The latest iteration of the arts and social justice series "WeDaPeoples Cabaret" – curated by arts activist, poet and theater maker Marc Bamuthi Joseph and taking place Saturday, October 27 at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse – features poets and spoken-word performers from the Black Arts tradition. This spirited showcase is anchored by celebratory performances that span the full range of Afro-musical expression and honor the spirit of poet/performer and Cabaret creator Sekou Sundiata.
Joseph is an award-winning performer and arts educator, and Director of Performing Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. He is the latest artist to design the "WeDaPeoples Cabaret," which is presented by Harlem Stage and MAPP International Productions. According to Joseph, this event will reflect the legacy of swinging Harlem parties where great art and ideas about social justice met, prospered, and fed off each other. Joseph says some of the nation's brightest and most respected artists will be part of "WeDaPeoples" including:
· Globe-trekking DJ Rich Medinawho has the innate ability to get and keep all kinds of crowds on their feet, playing everything from Afro-beat to sweaty soul and knotty hip-hop. Medina is "the music ethnicologist and quarterback for the evening," Joseph says;
· Featured vocalist QueenGodIswhose stunning performances transform audiences around the world, and whom Joseph calls "a force to be reckoned with and one of the best educators I know";
· Obie Award-winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Eisa Davis, an actor, playwright and singer-songwriterwhose poetic, cutting work wrestles with race, gender, identity and class and picks up the mantel of her activist/educator aunt Angela Davis.
"WeDaPeoples Cabaret" began in 2006 as part of Sekou Sundiata's post-9/11 initiative "The America Project." Now spearheaded by a different performance artist each year, the series advances Sundiata's legacy by exploring and expanding on his vision of what it means to be American in today's world. It draws attention to pressing social issues while imagining the future of democracy in the United States and around the world.
Harlem Stage is one of the country's largest presenters and producers of performances by artists of color. Its 30th season features four World Premieres and one American Premiere, all commissioned through its acclaimed WaterWorks program. Sundiata's "the 51st (dream) state" was commissioned and developed in part through WaterWorks, and premiered in 2006.