INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The annual Art and Soul festival is well underway so you may have been able to catch a few performances. Another featured artist is AshLee Baskin. She now goes by the stage name PsyWrn Simone.
While this wasn’t her first time participating in the Art and Soul festival, it’s her first time as a featured artist. She said when it comes to her poetry and music it’s her duty to make sure it reflect the times.
The song is more than just music. It’s the lyrics and meaning that make it what it is. At least that’s how it works for AshLee Baskin.
“The way I express is not the way you express is not the way someone else express and all of those things are OK,” Baskin said.
That approach to music is the same she took to develop her stage name PsyWrn Simone. It’s derived from a few things. Maybe more obvious are the singing sirens of Greek Mythology, the songbird Wren, and civil rights music icon Nina Simone.
“So thinking about being an alarm, being a reflector of the times and how seductive music can be and how alluring music can be,” said Baskin.
Throughout history, she says too often have Black voices been silenced or censored. As a featured Art and Soul artist her voice will be loud. There’s a lot of soul in what she produces. And the world we see now gives her much to write about.
“I can’t be genuine and who I am and not talk about Black Lives Matter and not talk about police brutality and not talk about systemic oppression and not talk about all of those things that keep us from being able to move forward.”
She’s constantly faced with the challenges of being Black. But also the challenges of being a Black woman with a lot to say. But she’s always up for it.
“So I am here to challenge stereotypes about how people perceive Black women in arts and how I take up space,” said Baskin.