Expression (noun.): The process of making known one’s thoughts and feelings.
We all express ourselves in various ways. Some express themselves with the clothes they wear; others like myself, may express themselves by constantly changing their hairstyle. There is so much beauty in expressing one’s self. Unfiltered expression is a genuine representation of who you are. Unfortunately for many, there can be opposition and stigma when truly expressing oneself. Bigotry in the form of racism, sexism, trans- and homomisia stops many from being able to freely live and enjoy carefree expression. Many people find solace in the art community, but even the community can uphold the bigotry and oppressive norms as the rest of society. How can we change that? How can we make Jacksonville’s art community safe for everyone and all forms of expression? I interviewed a local artist and DJ Geexella and asked her the same question.
For those who may not know Geexella, she is a local singer, rapper, DJ, and activist. Being a queer woman of color, she understands the various ways many are oppressed and stigmatized. She is one of my favorite artist in Jacksonville due to her political nature and personality. Before she headed out to SXSW, she agreed to do an interview with me. We talked about her music, her politics and how we can make Jacksonville’s art community safer for all.
You are go to SXSW, are you excited and what are you planning to do there?
“OMG! I'm super excited to go! I’m doing 4 shows out there. 2 Dj gigs and 2 singing/rap shows. I'm also gonna check out some of my other homies that do shows out there as well! I'm really stoked to see all the live music.”
You recently started DJing, how has that experience been?
“It has been so great! I've been getting a lot of support from some of my favorite DJs in town! That has been such a shock and also really freakin' cool. I love to make people dance and also listen to my favorite songs REALLY LOUD! I also love to dance too so it's really fun!”
Any news on new music coming our way?
“YES!!! slowly but surely lol It's been tough with my schedule and also being sad a lot. Willie Evans Jr. and I are working on allll the things. I'm super excited to work on new stuff.”
You work with many artistic woman of Jacksonville. Who would you say are some of the best artists you have met/worked with?
“I don't think I have any favorites lol I just love to support WOC in my city. We have so many that do so many great things I'm so proud of everyone and I get super excited when I discover new folks doing great things.”
One thing I love about you is your voice politically, and about human rights. What do you attribute to this quality?
“I just love to use my platform to speak on issues. I don't feel like it is every artist duty to do so UNLESS you are using black culture in your benefit and not speaking on the state of black lives. I feel like people of color go through so much and have to uphold so much that it is NOT our duty. I do however feel it is mine. I love to speak out and let people know what's up because I love to educate folks.”
What is your experience being a queer WOC artist in Jax? What is one way Jax can be more inclusive to all artist and people?
“It has def been a journey. I feel like people are def more inclusive of me because I am femme presenting and most folks don't even think I'm gay so that's kind of weird and something I'm working through. I think if we just advertise more SAFE SPACES for example: No homophobia , No Transphobia and are more open to folks that don't "look" a certain way then I feel we can be more progressive.”
If you would like to hear Geexella DJ, visit Incahoots on Wednesdays and Friday. Also she will be performing on April 7 at 9501 Arlington Expressway : The African Scream. You can also click the links below for her music.