Shelley Nicole—the mainspring behind Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe—is simultaneously a product, a witness and architect of Black-on-Black love, a calling that has informed all of her work as a singer, writer, composer, actor, poet, musician and a healer. It is the tap root of her latest work, I Am American, a collection of songs written by her and produced by award-winning guitarist, composer and producer Vernon Reid of the band Living Colour. I Am American, the third blaKbüshe release, is Shelley’s sonically and topically valiant mission statement of self-empowerment, self-determination, self-love and self-care. The album is forged from the connective tissue of rock, soul, blues, jazz and funk into a seamless, genre-defying blend while tackling the hard questions of women reclaiming their cultural identity, their psychic refuge and their personal agency. The project is part of the continuum of audacious, self-confident and eclectic Black sisterhood that extends from Rosetta Tharpe to Nina Simone to Betty Davis to Labelle to Joan Armatrading and Meshell Ndegeocello.
The Apollo Music Café series is designed to bring independent, cutting-edge artists to a forward-thinking audience. Featuring diverse performances across a myriad of genres (R&B, hip hop, soul, jazz, pop, funk, and rock), this monthly series showcases artists drawn from the independent music scene who are destined to impact the way music is heard and experienced. Certain Music Café presentations will complement Apollo Music Mainstage events such as Africa Now! and the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival.