Brown Skin Lady Show Celebrates Spirituality, Representation, and Changing Seasons
The Fall Equinox signals the first day of Autumn—a time that’s traditionally about celebrating harvest. We spoke to people on the West Side that are commemorating this transition of seasons about the importance of connecting with people who share their spiritual beliefs.
Set for Oct. 5 in Pilsen, the Brown Skin Lady Show is all about embracing change as the city transitions toward the fall season.
“I feel like a lot of us be feeling like we’re dying and coming back to life, like a death-rebirth,” said Jasmine Barber, the creator and host of the Fourth Annual Brown Skin Lady Show. “A lot of transformations are happening.”
The Brown Skin Lady Show celebrates the coming of the fall, centered around last month’s autumnal equinox on Sept. 22. For those 24 hours, night and day were perfectly even as the sun moved directly overhead of the equator. In the days since, the balance has slowly tipped from the long days of summer into the extended nights of winter.
For sound curator Lisa Decibel who is organizing music for the show, the fall equinox is just one of the many ways of experiencing the stillness and transformation that accompanies the arrival of autumn. “Everyone’s searching for the same kind of divine energy,” she said.
The celebration is a space for moon children and spiritual gurus to gather to congratulate each other on their accomplishments this year thus far. For them, the equinox is more than another transition of the planets; rather, it’s a time for reflection, honoring progress and reaping the benefits of hard work before moving into the winter months.
“I’m celebrating diversity of thought and diversity of opinion. I’m celebrating how all of those things can co-exist,” Decibel said.
Barber is a music artist, storyteller and tarot reader among other talents, so she designed the show to feature a similar mix of styles and skills. “I try to incorporate what’s happening on an energetic and seasonal level,” she said.
By bringing people together that she considers to be on the margins of Chicago’s underground music scene, Barber wants the event to showcase those who deserve their chance in the spotlight.
Highlighting underrepresented artists, like Drea the Vibe Dealer and J.Bambii, is a key focus of the event.
“I was like, ‘Yo, I am so fucking tired of gigs and lineups for rap shows … with only one woman on it,’” Barber said. “People are not as apt to come to a show with a whole bunch of women on the bill as they are to come to a show where it’s all men and one woman.”
With this in mind, Barber designed the show to be a site for representation, not only in the underground music scene but also in spirituality.
The team behind the Brown Skin Lady Show seeks to push back against what they see as a whitewashing of holistic wellness practices.
“The whole bigger thread of being black and brown women is like … white women are not the only people who know magic,” Barber said. “White people didn’t start magic.”
“We’ve got the shea butter for the ash, you’ve got voters registration cause you need to vote. My homie reads birth charts for people who want to be more spiritually involved,” Barber said about the offerings of the Brown Skin Lady Show. “It’s also election season and I want to make sure that people are still consciously aware because spirituality is not all … ‘nothing on earth matters.’ Like no, this shit matters, too.”
The fall equinox is a time of conservation and harvest – traditionally of fruits and vegetables.
For event organizers, they look forward to reaping their recent accomplishments. “I’m harvesting a lot of new beginnings,” Barber said. “I don’t know what they all look like, but I’m excited to see what they gon’ end up being”.