Being in the presence of creatives does something to me. It stirs up something in my soul, revitalizes my spirit and reminds me of the significance and power of releasing thoughts and emotions. I dig warm spoken word spots and complex art pieces that can be deciphered into more than one meaning, and this year’s See. Speak. Feel. was an accumulation of all three.
The stage was the platform that would showcase photographs that made me yearn for home and paintings of foreign Black women I could connect with. Art adorned in oils, watercolors, and markers livened an empty stage and set the tone for what would be an amazing second year of artistic expression, metaphorically representing the diverse collection of talent in attendance Saturday night.
How ironic was it that most of act one was composed of original discussions on race, and the second half, on distinctive versions of love. 2Deep‘s opening with bits and pieces of the Yoruba language, infused with sign language moved me, and Lamar K wanting to bring back the Panthers and identifying with our fallen Black men, made me think of my boys. The Lyrical JAZ, at the age of 19, presented a powerful piece on being a Black woman that we all could relate to, and Roconia creatively performed a piece on racism, with a stand-out line,
“But enough about TV, what I really want you to see
Is that we’ve taken ideals and added parentheses.
Liberty and justice for all (whom apply)
An inalienable right to life (Black boy might die)
To serve and protect with our arms around their necks
WE ARE KILLIN THEM!
The segment was not just an ode to #BlackLivesMatter, but an act proving our individual stories and personal interpretations matter just as much.
The second act was all things love – hood love, falling out of love, adult versions of fairytales, and wanting to be loved and understood. Whether the piece was memorized or read, the words that left the mouths of the women I admired, resonated with me deeply. And in all of these varying versions, I sat in my seat and thought about how much shit that l-word gets us in, but how powerful our testimonies are afterwards. We sing about it, get choked up off of it, find healing post-breakup from it, and end stressfully planned events on a high note because of it. More than anything, See. Speak. Feel. 2015 wholly embodied love.
In every aspect, you saw it in the work that started off on blank canvases in someone’s home, heard it from the lips of the performers who left a part of themselves in the Anacostia Arts Center, and felt it from every person who helped sell out Twenties Unscripted’s second annual event and made it a success. See. Speak. Feel. took on a whole new meaning this year and it was beautiful to be a part of it all. It’s funny how when you secretly want something, the Universe will ensure you’ll get it in the strangest of ways. I came in empty, the love felt, left me full.