About Hanifah Walidah
Creative. World Citizen. Gap-tooth friend.
30 years in the arts, music, film, world stage and informally guiding other creatives around marketing and tech..
A native New Yorker, raised in a small 2bdr apt (B909) in Yonkers, NY now lives in Atlanta trying to duck Covid and develop the MA40AM NFT platform.
Hanifah Walidah first debuted as hip hop artist Sha-Key whose 1994 album “A Headnadda’s Journey to Adidi-Skizm” was released on Imago/BMG to acclaimed reviews. At the same time and well ahead of her time, she published the first interactive online Hip Hop magazine, Guillotine (Strictly for the heads) She also was the founder and co-founder of two poet/performance collectives The Vibe Khamelons and The Boom Poetic in the early nineties, with both recognized as foundational in forming the genre of spoken word , the fusion of hip hop performance and a traditional beatnik prose. Hanifah’s innovative work with Hip Hop and poetry laid the tracks for master poets and Hip Hop groups Saul Williams, Sarah Jones, Liza Jesse Peterson, Mums, Anti-Pop Consortium and more.
She has been a writer, producer and lead vocalist for the Brooklyn Funk Essentials and electronic group St.Lo having performing in countless stages around the world. She's recored and shared stages with Sean Kuti, Femi Kuti, Bootsy, Larry Graham, George Clinton, the Beastie Boys, Amp Fidler, Blitz the Ambassador, Sandra Nkake, The Crystal Method, Alex Kid, Saul Williams and countless more.
“She is a mischievous mix media millennium whip. Hanifah Walidah speaks about black people and the gay community with a passion we associate with Zora Neale Hurston and Amira Baraka” –Ntozake Shange (Author-For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Isn’t Enough)
In 1997, she co-wrote and performed in the multi-cast play “Bloom” which featured an entire cast of women of color and used the analogy of Black women to dandelions (Tony Morrison’s, The Bluest Eye); which are flowers often mistaken for weeds. She received the NYFA Fellow for Poetry in 1999. In 2002 she wrote and performed her one-woman show “Black Folks Guide to Blacks” funded in part by the Zellerbach Foundation and the Queer Cultural Center in San Francisco. Initially entitled “Straight Black Folks Guide to Black Folks”, was met with heralded reviews in the SF Chronicle, Boston Globe and SF Guardian. “More over Anna Deveare Smith - there’s a new queen of Solo performance in town…” (Boston Globe) “A gap tooth Zora Neale Hurston” (SF Guardian) “A comedic tour de force…” (SF Chronicle) .
Hanifah Walidah began her film career from a labor of love while maintaining an online site, www.suckaforlife.com that featured a multitude of documentary, experimental and narrative film shorts. She directed and edited a 3-minute short “True Grits” within a 24-hour period as apart of the NYC Midnight Run where it placed Best Of. She co-wrote “White Lies Black Sheep” from James Spooner, filmmaker of the internationally awarded documentary Afropunk. Spring of 2006, Hanifah produced, wrote and directed a film short masquerading as a music video for her single “Make a Move”. This video would be a first of its kind that depicted gay women of color in a celebratory, complex and witty manner. It debuted on LOGO’s New Now Next and then the Click List at #6. It still remains on the countdown. From "Make A Move, the award-winning documentary U People, which features the behind the scene discussions, intimate moments, and operations of that all womxn and trans folks of color video. U People was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Most Outstanding Documentary, awarded the Jury Prize at the Image+Nation Film Festival and Audience Award at the Paris de Feminist Film Festival.
She is currently editing a rare 2006 interview with Ntozake Shange about love, art and legacy.