafe. For more information about the African World Festival visit the website at http://www.awfdetroit.com/