Ribbon Rouge Presents: Nasra Adem

Today we are excited to share another local talent and gem of the community: Nasra Adem!  Nasra will be presenting spoken word poetry for us at Ribbon Rouge this year but she is involved in so much more – she is a singer, actress, dancer, poet and gentle soul all in one.  She is one amazing and talented local artist that we are so proud to feature at Ribbon Rouge this year!

Ribbon Rouge: Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history/ what you think is important about who you are?

My name is Nasra Abdusamed Adem and I’m a 21 year old dancer, singer, actress and spoken word poet based in Edmonton, Alberta. I am first generation Canadian, my mother and father immigrated to Canada about 22 years ago from Dire Dawa, Ethiopia originally. I have been actively pursuing an artistic life for about 2 years and it’s been the best decision I’ve made to date. As of late, I’ve been working hard to redefine what I find important about myself; shedding layers of superficial values and societal conditionings and getting to the root of my being. My African ancestry/culture and my passion in love and in art are what I believe to be most important about who I am.

RR: What do you stand for?

NA: I stand for radical love and art/thinking that moves the world forward.

RR: Our theme this year is QUEEN! It is an ode to powerful women who have positively influenced us by their lives. What does this mean to you?

NA: Any celebration of powerful womanhood moves me. I have actively been looking to women at the top of my artistic/academic fields for guidance and inspiration because there is an innate magic in women, in queens, that does not exist anywhere else. I think it is vital that we have events like this to continue to build sisterhoods of strong women who understand their value and capacities for greatness.

RR: How do you feel about femininity/ womanhood/ the state of affairs of women’s rights in our country?

NA: I think Canada is able to provide a relatively safe and sustainable standard of living for most women, but this does not mean women/femininity are not under attack. Today, there are countless murdered and missing Indigenous women that garner, up until recently, little to no media attention or outcry. Muslim women, only a month ago, were fighting to protect their right to freely practice their faith; a right so widely celebrated as Canadian. On average, every 6 days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner, and almost a quarter of women (and children) that seek safety in emergency shelters, are turned away because adequate space is not provided. We are living in a historically patriarchal/woman hating world and it is important to recognize that no country is exempt from these thinkings and behaviors. I am disappointed by how Canada treats it’s women. And I can say that because I truly believe that progress is the constant challenging of what we find acceptable. So I will continue to challenge the status quo and hold the leaders of this country accountable. There have been and still are women in Canada shaking, moving and healing each other and the communities around them and I salute them and those that work to protect them. But it is important to acknowledge that there is more work to be done.

RR: Who is your Queen (inspiration)? Why?

NA: My mama! No doubt. She is by far the most powerful woman I have ever met. Her light, her joy, her awkwardness, her resilience, her beauty, her grind, her black woman magic…every part of her inspires me daily. She is my #1 fan and my rock. And the most difficult person to write a poem about. I have yet to see her face an obstacle she can not tackle and she humbles me every day with her strength and intelligence. I am growing every day because of her love.

RR: Tell us about your art?

NA: My art is evolving daily. I’m a multidisciplinary artist which in short means I can’t (refuse to) choose one medium to express myself. I studied musical theatre at Macewan, have been dancing for a few years and fell in love with spoken word poetry about 2 yeas ago. As of right now I work primarily as an actor and poet in the city. After a recent transformative trip to NYC, my writing has been very focused on topics that touch nerves at the core of my being; various traumas I had been avoiding and social justice issues I had been too fearful to speak up about. My relationship with my art is becoming an unapologetic one. One void of self-censorship and doubt. I am coming to understand the power that I wield as an artist, as a black woman and as a community builder and my art plays a very large role in that. With great art comes great responsibility, and I am welcoming the challenge.

RR: Your advice to women?

NA: Be fearless. Be shameless. Take the control back. Free yourself by loving yourself first. Seek out the friendships of powerful, unapologetic women. Call out the bullshit. Stop apologizing for existing. Don’t accept the drink from the guy at the bar, and when he tells you you’re being rude, let him know you don’t owe him anything and that women are not machines that you put nice-coins in to until sex falls out. Put down the magazine, [insert celebrity name here] doesn’t even look like that. Drink more water. Meditate. Take up space! Twerk it out! Listen to Janelle Monae and take the world by storm. You are worth more than they tell you.

RR: What does Ribbon Rouge mean to you?

NA: Ribbon Rouge is a space that has celebrated women, women of colour and a global initiative towards the improvement of health, in this city. It recognizes the outstanding work of artists, academics and community builders and I am all for supporting any environment that dedicates its time to progress.

RR: Where can we find you/ more of your work?

