Community Capital: an Afrofuturism South Philly Walking Experience
"We acknowledge that the land on which we gather are the ancestral lands of the Lenni Lenape people, whose presence and resilience in Pennsylvania continues to this day. We take this opportunity to honor the original caretakers of this land and recognize the histories of land theft, violence, erasure, and oppression that has brought us here."
We speak ourselves into existence. But, what happens when others of the world silence your tones to cacophony their worth? Originally commissioned as part of the Painted Bride Art’s Center “Power to the Prompt" conversation, Community Capital: an Afrofuturism South Philly Walking Experience, curated and written by TS Hawkins & Lois Moses, illuminates an intersectional poetic expedition of sound and unearthing through the streets of South Philadelphia. Letting ancestors guide permeable possibilities, this (self-guided) trek opens multiple dimensions of storytelling that ignite the expansion of mind, body, and spirit! Journeying fixed and beyond, participants will have the opportunity to connect with intergenerational voices searching for an equitable community one neighborhood at a time!
WALKING TOUR INFORMATION
- Launch Date
- October 7th (National Poetry Day & William Still's 200th Birthday)
- Walking Guide
- Download Here! (free & open to the public)
- All QR Codes & Video Links are captioned for accessibility. Whether local, out of town, or nationwide, take a moment to wander virtually or in-person!
- Community Capital MoodList
- Resource SparkList
- Special In-Person Event
- Spring/Summer 2022
- Join us for a group gathering in Spring/Summer 2022 for another special in-person event where you can stroll the pathways with creators TS Hawkins & Lois Moses, asking them questions, and commune with the neighborhood. We will meet at William Still Historic House (625 S Delhi St, Philadelphia, PA 19147) at 3PM. All attendees must wear a mask and follow updated Covid-19 protocols!
ABOUT THE CREATIVES
TS HAWKINS they/them (Lead Artist) is an international author, performance poet, art activist, playwright, and member of the Dramatists Guild. Plays, short works, and books include Seeking Silence, Cartons of Ultrasounds, Too Late to Apologize, They’ll Neglect to Tell You, #RM2B, The Secret Life of Wonder: a prologue in G, AGAIN, #SuiteReality, “don’t wanna dance with ghosts...”, Sugar Lumps & Black Eye Blues, Confectionately Yours, Mahogany Nectar, Lil Blaek Book: all the long stories short, and The Hotel Haikus. Hawkins’ one-act choreopoem, AGAIN, was acknowledged for having the “Best Theater Moment of 2017”. #SuiteReality received the 2017 “Theatrical Reality Check” Surya Bonaly Award, an international publication in WORDPEACE Literary Journal, showcased in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre for the Black Lives, Black Words International Theatre Festival, and shares residence at the Carnegie Mellon University Hunt Library. Cartons of Ultrasounds had the pleasure of returning to New York for a limited off-Broadway run to rave reviews. Recently, The Secret Life of Wonder: a prologue in G graced Australian stages as part of Antipodes Theater Company's Ricochet Reading Series! Hawkins' residency credits include National Black Theatre SOUL Producing Resident, Swim Pony Performing Arts TrailOff Writer-in-Residence, 1812 Productions’ Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Residency, Out of Exile Artist-in-Residence, Irondale Ensemble “To Protect, Serve, and Understand”, Painted Bride Art Center’s Souls of Black Folk, and Alphabet Arts Puppets & Poets. Notable writing contributions include Rising Voices: Poems Towards a Social Justice Revolution (University Professors Press), Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear (Et Alia Press), Family Legacies (SONKU Collective Magazine), WORDPEACE Literary Magazine/vol. 2 Spring Edition, Fragrance of Love (Poet Tree), and Long Wharf Theatre Blog Series.
LOIS MOSES she/her (Collaborator/Videographer) is a Philadelphia native holding a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, a law degree from Temple University and is a graduate of LaSalle University’s Master’s program in Clinical Psychology. Her publications include Not Just Another…Black/Woman, Missing Pages… (Women Behind the Glass Door), A Timely Trinity, Freedom Not Them Give, and a self-titled spoken word CD. Using her theater, music, and dance background, Moses creatively combines art forms to produce powerful performance art. Moses conducts motivational workshops for women and men, geared toward addressing the necessity of healing and self-evaluation. Her award-winning short film And They Jumped Into the Water…Some has been touring at colleges and conferences with her Woman to Woman Conversation: Beyond Sound and Fury…Sacrifice as the True Poetic Voice; a poetry and multimedia presentation exploring the evolution of the sacrifice, courage, and voice of African American women in America. The world premiere of her acclaimed play, Say That He Had More Than a Dream…; a piece chronicling the last years of Martin Luther King’s life after his controversial “Beyond Vietnam” Speech at Riverside Church in 1967, debuted at First World Theatre in 2016, and in 2017 toured at the Match Theatre directed by Zuhairah McGill. Visit here to learn more!
