I originally wrote this for my Performance Art class…and am exploring mission statements for my work…
Here’s a Manifesto I wrote…
It is not enough to create for one’s own discovery; artists must challenge their viewer to promote change in their community. It is 2010; we are living in a world of eternal war, privacy invading government and internet, big business and government intervention, idealized and forgotten families, and a battle between conventional living and a pull towards the modern unknown. The artist has the power to acknowledge and bring these battles to the forefront of the peoples’ minds but the concept that the artist can ignore these real-life triggers so that he may take his time and just explore his own mind cannot be allowed! Artwork should inspire or promote change because of its existence, should it not? The artist must keep the community in mind when he creates and exhibits, the PEOPLE must be in his mind.
A lecture this time: An examination of mediatization and live performance with the aid of Philip Auslander’s “Liveness” and Rosalee Goldberg’s “The Art of Ideas and the Media Generation 1968 to 2000 from Performance Art: From Futurism to Present.” Additionally, a short talk on conceptual art as well as mediatization with live performance.
(Hope you wanna watch, and perhaps you’re even familiar with the topic at hand. Cause it’s intense goodness.)
I passed by my professor and professional photographer, Walter Dallas, the other day at the UM School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies mailroom the other day and he told me that there are photos up from the Understudy Run and the Principal Cast of “Am I Black Enough Yet?” that he took during our rehearsals on Facebook. I checked it out and saved a bunch of photos for my portfolio, Dr. D is a great photographer! Photos are Copyright Walter Dallas 2010. You can view the photos on Facebook if the album’s privacy settings allow here.
I’m performing in a play this fall! I’m in Clinton Johnson’s “Am I Black Enough Yet?” this November. It’s sketch comedy, a bit serious at times and very funny at other times. The play deals with questions of race and identity, in aims of examining and explaining how Americans can view race, specifically African-American/Black culture. I’m an understudy, so I’d like to invite you to the FREE understudy rehearsal which is on Tuesday, November 9th. The show runs November 5th to 13th, but you’re only guaranteed to see me perform with the other understudies on the 9th!
Last Thursday, I performed in a staged reading of Thembi Duncan’s “The New Negro”, an excellent play she is developing, amongst an audience of family and friends. It was truly an honor to perform among such great actors and production staff. For my first non-UMD-related performance gig (that I can quickly think of) I overcame several fears by enjoying my imagination and allowing my body to be a vessel for the creative energy in the room. “The New Negro” explored the LGBT world of Harlem in the 1920s, containing a family of friends living their lives following the death of a close friend and the introduction of a new friend. I performed the role of Oscar, a confident yet timid thirty-three year old man, who through the play explores his sexual side, his clever and creative side, his social side, and sadly, his scarred familial side too. My favorite parts of the performance were…my repartee with fellow actors when I had a snit or a back-and-forth with other actors, when I had to stutter sooo much to express Oscar’s uncomfortable self, when Oscar wanted to flirt and be charming, and the lastly, when he broke down during his last scene crying and weeping. Such a great character, I hope that in future drafts, Oscar is developed with even more zeal and vulnerability, and that as Thembi explores the intricate world she’s created, she’ll hopefully think of me for future performances. Thembi’s done such an amazing job, and to work with such a great ensemble was such a blessing! I had such a fun time!
Color Theory by Justin Orlando Fair
When I was little, I loved my crayons—the only thing is…when I drew pictures of myself…mixing black and white didn’t make my skin color. The color of my skin is more than black and white. I am Mixed. My ethnic background? I am black, white, and Jewish. While I‘m proud of my ethnicity I want to let you know that I’ve always struggled for comfort in my skin and in my race.
Ever since I was a little boy, I thought that my brothers and I were the same. Just different shades of tan. But it irks me that when my brother, who has darker skin, goes to an African-American event, and feels accepted, that when I walk into the same room I don’t—all because I feel I don’t look black-enough.
Well my skin color IS WHAT IT IS: And I’m proud of it. A golden tan in the summer and a cool beige in the winter. I know that for some people, I’m not seen as a black man unless it’s summer, and for some, I’m not white until the leaves start falling. Well let me shed some light on my situation. I still see as a black man no matter how light or dark the sun makes me. And sometimes it’s that feeling-out-of-place and wishing-I-belonged that hurts.
It makes me feel like I’m somehow ‘privileged enough’ not to face the same adversity that dark-skinned blacks face. Well I realize now that just because I’m light-skinned it doesn’t mean I don’t face adversity. It just means I face adversity in a different way. I still worry about discrimination. And being who I am, I still stand out.
I’m not blind. Well—I am color-blind actually, I have trouble distinguishing some hues from one another, but that doesn’t mean I’m actually blind TO color. I’m not blind to hate. Black culture is celebrated at Maryland: to speak up and fight for our beliefs and our rights—and just as well, we’re also taught to listen and see through others’ eyes. I’ve learned that until we talk, we’re just fishing around in our heads. A dialogue must be present, or racism is just an endless cycle. For me, the word “race” just doesn’t do its intended meaning justice. I prefer ‘ethnicity’ because it’s a word that asks me ‘Who do you identify with? What does you justice? I want to know your story, the story of your peoples. Starting at you and working its way backwards and forward.’
I am black because I am African-American, not because I have brown skin. I identify as black because of my people, not because of my skin color.