The ZAMI NOBLA Podcast is a sound source for Black Lesbians 40 and older. Our show topics include current events, LGBT affairs, Black Lesbian Herstory & Health and Wellness. Angela Denise Davis is the show's Creator, Producer, and Host.
Joyce Penalver Captures East and West in Recounting a Life of Intersections
Joyce Penalver is a retired therapist in Vallejo, California. She was instrumental in forming social clubs and newsletters serving Black lesbians in the Greater Bay Area. We recorded this interview with her in February 2020 before the nationwide lockdowns prompted by COVID-19.
The Art and Spirit of Verlena L. Johnson
In August 2020, Verlena L. Johnson was featured in ZAMI NOBLA’s virtual art show, Cocktails, Tea, and Art. This interview was recorded remotely a few days before the show.
Verlena L. Johnson was born and raised in the Midwest (Wisconsin and Illinois), but also briefly lived in New York City, Ealing England, Oakland, Long Beach and most recently Los Angeles. She earned a Master's Degree in Afro-American Studies (emphasis: Art History, 1996) from the University of Wisconsin — Madison and a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Sculpture, 2001). She has also studied wood carving with master Ghanaian woodcarvers and at both Penland School of Craft and Haystack Mountain School of Craft.
Her M.A. thesis, “The Image Text Composite in the Art of Faith Ringgold: Form and Narrative” explores Ringgold's art using WJT Mitchell's Picture Theory to examine the meaning created by Ringgold combining images and text. It also examines Ringgold's "Picasso's Studio," as a meta-picture or a picture about pictures, specifically focusing on Black female subjectivity. Thesis Advisor: Freida High Tesfagiorgis.
She has exhibited her work in Chicago (IL), Madison (WI), New York (NY), Oakland and Los Angeles (CA), amongst other places.
Janyce Jackson Jones on the Fluid Nature of Art and Life
Reverend Elder Janyce Jackson Jones was one of the artists showcased in August 2020 at ZAMI NOBLA’s visual art exhibit, Cocktails, Tea, and Art. She discovered her passion for art upon retiring to coastal North Carolina after 21 years of dedicated service to her church and social justice causes in Newark, New Jersey. She since has experimented with and been inspired by several techniques and styles, finding what she calls “Creative Happiness” in the process of pouring paint onto canvas to create abstract, vibrantly colored, soul-stirring works of Fluid Art. Online galleries of her art can be found at the following links:
Prior to retirement, Reverend Janyce served as the Co-Pastor of Newark’s Unity Fellowship Church (UFC), an inclusive, nondenominational, social justice-oriented ministry. Prior to that, she helped to found Liberation in Truth UFC, also in Newark, serving for eight years as its Pastor and Executive Director of that church’s Liberation in Truth Social Justice Center. Under her leadership, that Center provided spiritual, social, and mental health programs and services, classes, support groups, meals, and HIV/AIDS education and prevention services to the greater Newark area including the LGBTIQ community.
Reverend Janyce currently lives in the Wilmington, North Carolina, area with her spouse, Valerie Jones, and their dog Buster. Ever the activist, she continues to volunteer and support her intersecting communities of affiliation, working at the local senior center and serving on the boards of the Frank Harr Foundation, SAGE Wilmington, and the local branch of the NAACP.
Lorraine Lane Gets in the Spirit about Cocktails and Operating a Restaurant in the Time of COVID-19
Lorraine Lane was a guest artist for our virtual art show, “Cocktails, Tea, & Art,” in August 2020. In this episode, she talks about how to make a great cocktail, how she came to love bourbon, and the challenges of operating a restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lorraine came into the Food Industry on the pathway of love for Deborah VanTrece. Lorraine is Deborah’s business partner and wife. She serves as the Bar Director for Twisted Soul. The libations at Twisted Soul have been recognized in local papers and social media outlet. Lorraine has reintroduced moonshine to the local base and her infused cocktails are changing the way people view moonshine.
Lorraine has been a leader in the Job Corps program for over 20 years. She is an Executive Director for Adams and Associates and oversees the operations of four Job Corps facilities across the US. She has been acknowledge for her ability to turn under performing facilities into top performers resulting in thousands of young adults graduating and making significant improvements in their lives.
Black LGBTQ Health Forum 2019
This is a file from our archives.
On August 31, 2020, ZAMI NOBLA in Partnership with the Southern Unity Movement sponsored
Working Cross Differences:
The Black LGBTQIA Health/Wellness Public Forum as part of Atlanta Black Gay Pride. This audio clip is from a conversation with Dr. Lourdes Dolores Follins and Dr. Jonathan Mathias Lassiter, moderated by Dr. Kofi Adoma.
The first voice you hear after the musical selection is Dr. Adoma followed by Dr. Follins.
For more information on the speakers please visit their respective websites:
Dr. Kofi Adoma
Dr. Lourdes Dolores Follins
Dr. Jonathan Mathias Lassiter
Mary Watkins Composes and Arranges a Life of Music and Movement
In February 2020, Angela Denise Davis interviewed Mary D. Watkins at her home in Oakland, California. Watkins was gracious in her recounting of major life events and her work as a composer and musician.
Trained in classical music at Howard University, Watkins has composed three operas and has written for symphony orchestras, chamber and jazz ensembles, film, theatre, dance, and choral groups, in addition to being a popular recording artist for Olivia records in the 1970s.
Watkins’ recent recordings include Prayer for Peace, a meditational CD, and Recorded Music of the African Diaspora (Albany Records, 2010: Center For Black Music Research; department of Columbia College in Chicago, IL).
Visit her website for more information:
As promised, here is a link to the sublime performance of Melanie DeMore and Mary Watkins performing the composer’s arrangement of "We Shall Overcome" at the Sister Comrade gathering in Oakland, CA.
“We Shall Overcome”
Mary Watkins and Melanie DeMore
Music clips in this episode are courtesy of Mary Watkins.