Can I just tell y’all how many letters I’ve had to write in the past two months? About how we can’t live business as usual, how we must respond, how now more than ever, how this moment matters, how much work we’ve gotta do . . . and while I’m so glad the folks we’re supporting want to speak up and speak out, I’ve gotta acknowledge an important truth . . .
We BEEN responding, protesting, activating, challenging injustice for A LONG TIME!
One of the reasons I LOVE the folks we work is because they’re about THAT WORK. Their missions are rooted in the collective thriving that PURPOSE Productions is also visioning. All we gotta do is TRUST. Trust that we know, that our ancestors got us, that our spirits know, that we been here before and now’s the time to dig into that legacy of liberation.
We want to support that digging. After another exciting round of team training, we learned that we’ve got more to give! We’ve decided to craft our PURPOSE-full training experience into a professional development and strategic visioning workshop where ANYONE can bring, cultivate, and liberate their dreams.
Is there a vision, idea, event, or project you’ve been sittin’ on? JOIN US March 11th and 12th in Bed-Stuy! Imagine strategic planning, marketing, management, and evaluation skills swirled around in joy, laughter, and good food. Our workshop has all that and more.
We’ve come to understand that sharing our work, our process, our methodologies is the magic we’re offering in 2017. Whether you wear us, work with us, or learn from us…stay tuned.
We gon’ get free TOGETHER!
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Yes, it’s nearly two months later. Yes, it took that long for what we did to sink in, and it’s still marinating. The newest member of our leadership team, Sydnie L. Mosley, said “Everybody NEEDS this experience!” While I haven’t quite figured out how to make that possible (please believe I’m tryin’ though), I would like to share a glimpse of our weekend in hopes that the ripples will continue.
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Today is the last day to apply to join the PURPOSE team…well, it was supposed to be. But over the past few weeks, I done heard through the grapevine that folk ain’t quite clear about what we’re doing, who we’re looking for, how we work and and and… While I thought stating “We value transparency and welcome any questions that may arise from our work or this process” would be enough to bring those questions straight to me, life ain’t always that simple. And since we’re doin thangs in our purpose-full, liberated, revolutionary way – well, let’s just say our way might seem a bit foreign.
This revolutionary entrepreneurial practice that centers humanity over productivity is my contribution to the legacy of liberation that grounds me.
First and foremost, everything we do begins with a question of purpose. Not the simple, transactional kind where more work equals more people; but the deep, reflective kind that asks: how do we build a powerful team that works collectively and creatively while feeling empowered to self-determine? (There go those Kwanzaa principles again.)
In this hiring experience folks will name themselves, shine to their fullest, and build skills that will support them well beyond the work they might do for us. This revolutionary entrepreneurial practice that centers humanity over productivity is my contribution to the legacy of liberation that grounds me.
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PURPOSE Productions is seeking radical and brilliant beings to join our team as PURPOSE-full Workers & Organizers.
After fours of watching dreams grow into this living, breathing institution that supports individuals and organizations in a variety of ways, we’re excited open our doors to new team members this summer and embark on a collective training experience that will increase capacity and give our founder some real space to breathe.
We’re looking for dreamers, creators, marketers, web designers, lovers, do-ers, social media magic makers, baby whisperers and ANYONE who values organizing through the arts. Learn more about who we’re looking for HERE.
Our team is built on autonomy and trust. Currently, staff meetings are once a month (in person or virtual) and team members are otherwise allowed to work on their own schedules. We do not count hours and we think micromanaging is just plain stupid. Our success is defined by the goals of our sojourners (read: clients) and fulfillment of each project’s purpose. Our work is collaborative, creative, cultural, and spiritual and we would be honored to share it with someone(s) who understands all of this. Applicants don’t necessarily have to be based in NY (we love a good Google hangout); we’re just looking for committed, independent community members who are interested in supporting artists and organizers in a wide variety of ways.
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Recently, I was in a meeting with an organization that considers itself small. We were discussing online marketing and I shared my philosophy that every decision should be rooted in organizational goals and strategy – whether you’re talking about social media ad purchases or institutional hiring plans. Their response: “That’s nice. But we’re not a large institution. What can a small organization like us do?”
