Tales From The Crip: Ode to Krip Hop's Leroy Moore

caitlin wood
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Leroy Moore is a man of action: poet, community activist, artist, feminist… the list goes on. Spend any time in the crip community and his name will inevitably surface, which should come as no surprise. Moore is a walking archive of disability art and history with a gift for broad networking, highlighting artists and activist projects from the Bay area to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He can school you on disabled musicians from the days of yore, but it must be noted that this man has his finger on the pulse of the vibrant disability art scene—a scene that has blossomed in no small part due to his dedication to spotlighting the intersections of race, social justice, art and crip culture. Additionally, he can wear the hell out of a tuxedo.

Moore co-founded Sins Invalid, the much-loved and very sexy disability performance project back in 2004. Holding live productions of trailblazing art pieces of many forms (dance, spoken-word, music), “Sins” is a groundbreaking, beautiful blend of art and activism with a commitment to “social and economic justice for all people with disabilities… moving beyond individual legal rights to collective human rights.” A guiding ethos of the organization  is to celebrate artists from historically marginalized communities (people with disabilities, gender-variant, queer, people of color), showcasing incredible performances that challenge notions of normalcy, disability and sexuality. If you can’t make it to the Bay area for a show any time soon, you can check out videos from previous performances featuring artists like O.G. riot grrrl Nomy Lamm and captivating writer/poet Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

Aside from Sins, Moore has also kept extremely busy as founder of Krip Hop Nation, a collective devoted to honoring and developing the work of disabled musicians from around the world. But as he writes in this essay, Krip Hop is more than music, it’s a movement that evolved from his “experiences as a young Black disabled boy growing up in the late 1970’s and 80’s in a White suburb of Connecticut. Always being the only Black disabled youth in almost everything I did… I always had the same question: Where were the other people who looked like me as a Black disabled young man?” These formative experiences coupled with a passion for social justice eventually led to the birth of Krip Hop, which he utilizes as an artistic and political platform. 

Moore’s been a vocal supporter of disabled female hip hop artists, citing his love of MCs like Kalyn from Wheelchair Sports Camp and Miss Money, while expressing a desire for more representation from rapping crip ladies. In addition to championing disabled women in hip hop, he is an ardent supporter of disabled women in general. Statistics reveal that disabled women face significantly higher risks of rape and violence than nondisabled women. Inspired by disturbing reports of police brutality against several disabled women, the poet penned the moving “She’s in Danger Black & Blue (For my Deaf/Disabled Sisters who are in constant danger),” a piece that questions “Where is Womanhood for disabled sisters/ I’m not a woman but where are the voices/ For this injustice.”

As if that’s not enough to get your feminist heart swelling, the veteran poet/spoken-word performer will be releasing a limited edition Krip Hop CD for Valentine’s Day 2013 entitled “Black Kripple Delivers Krip Love Mixtape.” The mixtape features 12 songs/poems exploring themes of love, disability and sexuality with tracks like “Krip Kissing” and “Forbidden Acts.” Moore commented that “being a poet sometimes I want to sing my poems. You will hear I’m no Luther Vandross but I just had to do it.” Sold!

To find out more about Krip Hop Nation and/or the charming Mr. Moore, check the Facebook Page and Leroy’s blog right here.

Previously: Tales From the Crip: “My Gimpy Life”; Tales From the Crip: This is What Disability Looks Like

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