Inheritance

To inherit: to receive as an heir at the death of the previous holder; to derive genetically from one’s parents or ancestors; to be left with

 

To be left with…

 

To be left…

 

“Inheritance” is a sound and video experiment that blends in-process projects from Majesty’s archive as the work moves toward a more fantastical existence. This is a collection.

 

A recollection.

 

A reimagining. A (mis)understanding. A call. Calling. Don’t you hear me call and call?

 

The project explores my personal history and how it lives as part of a collective experience. I deal with materials sampled from my everyday life: children playing, my own laughter, an argument in the street, the sound spilling out cars passing by, the window of a church on Sunday afternoon. My memory wanders into the songs my mother played in the house, my church, and touches my experience attending the legendary Hillside High School in Durham, NC. Hillside is the oldest pre-desegregation Black high school still in existence in North Carolina (a proud fact I was never allowed to forget). Some of the alumni include, gospel great, Shirley Caesar (who’s song “Hold My Mule” has been fueling my research for years); fashion icon and editor; Andre Leon Talley; and painter, Ernie Barnes. The work also reaches for my experiences dancing toward transformation in clubs (are you here to fuck or dance?). And my Black Seminole family singing in my grandmother’s living room.

 

When all of the worlds touch, I wonder at the expansive relationship present in there swirling, bending, running. I feel lifted toward another kind of consciousness. A different way of hearing. If I lean deeply enough into this world, I just might get swept into the next, the solidity of this existence might just dissolve. And with it, all that I thought I knew about living and loving in this body. There’s got to be more. I can hear it.

 

I have been on a quest to hear the unheard through the Black practices of sampling, chanting, sermon-ing, remixing, misplacing.

 

Trans-                                                    (across)

                   -lating

         -forming

                       -itioning

  -muting

        -planting

 

 

 

Can Blackness be positioned across rather 

than bound to...

- (Thinking with Katherine McKittrick)

 

Video materials consist of clips from "the space between the riot and i", a private virtual sound sharing, and explorations of my process archive.

This work features three distinct sound worlds: “untitled“, “mother mother, no no”, and “want me?”

 

The pieces:

 

“untitled”

 

This is the most recent sound project. The sonic universe is made up of house beats, the voice of Shirley Ceasar (intro to “Hold My Mule”), My family singing to and with my grandmother, Drake’s “calling my name”, and a small swell from Beyonce’s “Break My Soul”. I'm so curious about what it means to be allowed. What if I didn't contain this dance? My existence as a Black queer person in this world is miraculous and spills out of every container one tries to put it in.

"Well put me out! I can't hold my peace."

Put me out.

“mother mother, no no”

 

This project is part of the original sound score for “the space between the riot and i” (New York Live Arts). The base of this world is an argument recorded from outside my south Philly home in 2021 coupled with a sample from Aretha Franklin's "Jimmy Lee:

I'm yo mutha

Calling

Calling

Out

 

Oh what I give you?!

Calling!

Out your name 

Your memory...

Calling

Calling

So what am I supposed to do?

When I'm calling

Calling out!

I'm yo mutha

Oh, what I give you?

Bitch,

I gave you life

Life!

 

 

 A Divine calling. A loud whisper from elsewhere. Asking, begging, threatening to be heard. It also deals with laughter, a recording from outside of a church on south Broad St. (Philly), mechanical droning, and Jennifer holiday protesting, “no, no way” on loop at a pitch that feels unnatural.

 

“want me?”

 

This project has been sitting in my archive for over a year. It features recordings of my voice singing/speaking lyrics from “Hold My Mule” and “On The Hotline”, Pretty Ricky.  

 

Hold

Hold

Hold

 

You don’t…

Want?

 

 

In yo church

 

In yo…

In the morning

 

Lusting

 

In yo church

 

You don’t

Want me to dance in yo church?

 

Lusting

Lusting

Lusting

 

For you

 

Hold

 

Dance

 

For you

 

It ends with an interjection from Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer”. A distorted recording from my grandmother’s broken record player, rearranged to ask, “Do you want me?” and “what do you want me to do?”. 

 

An echo from the basement of your church.