Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Woman Warrior: Singer/Activist Maya Azucena

Singer Maya Azucena, photo by Shannon Finney, February 2013, Miami, Florida

The first thing I noticed about singer/songwriter Maya Azucena was the flower in her hair,
and then I heard her sing. Azucena is a blend of hip-hop, soul, r&b, and swagger. Her
high-energy performances can bring a crowd to their feet, but the raw truth of her lyrics
can bring you to tears. Whether she's detailing the painful abuse she suffered at the
hands of a boyfriend in the song, "The Half", or imploring listeners to channel their
inner fighter in "Warriors," Azucena blends vulnerability with power. She has traveled the
world as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department's American Music
Abroad program, producing and performing in cross-cultural events. Her focus has
been on women's health, including a series of concerts and workshops in Africa
in support of abuse and rape victims. Azucena and Emmy Award-winning director,
Lisa Russell, founded, a multi-media website that uses performance
and visual arts to raise awareness for better maternal health.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Fire Eater at Sunset

The Fire Eater, from The Key West Chronicles, photograph by Shannon Finney, Key West, Florida, March 2013

One week in Key West, Florida is hardly enough time to take in all of the
wonderful places and people this small island has to offer. On our first
full day in Key West, though, after a generous serving of key lime pie, we
made way for Mallory Square, the center of Key West's historic waterfront, for
the sunset celebration. Hundreds of tourists and locals pile into the square,
awaiting the sunset, while being entertained by the street performers who
stalk the square, in a ritual that is part carnival midway and Cirque du Soleil.  
I had never seen so many fire eaters in one spot, with their raspy barking
calling out to passersby to come and see their show.

For Your Entertainment, from The Key West Chronicles, photograph by Shannon Finney, Key West, Florida, March 2013


Saturday, March 16, 2013

A St. Patrick's Day Walk in Old Town Alexandria

The St. Patrick's Day Princess, photo by Shannon Finney, Alexandria, VA, March 2013

Well, it's that time of year, again, when the beer is green and bars are packed. On
this St. Patrick's Day weekend, I took my camera and went out onto the streets
of Old Town Alexandria, VA for a look at the scene. I found princesses,
green bling, a Congressman, and even a pair of newlyweds, and a friendly
crowd at O'Connell's Restaurant and Pub.








Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Women Making a Difference: T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, Founders of GirlTrek

GirlTrek co-founders T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison with a team of
enthusiastic walkers in the We Are Harriet walk on The National Mall
Photograph by Shannon Finney, March 10, 2012, Washington, DC

Take a walk. Join a movement. With just these two sentences, a revolution
has begun. In just two short years, Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison have
inspired thousands of African American women and girls to grab a friend and go for
a walk. As diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other diseases associated with
obesity strike the African American community disproportionately, Morgan and
Vanessa found a solution that is as easy as putting on a pair of tennis shoes
and heading outside. GirlTrek, through its active network of volunteers,
creates neighborhood walking campaigns. Invoking the rich history of
walking during the Civil Rights Movement, GirlTrek invites a new
generation to take a walk and join a movement.