NA: I have a facebook page where you can keep up with what I’m doing in the city:


A tumblr page for if you really want to get to know me:


And a YouTube page that is under construction:


Nasra will be performing and amazing you with her spoken word poetry at this year’s Ribbon Rouge Gala.  Come listen to her on November 28st, 2015 at Ribbon Rouge in Edmonton!   And don’t forget to buy tickets for Ribbon Rouge 2015!  Tickets can be purchased online here.

Ribbon Rouge #8

When: November 28, 2015 Doors open at 6pm; Show at 7pm

Where: ATB Financial Arts Barns

Ribbon Rouge Presents: DJ SQ

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Today we have the pleasure to introduce one of Edmonton’s finest African DJs, a man that has been working both on the dance floor and in the community for over a decade in Edmonton – DJ SQ!  This is a man who is passionate about his community, proud of his heritage and empowered by the youth he mentors.

He is a man on a mission whether it is spinning beats at the turntable or inspiring those around him.  You can see more of him at Ribbon Rouge #8 this November 28th, 2015 at the ATB Arts Barn.  Below is our interview with him where he discusses his profound love of music, the inspiring women around him and his own style as a DJ!

Ribbon Rouge: Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history/ what you think is important about who you are?

DJ SQ: My name is Siyani Nsaliwa (DJ SQ). I was born and raised in Malawi , Africa, but I have called Edmonton home for over 20 years now. I am a community activist – from my time as a student at the University  where I led a community oriented student group to my current position as president of the Council of Canadians of African and Caribbean Heritage (CCACH) I have enjoyed working with people in my community. Even in my work as a DJ it is an opportunity for me to bring together diverse groups of people through my passion for music.

I especially enjoy working with the youth in my community: I tutored every Saturday at CCACH’s tutoring program for about 12 years which was a very rewarding experience; As president of CCACH I also oversee AfroQuiz, which is an annual quiz competition aimed at educating the youth in our community about the history and achievements on people of African and Caribbean descent. I have also worked with a youth leadership academy in the city which used arts to teach the youth about leadership. Currently I am enjoying coaching my daughter’s soccer team – soccer is another one of my passions.

RR: What do you stand for?

DJ SQ: I stand for a lot of things: Respect, Education, Justice and Equality have motivated me to get involved in some of my community work. As a DJ, I will stand/fight for your right to party!  #BeastieBoys.

RR: Our theme this year is QUEEN! It is an ode to powerful women who have positively influenced us by their lives. What does this mean to you?

DJ SQ: It means I get to celebrate a lot of the women who have influenced and continue to influence me in my life. I have thought about how I can play my part (pun intended) as this year’s DJ in celebrating this year’s theme at Ribbon Rouge and I decided that I will dedicate a whole segment of my set to playing music by women who have made a huge impact on society through their music – from Miriam Makeba to Alicia Keys – and I hope people will appreciate it.

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RR: How do you feel about femininity/ womanhood/ the state of affairs of women’s rights in our country?

DJ SQ: I have an 8 year old daughter and although prior to that equality for women was always something I strived for, it has since become a passion for me. I am a feminist and I think we should all be as it was so eloquently put in Chimamanda Ngozi Odichie’s famous YouTube video/essay.

I am glad that our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is a self-declared feminist and I love the commitment to have a cabinet which will be split equally between the sexes. I think it is important not just as a statement but as a direction that the country should follow. I like being positive and so I think we are making some good  progress to that end; However, just like the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the U.S is bringing a  certain level of consciousness to the state of black lives  in the US – and to some level in Canada #CardingIssue – I think there should also be a #FeminismMatters movement. I think the identity of a feminist has changed over time and the term is often misunderstood – I think that needs to be discussed.

RR: Who is your Queen (inspiration)? Why?

DJ SQ: I am constantly inspired by everyday women: my wife inspires me with her sense of independence; my mother for her community work and spirituality;  my 8 year old  daughter for her quick wit; and plenty of women I encounter as part of my family, friends, co-workers and just in life.

RR: Tell us about your art?

DJ SQ: I have been a DJ since 2010 when I DJ’d at my first club event with my boy, Q (the Q in DJ SQ – quick shout out to LZ Entertainment who gave us our first exposure at that level).  At the time we focused on contemporary “afrocentric” music – which is to say new music originating from Africa, such as Afrobeats and South African House because we felt the music needed to be spotlighted in trendy night clubs of Edmonton in the same way Soca made its way to the spotlight in the 90s with the Baby Blue Sound Crew from Toronto.

Because of my passion for music, I have since diversified my playlist to include different music genres – I customize the music to the preferred taste of the audience at weddings, private parties and corporate events.

RR: What does it mean to you?

