Local performers join Grammy nominated rapper Rapsody for "In Her Voice" community concert

Rapsody, a three-time Grammy nominated rapper, will headline the third annual “In Her Voice” concert later this month at Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine. The concert is free and is presented by Queens Village and Cradle Cincinnati, Cincinnati organizations that are working to reduce the infant mortality rate in the region, particularly among Black women.

In Her Voice” is focused on centering Black women on stage, as well as in every aspect of transforming our community,” said Jori An Cotton, an artist and Queens Village advisory board member. “This concert is a time for everyone to come together in joy and resistance as we celebrate Black women’s power to shift the narrative and persistent disparities in infant and maternal health.”

Rapsody’s second album, “Laila’s Wisdom,” released in 2017, received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song. The album was her first for Jay-Z’s record label, Roc Nation. Her most recent studio album, “Eve,” released in 2019, is a celebration of Black female culture, with each song titled after a Black woman, including Serena Williams, Michelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey.

She will be joined by local performers and poets SiobhanTiger GoodsFortune The Queen, Kathy Y. Wilson, DJ Apryl ReignDJ Queen CelineMC Jori An Cotton and the Elementz Youth Poets.

This year’s concert comes on the heels of Cradle Cincinnati’s announcement of the lowest overall infant mortality rate on record in Hamilton County in 2021. The overall infant death rate in the county fell to a new low in 2021 – 6.4 deaths per 1,000 births, a dramatic decline from a rate of nearly 11 per thousand in 2007, and a 13% decrease from 2020.

However, in 2021, black babies in Hamilton County were still nearly five times more likely to die before their first birthdays than white babies. The death rate among Black infants actually worsened in 2021, even as the death rate among white babies decreased.

“Hamilton County celebrated its lowest infant mortality rate, preterm births continued to decrease, and breastfeeding rates increased,” says Dr. Meredith Shockley-Smith, Cradle Cincinnati’s executive director. “But we still have work to do in order to sustainably reduce disparities.”

Queens Village is a community outreach initiative of Cradle Cincinnati, meant to be a way for Black women to gather, share stories, get information, and find support and empowerment so they can feel better about themselves and their lives.

“In Her Voice” will be held Saturday, Sept. 23 from 6 P.M. to 10:30 P.M. in Washington Park. The park opens at 5 P.M. All ages are welcome. General admission is free. VIP tickets are $12 each. Tickets can be reserved at https://inhervoice22.eventbrite.com.
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David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.