The Mile High Makeout: ’90s R&B nostalgia for a good causeBy Eryc Eyl | March 25th, 2011 | No Comments »
“In the ’90s, that’s when we had the most powerful women in R&B and hip-hop. They bridged a gap in music and they bridged a gap for women.”
For more than a decade, Jeannette Smith-Cooper — better known as Denver soul diva Sista Soul — has channeled her admiration for ’90s artists like Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and others into her music. But this Sunday at Casselman’s Bar and Venue, she’s channeling it into a heck of a party for a really good cause — the empowerment of women right here in Denver. Performances by Bella Scratch, Lady Speech, Day Acoli (a.k.a. Insight Clopedia Brown), Jess DeNicola, Jen Korte and many more will benefit Purple Ring Society and the Won’t Be Broken Foundation in the Tribute to Women of the ’90s.
“I’m hoping that we can reach out through the community for support, and raise both awareness and funds,” says Smith-Cooper.
Drawing inspiration from a B.E.T. special, Smith-Cooper began planning the tribute last year, and is thrilled to be able to tie it into Women’s History Month. And while Sista Soul is a powerful performer in her own right, she’s also excited to bring together some of her favorite Denver performers. With Cici O’Hain performing the music of SWV, Day Acoli honoring Queen Latifah, Bella Scratch paying tribute to Missy Elliott, and others invoking the passionate, fun-loving souls of Toni Braxton, Da Brat, MC Lyte, Erykah Badu, Janet Jackson, Bahamadia, Lauryn Hill and more, there will be more than enough ’90s nostalgia for everyone.
Smith-Cooper hopes that those who loved ’90s R&B and soul music will enjoy hearing their old favorites, but that they’ll also connect with these modern performers, who are also trying to bridge the gap between commercial hip-hop and something that is more empowering for people, in general, and for women, in particular.
“More and more, people are getting tired of just hip-hop,” says the singer. “You’ve got to have a little bit of everything.” Like the recent all-female tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan, Smith-Cooper hopes that this infusion of female energy will help balance out some of the misogyny that is rampant in commercial hip-hop. That’s why she’s chosen to partner with two organizations whose purpose is to empower women.
The Won’t Be Broken Foundation, with whom Smith-Cooper has done volunteer work over the years, attempts to meet the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of those who have experienced rape, domestic violence and unplanned teenage pregnancies. The Purple Ring Society is a network of women whose aim is to inspire and support the personal and professional growth of women throughout the Denver area. Profits from tickets (which are $5 in advance and $10 at the door) will go to these two groups.
“I want people to know that I stand for something,” says Smith-Cooper, who will release a full-length soul album later this year. “I want people to connect Sista Soul with a mission.”
Sista Soul Music presents a Tribute to Women of the ’90s, Sunday, Mar 27, Casselman’s Bar and Venue, tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door.
Eryc Eyl is a veteran music journalist, critic and Colorado native who has been neck-deep in local music for many years. Check out Steal This Track every Monday for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout every Friday. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.