As part of Creative Time’s Dreaming in Daylight series in Central Park, poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph will present a new art experience, “Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos,” that celebrates Black life.
Invoking the history of Central Park, the legacy of hip-hop, the Great Migration, New Orleans ‘second line’ parades and contemporary racial politics, Joseph has composed a vibrant and participatory performance of music, dance, and spoken word.
“Black people are more than a collection of tragic stories,” said Joseph. “I want to inspire conversation – and action – that is centered in the celebration of Black Life.”
With the exception of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, at no other time in history has there been this level of focus on the plight of Black people in America. And as it was with those movements, the focus is on the abuse, mistreatment and stealing of Black life.
In short, an enduring narrative of our historical and present moment is that Black Life Matters after it has been stolen.
Joseph’s “Black Joy” confronts this spin, and affirms “the matter of the beating heart” in the vibrant setting of Central Park’s Great Hill.
As part of the installation, Joseph will engage in a series of community conversations about Black Joy. In addition to salons with the Harlem Arts Alliance (Friday June 12) and the nurses of Harlem Hospital (Friday June 19), he will participate in a roundtable discussion Friday, June 5 at 6 p.m. at El Museo del Barrio.
The discussion will be focused on Black joy, #blacklivesmatter, and other related themes. Performance artist Alicia Grullón and spoken word poet LaTasha Diggs will join Professor Tanya Katerí Hernández in leading the public in a consideration of these topics.
“It’s no secret that Black life in America has been hard,” said Joseph. “In the midst of that strife, we have crafted a culture of beauty, resilience and strength. We need to be reminded of that. And we need space to celebrate those pieces of who we are. It is there, inside of that beauty, that our freedom truly lies.”
Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos runs through June 20 on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. The work will be located at the Great Hill, West Side near Central Park West from 103rd to 107th streets.