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Who's That Girl
Do you remember when Beyonce dropped Lemonade, the frenzy-inspiring visual album that incited a modern witch-hunt and a worldwide Internet debate over the fictitious “Becky with the good hair”? Well, the femme fatale songwriter behind the lyrics from “Sorry”, as well as “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and “Daddy Issues”, Diana Gordon, has recently topped her efforts and this time it is her voice singing her words. Gordon has been working in the music industry for years, producing and writing songs for several artists- such as Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopezand Ciara– and performing in dance clubs.
Catching up with Melly Mel...
Mélissa "Melly Mel" Flérangile
LOHH : Tell Us about yourself?
I'm French Canadian with Haitian & Native roots. I'm a lover of life seeking the beauty in all things and beings.
MEL: Where and when did you first discover dance?
In my mothers belly. Later trained in the kitchen with my father blasting some Latin music while cooking my favorite meal (sweet plantains, rice & beans, red snapper)...
LOHH: Did anybody help guide you along the way?
MEL: Of course. My parents, my crew, my tribe, the youth I teach, the random people I meet around the world... Being an artist allows me to connect with a community of creative divine beings that assist and elevate me throughout my journey. I always say that I would most likely be a beach bum if it wasn't for them.
LOHH: What do you enjoy most about dance?
MEL: It allows me to taste the ecstasy of my light.
LOHHF: What do you connect with/love most about Hip-Hop culture?
MEL: This will sound super cheesy but Hip Hop saved my life! Being a little dramatic but I was bullied a lot in my youth due to being mixed race. When Hip Hop became popular I became the coolest kid on the block.
LOHH: Do you feel any limitations being a girl/women in Hip-Hop?
MEL: I work for a Bboying Dance Company and the Artistic Director, Crazy Smooth, has never made us feel like gender mattered. It's also been the case with my crew. We elevate each other without any room for discrimination. Although I know some women feel differently about the matter in my universe it's never been an issue.
LOHH: What are you working on right now?What do you have coming up?
MEL: I'm currently on tour in the UK working with a Swedish/Canadian Dance Company called Tentacle Tribe. After this I go back on tour with Bboyizm Dance Company then I plan to work on various projects with my movement called Melly Mel Inspires. My purpose is to empower youth through Dance.
LOHH: What part of Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival are you looking forward to the most?
MEL: I look forward to it ALL!!! I enjoy being around dope, fresh, creative woman. I feel humble and blessed to be part of this movement. Can't wait to inspire,build and play!!!!!
Tell Us about yourself?
My name is Loryane, originating from Switzerland an leaving here in New York for now 4 years.
Where and when did you first discover dance?
In my country when i was 14 year old. I wanted to start before, but couldn't afford it.
Did anybody help guide you along the way?
At the beginning, it was difficult to find a good and real hip-hop school that would teach what I was looking for. Luckily i found my way and met good people with real interest in the Hip-Hop culture! D-Say (First move) and Jess (FM/ATF) helped me a lot!
I am also grateful I've been able to move to New York because since then, I have been surrounded by amazing people such as my mentor, Tony Mcgregor, and the Dance Fusion Crew (Specially Caleaf and Sekou). These generous people have been sharing their knowledge with me without boundaries, so i can definitely say that i am being guided.
What do you enjoy most about dance?
I would say that specific moment where you become the music and you can feel you are possessed by the beat ! It is such an infinite release ! Furthermore, I really like the connection the dance can create between people. Sometimes it's more difficult to put words on a feeling rather than just dancing it out !
What do you connect with/love most about Hip-Hop culture?
I would say all of it. The Hip-Hop culture is a way to be, to express, to live.. I, of course, feel in harmony with its music and it's dance. The fact that the Hip-Hop culture can gather so many different beautiful souls around a shared love and passion is a blessing to me !
Do you feel any limitations being a girl/women in Hip-Hop?
Probably when i was younger, looking at other male dancers doing incredible things and moves with their body, but the older i get, the better i can see myself in this culture without any inferiority. Women are powerful.. in each sens of it and we should use it and embrace it !
What are you working on right now? What do you have coming up?
I am working on ... myself !! hahaha! I try to get better and increase my knowledge. I have several ideas that I want to carry out such as little performances and sharing my passion with others.
What part of Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival are you looking forward to the most?
The entire Festival !! From the workshop via the battle to the performances. The battle is specially inspiring and rich in energy ! Personally the most satisfying and enjoyable part of LOHH is the simple fact to be able to share, create and learn with and from other women!!
DJ Sabine On Tour
keep up with our favorite sound engineer, party conductor, beat blender DJ Sabine as she takes her talent on the road. www.oyasound.com
LOHH LA 2016
SOUL MOVING WEEKEND!
I still can't believe we pulled off our first Los Angeles festival. And when I say we I really mean WE! Our LA partnership with Versastyle Dance Company was so great. Their entire team, especially the ladies, had everything on lock down. They planned everything from airport pick-ups to our first team in person meetup. I have never been so relaxed during a LOHHF event. I have to send extra special thanks out to Jackie "Miss-Funk" Lopez for being game for such a partnership. it's rare that folks working in the same community, with similar missions can work together. Our partnership is an example of how it should be.
The men!!!! We had so many guys taking class and at the battle. It reaffirmed my feelings that we need their support during LOHHF. It was so impactful I am changing a line in our mission statement, "given by women for women" to "given by women for everyone". Starting this festival, it was never my desire to exclude anyone. I love sharing, celebrating and creating with our men in this community. Thank you to Moncell "IllKosby" Durden, Sebela Grimes, Showtime and all the guys of Versastyle Dance Co for taking class, sharing at your vibes at the battle and every chat that happened during LOHHF LA. It was truly eye opening.
Every year LOHHF takes a moment to honor our female pioneers and mentors in the Hip-Hop community. It's a way to keep the present connected to our foundation. We selected two female dance pioneers living in LA, Toni Basil & Damito Jo Freeman. It was my first time meeting both of these ladies. Damito Jo Freeman, Soul Train Legend and Toni Basil, first female in The legendary Lockers. It was great being able to take a moment and say thank you. They were so gracious! During the panel they shared some juicy history and advice. I am so happy to have met them both and look forward to continuing our new friendship. If you don't know about them you should look them up.
Lastly, I want to share a personal note, I haven't really danced, freely, in years. For many reasons I haven't been inspired to move. DJ Kaotic Blaze, DJ Sabine Blaizin, Toyin, Tweetboogie, Chi-Chi, Ms. Vee, Kara Janelle, Melly Mel, Nubian NeNe and our entire LA community moved my soul. THANK YOU! See you next year.