September 2010


Our real talks are like ‘a wom(b)an speaks’

(blood memories bout where we come from to dis’ days we live in and what is destined with the paths we’re on), in the spaces between honouring our ancestors, our children, and the future generations.

“It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community, be good to each other.

And do not look outside yourself for the leader. This could be a good time! ~

“There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its own destination. ~

The Elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.”

[part of] Hopi elder’s prayer

…..these are a few of my fav poems for grey days with mounds of homework and metamorphosis, that call out to be pegged blue, red en yellow. Dis are some  of the ones I hold close to my heart…..

Moon marked and touched by sun

My magic is unwritten

But when the sea turns back

It will leave my shape behind

I seek no favour/untouched by blood/unrelenting as the curse of love

Permanent as my errors/or my pride

I do not mix/love with pity/nor hate with scorn

En if you would know me/look into the entrails of Uranus

Where the restless ocean pound

i do not dwell/within my birth nor my divinities/who am ageless and half grown

and still seeking/my sistas/witches in dahomey/wear me inside their coiled cloths

as our mother did/mourning.

i have been womban/for a long time/beware my smile

i am treacherous with old magic/and the noons new fury

with all your wide futures

promised

i yam

womban

and not white.

[between the lines: we explore indigenus myths en ancestor worship in diasporic tongues, in the spaces between a.k.a another place not here, like]

“Dahomey”

“in spite of the fire’s heat

the tongs can fetch it.”

It was in Abomey that I felt

the full blood of my fathers’ wars

and where I found my mother

Seboulisa

standing with outstretched palms hip high

one breast eaten away by worms of sorrow

magic stones resting upon her fingers

dry as a cough.

In the dooryard of the brass workers

four women joined together dying cloth

mock Eshu’s iron quiver

standing erect and flamingly familiar

in their dooryard

mute as a porcupine in a forest of lead

In the courtyard of the cloth workers

other brothers and nephews

are stitching bright tapestries

into tales of blood.

Thunder is a woman with braided hair

spelling the fas of Shango

asleep between sacred pythons

that cannot read

nor eat the ritual offerings

of the Asein.

My throat in the panther’s lair

is unresisting.

Bearing two drums on my head I speak

whatever language is needed

to sharpen the knives of my tongue

the snake is aware although sleeping

under my blood

since I am a woman whether or not

you are against me

I will braid my hair

even

in the seasons of rain.

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The hadithi we’re crafting in our villages are blood.bone.memories of our origins en transplanted cultures, being explored in the ‘best’ city of the world to live in ‘like’ global villages, (i heart)Tdot….The big arts festivals of the year, manifesto, TIFF & Word! Sound! Powah! may be fresh dun, we already got our fall/winter homework lined up, with a balanced diet of soul food: ‘continental’ en narrative docs,

‘drama’tic periods, more along the lines of….

our.own.stories

Revolushunary music…..

en wishlists of visions of bredrin and dadas building coalitions: human positive, moyo wa africa, colourspill & deviant productions, docuvixen films, elimu sanifu, kwari village, the people project, colour me dragg, lesblues, schools without borders, weapon of the revolution, Yoruba house project, afrakenya, GEAP, Farug, TITs & anitafrika dub theatre

[imagine if jus to start, these 18 (en then as many mo) groups shared mo resources and supported implementing each other’s programs….how many mo ghetto babies would be birthed en grow to thrive in de grassroots?…..dis journey we’re on in the q_t werd is exploring jus’ that, en all the spaces between, those fertile grounds where we give en receive love, where we seek guidance en manifest our right/full destinies]

These are some of the stories of the q_t werd: we’re retelling jus’ 5 of these, from Hamilton, Jo’burg, Kampala, Nairobi, back to Tdot: the crux of dis’ (re)organising that we documenting, growing in sacredness en urgency….

where we go so much tings to do en say n so lil’  time, where with the way tings been metamorphosing, we got no choice but to continue to live in truth, give en receive all the love that abounds, and do the best we can with what we got to fulfill our dreams.

Because the question remains, if we don’t, then who will?

Stay chuned…..kesho bado, e ni for elimu sanifu: pamoja tutafika!

Recently a ‘rafiki’ (kiswahili for friend) of ours, offered critical feedback on the storyboard of dis’ documentary feature en the (wish-list of a) series, it came in the form of a rhetorical question, in the wake of goodbyes en hellos, masking many fears en hopes en deep scars, grasping at the heart of the matter…

[blogger’s note: ‘us’ (our.stories.n.people) in the q_t werd stands in for the non/fictional, biodramamythical collective of artists, artivists and village (organizer)s  aka. ‘bredrin and dadas in solidarity’]

bigger point is, dis dada said ”you know what your doc doesn’t have? an antagonist……..”

