FOR THE POWER OF SHE Diasporic Space: Black Women, Storytelling and Performance
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Historically, Black women have spent generations in the servitude of white society. Over the centuries, Black women’s bodies have become sites of violence, stereotyping, sexual, physical and mental assault. At the same time, Black women were/are expected to be nurturers and caretakers of the world. The legacy of slavery in the Americas has sown the seeds of major identity challenges as Black women continue to find a place to exercise their own creative imagination, care and love. My research project serves to dismantle the dominant ideology surrounding the mainstream practice of self-care. Using Black Feminist theories, my research project examines how Black women who experience these legacies of violence, access the self-care necessary to overcome this history of violence, decolonize their bodies, reshape their identities and ultimately transform in the spaces in which they live. Drawing on popular education praxis and strategies from applied drama, I created a three-part arts-based workshop and exhibition and conducted interviews with seven (7) Black women to examine the ways in which they access and practice self-care and how they navigate their Black bodies and Blackness in the white space. From the information obtained from the arts-based workshop and interviews, I created a series of dramatic monologues that are based on their stories and experiences with self-care in the white space. The purpose of this project is to develop a strategy that can restore to self-care to its political meaning so it can allow for more than self-preservation, enable Black women to continue the process of freeing themselves from the negative constructions placed on their identities and bodies and support them to realize full emancipation.