In the 19th century, Black Codes were laws designed to restrict the liberty of Black people.
Black Odes: A Reclamation Suite is a passionate celebration away from that reality and into another; a musical, poetic and visual celebration of a world in which the values of beauty, joy and liberty are not only a goal, but the starting point for existence. This performance is a multidisciplinary expression of what it would be like to actually live fully in America’s promise while being unapologetically Black.
This is not a mere vision of what it might be like to experience Black liberty, but an a?empt to strip away all negative associations with Blackness and then create from that space. The world of Black Odes isn’t merely aspirational, but an occasional and achievable state of being.
Creation of the music, poetry and visual art required each creator strip away existing weight and gazes, then reconstruct new, original views of Blackness devoid of negative connotation, while maintaining that what we are – what we look like, what we think, and what we find beautiful – remains a source of pride and worthy of celebration. We do not have to time travel or edit history or otherwise qualify what we are. At our core, what we are is worthy of joy as a goal unto itself.