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RaceRelay: Race Relations Community Dialogue Submissions

 

Morgan Taylor
NYFA Student
A girl who wants to make movies




Jordan Lane
NYFA Alum
A black American and an Indian woman struggle to be together due to cultural ethnocentrism, prejudice, and Bigotry.




Simryn Fenby
NYFA Student
A small anecdotal of events and what they can mean to our mental well-being.




Onyenaturuchi Ogbonnaya
NYFA Alum
Ije By Onyenaturuchi Ogbonnaya
Being Igbo I need to create and recreate our history. Only this time not in the service of colonialism, but in the service of our dignity. - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche In this video piece, Ije, I am exploring my relationship to my family, cultural language, and Western archives as a way to find my place within these contexts. For years I have thought of myself as an ogbanje, because my mom always thought of me as one. But with this word comes negativity. In my Igbo culture, ogbanje is always used as an insult. It could mean you are a possessed child. It could mean you are abnormal or an outsider. Growing up in a small village in Nigeria and born into an Igbo family, I realize now that I was too close to question what it truly means to be Igbo or an ogbanje. It is a privilege to be Igbo and now I am also proud to consider myself an ogbanje. Through my diaspora as an immigrant in the United States, it has given me the space to delve deeper into my ancestry, heritage and the complexities of my identity. My exposure to the Western world has made me question things I never thought to ask. Why am I Black here and not in Nigeria? Why does where I come from matter so much? Why does language define me? How does my new understanding of my culture compare to my family’s views? Have I changed? Throughout this project, I am getting to know my own culture better in an intriguing manner by someone I trust to guide me through the path - my father. We have had loads of conversations about the importance of language and how it is so much a part of who we are. Our Igbo culture is rooted in it. Oji known as kola nut is used by the Igbos during libation as a means of prayer and to also communicate with our ancestors. oji anaghi Anu asusu bekee' (The kola nut does not understand english because our ancestors do not understand it). Where do I belong and why was the fate of an ogbanje one that was rejected by both the spirit world and the human world? I cannot help but see myself as an ogbanje; as someone who is stuck in-between worlds: between my Nigerian home and the West; between my culture and this new influence. I willfully fight to hold on to the beliefs of my native culture because I have a fear of forgetting and being worlds apart from home. I refuse to fully give myself to the western world because it feels like colonization all over again. This project is important to me because through it I have given myself the space to celebrate my Igbo roots. Living in diaspora and forgetting where I come from is a fear that drives my creativity. It is also about recently discovering archives, documentation about Igbo people and Nigerians from the Western gaze. I cannot see myself within this archive of images. I want to make work where I can see myself and my people by reclaiming words, our history, and creating new imagery. Igbo people have their own words, their own language and concepts I relate to and some of these words have no translation to western culture. I like this because some things are better that way.




Sophia Ortega
NYFA Alum
During my last couple of semesters at NYFA, I was asked what I care about. As I tried to think of what to cover my thesis on, I began to wonder more about my neighborhood (Boyle Heights) that I began to love. I began to explore the history and stereotypes that were put onto our neighborhood and race. For my thesis, I watched old movies that touched on the hispanic race and culture. I saw that they stereotyped Hispanics as cholos and how they would gain power by committing crimes to get to the top such as Blood In, Blood Out and American Me. Although these horrible movies exist, there are also movies that share what it’s really like such as Real Women Have Curves and Stand and Deliver. Not only did I look at the history of films, but I also looked into the history of the land. By doing so, I found out that before Boyle Heights was predominantly Hispanics, it was first a majority of Japanese then Russian and Jewish. I didn’t want to only learn about my neighborhood through its history, but I wanted to also learn about my neighborhood through the people who currently live here. To accomplish this I walked around my neighborhood and talked to people that I have met for the first time and probably the last I might see of them. I got to know a little about their personal lives along with what their thoughts were of the neighborhood and the stereotype of it.


 

 

Preston Butler III
NYFA Staff
Dear Son, is a long form poem that I wrote and presented at a Hope Rally organized by my church on July 13, 2020. It is addressed to my future hypothetical son. It speaks of history and race. It speaks of his lineage and power. It speaks of hope and hopelessness. Meant to inspire others to take action in order to bring about change rather than choose against silence and passive activism. In the letter I describe a better world in which my son is able to live because of the sacrifices that we decided to make for the sake of their generation.




Johnie C Jenkins Jr
NYFA Alum
My musical commentary to what James Baldwin believed as the foundation of racism.




Espie Randolph III
NYFA Student
An personal story op-ed about Black Vaccine Hesitancy




Michail Eggelhoefer
NYFA Student
The time I got hung impaled on a fence and the aftermath.


 

 

DesireeMonae Gibbs
NYFA Student
Its more of a non-rhyming spoken word addressing the day to day experiences of the prejudices planted into people's mind


 

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