In June 2015, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, the poet and literature expert gathered with Keziah Jones and Qudus Àdérémi Onikeku for an amazing show. here is what i wrote at the time.
The more I go out, the more I find people who do. Who act. Who create. What I used to consider trivial, art, seem now to be more and more powerful in my eyes. Of course music has always been obvious to me as a tool for subversion and demands.
Today, I cannot but be impressed by what I see people creating in order to exist, to be. I was blessed to assist the Cultural Encyclopaedia Experience organized in Paris by Nana Oforiatta-Ayim featuring Qudus Àdérémi-Onikeku and Keziah Jonas. Blade, poet and performer, was part of the game too.
The quality of the discussion and music impressed me. I realized how close dance tradition can be around the world. Qudus’ move were nothing else than what I would call Kasékò, traditional Guianese dance. Music goes across oceans.
But as usual, I’m not totally happy. There is a reason why people call me Grumpy Davon. On a practical note, I felt overwhelmed (in a very positive way) with the content of the event. Mostly because the pace at which important information was coming was sometimes to fast. Terms, references and authors was out of reach for most people and so the educational / scholar part of it felt missing to me. This is obviously not something that should be required from the organizers and I’m a strong advocate of the “I do what I what the way I what” philosophy for any black artist. We have been told what to do way to often. I’m just sharing my frustration as a member of the audience.
The other source of frustration may be in a scenario that I have scene way too often, especially when it comes to music. Black performers, white audience. It feels awkward to me. Especially as a black audience would have gained so much from this event. “It’s Paris, man, people are white” seems like an obvious answer for some. Actually not so much. Go to some afrocentric events in Paris and you’ll realized what a crowd there is. This dichotomy was something that I didn’t realize until I started editing the photographs. Well that’s life. You’ll find more photos of the event on my Facebook page : Davon Henry Photography.