GirlTrek, Critical Joy Interview on AfroBeat Radio

I am pleased to have produced  the interview with GirlTrek Founders T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison with AfroBeat Radio Host, Wuyi Jacobs as part of the Critical Joy Series.  GirlTrek aims to have Black women walkers “1 Million strong by 2020.”

 

 

https://anchor.fm/afrobeatradio/embed/episodes/GirlTrek—inspiring-one-million-African-American-women–girls-to-develop-a-daily-habit-of-walking-e2l60c

Continue reading “GirlTrek, Critical Joy Interview on AfroBeat Radio”

Workshop Today! Critical Joy/Ecstatic Reasoning (CJ/ER)

September 19, 2018        Critical Joy/Ecstatic Reasoning (CJ/ER) – Blackness Protracted Workshop

AfroBeat Radio at BROOKLYN COMMONS, 388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, BETWEEN BOND & HOYT STREETS, BROOKLYN, NY 11217

REGISTER at the door.  More Information: HERE

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Though embodied practices that center on African Diasporic (Black) body technologies of reasoning in and through ecstatic joy, CJ/ER workshop is an exploration and examination of critical joy that is embodied and thereby potentially resurrective.   In CJ/ER workshop the body’s abilities are directed to manufacture (real and/or imagined) spaces/place for reconstruction, reconfiguration, and realignment of self-to-self, self-to-community, and self-to-divine.  CJ/ER workshop participants will be guided through techniques and experience processes for igniting Critical Joy/Ecstatic Reasoning into daily life, and discovery and re/imagine inner embodied resources for navigating through and making sense of life in a problematic world.

When:  8:30 – 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Where: BROOKLYN COMMONS, 388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, BETWEEN BOND & HOYT STREETS, NYC 11217
REGISTER at the door.  More information HERE

RESPECT!!!

Rest in Peace….

Reload Moment: The Making of Carmen Montana

Some years ago (no need to mention how many), I began a journey with the explicit translation of  text to movement/dance.  If I am being honest, my choreographic process, for as far back as I can remember, always began with the translation of the images in my head and/or sensations in my body to text.  I would then, through numerous studio sessions, translate the text to movement/dance and in the process sculpt out the essence of a story.  It is for this reason, I have journal loads of choreo-text, some became fully realized dance works, while others await their dance life.

My collaboration with Joanne Kilgour Dowdy began in the latter years of  the 1990s  when we were both based at Georgia State University.  In that first collaboration we translated  her PhD dissertation to dance.  During subsequent years we collaborated on other projects,  one of which was Carmen Montana: a story of literacy on the move.   Base on the true story of an adult literacy student’s struggle to gain literacy and self actualize, the making of Carmen Montana took Dowdy and I on our own powerful journey.  On this video the then Dr. Dowdy,  now Professor of Literacy Studies School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies at Kent State University, Ohio,  interviews me about the rehearsal process of Carmen Montana: a story of literacy on the move.  

Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir – Gavin Brown’s Enterprise – May 18, 2018

Halifu Osumare in conversation with Ruthlyn Salomons,  Resident Dance Supervisor at Lion King On Broadway, former dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Mikhail Baryshnikov White Oak Dance Project, Donald Byrd/The Group and Assistant to the Choreographer of The Color Purple on Broadway.  At Gavin Brown, Osumare and Salomons discussed Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir.  

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Halifu Osumare and Ruthlyn Salomons
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Ruthlyn Salomons and Halifu Osumare

A surprise audience guest, the amazing Sylvia Waters

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Sylvia Waters and Ruthlyn Salomons

Dancing In Blackness, A Memoir – May 17th

Halifu Osumare speaks with graduate students and dance educators at The JODY -the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College of the City of New York.

Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir – May 17th 2018

Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir

20180517_150509.jpgAn amazing reunions!!

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Halifu Osumare and Ntozake Shange interviewed by Wuyi Jacobs, host of Afrobeat, on WBAI.

20180517_161645The reading at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.  Osumare read from Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir and Shange read from Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems; they then engaged in stirring conversation.

