One of the key components of the Gumbo Yaya process is the creation of narratives that reflect the experiences of individual and diverse experiences of Black women. Gumbo YaYa elevates the voices of Black women to create visibility through voice and healing through poetry. Please take a look at the questionnaire and answer in your own creative way. Send them to us at email@example.com and they will be included in our performance process.
Black Woman Theater. by: Fable Fearrington/ North Carolina
In this theater, I run the show. I am the owner, all your secrets I know. Now my game is running, simultaneously, all of life is my stage, my actors are many.
I donned the mask of duality, behind the mask I’m watching and I know that you watch me.
I’ve honed and mastered these skills for almost 400 years, when I first played your mistress and shed my tears.
Now I’m the director no longer the victim, the shots you think you call, are from the script I’ve written.
Some may call me a schizophrenic, but most good actors are. With a range of characters and voices included in my repertoire.
We’re bilingualists of sorts, ebonics and white talk. My languages allow passage into foreign lands as I fool you with my walk.
From da projects to office project I travel, there are few places I can not go, then I take my leave and you can not follow.
In the 60s and 70s, I played the maid. My costume was a uniform gray smock, white top. And to keep you at ease, I barely talked.
I witness the weakness of the great man. Self appointed ruler of the world whom I can’t stand
J. S./ letter poem
To beautiful baby Joy.
Know that you are beautiful.
Know that you are beautiful no matter what anybody tells you.
Keep dancing. Keep smiling. Keep laughing.
Keep dancing. Keep dancing.
Know that mommy and daddy love you, even though they’re always busy.
They are working hard for you. For you to lead the life they never did.
They love you so much. They love you more than anything.
Know that he will tell you he loves you and then leave you.
Know that he will make you cry, more than he makes you smile.
Know the times were beautiful and know the times were few and far between.
Know that he will lie to you.
Know that he will make you afraid of him.
Know that he will give you a child.
Know that he will take it away.
Know he made you wish you were dead.
Know he made you wish he was dead.
Know he made you.
And knowing this, love him..
and leave him.
..for knowing you were better than that shit anyway.
Dear beautiful sweet, innocent, baby Joy.
Know that you are a blessing.
Know that you will do great things.
Know that you are strong.
And Know that you Know.
Move to New York.
Follow your dreams.
You can do most anything your heart desires..
freedom comes with understanding who you are..
its time to spread your wings and fly..”
An Anyonymous Sista wrote this…
in a black and white world.
Irish, Anglo, African,
of Ruby Dee,
You believe in
the blues, jazz, and rock and roll.
ebony golden-variations on the same riff
when you placed that light inside me
when you licked this gold mine like you knew x marked the spot
when you stole my eyes
when you said rest here and waited three seasons
for peace to dwell in my pulse
when you measured my laughs in teaspoons of rain and breath
when you wrapped my hair in your skin
and carved an ankh on my lips
and softened the span of my hips
and charmed my neck roll
and said rest here and waited for the tides to subside in my step
you knew you knew
your face would be infinitely written on any future-brotha
your thumb print could never be washed from the inside of my left thigh
your scent would mingle in my every folicle
i would pass someone in a city you never visit and look twice and think its you
although you never visit
i would say hello hello twice like that
and wait for the sax in your voice to be revealed
you knew how much i believe in god
and that even if i carved myself into some distant unthinkable corner of this earth
even if i went underground cause of some extraordinary revolutionary shit i got hooked up with
even if i forgot my own name cause my memory decided to swim away from me
i would never forget you
It means darkness, blackness
Curves, dark hills of flesh
Connecting thick thighs, broad
Back, backs that stand
Tall withstand all, bountiful
Breasts that suckle hungry
Dark mouths that want
To be fed freedom a sense
Of self a sense of who
I be in this place that
Tells me it is not okay
To be me, strong hands
That work to take care
Of everyone around me
But often neglects the
Body that sustain them
Big black and bold
Even when scared, even when
Hopeful when weak
Revolutionary even when
Faced with no likelihood
Of immediate change
What did she think 400
Years ago, how did she
Know who she was, how
Did she have the audacity
Through those thick lips
Came songs of freedom
Through those thick hips
Came the generations
Through which I am able
To stand here today
This is me this is
Who I be
i try to imagine her
recreate her in melody
resemble her in song
she played the guitar
we’ve never met
i feel you falling
down the stairs
but to live in the house
is to carry er in my throat
do you doubt me?
i love you
do you doubt me?
i love you
you ask me to try a second time
i don’t know if i can
i only know i love you
i love you
mama, what does it feel like to love?
i mean when the skin gives out and
the mind looses its ability to wrinkle
and the words do not curl out like
lillies or daffodils—how does love happen?
did you ever love like you teach?
do you love like you cook?
do you love like you write?
do you love like you cry?
do yo love like you sleep?
or is love some other place?
do you loose yourself to love?
have you ever lost yourself in love?
what is the love’s soundtrack?
do you have a soundtrack?
have you ever?
or are there only tunes that back track to stillnesses that ease into moans?
– ebony golden
i did a talking for 3 minutes in the theater of the
i was paired with a white guy named adam
interesting when you are forced to talk for 3 min
how much you divulge
i told him about my concerns about being
the only black person in the class
we created a forum piece in the class
the piece was about institutional racism
a girl was bused into a white school
was forced to take remedial geometry
and there was a racist principal
and this other character in the play,
the white girl, pushes another girl
taunting her and the teacher walks in
the teacher was the protagonist
and comes and mediates the situation
i tired and
pealing each layer
i watch celebrity block
really dont know what to do
stentch of subway
to myself i ride alone
for a week would be great
fabric softner clean smells
dont have more to say
-from an interview with geneva s. thomas
means placing the black women’s voice or female of color voice at the center
what des this voice say
waht are the particular interests
that characterize the way she shapes herself in the world
the question i ask my mother
the question i ask my daughter
black womens art
similar to the question i ask myself
i am an artist because i don’t know how to be anything else
black to me means pan-africanism
a full spectrum
of vibration that simultaneously
color that is light
artist is being free to use blackness
womanism is no longer being lonely
having the roots of my hair in your hands
falling feels like this
no one understands you so they give you pills
no one hears you so they give you pills
no one hears you so they give you pills
know that you will spend too many nights taking pills
wondering if he is coming home
plotting to put sugar in his baby mama’s gas tank
know that you are strong
To the Diaspora
you did not know youwere Afrika
When you set out for Afrika
you did not know you were going
you did not know you wre Afrika
youdid not know the Black continent
that had to be reached
I could not have told you then that some sun
somewer over the road
would come evoking the diamonds
of you the Black continent
somewhere over the road
you would not have believed my mouth
When I told you meeting you somewhere close
to the heat and youth ofthe road
liking my loyalty liking belief
you smiled and you thanked me but very little believe me
here is some sun some
now off into the places rough to reach
though dry though drowsy all unwillingly a-wobble
into the dissonant and dangerous crescendo
your work that was done to be done to be done to be done