INTACTIVIST OF THE MONTH: Audra "Ms. Blu" Berger
One of Intact America's greatest strengths is the diverse and supportive intactivist community. Our "Intactivist of the Month" series highlights some of the most ardent opponents of infant and childhood circumcision, whose tireless efforts will ensure a future where all babies are kept intact.
AUGUST 2016: Our Intactivist of the Month for August is singer, songwriter and storyteller Audra "Ms. Blu" Berger, who brought a special brand of soul to the Intact America float at the 2016 NYC Pride march.
Raised in Peoria, Illinois, Audra made her singing debut at the age of 12. When she was 18, she opened for Marvin Gaye at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Since then, she has continued to perform — mostly in New York City (watch her here singing "Rainy Night in Georgia" last winter at the Zinc Bar) — and to write songs about her personal journey as an artist and about her political passions. "Throughout my life and career," Audra says, "I've never stopped believing in the power of Music, Lyrics and Love to make the world a better place."
Audra continues, "Growing up in Peoria in the 1950's was hard for a little, dark-skinned "Negro" girl like me. We lived in a neighborhood with only a few African-Americans. Children at the grade school I attended were mostly from poor White or wealthy Jewish families. I was made to feel ashamed of the color of my skin by both White and Black. Later, when my family moved "downtown" and I saw the local NAACP demonstrators — Black and White — singing and going to jail for the right of African-Americans to be Black, proud, and gainfully employed, I knew I had found my people and myself. I got deeply involved and started to lead freedom songs like, "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round", "We Shall Not Be Moved" and "We Shall Overcome."
In 1963, she went to D.C. for the iconic March on Washington. "I will never forget that day. I kept singing the freedom songs on the bus and was so happy and free! When we got to Washington, I remember it was early and the sun had not come up yet. It seemed like I just "blinked" and when I opened my eyes, people of every color and race and religion were all around me. It changed my life in the best sense. Forever!"
Audra first heard about Intact America from David Grant, awesome volunteer organizer of the annual intactivist presence in NYC Pride. "When David spoke with all his love and passion about the injustice inflicted on baby boys in this country, and told me about what Intact America is doing to end that injustice, my heart said YES! I was born dark brown, perfect and beautiful with no need to be ashamed or change a thing! So it is with the bodies of all babies and children and the adults they'll become."
"Ms Blu brought stunning visual and musical dimensions to our New York City Pride float this year," says Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America. "From her perch high above the crowds, with her gorgeous blue looks, sexy shout-outs, and foreskin-friendly improvs, she was a force felt by hundreds of thousands of people from Fifth Avenue all the way to Greenwich Village. Big favorites were her blue enhancements to Marky Mark's Good Vibrations ("foreskin — it's a great sensation!") and Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back (We're Intact America, and we're bringing the FORESKIN back!"). She transformed Donna Summer's Hot Stuff into "Lookin for some foreskin, baby, this evening." And, to the tune of "O-o-h Child," she sang a special tribute "Jonathon Conte, we will see your dream through."
Audra Ms. Blu will be back next year, and "for as long as it takes to assure all Americans the rights to an intact body."
"The Universe is guiding Intact America to a position of strength," says our August Intactivist of the Month. "It's time for doctors, politicians, the uninformed, and religious leaders to stop trying to circumcise America! 'We the People' are all perfectly whole."
Visit our Intactivist of the Month Archive page to read about previous intactivists we've highlighted.