VONA my VONA

I’m still pretty high from my week at VONA.

I feel like Celie after Shug Avery kissed her.

Who knew that writing about dystopia, environmental racism, immersion therapy, death and leeches that make you suicidal would make me so happy? Tananarive Due, our fearless leader knew, that’s who. I like to think of her as the Beyonce of Speculative Fiction. I know- I know, big shoes to fill. And if Tananarive is Beyonce, who is Octavia Butler?

OCTAVIA BUTLER IS GOD.

At least she is to me when it comes to this speculative fiction book writing thing. So Tananarive Due is Beyonce, aka Jesus. And me and my SPECCC FICCC (rocketship) group, well-we are the disciples. A ragtag group of queerish nerds who dream of worlds without whiteness, the male gaze and dragons, (except the occasional neccesary one). We loved on each other, made each other feel seen and ate really well together. I’ve never felt safer. And that’s saying a lot considering what the past 6 months have been like for me.

I spent most of June in California experiencing my own surreal reality as a nomadic black girl tryna make it home while traversing rapidly gentrifying terrains. I got called a nigger in Santa Jose and was pick pocketed in San Fran and oh wee it’s a jungle over there. The homeless population in LA are aggressively ignored and white people don’t make eye contact and I think most black people are in prison. At least, that’s how it felt to me, over there. So coming home to the East Coast and being at VONA with all it’s radical-ness really reset me in the best ways. I can’t stop telling all my creative friends about the community I found. I feel so in love with the people at my writing workshop. In my dreams we’re writing the next season of Black Mirror and working on the next major Marvel film. We’re publishing all the books and getting all the coins and changing the current reality one spec fic story at a time.

Checking In #001

This post was surprisingly hard to write. Maybe it’s because I’ve been lucky to find myself getting paid to write now. Maybe it’s cause I hit the ground running on this return to Salvador. Either way things are changing and I’m not sure what direction to take the blog. I’m also pondering an extended stay in Colombia, which would change the central theme of “Black Girl in Brazil”. I’ve also recently accepted a junior editor position with a really cool fashion blog, on top of the online teaching gig that helps maintain the nomad life I live.

The latest venture is dabbling in creative direction. I find myself falling in love with the different skills needed to pull off a scene or look. Writing is solitary. Assisting on a set is community oriented. My teenage dream was always to be a filmmaker since being an extra on the set of “The Wire”. Being on a set feels like home. This time around, I came back to Brazil with a trunk full of cute vintage clothes for my pop up thrift store. I hired the dopest photographer in Salvador and we had a cute photoshoot in Santo Antonio. A few things changed last minute but that’s what happens when your producing creative work!

Follow the blog’s instagram page to see some behind the scenes footage of the photoshoot that will be released in November.

@_glowingpain

que coisa linda! só 25 reis #glowingpain #brechó

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:22pm PDT

 

vai tem calça jeans sim! #glowingpain #brechó #calça

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:20pm PDT

 

algumas momentos de o ensaio de Glowing Pain Brechó #glowingpain #brechó

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:19pm PM

Corpo em Casa; instaLAR-se: silêncios, marcas e tensões

Experimental theater aims to trouble the relationship between audience and performer. Through breaking the fourth wall, the audience no longer passively observes the spectacle but becomes apart of the scene. Last night, at Casarão Barababá in Santo Antonio, hairy vaginas slowly made their way across a quaint living room. They rolled over spectators and trembled on hardwood floors. Bare breasts laid squished on a tiled kitchen floor as arms grasped at audience members who tried to stifle nervous laughter. 13938184_1771955066414373_393073765558646240_o

Playing on the functions of women’s bodies in the home. Four naked women literally inverted themselves and walked around a home, vagina first. I tried not to stare at the diverse looking labia that greeted me, chased me and silently hovered around the space.

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In the hallway, two women tried to get through the mundane ritual of getting ready for the day, despite a violent tick that continually disrupted the ritual. Simple things like putting on lipstick and mascara turned into something else resulting in black and red stained faces. It was hard to watch and I let the show feeling achey in my bones as if I was the one with the uncontrollable movement in my body.

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The first room featured a thin young man, caught in a web of red string that bundled thickly at his crotch. He is preoccupied with organizing the sting and each pull creates another web that entangles his limbs. All the pieces of string are connected from the thick bundle tied around his crotch.  Of the three pieces, this one didn’t take much for me to interpret.

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There was a ominous buzzing and cracking sound in the house that would play for minutes at a time. The audience was told to walk around and explore everything, as experimental theater is big on interaction.  It lasted for about an hour and you left the space wondering what just happened.

I’ve seen and been a part of quite a few experimental theater pieces and I’m a fan of simultaneous pieces being performed where audience members can come and go as they please. This was a good solid show. Although this genre of theater tends to rebuke narrative, the use of mundane rituals like putting on clothes and the theme of nudity really made me feel like I was in actual home and being privy to some really personal random weird shit. It was also really interesting to see four different women be naked and walk around on the hands, extending their vaginas into the air. Made me think of how society relegated women to just their vagina, but what would actually happen if we took ownership of those organs and led our walks through life from our vagina?

Corpo em Casa runs every thursday night until November. Next months installation is entitled “Há violência no Silêncio?”. You can read more about the group here. 

