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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emanuel AME Church: Somatic Conversation: Christianity, Love, Justice

Here is the thing, I have been living in Charleston for the since  November 2014, though I have admittedly not spent much time on the ground. I am scholar of dance, religion, and performance, with particular focus on African Diaspora religious and cultural expressions.   Between frequent trips to Europe and home to Jamaica I have not spent much physical time in Charleston.  My most concentrated time has been the past three months.  In this time I have learned to love the weather and begun to get some glimmer of understanding of the culture.   Outside a regular schedule in the dance studio, I spend most of my time at the library at the College of Charleston or at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, working to bring closure to several research projects.

I regularly walk pass Emanuel AME Church. This is the church where nine worshippers lost their lives; it is on my way to and from the store I most frequently get my groceries.   Since waking Thursday morning to news of the massacre at Emanuel AME Church I have been at a loss for words.   I have walked the city, attended a few gatherings, and in non-reflective contemplative moments, moments when I think that something I would say, could say, would do something positive, try to think of something to say/write.   Quite frankly, I have no words….   What I share is this short video and a few photos of outside Emanuel AME Church THIS First Sunday morning.

IMG_20150621_101733A First Father’s Day without ‘Officially the Best DAD’

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Bent but not Broken

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Hearts walking in Love from many faiths

October 2014

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October 2014
Delivering lectures and conducting seminars/workshops (see titles below) for the Anthropos Group and the Centre for Liberation Theology at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

Workshop 1 and 2
‘Body Matters: Somatic Conversations on Christianity, Love, and Justice’
Lecture/Workshop 1
‘Love and Its Public Significance – Questions and Challenges for Theology’
Lecture/Workshop 2
‘Migration and Constructed Identities – A Theological Engagement’

Building Community

The womanist concept of Regardless, appropriated from Alice Walker’s initial womanist definition, is important to thinking through notions of new community building in which oppression and exploitation are part of the history and identity of those involved in this process. In point three of her four-point definition of womanist, Walker (1967 p. 1) implicates Love (capitalized to point to its political, religious and commonplace deployment), the creative imagination, and Regardless (also capitalized and italicized) in an endless and audacious network. Regardless in Walker’s usage stands alone as a sentence on its own after a consecutive series of two and three word sentences explicating the object of womanist Love:

  1. Loves music. Loves dance. Love the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Love struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless. (p. 1)

Regardless is an essential partner to Love of the creative, of creation, Love of family and community (folk) and Love of self: Regardless. This notion of Regardless allows for thinking through and about survival from difficult histories and memories in a manner that is not laden with victim-ology, but articulated journeys of survival filled with dignity that demands Love towards one’s self. To Love Regardless is to accept all the broken, torn, and bruised pieces of one’s self and one’s history and nonetheless choose Love. Regardless empowers bent and broken persons to engage in loving acts without question and without conditionality. Regardless allow spaces for those caught up in webs of oppression and exploitation to find the courage to give and accept Love. Critical reflexivity, ethics and spirituality are core to womanist thought and theologies, and work to address structures of oppression without leading to additional displacement of the oppressed. In this context, the notion of Regardless methodologically points to alternative modes and lenses for locating, analysing, and negotiating power and oppression.

The building of new communities in which each body (in its physical materiality, historical fleshiness, somatic legacies and future imaginings) is valuable and valued requires the coming together of bodies in conversation about bodies, the body of individuals, the body of histories, the body of communities, the Body of Christ, and engagement with Regardless.