Touched and moved by the violence among the youth during 2002,l wondered what was happening to the youth of today and, more importantly, what could I do to help change things?
My vision was to help children and young adults recognize their worth and know the value of their lives. I shared this vision and feelings with everyone I came into contact with and, in return, I received tremendous encouragement, literature, and referrals to others who also wanted to do something good, positive and meaningful.
I enjoy being of service to the community. I used these positive traits to develop a concept to refresh and propel Domestics Unlimited, a company wh.ich I had founded and developed in the 1980's. As the result of my outreach into the community, I received tremendous help from local children and professional supporters which allowed me to build a musical and artistic forum in which to help bring African-American families together to remember and reconnect with their heritage and spirit of freedom through inspirational art work and music. That was the birth of "Domestics Unlimited The Singing Domestic - Stop the Violence/Music Heals Concert," a manifestation of my mission and a successful theatrical presentation.
"Stop the Violence/Music Heals" is my concept of self expression and healing of the soul brought forth through the employment and showcasing of healing sound through musical and artistic talents of young people and professionals, with the focus on educating children and adults about their unique qualities, positive thinking, self-love, respect and peace.
Fueled by my desire to continue to enlighten the community, the Stop the Violence/Music Heals Concert is now an annual event with satel Iite performances dedicated to using the power of music, arts and entertainment to inspire and educate people about their heritage, their self respect, healing and wholeness.
Praying Angel Doll, Sold!
Today, all my works are rekindled, empowered by inspiration and know-how from my grandmother's silver legacies passed on to me, which have truly proven to be invaluable.
A GLIMPSE FROM THE MAGIC SPOT
Since the encounter from the "Magic Spot" which broke the ice to the journey of self discovery, I continued to blossom, thanks to all the people who helped share in that journey: (see images on page) the gentleman traveling to Paris, France who bought the praying angel doll and sent me a thank you post card.
Facing the fear of homelessness and sadly touched by accounts of the growing anger and violence against youth, Cherrie Williams' vision began by making unique handmade dolls out of found objects, painting, and creating folk art, combined with singing. While sitting, singing and weaving pieces together on the street, Cherrie ultimately created the mission to actively finance and participate in stopping the violence among youths, using music and art against anger and violence.
The "Samba Mama" an inspiration art doll, was one of the original pieces created and displayed at the "Magic Spot," a popular street artist location on MacArthur Blvd., adjacent to the Bank of America, in Oakland. It was said that Magic Spot had been previously occupied by tlie "T-shirt Lady," who apparently left the area with good vibes. Passersby, people going to the bank, or on their way to school would stop at the Magic Spot and ask to buy the Samba Mama doll; but Cherrie never sold her because this particular doll had come to symbolize Cherrie's innate ability to turn adversity around and find strength through pain. Visitors from various parts of the world strolled past Cherrie's creations, buying her handmade, inspirational art, costumed folk art dolls and paintings, and before long she was given the nickname, "Singing Doll Lady."
On April 11, 2005, one of Cherrie's art pieces, "The Tiniest Jemima," was featured in Ripley's Believe It Or Not. The mixed medium piece, lovingly created under a microscope using tweezers, is intricately detailed and measures only 1/8th of an inch across. "My art speaks for me, using the art from the kitchen and the earth, like a melody of songs," inspirational art works.
Moreover, Cherrie Williams, the "Singing Domestic," was inspired over many years to follow her dream of singing, and was blessed with opportunities to use her talent to speak out. Having performed in theater, concerts, churches, schools, private shows, the night club circuit, television, and radio, Cherrie's life path has presented her with new meanings of integrity, beauty, excellence, and enriching the lives of others.
Her musical background began in church and continued into San Francisco Hunter's Point in the children's choir under various music teachers, and flourished under the continued coaching of Music Teacher Vernon Alf at Everette Junior High. Inspired by such people as Dick Meter at George Washington High School and dancerlchoreographer Danny Duncan, and Gregory Burrell, the "Black Zigfield," Cherrie craved more exposure to the arts and music which she found to be not only fun, but promoted a form of self expression. She went on with singular energy to perform with the Lowell High School Chamber Music Choir, and the All City Choir under the direction of her mentor, Johnnie Land (who later became the owner of Josephine's Restaurant in San Francisco). Among her peers within that choir were Calvin Simmons, Bianca (Lady Bianca) Thornton, Martha Wash, and Billie Street, and affiliate Victor Willis.
Cherrie continued to expand her knowledge and skill as a performer after her acceptance and sponsorship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During these college years she traveled on the road as part of Quint Harris and the Mastermind Band, later singing and recording a single, "Stop Telling Me Lies," with the group.
In 1980's Cherrie founded "Domestics Unlimited, a company offering various maid, nanny, nursing and cooking services for the general public and the elderly. Her list included (among others) clients such as Whoopie Goldberg; geologist Dr. Gordon Oakshott; Girl Scout Council Executive Nancy Berg, the Oakland Soul Beat Network, as well as County In Home Supportive Services, and this successful endeavor was featured as a cover story in the East Bay Express newspaper. But even while developing her entrepreneurship, Cherrie continued performing and developing her artistic craft and extending her experience on the night club circuit (as noted in the Oakland Tribune article by Perry Phillips), and as a member of the "Source of Light Band" with Bay Area talent such as Gregory Joe Bledsoe and Jessie Lane. In 2004 or 2005, while I was still working at the "Magic Spot" and attending a community college to brush up on some courses, I came across a picture of an old country house in a magazine that sparked a long dormant memory of the house that my grandmother, Mama Susie, had lived in, and where I had childhood visits and frequent stay-overs, growing up into adulthood. Before I ever knew about the resurfacing of "The Old House," I felt compelled to paint that memory of some long ago years - - the place where I had so much fun and learned so much. Who would have known that the house where I received such comfort and warmth from my inspirational grandmother was the "Overseer's House" dated circa 1870. The house rested in the shade of low hanging trees that kept it dark and cool. But perhaps the shades of yesteryear were what created the shadowy night images I remember. Today, that same house has been refurbished and is called the "Overseer's House," and was relocated to Magnolia Mound Plantation Museum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
I can now see how much the close ties I shared with Mama Susie in "The Old House" influenced and strengthened my artistic talents, for she, too, was a folk artist.
Further memoirs coming.
oil painting dormant memory
The Old House moved from Vermont St. to the museum