Hanifah Walidah is a musician, playwright, educator and social arts activist. Her rich 20 year career has taken an ethnographic approach to the arts and social change. Her most recent project is the feature length award winning  rocumentary U People. U People was the first LGBT focused film to be screened at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis creating a much needed bridge between the gay rights movement and its relationship with the larger black-American populace.  In addition she tours internationally with the neofunk band the Brooklyn Funk Essentials and is currently writing a musical theater piece titled "Go In and Let Have" featuring new music by her band Black Patti. More information found at www.hanifawalidah.com.

“This is her world and welcome to it” – East Bay Express, Oakland

Hanifah Walidah first debuted as hip hop artist Sha-Key whose 1994 album “A Headnadda’s Journey to Adidi-Skizm” was released on Imago/BMG to acclaimed reviews. She was on par with her peers and highly respected within the male centered art form. She also was co-founder of two poet/performance collectives The Vibe Khamelons and The Boom Poetic in the early nineties, who both are recognized as groundbreaking in creating the fusion of a hip hop approach to traditional beatnik prose. Hanifah’s innovative work with Hip Hop and poetry laid the tracks for master poets and fellow comrades Saul Williams and Sarah Jones.

She is a writer, producer and lead vocalist for the Brooklyn Funk Essentials, recorded singles “Not Every Angel” and “Pick It Up” from French producer Alex Kid’s LP’s “Beinvida” and “Mint” and the title track to the latest release from Grammy-award winning German producer Mousse T and super electronica group The Crystal Method. In 2004 she released a hip-hop opera “Adidi-The Untold Story” which featured Saul Williams, Mums the Schemer (HBO’s OZ) and the music of Earl Blaize (Antipop Consortium). In 2006 she was the musical director of “What It Iz”, a hip hop/spoken-word adaptation of “The Wiz”. 2007 saw the reunion of the Brooklyn Funk Essentials and a new album “Whacha Playin” to which she wrote and co-produced many of the songs. Currently she is involved with her current 21 Weeks project in which she produces and records a new song a week for 21 weeks.

“She is a mischievous mix media millennium whip. Hanifah Walidah speaks about black people and the gay community with a passion we associate with Zora Neale Hurston and Amira Baraka” –Ntozake Shange (Author-For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Isn’t Enough)

In 1997, she co-wrote and performed in the multi-cast play “Bloom” which featured an entire cast of women of color and used the analogy of Black women to dandelions (Tony Morrison’s, The Bluest Eye); which are flowers often mistaken for weeds. She received the NYFA Fellow for Poetry in 1999. In 2002 she wrote and performed her one-woman show “Black Folks Guide to Blacks” funded in part by the Zellerbach Foundation and the Queer Cultural Center in San Francisco. Initially entitled “Straight Black Folks Guide to Black Folks”, it has been met with heralded reviews in the SF Chronicle, Boston Globe and SF Guardian. “More over Anna Deveare Smith - there’s a new queen of Solo performance in town…” (Boston Globe) “A gap tooth Zora Neale Hurston” (SF Guardian) “A comedic tour de force…” (SF Chronicle) . She is currently working ona new musical theater piece that personifies the repetitious and cyclical structure of African American music.


Hanifah Walidah began her film career from a labor of love while maintaining an online site, www.suckaforlife.com that featured a multitude of her documentary, experimental and narrative film shorts. She directed and edited a 3-minute short “True Grits” within a 24-hour period as apart of the NYC Midnight Run where it placed Best Of. She co-wrote “White Lies Black Sheep” from James Spooner, filmmaker of the internationally awarded documentary Afropunk. And spring of 2006, Hanifah produced, wrote and directed a film short masquerading as a music video for her single “Make a Move”. This video would be a first of its kind that depicted gay women of color in a celebratory, complex and witty manner. It debuted on LOGO’s New Now Next and then the Click List at #6. It still remains on the countdown. From "Make A Move, the more so heralded documentary entitled U People, which features the behind the scene discussions, intimate moments, and operations of that all women of color video. U People was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Most Outstanding Documentary, is currently seen on the cable channel LOGO and was awarded the Jury Prize at the Image+Nation Film Festival and Audience Award at the Paris de Feminist Film Festival. She is currently editing an amazing 2006 interview with Ntozake Shange about love, art and legacy.

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