By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Black Artstory Month continues in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill with a series of events and exhibitions influenced by the migratory experiences of African Americans.
Black Artstory Month is presented by the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership. Taking inspiration from Richard Wright’s "Native Son," written in Fort Greene, this year’s installment is entitled “Native Sons and Daughters: Locals, Im(migrants), Expats and Prodigals.”
“The most important component of Black Artstory Month is about providing residents access to artists they might not necessarily get access to,” said Daonne Huff, curator of the series. Huff also works with Groundswell, a non-profit that contributes community murals across the city.
“We’re bringing art to the people, to places where they feel comfortable. We’re not telling people to come to a performance venue. If you’re going to buy some cupcakes, why not see art?”
Huff said the series highlights black performers and artists, and the inspiration others have taken from African Americans across history. While the primary focus is on the African American experience, these journeys and pursuits are universal—crossing cultural and racial lines.
Artists participate through spoken word, storytelling, music, visual art, and more at locations across Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill throughout the month of February.
Huff described one project in the series, the “Take Michelle Obama to Work Initiative,” taking place February 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Brooklyn Sweetspot, 366 Myrtle Avenue; and on February 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Polish Bar of Brooklyn, 470 Myrtle Avenue.
The project poses the question: “Do you love your career? Did it break your heart to see Michelle Obama have to put hers on hold?” Performance artist Aisha Cousins (aishacousins.com) will help participants “Take Michelle Obama to Work” with a free Michelle Obama doll.
Huff told the Brooklyn Eagle, “It’s a really interesting piece. Michelle Obama was a pretty successful lawyer in Chicago. This brings up the idea of migration and the sacrifice that come from it. Sometimes you don’t choose migration; you might do it to support a partner.”
Michelle Obama’s migration not only involved traveling from Chicago to DC, Huff said, but from transforming from a well-respected lawyer in Chicago to the First Lady -- becoming a role model, representing her family, her race, and women.
“It highlights the sacrifice black women continue to make – they are the silent backbone of so much,” Huff said. Obama is “not just a First lady; she’s taking on causes, being a strong role model.” Participants will receive a Michelle Obama doll to take home, Huff said. “Anyone can take Michelle Obama to work.”
The full Black Artstory Month schedule of events and Artwalk map can be found at: http://www.myrtleavenue.org/blackartstorymonth/