Powerful Black Lives Matter activist dance works

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The recent Black Lives Matter protests have given rise to all kinds of dance art activism, with dancers and choreographers using their bodies to speak important truths that address this moment of uprising.

 

‘This Is America’ by Jakevis Thomason

Jakebis Thomason choreographed this piece as a contribution to the Black Live Matter movement whilst shining a light on the reality of the injustice experienced by black people in America. Thomason used Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” as the soundtrack, which has become one of several songs being played as an epitomisation of the black experience in America. “It’s simple, it’s literal, and it’s effective,” Thomason said. “I didn’t want to sugarcoat anything. I just don’t think there’s any room for that. It might make some people uncomfortable, but that’s the point.”

 

‘Say It Loud’ by Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Affion Crockett

Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss and Affion Crockett responded to the movement with upbeat choreography to James Brown’s “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud”. The choreography involves Locking – a funk style dance created by Don Campbell in Los Angeles in the late 1960s to early 1970s. The dance gained national attention in the ‘70s after Campbell was featured on the television show “Soul Train,” one of the first television shows with a primarily black cast and national audience.

 

‘Reflect the Times’ by Mike Tyus

Mike Tyus, a founding member of Jacob Jonas The Company, choreographed to the words of Nina Simone: “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” Tyus, like many, called to do just that through this piece.

 

‘Say It’ by Sheopatra Jones


Sheopatra Jones directed “Say It” before the killing of George Floyd and start of the Black Lives Matter protests, but recently re-shared the video that was shot for it. The song, “Hell You Talmbout” by Janelle Moane and Wondaland, lists the names of black women and men who have been victims racist crimes and police brutality. Jones and her dancers’ compelling choreography induces you to watch the whole piece and most importantly, acknowledge the injustice of these deaths.

 

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