8- The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 6, 1993
Fame does not kill UNV
Universal Nubian Voices combine talent with style
By DUSTIN HOWES
Universal Nubian Voices' John Powe is poised for
eternity. Trying to supersede the R&B trends of quick fix,
quick hit, quick sex music, UNV makes old school songs
that "your mom could listen to," says writer and singer
John Powe. Not that the grooves aren't funky, but Powe
says the group "wanted people to appreciate us for our
vocal talent ... I write classics not trendy hits." Their
album and hit single with the same title, "Something's
They clearly have vocal talent,
some sense of social responsibility
and seem to relish the old days
when R&B was made on talent, not
on how sexy the women in your
Goin' On" does indeed reflect this in that it is one of the
few R&B jams of late which reflects on falling out of love
with someone, not just trying to get into bed with some-
Three of the fellas hail from Lansing and now live in
Detroit and there has been something of a controversy over
their allegiance to their hometown during their appear-
ances on various entertainment shows. Powe cleared up
some of the controversy over what was perceived by some
as a neglecting of roots when on Soul Train they gave ups
to Detroit but not Lansing. Powe said they had taped Train
a number of times and that they used the wrong edit, the
one without their Lansing shout out. According to Powe,
ever since then, on BET and Arsenio they have always
given top props to Lansing.
Powe also brought up the fact that although they give
Lansing "the credit" because it is where they grew up,
Detroit was really where they got their break. The group
was able to catch the program director at WJLB in Detroit
"on a good day." He listened to their single "Something's
Goin' On" and immediately said "'Man, that's a hit."'
Within a week the group was number one on the Top Eight
at Eight and releasing the single independently they sold
"like 13,000 copies in Detroit alone." From there, record
labels "came flocking" and they were signed to Madonna's
The producers of their first album, Penn Point Produc-
tions, gave UNV free studio time to record their album but
the group will be moving on in their next endeavor.
Producer Teddy Riley, who the group met on Soul Train,
is scheduled to produce four songs on their next album and
had planned on doing a remix for their first, but is busy
doing the Blackstreet and Big Bub albums. A number of
remixes from this album will be released with UNV doing
a remix and Kenny from Intro doing another.
The group also plans on producing a three new groups,
one of which is from Lansing. "Hopefully," says Powe,
the group from Lansing will be hooked up with "a major
deal" by January.
So it seems UNV is a model group. They clearly have
vocal talent, some sense of social responsibility and seem
to relish the old days when R&B was made on talent, not
on how sexy the women in your video are. With an album
that is almost gold and a single that is 20,000 from gold,
the group hopes to prove that "just because you have some
songs that have some depth and some meaning doesn't
mean you're a sucker." Here's hopin' the fame doesn't get
Interpretations were inspiring
By ROBIN BARRY
Poems have different meanings
Last week, the performance and
Ann Arbor Public Library
November 29, 1993
visual displays of "Mixing Our
Metaforce" gave an audience the
opportunity to experience some of
"Mixing Our Metaforce," was the
final project of students enrolled in
professor Alice Fulton's women's
studies class, "Women and Commu-
nity." Over the term these students
read various poems by feminist au-
thors, which they were required to
respond to in their own way. Some
ways students communicated their re-
sponses were with song, photogra-
phy, video, theater, pottery, dance
and original poetry.
The evening was truly inspiring.
After the introduction, the perfor-
mance opened with an originally cho-
reographed dance by Jill Gringer. The
dance, entitled "Isolation" was based
on the ideas of place portrayed in
some of Sandra Mcpherson's and
Eavan Boland's poems, and was per-
formed to Louis Armstrong's, "What
a Wonderful Life." Gringer was in-
tense. She silently portrayed the mood
and desperation of someone who is
trapped and fighting to free herself.
There were also a quite a few
poets who had written their own po-
etry in reaction to the feminist pieces.
Eric Breedon created a voice for the
"Haitian Cleaning Woman." His po-
ems were thick with imagery, reveal-
Some ways students
responses were with
video, theater, pottery,
dance and original
ing the experiences of this seemingly
RanaJaleel's poems were inspired
by the works of Eavan Boland. Her
poem "Cancer" was powerful, using
cancer as a metaphor for lost dreams.
It was beautiful and frightening.
There was also a singer/song writer
involved in this production. Katie
Pantlind used a guitar and her own
bluesy soulful voice to sing some
poems. Music added a great deal of
emotion to the lines which reading
often leaves behind.
During intermission the audience
was encouraged to browse the dis-
plays by various visual artists.
Jennifer Rosen's "Three Coats"
were just that, three coats. But not
exactly the kind you would wear in
public. Instead, these garments acted
as metaphors for the poems, and cre-
ated images that you could feel when
worn as well as observe on the hanger.
One particularly interesting coat
was adorned with the heads and bod-
ies of baby dolls, and trimmed with
silverware. Instead of a string of pearls
this coat offered strings of cheerios,
and instead of lace it was embellished
with doilies and teacups. This coat
gave the viewer a quick look into the
experience of a housewife and upon
trying the coat on one is immediately
aware of a great weight.
Through their various talents, ev-
eryone brought a new dimension to
the poems and made a personal state-
ment about the poetry.
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