Emergence presented the "I Do Mind Dying" Live Action Mixtape on July 19, 2014 at Detroit's New Center Park. The event was hosted by and featured performances from Invincible, Miz Korona, and Tunde Olaniran.
This trailer is the first of a series of installments documenting the I Do Mind Dying: Live Action Mixtape event. Stay tuned for more!
by invincible/ill Weaver
Please Mr. Foreman,
Slow down your assembly line.
I don't mind working, but
I do mind dying.
The last line of this lyric by legendary Detroit Blues artist Joe L was tattooed on the back of our dear friend Cheri Sheddy Rollins Sanchez's neck. We were reminded of it while we mourned Sheddy's life being stolen, on March 12th, 2014. Sheddy, a beautiful soul who was put on this earth to love, got those words inked into their skin nearly a decade ago, while living in the Motor City and working with Detroit Summer, after having read a book by that title. The book title, Detroit: I Do Mind Dying, was inspired by that Joe L lyric as well.
Detroit, I Do Mind Dying is a book about Black workers in Detroit area factories, fighting injustices brought both by foremen and white racist union leaders, forming the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) and numerous other RUMs. That book prominently featured General Gordon Baker, a lifelong Detroit activist with the mind of a historian and the heart of a warrior. Gen Baker joined the ancestors the day before what would have been El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X)'s 89th birthday, May 19th, 2014.
Vincent Harding (a dear friend of Grace who visited us often in Detroit to share his kind gentle spirit and powerful songs and wisdom), William Worthy (another comrade of Grace who was a radical journalist), and Sam Greenly (the author and filmmaker of The Spook Who Sat By the Door) all made their transitions the same week as Gen.
In that time period the legendary Mabel Williams, Ruby Dee, and Maya Angelou all joined the ancestors. Each of these women made huge impacts on our lives, world, and movements.
The following week our beloved water warrior Charity Mahouna Hicks was put into a coma by a hit and run driver. The fight to end the water shut offs ramped up even more in her absent presence. The morning of the I Do Mind Dying event was Charity's homegoing ceremony. The week of the "I Do Mind Dying" Live Action Mixtape event also commemorated three years since David Blair's passing.
Baba Charles Simmons said he couldn't remember a time since the 60s where we lost so many of our most committed comrades all at once like this.
We wondered what event could we produce as a collective healing space, a way to honor and uplift so many ancestors, so many still fighting to live full lives of dignity and joy. The title of our event was also a symbol of so many forces that threaten the life of our cities, and the ways our communities continue to resist and affirm our fullest humanity.
I Do Mind Dying became that collective expression of gratitude for all of our loved ones named above, and many others. Each artist, performer, participant, and unexpected light brigade was shining Charity's well-known mantra, "Wage Love."
Emergence produced this epic experience in collaboration with Miz Korona and Tunde Olaniran. The event was created with support from the illustrious Detroit filmmaker and event producer Njia Kai, and in conjunction with The Praxis Project's Roots and Remedies gathering.
Tunde, Korona, and ill were interviewed by WDET's Travis Wright about the event. Listen here: