Blacque Butterfly

Who would think a Butterfly could do so much? Afterall, she’s a social change activist, motivational speaker, spoken word artist and an event host/promoter. She mentors young folks; single mothers and runs a theater troupe for youth. In her spare time, she authored Black Girl Can I Comb Your Hair?, released her first CD, Collide-A-Scope and single handedly keeps Portland’s open mic scene alive and relevant and has done so for YEARS. There’s only one Butterfly who can do all of that: Darlene Solomon-Rogers aka Blacque Butterfly.
Ms Darlene, how are you doing Lady?
Blessed and highly favored Love. I am loving the life that I live and living the life that I love and if I find that I don’t or can’t love it, I change it into something I can at least respect.
What do you prefer to be called? Darlene or Blacque Butterfly?
Either is fine. Darlene means “Dearly beloved” and Blacque Butterfly represents transformation. I like them both.
Darlene you are so dope! I know all the wonderful things people say about you, how do you describe yourself?
Thank you so much for the compliment. First and foremost I am a vessel to be used by the creator. After that I am artist, a motivational speaker, a spoken word artist, vocalist, songwriter, storyteller, performance poet, event host/planner, activist, community member, mother, daughter, sister, aunt.
The staff at Beautiful Black dub you the Queen of Portland’s Open Mic, Is this befitting, why or why not?
Haha I think it’s cute and a fun title however, true, Soulful Showcase has been around for quite some time. Soulful is a traveling open mic and has had one of the longest runs that I know of. Maybe we need to commemorate that in some way.. It was birthed out of a need and it seems the city still needs it. Need and Opportunity presented themselves and I was blessed to be able to fill the gap. So to answer the question I guess it is befitting.
Blacque Butterfly
I really want to know how you keep doing what you do. There are times when there isn’t much going on in terms of Black events. I’ll stroll through The Skanner or The Observer and see “Blacque Butterfly” at this place or that place, what motivates you? How do you keep it moving?
Short answer Love for my community, I refuse to allow us to disappear from the fabric that is Portland. So for the most part what I am motivated by is you, your story that you need to tell to bring you to your own personal freedom. Being a Portland native there are so many stories that have not been told or represented. There have been a lot of changes made to this city and now is not the time to stop showing up. I am inspired by all the amazing talent that this city has to offer. I was blessed to start my artistic career at a time when art was wholeheartedly embraced by the black culture. I’m blessed to be inspired by everything and my form of expression is art. I’ve lived a million lifetimes and my story is yet to be told. Our Society our culture and our communities are strained and hurting, folks need to have a place to express their feelings and need or want to be inspired and encouraged. I have a ministry of healing and connectivity. I am blessed to be the tree between the roots and the fruit. I am old enough to understand the elders but young enough to relate to the youth. That’s what keeps me going.
Is there anything that you want people to know about you the woman, the person…
That I love my city and I appreciate the love and support that I’m given. I would like people to know that I am a, approachable, passionate woman that is always willing to participate in a collaboration or celebration of art and community.
In three words, describe a typical Portland crowd… In terms of open mic and performance poetry, do you feel supported? Can you use a bit more support? What would that look like?
You would like me to describe a typical Portland scene in only three words? Wow ok.. young, white and divided. I however tend to book a variety of artists for my shows to bring some diversity and culture and yes I would love to see more consistent support.. Our budding artists and youth look to us as an example but they don’t get a lot of visual support from the community. Support would look like showing up, sharing the event with others, participating in the event itself, assisting in dynamics by setup and breaking down after events. Support could be advertising the event, supporting your local artists by purchasing their merchandise. By hosting your own open mic, promoting and creating a space for artists to be. The list goes on.
What’s next for you? Let folks know where you advertise events etc. Are you all over the internets?
I have an audio book deal in the works, a play that will be released on DVD, and finally my sophomore album release. I will also be heading to Brazil soon. Haha and yes, I am all over the internet.
I have my own website
Artist site
Social networking sites

  • hello my name is vanessa white and I’m interested in having you come to speak to our middle school team here at King Elementary School about a portrait slam event that we are putting on next month.

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