in collaboration with
Amara Tabor Smith
and House/Full of Blackwomen
“The ethics of affluence insist upon civic obligations and when we assume that obligation we reveal not our solitary goodwill but our dependence on others… None of us is alone: each of us is dependent on others – some of us depend on others for life itself.”Toni Morrison, The Price of Wealth, The Cost of Care, May. 9, 2013
“Poor folks been passin the same dolla’ back n forth tween us as long as I can remember. Just got to know who got the dolla’ this week.”Rosetta Hicks 1964
As Black women, we are known to undersell and over-deliver. The price of the undersell is our well-being and the cost is our well-being. Who are we becoming now that we have granted ourselves the understanding of the depth of our value? What rung of the economic ladder are we holding onto? How is the triage of financial and social welfare decided during this global pandemic? Who will be saved and spent? Is the labor(physical, emotional and spiritual) of Blackwomen due for compensation? Amends? Reparations? Reward?
House/Full of Blackwomen began in December 2015 as the vision of choreographer and Deep Waters Dance Theater founder Amara Tabor Smith, in an ongoing collaboration with theater director Ellen Sebastian Chang. We sit at the literal table in conversation, in grief, in laughter, in questioning and many times in awesome wonder with abolitionists, dancers, nurses, architects, musicians, somatic PhD Scholars, video artists, chefs, teachers, healers, athletes, survivors of sex trafficking and anti-trafficking organizers. We create Episodes – public processions, installations, and performances – that represent the private rituals of healing and wellbeing for Black women and girls.
Developed through intimate dialogues, rigorous research and skilled intentional creative practice between the collaborators, these performed rituals address issues of displacement, erasure, the sex-trafficking of Black women and girls in Oakland California, ignited by the core question, “how can we, as Black women and girls find space to breathe, and be well within a stable home?” All House/Full of Black Women episodes are envisioned and presented throughout Oakland, CA. Our goal is to effect change and create a “vibrational” shift through ritual performance dance/theater and song, bringing awareness to the displacement of Black women and girls with regard to housing security and trafficking.
We have held space and are in an ongoing collaboration with sex trafficking abolitionist, Regina Evens of Regina’s Door, who hosted our first episode, we are here/to stay in 2016. Some of these episodes have been “publicized” but most have been transmitted through word-of-mouth by Black women and/or via Oakland’s First Friday or anti-trafficking events. We have created 13 Episodes, 90% have been FREE to attend.
Within a rapidly changing landscape during an avalanche of uncertainty, the House/Full of BlackWomen continue to labor towards our collective health and well-being.
Support us because you already know, at your core, how you directly benefit from the Love that Black Women create.
Will you contribute financially to these efforts?
Will you contribute in-kind to these efforts?
Our creative spirited life forces are prepared for this moment as we reimagine the work in the face of COVID 19, the aggressive uptick of violence against black bodies, and the need to shelter in place.
investigative quiet work of Black womanist interiority
We understand the change needed begins only with our well-being through…
security of housing,
security of fresh food, clean water, and air,
security of health care,
security of honest education,
security of recognition of our contributions and
security of the fullness of our diversity.
Where are you now in this arc of history? How will you respond to the call to support Black lives when no one is watching or applauding? What will you do to create transparent equity, restorative justice, reparations, and space for Black lives, especially Black women and girls?
Now is the time to acknowledge the depth and generosity of labor, emotional insights, and sheer joyful life-giving beauty of Black women/girls/transBeings that have always moved the dial of humanity forward.
How do YOU honor that?
Do you center yourself?
Do you humble yourself to investigate, where, what, when and how to support the lives of Black women?
Will we together enter an age of real change?
Will this be another phase of performative anti-racist lip-service?
Ask Black women…
What do you need?
When do you need it?
How can I serve your needs?
And be ready to RESPOND!
Before the pandemic was fully realized in the United States we crafted a crowdfunding campaign that would launch on Valentine’s Day 2020 to support the invisible genius/creative labor and the appropriated brilliance of Black women. We hoped to raise $100k in financial or in-kind donations to fund the completion of House/Full of Black Women’s Episode 14, The New Chitilin Circuitry: Reparations Vaudeville and now the final Episode 15 “this too shall pass.”
We financially compensate the Black women of House/Full to do this critical work! We also offer stipends, meals, and healing circles: this is “shadow work,” quiet work, work that happens over time and space and in respect to the (un)recognized creative service and brilliance of the unnamed Black women and girls who inhabit and fuel our imaginations.
We hope that someone(s) with access to wealth will choose to support our ongoing efforts. We hope that someone(s) will invest in our well-being as an asset, a blessing and a service.