“My friends were all misfits; a huge gang of commercially unattractive beautiful misfits.”
What does it mean to use the Black body as a methodological and analytical tool for examining historical and contemporary issues?
“Edisa Weeks is a choreographer, educator, videographer, and director of DELIRIOUS DANCES, which merges theater with dance to explore the beauty and complexity of life. In her work she seeks to create intimate environments in which to experience and interact with contemporary dance. The New York Times described Weeks’ work as having “A lot of imagination and a gift for simple but striking visual effects.””
What questions are Black Dancers/Dance-Makers asking? How do Black Dancer/Dance-Makers articulate their lives and experiences of Being Black in the twenty-first century? What is essential/important to bring into public conversation? Which publics are imagined? What is the role of history, future imagining, and/or present experimentation?
“Community engagement: I love and despise that language as a way of describing something that I do as my work and the way that I walk and live in the world. There is no way for me to compartmentalize art-making and my family-hood, my womanhood and my motherhood; I not only refuse to compartmentalize that but I demand that they impact one another….” Marjani Forté-Saunders 2018.
From her 2018 Thirty Days of Thanks email journey to the publication in 2020, Dr. Melissa Barber is transforming lives, offering hope, kindness, and wisdom while she advocates for those in great need.
Day 2, Reading by Fabian Engelbertz
Day 30, Reading by Dr. Melissa Barber
“My focus to some degree is autobiographical, thinking about certain desires and freedoms I wished for myself growing up in Georgia, in nature and the landscape of the South in general, places that can be, on the outside, inviting, but have a complex history where folk that look like me feel rejected,” Mr. Mitchell said. His practice functions as a kind of corrective. Nearly every image in “I Can Make You Feel Good” is set outdoors, a gambit of visibility and a declaration of fearlessness.” Read more HERE.
In the midst of dual pandemics and ongoing BLM uprisings Dr. Melissa Barber has published Thirty Days of Thanks – Journey Towards Healing and Deliverance, now live and available in the Kindle store (ASIN B08C2QDL6L). The paperback version (ISBN: 9798646708770) is “in review” and is available at Amazon.
“Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true” Nikole Hannah-Jones, THE 1619 PROJECT.
Since the inception of what would become the United States, this landscape has been soaked with the blood, breath, and spirt of persons viewed as ‘Other’ in the eyes of immigrants who would come to identify themselves as White. In the process of becoming White, collections of disparate Europeans used language to deceive and corrupt their way into power. From broken treaties with the land’s indigenous communities to esteemed documents declaring and supporting these United States as a nation, language has been used to twist and corrupt the human spirit of its members and destroy the lives of those they are hellbent on oppressing. As Nikole Hanna-Jones eloquently points out, it is the group of racialized people who would become know as Black American whose lives, blood, bodies, and audacious hope fertilized the soil of this nation and made the United States a democracy.
As more and more private and public institutions release impassioned anti-discrimination/anti-racist/pro-diversity statement to their communities, all the while aware that these statements will be disseminated to publics beyond their institution, the air thickens with the duplicity. I am not the only one to suspect (know) that these statements are thinly veiled emotional marketing strategies, ritual performances of whiteness and white ideology that cloak language in order to continue the rape and murder of Black bodies and the human spirit. The bringing of truth to the rhetorical deceptions cultivated in this moment will become another burden for current and future generations of vulnerable bodies. I would personally like it to stop!! Keep your statements, save the ink and paper and electronic space they are written on/in. If there is truly good will, get about the crafting of policies and laws within and outside your institutions, change your institutions NOW, not some day. Hold your people (all of them regardless of seniority) accountable to the future world of equity and justice that this present moment is laboring for and pushing to bring into life. In short, get to the work of doing THE work.
From Dr. Melissa Barber:
People seek justice and support liberation in many different ways. All contributions are valid and valued.
Let’s celebrate the varied ways we can engage by using our voices, bodies, and imaginations as families and a community!
Below are some ideas and options for safe family friendly activities right in our own homes, blocks and neighborhood in direct response to ongoing profiling and harassment of people of color, and the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many more before them.
Choose what resonates and feels right for you! Feel free to share additional ideas and plans! We are stronger together!
Let’s stand up to extreme injustice and be a force for change with our families!
SIDEWALK CHALK ART:
Friday, June 5 8am-8pm
Create bold, expressive, artful messaging for everyone who walks by. What do you want them to know and do right now? What kind of change do you want to see in the world? We will gather participant’s addresses via text, and send out a list – pack up your chalk and go leave a note, some art or message for your neighbors!To participate:1. RSVP “Going” on FB event page2. Text “Chalk + (your address)” to 917-355-1983(“chalk 408 East 136th”)
More info on the Facebook Event Page:
If leaving the house for a gathering doesn’t work for your family, but you still want to participate in a protest with your family – Make mini-protest signs with tape and small pieces of paper. Grab your stuffed animals, action figures, and dolls and give them their own voice about what needs to change.
Create art if it feels right, you may incorporate the following words that resonate with this moment (or simply use them for inspiration):
POWER * JUSTICE * UNITY * CIRCLE * LISTEN * STAND * HEAL * RESPECT
Light a candle (or several) for the Black and Brown lives impacted and lost to the pandemic, to racism, and to White supremacist ideology.
SAY THEIR NAMES:
George Floyd, David McAtee, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed
Nina Pop, Charleena Lyles, Atatiana Jefferson, Clare Legato, Dominique Clayton, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, Eric Reason, Natasha McKenna, Bettie Jones, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown
Each one of these people belonged to their own loved ones, their own families, their own communities. Design their names in chalk, in a notebook, on a T-shirt, with a paintbrush. Let the world know that their lives mattered.
SUPPORT BLACK BUSINESSES:
It would be wonderful to start a list of local black owned businesses that we could support! Let us know if you have any to add to the list!