D UNDERBELLY derives its name from the ‘underbelly’ of a slave ship; excavating the legacies that surface from the depths of our cultural experiences.

D UNDERBELLY seeks to act as a catalyst for shifting perceptions; demystifying racism and recognizing the underlying contributions indigenous people from the Latin, Asia, Native and African diaspora have made to this new world culture.
An underground interdisciplinary network of artists of color,  D UNDERBELLY emerged circa 1996/7, initially as a performative forum for exploring the multi-layered dimensions of culture as it relates to societal notions of “blackness”. Invested in interdisciplinary experimentation through the excavation of ‘new work’ and communal exchange, D UNDERBELLY rigorously explores the ever-fluid relationship between music and movement; weaving text, multimedia elements and environmental configurations in order to encapsulate the complexities of the diaspora. Moving onto Brooklyn, Ny and cultivating connections in Chicago, Austin Tx, northern California and internationally, this network continues to evolve; embracing & interrelating with Latin, Asian and Native/Indigenous traditions and forms. This hybrid is rooted in the theatrical jazz aesthetic carried forward by theater artist & collaborator Sharon Bridgforth, Dr Omi Osun Joni L. Jones along with other acclaimed artists including Laurie Carlos, Helga Davis, Daniel Alexander Jones and Marlies Yearby.
At the CORE of this network currently are artists:
Barak adé Soleil
Francine Sheffield
PROJECTS include:
Out of Africa & Beyond
Un-slave diaries
Basking in Negritude
Vive La Intersections
Revolutionary Acts
Non Je Regrette Rien
Receding ’emories
Koool-aid Luv Odyssey
N This Hous
First Dark Drama
Childr’n of “O”
S’Kin Deep
Studies N Black
Live Deep N Flow
Water Moves the Soul
UN- rendered
ARTISTS within the network of D UNDERBELLY; those who have been a part of the development of a project since its inception in 1996/7*
Stefania Strowder
Christal N. Brown
Leean Johnson
Chanon Judson
Daniel Marcellus Givens
André Austvoll
Manelich Minnifee
Geoff Albores
e.g. bailey
Gin Hammond
Cheles Rhynes
Ceci Lewis
Bernard Brown
Stephan Reynolds
Penelope McCourty
Margaret Morris
Usry Alleyne
Leann Johnson
Rachel Bernsen
Chelsea Gregory
Sonja Parks
Monstah Black
Laurie Carlos
Rafael Sanchez
Nikki Patin
Sha Cage
Douglas Ewart
Signe Harriday
Akil Davis
Joe Wilson
Chevon Stewart
Aole T. Miller
Christa Bell
Shawn Odoms
Gesel Mason
Mameri Blue
Valerie McCleod-Katz
Nicole Mitchell
Jada Odom
Sunder Ashni
Sharon Bridgforth
Natasha Diamond Walker
Aixa Kendrick
Anitrice Anderson
Delano Jean-Pierre
Matt Morgan
Yaa Asantewaa
Channie Waites
Sandra Jean Gaillard
Mutale Kanyatta
Sojourner Wright
Awilda Rodriguez-Lora

From 1996 – 2010 D UNDERBELLY’s projects have been informed by this notion of liquid legacies:
the passing on of traditions through the body
the passing down of ancestral memories
the body becomes the container for this information
the body fills with the pain of slavery, the passion of love,
the struggles of the human spirit, the labor of identity
this passing on is liquid, thick, porous,
moving into the core of our muscles
utterly still and yet cascading over our hearts into the depths of our being
resounding in our inner ear made vocal through outer words
igniting our souls with legacies we know
legacies we don’t want to know
legacies we take on
D UNDERBELLY is an urban rite of RE-remembering:

a rite of embodying the dignity of a people
the memory of a nation
like song it propels us into states of ecstasy and fear
empowering us to truly bask
in the multiplicity of colors, emotions and
that have permeated our culture
these legacies are liquid because they continue
to flow through us
around us
up and down our spine
titillating our minds with thoughts of



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