Beauty Breaks: NYC 2017 Session 1
Beauty Breaks session Black Linguistics was one our first sessions in New York City. We hosted session in Sunny Cheebas home in the west side of the Bronx, and started everything off with the vibrational squeeze. Amina led us into exchanging our energies in the group circle before activities began. There we remained in our tightly constructed circle, and began our first workshop with the talented Amma Whatt. Amma Whatt is a writer and known to
produce vocal arrangements across genres. Whatt started her exercise by singing for us, then shortly after, directed everyone around in the circle to share what they wish to get done within their lives, but also communicate one self limiting habit that prevents themselves from accomplishing their desired goals. Everyone openly shared what was asked, while Amma encouraged us to all interact with our advice with how we can assist our fellow neighbor on how to break those limiting habits. Amma gracefully collected everyone’s self limiting beliefs and shortened each statement into one word. As the words we shared after the exercise, we all got up and shook out the energy from our bodies. Sol Patches began their exercise shortly after. Sol Patches is a multi talented artist that focuses on music, acting, and breaking the barriers of gender identification. We were all graced with a vocal performance by Sol while taking in the intensity of the lyrics of their music. Once their performance was over, everyone was asked to raise up and begin a physical exercise that required us to make nose with our bodies while interacting with one another. We went for a few rounds, then Sol playfully asked us to speed things up. Our actions, our sounds, and our laughter was the light that shined so bright in Sunny’s living room. We all shared our last minute throughs before we began our workshop with Justin Chance. Justin Chance is an artist and writer based in and from New York. He makes essays, short stories, sculptures and works on paper. Chance’s workshop proposed a guided conversation exploring the history and cultural implications of the Black musical “cover”. Beginning with an introduction of The Gee’s Bend Quilt (quilts produced in rural Alabama by a community of black women spanning generations known for their patchwork and modernist innovations) and ending in the current day with Childish Gambino’s recent cover of Tamia’s ‘So into You’ (1998). In this workshop we used the covers as a critical lens of examining and celebrating black creative production, gender and ‘racial’ performance, impact in the world of popular culture, and most importantly historical value. We all sat in the center of Sunny’s livingroom while watching different slides Chance presented to us. Everyone shared their thoughts as Chance guided us into digging deeper into the music we listen to, and how covers of music can either enhance our history or influence us to forget where it all came from. After Chance’s guided discussion, we all ended our first Bronx session with a warm embrace encouraging everyone for our second session in the upcoming week.