firsthand, hand-me-down, and kaleidoscope stories – are a reflection and practice of intersectional identities. Black Storytelling is rooted in critical race theory, all denominations of Black feminism (especially since Black feminism is for everybody,) fugitivity, art/music, and indigenous, critical ethnography. Black Storytelling is the vehicle for Radical Identity Praxis."
Dr. M. Billye Sankofa Waters
Radical Identity Praxis, LLC, President
reflection and practice
As a reflection of art and scholarship, I name Black Storytellers such as James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Zora Neal Hurston, Nikki Giovanni, Cynthia Dillard, Robin Boylorn, Septima Clark, Bisa Butler, D. Soyini Madison, bell hooks, Joan Morgan, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mama, Daddy.
As a practice / method, I name four movements for Black Storytelling:
Reconnect (criticality across broad American context)
Repeat (cultural wealth)
"Yo! Microphone Check 1-2, What Is this..."
The four movements – record, (re)connect, reward, and repeat – are integral to every part of Black Storytelling. This is not a necessarily a linear or fixed process, but one that repeats. Because "we always have to come back to self to experience freedom. And it’s gon take more than one cycle for us to be liberated.” " (S. Campbell, 2020.) Through these processes of reflecting upon personal and family stories, along with gathering photos and archives to honor both our histories and futures, I make the claim that #blackfolxarerichtm. This is not based on a limited understanding of fiat notes and modern currency, but instead honors the everyday existence of who we are (internal) rather than just what we have (external.) We are folx of both trauma and dignity and are hereby rich in blood, flesh, joy, labor, land, faith, intellect, creativity, rest, and Village. Our liberation is rooted in this affirmation.
Creating an opportunity where I can sit down and talk with my mom and uncles about their experiences growing up in South Carolina has made me and our entire family stronger.