Some Words: Black Artstory Month 2020

Fri, Feb 21st, 2020

SOME WORDS born in this neighborhood have changed the world. 

Enjoy FREE events, programs, installations, and digital interventions that celebrate the legacy of Black creativity and the power of words created by Black artists and activists in Fort Greene & Clinton Hill.  

AT A GLANCE

There are many ways to participate in Black Artstory Month 2020:

Some Words

Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have long-held space for Black artists and activists that creatively and courageously wielded their words in pursuit of a higher cause. In the 1890s, civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells relocated to nearby Gold Street, being mentored by Brooklyn’s own Dr. Susan McKinney, where she continued her mission to share SOME WORDS on the necessity of civil, suffrage and anti-lynching rights for Blacks in the U.S that sparked political awareness and upheavals. In the 1930s from a park bench in Fort Greene, Richard Wright wrote SOME WORDS that redirected conversations about systemic racism. Starting in the 1950s, Little Anthony and the Imperials sung SOME WORDS that inspired countless generations of musicians after to remake and remix them. Throughout the 1990s native young sons and daughters from Black Star to Biggie Smalls to Lil’ Kim spit SOME WORDS on street corners, rising to fame, changing the game, and inspiring generations to follow.

Black Artstory Month 2020 is honoring that legacy while thinking critically about SOME WORDS in our present and future. 

At a time when 150 characters or less can make some feel powerful and equally others feel powerless, we challenge you to use your words. Speak them, shout them, chant then, write them, print them, tag them, sing them, share them with us. But whatever you do, don’t bite your tongue.

Section 1

Events & Programs

SOME WORDS will include programs for all ages, from art installations, to oral history shares/collections, to children’s storytime, to film screenings, to salon-style dialogues. For updates throughout the month, follow @myrtleavebklyn on Facebook and Instagram.

Feb 1 11am | Children’s Story Time
Readings by a local children’s book author Chana Ginelle Ewing, in partnership with Greenlight Bookstore at Pipsqueak Shoppe, 471 Myrtle Avenue | RSVP HERE

Feb 4 3pm – 5pm | Film Screening 
42: The Jackie Robinson Story, at the Walt Whitman Library Branch, 93 St. Edwards Street

Feb 6 6:30pm | CYPHER: Black in America
A salon-style session using Hip Hop as a springboard to discuss issues and ideas in the realm of social justice, wellness and culture. Curated by FOKUS. At Locals, 332 Myrtle Avenue | RSVP HERE

Feb 7 7pm-9pm | SHARE! SOME WORDS
Performances, poems, and stories reflecting on what words need to be shared in our dynamic and challenging times, curated by the Intergenerational Community Arts Council (for all ages). At the Ingersoll Community Center, 177 Myrtle Avenue   RSVP HERE

Feb 11 3pm-5pm | Film Screening
Do The Right Thing, at the Walt Whitman Library Branch, 93 St. Edwards Street

Feb 21 11am-1pm | Future Historical Society
This multi-generational collective of Fort Greene neighbors leads this interactive storytelling and history-collecting installation, at Fort Greene SNAP, 324 Myrtle Avenue. The Future Historical Society is a community storytelling project commissioned by BRIC.

Feb 21 7pm | OUR WORDS
Performances, installation and video projection combine to create space for Black LGBTSTGNC stories curated by ourselves.  Produced by Acacia Rodriguez in partnership with the Audre Lorde Project. At Bldg92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Avenue | RSVP HERE

Feb 22 2pm-4pm | “As Told” / “We Live Here”
Community elders provide a different kind of history lesson by discussing their contributions to these two published collections of local histories – As Told and We Live Here – in this panel as part of BRIC’s Stoop Share program, at BRIC, 647 Fulton Street.

Feb 28 6:30pm | CLOSING WORDS 
All are invited to our closing reception to celebrate, build community, and meet the month’s participating artists. Featuring artworks by Steven Mosley and Jose Baez, music, and spoken word performances, at Putnam’s, 419 Myrtle Avenue (lower level) | RSVP HERE

Various dates + locations | COMMUNICAE: THE AVE
This traveling performance program will visit barbershops and salons throughout the month to celebrate African Americans who call Myrtle their living room. Presented by Tai Allen. 

Section 2

Art Installations

1,000 Words

Check out this series of art installations across Myrtle Avenue, on view all month at various locations. Download the map of installations.

  1. Pratt Film Building, 548 Myrtle Ave, Long Live, Magic by Devin Alexander

  2. Wray’s Caribbean Seafood, 503 Myrtle, The Birth of Hip Hop by Johnny Camacho

  3. Vitality Health & Wellness Bar, 471B Myrtle Ave, Word Up!!! by D. Cross the Artist

  4. Putnam’s Pub (lower level), 419 Myrtle Ave, CTA: Call to Action by Steven Mosley and Jose Baez

  5. Brooklyn Sweet Spot Brooklyn, 366 Myrtle Ave, Mural by Lavan Wright & an Installation by LeRoy McCarthy

  6. Salon Rhed, 374 Myrtle Ave, A Positive Social Ad by FOKUS

  7. GMACC, 349 Myrtle Ave, A Positive Social Ad by FOKUS
  8. Ray’s Barber Shop, 331 Myrtle Ave, A Positive Social Ad by FOKUS

1000 Words Installation Map_Myrtle Ave Black Artstory MonthAbout Black Artstory Month

The title for Black Artstory Month 2020 is inspired by Audre Lorde’s poem Coal. Myrtle Avenue’s Black Artstory Month is an annual series, begun in 2013, that elevates and celebrates this neighborhood’s long-standing history as a haven for Black artistry, with past themes including Brooklyn style, healing, notions of home, and remembering.

Acknowledgments

This cycle’s thematic focus was developed by Daonne Huff, who co-created Black Artstory Month with Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership in 2013.

This cycle’s programs were curated in partnership with the Black Artstory Month 2020 Advisory Committee: Daonne Huff (The Studio Museum in Harlem), LeRoy McCarthy (local cultural advocate), Carol Thomas (Just Because Salon), Mutale Kanyanta (Locals), Synyah Jordan (local student).

Poster design and promotional graphics by Senary Autumn.

Participating Artists:

BRIC, FOKUS, Audre Lorde Project, Walt Whitman Library Branch, Future Historical Society, University Settlement, Intergenerational Community Arts Council, Greenlight Bookstore, Pratt Institute School of Art, The Black Alumni of Pratt, Johnny Camacho, Tai Allen, D. Cross the Artist, Chana Ginelle Ewing, Acacia Rodriguez, Steven Mosley, Jose Baez, Devin Alexander, Lavan Wright, LeRoy McCarthy, and Najee Omar.

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