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Creator’s Notebook: Be Steadwell

Premieres Thursday, July 29 at 8pm ET

With her own narrative as inspiration, singer-songwriter Be Steadwell interprets her creative influences with pop-inspired musicality and earnest lyricism. Amidst the blooms at Lee’s Flower Shop on U Street, Be Steadwell redefines the typical love song, showcasing her creative approach to music making and storytelling.

This video is part of Creator’s Notebook, a series of four short films that profile singer-songwriter Justin Trawick, visual artist Khalid Thompson, musician and storyteller Be Steadwell, and photographer and DJ Violetta Markelou in multi-faceted origin stories spanning their motivations as artists and inspirations for their work, defining what it means to bring original art into the world. Each film in the week-long dive deep into the creative process culminates in a performance or presentation of the work in intimate settings across D.C.

About the Artist

Be Steadwell

Photo by Violetta Markelou

Be Steadwell is a musician, filmmaker, and storyteller from Washington, D.C. In her live performances, she utilizes looping, vocal layering, and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be’s original music features earnest lyricism, and ​affirming LGBTQ content. Be’s goal as a musician is to make other black girls, queers, introverts, and generally marginalized weirdos feel seen and loved.

With a B.A. from Oberlin College ​and an ​M.F.A. in film ​from ​Howard University​, Be’s love for music expands into filmmaking​. Her film Vow of Silence ​screened in film festivals around the world, including Black Star, HBO’s OutFest, The Schomburg Center, Inside Out Toronto, and Fringe Fest UK​.

Be has shared stages with fellow artist activists Big Freedia, Nona Hendryx, Nikky Finney, and Gina Yashere. In 2017, Be sang at The Women’s March on the National Mall behind Maxwell and Janelle Monae in Toshi Reagon’s Big Lovely Band. In 2019, Be composed the music for The Alvin Ailey Dance Company’s production of “the gone.” Later that year, Be wrote and directed a musical, A Letter to My Ex​. Be’s musical​ tells stories of love—narrating one character’s journey through the year following a breakup. In 2020, ​Be released her newest album, Succulent. During the pandemic, you can find Be on her Patreon channel. For more information, please visit besteadwell.com.

About the Business

Lee's Flowershop Logo

Since 1945, Lee’s Flower Shop has been a premier florist in Washington, D.C., serving the metropolitan area with fresh flower arrangements and additional gifts of all kinds. Lee’s is the oldest Black-owned flower shop in Washington, D.C., and is a family business, currently operated by the original founders’ granddaughters, Stacie and Kristie, who have simply loved flowers since they began their careers in floristry as teenagers. Located in the historic U Street neighborhood, Lee’s Flower Shop appreciates being able to creatively contribute to life’s most memorable moments for its customers and the recipients of their gifts. For more information, please visit leesflowerandcard.com.

Creator’s Notebook is made possible through the generous support of Gary and Silvia Yacoubian and SVS Home Audio.

Mars Arts D.C. is a partnership of Mars, Incorporated and Washington Performing Arts, with support from Jacqueline Badger Mars.

Thank you to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work in 2020/21: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Betsy and Robert Feinberg; Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; Tom Gallagher; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Mars Arts D.C.

SVS Sound Revolution

DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities

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