an Open Dances honoring legendary Women: Nina Simone

Honoring  Women’s History Month, we will be creating dance as part of the Open Dances series; drawing upon the iconic imagery within legendary artist Nina Simone’s  acclaimed song Four Women.

10995948_10153180427068573_372520825934980103_n

My skin is black
My arms are long
My hair is woolly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
inflicted again and again
What do they call me
My name is AUNT SARAH
My name is Aunt Sarah

My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
What do they call me
My name is SAFFRONIA
My name is Saffronia

My skin is tan
My hair is fine
My hips invite you
my mouth like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Anyone who has money to buy
What do they call me
My name is SWEET THING
My name is Sweet Thing

My skin is brown
my manner is tough
I’ll kill the first mother I see
my life has been too rough
I’m awfully bitter these days
because my parents were slaves
What do they call me
My name is PEACHES

 

Open Dances will occur on the south side at Rebuild Foundation’s Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative studio

Saturday, March 26th from 1pm – 3pm.

Open Dances is free and open to the public.  This event will be videotaped.

Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative is wheelchair accessible. With respect to other participants, please refrain from wearing scented products. Real time Captioning (CART) will be provided.

This particular Open Dances is supported in part through Bodies of Work, 3Arts  and University of Illinois Chicago’s Department of Disability and Human Development Institute on Disability and Human Development.

 

 

 

meeting of creative minds.

seated l to r: Arna Bontemps, Paul Robeson, Canada Lee & Langston Hughes, 1946
seated left to right: Arna Bontemps, Paul Robeson, Canada Lee & Langston Hughes, circa 1946

Notes on the image: “Langston Hughes meets with Paul Robeson, Canada Lee, and Arna Bontemps about the Maxine Wood play, “On Whitman Avenue” in 1946. The play was about a Black World War II veteran who encountered racist opposition when he and his family moved into a White neighborhood. Mr. Lee produced and starred in the play which ran for 148 performances. This photo is from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the New York Public Library. Their record does not identify the gentleman on the left as Arna Bontemps (it simply says “Unidentified man”) but I am confident that it is indeed Mr. Hughes’s fellow poet and friend, Mr. Bontemps.” – #VintageBlackGlamour

#BlackIsBold #Collaboration #BlackHistoryMonth

Mr. Hughes, your roots flow infinite

your roots flow infinite

angels still sing your name

and here on earth

we carry your words in our hearts:

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
     flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln 
     went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy 
     bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
Langston Hughes
Happy B-day James Mercer Langston Hughes

 

#BlackIsBold #Roots #TheNegroSpeaksOfRivers #ForMrLangstonHughes

Water/Ocean parallel

Happenstance and parallel

Across the divide

Water, country, ocean, age

United by race

They share:

Late great aunt Christine –

We came from the water. And to the water We shall return.”

Canadian scholar & writer, Rinaldo Walcott –

I am indigenous to the oceans. My relationship is oceanic.

Living and passed

Both move the soul.

#BlackIsBold #Roots #WaterMovesTheSoul

if this day | MLK

if this day
you find me
absent-mindedly humming a freedom song or spiritual
lotion-ing my ash in broad daylight
arriving late to see Selma again
wanting to shout every time i see a woman like my motha get struck down
re-tweeting MLK images, quotes and march events non-stop
wondering out-loud if i am brave enough
randomly calling on people to discuss what’s next
creatively and
in the movement

kindly

let. me. be.

‪#‎ReclaimMLKDay‬ ‪#‎BlackIsBold‬ #MLKDay2015

“the poetics of Empire”: a series of tweets

“the poetics of Empire” +

f#‎Tarajihenson‬ expressing her love of faggots in ‪#‎Empire‬

#Tarajihenson claiming James Brown lineage in #Empire

#‎Terrencehoward‬ cappin instead of rappin in #Empire

Dark shades and shady matters in #Empire

Something’s going down in #Empire

Monsters and geniuses, princes of America and gays in #Empire

Even a building is a B$tch in #Empire

#Tarajihenson calling people sissies in #Empire

#Tarajihenson advising against selling donuts and cookies in #Empire

Sons trying to be good enough in #Empire

No one’s safe from being called a B$tch in #Empire

Everybody is a rap song, r&b singer or medley in #Empire

#Tarajihenson knows thangs in #Empire

#Tarajihenson offering words of wisdom on white girls/women in #Empire

#Tarajihenson tipping and gun slinging in #Empire

Pill popping and butt slapping in #Empire

Oh ‪#‎Sidibe‬ faking preop in #Empire.

