Give Us Peace
Roller skating dances have long been a part of the Jazz dance tradition. In “Shall We Dance?” (1937), Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers perform a boisterous roller skating routine to the Gershwin song, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” For “It’s Always Fair Weather,” Gene Kelly taught himself a roller skating dance routine by applying weight transfer and body positioning techniques he had learned from playing ice hockey in his youth. Chorus dancers at the Apollo Theater and other nightclubs presented roller skating routines in the 1930s and 40s. While I had roller skated along the sidewalks in my childhood, the challenge of learning a new movement vocabulary drew me to start dancing on roller skates in August of 2003. "Give Us Peace" aired on People TV (Atlanta’s cable access channel) during the 2007 Christmas season.
I was inspired to create this hairstyle and capture the dance sequences when the winds shifted in July 2005 and brought a fierce thunderstorm to New Orleans. Later that summer the spirit Oya scattered us on the winds of Hurricane Katrina.
A Luta Continua
Script. Directed by Kalamu ya Salaam. short feature, color, 7 minutes. Premiered at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, July 2002. Also selected for screening at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora film festival on March 14, 2003.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have always been extremely sensitive to the politics of the gaze. Since Laura Mulvey and E. Ann Kaplan first dissected the objectifying male gaze in the 1970s, scholars and critics have produced a significant body of work analyzing the power dynamics involved in giving and receiving “the gaze.” In the era of desktop digital video, however, I am not interested in remaining a passive spectator. Picking up the camera enables me to articulate alternative visions in praxis.