The Universe is Lit, a Black and Brown Punk Festival Kicks Off This Week – California News

The Universe is Lit, a Black and Brown Punk Festival Kicks Off This Week – California News

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  • Photo by Danny Tran
  • The core organizers of The Universe is Lit, from left to right: Shawna Shawnté, Jade Ariana Fair and Titania Kumeh.

Grace Jones is lithe leather. A lodestar for all the self-proclaimed freaks living on the periphery, she has subverted gender and stood firmly in her Blackness for decades. In a 1979 issue of Ebony, Jones was described as “a question mark followed by an exclamation point.” And aptly so: She brought the “other” to the forefront and hoisted it, elevating otherness from mere qualifier to a way of life.

It’s no wonder Jones is a wellspring of wisdom for the organizers of The Universe is Lit: A Bay Area Black and Brown Punk Fest. The festival’s core organizers are Shawna Shawnté, a DJ, party organizer, multi-instrumentalist, and member of the gospel, no-wave band Ugly, Titania Kumeh, a self-described mercurial journalist, and performance artist, and Jade Ariana Fair, visual artist and performer in noise duo Earthbound. In the words of Jones, the three aim to “let them know we’re here!” Them being other…

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