question: how can I set right a tangle which is entirely below the level of my consciousness?
nisargadatta: by being with yourself…by watching yourself in your daily life with alert interest, with the intention to understand [innerstand] rather than to judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, because it is there, you encourage the deep to come to the surface and enrich your life and consciousness with its captive energies. this is the great work of awareness, it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence…
- nisargadatta maharaj ‘I am that’
i am back in the city
a new solo-show celebrating
jamaica’s national shero MAROON QUEEN NANNY
at summerworks theatre festival august 9th-17th @
Lower Ossington Theatre
RSVP on facebook
so excited to see you toronto
a new play in 70 words
by d’bi.young anitafrika
person a: it is.
person b: but what is it?
person a: what it is.
person b: what’s your point?
person a: there is no point. there is no right. there is no wrong. just, it is.
person b: so then why bother?
person a: because you can.
person b: and that’s the point?
person a: I guess so.
person b: so there is a point.
person a: if you wanna see it that way, I suppose there is.
person b: and the point is to just be?
person a: just be what?
person b: what it is.
person a: I don’t know.
dub poetics and personal politics…pt. 10
by d’bi.young anitafrika
‘to see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality…belief in the presence of unchanging entities which exist on their own. to break through this false view is to be liberated from every sort of fear, pain and anxiety.’
- thich nhat hanh
watering our roots
I have two suns, moon and phoenix. they are the blessing I hoped for; the collective spiritual force propelling me into the liberation of uncovering my own integrity. raising children grounds you in ways that only raising children can. being responsible for another human being, helping to shape their thought patterns, influencing how they give and receive love, showing them how to take better care of mother earth, are all responsibilities I now know more intimately with each passing moment. the theoretical approach to social change, that I had for years finally concretized when moon and then phoenix arrived; perfect embodiments of the practice of loving.
this new environment of mother and child highlighted behaviour patterns and emotional triggers within me that I thought were exorcized. the boys showed me the ways in which i was most neglected as a child, the wounds of abandoment that still hurt, and the abusive adult behaviours in myself that I had internalized as a child. I realized yet again that years of ingesting violence and hate don’t just disappear simply because you want them to. change takes work. having moon and phoenix sent me back to the drawing board of dub, encouraging me to (re)integrate this new/old knowledge of reconditioning abusive behaviour patterns; transforming violence into love.
I am challenged to find new ways to teach them about the broad spectrum of gender; allowing them room to develop and discover their humanity within a loving and encouraging environment; teaching them about positive and progressive ways to treat people and being gentle and compassionate when they experiment with not-so-loving behaviour.
I’m teaching them to appreciate stories and to be aware of their power. I’m teaching them to learn the boundaries of their bodies and minds, knowing that they have the power to determine how they respond to their environment. as I teach them, I learn as well about the very same things. I take them almost everywhere with me; like my mother took me almost everywhere with her. children are the best kind of observers, because they watch without judgement. their openness and excitement about gaining new knowledges reminds me to continue to expand my own. they remind me that storytelling is a loving critique; a loving resistance. our griot tradition continues.
dub poetics and personal politics…pt. 9
by d’bi.young anitafrika
‘don’t chase after your thoughts as a shadow follows its object. don’t run after your thoughts as a stolen soul runs after the magic amulet. don’t postpone it, but find joy and peace in this very moment.’
-thich nhat hanh
childhood sexual trauma and ‘da kink in my hair
I began playing the role of stacyanne in ‘da kink in my hair when I was 22 years old. ‘da kink in my hair was trey anthony’s first play celebrating afri-caribbean-canadian black womben, through monologues exploring traumatic experiences that shape our lives. as a womban who has lived through childhood sexual trauma, the thought of playing the role of a young girl who was sexually abused by her mother’s partner, was both frightening and exciting; frightening, because my own healing wounds could gash open and maybe never close again; exciting because the storytelling process could provide a healing balm not only to my wounds but other survivors as well. performing ‘da kink in my hair for nearly a decade has done both. within the first few years I became raw and vulnerable, reliving traumas as my audiences healed through my perpetual retelling. somewhere within the ritual of ‘da kink in my hair my own experience in the role began to change and the healing balm grew thicker for me; this magic happened as an outgrowth of the relationship between the village (who witnessed the show) and I; first I held the audience and then the audience held me and then we held each other. this is the magic of storytelling. a similar process was happening with the character mudgu in my solo show blood.claat, which was developing and playing around the same time as‘da kink.
I have told stacyanne’s story to young black womben, old black womben, to men and womben of colour from all walks, to all kinds of people globally. in each scenario, the humanity of the story takes precedence over the differences among the people witnessing it. in every telling stacyanne changes, grows, regresses and progresses. as an incest surviving storyteller—within the spirit of her— I do the same. we are both held by the village; allowing them to pour, like water, into us; finding catharsis and healing. unlocking silence, shame and blame; inspiring accountability and responsibility. welcoming forgiveness. throughout this process I wade, watching the magic of reciprocity in full effect. storytelling in full effect.
‘da kink made me a true believer. to be continued…
dub poetics and personal politics…pt 8
by d’bi.young anitafrika
‘if you want to know your own mind, there is only one way: to observe and recognize everything about it. this must be done at all times, during your day-to-day life no less than during the hour of meditation.’
- thich nhat hanh
responsibility and accountability
the world is built of blood. canada—like jamaica—is built on blood; first nations blood, afrikan blood, south- and east-asian blood, and the blood, sweat and tears of working class peoples. systemic injustice flourish despite modernity and diversity. the bright and bubbling metropolises where world peoples gather have a palpable anger – the anger of the oppressed. the complex human systems of power dynamics that we have created, have us dealing simultaneously with systemic and systematic oppressions as well as our inter-personal prejudices and bigotries amongst each other. surely these states of being are related however this truth does not make it any easier to negotiate through them. also the lines of oppressed vs oppressor become blurry as we admit that we all carry the potential to oppress as human beings and do indeed oppress while being oppressed, within frameworks of systemic oppression such as racism, classism, ableism, homophobia etc. dub poetry attempts to make the link between these varying qualities of oppression, asking the community to simultaneously tear down systemic oppression while unravelling the ways in which, as individuals, we pepetuate the very same dynamics, inter-personally. poverty is not only economic deprivation and domination; it cajoles the social and spiritual realities of people as well. when our basic human rights of access to food, shelter, clean water, bodily safety are not being met, then the people’s ability to self-determine and to self-actualize are incredibly challenged. how can the people express complete humanity in de-humanizing contexts?
my responsibility and accountability as a dub poet is to innerstand and address this issue. challenging the breadth and depth of oppression as it sophisticates and multiplies within this present canadian context is a part of my reinterpretation of dub tradition. this analysis implicates me first and foremost as a human being who is both oppressed and who oppresses. innerstanding the roles I play in maintaining my own oppression and perpetuating the same cycle is paramount to my attainment of liberation. realizing that our liberation is indeed within our own hands – beyond the realities of systemic oppression and prejudice – is truth that we can use.
I realized as I began taking my artistic practice more seriously that I could not simply regurgitate the political analyses of pioneer dub—race and class examination—but needed instead to transport the framework of dub to present day socio-politico-spiritual concerns, both observed outside of my body and within my body, using my art to enter silence spaces. the personal investigative stance is even more crucial than I originally understood it to be and this has led me to the current conclusion that the struggle for liberation has to be a personal one for everyone; to liberate ourselves within ourselves. this is the foundation of a global liberation of humanity. with this realization I continue to negotiate some key tenets of dub poetry: to provoke, challenge, confront, and r/evolutionize. to be continued…