by Susan Fried, Ronnie Estoque, and Maile Anderson
From marching, dance, and roller skating, to meditation, music, and a restaurant homecoming, South Seattle marked the first federally recognized Juneteenth 2021 with beautiful spirit and joy. Emerald photographers hit the streets on Saturday to capture some of the many happenings around the South End. Among them: In the morning, “No Healing, No Peace!” A Walking Meditation for Black Liberation was held at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park and Jackson’s Catfish Corner celebrated their grand opening and return to the Central District. In the afternoon, It Takes a Village Juneteenth Festival took place in Othello Park while KCEN’s annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration marched from 22nd Avenue and Madison Street to Jimi Hendrix Park. Black Girls Roller Skate hosted a Juneteenth roller skating party at Judkins Park and, in the evening, Wa Na Wari wrapped up the day at their Juneteenth Outdoor Celebration with live music.
How do we sense at this time? With the onslaught of violence against Asian American and Asian Diasporic people, the horrifyingly regular state-sanctioned murders of Black and Brown people (including CHILDREN), and general harm towards those who our society minoritizes, I’ve been feeling numb and guilty in my inability to sense, as well as to post, donate, fight, and make sense of what’s going on. How do we sense well at this time?
In Lisa Myers Bulmash’s home, a new item commemorates her contest winner status — a cerulean pageant sash. The phrase “Miss Thang 2021” is written across it, and a rhinestone-encrusted safety pin ensures it stays in place. Bulmash can’t help but laugh when she talks about her husband’s playful gift.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute Pilot Program — Now Accepting Applications!
Application Deadline: March 31
From the source: Wa Na Wari and the Shelf Life Community Story Project are launching the Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute, a pilot oral history/community story training program.
In 2021, a six-person cohort will explore the ethics, techniques, best practices, tensions, and dilemmas of oral history. The cohort will then practice their new skills by conducting oral history interviews with local community members around three topics. Upon completion of the Institute, cohort members will receive compensation of $4,000 and a certificate of completion.
Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.
One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather waking up every morning before the sun came up. I was born in 1969 and in my early years, before my mother married my father, we lived with my grandparents. By the time I was maybe 4 or 5, my grandfather had retired. He had served in World War II in the motor pool in the South Pacific, and then, when he came to Seattle, he got a job at the Naval shipyards down on the piers here in the sound, later working with the transportation department until his retirement in the early ’70s. He came from a family of tenant farmers who migrated to the Northwest from the South who were used to working on the land. Their work ethic never left him.
Before the pandemic, my two favorite places to shop for holiday gifts were Kinokuniya Seattle and Pike Place Market. At Kinokuniya, the bright, densely-packed Japanese bookstore in Uwajimaya Village, I browsed children’s books, comics, magazines, and stationery for hours. At Pike Place Market, I beelined to the Herban Farm stand, founded by Ras Levi Peynado, a Seattleite with Jamaican Roots who farms and dries his products. There, I would test-smell the fragrant seasonings, rubs, and salves, while staring at ferry boats crossing Elliott Bay, before buying gifts for family members. Among favorites were Pike Place Herbs (an all purpose seasoning), the paprika-rich Seatown Smoke (“BBQ in a jar”), and the floral Lavender Sea Salt.
A weekly round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
curated by Emerald Staff
Wa Na Wari Announces 2021 Artist Residencies
From Wa Na Wari: Wa Na Wari, based in Seattle’s Central District, is offering three one-month-long residencies in the Wa Na Wari house where a visual artist can work and create new visual artwork. The new work will then be on view at Wa Na Wari for a two-month period after the residency. The call is open to artists over 18 years of age that identify as part of the African diaspora living in King County, Washington. Each selected artist will receive a stipend of $2,000. The application deadline is on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
Outside, an eerie somberness permeates the atmosphere. Burnt air and still, gray haze evoke our proximity to fire, smoke, evacuations, and devastating climate change. Inside, Kiné Camara uplifts the mood. On screen she glides. Camara reiterates a four-beat movement stepping rightwards, center, leftwards, and then center again. With each step, her head is angled, hands flexed, and shoulders structured to punctuate pulsing music. She is teaching us the Azonto, a Ghanaian dance move that compels our bodies to loop into the entrancing beat across this four-step.
East Coast, West Coast, Bronx and Compton, this is what most fans think of when pondering hip-hop history. But what many don’t realize is that Seattle has played an important role in the maturity of a genre that has grown from the urban streets to the global scene. And Seattle hip-hop has its own unique story and sound. To illuminate that fact and celebrate Black Music Month, arts organizations LANGSTON and Wa Na Wari have partnered for 2(06) The Break. The seven episode series will put a local ‘spin’ on the live-streaming DJ sessions popularized by cultural icons like Questlove and DJ D-Nice via social media for the past two months. Each week, Jazmyn Scott, a Seattle hip-hop supporter and co-curator of the 2015 Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop exhibit at MOHAI, will pair two Pacific Northwest hip-hop DJs to collaboratively program and record a set composed exclusively of songs by local hip-hop artists of a specific era, from the 1980s to the present.