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Be/Coming is rooted in various masquerade traditions found throughout Africa, particularly Gelede and Egungun of the Yoruba (Nigeria). Gelede honors female mystical power while Egungun honors the collective ancestors of an individual person or group.
Be/Coming is the first in an ancestral masquerade series that addresses historical and contemporary social ills and in/justices rooted in American society. In this manifestation, Be/Coming dances for African-American women to reclaim their primordial female power, which continues to be fractured, destabilized, and undermined by the weight of history, negative stereotypes and derogatory imagery. Each time a masquerade is danced, the memory of that people is activated and, through the performance, embodied by those present. Be/Coming dances so that African American women can remember, honor, cherish, and reclaim their ancestral power, as well as access and use it.
Be/Coming is a fusion of peoples and traditions. As such, it is grounded in the American folk art tradition of quilting, which is about the piecing together of disparate parts and leftover things. African-American folk traditions and mythologies (i.e. The Underground Railroad Quilt), and the controversies and hearsay surrounding American history and iconography (i.e. the Statue of Liberty) are included. Various esoteric and spiritual practices are also incorporated to activate the spiritual energy necessary to heal these
Like many healing rituals, in order for the community to benefit, multiple individuals must take part in its construction. As such, many individuals have woven their power into the fabric of Be/Coming, which expands the circle of healing.
Below is a poem which is the result of the collaorative effort between myself and poet M. Eliza Hamilton Abegunde for the Poetic Dialogue Project. For more information about this collaborative venture, please click here.
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