Sep 10—16, 2020
STEP AFRIKA! | ON DEMAND
They took away the drums, but they couldn’t take away the beat.
As part of our long presenting history with D.C.’s Step Afrika! troupe, we are excited to welcome these brilliant artists back for a digital presentation and discussion. We’ll start with a world premiere of scenes from their powerful, pulsing piece entitled Stono—a new work highlighting the spirit of resistance and activism of the oft forgotten parts of American history.
On September 9, 1739, the largest insurrection of enslaved Africans in North America began in South Carolina on the banks of the Stono River. Twenty Africans marched south toward a promised freedom in Spanish Florida, waving flags, beating drums, and shouting ‘Liberty.” When Africans lost the right to use their drums through The Negro Act of 1740, they began to use their bodies as percussive instruments in response, giving rise to ring shout, tap, hambone, and stepping. They were referred to as “Drumfolk,” keeping their traditions alive in the face of oppression and inequity.
The virtual premiere is immediately followed by a live panel discussion moderated by Lesli Foster (Evening Anchor, WUSA) and joined by C. Brian Williams (Founder and Executive Director, Step Afrika!), Dr. Aimee Cox (Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies, Yale University), Kendall Thomas (Nash Professor of Law, Columbia University Law School) and Bruce Teague (Mayor of Iowa City, IA). Panelists will explore the Stono Rebellion and its relevance to present day political protest and structural inequities in the United States.
This event is FREE, however, guests are encouraged to donate to Step Afrika! to help the organization navigate this unprecedented time and fortify their work to explore digital opportunities ahead.