PAINTED BRIDE ARTS CENTER (Power to the Prompt) is the Painted Bride’s citywide project supporting courageous conversations across difference — race, belief, neighborhood etc. Sparking authentic connections in Philly across all walks of life by using the arts and creative thinking to cultivate trust, respect and deeper understanding, Phase 1 of the project includes multimedia community engagement to build bridges across social distance and division. Afterwards, the answers will be shared anonymously on the Painted Bride website and across social media. Phase 2 of the project will include performances created from the responses. Visit the website to learn more!
BLACK THEATRE ALLIANCE OF PHILADELPHIA (Phase II Initiative) is a coalition committed to supporting and uplifting the Black theatre artists in the Greater Philadelphia area while challenging and encouraging the Greater Philadelphia theatre community to be more proactive in their commitment to equity and equality. Visit the website to learn more!
DR. KIMMIKA LH WILLIAMS-WITHERSPOON she/her (Historian) holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology, an M.A. in Anthropology, an MFA in Theater, a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, and a B.A. in Journalism. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Urban Theater and Community Engagement in the Theater Department in the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts in the Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts, in addition to, being the President-elect of the Faculty Senate at Temple University. Williams-Witherspoon is the author of Through Smiles and Tears: The History of African American Theater - from Kemet to the Americas (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2011) and The Secret Messages in African American Theater: Hidden Meaning Embedded in Public Discourse (Edwin Mellen Publishing, 2006). Williams-Witherspoon served as principal investigator on the $50,000 Lumina Foundations Fund for Racial Justice and Equity Grant (2018-19) for the Interactive Community Conversations and performance, Moving from Safe Space to Brave Space. Awards and other grants include 2021 Vice Provost of the Arts Award, The North Broad Press Open-Book Award, 2020, TUAA Stauffer Faculty Service Award, 2013 Miriam Maat Ka Re Award for scholarship, 2013 Associate Provosts Arts Grant; 2008 Seed Provost’s Grant, 2003 Provost’s Arts Grant, 2001 Independence Foundation Grant, 2000 PEW Fellowship, 1999 Daimler-Chrysler National Poetry Competition, 1996, Lila Wallace Creative Arts Fellowship with the American Antiquarian Society, a two-time returning playwright with the Minneapolis Playwrights' Center, and Pew Charitable Trusts Playwrights Exchange. Williams-Witherspoon has had over 34 plays produced. Stage credits include over 20 productions, 8 one-woman shows, and poetry performances in over 118 national & international venues. Williams-Witherspoon is a contributing poet to 44 anthologies, author of 11 books of poetry & 9 book chapters, 10 journal articles, and 2 books on African American Theater. Accompanying her vast awards and citations, Williams-Witherspoon's scholarly work centers around pedagogy, women’s issues, the African diaspora, performance rituals, and community engagement. Visit here to learn more!
MARIE LASTER she/her (Walking Guide Illustrator) is a set designer born and raised in Philly. Scenic design credits include Untitled (Inis Nua Theatre), Cry it Out, Natural Shocks (Simpatico Theatre), Donna Orbits the Moon (Tiny Dynamite), The Agitators (Theatre Horizon), Rachel (Quintessence Theatre), Looking Over the President's Shoulder (Act II Playhouse). Marie received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Philadelphia University and enjoys channeling her creative energy through the scenic design process. Visit here or follow on Instagram!
