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.
My interest is in the lives and life stories of African Diaspora women, with particular attention to expressions/articulations of identity and belonging. Michaela DePrince is an extraordinary artist and survivor of war. Please share your thoughts on the May 2017 interview.
My interest is in the lives and life stories of African Diaspora women (particularly those in the arts), highlighting expressed articulations of identity and belonging. Llanchie Stevenson was a pioneer African Diaspora dancer in Ballet. Her conversion journey changed her path and transformed her life. Her story is powerful, riveting, and more. Please share your thoughts please.
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’
‘Love and Its Public Significance – Questions and Challenges for Theology’
‘Migration and Constructed Identities – A Theological Engagement’
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:
- 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.