DJ SQ: Music, as they say, is a universal language and I feel like I have an ear for it. I had to learn – and still do – how to interpret that language into what will make you want to move on the dance floor. As a DJ, I find that transfer of energy to be almost addictive and I enjoy communicating with the audience in that way.

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RR: Your advice to women?

DJ SQ: This is a very humbling question to me because I don’t feel like I am in any privileged position to give advice to women in general. I am actually picturing giving advice to my mother right now and I am drawing blanks! But I will say that I have a commitment to learning and I will always do my part as a feminist to learn from and teach when individual circumstances call for my advice.

RR: What does Ribbon Rouge mean to you?

DJ SQ: I have always admired what Ribbon Rouge stands – using fashion and the arts to spread a social message – similar to what I aim to do with my DJ “activism”. I also have great respect and admiration for the Founder of Ribbon Rouge and how hard she works for her community; she is definitely one of those everyday women who inspire me.  I am very grateful to Ribbon Rouge for giving me the opportunity to move the crowd at this year’s event.

RR: Where can we find you/ more of your work?

DJ SQ: The last Friday of every month ( October 30 for this month) you can catch me spinning Afrobeats and other contemporary “Afrocentric” music at Cha Island on 10332 81 Ave. I also post mixtapes at www.soundcloud.com/siyani

Otherwise, you can book me for a wedding, private party or corporate event by calling or texting  780 716 3859 or email me at siyani@shaw.ca

DJ SQ will be working the dance floor and spinning his slick beats on Nov. 28th, 2015 at Ribbon Rouge in Edmonton! www.ribbonrouge.com.

And don’t forget to buy tickets for Ribbon Rouge 2015!  Tickets can be purchased online here.

Ribbon Rouge #8

When: November 28, 2015 Doors open at 6pm; Show at 7pm

Where: ATB Financial Arts Barns

Ribbon Rouge Presents: Sierra Jamerson


Ribbon Rouge is proud to welcome back Sierra Jamerson to the 2015 Gala!  Below is a quick snapshot of her and outlook on life.  We are so excited to welcome her back as our opening act for the Gala this year!

Some people spend decades waiting and searching to discover their passion and calling in life. But for Sierra Jamerson, the special gift was uncovered early and naturally in life. At the young age of 3, Sierra had already established her talent and desire to be apart of the music world. The three year old awed crowds as a soloist in a gospel choir. At the age of 11, Sierra was spending her time singing Black Gospel music and touring nation-wide!

Sierra Jamerson does not only sing, she has many other talents, goals, and ambitions. She sings predominantly jazz/r&B/soul music. Alongside a great music career, Sierra juggles a busy life as a music teacher and song writer.

Sierra is passionate about discussing social issues and subject matters in her music. She often writes songs dealing with women, First Nation, and African issues. Her words are powerful and aimed at raising awareness and empowering. As writing and music helps her release her own emotions and feelings, Sierra hopes that her words continue to help others release theirs and find strength. Recently, Sierra topped the weekly Canadian Chart at www.ridethetempo.com with her amazing song “Blood in the Water”.


What she Stands for!

Sierra Jamerson is involved in her community and strongly believes in giving back! On her list of causes include helping to encourage and support creativity, artists, and the arts in Edmonton. She is also involved in helping to raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer.

Her Advice!

Sierra Jamerson says… get a mentor! Respect and appreciate him or her… and show it!

Sierra ends her advice with wise words for up-and-coming artists: “Set yourself apart from your peers by being accountable and earnest. Act like you got some sense.” This can also be advice for every part of life.

Something Fun!

When asked what 3 things she simply cannot live without, Sierra responds:

  1. scarves [gotta keep my instrument wrapped up in the cold weather!]
  2. bright red or deep purple lipstick [I don’t wear a lot of make-up but I never leave the house without lipstick ].
  3. A travel mug because I am always drinking water, or tea [Throat Coat tea is a singers best friend].

About Ribbon Rouge!

Sierra Jamerson, actually named after the county Sierra-Leone, is excited about being a part of an organization and event that holds tight ties to Africa. She also looks forward to supporting an important cause, AIDS awareness, that sadly affects so many people in Africa and throughout the world.


Sierra Jamerson will be performing on November 28st, 2015 at the Ribbon Rouge 2015 Gala at the ATB Arts Barn in Edmonton! www.ribbonrouge.com
Check out Sierra Jamerson at: www.facebook.com/sierrajamersonmusic

And don’t forget to buy tickets for Ribbon Rouge 2015!  Tickets can be purchased online here.

Ribbon Rouge #8

When: November 28, 2015 Doors open at 6pm; Show at 7pm

Where: ATB Financial Arts Barns