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Halifu Osumare inaugural speaker at The Jody, the new dance research center at Hunter College,   Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the Tour – Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir

DSC_0339_SittingSmile (3)In early March, I took on the task of organizing the NYC tour and launch of Professor Halifu Osumare’s newest book, Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir.  It is now two week to the opening event on May 17th, 2018 from 3:00 – 5:00 at the  Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter , where Halifu Osumare will be join by her lifelong friend Ntozake Shange.

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The authors will read from their newest publications, Shange released Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poem in late 2017, and enter into conversation about the intersections of their lives and careers, highlighting  ways in which dance nurture and fortify them as artist, activists, and educators. Come join Osumare and Shange on this first stop of Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir book tour!  Reservations are highly recommended.  Click HERE to make your reservation.

But if you cannot make it…

Join Osumare on May 18, 2018 at 6:30 at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise,  Harlem location – 439 west 127 Street.  Osumare will read from Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir surrounded by Arthur Jaffe”s exhibit AIR ABOVE MOUNTAINS, UNKNOWN PLEASURES – 

GavinBrown_NYC_Dancing in Blackness_ in which Jaffe “expansively extends his exploration of ontological Blacknuss* as a generative and pluripontantial phenomenon—one capable of addressing the social stresses weight, fissures and breaks of being Black—and concomitantly, Black Being and Thingification—in the world” Greg Tate, 2017.

Osumare’s  Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir  reading will engage visual arts and dance as co-collaborators in the making  and deployment of blackness as an audacious response to experiences of living-while-black in contemporary western spaces.   Make your reservation at RSVP@GavinBrown.Biz, or call  212/627-5258 

But, if you cannot make it to this event …

Join Osumare on May 21, 2018  in Brooklyn at Greenlight Bookstore, 632 Flatbush AveBrooklynNY 11225 location.  Co-hosted by Urban Bush Women, Osumare will read from Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir  and enter into conversation with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, GreenLight1_NYC_Dancing in Blackness_TourFounding Artistic Director and Chief Visioning Officer of Urban Bush Women. Osumare and Zollar’s conversaton will highlight dance as a tool for community building and social justice.  Reserve your seat through the following  Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2476394135919639/ 

 

Reward yourself... Make it to one of more stops on Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir  NYC Book Tour!!  You will get sustainable fuel for living a dance inspired life, and tools to build the better world many persons of goodwill truly seek.

 

Liberty?: “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”

Words that resonates at true today as in the 1800s.  Thank you Frederick Douglass: “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory…. 

…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? 

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.” 

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.ÑThe rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people! 

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.” 

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America.is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery Ñ the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just. 

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, “It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, an denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed.” But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man! 

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men! 

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Amercans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him. 

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their mastcrs? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply. 

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed. 

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. 

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour. 

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival…. 

…Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. — Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other. 

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. ‘Ethiopia, shall, stretch. out her hand unto Ood.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it: 

God speed the year of jubilee 
The wide world o’er! 
When from their galling chains set free, 
Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee, 
And wear the yoke of tyranny 
Like brutes no more. 
That year will come, and freedom’s reign, 
To man his plundered rights again 
Restore. 

God speed the day when human blood 
Shall cease to flow! 
In every clime be understood, 
The claims of human brotherhood, 
And each return for evil, good, 
Not blow for blow; 
That day will come all feuds to end, 
And change into a faithful friend 
Each foe. 

God speed the hour, the glorious hour, 
When none on earth 
Shall exercise a lordly power, 
Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower; 
But to all manhood’s stature tower, 
By equal birth! 
That hour will come, to each, to all, 
And from his Prison-house, to thrall 
Go forth. 

Until that year, day, hour, arrive, 
With head, and heart, and hand I’ll strive, 
To break the rod, and rend the gyve, 
The spoiler of his prey deprive — 
So witness Heaven! 
And never from my chosen post, 
Whate’er the peril or the cost, 
Be driven. 

The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, Volume II
Pre-Civil War Decade 1850-1860
Philip S. Foner
International Publishers Co., Inc., New York, 1950