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.
We are kicking off the I Do Mind Dying: Live Action Mixtape video series with the brilliant multi-talented Brinae Ali performing her anthemic song “Rebel” with special guests Tunde Olaniran and her sister Cherisse Bradley on additional vocals.
The video is produced by Emergence Media, filmed and edited by Tim Jagielo.
Event co-curator and host Tunde had this to say about his fellow Flint rep:
Brinae is an amazing talent, a singer's singer, world-class dancer, songwriter. someone who is practically vibrating with creative energy at all times. Her blending of tap, singing, storytelling has brought me to tears every time I see her live. She's just one of those performers that you want EVERYONE to experience live.
Brinae Ali was nominated for the Independent Music Awards. Click here and register to vote for her before July 13th.
As a world renowned tap dancer she also recently performed a piece dedicated to James Baldwin at Harlem Stage last month:
For her tribute to Baldwin, Bradley is collaborating with musicians, visual artists, photographers and dancers in what she describes as an "afro-futuristic" project. As a gay black man, Baldwin provided a lot of commentary about racial and sexual distinctions in the mid-20th century. She plans to use the project, called "Black Matter" – a reference to the "Black Lives Matter" movement against police brutality, and to dark matter, the idea of matter that can't be seen with telescopes – to speak on black history, systemic racism, and Flint's water crisis.” (William Ketchum via mlive.com)
In addition to her long list of performance accomplishments she is also deeply involved in her Flint community, producing an art and social justice workshop and event series entitled Flint Beyond Words.
Born and raised in Flint, MI, Alexandria “Brinae Ali” Bradley has an interdisciplinary approach in using the power of the arts to uplift and inspire the human spirit. While attending Marymount Manhattan College as a theater major in acting, she was blessed to work and train professionally in Savion Glover’s tap company Tii Dii. Bradley has had the opportunity to work with George Faison, Germaine Ingram, Wynton Marsalis, Geri Allen, Warren Carlyle and Reg E Gaines. As a choreographer and playwright she was apart of E-Moves 9 in 2008, won Best Short Play for her one woman show called Steps at the 2011 Downtown Urban Theater Festival, and was one of Dance Magazine's Top 25 to Watch in 2011. She also had a leading role in the off-broadway show STOMP and Cotton Club Parade. Currently, Bradley is the artistic director of Tapology Tap Festival for Youth and creator of her latest project called Destination Forever.
Gayelynn McKinney (drums)
Ibrahim Jones (bass)
Tony Gordon (keys)
C Sharpe and Detroit Urban Stringz (string section)
DJ Los (turntables)
“Emergence Media and Dirt Tech Reck presents…”
Thursday July 30th 6-9pm at New Center Park in Detroit
Free. All ages. Wheelchair accessible.
More details coming soon.
Treasure (2015, 63 min.), a documentary directed by dream hampton, premieres at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 13 and June 16, screens in Upstate NY on June 15, and then debuts in Detroit, June 18 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, shown in partnership with the Ruth Ellis Center.
Immediately after the news came out about the brutal murder of Shelly Hilliard, most people assumed her death was related to involvement in survival economies, or a hate crime. Four years ago, I was at the Ruth Ellis Center for Shelly’s candlelight vigil and saw attendees struggled through some speaker’s moralistic stances on sex work. I remember a few of young trans women righteously spoke up against the paternalism they heard, and called out the exclusion of trans people from the LGB community in Detroit: the “T” is always an afterthought, one young woman noted.
Invisible, until tragedy hits.
As the details were revealed of what led to the killing of Shelly (also known as Treasure to friends and family), people quickly realized this was something much more layered and heinous than an individual acting on ignorance and transphobia. The facts revealed this to be not only a dehumanization of Shelly's life because of her Blackness and Transness, but also uncovered the central role of the suburban Madison Heights police in her death. Since then her story has remained largely untold, until this powerful film.
Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice, Mapping a Detroit Story, premieres this month with screenings in Los Angeles, Upstate New York, and Detroit. The piece is heavy and heartbreaking, never avoiding the gravity of the tragedy that led to the end of Treasure's life. But rather than focus solely on the gruesome actions of Shelly's murderers, it exposes the institutional methods by which her precious life was stolen through police coercion and oppressive economic conditions.
Yet Treasure doesn't stop at Tragedy. It also illuminates the Trans Justice movement in Detroit and beyond, uplifting the wisdom of many including Emani Love, Racquelle Trammell, Karimu Oliver, Lance Hicks, and Ignacio Rivera. I was interviewed for the film as well, and honored to be featured amongst these fierce Trans warriors. This film is so important because it highlights Shelly's story in an intimate portrait that is nuanced and intentional in its approach.
