Embodying Ancestry: Anise

Themes: diaspora, displacement, home, self-love, womanhood, mother-daughter relationships, ancestor, African-American identity, dance

“[Embodying Ancestry is related] to the work I’m doing with exploring black people who were removed and placed in India. The movement [from Nadia’s Borders of Blackness] spoke to me and reminded me of the connectedness of our stories and how vast blackness is and how intricate our histories – that we do know and we don’t know – are and how they’re not so different.”

“This is my mom’s coat. She wore it from time to time and when I moved up here [from Georgia] I missed my family a lot. When I was younger, I was the second daughter so I always hand hand-me-down clothes and I didn’t like it because I always wanted to shop for my own things. But when I moved up here I found myself wearing my mom’s things and this coat is one. I feel like I have her with me when it’s cold.”

“When I think about it further, [this coat] reminds me a lot of her because my mom is not girly but she’s very woman. She cut her hair when I was in third grade and that’s before it was fashionable or cute to have short hair as a woman and I remember being very confused and her just owning it. Like, “Yeah my hair is short and yes I’m still a woman.” And I feel like she was a rebel in that way and she’s always challenging me to be more rebellious. So I get that from her.”

“How do you create home out of being displaced? How do you recreate things that you know your body needs? How to you guard and how do you care? How do you bring up next generations in this foreign land that you now have to embrace and create and make your land? What does that looks like and what’s the confusion, where is the rejection, where are you rebelling? I think my mom just resisting and being a nurse and being black and caring for people and just who she is is an act of rebellion. I think her just being and existing and being a person and sharing her opinion is rebellion. So how do you rebel and create home where you weren’t meant to and told you’re not fit for?”

“What’s in your body? What’s the history here? You have your ancestral line, but where are the people who came before you in your DNA that make up the physical you see? And when you don’t know, that the confusion and sometimes anxiety and the fear can bring or a sense of, ‘What is home?’ ‘How do you create home?’ And even if you’ll never know, may you’ll never find out because its so complex, your ancestry. How do you find that out?“ 

“How do you make home in the body that you’re in, in the culture that you’re in and the existence and day-to-day life? How do you create home? What are things that make you feel like home? This jacket makes me feel like home.” 

More Participants

Lontia | Marylin | Amy | Jasmine | Christie | Geraldine | Patricia | Laura | Angela & Diana | Tsedaye | Eddie | Lola | Briana | Simone | SINI | Italy | Ekua | Anika | Reem | Bobo | Kei | Macy | Sarah | DaMonique | Nandi | Anise | Yadira

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