They Wore Love & Resistance



June 18
They Wore Love & Resistance:
Songs of Truth, Love, Freedom & Justice
Valerie Troutt
Tickets: $20 advance; $25 door
Ticket Link:

This performance features queer jazz, folk, soul and world music artists. Each one shares—through song—their unique stories of truth, freedom and justice to create an intimate conversation illustrating the struggles and triumphs of queer life.

We celebrate, commemorate, dance and uplift our community to inspire them to live one more queer day!

They Wore Love & Resistance: Songs of Truth, Love, Freedom & Justice is a revival of song claiming space for the future with a promise of liberation and groove.

The evening features Funk Soul vocalist Tory Teasly, folk singers Melanie DeMore, Blackberri; Jazz sensation Stephanie Crawford and World Music ensemble Vnote featuring singer, percussionist Jackie Rago.

Creating Queer Community Program


Blackberri is an American Treasure. Some of his recordings are part of the Smithsonian National Folkways Recordings library. He is a Songstylist/Tunekrafter, poet,writer, photographer, health educator and community advocate. Born in 1945 in Buffalo,NY. Blackberri grew up in Baltimore. He’s written and performed for films including Word is Out, and Looking for Langston, as well as recording the soundtrack for the Haight/Ashbury Radio Collective’s History of SF “Knowing at the Gateway of Gold” which aired on KPFA. This pioneer of same gender loving music appeared on the first TV program in the bay aera of this type of music on KQED show called Two Songmaker in 1975 and on the first anthology of Men’s Music “Wall to Roses: songs of changing men, and Gay Men’s Music Strong Love song of gay liberation 1972-1981. His first album Blackberri and Friends “Finally”came out in ’81 and featured his award winning classic”Eat the Rich”and It’s OK. Blackberri has performed music and acted in Marlon Rigg’s film Tongues Untied as well as No Regrets,Anthem, Affirmations, and Black is Black ain’t.  He has tour Internationally and has made many radio and TV appearances. In 1997 he represented the US in Cuba at the World Youth Festival’s Music of the Americas. This has has made him one of the most visible black same gender loving artivist in the country who now lives in Oakland. He got the 2002 Lifetime Achievement AIDS Hero’s Award, City of Oakland Mayer Proclamation in 2014 honoring all my his achievements and has received many other awards, most recently as 2017 been given a lifetime achievement award from Generations and the Audrey Joseph LGBTQ Entertainment Award from the SF Pride BOD of the 2017 SF Pride which made him a grand marshal.

Melanie DeMore
Singer-songwriter Melanie DeMore has a remarkable voice, weaving the fibers of African American folk music with soulful ballads, spirituals and her own original music. DeMore beautifully brings her audience together through her music and commentary.   She has toured extensively, singing at festivals, universities, in coffee house and concert halls. Her recordings Share My Song and Come Follow Me are both heartfelt collections of her music.

DeMore is a founding member of the Grammy nominated, critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble “Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir. And describes her music as “in the African American folk tradition of Odetta” to whom she has often been compared, noting, “I have a very, very, very low voice”. She has shared the stage with numerous artist including Buffy Saint Marie, John Prine, Josh White, Jr., Laura Nyro, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Pete Seeger.

“Life for Melanie DeMore is for the seeking and sharing of light, joy and deep love for what moves you If you haven’t heard her yet, rest assured there is only one woman on this planet who’s voice is as deep, resonant, mesmerizing, comforting and downright jaw-dropping in it’s power and sensuality as hers is. She has been a formidable presence onstage at such noted venues as Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center” –

Stephanie Crawford
Stephanie Crawford is one of the worlds best kept secrets.

Stephanie is a Trans Jazz vocalist born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.

As a young person Stephanie fell in love with her Uncle Bo’s music collection. She learned every lyric and nuance of the great Jazz players. In the 1980’s She moved to New York to pursue a degree in visual arts, but found herself more connected to the sound of the city. Quickly Stephanie met up and studied with Jazz Masters like Frank Foster and Barry Harris to learn more about Jazz and it’s history. Soon after she relocated to Paris, France and won the prestigious Django d’Or award for Best International Jazz Vocalist in 1993. When asked “what inspires you to keep singing and living day to day” Stephanie replied saying

“What inspires me is my mother, my uncle Bo, my own spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth. I’m no longer ashamed. I’m not longer afraid. I connect to the heart and ear and imagination of the listener and realize we’re all human with the same life experiences.”

You can find Stephanie weekly in Berkeley, CA at the cheeseboard playing with pianist Joe Warner.

