Our truth has no gender
Happy Fall TEDxFlourCity fans! What are you looking forward to this fall? We're looking forward to bringing in the season with cozy coffee shop talk, and enlightening dicussion at our TEDxFlourCitySalon next week on Wednesday, September 15th. Will we see you there?
This week we are highlighting the second performance of TEDxFlourCity2014. Check it out:
Reenah Golden is a spoken word artist, writer, actress and educator who specializes in a variety of art forms. She performs and educates worldwide and locally, and has published several books and produced several films. Through her award winning work she seeks to address social issues and inspire new ways of thinking and ultimately positive change.
Reenah Golden (right) and dancer Liam Knighten on the TEDxFlourCity2014 stage
In her TEDxFlourCity2014 performance Golden lays out the peeling off of the layers of her pre-adolescent son's profound unhappiness and their discovery of what lay at the core. Reenah's poem is a conversation, her words pushing the storyline along, pulling the audience through time and holding us for moments in her son's childhood. The poem is integrated with a performance by Liam Knighten, founding dancer and teaching artist at Futurpointe Dance, whose acrobatic movements depict her son's energy, feelings and reactions to bullying, his own self discovery and to his mother's guidance, wisdom and love.
Punctuated by facts, anecdotes and commentary on teenage life that many parents will relate to, this performance piece takes on the issue of parenting a gay son from a far more personal angle, taking the audience on a journey through a pivotal identity finding moment. The piece presents some startling statistics about the experiences of urban youth who are gay. The performance comes first, however the facts are an unforgettable secondary (much broader) storyline.
When she performs spoken word poetry, Golden wants the audience to focus on the words and content of the poem rather than the speaker.
"I think often people get caught up in the person performing the poem, first of all, and whatever they get from the energy that person is giving off ...we manipulate our vocal performance and physical performance on stage, and that's not a bad thing, but we definitely wanna open that up ...and invite the audience into a closer look at whatever the content the poem is speaking for. Which is why we're also bringing in multimedia, the piece that Adrian's doing..."
Adrian Elim, co-founder and head videographer at Brothahood Productions, helped create the multimedia component of the performance.
"It's a very difficult subject for people to talk about and even, and especially, being gay, particularly in the the black community that's just like the no-no zone...the poem kind of speaks to this idea of parents kind of pushing their own beliefs onto their children, but it's like well then where's the space for them to grow and be whoever they are? And all that that means. And then what's your role and responsibility as a parent?" Says Elim of the piece.
"What I hope people will get out of this talk," explains Golden, "is another-- just an awareness and a mindfulness and a thoughtfulness about the way we raise our kids especially when it comes to this topic of gender and specifically masculinity. I'm a really firm believer that our divinity has no gender ...whatever your religion is ...any of our spirituality or our life coaching or development, is supposed to be about connecting with a truth. And that truth has no gender. So what is it that we are imposing, what kind of attributes are we imposing that are limiting us from really experiencing our true divinity?
"That might be a super large, lofty concept for people, but I hope that they can take a little piece of it away, and especially as it directly impacts children," says Golden, "Because I'm passionate about that, I'm passionate about kids, I'm passionate about some of the destructive things that I see, from dietary issues to mental health issues that we're inflicting on kids that they're not born with."
Watch Reenah Golden and Liam Knighten perform their TEDxFlourCity2014 piece "To Mothers of Sons":
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We'll catch you back here next week as we highlight the next video from TEDxFlourCity2014. Have a wonderful week!