‪#‎notsopc‬ in #Empire

#Terrencehoward telling his queer son to take that “bass” out of his voice in #Empire

#Terrencehoward telling his queer son that it’s a choice in #Empire

Chains chains and bigger gold chains in #Empire

#Tarajihenson called a B by her “son” and oh, psychotic in #Empire

#Gaboureysidibe platinum blond and sassy in #Empire

#Tarajihenson feet hurting asking for #chicken in #Empire

#Tarajihenson sweated out her hair for this role. #Empire

#queerlove and #Kente in #Empire.

#Terrencehoward who did your hair? #Empire

Just peeped #KehindeWiley painting in the house of #Empire

#LeeDaniels I hope you “find your soul” in #Empire

Empire "family" from left to right: Trai Byers, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Gray
Empire “family”
Trai Byers, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Gray

#BlackIsBold

+{these are select tweets. in my original tweets, “kente” refers to mud cloth. i incorrectly spell the names of the actors Taraji P Henson , Gabourey Sidibe & Terrence Howard. they are corrected for the purposes of this blog}

Expressive Roots. Expressing Roots.

Expressive Roots

Expressing Roots.

zora
Zora Neale Hurston, writer, artist.

 

alvin ailey
Zora Neale Hurston, writer, artist.

 

For Zora. For Alvin. for those who took hold of their roots, dug deep

#BlackIsBold #Roots #ZoraNealeHurston #AlvinAiley

Three of Three For the New Year: #Roots

‪#‎Roots‬ deeper depths, expansive growth.

Tree Roots image by Paul Cannon
Tree Roots image by Paul Cannon

Excavating my roots: this is the core of why i began creating work through D UNDERBELLY.  i sought to understand culturally who i was. my blackness, my queerness. my ability. i recognize that these “roots” are rich and fertile. they are also massive and weighted. with tenderness, i will cultivate them. allow each one of them to grow deeper into the earth.  through time, effort and sustenance  –  like the tree roots vividly captured by photographer Paul Cannon – they will intertwine, reach out, and form a  strong foundation. in union with others, they will ascend and thrive.

#BlackIsBold  #ThreeWordChallenge

Two of Three For the New Year: #Bold

#Bold – more than just a hashtag, an action.

i started using the hashtag #BlackIsBold in 2014. it was just that, a hashtag. this year it’s a call to act. for me. for others. reminded of Urban Bush Women’s concept of the “warrior in your back pocket”, i found this image:

Ahosi or Mino (Dahomey Amazons)Ahosi or Mino Dahomey Amazons

“The Dahomey Amazons or Mino were an all-female military regiment of the Fon people of the Kingdom of Dahomey in the present-day Republic of Benin. They existed from the 17th century to the end of the 19th century. While European narratives refer to the women soldiers as “Amazons,” because of their similarity to the semi-mythical Amazons of ancient Anatolia, they called themselves Ahosi (king’s wives) or Mino (our mothers) in the Fon language. 

European encroachment into West Africa gained pace during the latter half of the 19th century. In 1890, King Behanzin used his Mino fighters alongside the male soldiers to battle the French forces during the First Franco-Dahomean War. The French army lost several battles to them because of the female warriors’ skill in battle.” [From Atlanta Black Star]

bold is not necessarily brash. it can be regal. it is feminine. and it is “armed and ready”. these warrior queens are just that. poised. beautiful. and not afraid. alongside others, they show their formidable skills. they inspire me to be bold.

#BlackIsBold #ThreeWordChallenge

One of Three For the New Year: #Collaboration

Striving to deepen each word into my conscience:

#Collaboration – honing the space for more truthful mutual exchange.

ShepparddeS: Baraka de Soleil and Alice Sheppard

this year, noted disabled dance artist, Alice Sheppard and i have committed to be in thoughtful collaboration.  A collaboration upholding truthful exchange. One that calls us to have respect and dignity for the body in the work and the process. Allowing each other to be fully present and empowered. We don’t call each other out; we call each other closer to the mission. A collaboration that builds community beyond ourselves and the work.

#BlackIsBold   #ThreeWordChallenge

Three of 2015: Bold, Roots, Collaboration

On this 3rd day of the new year, i’m inspired by the “three word challenge“:

“The idea is that the words you choose will go past being a simple goal and will become part of the way you identify yourself, and thus, a guiding light for your efforts.”Chris Brogan

Here’s mine for 2015: 

#‎Collaboration‬ – honing the space for more truthful mutual exchange.
‪#‎Roots‬ – deeper depths, expansive growth.
‪#‎Bold‬ – last year, just a hashtag. this year, intentional action.

More than a resolution for the new year, these three represent a movement for change.  #BlackIsBold