© 2019 by Amani O+

Design support provided by donfons.

Last updated Jan. '19.

New York State,

Lenape to Mahican territory

and beyond.

On a walk home, April 2nd, 2015,  Donald Shaw “Dontay” Ivy was murdered. On this night, Dontay was profiled stalked harassed and chased by members of the Albany Police Department, who eventually assaulted and tased him leading to a fatal heart attack. His life was cut short at 39 leaving an immediate, extended family and community to mourn him.

 

It often easy to disregard the ripples of oppression and to not see the long term effects of instances of systemic anti-black racism. The fact is, this oppression doesn't stop at the tasing of the innocent. It never does.

 

It ripples out beyond the singular act. It displaces and makes homeless the families of the victims of racist violence. It further disempowers, sucking people deep into the clutches of generational poverty. It sends 16 year olds to prison for stealing shoes and that entire family “does the time”.

 

We exist in a world where the movement for Black Lives can count on miscarriages of justice like clock work. It is endless, the effect of this hateful system, yet we rise.

 

Still in the midst of all this struggle and pain we find our closest friends, our family, our voice, our resilience and the strength of those who came before and those who will follow.

 

In processing my own emotions about Black Lives Matter, systemic oppression and related justice work, several art pieces have come to me and as a performance activist it is important to me, to share messages that reflect our movement. The words to this song stopped by while I was listening to Jets by Bonobo (an INCREDIBLE amazing song on an amazing album. I am a huge fan of The North Borders and other Bonobo projects and will of course take down the Jets audio at the copyright holders request).

 

This March would have marked Dontay’s 40th birthday and local activists wanted to offer something different in honor of his life. We looked to offer something that challenged the forces of oppression robbing us of our joy and our desire to leave our homes. It is in preparation for a Block Party event (what we ultimately decided on) that “The Black Power Shuffle” dance came. It was inspired by the necessary declaration and reminder that the physical features cast aside as inferior by white supremacy (such as wide noses or kinky nappy hair) are of immense beauty. Additionally that these features are revolutionary in their mere existence. So rock them with pride.

 

Our movement is about safety, truth, learning, support, growth, nourishment and leaves loads of room for pleasure, joy and all the things life is made of beyond imbalance, toil and unnecessary suffering.

 

This piece is offered as an anthem to those of us who require beats and rhythms at the revolution and who struggle for the freedom to taste life’s full range of offerings.

Let this be a message, a modern day freedom call, just as our ancestors danced anyways, in spite of the shackles on their feet as an expression of their liberated spirits  we are the seeds of a resilient and radical tradition, committed to Black liberation as a gateway to the liberation of us all.

  

BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER.  

 

Rest in Power Dontay Ivy & all our ancestors in the struggle. We Remember. We Will Win. Ase. -Amani O+