Moor Mother

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Moor Mother
OriginPhiladelphia U.S
punk rock
hip hop
noise music
Years active2009–present
LabelsDon Giovanni
MembersCamae Ayewa

Moor Mother or Moor Mother Goddess is an experimental music project by Camae Ayewa, a musician and poet from Philadelphia, United States.[1]

Her work has been labelled "hardcore poetry," "power electronics," "slaveship punk," and "protest music."[2][3] Ayewa herself resists categorization, preferring to self-identify through terms such as "time traveller" and "truth teller."[4] A self-described Afrofuturist, she uses spacetime-bending sound and lyricism to reformulate concepts of memory, history, and the future in an afrocentric or afrodiasporic tradition.

Ayewa is one half of the Black Quantum Futurism collective, along with Rasheedah Phillips of the Afrofuturist Affair. She has performed in the punk band The Mighty Paradocs, and is also the co-founder of Rockers! Philly, an "event series and festival focused on marginalized artists".[1] In June 2016, Ayewa and Phillips opened the Community Futures Lab, an "afrofuturist community center" in North Philadelphia where they lead workshops and teach-ins, provide space for artistic practice, and fight gentrification in the area.[5]

Her debut album Fetish Bones was named one of the top experimental albums of the year by Rolling Stone,[3] and Pitchfork[6] as well as one of the best albums of the year by The Wire.[7]


Camae Ayewa is an interdisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia. She grew up in the town of Aberdeen, Maryland. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio.[8]

She has performed at numerous festivals, colleges and universities sharing the stage with King Britt, Islam Chipsy, and Claudia Rankine. Camae is co-founder and organizer of Rockers! Philly, a 10-year long running event series and festival focused on marginalized artists. As a workshop facilitator she works with youth centered programs, non profits and shelters. As a curator of fundraising events, Camae has worked with and serves on the board of Girls Rock Philly, and is assistant coordinator of The Afrofuturist Affair, Philadelphia’s premiere afrofuturism organization.

Camae is also a poet and author of the forthcoming poetry book Fetish Bones and is an avid zinemaker and collector. She is a member of Black Quantum Futurism Collective, which released its first book, "Black Quantum Futurism theory and practice Vol. 1". and has been featured at the Schomburg Center, as well as presented installations at the Rebuild Foundation and Temple Contemporary at Tyler School of Art.[9]

In November 2018, Moor Mother will curate part of the program for the Dutch Le Guess Who? festival[10].


Black History[edit]

Ayewa’s work as Moor Mother is very much of the underground, and her potent form of poetry seeks to reconstruct previously invisible narratives. On her album Fetish Bones album, Ayewa crafted abrasive sonic landscapes, with aggressively visceral lyricism that journeyed through black history. ‘I’ve been bleeding since 1866/ dragged my bloody self to 1919/ And bled through the summer being slaughtered by whites,’ she spits on opening track, Creation Myth.

Both as Moor Mother and with Black Quantum Futurism – the collective she is part of with partner Rasheedah Phillips – Ayewa seeks to reclaim black history, to reevaluate the past. The way that she describes her music is telling. An array of hip-hop, punk, free jazz and dissonant electronics, she has previously referred to her music with the loaded phrasing of ‘slaveship punk’.[11]

On an interview with The Creative Independent she said that : "America is a very strange place to be when you don’t know exactly where your family comes from, or your language, or even the legacy of a black woman or an African woman. What is that? What does that mean? What’s the history of that? It’s part of my nature: wanting to know more, and knowing that the narrative has been controlled."[12]


Another central theme for Moor Mother is the subjugation of women worldwide. “We think of some type of alcoholic macho man beating on a woman,” Ayewa says on her interview with Crack Magazine. “But that’s just one little fraction of what’s happening all over the world. Every nine seconds all over the world, women suffer abuse! It’s very hard because it’s like a system that is sped up to allow this to happen. Different regions are making little steps to provide more protection, or easier ways out, but it’s a slow thing. It’s weird that it’s only just happening.”

Indeed, on her most recent record The Motionless Present, Ayewa talks about how issues like domestic violence continue to destroy local communities.[13]

Workshops on poetry[edit]

Camae Ayewa gives poetry workshop that are called “Anthropology of Consciousness.” It is like a skill-share and exchange of information about the ways of creating and ways to write about the environment.[14]



Date Title Artists Label Format
September 2016 Fetish Bones Moor Mother Don Giovanni Records CD/LP/Digital
June 2017 Crime Waves Moor Mother X Mental Jewelry Don Giovanni Records


  1. ^ a b "Don Giovanni Records".
  2. ^ "Moor Mother: Hardcore Poet | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  3. ^ a b "20 Best Avant Albums of 2016".
  4. ^ "Moor Mother Makes Raging, Resistance Music - Daily VICE - VICE Video". VICE Video. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  5. ^ "An Afrofuturist Community Center Targets Gentrification". Hyperallergic. 2016-06-22. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  6. ^ "The 20 Best Experimental Albums of 2016 - Page 2 - Pitchfork".
  7. ^ "The Wire: Top 50 Releases of 2016 — Year-End Lists".
  8. ^ "Moor Mother: Poetic Justice". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  9. ^ "Camae Ayewa – S1". Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  10. ^ "Revealing the curators & initial line-up for Le Guess Who? 2018". Retrieved 2018-06-21.
  11. ^ "Moor Mother: Poetic Justice". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  12. ^ "Moor Mother on Creating the Future You Want to See". Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  13. ^ "Moor Mother: Poetic Justice". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  14. ^ "Moor Mother on Creating the Future You Want to See". Retrieved 2017-06-25.

External links[edit]