Camae Ayewa/Moor Mother, detail from He's Got the Whole World, 2017. Photo by Jason Mandella.
Camae Ayewa/Moor Mother, detail from He's Got the Whole World, 2017. Photo Jason Mandella.

Moor Mother and Vernon Reid

In Conversation

On View: June 24

In anticipation of our 50th anniversary in 2021, The Kitchen has initiated a series of conversations among artists across generations who will discuss their work and their perspectives on The Kitchen’s evolving role in the cultural landscape. These exchanges create opportunities to draw out connections within The Kitchen’s community and to reflect on the organization’s history through the lens of first-hand accounts.

The following conversation between Moor Mother and Vernon Reid took place as a livestream event on June 24, 2020. Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa) was the winner of The Kitchen’s inaugural Emerging Artist Award in 2018; on the occasion of this award, she presented an exhibition and performances. In 2019, Moor Mother returned to The Kitchen to present Analog Fluids - The shadow of a new year. Vernon Reid has performed at The Kitchen on numerous occasions, as part of shows including the double bill “Hal Willner / Vernon Reid and Living Colour” (1987) and "The Black Rock Coalition Versus The Blaxploitation Songbook" (1990).

This event is the second in the series of 50th Anniversary Conversations. The previous program featured Dara Birnbaum and Sondra Perry.

Moor Mother and Vernon Reid In Conversation


Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa) is a national and international touring musician. She performs as a vocalist for numerous groups, including the punk band The Mighty Paradocs, free jazz group Irreversible Entanglements, hip hop experimental duo 700 Bliss, Mental Jewelry, and Zonal with The Bug and Justin Broadrick.

Moor Mother's debut album Fetish Bones (Don Giovanni Records, 2016) was reviewed and acclaimed by numerous publications, and she was named Artist of the Year by both Bandcamp (2016) and Rad Girls (2017). Ayewa is co-founder and curator of ROCKERS!, a festival founded in Philadelphia in 2007 that presents the work of marginalized musicians and artists across multiple musical genres.

Ayewa’s soundscape work has been exhibited at the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and the Samek Art Museum, Lewisburg, PA. Her visual art has been shown at Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway; Black Oak Gallery, Oakland, CA; The Kitchen, New York; and Vox Populi, Philadelphia. Her first book of poetry, Fetish Bones, was published in 2016 by the AfroFuturist Affair. As a member of Black Quantum Futurism Collective (BQF), Ayewa has been featured in exhibitions at the Rebuild Foundation, Chicago; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; Temple Contemporary, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia; and has performed at the Click! Photography Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark; Dark Mofo, Tasmania, Australia; and transmediale festival, Berlin, Germany.

Ayewa is the recipient of a Leeway Transformation Award (2016) and fellowships from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage (2017) and A Blade of Grass (2016). She has been an artist in residence at Neighborhood Time Exchange in Philadelphia and at WORM in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Vernon Reid is a musician who has done a great deal to undermine stereotypical expectations of what kinds of music Black artists ought to play; his rampant eclecticism encompasses everything from hard rock and punk to funk, R&B and avant-garde jazz, and his anarchic, lightning-fast solos have become something of a hallmark as well.

In 1980, Reid joined drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society, a cutting-edge jazz group with whom he appeared on six albums. Over the course of the decade, Reid went on to work with a wide variety of experimental musicians including Defunkt, Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, and Public Enemy, among others. Around 1983, Reid formed the first version of what was to become Living Colour; in 1985, with journalist Greg Tate, he formed the Black Rock Coalition, an organization devoted to opening doors in the music business for Black musicians who were not content being confined to the roles of soul crooner or rapper. In 1996, Reid issued his solo debut, Mistaken Identity. He resurfaced in 2002 as one half of Yohimbe Brothers, a duo also featuring DJ Logic. Reid has remained active as both a session guitarist and as a producer, most notably on James Blood Ulmer’s recordings since 2001 beginning with Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions (2001) and continuing through Bad Blood in the City: The Piety Street Sessions (2007). Living Colour released their latest recording, Shade, in 2017.