We’re excited to be hosting our very first event of 2011 – The Beat Goes On, this Sunday February 13. This special event is part of the Then & Now series, a celebration of Black History Month, presented by TD Bank Group.
We asked three artists – playwright Andrew Moodie, spoken word artist Mahlikah Awe:ri and playwright Donna-Michelle St Bernard – to create brand new short work that they would share and discuss. The resulting three pieces mix theatre, music and spoken word, and they explore evolutions of history, artistic consciousness and social consciousness in three very different ways. After the pieces are presented, they will sit down with CBC’s Garvia Bailey for a moderated discussion about the works and underlying ideas.
We asked Donna-Michelle to tell us a bit about what inspired her piece, “Unlimited,” which is a short play that examines one artist’s engagement with Black History Month against a backdrop of changing popular attitudes towards persons of African heritage:
My relationship with Black History Month is complex, and as a result, so is my process for this piece I’m writing. It’s like ebonics. I mean, I believe in validating voice but the idea of teaching it in schools is as ridiculous as letting students write essays in txttok. On the other hand, without the ebonics conversation we would not have arrived at a place where Afrocentric schools are possible. In my writing I am struggling, caught between my disenchantment at the superficiality of public engagement and my genuine respect for figures in the history of the African Diaspora. In February, I am very popular. In February I am imagined to be an apt stand-in for any hip hop event, pick-up basketball game, oral tradition lecture and African carving demonstration. It irritates me that I am fairly capable of most of these things, because I hope to defy stereotype. But I have come to recognize that my defiance of these skills allows a fear of generic iconography to restrict my identity. What I mean to say is, I’m writing a piece for Black History Month. I’m doing it because I wholeheartedly celebrate the history of a diverse and accomplished peoples. I’m damn sorry I said I never would, and I’m not sorry I changed my mind. Black and proud, yo.
The Beat Goes On
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The Music Gallery, 197 John Street
Free – first come, first seated
We hope to see you there!