I have been in close proximity to her many times, but on this one particular day, Amber Flame sang "Black Coffee" and we all just held our breaths. Brooke Montgomery is the kind of man we want our sons to grow into-- gentle, thoughtful, and capable of following a Black Womxn's lead. When I met Charles Mudede the first time, I called at him from across the street-- we were Black family together in that moment. Cyreeta Mitchell is one of the most talented painters I've ever known, her heart is as fine as her eye. Darnita Boynton Howard & Tamara Boynton Howard are #powercouplegoals-- I've never been in shadow since this twinned light came into my world so many years ago. Ebo Barton is easy to love and to celebrate every single day in a place that sometimes sucks so wholly-- so thoroughly and completely down to its freezy bones. Since they were 5 years old, I have been honored to watch Evie/Lumi Taylor grow in their courage and determination. Not all skin-folk are kin-folk, but Hasaan Kirkland has kept it 100 with me since day one/moment one-- this man understands family and community. JR Rhodes is like magic, or a blessing, or the kind of inheritance one might wait a lifetime for-- pure happenstance brought us together for this project, but love and respect keep a candle lit on the shrine of our interiors. Jennifer Moore makes me want to be braver and more courageous with how I face myself, my grief, and my joy-- her soul knows things. Julia Ismael and I met briefly before flying to Tanzania with Kyana Wheeler. In March of 2020, I met up with both of these powerhouses on a rainy balcony in Zanzibar to laugh and sigh with our souls wide open. Kenny Polson carries a deep hum in his guts, it's ancient-- ancestral-- and even as one-time strangers, he felt like a friend almost immediately. I am still getting to know Korvus Blackbird, but the microphone sure tf aint. Korvus' voice thrums from primordial depths. Kristin McCowan is a whole fuckin' genius-- quote me on that. Lain Littlejohn has ethereal range-- for someone undeniably young, Lain has the wisdom of those who have seen all this before, but with all the vulnerability of someone who shouldn't have to be brave all the time. Kilam Tel Aviv regales me with stories both serious and hilarious, his wit is a gift, as the one fuck he has left, both have sustained me for some time. Leilani Lewis gives out more energy everyday than many of us, and this echelon of generosity is not for the faint of heart-- to know this woman is to know she is great, as in mighty. Marlon Brown reminds me of the man who taught me to drive, who to this day, I hope to make proud. Nii Okaidja Adelphi Adjemang DeCosta Randolph III is so incredibly talented, but I will remember him best, dancing himself open to joy and possibility. Roman O'Brien believes in me when I do not even believe in myself. We have made a promise, next time she can be the mother and I will be the daughter. Rosslyn Shae is from the Proverbial Village where I wish to return to-- where her children are my children and my children are her children. She loves in a way that is ancient and unspoiled. Salma Siddick has the kind of refinement that is exquisitely rare, I still wonder if I am worthy of such a truly noble and loyal friend. Syreeta Bernal must be a cousin, because laughing, dancing, talking, and sitting and smiling in the sunshine come too easy for us. Chef Tarik/Tarik Abdullah is a quiet visionary, dedicated to holistic wellness for Black people, especially children/youth, I respect how he shows up for community every single day with love and open arms. Tim Lennon is also an unsung hero-- I have learned a lot by listening to him and all the interviewees who shared with me.
I hope you will give yourself a chance to sit at the feet of these living treasures and listen deeply. You are invited to be playful and co-curate your own experience. Each of the playlists can be layered, so feel free to play them like audio collages. The same can be said for the videos, you can play more than one at once for a unique experience. Tomorrow when I wake up, please remind me that I must have done something in my life right to have co-created power and beauty and significance with artists like Jay O'Leary Woods, Sydney Foster, Chris Ivey, Dante Barger, Allyson Lee Brown, Jazmin Williams, Mathurs Oseni, Nicholas Japaul Bernard, Shermona Mitchell, Stephon Dorsey, Wes Jones, and Porscha Shaw, who is a whole sound/audio goddess. Speaking of which, Ayesha Ubayatilaka and I spent basically a year sitting in deep meditation with these interviews-- it was hard work, time-consuming work, but at every, single moment, it was the best work I've done in my life. This exhibition is steeped in love. Together, this is power. We is power.