line break white 600 x 1 pixels[– Photo by Tsubasa Berg –]line break white 600 x 1 pixelsSupplies:

  • 1 chair
  • Volunteer(s)
  • 1 photo of Rosa Parks
  • 1 copy of the following excerpt from Malcolm X’s “Ballot or the Bullet” speech:“As long as you got a sit-down philosophy, you’ll have a sit-down thought pattern, and as long as you think that old sit-down thought, you’ll be in some kind of sit-down action. They’ll have you sitting in everywhere. It’s not so good to refer to what you’re going to do as a sit-in. That right there castrates you. Right there it brings you down. What-What goes with it? What-Think of the image of someone sitting. An old woman can sit. An old man can sit. A chump can sit. A coward can sit. Anything can sit.”

Instructions: Place Rosa’s photo so that it can be seen. Sit. Let Malcolm’s speech be heard. As Malcom’s speech is heard, let the volunteer(s) try to move you while you try to remain seated upright.

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 at Brooklyn Museum_Artist Aisha Cousins_Photographer Tsubasa Berg_72dpi_01For 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 Sixtiesthe 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.




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[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.]


  • 24 chairs
  • 27 volunteers
  • 1 excerpt from Malcolm X’s Ballot or The Bullet Speech

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.



Sit at Brooklyn Museum_Artist Aisha Cousins_Photographer Tsubasa Berg_72dpi_35

[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.”]


  • 0 chairs
  • any number of volunteer vocalists
  • 0 excerpts from Malcolm X’s Ballot or the Bullet Speech

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



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[Above, dancers interpret Danny Soto’s choreography against a soundtrack of Bobby McFerrin and an excerpt from Malcolm X’s speech.]

  • 4 chairs
  • 4 volunteer dancers
  • 1 excerpt from Malcolm X’s Ballot or the Bullet 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.
Danny Soto joined Ifetayo as a Modern Dance faculty member after seven years as Dance Captain for the musical Fela! He is founder of Lost Productions which specializes in development and implementation of arts in education. Learn more at and



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