Treasure features a sparse and powerful soundscape contributed by Jeedo (Dirt Tech Reck / Complex Movements) and Detroit based classical harpist Ahya Simone (recently featured in this list of Black Trans people to follow).
Los Angeles Film Festival: June 13 and June 16 (tickets)
Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, NY: June 15 (tickets)
Detroit Institute of Arts: June 18 (tickets)
Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice, Mapping a Detroit Story
Directed by: Dream Hampton
Producers: T. Miller, D. Phillips
Cinematographer: Adam Saewitz
Editor: Darryl Phillips
Music: Ahya Simone
Cast: Emani Love, Lyniece Nelson
The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly newspaper, offers a deep dive into Complex Movements on the occasion of the collective’s ongoing month-long residency presented by the performing arts organization, On The Boards.
"Complex Movements," The Stranger writes, "certainly lives up to its name." The article, "The Politicized Theater of Detroit-Based Collective Complex Movements," explores the expansive politics and vision of Complex Movements and shares a synopsis of the Beware of the Dandelions multimedia installation, performance, and organizing project. It includes a full interview with the collective on the philosophical origins of the project, the project’s relationship to Detroit, and the connections cultivated with each of the communities in which the work is presented.
Explore the full schedule of performances and community events in Seattle.
Read the full article and interview at The Stranger.
Beware of the Dandelions will be in Seattle for a four week engagement. The schedule includes 22 performances and 14 community events (10 of which are free and open to the public).
Accessibility information for Complex Movements-organized events is here.
May 10 (1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.)
Tickets $23/$12.50 under 25.
Beware of the Dandelions is a mobile art installation that functions as a performance, workshop space, and visual arts exhibition. The piece is created from the intersection of disciplines including: community organizing, design, hip-hop and electronic music, architecture, and theater. The experience occurs inside a 400 square foot polyhedron dome-like pod structure. The audience plays the role of post-apocalyptic survivors and unlocks the story of a community working to transform their external conditions and internal methods.
The Beware of the Dandelions installation maps community stories of resilience and resistance. Attendees are invited to view any or all portions of the installation. During each viewing we will host a facilitated dialogue on complex science principles, and how these relate to community-led social justice strategies.
Laila Suidan, educator and nature-worker, Down to Earth Landscapes
3518 S. Edmunds St. Seattle WA 98118. More info on Facebook.
Join us for a dialogue and workshop exploring the path away from false solutions to climate catastrophe and criminalization, and toward a just transition for our communities.Featuring:
The #LuluNation + #SadBoisHypeClub Talk Show is a queer, trans people of color talk show that airs every Tuesday. Talk about what's complicated, what's complex, what's community. Be angry. Eat Snacks. Have Fun. Talk mess and goodness. Complex Movements will be the featured guests on this episode.
Tuesday, April 21, 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center 4408 Delridge Way SW. More info on Facebook.
An opportunity to connect, share, create, and build cooperation and unity among young people working for a more just world. We aim to convene youth and youth organizations across sector and neighborhoods in Seattle/occupied Duwamish land. Includes dialogue, hands on creative activities, and food! Facilitated by Complex Movements and Henry Luke (Anakbayan Seattle and Wonderlab). Co-hosted by Youth Speaks Seattle and FEEST.
Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at On The Boards, 100 W Roy St, Seattle, Washington 98119. More info on Facebook.
Opening of the Complex Movements video installation mode, which features Movement Memory Maps collected through Story Seed Saving circles in Detroit, Dallas, and Seattle. Followed by a facilitated conversation with Seattle-based projects for community social justice story collecting and archiving. Co-Sponsored by the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Wednesday May 6, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, Seattle, Washington 98119. More info on Facebook.
Complex Movements will be joined by Seattle based artists Cristina Orbe, Davida Ingram, Ijeoma Oluo, and others, to exchange insights about the relationship between art-making practices, community, and social justice. Co-Sponsored by the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
For all events organized by Complex Movements:
In addition to events featuring and organized by Complex Movements, we have been working with our community coordinators and cohort to identify Seattle social justice and culture rooted events taking place while we are in town. These are not events that we have organized, but are included as we intend to support and uplift this powerful local work. Your attendance is encouraged!
Youth Speaks Grand Slam. April 10. More info.
The 44th Annual First Nations at University of Washington Spring Powwow. April 10 - Sunday April 12. More info.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha "Bodymap" Launch Party and Celebration. April 15. More info.
Seattle Central Spring Poetry Night. April 16. Featuring Amir Sulaiman, One Be Lo, Hamda Yusuf, Troy Osaki, Gabriel Teodros + more. More info.
