Poet, playwright, actor and activist jessica Care moore may have left Brooklyn 12 years ago, but her thumbprint on the borough remains firmly embedded.
Moore moved from her hometown of Detroit to Brooklyn in the mid-90s and soon after began working as a journalist at the Daily Challenge, when the newspaper's home office was still at Restoration Plaza.
jessica Care moore is a wordsmith, loves to tell stories and loves the stage. So it wasn't long before she found herself running in Brooklyn's most happening poetry circles alongside a cadre of well-respected poets of that time, including Saul, Asha Bandele, Liza Jesse Peterson, Ras Baraka and a host of others.
She gave five winning performances at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and then formed the band "Detroit Red," setting her prose to rock, peppered with a dash of stage drama. And in 1997, she founded Moore Black Press and released her first book, "The Words Don't Fit In My Mouth." A few years later, she followed up with her second collection of poetry and essays, "The Alphabet Verses The Ghetto."
During the mid- to late-90s in New York City, jessica Care moore was certainly busy: "Back then, Brooklyn was a magical place," she told Bed-Stuy Patch.
"I was 22 when I first got there, and I didn't know I was young; I thought I was so grown. But [Brooklyn] became my spine, this hub of energy and talent and it was just… I don't know, I felt like I had been dropped in a playground where you could find all of these like-minded, amazing people.
"It was like this breeding ground for so much talent… Biggie was there, it was just really, really a fresh time."
Moore returned to Detroit in 2000, but her busy performance schedule had her flying back to New York City often to perform on both stage and television, including on HBO's Def Poetry Jam.
In 2004, Moore founded Black Women Rock! at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. The 90-minute show is a tribute to pioneer rocker, Betty Davis and features some of the most progressive vocalists and women musicians in the country.
"I'd been fusing poetry with funk, soul, rock, hip hop and trying to find my voice in it," said Moore. "So I formed Black Women Rock! to bring women from different tribes together in one space -- independent women who find ways to rock.
"A lot of them are CEOs and activists in their respective communities; we're institution building, and we're all moms. So there's a certain maturity that comes with the show."
Moore's poetry has been featured on number of artists' albums, including Nas's Nastradamus, jazz artist Antonio Hart and Michigan-based emcee One Belo. She will be featured on Talib Kweli's forthcoming album. And she is currently recording her first jazz record, "The Legend of Jessi James," in collaboration with pianist Jon Dixon, featuring Blue Note recording artist Jose James.
She helped moderate and participated in two major arts events in Brooklyn in the last six months: In March, she moderated a panel at Restoration's Skylight Gallery, alongside famed poet Sonia Sanchez, a workshop for the exhibit "Her Word as Witness: Women Writers of the African Diaspora, which featured 35 photographic portraits by Brooklyn-based photographer, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn.
Also, that same month, she hosted In Conversation: Danny Simmons and jessica Care moore at the Brooklyn Museum, a Def Poetry Jam reunion that brought together fifteen legendary poets and writers for an evening of dialogue and performance.
"It was a 90s reunion of poets," said Moore. "We were a certain breed of poets-- old enough that we came from resistance and could talk about it, and also, we still got poetry from books. So we all had to come back and fill up with that again. We've gotten older, we've become parents, advisors and educators; We all have a more grown-up perspective on it all."
And on Saturday, October 6, jessica Care moore will return to Brooklyn yet again to perform at the Restoration Rocks concert, a part of the Bed-Stuy Alive! celebration. She will perform with Stefanie Christi’an and special guests from Black Women Rock!
Restoration Rocks starts at 12:00 p.m. and will be held outside of Restoration Plaza, located at 1368 Fulton Street.
"The neighborhood has changed a lot, but Bed-Stuy is still very much alive," said Moore. "I left Brooklyn in 2000, but I never really left. Because once you've been there, it's in you. And Brooklyn changed my life."