Watch the Latest Spoken-word Piece I Wrote for my Daughter Performed by the Awesome Maureen.
Kicked off the month of December 2017, last month of the year, with a spoken-word text on the topic of cross-generational transmission of history, knowledge, roots and self-worth for people of African descent in the “Western World”.
The event, titled (in French) Sensibilités Transmises – was organised by the Collectif Afro-Swiss. Several artists were invited to write / perform to address the generational afro-experience. I had participated in the previous edition one year earlier as a performer. This time around I was one of the writers.
I was inspired by the idea of writing this piece as an actual letter to my 6 year-old daughter. This exercise had me looking in deep at the words and gestures that have been transmitted to me. We all come from somewhere, we’re all going somewhere. It was interesting for me to think of my daughter and look at the World through her eyes, getting her perspectives, her questioning.
You would think, or even hope that at such a young age she would be sheltered from ignorance. NOPE. She’s had her own little “identity experiences” already. Whether it be comments about her hair, how curly or literally kinky they can get as opposed to her school mates. That those same hair should not be touched because they’re different, they’re curly and will mess up, not because it’s simply a notion of respeK (pun intended) not to touch someone else’s hair. Oh and worst of all when a comrade of hers affirms adamantly that:
there’s no such thing as a princess with dark skin and curly hair
Ugh. The key in my text anyways is not to make my girl a victim. I never acted like one. I want her to actually find the strength, embrace the beauty of her difference. This is what makes her strong. A washed out version of herself that please her environment will not lead to a happy life. It’s important for her to know why her hair are curly, what’s the story behind that, the good, the bad, the ugly…the beauty, the suffering, the resilience.
I want her to never wish to be anything else other than herself. The rest of the text speaks for itself.
I’m also really happy with Maureen’s interpretation. She brings wisdom, sweetness, maturity and love with her tone as opposed to my fiery racing brain and vocal delivery. It feels as if the transmission is from an elder’s point of view, which is often the way it happens. We have to cherish our elders and the valuable knowledge they carry with them.
On my geek tip, I recorded Maureen’s performance in 4K with my mobile phone and actually edited and uploaded the video straight from my phone too. I wanted to see how far I could push the tech in this instance.
Now that I have the video, my daughter can “watch” the letter I wrote to her whenever she wants. Mission accomplished.
ps: shout out to Pamela, Wetu, The whole CAS and Maureen.