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NEWSLETTER

sent with love
from Rebecca Kelly G
my website
 
Welcome to 2020! 
Thank you for all of your support and encouragement  


Each monthly newsletter will include a mix of updates on my work as well as books, films, television, readings, events and podcasts rooted in equity, community building, and cultivating self-love through accountability and embracing discomfort

 

looking back & flying forward 

a recap:

2019 was a time of deep transformation and expansion for me. My worlds of artistry and community building aligned in ways I couldn't have dreamed just a year earlier. Gratitude to those of you who I connected with this year. Some highlights include:

facilitation artistry
  • Elia Alba's book The Supper Club featured my perspectives on art, social change, and race as part of interviews with Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter
  •  Maryam Ajayi's Diversity In Wellness Salon Dinner at MNDFL closed with me performing my soundscape on moving through discomfort
  • Every Woman Biennial exhibited my choreography at La Mama Galleria as part of the collaborative video project "Love Personified" with Bloom Sisterhood Society directed by Crysta Bloom
  • Lead Vocalist for Memory Wolf 
  • Played the role of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Argument Sessions, directed by Ilana Becker for Project Y Women in Theater Festival at Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre. Catch me talking about the experience in local news coverage  here.
  • Played the role of Bebop in The Knight Rainbow with  Midnight Radio Show written and directed by Charlotte Lily Gaspard 
  • In case you missed it in 2018, Black Girl Magik published my short conceptual film, Inheritance. You can take a look here. 
In 2020, you'll catch me
  • Blending sound and visuals with Nichole Washington and Nick Neutronz
  • Hosting De-Programming Bias through Sound & Movement at  Spirit House Collective 
  • Creating a Community Covenant with Ensemble Studio Theater
  • Fostering equity with Staten Island Arts
  • Offering professional development for viBe Theater Experience Teaching Artists
  • Guiding Kroka Expeditions students through the NYC portion of their second annual Arctic to Manhattan Semester
  • Supporting young people to refine their social justice vision with The Hope Reichbach Fund
  • Recording my solo EP
  • Producing and performing in immersive events around themes of equity, community, and generative discomfort
  • Public speaking with my loop station by my side 
  • Honoring my boundaries and supporting our community with integrity 
If you want to book me for public speaking, connect with me to foster equity and trust in your community, or collaborate on an artistic project, reach out! 
 
get in touch
well would you look at that

watchmen:

When I saw the posters for this hbo show, I honestly wasn't too intrigued. I haven't read Watchmen, and, aside from the occasional X-Men and Black Panther, I am generally not an action/comic movie watcher, but this show is PHENOMENAL. There are so many aspects that are exciting and worth exploring. It's genre bending, many different women take center stage as complex characters driving the plot, history is reimagined with a scifi twist, and so much more. This show goes far beyond tokenization and perfunctory representation.  It is obvious from the moment it begins that Watchmen was created in a writers’ room filled with people of color with diverse viewpoints, rather than driven by the ubiquitous white gaze. 

The plot centers on the true story of the 1921 white supremacist attack on Black people, families, homes, and businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as the 
Black Wall Street Massacre. Unlike in our reality, in the Watchmen universe the government acknowledges the financial, psychological, and emotional devastation of resentful and persistent white violence and offers reparations to victims to help reassemble their lives post-attack. While the story plays with time, by and large, it is set in the reimagined present following the main character, Angela, played by the glorious Regina King. Angela is a police officer fighting for justice, uncovering truths about Tulsa, and investigating attacks by seemingly less than human invaders. 

There are countless other facets of the show and resonant plot points to share, but I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll leave you with a powerful encapsulation we hear from another main character: you can't hide from yourself or others under a mask of fear and hurt, in order to heal, "wounds need air.” I could not agree more. Go watch!

 

for your reading pleasure

braiding sweetgrass:

"As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert)." I just started this book and it's already resonating deeply, so I highly recommend! 
have you heard
hidden brain:
As humans we are highly susceptible to suggestion and start receiving "programming" about who and what we are as soon as we leave the womb. The Hidden Brain podcast uses science and storytelling to explore unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, and the biases that shape our choices.  I find the topics on here to serve as a fantastic foundation for learning about why certain "programs" work better on us than others and strategies for how to dismantle the ones we want to change. Each episode is about an hour in length. Happy listening!

consider this 

colorblind racism:
While listening to the presidential debates (or really any discussion on racial injustice), I often hear people speak passionately about the "devastating realities for people of color," referencing low graduation rates, high incarceration, or health problems. Unfortunately, interpersonal racism, and the implicit biases that flow from America’s long-standing policy of institutional racism, never get much stage time. Highlighting harsh outcomes without specifying that those outcomes are not inherent group traits, but rather consequences of deliberate political decisions, leaves the door open to what Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva refers to as Colorblind Racism. 

Colorblind Racism is the practice of using a series of ideological frameworks to explain away racial inequity without acknowledging or responding to the presence of racism in creating those inequities. This form of racism assumes cultural differences and abstract notions of liberalism are the underlying reasons for racial inequity. For example, ideas you may hear include things like: “
that culture just doesn't value education for their children and that's why they generally don't do well in school” or "this is America, anyone can do anything if you put your mind to it."

If you want to learn more about this concept, check out Dr. Bonilla-Silva's book Racism without Racists-Colorblind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America.  I also offer a workshop on this topic. While the book focuses on racism, consider the other forms of oppression that also center the problems of the oppressed, but ignore the structural roots of those problems. If you hear someone say "well people like that just aren't interested in this field," let your ears perk up, heart tune in, and mind enter discernment.  

***
As always, if this is new information for you to ponder, in the words of Maya Angelou, "do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better."  So if you don't knoooow, now you know ;o) 

 
i like your style
re: chromat
I first came across Chromat because I was intrigued by how its founder Becca McCharen-Tran integrated her background in architecture into her work as a fashion designer, but have kept following because of the vibrant colors and  beautiful mission.

In McCharen-Tran's words "many fashion designers continue to reinforce a narrow definition of beauty. From the way they are taught in school and into the real world, they drape on mannequins that are only size four, or sketch on bodies that are super stretched out and not anatomically proportioned. Different-size bodies aren't taken into account during the design process. They're not thought of. So who are these designers designing for? 
 
But the conversation around exclusivity in fashion doesn't begin and end with size. It's about seeing people of all different gender expressions, different ability levels, different ages, different races and ethnicities, celebrated for their own unique beauty. In my own work as a fashion designer, I started a brand called Chromat, and we're committed to empowering women, femmes and nonbinary #ChromatBABES, of all shapes and sizes, through perfectly fit garments for every body...it's not your body that needs to change; it's the clothes."

You can check out Chromat here and the founder's Tedtalk  here!

take care of yourself
fittonia: 
Meet my lovely plant, Fittonia. These two pictures are taken within the same day! This expressive plant never hesitates to let me know if I have failed to give her what she needs. Since she is the most vocal of the crew, I often think of and attend to her first. We can all learn from her to unapologetically ask for what we need to thrive! Leave that individualism and perfection in 2019. Honor yourselves and enjoy the new year! 

be well and stay in touch!

-Rebecca 
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