Sister Carol performs at 8:40 p.m., Friday June 21st on the Village Stage at the 20th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, June 21-23, Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville, CA, www.snwmf.com.
Sister Carol East is a Grammy nominated DJ/singer, songwriter, who grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and Brooklyn, NY. She has performed at festivals and top venues around the world; her albums include “Mother Culture,” “Call Me Sister Carol,” “Empressive” and “Lyrically Potent.” Representing woman dreads on the big screen, Sister Carol appeared in Jonathan Demme's films, "Something Wild," “Married to the Mob,” (where she played the proprietor of a hair salon) and "Rachel Getting Married." Sister Carol recently launched her own clothing line, Black Cinderella; and she also nurturing the music career of her daughter Nakeeba Aminyea.
This weekend, Sister Carol helps kick off the festivities at the 20th Annual Sierra Nevada Music Festival in Boonville, CA. Ironically, also performing at SNWMF is one of Sister Carol’s mentors, Errol Dunkley, whose hit song inspired her moniker, “Black Cinderella.”
This spring, I caught up with Sister Carol backstage at the Independent nightclub in San Francisco, after she opened for Mykal Rose. The focus of our conversation was hair; dreadlocks in particular in relation to Rastafarian philosophy and popular culture.
“Well, when it comes to hair, we love to celebrate it in its most natural state; it’s most natural beauty. As a Rastafarian, I and I follow the codes of the Bible, the Nazarite vow not to cut or shave any corners of your hair. That’s where the dreadlocks (concept) comes from. Ever since I was a youth, I always wanted to have dreadlocks, but I couldn’t have them in my parents’ house; they wouldn’t have it. Why not? Because they are like, Catholics and Methodists; and in my heart, mi a Rasta but mi haffe keep it quiet because mi can’t bring it inna the house. So as soon as I was old enough and on my own, mi just start grow mi locks. It gave me a sense of freedom. They are my antennas, picking up all the frequencies from the cosmos. I feel like they give me a sense of power, because the longer they get, the stronger the vibration gets. I just love my hair, because I don’t have to do anything to it. I just wash it; and I’m good. I don’t put oils or pomades on my locks themselves; I just grease my scalp, because the scalp is like the root, and once you water the root, it doesn’t matter how tall the tree is, the water will get to the top of the tree, just like the oil in your scalp will get to the very tip of your locks. Dreadlocks were around long before I got here. I’m just carrying it on. The revolution started in Kenya with the Mau Mau Warriors, and the rebellion came with their hair, with dreadlocks to show that they weren’t down with the system. I’m just carrying on the heritage of my ancestors. Some say that Samson, in the Bible, was a dreadlocks, yeah mon, all of the strong black men inna the Bible were men with some big dreadlocks—Solomon, King David all of them. You never see a bald head Jesus yet.”
Follow Sister Carol on her website: www.sistercarol.com.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sistercarol.east?fref=ts