in the beginning there
in the beginning there was…life





Gumbo Yaya is generously supported by




SpiritHouse is a nonprofit grassroots community-based organization. We are part of a movement of progressive movements and organizations that endeavor to connect people to each other for the purpose of liberation, enlightenment, and fulfillment. We are independent. We are not supervised by any corporate, religious, or state bureaucracy. Our freedom allows us the flexibility to work and develop the partnerships of our choice. This gives us clarity and direction

North Carolina Humanities Council

The mission of the North Carolina Humanities Council is to support through grants and public programs vital conversations that nurture the cultures and heritage of North Carolina.

The North Carolina Humanities Council brings North Carolinians together to make sense of this world we share. The citizens of North Carolina live in a world defined by more than geographic boundaries. The state’s culture and heritage are alive in the diversity of its traditions, its people and places, its history and art, its stories and music. As expressions of culture and heritage, the humanities are all around us, in our conversations, in the different ways we see the world, in the many ways we shape our lives. More than expressing our lives, the humanities offer us ways to ask our most fundamental questions about the meaning of what we say and do, about who we are.

The Body Shop


The Body Shop® believes that there is only one way to beautiful — Nature’s Way.   For many years, The Body Shop® has constantly sought out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe, and brings you products bursting with effectiveness to enhance your natural beauty. While doing all of this The Body Shop® also strives to protect this beautiful planet and the people who depend on it — not because it’s fashionable, but based on the belief that it’s the only way to do business.

Healing with CAARE, Inc.-

CAARE’s Mission & Vision Statement
Our Mission Statement:
Our mission is to provide an Oasis of CAARE in Durham, NC and surround areas for (at-risk) community members who experience health, and socio/economic disparities. Healing with CAARE, Inc. seeks to enrich, promote and develop total being and optimal health of our clients by creating a safety net of support, wellness and hope for present and future generations.
Our Vision Statement:
By 2008, Healing with CAARE, Inc. will continue to be a highly reputable service provider with the goal to reduce health and socio/economic disparities by 5%. This vision will be achieved through supportive services, personal and professional development of our target population.By 2010, Healing with CAARE, Inc. will successfully contribute to the eradication of the health and socio/economic disparity gap that exist between racial and ethnic minorities and others in Durham, NC and surrounding areas.

Mychael G. Chinn is a stage and TV actor.  Gumbo YaYa appreciates his time and energy editing footage and photographing events.    

 Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative





The following letter was sent out for the first cycle of Gumbo YaYa to inspire community support. The response was awesome!

November 24, 2007

Greetings people,

It is that time. I have been in a bit of hibernation while I was cooking up a way to get you involved with a so fresh and so necessary improvisational, sista-circle, healing, performance opportunity.

I am Ebony Golden currently living in Manhattan and attending NYU. I call a few places home, most recently Durham, NC. While living in Durham I had the opportunity to study with and make trouble with some of the flyest sistas around. We made art with the people and shared it with the people. We healed ourselves everyday!

I would not be here at NYU right now if it wasn’t for them, and my mama I am dedicating this process and this year at NYU to them: Mama Nia, Mama Asantewa, Mama Nayo, Mama Nana, Mama Jaki, Mama-Dr. Ahmad, Mama Pearl, Mama Dimples, Mama Theresa, Sista Kim Arrington, Sista Zachari, Sista Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Sista Jurina, Sista Alisha Gaines, Sista Serena, Sista Kriti, Sista Kai, Sista Shirlette, Sista Emily, Sista Liz, Sista Amaris, Sista Namira, Sista Raina, Sista DeLana, Sista Nikki, Sista Alfreda, Sista Vikki, Sista Michelle, Sista Afyia, Sista Zelda, Sista Dannette, Sista Inga, Sista SimaFlower, Sista Paulette, Sista Manju

This process is in your honor along with my sistas from DC, TX, GA, CA, LA, and in other spaces. You hold me up, thank you.

I am currently facilitating a performance project for Black women as a part of my Master’s Thesis in Performance Studies based on black women’s processes of healing from trauma, particularly historical and generational trauma. So how are your healing practices different from your mother’s? How are they similar?

I am dedicated to my healing, the healing of the women in my family and extended family, and the world. This is a process we are creating everywhere, let’s continue to tap in together and see what shifts.

This process will have a few opportunities for performance, live and virtual, but mostly i am interested in articulating a poetics of womanist performance process and methodology that can be reproduced by us every where to heal ourselves and this world.


I need you to tell our story. A small group of sistas who are not afraid to undertake this work with me, whether they understand exactly where it is headed or not. Sistas who enjoy movement, music, writing, photography, people, good food, performing, making a fuss about us (black women), and who are not afraid to say we (black women) matter anywhere in this world.


1. 5-6 sistas to perform several times next semester
2. videographer/ photographer/ editor
3. choreographer
4. producer
5. stage manager
6. ‘zine designer
7. web designer

1. voice recorders, tapes
2. gift cards (Target would be excellent)
3. performance space
4. video recorders, tapes, dvd
5. money, frequent flyer miles, train tickets, gas cards!!!

did I say money?  oh, and money!


Your stories. Some of you are far away from me right now. But I would love to interview you about you and your healing process. Let’s set up some time for phone interviews. I will be in TEXAS in December and NC in January so we can get together.

Every one is invited to NYC in May 08 to see a pivotal step in this journey. Can’t wait.



Mabinti of The Magic of African Rhythm shares words of wisdom with Brittany and Maya (SpiritHouse Intern).