Women, Art and Activism

This past Tuesday, Coletiva Muitas, hosted a discussion about feminism, art and activism.  Performance artists Laís Machado and Mônica Santana, photographer and poet Helemozão and visual artist Marie Tharont came together and provided the back stories of their success as female bodied artists in Salvador, Brasil.
IMG_3772  I’ve only been back in Brazil for 2 weeks so the language is a barrier but my general understanding of the discussion was despite the difference in medium these women worked in they all had to battle patriarchy to bring their visions to life. For all the women except Marie Tharont who is French, racism is/was a glaring obstacle as well.

IMG_3779 IMG_3778 IMG_3777Every woman’s story was invaluable and unique. Topics ranged from the lack of finances to societies reaction to the female voice and how we as women have to continue to fight to be heard in the creative industries. I’m looking forward to more discussions from Coletivas Muitas.

Cicatrizes

unnamed-9This is it.

It’s for sale.

This time last year I released “Hunger”. What started out as an attempt to pay rent, turned into a labor of love and a secret affair. Here’s my attempt at travel writing.

“Cicatrizes” by Nia Hampton, edited by Bani Amor, designed and formatted by Maya Rodriguez, featuring a special story by Davi Nunes.
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Not about a Riot

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“Not about a Riot” is the work of Malaika Aminata. A graduate of Morgan State University and a vital pat of the artistic community of Baltimore City, she was one of the first people I connected with upon returning home. What makes this film different than any other film that will be produced about the events of April/May is the voice behind the camera. Malaika shows what the mainsteam media didn’t, the joy in the uprising, the resilience in the street, the way community came together quickly to take care of what needed to be taken care of. That’s what’s missing form the narrative around the “Baltimore Riots”. Click this link to watch the trailer and support the film.

Abdu Ali fala sobre Visibilidade

Ontem, o artista/rapper/embaixado de Baltimore, Abdu Ali deu uma palestra no sujeito de “Visibilidade” na galera bb. Abdu não ficou preocupado com os sentimentos de ninguém quando ele estava falando a verdade sobre o estado de arte na cidade de Baltimore e as maneras no qual a gente pode trabalhar juntos para cambiar-lo. Ficando no espaço intimo na galera cômoda, Abdu ficou sentando, falando o saber como uma titia sábia.Os seguientes são ums dos puntos que me deixou pensando:

• Formar uma colectiva

Temos poder em números. Pode achar as raízes do crescimento novo da escena de arte em Baltimore nums grupos ou numas colectivas. Abdu falou claramente da diferença entre uma colectiva e um “club de meninos legais.” Uma colectiva só forma quando os individuos trocem os talentos até a mesa e façam uma coisa nova. Ele não estava falando de formar um clique. A gente não esta no colegio. Mas uma colectiva tem o poder de crear conexões em todas demograficas, assegurar que diversas vozes são ouvidas, e também que o trabalho está espalado entre a gente equalmente. Não podemos fazer tudo sozinha, mas a gente pode fazer a nossa propria parte.

• Não esperar pras pessoas brancas

É facil mesmo pra entender, mas dá pra repetir. Eles não vão te dar o dinheiro para atuar a sua exposição? Use o internet pra juntar dinheiro e atue-lo por você mesmo. Eles não vão te dar um emprego? Començe seu própio negócio. Já sabemos que eles ganharam os recursos injustamente. Então, aqui vemos a importância da criatividade. Como disse o Malcolm X, precisamos seguir as nossas esforças “por qualquer meio necessário.”

• Investir em todas as idades

A cidade de Baltimore é uma merda. Do sistema de escola pública até os centros de recreação a nossa Baltimore não é uma cidade amigável pros jovems. Mas isso significa se você abrir sua cena aos menores de 21 anos, você tem um público cativo. Também, as crianças são o futuro.

• Aprender de usar o internet

Financiamento público é real. Se o mais próximo de você não tem confianza no seu movimento, pode ter certeza que existe alguém no internet que vai quer de te apoiar. Só precisam de saber que o existe. E aí, o internet!

• Usar o espaço que você já tem pra criar uma maior demanda

Embora parece que há casas mais abandonadas do que as pessoas em Baltimore City, é muito difícil para as pessoas a criar galerias ou espaços. Há cerca de um punhado de espaços dispostos a ser eventos de aventura e de acolhimento para certos dados demográficos, especificamente jovens de cor. Isso é foda, mas como Abdu sugeriou, se estiver usando o seu espaço de vida não funcionar, continuar a trabalhar com os espaços que não aceitá-lo, mantenha a embalagem desses shows e talvez o seu sucesso com make outros locais tomar conhecimento.

Depois de sua apresentação, ele se abriu para perguntas. Embora todo mundo estava um pouco tímido no início, ele cresceu para ser um espaço seguro onde as pessoas tem que cair na real sobre o que parece ser a raiz de todos os problemas nesta cidade. Racismo. É bom saber que Baltimore é um dos melhores lugares do mundo para aprender e falar sobre esta parte muito real da realidade de todos. Eu fiz uma pergunta para todos os nativos de Baltimore que deixam a cidade e, finalmente, encontrar o nosso caminho de volta para casa, como podemos melhor representar para a nossa cidade quando estamos longe e preservar a nossa cultura quando voltar? Abdu respondeu que devemos parar de ser vergonha de nossa cidade. Ele encorajou viagens, mas ele também não se esqueça de trazer o que você aprende em casa. Em geral, foi uma palestra muito interessante, que me poderes para continuar a me expressar e buscar a ser visível.

Finalemente, Abdu disse o seguinte em relação as pessoas que tentava de implementar essas mudanças:

“precisamos levar essa merda á serio ou tudo será a piada por sempre.”

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