Baltimore, I Love You

It's summertime in the city and I'm returning home this weekend for some family time and to take meetings about BodyMore's  upcoming production later this summer.  

Much of BodyMore is location specific. From its title, derived from a common nickname by locals, to its Station North backdrop to all the sounds, lingo and more yet to come, BodyMore is as much about Carrie Cook as about the city itself. 

Write what you know, they say and writing about my eclectic and haunted hometown of Baltimore, was almost instinctual. How could I not write about Baltimore? After years in graduate school for my MA in International affairs even my final thesis dealt with Baltimore and steps for equity. 

Baltimore is a humid city by the sea, with less inhabitants than Brooklyn proper and where  everyone knows your cousin. Yes that one. 

It's a town where the red light district sits next to police headquarters, where ivies and honeysuckles grow wild in the summer overtaking boarded up homes giving the city a decidedly "man vs. nature" feel.

 It's a place where you can hear the distant sound of a marching band practicing after the cool of summer evenings and where there's a granny who sells candy and snowballs on the the corner in the summer and watches the kids playing "Little Sally Walker" & double dutch.  

It's also a place with jarring racial, economic, reproductive and other health inequalities. Where violence punctuates hazy summer nights and where homelessness is growing and drug addiction maintains a tight grip on the city's inhabitants. 

Despite hardship, Baltimore is resilient because of the creative, eccentricity of its inhabitants. A creativity I (arrogant as it sounds) by virtue of birth, must embody. The City was my first love, my home for 18 years and the place where I learned about life, love, death, destruction and creativity. 

BodyMore will join a number of television and film projects which call Baltimore home. We look forward to joining such an eclectic group of filmmakers and showrunners who have recognized the charm in Charm City. Filmmakers and artists who contine to see the creative potential of a city with a history so deep and rich that the potential for storytelling has only been glimpsed by the world. 

Despite political corruption and corporate grip on the city, Baltimore persists because of the resourcefulness, resilience and grit of its people. In the support section, I highlight organizations doing important grassroot work- many of them are Black women and LGBTQ-led organizations and I hope you will check them out and consider supporting the growth and expansion of this project, and these great orgs that were working before the so-called Baltimore riots (or as we say, Uprising) and have continued to do so after the cameras and reporters left the city. 

I can't wait to get back home this weekend. I'll be reconnecting with friends and family, listening to some club music by my fav, DJ Angelbaby, Abdu Ali and Dancing my Pain Away under the fireworks in the harbor. 

Till next time, 

XOXO, 

SHANNON

Thanks for showing love $3,000 Raised!

We had so much fun and raised FUNDS at our fundraiser earlier this month!! 

BodyMore's Bonfire Fundraiser at the home of the generous and giving, actor and activist, Gbenga Akkinagbe was attended by over 70 friends and family folks who showed their support by directly contributing to our project!  Darren and I began planning the fundraiser in February and have been working tirelessly for months to make sure it was an unforgettable night. The fundraiser is important to the film pre-production process because it raises MUCH NEEDED funds to support our production (visit our CONTRIBUTE page to support) but its also a nice way to kick off our project to our friends and family, premiere our teaser and connect with potential collaborators. 

The night we curated did just that. Hosted by our good friend, the amazing performance artist and actress, Trae Harris (Orange is the New Black, Newlyweeds). Trae was the perfect fit for BodyMore born and raised in Baltimore she and Shannon go way back to high school and she brought that special Baltimore swag that set the tone and mood of the night just right. DJ Sloane Sophisticate carried the good vibes from magic hour into midnight, coming through with her camera crew from her radio station, Fearless Radio. Fearless Radio supports and empowers Women's creative and entrepreneurial work and Darren and I were so honored to sit and talk to them about our narrative and where we plan to take it! 

We cultivated a night of good food and drink- we had sangrias, dips, summer salads, and yummy Bed Stuy Fish Fry! Progressive Pupil donated wine to give our partygoers good spirits.  The beautiful and charming Brooklyn Brownstone had a burning bonfire in the back, and was outfitted in beautiful artworks by renowned and emerging artists including: Wayne Lawrence, Sophia Dawson, Dex R. Jones, Stephen Towns & Marlena Stevenson.  Our live painter that evening,  Kassandra de Jesus will also have a piece available in our ongoing art auction. Many of our originals are still available! 

Our sponsors that helped us raise so much that night included some amazing local brands including: Progressive Pupil, Venceremos Brigade, Liberated Peoples, MoCADa, Le'Enchanteur, PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics & Holistically Fierce!! 

Our evening was truly set off by unique, acoustic performances by our outstanding  woman-led lineup that included the sexy and powerful vocals of Kelly Erin SloanGeminelle & Anjelica. All of these artists came to NYC with a dream and a special gift they shared with us! Kelly hails from Detroit, Geminelle from San Diego, Anjelica from Miami! Together they came to support the art by and for women from all over who believe fiercely in their dreams and their power of creation! 

