[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in her unpublished manuscript stewart identifies four major elements of the then emerging artform of dubpoetry — music, language, politics and performance — as bridges between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

These are  the true true stories of  sistas.in.solidarity (SIStas.I.S) in the ‘Q’ werd.

Their stories are not new, en we’ll share them (again en again en again) coz these are some of the one’s we’ve been looking for, the ones holding us up (en in their/arms), who we struggle with en whose legacies we’re inspired by, whose shoulders we stand on, en in whose bedrooms, farms, kitchens, business/es en classes we commune…..

these are symbols of ‘when things were cool…’ (as wota)  [Back in the Day(when ‘our’ wo/men ruled Afrika)sung byErykah Badu

sweet as honey, fine as may wine…..

 

A is for [Mama] Afrika….

We have a beautiful mother

Her green lap immense

Her brown embrace eternal

Her blue body everything we know

[from Alice Walker]

 

B is for (betwixt en between) big love (D.I.S fundraiser scheduled/for Black August month)

 

 

C is (for) the crux.

These interviews are with people we know (not well enough), that we love (en honour), that have changed not only us, but others, en throw wicked parties while they’re at it, coz what’s all the struggle(ing) for if you can’t wind down?….

the super/s/heroes of swagger: charysse robinson & mel fernandes are on our wishlist for D.I.S

 

D is Dadas in solidarity, doing our best to unite our people…

 E is for…elephant.memories……shine(ing).(a).light.for.the.wor(l)d

you’ll (never) believe that happened!!!!

Hadithi? Hadithi? Nipe hadithi? Nipe Mji…..

Made in Tdot

There’s a book I read called The Truth About Stories (A Native Narrative), written by Thomas King, that instantly became one of the touchstones in my (literary & spiritual) journey….I’ll tell you parts of his-story because he said that I could, and I quote…..”It’s yours. Do with it what you will. Cry over it. Get angry. Forget it. But don’t say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you heard this story. You’ve heard it now.”

najua hadithi ya mumbi na nambi, oshun, oya na Yemoja, ya audre lorde na assata shakur, bell hooks na Brenda fassie, Cherie moraga na chan mubanga, dbiyoung.anitafrika en adhri zhina mandiela, dionne brand, Jamaica Kincaid, Nalo Hopkinson, Octavia Butler, Angela Davis, Bernedette Muthien, Field Marshall Muthoni, Mekatilili wa Menza, Mbuya Nehanda, Nana yaa Asantewaa, Nyabinghi Muhumusa, Wahu Kaara, Wangari Maathai, Philo Ikonya, Muthoni wanyeki,  Sylvia Tamale, Winnie Mandela..all the way to Zanele Muholi, and I know more than these 31 en some stories, the ones that I keep for guidance and (true) hope, that remind me that WE  are the ones we’re looking for, we have all the answers that we need, in our true true stories…..

(tukona) Soul.hadithi…….

‘in the beginning’ hadithi…..

Lakini kwanza, nitakuambia hadithi ya how the Q werd was born from the Truth about (our) stories (a pan-afrikan narrative). We were listening to others because we thought we didn’t have any good ones of our own, even though we KNEW different, that those ‘other’ versions were still our own, just diluted & distorted through centuries of retelling…..

and because so many hadithi have been made up about US (people) and corrupted for exploitative reasons, then we have to at least try and set the record straight, while we still have the means…but don’t get it wrong, this non-fiction ain’t no luxury, en its (not) a free show,

(i got this on good authority) the truth about stories is that’s all we are. The metis singer Andrea Menard reminds us of this in the first verse of her song ‘The Half breed Blues’

I was born the privileged skin

and my eyes are bright, bright brown

You’d never know there is Metis blood raging underground

let me tell you a story about revelation.

It’s not the colour of a nation that holds a nations pride.

It’s imagination. It’s imagination inside.

hadithi? hadithi? nitakuambia hadithi yetu….lakini kwanza nipe mji?

to be continued….