Now PURPOSE Productions works with a range of folks, from individual artists and organizers to growing arts organizations. So this institution’s definition of small is already pretty different than mine, especially since I’ve watched one leader, a few friends, and a budget of their collective pockets build life-changing experiences. In any case, this organization defined itself as “small.” But all PURPOSE-full work starts with mission-based goal setting and then we develop strategy that supports those goals. And here’s the kicker…
You don’t have to be a large institution to think purpose-fully and strategically.
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This writing was recently published as a part of the Configurations in Motion: Performance Curation and Communities of Color symposium. This gathering of presenters, performers, scholars, curators, and managers examined how our work can focus on the involvement, investment, and creative growth of people of color. The symposium was convened by Thomas F. DeFrantz, Jane Gabriels, and Dasha A. Chapman and hosted by SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology in residence at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) as well as the African and African American Studies Department and the Franklin Humanities Center at Duke University this past June. Other participants include Paloma McGregor, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Rasu Jilani, Andrea E. Woods Valdés, and Jaamil Kosoko, among others.
Read the full publication HERE.
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the daughter of a mother who performed pregnant
the granddaughter of a teacher who saved all her extra materials to make sure her grandkids had summer activities
the granddaughter of an art teacher who trained art teachers
the daughter-student of Terrie Ajile Axam – founder of the Mojah technique and cultivator of smart dancers – dancer-doctors, dancer-lawyers, dancer-administrators, dancer-choreographers, dancer-people
the daughter-student of Dawn Axam who has built a company of choreographers creating work in a multigenerational methodology
I seem to be a bit confused.
See, I can’t understand how you build an artist residency where the artist receives a nominal fee (read: less than $1000) and is expected to create a production, market that production, AND engage your local community around the production THEN you only offer the artist 20% of their performance profits. Yes. 20%. Not 30 or 40 or even dare I say 50, but 20% of the income from that performance goes to the artist. AND if the artist dares to offer the tickets at a lower price to honor and support the communities they are tied to (i.e. other artists, communities of color, low income folk, etc) then you’re still tracking (and keeping) that income as though every ticket was sold at full price. This just seems like bad math.
So if this artist has worked their ass off to fill YOUR performance space and ends up with, say, nearly $2500 in ticket sales. That means the artist receives less than $500 along with their nominal fee. So what exactly is the service you’re providing?
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When was the last time you sat in an audience
with tears streaming down your face?
When was the last time you watched dancers on stage
with tears streaming down their faces?
My Sunday started on the heels of a cypher celebrating my love and my community. I awoke excited to dive in to the Women’s Freedom Conference, an all-digital event organized by and for women of color. As I prepared to take a break from the conference and head to the Actors Fund Arts Center to witness Keomi Tarver’s Love & War, I had no idea I was preparing for my spirit’s opening, exposing, and healing.
That afternoon I watched a “Women in Tech” conversation during the Conference that honestly had me questioning my own tech acumen. The panel had me wondering who am I to offer digital strategy, social media strategy, marketing strategy? As I watched Love & War that evening, I heard, “You are enough.”
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Yesterday I watched Roger Guenveur Smith win a Bessie award. Yes, a New York Dance and Performance award went to a theater maker who moved people. Just before, I watched my fiance tweet these words…
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On shaking hands
and quivering voices and stammered words
and heart flutters that could be heard across the Brooklyn Bridge
On spending a moment at the center in the midst of a life at the margins
On hypervisible invisibility . . .
I am not used to being on panels. I am not used to talking in front of people, much less crying in front of people, much less crying on a livestream broadcast to the world wide Web and archived for all to see. But living past 23 has made me used to things I’m not used to.
There is the question of how much am I willing to sacrifice my comfort for collective liberation.
There is also this sense of dire urgency that has taken over my being in the past year – carrying life will do that to you. There is the question of how much am I willing to sacrifice my comfort for collective liberation. There is a clarity that if I have not made that sacrifice, I have not done MY work. And so in these moments I am uncomfortable, in front of people, I remember that this is my sacrifice; it is my being visible that allows others to see (no matter how invisible I wish to be).
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