“Water is spirit and spirit remembers.” — Semaj Brown

Dear Readers,

Today is March 7, 2017. This month women around the world will be celebrating Women’s History. From the water Crisis in beloved Detroit, to our lead poisoned Sisters in Flint, Michigan, and Sisters around the globe who are fighting for water rights— as a Broadside Lotus Press poet-activist-educator
and co-founder of We The People of Detroit, I am honored to write the foreword to Semaj Brown’s poem, The Making of a New Tribe; it is a wonder-filled, transformative gift to us all.

Semaj is a Detroit daughter now residing in Flint, Michigan with her husband, Dr. James Brown. Semaj holds the distinction of being one of Detroit’s Broadside Lotus Press Progeny Poets; her work is appreciated and loved from New York to Oakland. She is not only a brilliant, gifted writer, but also a
highly respected science educator, playwright, author of Feasts and Fables from the Planted Kingdom (2012), and the play, Onion Revolt: A Healthy Comedy (2014), Tongue, Tongued CD, Wave Rock, Art Video by International Artist Jasmine Murrell, and the Poem Play, Womb Tongue. Semaj’s poetic voice is a direct line to the subconscious mind evoking historical images.

After a ten year hiatus from poetry, Sister Griot Semaj Brown’s, The Making of a New Tribe, a literary milestone, inspired by the exhibit, Women of a New Tribe by Mr. Jerry Taliaferro, photographer/artist, emerges as a beautiful, enduring, full circle healing journey. The poem is narrated in the voice of Mother Ocean, and propelled by a little girl seeking answers to questions that illustrate a soul searching ebb and flow of trying to make sense of historical struggles, horrors, and suffering that African American women have endured. This work transcends the pain by acknowledging and celebrating the inner spirit-strength from which African American women originate.

From the Middle Passage or Maafa to the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis that lead poisoned a majority African American community, The Making of a New Tribe not only acknowledges the strength, beauty, brilliance, and resilience of African American women, but reminds and urges current and future griot
tribe members, to “Say her name.” Say out loud the names of women we know in our everyday lives, (including our own) who survive, and stand as living testaments, and role models for women, girls, boys, and men—role models for humanity.

Semaj reminds us we are all walking, talking, breathing bodies of water. Many of us are oceans with deep memories of the continuous global war against women while we assert our efforts to heal ourselves and others. Sister Griot Semaj implores us to, “Call it.” Reach back into yourself and call out your strength! Call it! Call up your womb-sense, intuition, wisdom, and knowledge! Call it! The Making of a New Tribe is LOVE! One of the greatest truths a poet can give. As Semaj affirms:

“Water is spirit and spirit remembers.”

—Aurora Harris