- MAY 2021 ISSUE of WESTVIRGINIAVILLE.com .
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- COVERSTORY: Lady D, In Her Own Unfiltered Words
- EDITOR/NOTES: The Art of Speaking Up
- ART/WORKS: A video gaze at new work by Sharon Lyn
- SHORT/STORY: ‘I can see clearly now.’
- RE/PRINTS: Consuming Blackness in ‘progressive’ West Virginia
- ARTIFACTS: The Bowie/”I Dream of Jeannie”/Chuck Yeager Connection
- RE/PRINTS: Community Seeks Reform After Shooting in Charleston WV
- SPOTLIGHT: Who is saying what as the opioid trial begins
- APRIL 2021 ISSUE: A ‘ninety-something’ issue
- MARCH 2021 ISSUE: “Be the Change: The tale of a song & its songwriters”
By Douglas John Imbrogno | Editor, WestVirginiaVille.com | may5.2021
The May 2021 issue of WestVirginiaVille.com features a lot of folks speaking up, singing out, and asking, if not demanding to be heard. Our cover story showcases the inimitable Lady D, a singer-songwriter based in Beckley, WV. The title cut from her new CD, “Disturbing My Peace,” is a heat-seeking, truth-speaking missile of a tune whose vocals land somewhere between spoken word and rap. As she says in my interview with her at the Raleigh Playhouse and Theater in Beckley, at this stage in her life, “I feel like I’ll say what I want to say.”
That she does, in a harmonic convergence of vocals, killer bass, guitar, keyboards and drums. Don’t miss both the interview and the full video of “Disturbing My Peace,” brilliantly shot and produced by WestVirginiaVille’s chief videographer Bobby Lee Messer
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Meanwhile, West Virginia artist Sharon Lyn is back with us as we feature a fresh music-video roundup of some of her recent work. It’s art that continues to deepen in complexity and depth, in all senses of those words. Her art has a lot going on. While not as overtly demonstrative as a hard-charging song, it packs a punch as you move through it — at once meditative, pained, quietly ecstatic, and enigmatic.
One of WestVirginiaVille’s missions is to lift up excellent work rooted in the Mountain State and found in other publications and social media hangouts. We’re glad to be able to reprint Crystal Good’s “Consuming Blackness in ‘progressive’ West Virginia,“ published earlier this month in Scalawag, which describes itself as “a journalism and storytelling organization that disrupts dominant narratives about the South.” We suggest that you also check out Crystal’s notable newsletter publication, Black By God, The West Virginian, which she describes as “an emerging storytelling organization dedicated to providing Black West Virginians with relevant news.”
We also reprint a Kyle Vass piece for WVPB, “Community Seeks Police Reform After Shooting On Charleston’s West Side.” The piece examines the recent questionable shooting of an obviously disturbed Black man wielding a knife on the West Side of Charleston, WV. Tracked and surrounded by more than a dozen guns-up police officers, the shooting deserves a close look.
The story backs up the camera to look at how the West Side of West Virginia’s capital city has long been given short shrift in assistance. “We have given the city and elected officials solutions to these really complex problems, such as mental health, and community engagement. And, we just haven’t made the progress that we should have made by this point,” says youth and racial justice activist Takeiya Smith, in the piece.
We also continue to reprint the superb work by the non-profit investigative newsroom, Mountain State Spotlight. Let the dissembling begin as an important trial unfolds in Huntington as to whether Big Pharma distributors of opioids into West Virginia will be held fully to account for pouring gasoline onto the devastating fire of opioid addiction in the state. The piece by Douglas Soule and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Eric Eyre is pungently subtitled: ‘They flooded West Virginia with painkillers. Now they’re pointing fingers as landmark opioid trial begins.’
On the less-serious side of thing, the issue marks the debut of ‘ARTIFACTS,’ which we describe as: “an occasional, fluffy feature showcasing oddball or noteworthy photos, documents, and ephemera with a West Virginia connection.” In this case, we present for your consideration a trifecta of David Bowie, “I Dream of Jeannie,” and Chuck Yeager connections to the Mountain State. Suggest other ‘ARTIFACTS’ by contacting us here.
We round off the issue with a small token of our esteem to human beings who do the right thing. The event described in our new ‘SHORT/STORY’ is the smallest of things — the helpful, thoughtful return of something lost. But we need these small, consistent reminders that the world is full of decent human beings constantly doing decent things.
The piece also represents WestVirginiaVille’s commitment to always take readers out into the glorious wild and natural settings of West Virginia with every new issue. The wood and valleys, the waterways and coves are key to what makes the Mountain State such a habitable place to live, despite the usual slew of bad news and worse politicos. To quote the worldwide hit released in 1978 by Gloria Gaynor, they remind those of us who are in it for the long haul in West Virginia: “I Will Survive.”
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EDITORS/NOTE: A ‘ninety-something’ issue: april17.2021: It was only after I got this issue’s “5 QUESTIONS” answers back from a 90-something Buddhist monk in the West Virginia outback I realized I was running an inadvertent theme issue with the April 2021 edition of WestVirginiaVille.