(leading us to the latest ‘episode’ in this quest of building solidarity en salaam [Arabic en kiswahili for peace], but first a lil’ background…..truthIs, we’ve been seeding, planting and sharing our ideas and the storyboard of the q_t werd in our villages since way before the inception of this blog, or the ‘other’ one/s – where behind the mask/‘we’ all get nekkyd)

Our roster of bio/mytho/biographies en interviews feature only people we love, respekt and admire, and reads like we’re totally in love with so so many of dem, n we unashamedly are;

those real talks that make the q_t werd are as fresh as the legends of jus dis week in review….from the highs of ‘our’  colour me dragg AND  cassie walker winning $5,000 @ manifesto, to ‘our’ community raising the roof @ granny boots for kim & nat, doing it revolushunary grassroots style…..

real talks as conflicted as the lows of last night with the drama n fuckery that defined the was the ‘powers that be’ hosting the AGM meeting for ‘our’ Pride Toronto

[in the spaces between, we continue to chart the journey in dub…..where a is for anitafrika dub theatre, b is for [the vision of] bredrin and dadas in solidarity, c is for colour me dragg and colour spill productions, all the way to p is for the people project and where m is for the myths that we’re relearning , taught by our kinda legends, in these hadithi of the q_t werd]

…………As women, we have been taught either to ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change. Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression. But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.”

[excerpt from: The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House
 
by Audre Lorde
 
From Sister Outsider, The Crossing Press Feminist Series (1984)]

These are the stories that make the q_t werd, as real as our children and lovers, institutionalised scandals, mashups and makeups, evolving bashes and (not-so) complicated backlash to ‘our’ community organising and village rebuilding, and all the lessons we’re relearning in our journeys.

the bigger point of this post is…… ‘that’ question,

the answer is….we have plenty antagonists, plenty of enemies BUT…… we choose to focus dis quest of documenting our healing en collective recovery, of rebuilding salaam and solidarity, on people we love

and even then, still……d is for drama is the crux of the q_t werd…

because the truth is….. we’re still working thru our shit, and even if we were to start jus with people we know en love, we would have more than nuff stories of conflict transformation and wishful fantasies for seven seasons.

The q_t werd is as simple as ABC en D [toZ] en as mysterious as the riddle of the sphinx…..

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Hadithi njoo……

Kesho ni: E is for elimu sanifu: in the q_t werd

The q_t werd : has evolved into dis’ present incarnation from its seeding, in Tdot en Vancouver,

five years ago…

[en in the spaces between, from before, long long long ago, there were 9(+1) dadas na baba na mama

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo…..Sahani? ya…….Giza? ya……..]

Dis’ doc (in the works of becoming a series) is the love child of revolushunary villages

(rebuilding en dialoguing) in Hamilton, Tdot, Nairobi, Joburg & Kampala.

Dis’ is our nekkyd truth, a.k.a  real talks, about these visions we have on our quest of re-educating not only ourselves, but others, in the practice of freedom n’ liberation: where every moon is afrikan hirstory month, every day i(nvolve)s building solidarity within our diversity n peacemaking

[In the spaces between: we develop as a collective with all the means we have, our biomythdramas, inspired by the artists who’ve studied and performed (with the core principles being developed by d’bi young of) anitafrika! dub theatre, nourished by our ancestral memories, nurtured with the legacies of indigenUS en pan-afrikan warriors]

Dis’ is us, no apologies or excuses, jus’ as is, on a journey of  healing(selves) en re/claiming our destinies.

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Hadithi njoo…

So like we’ve blogged  en said before, dis’ documentary/series is a work in progress: like we have a summer’s worth of footage,  yet we’re still developing the storyboard, still deciding (the rest of) our core characters from the 32 (and then some) stories we collected, still trying to get another camera, laptop and editing software, funding, jus’ to start….the bigger point is we hustling to manifest our dreams of a video project and (going) back-to afrika movement/s

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke67lHxPf8A&feature=related]

So far we’ve got our ABCDE/Fn’G’s (H! ….to P will debut in November )

a is for afrika [is for anitafrika dub theatre! is for amai kuda is for audrey mbugua…..]

is the crux of dis’ here doc

En b is for black august [is for blockorama en blockobana is for bredrin en dadas in solidarity]

Are (some of) the visions of our quest

C is for colour spill productions  [is for cee swagger is for cea walker is for chan mubanga]

Some of the real/live legends of this doc

D is for Dini Ya Msambwa: our ancestral memories

En E is for (the spaces between) Elijah Masinde and Elijah Wilson

That’s wussup.

