in this film we experience a ritual cleansing of an area known as Brentwood, Maryland. Brentwood was separated from North Brentwood by a narrow road and a guardrail that are still around today at Windom Rd and 39th st. Whites lived in Brentwood and blacks could not during the segregation era. North Brentwood was where blacks could live. Everyone knew you would suffer verbal and sometimes physical abuse if you tried to travel on foot or bicycle through Brentwood as a black person.
Prior to segregation a Capt William Bartlett, who was white, bought 206 acres in Brentwood after the Civil War. Part of his role in the army was to lead a regiment called ‘the Colored Boys in Blue’ made up of black soldiers from Maryland. He sold small parcels of his acreage in the floodplain region to these soldiers, freed blacks, and other black families. The nicer, larger plots of his acreage he sold to white families.
at this site in an underground subway station in DC, we experience a blessing ritual by Liz Miller which taps into the energy of the site with a message for everyone.
This film details the history of the area of DuPont Circle in Washington D.C. A site where a ‘School for Colored Girls‘ was founded by the white female abolitionist, Myrtilla Miner.
The film was made using footage of the original live performance recorded on 3/3/23. This performance was a part of the opening reception of the exhibition ‘Cost of Living’, about the resilience of black women. The exhibit was the highest attended exhibit ever for the Dupont Underground, located at 19 DuPont Circle, Washington D.C.
This video is a work in progress as I am still gathering more footage from the site to create the film as I imagine it.
HeLa is the name that the immortal blood of the black woman Henrietta Lacks has been given in labs worldwide. Her blood regenerates itself, so while the woman the blood was originally taken from passed away years ago, her blood is still here making medical miracles. This film was captured at the site where Henrietta Lacks was first seen at a segregated health clinic for her health issues. It was here that her blood was first discovered to have immense replicating abilities. We filmed here to perform a healing ritual for black women, specifically ourselves and Henrietta, but also black women overall who routinely receive a substandard of care due to racial bias. The title 'HeLa' is the name that her blood has in the labs around the world where she lives on in. See the articles below for up-to-date information about ongoing legal action in relation to Henrietta's family and her legacy.
Link to view film:
Additional helpful articles:
This is a film based on the raw footage taken from a remembrance walk that happen in October of 2021. This walk was thoughtfully organized to orchestrate remembering and reflecting upon two men, Sidney Randolph and John Diggs-Dorsey. These two black men were in Montgomery County jail for crimes that whites had stated they committed and were awaiting trial. Each had a lynch mob that overtook the security at the jail, in order to remove them and lynch them in a nearby tree. This performance I did at the launch of this remembrance walk, served as a cleansing of the energy of the space. This site of the former jail is now a county council building. That morning was a series of speeches, a drumming solo, and my dance which transformed the energy of the space. This film was a result of the Lynching Memorial Project of Montgomery County (which organized the walk) and Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Another version of this film was created and projected onto a structure in relation to a larger event where multiple artists created films discussing the lynchings in Montgomery County. This event which happened on Nov 5-6, 2021, allowed the broader community to participate in these reflections on a broader scale, illuminating key buildings relating to politics and law in the area.
Film:title: Randolph, Peck, Diggs-Dorsey
The performance at VisArts was a ritual cleansing of one of the sites where three African-Americans were lynched in the 1880s. Sidney Randolph was lynched a block from VisArts. Four performers ritually cleansed the space. Each performer will served as a surrogate for one of the lost lives; the creator of the ritual presided as high priestess over the ceremony. The artist Liz Miller conceived the ritual cleansing concept in conjunction with her wearable hair sculptures.
Image of the street outside of the VisArts gallery in Rockville md
FULL FILM: 26 MINS
UBUNTU is a South African noun meaning ‘humanity’. More specifically it references an African philosophy ‘I am because we are’.
This film catalogues the transformation of six public sites having notable ties to slavery or present day racism in the city of Baltimore. As performers move within these smoke-filled spaces, their black bodies adorned with hair sculptures, which function as sacred objects, they tap into the energy of our ancestors while simultaneously urging us toward an emancipated future: a freedom which comes from unlocking what’s embedded within and eschewing the traditional pathway of seeking freedom from the colonizer.
Each performer wears a handmade hair sculpture representing the power to transcend, cleanse, and heal. Through the ritual, the performer's DNA is deposited upon the pieces themselves,the headdresses transform from sculpture to artifact. the bond is sealed, and these spaces of historical trauma are cleansed.
THE FILM IN CHAPTERS!
CH 1: KARMA:
CH 2: AMAADI:
CH 3: DEV'NAY:
CH 4: KAY:
CH 5: NICOLETTA:
CH 6: JAY: