Apr. 2-3      We Are 1 Women’s Conference- Durham, NC

Harnessing the beauty and power of the second cycle of Gumbo YaYa, Ebony Noelle Golden presents “Brilliant Tomorrows: Sister(ing) as Creative Communal Performance and Rites of Passage (movement and poetry) at the We Are 1 Women’s Conference.


Love is Radical:  

Approaches to Mother(ing), Daughter(ing,) & Sister(ing)

Jan. 4.            I AM the wind/ riding the whirlwind            Dr. Kiu Smith   

We choose our levels – our choice of what to see, where to hold (our)selves in conversation, the ways in which the mirror will turn. We choose what to admit. Where to say we know the wounds are. And yet we have within us the totality of our lives – the sun and moon, the light and the darkness, the coming in and going out – and it speaks. Through, around, within, and into – (our) selves. It speaks. So then, come, into the night with your sisters. See the beauty in being real with the whirlwind. She is power and depth and can bring you through into a new place of healing. A place that has been swept clean, brushed and swept and brushed and swept. You will have to open the closet doors. For (our) selves, for each other, for the future – the light cannot exist in illusion.


I AM the wind/riding the whirlwind is a process of coming to know the process of deconstruction that makes way for new life and the consequence of destruction when we ignore the need to take apart. We know the mother  who cries, who holds, who nurtures, who bleeds. There is, though, another mother. The mother who tears, who stands, who takes away – the mother who challenges everything we thought we knew and demands unflinching honesty in the face of all growth. She is the other side of birth- the side that says the only way you live is to stand in the face of death – and survive. She cycles deep into our places of anger and either builds or destroys in measure with our capacity to channel the masculine aspects of ourselves into a focused woman of strength.  

Jan. 11.         “Experience the Life”                                  Nadirah Goldsmith and Dr.  Nantambu

Purify & Glorify Your Body Temple via Whole Living & Raw Foods

Workshop Description- What does what we eat have to do with how Black women relate to each other.  Well everythng?  Join us as we look at the physical and metaphysical implications of a whole food and raw food diet.   This will be a food preparation workshop so come prepared to write recipes, learn stories that shape the food, and taste as we go!  A special treat this week is that our workshop will be led by an intergenerational team of Black women dedicated to holistic healing and living practices.

“Experience the Life” is an interactive workshop to designed to inspire, educate and empower participants to experience everlasting peace, love, power, joy and radiant health through creating and maintaining a clean, purified, natural & wholesome lifestyle. 


dsc00114Jan. 18.    “Brilliant Tomorrows: Sister(ing) as Communal Creative Performance”         

Ebony Noelle Golden

Workshop Description- How are black women taught to sister?  What are  the some of the rites, rituals, and performances of sistering?  How can we honor the space and practice of sistering?  In this session, participants will engage in poetry, performance, music, and movement activities that help us  create a vocabulary for active, present, and radical sistering. 

The workshop is informed by the work and scholarship of Alice Coltrane, Romare Bearden, Ntozake Shange, Augosto Boal, Anna Deveare Smith, Nina Simone, Zora Neale Hurston, Soyini Madison, among others. 

 Jan. 25    “HandWork to HeartWork” Gourd Making & Percussion        Connie Leeper

On the surface, this workshop is about music and gourd making. On a deeper level, it is more about connection…connection to ourselves, playfulness, imagination, culture, health and community. No experience necessary.  Must be willing to be open, welcoming & ready to learn and teach.  This workshop only requires that you bring your whole self into a process of intentional creativity. 

Feb. 1   “Mother. Ourselves.”         Alexis Pauline Gumbs & Zachari Curtis What happens when a life’s work stretches to include many lifetimes and multiple bodies?  What models of communication allow those of us living in the flesh on this plane to access the imperatives of ancestors and the unborn? This exploration of the practice of spiritual daughterhood demonstrates and investigates radical connection as a calling and a strategy for healing and action.

