Savannah GA Events: Queenshit to Island Breeze
What started in Atlanta two years ago to showcase black women in music, art, poetry, business and more is coming to Savannah this weekend — with a local twist.
Friday Night marks the first collaboration of creative women between the great A-Town and the Hostess City. Rappers, blues and gospel singers, poets, salespeople and a range of entrepreneurs from both places come together for “Queenshit,” a celebration of all-female black talent and innovation.
The genesis of the event has a seemingly unlikely champion, Joseph Jarrett — a former history major at Savannah State who for 10 years has been promoting rap and hip-hop showcases in Atlanta. He noticed a glaring trend among many shows.
There were few women, if any.
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Jarrett, who is also a poet, rapper and music producer, knew female artists and included them in his shows. But he knew there was more, at least enough for an all-female showcase. He called on his network to achieve this.
“I found there were enough artists that we could easily do two shows with the interest I generated,” Jarrett said. “The idea grew to include businesses owned by black women and other creatives. We now do this showcase in Atlanta once a month, and it’s become such a hit that I have artists and vendors waiting to be a part of it each time.
In Atlanta, the showcase is more like a one-day festival that includes a fashion show with independent designers and local models. There’s also slam poetry, live paintings, music of course, and even financial planning sessions led by entrepreneurs and businesswomen.
The monthly showcases have become so popular that many of the women involved have wanted to take it on the road as a collaborative experience with other communities.
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This is where Kietta Atiba and Shawn Marsh, born and raised in Savannah, come into the picture. Atiba is a private, personal chef who partakes in a few independent ventures, while Marsh runs a successful line of bath and body care products she formulated. And both women are on the organizing committee for Savannah’s new annual June 19 celebration.
“I know Joseph and we have been friends for over 20 years,” beamed Atiba. “I was excited when he reached out to work on it. It feels like we’re both at times in our lives where we’re succeeding, and we can lift others up by coming together. Working with Joseph is like teaming up with Russell Simmons to produce shows, you know what I mean?
Marsh, who is new to event planning, got to work. With Atiba, the organizing duo have big goals in mind to grow the Savannah brand.
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“In Atlanta they have the event every month, but in Savannah we should focus on it,” Marsh said. “I’m working on advertising, and it looks like we could host in Savannah quarterly and then do a showcase every other month.”
For Savannah’s inaugural show, vendors from both cities will be available inside Island Breeze’s back patio beginning at 9 p.m., with performances beginning an hour later. Atiba will co-host with Savannah-local MC, VP da Scholar, showcasing in both directions an array of artists from each city. A DJ spins the night after the final performance. Over time, collaborators hope to add a fashion show and financial planning workshops like Atlanta’s popular mini-festival.
Olivia Foxworth, (aka L1bbyLoveee), is one of the artists representing Savannah. She has been perfecting herself since last fall and her release of “Loveee Me”. Now, she is almost done with a new project, “L1bbyLoveee U,” which is slated for release in mid-August.
“What an honor to be included in this first show,” Foxworth said. “My last live performance was in April at Statesboro, and I have a few new tricks up my sleeve. I’m excited to share these new songs and orchestrate the energy of the venue to bring people into my world.
Spoken word artist, Jayla Lawton (aka Jay Bird), and young hip-hop star, Itz*Nobi, who surprised audiences in Daffin Park at this year’s June 19 celebration, also represent the host city.
“Going forward, we would like to partner with SCAD, as there are schools in Savannah and Atlanta, and feature some of their students for the fashion show,” Atiba said. “We envision this as the start of a fruitful cross-pollination of art, artists and ideas that is building successful careers in both cities. This is about connection and flow for women in Atlanta and Savannah, and I want to bring strong people to the table and nurture them, so they can bring others to the table for a greater exchange.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
What: Queenshit Savannah
Where: Island Breeze, 2818 Montgomery Street, Savanah, 31405
When: Friday, July 22, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.