#Caravana43 in Seattle. April 16 - April 18. More info.
Langston Hughes Film Festival. April 17- April 20. More info.
Youth Speaks #BlackLivesMatter Open Mic ft. Acacia Salisbury & Nikkita Oliver. April 19.
Longhouse Media and Northwest Film Forum screen "Maria Tallchief." April 17. More info.
Rogue Pinay Celebration & Dance Party. April 18. More info.
All on the same ocean - EXPO reportback. April 19. More info.
Anniversary of the Rana Plaza Factory Collapse in Bangladesh. April 24. It is, to date, the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry worldwide. Grassroots Global Justice Alliance members from around the country will take part in a global 24-hour action by the World March of Women that will highlight this incident and the struggles of women around the world. Got Green is gathering folks together to have a community dinner, movie, and discussion about workers struggles and to remember the workers who have passed away because of unjust conditions. Sign the Petition. More info.
Got Green? Green-A-Thon. April 25. More info.
Marcha Y Manifestacion Anual del 1o de Mayo 2015 - 2015 May Day March & Rally. May 1. More info.
Northwest Folklife PreFest Party. May 1. Featuring Porter Ray, Gabriel Teodros & Industrial Revelation. More info.
"Black Lives Matter: Humanity is Not Negotiable." A visual arts exhibit curated by Naomi Ishisaka. April 11 - May 17. More info.
Terrance Guardipee Art Exhibit @ Day Break Star. Ongoing through April 30. More info.
Eyes to Dream: a Project Room by C. Davida Ingram. April 4 - July 5. More info.
Rasmea Odeh is a Palestinian-American woman who was targeted by the US government for her activism and community leadership. She was put on trial, convicted, and imprisoned in Detroit last November 2014, and then released from prison in December 2014. Rasmea's sentencing hearing is Thursday, March 11 in Detroit. There is an action being planned in her support – details below.
The #Justice4Rasmea video was filmed and edited by ill/invincible while they participated in these actions.
Support Rasmea Odeh this week:
From the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:
The national Rasmea Defense Committee is calling for people to join them on Thursday, March 12 at 10:00am to support her as she faces sentencing after being found guilty of “unlawful procurement of citizenship” last November for not indicating on her naturalization application that she had been unjustly imprisoned by the state of Israel back in 1969.
Register here if you can attend the sentencing hearing, which will be at 231 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226.
The prosecution is asking for an enhanced sentence of 5-7 years in prison for Rasmea, who is 67 and a torture survivor. The vast majority of those convicted of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization are sentenced to no more than 21 months. Rasmea's defense attorneys are arguing that she shouldn't be imprisoned for even one more day, and more than 70 important academics, activists, and community leaders who have written to Judge Gershwin Drain agree.
Rasmea will be appealing the conviction regardless of the outcome of the sentencing, so visit justice4rasmea.org to learn more about her case and other actions you can take.
If Odeh’s life work challenges us to think beyond individualist organizing models, then how can we apply this to the ways we represent her, support her, and work towards her liberation?
On the one hand, there is a need to isolate her case. She is a pillar of the community, and that is exactly why the government is targeting her. But who she is cautions us against fetishizing her — not only in order to challenge gender and social hierarchies and the harmful role of personality cults in progressive politics, but also to challenge the potential of social movements to fetishize Palestinian individuals and communities (in Palestine or the diaspora).
Let us continue to lift Odeh up precisely because she has never labored to gain a platform of her own, to stand on a pedestal over others, or to become a celebrity. Instead, she meticulously crafted and protected organizing spaces so that more and more people could come in and gain strength.
Pulling Odeh into the cyclone of fetishization will only do her and her struggle a huge disservice. Continuing her legacy requires growing a politics of the collective as we organize tirelessly for her release and for her appeal, as part and parcel not only of her liberation but also of ours — and Palestine’s.
On Friday, Feb 20, Complex Movements will begin a 10-day residency at the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU in Dallas, Texas. Complex Movements’ residency is supported by the Meadows Prize Award “for pioneering artists and creative professionals who are active in one or more disciplines represented by the academic units within the Meadows School.”
Listed below are the public events and activities of the Complex Movements community residency. Complex Movements looks forward to deeply connecting with Dallas communities and exchanging stories and strategies with Detroit. Read more about Complex Movements' approach to community engagement here.
Complex Movements is a Detroit-based artist collective developing interactive performance work that illuminates connections between complex science and social justice movements to support the transformation of communities. The collective is comprised of graphic designer/fine artist Wesley Taylor; music producer/filmmaker Waajeed; lyricist/organizer Invincible; and multimedia artist/performance systems architect Carlos Garcia. Their work draws on multiple disciplines, including community organizing, design, music, architecture, storytelling, multimedia art and theater.