 Presented by three spiritual daughters of Durham visionary artist, educator and now ancestor Nayo Watkins, “Mother. Ourselves.” is both a performative tribute to Mama Nayo’s life and energy and a model for communication across the presumed limits of life itself. Mama Nayo understood the necessity of the creative process to radical political struggle and healing. This is how she lives with us now; reaching forward and back, moving away and drawing us together. 

Time, distance, dis(ease), death, scarcity if asserted as essential, linear, terminal, logical, confine individuals and disrupt communication across seemingly impermeable barriers.  What we know already is that we already have everything we need in order to reclaim, remember, revision ourselves, together, free.  As Nayo put it, “You already know all you need to know… It’s in your bones.”


Feb. 8    “In The Beginning Was Her Word: Empowering Women One Story At A Time” 

Dr. Anjail Rashida Ahmad

Over the millennia, women have held societies together word of mouth, hand to hand and vision by vision simply by the words issued from their tongues. The word or the power of one’s intention spoken into existence is the essence of who we are and can be a force that drives the unfolding of our life experiences. This speaking often takes the shape of stories both narrative and poetic. It’s the power of one’s own story articulated and shared that can have a most transforming effect throughout our societies both private and public. 

In this workshop, Dr. Ahmad will lead us in uncovering the essence of the words lying at the bottom of our own hearts and use them to formulate our stories/poems/womanifestas-what desires to be spoken that has not yet been uttered. 

Participants should bring a photograph of themselves preferably from the remote past. Use black and white if you have it or copy with a black and white copier. Together we will write autobiographically/biographically, herstorically inspired poems.  Come prepared to be reaffirmed, to search-out the words and images, to gather and shape them and to share that which has the power to make us whole. 

Feb. 15, “Dancing with our Spirits: Understanding our Lives Through Rhythm” with Mabinti Shabu

Session 1: We begin this session with simple movements that will assist us in stretching and warming our bodies.  After our muscles and bones reach this state of fluidity, we will move to the next stage. 
a. Exploring our own inner rhythms

b.  Using simple methods based on listening, participants will learn how to find their own rhythm.c. Becoming comfortable with our own voices
Here, we will use our voices to strengthen our love and understanding of ourselves and each other.  What we create here will be used as part of the final piece.
d.  Discovering our bodies and how we move

Feb. 22, “Meditation and Creative Visioning: Building Intergenerational Bridges Among Black Women and Girls with Kenya Harris, Bryonna, and Nadirah

This segment is akin to understanding the properties of each ingredient that goes into a pot of real good Gumbo.  To understand how we move as women of color… to understand how we move individually will allow our movement as a group to be even more flavorful. In this session, we will build a connection between the youth and the elders in our Sacred Circle. By defining key terms and solidifying practices we all use, we can build better communication models that support and enhance intergenerational practices among communities of Black women and girls.

 Remaining Gumbo Yaya Dates:

March 1: Alt(a)rations: Building Sacred Space in Community with SpiritHouse (this session will begin at CAARE and move to other sites.)

March 8: The Aesthetics of Intimacy: Daughter(ing) as Communal Performance with Ebony Noelle Golden

March 15: Love is Radical: Performing Mother(ing), Daughter(ing), and Sister(ing) with Gumbo YaYa Sister Circle

March 22: Performance Rehearsal

March 29: Community Performance and Panel Discussion with the Gumbo YaYa Sister Circle (this performance is open to the entire community)

past events…


  • June 1- Official Launch of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative
  • May 10, 7 pm, Gumbo YaYa @ Roses and Bread Women’s Poetry Reading, Performance/Body Insallation, Brecht Forum NYC
  • May 10, all day, Experimental Theatre Final Performances NYU
  • May 7-8, all day, Gumbo YaYa, MA Symposium NYU
  • April 23, 6 pm Gumbo YaYa, -ism Gala NYU
  • March 26, 7 pm, Gumbo Yaya/ or this is why we speak in tongues, Tisch School of the Arts, Forum Series
cycle.1 choreographer, ayanna williams,
 leads meditative movement