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So(u)l Day Revival in Jackson, Mississippi

Updated: May 28

What does revival sound like to you? Clapping hands, hymns being hummed, shouting, and revelry? Drag performers and an open bar? The City with Soul got to experience a beautiful revival service catered to the Black Trans and Queer community and ‘Sipp Talk was along for the ride. 

Photo by Alexis Cee

In a world that seems to be set ablaze and crumbling from hate, we are grateful for the little parts, pieces, & pockets of joy that we get to experience as a unit. On Sunday, April 28, our queer fairy godparents, Jazmine Walker and D, Founders of the Sweet Magnolia Fund, cast a light on the Black queer and trans community, throwing a celebratory extravaganza, “So(u)l Day Revival”. There was food, libations, visual art, and of course, live music from artists right here on the Mississippi soil. We got to virtually sit down and unpack with the creators about what So(u)l Day is, how it began, the intention behind this celebration and so much more. 

D and Jaz, Founders of Sweet Magnolia Fund

We were able to gain some insight from Jaz, King of the South, and D, the creators of this event, about the process of actualizing their dream of bringing the Black, artistic, queer communities together. 

They both shared their journey of becoming artists and organizers and how those experiences led to So(u)l Day Revival. Jaz explained how the book, The Body Is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor, ignited their sense of responsibility to the greater community to create a space that is welcoming and affirming for Trans and Queer Black people. Grieving the loss of close friends and family who were LGBT+ as well as seeing the lack of response, prompted Jaz to seek ways to create space to honor those predecessors and ancestors that have inspired them.

Jaz's work featured in the artist exhibition

So(u)l Day to D is “A dream manifested.” As an artist who began drawing at 3 years old and tried to convince themselves to become the artist that they envisioned. D's artistry showcases icons such as Nina Simone, Martin Luther King Jr, and Fannie Lou Hamer in regal poses, positioning them in a new light. They wanted to make art that showcased heroes, reflecting the lives of Black people in ways that we do not typically see by positioning them as humans deserving of regal status and opulence. Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer is depicted as a figure of importance and leisure, wearing beautiful blue-hued garments and a full face of makeup, highlighting her beauty as an iconic Mississippian activist. 

When asked the question, “What is So(u)l Day”, Jaz informed us that “the Sweet Magnolia fund, which Soul Day is a program out of, is a landback and resource redistribution organization that magnifies the limitlessness and autonomous-ness of black queer and trans people. 

So(u)l Day is our crown jewel that celebrates the aliveness and creative awareness of Black trans and queer people.” The fund started as a communal fundraiser campaign to help the partners raise money for a vehicle back in 2020. During and after reaching their goal of getting transportation, they began to look deeper into the “pandora's box” of everything from Black debt and reparations to queer inclusion. and their personal Queer identities in regards to their queer and trans predecessors. 

It seemed that in this space of being supported by the community, issues within it became even more apparent. So “So(u)l Day became a hybrid of support and celebration that we just could not resist. Jaz is quoted as saying, “We felt like we didn’t have to wait to celebrate. We didn’t have to wait until we got our land, we didn’t have to wait until reparations became a reality, we didn’t have to wait until the state of Mississippi said that ‘Black and Trans people are an acceptable and welcome population in the state of Mississippi’ to create space and have a good time.” 

And a good time was definitely had by everyone in attendance. The live performances by local artists as well as our favorite cousin on our daddy’s side, Durand Bernarr, stunning drag performers bringing glamour and amazing emotive energy, the delicious menu and bar selections, and even the beautiful art displayed created an ambiance that truly felt as if each spirit in attendance was in unison. So(u)l Day Revival was a necessary and dully immersive experience dedicated to fostering community and beauty of Black Trans and Queer people.

Support and learn more about The Sweet Magnolia Fund

all photos by Alexis Cee

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