On June 3rd 2013 Torontonians gathered at The Mod Club for the 1st Contact Concert to celebrate and bring awareness to the 1st Time Project: a trans-media initiative about women’s sexuality. The 1st Time Project Draws on real women’s 1st sexual experiences and ignites a conversation about what is really going on in women’s sex lives by reaching beyond generational and cultural divides. The 1st Time Concert featured an incredible line-up of extraordinary women, who together support this sexy-but-sensitive endeavor. The project was founded by Ngozi Paul, co-creator and lead actor of Da Kink in My Hair.
A wall of the venue read “love your DJ” and we sure did as the attendees and I eagerly waited for the show to begin. The graphic print on wall hugged the tables that lined them. A variety of vendors were there to support the 1st time project and offered everything from nail design to cupcakes– the not so holy trinity: Hip hop, nail art and cupcakes. The short lived hip hop comedian, as he jokingly addressed himself as, graced the stage and captured the crowds attention with his enthusiasm for the evenings line up. He introduced the host of the evening, the lovely Garvia Bailey.
“Do you remember your first time?” she asks the crowd. Some cheered, others blushed and many were visibly uncomfortable. This is precisely the goal of the 1st Time Project, to remove shame from the equation of your first sexual experience. Baily cued a short clip that featured women speaking to their experience. You can watch it here .
Ngozi Paul joins the stage, unable to hold her excitement. She radiated enough energy to light the room and get the conversation started about first time experiences.
We’re moving from a patriarchal society to a matriarchal society […] I know a lot of you asked me about the triangle on my shirt, it’s the symbol of femininity—a symbol of the womb. […] I started this project with and interview that I did with my grandmother and my mother about their first sexual experience. What I learned from that revealed so much to me about myself – things we carry inside ourselves and not even know.
The evening began with the first musical performance of the night by Lal, a Toronto collective: Rosina Kazi, Nicholas Murray and Ian de Souza. Rosina Kazi, the lead singer, encouraged the crowd to define our visions—to do what our imagination tells us. This message is reflective of the groups’ twin beliefs of escapism and change. Lal definitely took the crowd to the future with their spacious groove and hypophonic sound.
Tanika Charles was up next and joined the stage with a live band. Charles, like Lal took the crowd away from the present and into another moment in time. Tanika’s old soul was illustrated through her music that had a bluesy-60s feel. Homegirl can sing and I was enjoying every minuet of it.
Charles soothed the crowd with her soulful sound and Saidah Baba Talibah was about to change things up. The lights dim and Talibah steps on stage in a fierce red ensemble. Her Jewelry game was Gucci Mane, I absolutely loved it. Talibah is a natural born diva, owning the mic and the crowd. She took a moment to talk to the crowd about the importance of starting the conversation with our mothers. “It doesn’t need to be taboo, doesn’t need to be hush hush” she says. Talibah’s set did a phenomenal job at communicating the main message of this event. While on stage, her powerful lyrics were so beautifully married to the bliss of her voice. Ngozi Paul playfully joined her on stage to conclude the musical goodness she had given us.
I just want, rather need to, take a moment to talk about the wonderful Motion. I heard Motion speak at the History of Urban Music conference last week and was captivated by her eloquence and charm. I was beyond excited to hear what she had to say at the 1st Contact concert. Motion stepped on stage to share with us a love story. She pulled out her Iphone and began to tell us the tale, her body moved as her words moved the crowd.
Last but not least was Zaki Ibrahim. The South African queen entered the stage in exotic, Arabian attire. With her were two back up dancers who were very much in sync in during their Destiny’s Child-type dance routine. The first thing that caught my attention was Ibrahim’s ability to werk the stage. The eclectic sound of her music filled the venue and had everyone around me dancing. Ibrahim got off stage and joined the audience on the floor to share a dance with host of the evening, Garvia Bailey. Victoria and I couldn’t stay for Ibrahim’s full set and we were sad to hear we missed Michie Mee’s surprise performance.
Overall a fantastic night filled with love, respect and unity. Thank you Mark for inviting me!
Review by: Amanda Girgis