WOKE BLACK FOLK //
THE INTERSECTION //
WOKE BLACK FOLK
"THIS IS BADUIZM."
"THIS WORK IS TIMELY, BRILLIANT
-Robin D.G. Kelley
Woke Black Folk has been viewed over 40,000 times online.
The Intersection: Woke Black Folk was selected as the featured theatrical production at the Pan African Film Festival in 2018.
The Intersection: Woke Black Folk is the dissertation I never wrote. It is my ethnography on modern Black American political identities -- from my insider-outsider perspective, as a first generation daughter of Nigerian immigrants. It is my contribution to the calming of our chaos. It is intended to be both a performance and public dialogue about difference.
The spoken word piece Woke Black Folk is the introduction to my stage play that explores and deconstructs black political identity, foregrounding the forms of ideological conflict and difference that exist within what can be understood to be black radicalism. This poem calls into question the coherence and singularity of the political category, “woke black folk,” demonstrating the deep differences and divides within black communities and within black mobilization.
As an astute observer puts it, the play leads us to ask two important questions: “What can performance bring to political debate that is not possible through more traditional political discourse? How does Fagbamila's staging, claiming, theorizing, and embodying of contradictory perspectives create room in an otherwise claustrophobic political landscape?”
Committed to the possibility of collective visions and collective action, I state at the end of the brief performance that makes up the trailer: “We are complex and conflicted, often stuck in our ways, but regardless of all that, we’re all absolutely here to stay. So let’s teach one another and be open to receive, because we really need each other. This is a fact, guaranteed.” Worried that a punitive “callout culture” is afoot in social justice circles, I hope to create a methodology that allows activists to hold each other accountable without punishment or rebuke. After all, if the desired outcome is to build a more just world together, then social movements cannot reify the same repressive systems that they have set out to challenge.
FUNMILOLA ON NPR //
Click the "stay woke" image to hear Funmilola discuss what it means to be "woke" under the current federal administration on NPR's 89.3 KPCC.
Recorded Feb 20th, 2017.