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About this artist talk and performance series

Watch the video recording of this event here:

Watch the full performance REYITA at Bryant Park by Beatrice Capote here:

Click here to watch the recording of this event Live on Facebook.

Mind, Body & Soul: Afrofuturist Sacred Sounds explores embodied art practices in a world where Covid-19 cases are increasing around the country and young people are orchestrating nationwide rebellions protesting systemic racism, the police state, and carceral practices that have resulted in a disproportionate loss of Black lives. Our series brings artist practitioners, healers, and activists together to create spaces in the absence of being able to engage in our past in-person collaborative processes. Over the course of the series, which will take place Friday, December 4th, 2020, Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021, and Friday April 2nd, 2021, we will ask what promotes wellness and creativity during the pandemic, and consider the ways our work embodies the sacred, the sonic and connects with environmental justice. The series will include the voices and work of 10-12 artists, activists and cultural workers, whose work highlights activist and creative responses as well as community-based work by Afro-Latinx creatives around the country.

Photo of Beatrice Capote, Bronx Artist Now, 2019. Photo credit: © Marisol Diaz Gordon.

This event is free and open to the public, but please Register here to access the Zoom link and attend.

Read series organizer and Teaching Fellow Jadele McPherson's own words on the first event of this new series:

"On the eve of December 4th, Cubans who observe begin celebrating Santa Barbara-Changó, who represents music and social justice, with parties that have delicious food and sweets, live music, and the power to elevate everyone’s spirits who attend. This year I will genuinely miss these parties since we cannot gather in large groups, and so the launch of this series will bring artists together through sacred sound by other means. We will channel that spiritual energy to make space and to discuss how we are keeping our emotional creativity alive and practicing wellness while living under the compounded duress of the pandemic. In this first installation of the series, join Beatrice Capote, Jennifer Celestin, Raymel Casamayor, and co-moderators Joseph Torres Gonzalez and myself as we invoke our ancestors voices, chat as if we were hanging out in someone’s living room, and share intimate, live performances that will inspire us to enter a New Year refreshed and fortified."

Photo of Jadele McPherson from Wemilere (which means Party Honoring the orishas) at JACK (2015) by Lafotographeuse
Photo from Wemilere (which means Party Honoring the orishas) at JACK (2015) by Lafotographeuse

~ We dedicate this series to the spirit and memory of Miriam Jiménez Román whose pioneering work on Afro-Latinx intellectuals and artists in New York City continues to inspire new collaborations. ~

More About the Participants and their Work:

Beatrice Capote

Beatrice Capote is a Cuban American contemporary dancer, choreographer, educator and founder of Contempo: Capotechnique Exercises. In her work, she fuses Modern, Ballet, African and Afro-Cuban dance techniques to support artists with building technical skills while deepening knowledge on African Diaspora traditions. Ms. Capote has served as the choreographer for Citrus, a choreopoem play (Northern Stages) & The Wedding Band Musical (Montclair State University). She has received choreographic commissions from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and The Dark Elegy Project inspired by Suse Lowenstein performed at Gibney Dance. In 2019, she was a MANCC Forward Dialogues artist in residence where she developed her most recent solo based on “Reyita, The Life of a Black Cuban Woman in the Twentieth Century” written by Maria De los Reyes Castillo Bueno. Her work has also been shown in major festivals/venues such as WestFest Dance Festival, Battery Dance Festival, BAAD! ASS Women’s Festival, Amherst College, Casita Maria!, Contemporary Dance Series at Bryant Park, Vision Festival and more.

Jennifer Celestin

Jennifer Celestin is a Haitian-American writer, performer, and facilitator. She has performed at numerous venues in New York City, including the Bowery Poetry Club & Café, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, BRIC Arts Media, and El Museo del Barrio, A former EMERGE NYC fellow, Jennifer has also performed and facilitated workshops outside of the US in Montreal and Haiti. Fluent in English, Haitian Creole, and Spanish, her writings have been included in the City Lore Anthology of Haitian poetry, Label Me Latina/o,, No, Dear Magazine, The Hawai'i Review, la Revue Trois/Sant/Soixante, aaduna, and Midnight & Indigo. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.A. from NYU, and her M.F.A. in Fiction at CUNY: Queens College. She is currently working on a novel, a short story collection, and a poetry collection.

Raymel Casamayor

Raymel Casamayor has been working as a sound mixer, sound editor, and sound designer in several documentaries, short films, and features since 2010. He directed the documentary Destino M6 and other music videos. His work includes documentaries Previous Scenes, Casablanca, La gente del documental, Fellove, Héroe de Culto, and Cuban Canvas, and the feature films Santa y Andrés, Espejuelos Oscuros, and The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste García. His awards include “Best Sound in the Caracol Contest of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba” and Best Sound Design in the 15th and 16th editions of the Muestra Joven Film Festival.

Jadele McPherson. Photo by Jon Vachon

Jadele McPherson is an artist-scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of sound and healing, mutual aid, and performance in Florida, Haiti and Cuba. McPherson is currently a PhD student in the CUNY Graduate Center Anthropology Department and teaching fellow with the Mellon Seminar for Collaborative Research and Engagement where she is researching how sound impacts wellness, climate change & environmental sustainability. As a founder of Lukumi Arts (2008), an experimental theatre company focused on Afro-Cuban arts, she wrote and produced La Sirene: Rutas de Azúcar which debuted at JACK (2016), in the HERE Arts SANCTUARY series, and Brown University's Rites & Reason Theatre (2017). Jadele was an artist in the James Baldwin tribute Can I Get a Witness? at Harlem Stage co-created by director Charlotte Brathwaite and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, and No More Water/The Fire Next Time at the Park Ave Armory (February 2018). Jadele was also a featured guest on The Hoodoisie, a Chicago-based radical live news show (October 2018) and shortly after released her solo debut EP entitled “Peace & Quiet” (2019).

Joseph A. Torres-González

Joseph A. Torres-González is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. He holds a master's degree in Anthropology and a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies, both from the State University of New York, University at Albany. His research interests are in the intersections of History and Anthropology, Political Economy, Popular culture, and consumption. His current research project is based in Puerto Rico, studying food, coffee shops, baristas, ethnicity, and identity. Joseph works as a research assistant at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy, serves as a Graduate Fellow at the Office of Educational Opportunity and Diversity Programs at the CUNY Graduate Center, and teaches as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology at Brooklyn College.

This event is co-sponsored by Teaching Fellow Jadele McPherson's Afrofuturist Sound Ecologies project as part of the Mellon Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research from the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center CUNY.



Event Series Organizer


Photo by Sokari Ekine from La Sirene at JACK in 2016, dancer is Hansell Vaillant.

Photo of Jadele McPherson from Wemilere (which means Party Honoring the orishas) at JACK (2015) by Lafotographeuse