Moore and More
From poetry to rocking to motherhood, jessica Care moore is a creative force
Published: January 9, 2013
As well as expanding her résumé to include rock and jazz music, moore has made a move into the art world, as in actually painting and drawing. "I can't draw anything, I can't draw a Mickey Mouse," she says. "But I was asked to make something. I got a canvas and painted my first ocean. It was really corny. That gave me the idea to do this other thing. Now I have a painting studio in my basement, and I've sold a few thousand dollars' worth of art. People buy my paintings and photographs, although some of that I know is that I was already established in another genre. If another painter saw my work I'm sure he'd say that I have some work to do. People are interested in what I'm thinking about, I guess. I have an exhibition right now. So I've become an artist in that way, but all my art has purpose. I have visual artist friends and they're brilliant, they're genius at what they do. So I come very humbly into that world. I'm trying to learn. It's good to be a student at 41. It's all things I'm trying to say. It keeps me on my toes as an artist. It allows me not to get stuck in genre boxes. I do rock 'n' roll, so now I can do a large concert as opposed to a poetry spot. I can do multimedia festivals. I'm trying to show people what is possible."
Moore is an extremely positive, easy-to-like woman, but don't make the mistake of referring to her as a "spoken word artist." "I fought religiously against the 'spoken word artist' tag," moore says. "I can't stand being called a spoken word artist. It's not in any of my bios. Nothing that comes from my press or my PR. I stopped using it because 90 percent of the time, if I tell people that I'm a poet, the next thing they'll say to me is, 'So you're a spoken word artist,' and I'd say, 'No, I'm a poet, like T.S. Elliot and Emily Simpson.' It became really irritating to be dumbed down, because that's what it is. I'm like, 'Can I just be a poet please?' Do I have to be someone who snaps fingers in coffee houses and all that corny shit? Even if I do that, does that still mean that I'm not a poet? Poets do that too. It's not what I know. "Spoken word" became this thing when I'd go to college campuses. Hip-hop poet is another one. What do you call me that for? I like Led Zeppelin. Because I listen to Public Enemy and Tribe Called Quest? I'm a hip-hop generation poet, sure. It makes zero sense to call me a hip-hop poet. They don't mean any harm."
Next for moore is a film project, called Unfinished Work. That will see the poet (and she is still a poet) make strides into yet another artistic arena. Her rock record Black Tea: The Legend of Jessi James is due out soon, as is her next book of poetry, Sunlight Through Bulletholes and her memoir Love is Not the Enemy. Whatever she does, you can be sure that moore will continue to scrub away boundaries. "The first Black Women Rock show we did, there were more white people there than I'd ever seen," she says. "This is how Detroit needs to look — multicultural. I hate labels. I always question why somebody would call me something I'd never call myself."
We just call her talented.
Brett Callwood writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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