A note about the performance…
Noted Columbus-based writer and impresario, Scott Woods, launched a new non-profit arts organization, Streetlight Guild, after the success of Holler: 31 Days of Black Art in March of 2017. We gladly accepted the offer of a residency as part of the organizations inaugural year of programming. Performing once a month for the past six months has helped us grow in the duo configuration exponentially. We’ve used this time to explore compositions and improvised concepts, meet new friends, and tell new stories.
The weeks leading up to our March 29th performance were filled with news of yet another unarmed African American who had been murdered by police. Stephon Clark was a 22 year-old father of two young children who had experienced many challenges. Many in his position have given up but, by all accounts, he was making his best effort to be who he needed to be for his young family. Unfortunately, Stephon was killed in his grandmother’s back yard and we will never know whether or not Stephon would mature to become a good husband and father. We will never know how his experiences could have helped him help others. WE. WILL. NEVER. KNOW.
With all the news of Black bodies being hunted, gunned down, and preyed upon by police and non-black “citizens,” one must question the meaning of fallen human rights heroes and sheroes. In particular, given the timing of this performance, how do we contextualize the death of a man who preached about the ‘beloved community’ walked in nonviolence, and was killed in cold blood… also unarmed?
As Black men ourselves. Eddie and I wrestle with how best we can protect and provide for our families when Black lives don’t matter.
It is within this context that we find ourselves improvising on the theme of Black lives; struggling to understand the life and message of King in the context of the death of Clark. We may never come to an adequate conclusion but, we do know that we cannot stop. We cannot wait for someone to save us and through our art, we can tell our stories and honor our Ancestors. We all have a part to play. This is ours. What is yours?