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo…..Sahani? ya……Giza? ya……

Kesho (kutwa) on the Q/t werd, F n’ G en people we’re learning from, who’re educating others in the practice of freedom and reclaiming indigenous afrikan knowledge systems.

[B is for bredrin en dadas in solidarity: our (vision) quest is to implement queer/trans youth arts collective/programs & circles for healing and self recovery in East & South Afrika in collaboration with anitafrika! dub theatre: an intersection of radical creativity, activity, and thought, human positive and moyo wa afrika: a coalition of Afrikans on the continent and in the diaspora who are committed to the reclamation of Indigenous Afrikan spiritualities, knowledge systems, economic praxis, and resources as the only viable means of addressing the colonially-induced dis-ease and dysfunction plaguing our peoples….

Lakini kwanza….]

A is for anitafrika! dub theatre: founded by artistic director d’bi.young in spring 2008 under the mentorship of visionary dub artist ahdri zhina mandiela, adt is a radical arts initiative rooted in the orplusi principles of storytelling, being developed by d’bi.young.

The 7 living/en/working principles are 

language, orality,

political context (or protext),

rhythm, urgency, sacredness, and integrity:

fundamental tools in the (re)emerging genre of bio-myth-solo-performance storytelling or ‘dubbin solo’,

according to artistic director d’bi.young.

[en between the lines: the Q_t werd is a documentary series/work in progress, charting the evolution of these principles  en reclaiming ancestral legacies……]

Through the intersection of these principles, the theatre seeks to explore and expand the relationship between the storyteller, their village(s), and transformation.

herstory

adt! is inspired by the seminal work of dubpoetry visionaries anita stewart and ahdri zhina mandiela. trained during the early to mid eighties at the jamaica school of drama (now the edna manley college of visual and performing arts), anita stewart wrote her thesis dubbin theatre: dub poetry as a theatre form on the progressive movement of dubpoetry into a theatrical realm which radically dramatized both the socio-economic tribulations of the jamaican people, as well as their potential for rebellion against their oppressors.

in her unpublished manuscript stewart identifies four major elements of the then emerging artform of dubpoetry — music, language, politics and performance — as bridges between the personal and the political and vice versa. stewart’s early documentation and analysis of dubpoetry as a working people’s socio-political movement, provide the primary lens through which adt! focuses.

in the late eighties early nineties, ahdri zhina mandiela coined and further developed the term dub theatre in reference to her own evolving work as a dub aatist. in the prelude to her dark diaspora… in dub: a dub theatre piece she defines dubtheatre as dramatized stage presentation comprised of varying performance component, including an indispensable/uniquely tailored dance language threading thru oral/choral work proliferating with endemic musical elements.

d’bi.young is a second generation dubpoet who learnt the artform from her her mother anita stewart and her mentor ahdri zhina mandiela. young is building on the foundational work of stewart and mandiela by developing dubpoetry/dubtheatre theory and practice through anitafrika! dub theatre: a launch pad of artistic training that locates itself within art for social change.

En A is for the legacies of audre lorde, that’s wassup!

Dream/songs from the moon of Beulah land I-V

I

How much love can I pour into you I said

Before it runs out of you

Like undigested spinach

Or shall i stuff you

Like a ritual goose

With whatever you think

You want of me

And for whose killing

Shall I grow you up

To leave me

To mourn

In the broken potsherds

Upon my doorstep

In silent tears of the empty morning?

But I’m not going anywhere you said

Why is there always

Another question

Beyond the last question

Answered

Out of your mouth

Another storm?

It’s happening

I said

II

Whenever I look for you the wind

Howls with danger

Beware the tree arms scream

What you are seeking

Will find you

In the night

In the fist of your dreaming

And in my mouth

The words became sabers

Cutting my boundaries

To ribbons

Of merciless light

IV.

You say I yam

Sound as a drum

But that’s very hard to be

As you covers your ears with academic parchment

Be careful

You might rip the cover

With your sharp nails

And then I will not sound at all.

To put us another way

What I come wrapped in

Should be familiar to you

As hate is

What I come wrapped in

Is close to you

As love is

Close

To death

Or your lying tongue

Surveying the countries of our mouths.

If I were drum

You would beat me

Listening for the echo

Of your own touch

Not seeking

The voice of the spirit

Inside the drum

Only the spreading out shape

Of your own hand on my skin

Cover.

If I ever really sounded

I would rupture your eardrums

Or your heart.

V.

Learning to say goodbye

Is finding a new tomorrow

On some cooler planet

Barren and unfamiliar

And guiltless.

It costs the journey

To learn

Letting go

Of the burn-out rockets

To learn  how

To light up space

With the quick fiya of refusal

Then drift gently down

To the dead surface of the moon.

Kesho……The (A, B, en C’s Of the) Q_t werd in dub video