SISTERALL TWO: OUR NAME IS OUR OWN™
Over two weekends of performances, April 6-7 and April 13-15, 2007, the SpiritHouse Project, a national social justice organization in partnership with Lucy Florence Cultural Center, a local Los Angeles Entertainment Center, presented nationally and internationally acclaimed women of color artists and activists in SisterAll Two: Our Name Is Our Own™. This was a prophetic and cutting-edge production which called upon the question of the slander of black women even before Don Imus' recent racist and sexist remarks.
All evening performances began at 8:00 pm, preceded by a 7:00 pm reception. These performances were held at the Lucy Florence Cultural Center, which is located at 3351 W. 43rd Street, Leimert Park Community, Los Angeles, California.
SisterAll Two: Our Name is Our Own™ presented women of color who are turning popular culture on its head by refusing to root our voices and images in the slanderous and long-standing stereotypes created by mainstream society. SisterAll Two: Our Name is Our Own™ was an interlocking event that weaved together a collage of individual and communal voices which humanize women of color's lives by raising our names out of the muck and mire of mainstream popular stereotypes. Our voices, coming from authentic and diverse corners of our lives, break through the demeaning shackles and popular stereotypes of whores, mammies, immoral and amoral bitches, welfare cheats, passive love slaves, hoochie mamas, ghetto women and angry females.
The featured artists on Friday and Saturday evening (April 6-7) were:
The featured artists on Friday and Saturday evening (April 13-14) were:
On Sunday, April 15 (at 2pm):
Aishah Shahidah Simmons screened her internationally saluted film/documentary: NO! Aishah was also present for a conversation.
SisterAll Two: Our Name is Our Own™ came at a very urgent time when the makers and shapers of popular color are vilifying our names and lives through foul and disrespectful language, images, and stories. In doing so, they not only distort how we see ourselves, but how the world sees us as well. We recognize that these stereotypical and demeaning images of us as sexualized, immoral and one-dimensional sexual objects represent an assault on our race and gender and attempts to turn back the gender and racial gains of the Civil Rights and Women’s Movement.
Our rejection of these images as the cornerstone of our history and art reaffirm our refusal to continue to sit quietly and passively while members of the establishment distort our names, histories, and images for their economic and social benefit. They do not have the power to make us up or create us out of their imaginations and self-interests. The power to name ourselves is in our hands. Without our permission, it cannot be stolen or bought.
SisterAll Two: Our Name is Our Own™ positioned itself in the long-held understanding passed down to us from generation to generation, that our name is worth more than silver or gold. It is the essence and spirit of our individual and community lives. Our name is a powerful witness of collective triumph over adversity and dignity over vulgarity. It is the story of women and communities who not only overcome but transcend.
Ruby Sales says that stereotyping women of color is not harmless. It is a dangerous practice with severe economic and social consequences which creates fertile ground and justification for exploitation, injustice and public policies which rob us of our rights and places in society. That’s why the voices of women of color telling our stories through songs, films, poems, and drama are more than entertainment. Our voices set the record straight and liberate our lives from the small and one-dimensional territory of public lies.
The SpiritHouse Project is a national, nonprofit 501-C3 organization. Founded by Ruby Sales, it is a national organization that uses research, action, the arts, education, spiritual reflection, and analysis to bring diverse peoples together to create a life-affirming, nonviolent and just culture. Additionally, the SpiritHouse works to enhance the efforts of communities in the field to take active and frontline roles in influencing the direction of their communities and nation.
The SpiritHouse Project sees working with young people as an important part of its mission. SpiritHouse houses The Jonathan Daniels and Samuel Younge Institute for Justice and non-violence. It is named after two Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee activists who were murdered during the Southern Freedom Movement. Through the program, The SpiritHouse Project supports and prepares a new generation of peace and justice cultural workers.
Lucy Florence Cultural Center is a premier entertainment complex located in the heart of The Historical Leimert Park Village. The residential architecture of this lovely venue emanates warmth and extends an invitation to make yourself at home. It is the seat of activities for many community groups. It provides a community theatre space that keeps alive community theatre.
Owners and twin brothers Ron and Richard Harris are lifetime supporters and promoters of the visual and performing arts. Also known as the "A-Swirl" twins from Tyra Banks' famed "America's Next Top Model," the Harrises have made their mark in the arts and entertainment industries. They are philanthropists, dancers, teachers and community builders.