by Rayna Mathis
Amid the unpredictable and ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the performing arts scene is still struggling to survive the impacts of this virus. For many artists, being able to perform to live audiences was critical to their craft. Not just for the financial aspect, but for being able to connect to their community as well. There has been loss and grief, isolation and fear. I’d even venture to say many of us, if not everyone, has at one point reflected on themselves and the world around them during this pandemic. If you were paying attention, how could you not?
Continue reading Dokhontou: A Seattle Dancer’s Journey
by Susan Fried
Melba Ayco, the founder and artistic director of Northwest Tap Connection is a Gullah Geechee and Creole storyteller and last Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17, Northwest Tap celebrated their third annual Seattle Gullah Geechee Festival. Ms. Melba told stories about Gullah Geechee traditions around food, culture, and heritage. She talked about the importance of family and the practice of lifting the baby up during a Gullah christening, the significance of the conch shell in Gullah spirituality, and the history behind the “Emancipation” maypole. In-between the stories, Northwest Tap dancers and instructors performed numerous dances inspired by Gullah Geechee heritage.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Northwest Tap Connection’s Third Annual Gullah Geechee Festival
by LaNesha DeBardelaben
From a global pandemic to a renewed focus on social justice, many have suggested that historians will one day look back on 2020 as a turning point for our nation. Turning points can spark much-needed progressive change, but only if we cultivate it, educate our communities, and hold decision makers accountable.
The past year made it painfully clear that some of the very institutions designed to keep neighborhoods and communities safe and healthy are failing People of Color.
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored health care disparities that put People of Color at greater risk. The COVID-19 death rate among Black people is 1.4 times higher than among white people, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. In King County, data shows that confirmed cases, hospitalized cases, and deaths due to COVID-19 are all higher within communities of color than for white residents. Data also shows racial disparities in the national distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations, with Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and deaths and compared to their shares of the total population in most states. As Seattle physician Dr. Ben Danielson noted at a recent conversation that we hosted at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), “This is about more than science; this is about us.”
Continue reading OPINION: The Teachings of Malcolm X Can Guide Our Path to Greater Equity
by Ronnie Estoque
Last Sunday, organizers from the Black Action Coalition and Morning March Seattle celebrated their successful “Black Joy Festival,” an event they had planned to conclude Black History Month. The event began at noon and lasted until 5 p.m. at Othello Park and created vendor opportunities for local Black-owned businesses to showcase their products to the South Seattle community. Black culture was also an emphasis of the event, which featured music and performances from local artists and poets.
Continue reading Black Joy Festival Celebrates Culture and Community at Othello Park
by M. Anthony Davis
The Black and Tan Hall in Rainier Valley is more than a restaurant, bar, and performing art venue. It’s a staple in the community with a rich history of providing networking opportunities, social connections, and communal support to artists and residents from marginalized communities.
Continue reading Black and Tan Hall Finds New Ways to Continue Community Holiday Party During Pandemic
by Dr. LaShawnDa Pittman, Erin Lee, Gia Nguyen, Briannah Reed, and Tiana Smith
In “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now,” the late poet, writer, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou wrote that “African Americans as slaves could not even claim to have won the names given to them in haste and without a care, but they pridefully possessed a quality which modified the barbarism of their lives.”
Angelou continued, “They employed formally familial terms when addressing each other. … in the slave society, Mariah became Aunt Mariah and Joe became Uncle Joe. Young girls were called Sister, Sis, or Tutta. Boys became Brother, Bubba, Bro and Buddy.”
Continue reading OPINION: Black Life Disrupted