|Thulani Davis and Ntozake Shange '70 at Africana Celebration.|
Below are my remarks which were delivered in tandem with a structured improvisational dance. Artists Candace Thompson, Melanie Green, Autumn Scoggan, Sarah Chien '10, and Kimberly Mhoon brought these words to life with movement.
Africana is a Department: A Movement Score in Four Parts
|Africana Studies majors 2007 with then Chair, Kim F. Hall|
Africana is the interdisciplinary study of the culture, history, literature, and politics of the people of the African diaspora. Once someone asked me if I was an Africana Studies major because I was black or because I was interested in it. I respond hastily, annoyed, indignant, "because I'm interested." It's true, I did choose to study it because I was interested, but I cannot deny that the interest is tied to my blackness and wanting to have a deeper understanding of myself. It was through the major that I was able to tie together and make sense of all I have ever been interested in studying: blackness, feminism, modern dance, spirituality and literature. It is through Africana that I understand that with my own intellectual discourse and creative practice, I am creating space for myself and those who identify with me. I am diversifying/challenging/expanding the canons of discourse. With this understanding I, some one who lives at the intersection of historically oppressed yet presently privileged feel a joyous responsibility to dance about my realities.
Africana is LOVE. It's faculty, most especially former chair Professor Kim F. Hall, continue to unconditionally support me beyond my wildest dreams. I would not be where I am professionally without you. So I honor you Kim. I honestly believe you are a superheroine! Not only for what you have done for me and other students, but for what you have done for your colleagues, and your immense contributions to this institution. You poured LOVE into Africana Studies, and Africana loves us back.
I know it has not always been this way.
I am proud to say that I felt supported as a student of color on this campus and in my academic studies as a major. Africana serves and enriches this community.
|Ntozake Shange '70, dancer Autumn Scoggan and me at the Africana Celebration.|
So on this day that we celebrate how far Africana has come, I'll say this: I see you Africana. I support you. I lift you up.