MORGAN CHARÉCE HALL she/her/they (Research Assistant) is an actor, teaching artist, director and creative from Philadelphia. She received her MFA in Theatre from the University of Alabama in May 2018 where she taught for two years. Upon graduation she co-founded the Sankofa Theatre Ensemble, a devised movement theatre ensemble based out of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. After earning her MFA., she had the honor of receiving the Allen Lee Hughes fellowship at Arena Stage in Washington, DC where she served as the Education and School Programs Fellow in the Community Engagement department. During her fellowship she served as a teaching artist, researcher and directed 3 Voices of Now ensembles (Arena Stage’s devised theater ensembles where she worked with middle school students throughout Washington D.C. and Fairfax, VA.). She currently serves as a teaching artist at The Discovery Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and various non-profits in Washington DC and Philly. Morgan Charéce is interested in creating sacred spaces where Black and Indigenous people can tell their stories on their own terms. She would like to thank God, her mother and her ancestors for supporting her always and instilling in her a strong commitment to artistry and activism. She would also like to thank TS for their dedicated artistry, guidance, and energy. Asé
TIMOTHY SHEPHERD he/him (Music Composer) believes his purpose is to create music that reflects the vast depths of the human spirit. While helping other artists further manifest their projects, he utilizes his skillset in music composition and music & video production to enhance his talents and expand his collaborative style. As an Artistic Coordinator & Production Manager for Art Sanctuary, Shepherd was responsible for executing over 300 programs including but not limited to The Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival, The Annual John Coltrane Festival, and The Annual Art Sanctuary Awards Banquet. Also, as a music producer & sound engineer, Shepherd wrote the score for community productions such as Torch Song Trilogy, Jar the Floor, and Get Out to Vote 2001 for WHYY, Let Not Your History Be A Mystery, a short film called Sisters, in addition to producing recordings of poems & oral histories with artists such as Lois Moses, Dr. Kimmika LH Williams-Witherspoon, Sheron Gaither, and Tina Smith-Brown. Moreover, he has produced and recorded musical productions with Hannibal Locumbe, Valerie Gay, Samuel Brown IV, The North Stars, and Melissa Talley-Palmer, just to name a few!
DR. LAMONT MCKIM he/him (Collaborator) is an educator, researcher, counselor, and consultant who enjoys being an avid student of life. Since early childhood, McKim began studying comparative religion which led him to acquire advanced degrees in both psychology and law. Traversing forward as a student-practitioner of several African cultural-based traditions, he continually incorporates ancient wisdom in his approach to helping others. Additionally, as an organizational & educational consultant, McKim focuses on transformational leadership and issues of equity & justice within the workplace. Notably, McKim had the distinct privilege to be honored as one of West Chester, Pennsylvania’s “Home Town Heroes” by the Mayor’s Office! Moreover, he is a highly regarded and coveted speaker on community, history, and other education-related topics. Currently, McKim lives in southeastern Pennsylvania with his wife of nineteen years. In his free time, he co-scribed Ancestral Petition with Lois Moses, engages in genealogical research, observes nature in all her beauty, and plays chess.
Dotty's Creative Creations, Black Theatre Alliance of Philadelphia, LMDA (Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas) Conference, Moses Line Productions, PrimeAct Media, and SIFTMedia 215
EVENTS & PUBLICATIONS
For all inquiries, click here!
Click here to share your landing thoughts!
"An absolutely inspired and needed piece of art!" -Jacinta
"Where spoken word and historical cityscapes intersect, beckoning raw truths about the ancestral journey of Black & Brown folx in South Philly's 7th Ward, TS Hawkins and their team are masterful at weaving historical and current events into visual poetic beauty; the contributors who lent perspective, embellished the experience. Whether you take this walking tour in real-time or virtually, you are sure to be awed & educated simultaneously! Also, the musical composition solidified the experience as well. Each track complimenting the messages so beautifully. What more can I say?! The virtual walking tour was visually and metaphorically outstanding!!! The use of multimedia in a performance art form is quite riveting …. speaking truth to power in an artistic format was transforming. TS went there, as usual, without regret! AND, Dr. Witherspoon …. I, now see why she had a tremendous influence on their direction in poetry. She is an amazing mentor with a wealth of knowledge. I loved the opening interviews. Somehow, it helped me to absorb the completeness of the tour. Thank you for this worthy treasure, TS! Also, the MoodList is FIIIRE! Awesome Job!!" -Frank
"Just finished doing the walking experience virtually and I loved it! From the video of TS, Lois, and Dr. Witherspoon until the Outro; I loved the energy between the three in that video interview. It was so interesting listening to all the talk of history and the passion behind it; it was a great segue to the walking experience. And the poetry pieces were extraordinary. Listening to them while watching the video of present Philadelphia was so enlightening. The Outro sealed everything so well; it being the finish to center the spirituality aspect of it all was beautiful!" -Betsy
"Highly informed and learned more about the his-story of Philadelphia." -Karen
"Community Capital: an Afrofuturism South Philly Walking Experience by TS Hawkins and Lois Moses is a poetic journey, deeply moving and unsettling, on the innate violence of settlers, both historic and modern. Each step envelopes us in an urgent, passionate, long-silenced dialogue that recontextualizes our collective past, present, and future, our neighborhoods and neighbors, our own paths, how exactly we got here, what is lost, what is owed, and to whom. Whether you participate virtually or in person, whether you know Philly or not, grab the Walking Guide, and get on the path of Community Capital." -Gabrielle
"We 'listened to the ancestors speak' as we toured this gentrified neighborhood. TS Hawkins's poetry was poignant and profound." -Joan
"Oh wow this is fabulous! Amazing!! TS you know how to say it!!" -Diane via WURD Radio