Teasley describes his sound as ‘eclectic with jazz roots’. His songs represent a broad range of genres from neo-soul, funk, and R&B to blues, classical, and gospel. He credits several musicians, including Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Erykah Badu, Luther Vandross, Ledisi, Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, and Jimi Hendrix as his main musical influences. Regardless of his role and evolution in the arts, Teasley strives to uphold the message of no boundaries or limits when it comes to creative expression. Tory Teasley, Lead Vocalist was born and raised in the suburbs of the East Bay California. From an early age, it was clear that Teasley was a born musician. He started playing the violin and cello before he entered elementary school and was acting by age seven. He regularly sang at his church during adolescence, which eventually led him to the Berkeley Jazz School where he studied classical music. At age 10, he had his first paid gig traveling with Opera Picallo for four years and was also under the tutelage of neo-soul phenomenon, Ledisi, along with world-renowned jazz musician, Raz, between ages 13 and 18.   By this time, Teasley had incorporated dancing, as well as stage performance in musicals and dramas, into his repertoire. In 2010, Teasley took a break from music to return to school and pursue a career in Massage Therapy. While there he met Wanda Ravernell and accepted her invitation to sing in Awon Ohun Omnira. There he served as a principal vocalist for the ancestor songs and the ring-shout. When AOO added Civil Rights era Freedom songs to its repertoire, Teasley was the principal vocalist. Through revelation Tory Teasley, sacrificed everything in pursuit and to put 100% focus on his music career. Currently Tory is a full-time performing artist recently performed residencies with Penrose-Oakland, DayBrkr-SF Legionnaire- Oakland, 57th Street Gallery and more. Tory’s first album with his band Tory and The Teasers was released June 20th! Called “Free, Tory” available on most streaming and downloading websites like Spotify and iTunes. In addition Tory Teasley provides music for special events, weddings, private parties, funerals, and concerts. Not only operates as an entertainer, but also provides services for stage management, booking services, vocal and performance coaching. Don’t miss your chance to experience this dynamic power house vocalist.

Jackeline Rago
Jackeline Rago is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer and educator who specializes in Venezuelan Folk-Music as well as music from other countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Jackeline began playing music at the age of four. Prior to moving to the United States, she spent years studying the Folk-Venezuelan “Cuatro” (national string instrument) and mandolin at the “Manuel Antonio Carreño Primary School” under the tutelage of Venezuelan folklorist Angel Guanipa. During her teenage years, she completed studies in music theory and harmony at the “Escuela de Musica Prudencio Esaa” and courses in classical mandolin at “The Caracas Philarmonic Orchestra Conservatory” under maestro Ivan Adler. While in Venezuela, Jackeline also pursued studies in Afro-Venezuelan percussion under folklorists Hector Pacheco and Alexander Livinalli from the “Fundacion Bigott” in Caracas. In 1989, Jackeline graduated with a B.A. from the Music & Arts Institute of San Francisco, CA, majoring in classical mandolin. Presently, she resides in the Bay Area which has been her home base for the past 20 years. In addition to her Cuatro and mandolin expertise, Rago is an accomplished percussionist and vocalist.

Jackeline Rago is the artistic and musical director of the “Venezuelan Music Project” (Venezuelan Folk music, and a founding member of the”VNote Ensemble” (formerly The Snake Trio,, bands which she travels and performs with in an ongoing basis. She was also a founding member of “Altazor” (Nueva Canción ensemble),” Wild Mango” (world beat music), “Keith Terry & Crosspulse” (world percussion) and “Trio Altamira” (contemporary Latin American music).

Jackeline Rago has been a guest artist on recordings and performances by prominent artists such as John Santos and the Machete Ensemble, Andy Narell, Mike Marshall, Holly Near, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, Isay Barnwell (Sweet Honey in the Rock), Marco Granados (Venezuelan flutist), Aquiles Báez (Venezuelan guitarist), Alexander Livinalli (Venezuelan percussionist), Rebeca Mauleon, Omar Sosa, the Oakland Youth Chorus, various Windam Hill recording artists and many other musicians and ensembles within the U.S. and Venezuela.

Just recently, Rago received the “Award of Excellence in Music“ given by the Mission Cultural Center for the Latino Arts in its 30th Anniversary, in San Fran cisco, CA. Additionally, Jackeline is a recipient of awards and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, California Arts Council, Meet the Composer/Readers Digest Commissioning Program, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Foundation and AIM (Adventures in Music program sponsored by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra). Furthermore, Rago was an Artist in Residence of the State of California from 1989 to 2001. Jackeline Rago has performed nationally and internationally for over 20 years showcasing the music of Latin America with an emphasis in Venezuelan Folk-Music.