To end the dynamic lineup was a sexy burlesque performance by Lorraine Sweet Lorraine to Kelly Rowland's "Motivation". Just the kicker everyone needed to feel inspired and motivated about BodyMore next January!  Check out pics in our gallery! 

XOXO 

Shannon  

 

The Bridge Poem- Donna Kate Rushin

I've had enough
I'm sick of seeing and touching
Both sides of things
Sick of being the damn bridge for everybody

Nobody
Can talk to anybody
Without me Right?

I explain my mother to my father my father to my little sister
My little sister to my brother my brother to the white feminists
The white feminists to the Black church folks the Black church folks
To the Ex-hippies the ex-hippies to the Black separatists the
Black separatists to the artists the artists to my friends' parents...

Then
I've got the explain myself
To everybody

I do more translating
Than the Gawdamn U.N.

Forget it
I'm sick of it

I'm sick of filling in your gaps

Sick of being your insurance against
The isolation of your self-imposed limitations
Sick of being the crazy at your holiday dinners
Sick of being the odd one at your Sunday Brunches
Sick of being the sole Black friend to 34 individual white people

Find another connection to the rest of the world
Find something else to make you legitimate
Find some other way to be political and hip

I will not be the bridge to your womanhood
Your manhood
Your human-ness

I'm sick of reminding you not to
Close off too tight for too long

I'm sick of mediating with your worst self
On behalf you your better selves

I am sick
Of having to remind you
To breathe
Before you suffocate
Your own fool self

Forget it
Stretch or drown
Evolve or die

The bridge I must be
Is the bridge to my own power
I must translate
My own fears
Mediate
My own weaknesses

I must be the bridge to nowhere
But my true self
And then
I will be useful

    -from This Bridge Called My Back 
     edited by: Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua 

A Love Letter to Black Women, Baltimore & Badassery

Shannon here. I'm so excited to welcome you to our site! 

BodyMore is my love letter to Black women, my hometown, Baltimore, and our beautiful and badass resistance in the face of so much adversity and responsibility.

BodyMore is a coming-of-age story about a woman who truly believes that she can forge her own way of living, loving and liberating.

BodyMore follows a weekend in the life of Carrie Cook, a carefree and rebellious Black woman, as she navigate her sexual freedom, complicated friendships and social activism in Baltimore City.

BodyMore started as a short story. In a moment of darkness it created so much light and inspiration for me. Since October, I've been working tirelessly, pulling all nighters with my good friends Darren Mallett and London Lauren to adapt it for screen and bring it to life. I'm excited to have my friend and writing partner, Darren Mallett use his vision as the forthcoming director of BodyMore.

We have finally finalized our script, began casting, location scouting and planning our production, scheduled for late August in Baltimore.

I'm also super Excited to say that we shoot our teaser next weekend!

Although my team is strong we still need help! Any contribution you can make to this process is very welcome!

BodyMore Bonfire Fundraiser

A benefit to support our upcoming short film, BodyMore THU, JUN 2 AT 7:00 PM, BROOKLYN, NY                   CLICK HERE FOR TIX

 

"BodyMore Bonfire Fundraiser"

A benefit to support our upcoming short film, BodyMore

Hosted by Trae Harris of Newlyweeds & Orange is the New Black with the sweet sounds of DJ Sloane Sophisticate, we hope you'll join us for an unforgettable night of good food & fun while supporting our upcoming independent short film, BodyMore. Set in Baltimore City,BodyMore, tells a raw and honest story about a weekend in a Black woman’s life as she navigates her sexual freedom, complicated friendships and social activism. Join us on this special night to celebrate, fundraise and see our teaser trailer debut! 

Featuring a live burlesque performance by the Brooklyn Bunnies, the musical stylings of Geminelle and Jessica Anjelica Vox, and a silent art auction featuring the work of Wayne Lawrence, Sophia Dawson, Dex R. Jones & more. 

FAQs

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

21+ Only.  

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Call Shannon Shird at 443-467-2989 with any questions or comments.  

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

Yes. Just update your registration! 

WHEN

Thursday, June 2, 2016 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT) - Add to Calendar

WHERE

The home of actor and producer Gbenga Akinnagbe - 643 Macon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11233 -

 

Welcome to BodyMore

Hey there, 

Welcome to the BodyMore blog!  Here you’ll find special profiles on us­ the creative team, our film making process and our collaborators and friends! 

You’ll also find info about upcoming events and screenings, cool projects we’re working on and other types of media like articles and video that either provoke, inspire or motivate us throughout our production. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do! 

XOXO 

Shannon & Darren