Treemonisha Drank Up (Kakey Long Tongue Redux) takes its name from ragtime composer Scott Joplin’s early modern folk opera Treemonisha, one of the first Black operas to receive widespread crossover recognition. Characterized by its Modernist rejection of African myth and ritual in favor of Enlightenment style individual determinism, Treemonisha’s poetic armature was the polarization of education and light against superstition and darkness played out in the title character receiving schooling in a white woman’s home. As a foil to its namesake, Treemonisha Drank Up is a yoga hip hop feminist fusion about a white female - educated to the point of neuroses and nervous disorders - balancing out her third chakra as she absorbs the intuitive archetypes, metaphors and ritual of African cultural memory preserved in Hip Hop music. The third chakra, or ‘Golden Sun’ at the navel is the antenna of intuition.
Based on Cercone’s ongoing interdisciplinary inquiry into the Spirituality of Hip Hop and its global digital interface as a type of Neo-Jungian cultural dreaming, Treemonisha Drank Up explores how Yoga and Hip Hop are fundamentally concerned with Earth and Sky awareness, territory, clan and belonging. Cercone’s appropriation of elements of Yoga as Ancient Hindu Transcendentalism and African Cosmology is a mirror against the artist’s deep sense of familial loathing hinging on the rootless cultural amnesia that sustains White privilege. It explores the artist’s disordered relationship to sexuality and food – twin centers of the self in the tradition of African Folk wisdom – as precipitated by the American individualist inability to give and receive love freely.
Treemonisha Drank Up adopts the Lioness, the animal associated with the third chakra as well as an important icon of Ancient Africa (best embodied in the Sphinx, Goddess protector of the Pharaohs) as its power symbol. Notable Hip Hop icons appear as spectral God/Goddess Archetypes conjured via a possession dance: Lil Wayne, Lil B, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, the latter having been recently called out by Kismet Nuñez as a form of Elegua/Eshu, the African ‘trickster’ God at the crossroads of human transformation. Citing her chameleon like maneuverability and two-faced depiction of black feminist possibility, Nuñez writes “Nicki Minaj as diasporic black, as radical, and as speculative.” Treemonisha Drank Up also samples and remixes an internet video by WorldStarHipHop.com porn sensation Kakey Long Tongue, drawing a comparison between the proud display of her tongue as a coveted sexual organ and the use of lion’s breath in yogic practice to relieve tension and roar.