Black Dance Stories announces its August 2020 lineup featuring dancers and choreographers who use their work to raise societal issues, strengthen community through their programming, and use history as a source of inspiration. This month the story sharing and discussion series brings together yonTande and Meredith Rainey (Aug 6); Sydnie Mosley and Raja Feather Kelly (Aug 13); Zane Booker and Oluwadamilare “Dare” Ayorinde (Aug 20); and Leslie Parker and Wanjiru Kamuyu (Aug 27) in discussion. Black Dance Stories will also present the world premiere video of nora chipaumire’s new work—[another] township manifesto (Aug 27). The piece was created specifically for the digital platform in response to our current world environment where Black artists are finding innovative ways to continue to address the politics of Black bodies and connect to their audience. The series streams live via Zoom every Thursday in August at 6pm.
The Black Dance Stories team consists of Black creatives in the arts, including Charmaine Warren, Kimani Fowlin, Nicholas Hall, Cynthia Tate, and Gabe Dekoladenu. The series is consistent with the tradition of Black artists finding a way for their voices to be heard during turbulent times. When civil, moral, and social freedoms are challenged and at times stifled, Black artists find ways to use their talents as activism. Black Dance Stories upholds, highlights, and celebrates Black creatives.
The series launched in June 2020. Previous artists include Ayodele Casel, Stefanie Batten Bland, Jamar Roberts, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Cynthia Oliver, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris, J. Bouey, Kyle Marshall, and Okwui Okpokwasili. Each session will be archived on the Black Dance Stories YouTube page.
BAM launches DanceAfrica digitally with a series of public programs celebrating the nation’s largest African dance festival and its community. Programs launch May 18th with offerings that include conversations with Abdel R. Salaam, Rennie Harris, Ronald K. Brown, Mikki Shepard, DanceAfrica Elders, and more; online dance classes; streams of past performances; FilmAfrica; and other programs that bring the joy of the festival into audiences’ home. The popular Brooklyn bazaar goes digital for the first time in 43 years highlighting 20+ small businesses through an online marketplace, May 14—June 15.
DanceAfrica digital public programming has been specially created in response to the current world environment, with audiences seeking compelling ways to connect with their community and explore the arts from home. BAM’s longest-running and most beloved program is a community celebration, welcoming all to observe. The celebratory events will continue the series of unique digital experiences offered by Love from BAM. Visit BAM.org to join and view a weekly schedule.
May 21, 2020/Brooklyn, NY—DanceAfrica—the nation’s largest African dance festival—continues its celebration through May 29 with special Memorial Day weekend programs, including a live dance party, a conversation with Mikki Shepard, and more. Visit BAM.org to join and view a weekly schedule. Detailed information below.
Mon, May 25 at 11am ET
DanceAfrica, The Early Years
Mikki Shepard, the original producer of DanceAfrica, discusses the festival’s inaugural year and how the program grew, from 1977 to 1984, complemented by video clips from past DanceAfrica performances. Free and open to the public. JOIN HERE. For more information, visit BAM.org
Mon, May 25 from 7pm—9pm ET DanceAfrica Dance Party with DJ YB Keep the DanceAfrica celebration going with a live, virtual dance party featuring a set by DJ YB. During the dance party, DanceAfrica will encourage donations to the mutual aid group Bed Stuy Strong, a network of neighbors helping neighbors in central Brooklyn during the COVID-19 crisis. Join DJ YB for an evening of Afrobeat, funk, soul, rock, jazz, and hip-hop stylings. JOIN HERE. For more information, visit BAM.org
Tue, May 26 at 6pm ET
DanceAfrica and The Council of Elders
The DanceAfrica Council of Elder members Mamma Normadien and Baba N’goma Woolbright join Abdel R. Salaam
and Charmaine Warren to reflect on their DanceAfrica wedding ceremony (1983) as well as their participation in DanceAfrica over the years, both as Elders and as longtime stage managers. Free and open to the public. JOIN HERE. For more information, visit BAM.org
Wed, May 27 at 6pm ET
DanceAfrica and The Council of Elders
DanceAfrica Council of Elder leaders and longtime members Mamma Lynette White-Mathews and Baba Bill (William) Mathews join Arts Consultant Stefanie Hughley for a discussion on performances over the years, complemented by video clips from DanceAfrica performances in 2011 and 2019. Free and open to the public. JOIN HERE. For more information, visit BAM.org
Thu, May 28 at 6pm ET
Education and DanceAfrica
Karen Thornton Daniels, Sabine LaFortune (RestorationART), Coco Killingsworth (BAM), and Abdel R. Salaam share their experiences and insights about the essential and evolving role education has played in DanceAfrica. Free and open to the public. JOIN HERE. For more information, visit BAM.org
Fri, May 29 at 2pm ET
Bantaba West African Dance Class
Karen Thornton Daniels and Farai Malianga lead this bantaba dance class with a focus on a variety of dances and traditions from West Africa. Free and open to the public. JOIN HERE. For more information, visit BAM.org
Fri, May 29 at 6pm ET
DanceAfrica Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Coco Killingsworth, Charmaine Warren, and Abdel R. Salaam gather to talk about the beloved program and the passing of the torch after Founding Artistic Director Baba Chuck Davis’ transition. Free and open to the public. JOIN HERE. For more information, visit BAM.org
FilmAfrica Co-presented by BAM & AFF, Inc
BAM partners with African Film Festival, Inc. to present online screenings of a selection of modern African cinema classics. For prices and more information visit BAM.org.
