» B-Girl Be
The Women of B-Girl Be: Founding Artists

B-Girl Be was founded in 2005 by an incredible team of artists:

DEANNA CUMMINGS (Visual Artist) is a mother, organizer, writer, wife and visionary. Her professional background includes planning and executing community- based art programs as well as supporting the work of local artists as a Twin Cities grant maker. In 2003 DeAnna was named one of Minnesota's Ten Outstanding Young Leaders. In 2005 she was awarded a Blacklock Nature Sanctuary Artist Fellowship. Currently DeAnna serves as one of the founding members and Executive Director of Juxtaposition Arts, a ten-year-old, urban youth focused visual arts center. Best known for its public murals where accomplished adult artists work alongside youth to create neighborhood landmarks, Juxtaposition Arts is recognized for its ongoing commitment to reach out and excite kids with a passion for hip-hop and aerosol art, while also introducing them to traditional fine art forms and professional development.

DESDAMONA (Spoken Word Poet) is a spoken word artist who has distinguished herself with her potent poetry and MC-style rhymes. Performing since 1997, Desdamona has been on some of the most prestigious stages for poetry slams in the country, including the legendary Green Mill in Chicago, the Nuyorican Poet's Café in New York City and the National Slam Competition. Desdamona received the Minnesota Music Award for Best Spoken Word Artist in 2000, 2003, 2004, and again in 2005. This year she released, The Ledge, her first full length CD produced by Grammy Award Winning producers and musicians, Sly and Robbie.

LEAH NELSON (Dancer/Choreographer) is a Zimbabwean dancer, choreographer and producer who graduated from NCSA. She is a recipient of the McKnight Fellowship for Dancers 2002 and has performed nationally and internationally in venues like BAM; PS122; Carleton Dance Festival, Brazil; and Zanzibar International Film Festival. She curated Hip-Hop Moves: Heroes and Innovators for the Walker Art Center in October 2003. Leah is Artistic Director of Nubia, pan hip-hop performing arts collective, and believes in creating art by any means necessary.

RACHEL RAIMIST (Filmmaker) began making videos at the age of 14. Since emerging as a powerful and insightful voice of hip-hop feminism with the award-winning documentary Nobody Knows My Name in 1999, she has established herself as a progressive force in the fields of feminist media making, academia, community arts, and media justice movements. She is co-founder of B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop, and has produced a collection of films, videos, and media projects that continue to travel the globe. She has a B.A. and M.F.A. in directing from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota. She is currently an assistant professor teaching media production at the University of Alabama.

MELISA REVIERE (Hip-Hop Scholar) is a first generation bilingual and bicultural Latina born to Argentinean parents in the United States. Melisa is a hip-hop scholar, video producer and activist. Her Baccalaureate thesis Art Graffiti; A Cultural Analysis of Graffiti and Twin Cities' Guerrilla Artists and her Master's thesis Graffiti as a Social Resistance Movement: Research, Methods, and Ethics were completed conducting fieldwork in Minneapolis, New York and Puerto Rico. Melisa is now a MacArthur PhD Scholar in the Anthropology Department at the University of Minnesota developing research on the diffusion of the four elements of hip-hop in Cuba and Puerto Rico. She has worked with artists from In The House Magazine, Songo Sounds, Time Machine Squad, The Lab Studios, The Cuban Agency for Rap and the Hermanos Saíz Association filming hip-hop conferences, documentaries, festivals, live performances, audio recordings and music video clips with Anónimo Consejo, Tego Calderón, Doble Filo, Obsesion and La Mala Rodriguez, among others. As an educator she continues teaching courses in socio-cultural anthropology and global utilizing hip-hop as a pedagological tool. As an entrepreneur Melisa is the president of Emetrece Production, an audio-visual production and artist management company that focuses on Latin hip-hop and reggaeton.

THERESA SWEETLAND (Executive/Artistic Director) holds a BA in Social Cultural Anthropology from the University of Minnesota and a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Minnesota Hubert H Humphrey School of Public Affairs. As the Community Programs Manager at Intermedia Arts, Theresa co-founded and produced B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop, and co-founded and MSP Freestyle: A Graffiti Art Program. In addition she developed Art & Activism, a program dedicated to activating issues of importance to teens and their communities and that works with alternative high schools to address issues most important to their students through art. She was the recipient of a Jerome Travel Grant for Arts Administrators with which she researched eight New Zealand organizations working in the community cultural development field, youth legal graffiti arts, hip-hop and prison arts programming. She currently serves on advisory boards for Neighborhood Safe Arts, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and in the belly. She has been a guest lecturer on "Art and Democracy" at the University of Minnesota Art History Department and on "Community Partnerships" for the Museum Educators Association.