On every stage, Linqua Franqa’s Mariah Parker tells it like it is

Mariah Parker, who records and performs under the name Linqua Franqa, will appear at this year's AthFest.

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Mariah Parker, who records and performs under the name Linqua Franqa, will appear at this year's AthFest.

Athens-based rapper, linguist, activist, parent and politician Mariah Parker was a major highlight of the recent documentary “Athens, Georgia – Inside/Out 2″ and is sure to be one of the must-see events at AthFest. Performing as Linqua Franqa, the multi-talented artist, who prefers they/them pronouns, uses words as a vehicle for change. Their new album “Bellringer” was released in April and the hip-hop/neo-soul collection directly addresses some of today’s toughest issues. Parker is a prominent voice of progress in music as well as through their work as an Athens-Clarke County Commissioner.

Parker earned their Master’s in linguistics at the University of Georgia 2017 and recently completed their PhD in Language and Literacy education. As a student, Parker studied Sociolinguistics and African American Vernacular English. Parker adds that studying phonetics, syntax and morphology has informed their songwriting as well. “When I sit down to write, a lot of that knowledge sort of pours out on the page.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Mariah Parker, who records and performs under the name Linqua Franqa, will appear at this year's AthFest.

Credit: Stacey Piotrowski

Mariah Parker, who records and performs under the name Linqua Franqa, will appear at this year's AthFest.

Credit: Stacey Piotrowski

Combined ShapeCaption
Mariah Parker, who records and performs under the name Linqua Franqa, will appear at this year's AthFest.

Credit: Stacey Piotrowski

Credit: Stacey Piotrowski

The multi-hyphenate linguist has a lot to say on nearly every subject imaginable.

On Athens:

“Picture a cutting board covered with onions and carrots and some chicken and some parsley and a can of broth sitting on the side. Athens has all the ingredients for something delicious. And a lot of cooks in the kitchen trying to collaborate. I love Athens because we have everything we need to make something that smells good, tastes good and break bread with a lot of people. It has a lot of opportunity to make that into something delicious.”

On AthFest:

“Athfest is when the meal gets served. You get a little bit of all the ingredients together to finally taste after a long time of cooking throughout the year. I am so excited to finally get to see what everyone has been cooking. I think during the pandemic, we have found new forms of community. I have a lot of friends that I haven’t gotten to see perform in a long time and who I know have been working on something truly magical.”

On Art:

“As organizer and activist and politician, as well as an artist, I see art as kind of the snake that eats his own tail. You need celebration and you need joy and beauty in order to keep fighting. I think art provides the people those moments of relief, those moments of humanity and community. But art is a form of resistance in and of itself, in a world where we’re grinded in 9 to 5, where we’re underpaid and overworked, where we’re fighting to pay the rent in the housing market where the rents keep going up and up. To fight back and say, ‘We are human. We are people with dreams and struggles and failings and triumph.’ We create, using art as a space to insist that is actually part of the fight itself. It’s a celebration to heal us from the fight, but then it’s also the fight.”

Linqua Franqa performs at 11:30 p.m. June 24. $15-$80. Georgia Theatre, 215 N Lumpkin St., Athens. georgiatheatre.com.