Something to Behold: Community Dialogue

Community dialogue following the performance of Something to Behold.


Pauline - We have been utilizing a lot of the different things that you did because of your festival to enhance and develop the area and to make people realize we have a rich history in our neighborhoods. [audience responds] Some people think they're poor. I don't think it's poor. I don't know what your perception of poor is. They call us deserts and whatever area, but this is a rich history and a rich neighborhood, and we have been utilizing that. I was telling them the one thing that got me about the whole festival was at night was the music playing just before you closed, just when the sun was going down, we were sitting on the bridge, and the music was playing. For someone who lived through the whole Road to Nowhere, whatever it is, to hear that music bounce off and down and just go right on down to Martin Luther King Boulevard. I just went down there and the sound, it was just something that you could not, you just had to just sit there and stop. And we could feel the effects of the music and the rhythm all over the community as it played in that evening, and that was just something that was just very much good.

Daki - We started in the community AFRAM, which became the African American Culture Festival, which most folks in community can’t event afford to have been there. It's downtown and it doesn't represent our culture. We started Art Scape, which became the most successful art festival on the east coast, if not the United States. Once the city in its complicity gave it over to a corporate entity and it became not the people; it became a cultural festival, an artistic festival where you can have entertainment and good times, headliners and, at the end of the day, they leave and still catch hell in this town. It is not enough to do only a celebration.

Ray - I'm hearing this being co-opted. I'm hearing it being stolen. I'm hearing the Red Line with the audacity to name the train the Red Line. The balance of what's going on today and the energy of what it is that we're doing now as we are a minority needs to be spread. I'm hurt oftentimes when I drive through this city and I see the lighter complexion of the people in communities that have economic strong engines, and I look at the majority of the folks that are in the hinterlands, there ain't much there. It's bleak. That's our challenge: Take every neighborhood in this city and create the kind of energy and the synergism to make it truly a city of charm.

Ashley - What I saw today was the story of our lives, the story of the beginning of us all as we do collective work. It was a new thing for all of us. We experienced something unique here. Each and every one of you put in a pint of blood. The thing about collective work in art and culture is that it is the most powerful tool you will ever your opportunity to change a life with, and it doesn't require a degree, experience. It doesn't require money. All it requires is us sitting together and doing this.  I'm proud of everybody in this room.

Denise - We had to say no to a lot of people so that we could honor community. We definitely could have gotten money and done the usual thing, but we were truly trying to honor community, and I'm one of the people. I was honoring myself, too.

Carlton - My answer to your question is not, "What are we going to do?" as if we have to do something new that hasn't been done before. It's: When are we going to do it together? So, starting with understanding what is already happening in this community. It's beautiful to see this group of people together, and I don't know how many times you all meet on a regular basis to further the goals the mission of this community and this collective of people. I know that people that we were working with with Roots Fest hadn't seen each other since Roots Fest. That's a problem. That's a real problem. That's not a Roots problem; that is a problem of our ability to keep and sustain a method of movement.  So, what we got that was started during ROOTS Fest was the fact that we were meeting every week. A group of people were meeting every week to move forward an idea. That idea happened to be ROOTS Fest, but what is the idea right now that needs to be moved forward? It's not necessarily a festival, but what is the thing that this community needs to focus its energy on in order to advance to that next stage?

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“Something to Behold: Community Dialogue .” December 18, 2014.

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