Four Women is a piece composed for four women in honor of four women. The title and structure coming from Nina Simone’s famous composition, each movement of this work is a portrait of a woman who has made significant contributions to the world. Queen Nzinga (1583-1633) of the Mbundu people of present day Angola, central Afrika, successfully led her people in a 30 year war against Portuguese colonization showcasing both her military prowess and high-stakes diplomacy. Ida B. Wells Barnett 1862-1931) was a woman who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to become a force for justice leading the anti-lynching movement and the fight for women’s rights. Angela Davis (1944- ) came to prominence during the civil rights movement as a symbol of Black Power. She stood up to then governor Ronald Reagan, and has tirelessly fought for Human rights around the world, as a scholar, activist, author and lecture. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977- ) is a Nigerian born best-selling author and lecturer and self-proclaimed feminist who argues that we spend too much time teaching girls and boys gender-specific behaviors and attitudes as opposed to focusing and encouraging their actual humanity and innate abilities that would allow them to add value to the communities they belong to regardless of gender identity.
Four Women Film Project
“In spite of the years of being marginalized and abused, here are examples of four women from Afrika who not only prevailed but changed things. We selected four, but there are countless numbers of women just like them who fight every day and don’t get the same praise. The simple truth is, we would not be here without them and without the activism, engagement, love, nurturing, and the strength of Black women.” - Dr. Mark Lomax, II
Composer, drummer, activist, and educator Dr. Mark Lomax, II has created Four Women, a multidimensional new work featuring a score composed by Lomax and performances by members of UCelli: The Columbus Cello Quartet. Four Women is presented as an hour-long documentary commissioned by the Johnstone Fund for New Music for the benefit of, and to honor, Urban Strings Columbus, a nonprofit performing youth string orchestra founded by Catherine Willis in 2007 to recruit and support underserved minority youth in Central Ohio. Full film available on February 1, 2021
This 90-page full color digital curriculum guide contains historical overviews, definitions, discussion questions, and over 100 scholarly references that encourages high school and college learners to think critically about Afrikan history through an alternative lens in completing both independent research projects and lesson plans developed by educators.
Dr. Lomax ambitiously tells the story of Black America over the course of a 12-album cycle to be released in 2019. 400: An Afrikan Epic is divided into thirds and explores thousands of years of the history that is pre-colonial Afrika, the Ma’afa (the 400 years between 1619 and 2019), and Afro-futurism expressing a vision of what Blacks in America will heal toward in the next 400 years; a healthy, high functioning, and united block of the African diaspora.
Four Women is a four-movement work performed by four female virtuoso cellists in honor of four women who made significant contributions to our world:
Queen Nzinga (1583-1633) of the Mbundu people (present-day Angola) successfully led her people in a 30-year war against Portuguese colonization by showcasing her military prowess and high-stakes diplomacy.
Ida B. Wells Barnett (1862-1931) overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to become a force for justice by leading the anti-lynching movement and the fight for women’s rights.
Angela Davis (1944- ) came to prominence during the civil rights movement as a symbol of Black Power. She is a scholar, activist, author, and lecturer who has fought tirelessly for human rights around the world.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977- ) asserts that we spend too much time teaching children gender-specific behaviors and attitudes. The Nigerian-born author, lecturer, and self-proclaimed feminist advocates non-gender-specific humane, innate abilities that enable people to enrich their communities.
“These women represent a greater story of the contributions Black women have made to societies across the world throughout history,” said Lomax. “I chose four that exemplify womanism in a way that was unapologetic, and frankly, bad-ass. They made their mark on the world because they refused to be anything other than who they are. Their stories need to be told, and this composition celebrates examples of the power that derives from the most authentic expression of Humanity.”
Lomax, along with Zoe and Jack Johnstone from the Johnstone Fund for New Music, hope to make Four Women accessible to students of all ages and to anyone who wishes to experience this unique interpretation of history, music, and art.
Four Women was born from Lomax’s historic work, 400: Afrikan Epic, a 12-album cycle with more than eight hours of music exploring thousands of years of Black history, including pre-colonial Afrika, the Ma’afa (the 400 years between 1619 and 2019), and Afro-futurism (an expression of what Blacks in America will heal toward in the next 400 years). Its title and structure were inspired by Nina Simone’s composition Four Women (1966).