[– Photo by Tsubasa Berg –]Supplies:
Black culture or history topic: This is a score designed to spark conversations about the relationship between the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. It is best organized by a group containing at least one person who lived during these time periods.
Art concepts: Masks, portraits, contrast
Contemporary Artists: Elia Alba’s portraits, Michael Paul Britto’s “This Little Word of Mine” as performed at the Kitchen in 2011.
|SIT – THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM REMIxES|
|For the Brooklyn Museum’s April 5, 2014 First Saturday Aisha Cousins collaborated with Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy’s Danny Soto, South African vocalist Yolanda Zama, and educator Keonna Hendrick to present 3 remixes of “Sit.” Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, the series of 3 remixes were designed to provide educators, parents, and aspiring young artists with examples of how to use the score to explore their family and community’s relationship to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements.|
|AN EDUCATOR’S REMIX – KEONNA HENDRICK|
[Above, audience members play musical chairs to an audio track of Malcolm X’s speech. As players land on a tagged chair they are asked to choose whether to “Stand up (and out)” or “Sit in” for the remainder of the game.]
I worked with Aisha Cousins to create a “Sit” remix that explores the opposition between Non-Violence and Self Defense during the Civil Rights Movement, as suggested in Malcolm X’s speech. Aisha and I were both interested in how historical movements are, in many ways, the result of a series of small personal choices. We looked at what I was teaching the youth in my visual arts based afterschool program about composition, contrast, proportion, pattern, and movement. Then we drew inspiration from these things to emphasize the idea of choosing between two opposites. – Keonna Hendrick
Keonna Hendrick is a seasoned museum educator currently teaching at the Brooklyn Museum. She is committed to promoting cultural understanding and personally meaningful experiences through art.
|A PARENT’S REMIX – YOLANDA ZAMA|
[Above, Yolanda Zama leads a group of vocalists in series of protest songs that chronicle her family’s shift from “Non-Violence” to “Self Defense.”]
My “Sit” remix was designed to help my sons explore our family’s transition to a philosophy of Self Defense following the South African government’s repeatedly violent, often deadly response to several years of Non-Violent protest. I drew inspiration from the women’s protest songs that were essential to movements in both South Africa and the US. I also drew inspiration from toyi toyi. When I came to the US, I was struck by how still the protests were. Americans would describe toyi toyi as a dance based protest, but in South Africa it’s not a protest without that of kind of wholehearted physical expression. – Yolanda Zama
A young political exile during Apartheid, singer/songwriter Yolanda Zama honed her voice amid the urban sounds of Harlem in the 80s. Weaving her native Xhosa with English, Zama’s music fuses the lush textures of Southern African music with the dynamic melodies of folk and soul to create a sound at once unique and transcendent. Follow her at https://twitter.com/YoliZama
|AN ARTIST’S REMIX – DANIEL SOTO, IFETAYO CULTURAL ARTS ACADEMY MODERN DANCE FACULTY MEMBER|
[Above, dancers interpret Danny Soto’s choreography against a soundtrack of Bobby McFerrin and an excerpt from Malcolm X’s speech.]
Our “Sit” remix explores the thoughts of Civil Rights leaders getting on the bus for the first time not knowing what the future would hold, as well as the community response that follows. The ghost white sheet and the blood red sheet reference the spiritual and physical sacrifices they ultimately made. My choreography drew inspiration from excerpts of Malcolm X’s Ballot or Bullet speech, Bobby McFerrin’s acapella work, and wind tunnel effects I developed in collaboration with Daniel Wurtzel’s Wind Exhibit to highlight the essence of the narrative. – Danny Soto
Established in 1989, Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy is a nonprofit organization based in Brooklyn, dedicated to supporting the creative, educational and vocational development of youth and families of African descent.