Time to Talk

The dominant culture in America has a negative definition of what it means to be African American. In society, African Americans are generally characterized as being lazy, ghetto and dangerous, among other derogatory things. I am inspired to shift the characterization of African Americans in society from negative to a positive. I have, what I like to call, a dual identity. I identify with being both Jamaican American and African American. I was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the Bronx, NY when I was four years old. I was able to maintain a strong cultural tie to my Jamaican heritage because of frequent visits to Jamaica and having parents that raised me to identify with being Jamaican. My dual identity has allowed me to thrive in America in spite of systemic racism. Thus, dodging the bullet most individuals that identify with being African American are plagued with which is the dominant culture's definition of what it means to be African American. I will do research on racism, race relations, Jamaican diaspora, African American history by interviewing and gathering the stories of individuals within the Bronx. Composer Mike McGinnis will arrange the following songs that comment on race and slavery: Skin by Stew and the Negro Problem and Redemption Song by Bob Marley. Visual artist Deborah Castillo will design a costume that masks, in order to encourage audience members to be honest with their comments about race, without the fear of offending me. “Time to Talk” has three sections: 1. What is art: A solo with a mixture of reggae and ballet, an engaging conversation about who in our society determines what is art and what is not. 2. Culture Cancer: A solo that focuses on the dominant culture’s impact on society. Clips from the interviews and pop up shows will be played during the solo. 3. Time to Talk (T2T): A solo which aims to capture the essence of the taboo around discussing race. This project aims to encourage and inspire people to take action by evaluating their bias and preconceptions about race. Information about organizations that address local and global racial issues will be available at the premiere.

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