For their Meadows Prize project, Complex Movements will collaborate with the Dallas community and Meadows School on a week-long residency in February. Complex Movements will return to Dallas in October for a four-week presentation of Beware of the Dandelions in Dallas’s Fair Park.
Beware of the Dandelions is a performance-based installation that also functions as a workshop space and a visual arts exhibition. Participant activity occurs inside a 400-square-foot polyhedron pod structure designed in collaboration with Detroit-based architect Aaron Jones to create an immersive visual and sound experience. Beware of the Dandelions is built upon an original science-fiction parable about a post-apocalyptic community trying to create change. The parable is told through projections, music and interactive elements.
Components of the installation are shaped and co-presented by a cohort of Dallas community members to give the work a unique local resonance. The cohort touring model is designed in collaboration with cultural strategist and producer Sage Crump. Complex Movements seeks to raise the visibility of local issues and social justice-based art and activism.
Complex Movements is pleased to welcome special guest Knoxx as part of the residency at SMU. Knoxx is an Ojibwe/Anishinaabe & Xicano emcee, music producer, motion picture artist, digital media artist, and community cultural worker, based in Southwest Detroit.
Saturday February 21, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at St. Philip’s School and Community Center, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in South Dallas.
St. Philip’s School and Community Center’s PSA, in partnership with SMU’s Meadows Arts and Urbanism Initiative, will host a dynamic panel discussion on THE ARTS IN INNER CITY COMMUNITIES on Saturday, February 21st at 1 PM. The event will take place at St. Philip’s, a seven decade institution located in and serving South Dallas. This discussion is being held in conjunction with a community mural project St. Philip’s is spearheading with members of South Dallas’ Forest Heights Neighborhood through a GrowSouth grant, awarded last year.
Oakland muralist/educator/activist and founder of AEROSOUL, an international African Diaspora Spray Can Art Movement, Refa One, has been commissioned for the mural project that is being created with Dallas artist, Chris Herod, and residents of the Forest Heights Neighborhood. This includes youth and adults. The mural was conceptualized by elders in the community. The unique mobile mural that will be painted in March will officially be unveiled in May and feature live performances of past and current resident stories of this South Dallas neighborhood bordered by Highway 45, Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, and Lamar Street.
Iv Amenti Holmes, a Dallas writer/performance artist/educator, will moderate the panel that will include Complex Movements, Dallas artist Emmanuel Gillespie, and Chris Herod. The event is FREE and open to the public. St. Philip’s School and Community Center is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in South Dallas.
Saturday February 21, 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. at St. Philip’s School and Community Center, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in South Dallas.
Space is limited. Please click here to RSVP.
Movement Memory Mapping is a form of oral history collection through audio and video that helps document and pass on the often overshadowed and untold stories of community resistance and resilience. This session will be an opportunity for participants to explore Movement Memory Mapping in these ways:
Through this process we will form a team of Story Seed Savers to collect stories on an ongoing basis. These stories will be integrated into Complex Movements' Beware of the Dandelions and collectively owned by Dallas community members to incorporate into community story-collecting and archiving projects.
This event is sponsored by SMU Meadows Arts and Urbanism Initiative. More info and RSVP on Facebook.
Friday, February 27, 9:00 p.m. - 12:00 midnight at the Pan African Connection, 828 4th Ave., Dallas.
Hosted by Complex Movements and Studology 101
Featuring performances by
This event is all ages. This event is not wheelchair accessible (2nd floor walk up).
$5 Suggested donation to Pan African Connection. Sponsored by SMU Meadows Arts & Urbanism Initiative. RSVP on Facebook.
Saturday February 28, 8:00 p.m. at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 South Fitzhugh Avenue, Dallas.
Tickets are $5 - $20 and may be purchased here.
Explore the complexity of social justice movements by attending a performance of Mississippi Goddamn.
Jonathan Norton's new play, examines the tensions and complications among neighbors in the years leading up to the 1963 assassination of Medgar Evers. Set against the backdrop and changing times of civil rights era Mississippi, you don't want to miss this powerful, riveting and profoundly moving play. Mississippi Goddamn features Tyrees Allen, Stormi Demerson, Calvin Gabriel, Jamal Sterling and Ashley Wilkerson. Directed by Vickie Washington.
Mississippi Goddamn is a commission of the Diaspora Performing Arts Commissioning Program, a project of the South Dallas Cultural Center. This project is made possible with generous support from South Dallas Cultural Center, National Endowment for the Arts, and Texas Commission on the Arts and the Mid America Arts Alliance. South Dallas Cultural Center is a division of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.