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Black Magic Slays Magical Negro
Gallery Seventy Four
Rochester, NY
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Black Magic Slays Magical Negro
"At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice" continues its artcentric interrogation of race with a progressive installation "Black Magic Slays Magical Negro" on February 9, 10, 17 and 24, at Gallery Seventy Four. This innovative series, presented by 21st Century Arts with collaborative artists, consists of a multi-media art installation that features Flawless Ladies, by W. Michelle Harris, a Long Table Conversation provoked by Beyonces film Lemonade, a womanist spoken-word presentation by Reenah Golden, and a dance performance by FuturPointe Dance. Four days of art in intersectional dialogue with other artistic components of the series. A dialectic experience that builds each week until it culminates in an interactive conversation with collaborators and the audience on February 24. (See details below)

With 'Black Magic Slays' we continue to experiment with models in the artistic interrogation of art + justice. Because of the success with the 'And, Aint I a Woman' event, the Long Table Conversation is back for 'Black Magic Slays.' This conversation is set off on February 10 with a screening of 'Lemonade,' says Rachel Y. DeGuzman, president and CEO of 21st Century Arts and Artivist in Residence at Gallery Seventy Four. To deepen our exploration of race through art, we made this event progressive in the sense of moving forward and advancing the series -event date to event date. And we are adopting a dialectic approach, the ancient Greek art of investigating the truth of perspectives.

To get the full experience, it is suggested that attendees participate in all four events of "Black Magic Slays Magical Negro." They can do so by purchasing the discounted registration  an all access pass for $40. Each event of the series can be experienced as a singular event. They can register for single event dates in the series for $15. Register at


Gallery Seventy Four is located at 215 Tremont Street (Door 3/Floor 3). It is an accessible art space with free parking, wheel chair ramp and elevator.

The 4 event dates are-

February 9, 7-9 pm  opening of W. Michelle Harris multi-media installation

February 10, 3-6 pm  Long Table Conversation, W. Michelle Harris Installation, screening of "Lemonade" film and more

February 17, 5-7 pm  Performance by Reenah Golden and W. Michelle Harris Installation

February 24, 5-7 pm  FuturPointe Dance performance, W. Michelle Harris installation and post-event conversation with artists and attendees

Some context:

At a time when black intellectuals like Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates have an online brawl over the relative significance/insignificance on human rights of former President Barack Obama versus Malcolm X, "Black Magic Slays Magical Negro" shifts the focus on the lesser known impact that women of color have had and continue to have on American culture and political transformation. Both as a celebration of bad ass as well as obscure women of color and, through an artcentric and interactive installation. As an interrogation as well as an opportunity to inspire individual and collective empowerment.

Recently, on All in with Chris Hayes, guest Rebecca Traitrer (Writer-at-Large/New York Magazine) said "...Left and progressive activism has always been led by women of color." Hayes other guest Linda Sarsour (National Co-Chair/Women's March on Washington) went on to say, "Women of color have created a menu of issues that we are impacted by and white women have found those issues to resonate with them, equal pay, reproductive rights, you know access to health care. I remember during the tax protest being arrested with rural white women worried about losing their health care and what's happening is that women are leading, we have a plan and we're registering voters. Women are outraged by this administration. These women wake up every day with perpetual outrage and its bringing them out to the street over and over again."

What is a Long Table Conversation?

The Long Table is an experimental open public forum that is a hybrid performance-installation-roundtable designed to facilitate dialogue through the gathering together of people with common interests developed by the artist and academic Lois Weaver. At this long table, all the invitees are artists, educators, culture workers or social justice advocates. This is a performance of dinner table conversation where everyone seated at the table is a guest performer. Talk is the only course (though wine, coffee/tea, cheese, fruit and desserts will be served before the conversation begins). There is no moderator just assistance from the host. It is a democracy. After the invited participants have chatted for 30-minutes, other attendees can tap someones shoulder to take a seat at the table. The original participants are welcomed back to the conversation through the same process. There is an end, but no conclusion.

About At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice

In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted the most segregated hour in America was 11 am on Sunday morning  a day and time in 1960 when most Christians were at worship in church. Unfortunately, US churches arent significantly more integrated today, and in Upstate New York, houses of worship are rivaled for the most segregated designation by the institutions and events of the art/culture sector. At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersections of Art and Justice, which was founded by Rachel DeGuzman and is produced by her company 21st Century Arts with collaboratives of organizers, began with a singular event, but has evolved into an ongoing initiative. Employing various forms of performance, presentation, organizing, and engagement coupled with entrepreneurial, innovative and experiential approaches this initiative will help to expand the regional anti-racism movement that is rigorously underway in other sectors of our community  to the art and culture landscape.

Why is this important? Despite generations of progress and good intentions, a few years ago we, in Greater Rochester, NY, acknowledged that systemic racism persists. The community responded with a multi-faceted approach, which for the most part, doesnt encompass the impact of racism in the art and culture sector. Art/culture continues to be a segregated landscape  with great disparities in representation and resources.

Existing inequities in art and culture threaten the sustainability and vitality of the sector as well as the viability of the community.

Racism impacts the degree to which art and culture is valued by its broadest citizenry  Racism frustrates efforts to expand participation, including the diversification of staffs, boards, audiences and patrons

Racism in the sector limits the art/culture we are exposed to and its standards of excellence (Look to the success of Hamilton as one example of untapped potential)  Racism in art and culture distorts the story of us, which is often interpreted and retold by creatives

Persistent racism in art and culture lessens its (potentially) powerful capacity to bring us together

Upcoming "At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice" events (all at Gallery Seventy Four):

March 10, 2018, "Anna, the Other Douglass: A Long Table Conversation and Installation"

March 24, 2018, "Cage-free & Non-conforming: A Long Table Conversation and Installation"

April 14, 2018, "Mass MisEducation: A Long Table Conversation and Installation"

May 19, 2018, "Sally Hemings, #MeToo: A Long Table Conversation and Installation"

*The images in this post are still shots from W. Michelle Harris' multi-media work and artist Reenah Golden.


Gallery Seventy Four (View)
215 Tremont Street (Door 3/3rd Floor)
Rochester, NY 14618
United States


Arts > Dance
Arts > Literary
Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre
Education > Workshops

Minimum Age: 17
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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