I believe performance is an amazing research tool! Orally interpreting the fiction of James Baldwin through purposeful intoning, singing and pausing helped me envision the power of Black music to transport and connect people. Imagining myself in musician Sidney Bechet’s footsteps, as I moved, acted and sounded to his song, prompted new questions about accessing spirituality through music. While dancing to the music of Angélique Kidjo pushed me to keep questioning and articulating Black African diasporic experience in more nuanced ways. As a scholar-performer-writer-teacher, I keep returning to performance in its many forms as a way of teaching myself and my students. I’m looking forward to being at TAKT where I can compose, revise, and get inspiration and feedback from others on my performances, which explore important ideologies of African diasporic music and culture.

africana-studies.williams.edu/profile/rkb2/