Opens Thu, May 21
Aya of Yop City (2012) Directed by Marguerite Abouet, Clément Oubrerie (85min)
Mother of George (2012) Directed by Andrew Dosunmu (106min)
Rafiki (2018) Directed by Wanuri Kahiu (83min)
Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love (2008) Directed by Chai Vasarhelyi (102min)
Opens Thu, May 28
A Screaming Man (2010) Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (92min)
Chez Jolie Coiffure (2018) Directed by Rosine Mbakam (71min)
I Am Not a Witch (2017) Directed by Rungano Nyoni (93min)
National Diploma (2014) Directed by Dieudo Hamadi (93min)
Fri, May 15—Sun, Jun 14
DanceAfrica Digital Bazaar
DanceAfrica’s popular free outdoor bazaar goes digital this year, creating an online marketplace highlighting small businesses offering the finest fashion, food, jewelry, and crafts. Free and open to the public. For more information visit bam.org/bazaar
On May 11th, 2019, A Village United held its debut event entitled It Takes A Village – a musical showcase that gave eight rising artists a platform to shine and share their art. Founded by Bronx-native Eric Davon, the showcase was designed to create a village amongst likeminded individuals who are able to listen and learn from one another through art. The artists who took the stage consisted of a diverse group of singers and rappers who all put their own spin on their performances, some adding choreographed dancing, others bringing a full band – all for the love of their art.
A panel of four entrepreneurs, who are artists in their own respects, inspired the crowd by sharing their success stories, their plans for leaving a legacy in their fields and paying homage to their own village who has helped them throughout the way.
A Village United partnered with Damatrix Studios Network (DSN) radio station to help create exposure for the artists. DSN held one-on-one interviews that aired on their website (www.damatrixstudios.com), their mobile app (DSNBX), and throughout their social media platforms.
Assisting in cataloging the event, David Anthony, contributing photographer for Taji Magazine, was in attendance. David captured all elements of the event from performances, audience takes, panel discussions and some behind the scenes moments of the members of The Village.
The event garnered a crowd of 70+ with connections made and the start of A Village United.
Aight so boom, you went to pottery class because, why not? You get home and because you might be just as clumsy as I am, you drop the bowl and realize its cracked. You don’t throw it out because we don’t have money to waste and you take it down the block and have them perform Kintsurkiurio and repair it with liquid gold. Now that bowl is fire, I mean it has liquid gold in it now, so why wouldn’t it be fire. After being broken, it’s even more beautiful than it was when you bought it home.
Now try applying that to self. We go through shit all the time. Sometimes every day, sometimes every hour, and sometimes it seems like we can’t keep it together for even a minute. But with all of these things that happen to us, we are like that bowl we made, broken, but never too far gone to the point of not being able to be repaired. I thought I was too far gone countless of times. I thought I had no more hope and no more reasons to be repaired. I figured, damn, I’m at rock bottom so often I might need to change my address. Until I realized, yo, fuck clay, get gold. The more shit I went through, I started thinking I had to be going through it for a reason. If not to help someone else around me, then to become even more fire than I was before.
So go through it. Feel those hard times, let it get you down, let it tear you apart, hate it, love it, because when you come out of that shit, a survivor, a warrior, a beautiful/handsome ass piece of golden structure, you’re gonna be proud of that struggle. In my hardest times, I always had people telling me that my feelings and tribulations would pass. Honestly, I thought they were full of shit. BUT, they were right. It doesn’t go away because whatever happened, happened. But at all times you have to remember that bowl. The more you drop it, and get it fixed; the more you go through and make it out, the more gold you become. Keep your head up Shorty. Fuck Clay, Get Gold.
Kintsurkiurio – to repair with gold; the art of repairing pottery with golden lacquer understanding that the piece is more beautiful having been broken.
We could go on with a bunch of dope adjectives to describe Sehiii, but the energy you’ll feel in the videos below pretty much sums it up! Ok, maybe we’ll gush a little. Sehiii, pronounced Say-Hi (don’t forget your 3rd eye), elevates the positive vibes of your life. At it’s core, it’s an artist showcase – singers, lyricists, poets, dancers, photographers, comedians, painters, illustrators, on and on and on on and on and… Generally hosted at For My Sweet Gallery & Event Space (which got dubbed Sehiii Gallery by some blogger and is now the name that shows when you google the address), Sehiii has grown to be a Brooklyn staple, a safe space for budding artists, a space for seasoned artists to test “new shit,” and an all around good time for those who attend. There are also artisans vending all of the good goods, as well as food and drinks for the low low. On top of all of this, the founder Kqwon is one of the coolest dudes you’ll ever come across. The rest you will just have to experience for yourself, or at least live vicariously via my horrible camera phone vids 😉
For more information on dates and locations, visit Sehiii’s website and follow them on the gram and everywhere else @sehiiinyc!
@iloveyoufun Hosted the night and blessed us with one of her pieces.
Brooklyn-based indie-soul/rock band Meridian Lights has been on the scene for about 3 years, constantly playing gigs around the U.S. Meridian Lights is the song writing team consisting of vocalist Bradley Valentin and guitarist Yohimbe Sampson. They have recently completed their “self titled” second release.
Bradley and Yohimbe both grew up with heavy musical and art influences in the home. Music was part of celebrating the greatest moments of life, maintaining optimism during its trials, and served as an outlet for self expression. Yohimbe, self-taught, started playing guitar as a teen and honed his skills studying the instrument while playing with various bands, one being popular Brooklyn based Rap/Rock band Game Rebellion. Bradley, writing since the age of 12, has penned everything from short stories to poetry. He started singing as a teen in his mother’s church choir.
After crossing paths several times while living in the BedStuy section of Brooklyn, it all came to head at a party where Yohimbe grabbed a guitar and nobody would sing. Brad stood up, they started rocking, and haven’t stopped.
Check out the sounds of Meridian Lights via the links below!