Marc Bamuthi Joseph on his latest performance art piece, "/peh-LO-tah/"

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| November 01 2016,

2:00 pm


Marc Bamuthi Joseph is Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He is an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, the winner of the 2011 Alpert Award in Theater, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. He is the founding Program Director of the exemplary non-profit Youth Speaks, and is a co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one-day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks through hip-hop arts and focused environmental action. Mr. Joseph recently premiered the Creative Time commission “Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos” in New York’s Central Park, and is currently completing a new work with Bill T. Jones for the Philadelphia Opera. His evening-length piece “/peh-LO-tah/” has been commissioned by the Kennedy Center and the Guggenheim Museum and will premiere at YBCA in November of 2016








Blavity: Tell us about the early stages of your career, what brought you to this work?

Marc Bamuthi Joseph:using culture as a means of mobilizing and organizing


Hip-hop, Haiti and a certain political ethic.





Courtesy of Marc Joseph
Courtesy of Marc Bamuthi Joseph


Blavity: Tell us more about the experiences that led you to writing “/peh-LO-tah/.”


MBJ: 


But there wasn’t as much investment being made in the people who historically had been on the wrong end of theapartheid system


explores these tensions between the matter of black life, the joy in the body when playing this game on a global level and the various economic and political opposition that we face systemically, that we face in terms of expressing freedoms and joys.


Courtesy of Marc Joseph
Courtesy of Marc Bamuthi Joseph


Blavity: What I love about the description of "/pe-LO-tah/" is how interdisciplinary it is. You approach these issues with great nuance, which is very refreshing. Tell us more about why its important to look at issues through multiple lenses. 

MBJ: 








Courtesy of Marc Joseph
Courtesy of Marc Bamuthi Joseph


Blavity: Let's return to the idea of sports leading to finding freedom in your body. What are your thoughts on how sports can be both freeing but also exploitative? 

MBJ:






Art gives us a canvas that we can paint a collective picture on, a collective mosaic of the politics of freedom and joy all in play on one stage.


#pehlotah

A photo posted by @lookitmbj on

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Blavity: How has your Haitian identity influenced your views on global oppression and art?

MBJ: 
There's a level of ancestral accountability that I have


#pehlotah process at the @mcachicago

A photo posted by @lookitmbj on

'


Blavity: Lets talk more about beyond the show efforts you carry out to ensure communities are effectively engaging with the work.

MBJ:



So Moving and Passing is a way to work with immigrant kids that puts cultural expression and sports on the same continuum in an effort to position the strategies that you would have on the field as the same strategies you would use in navigating America.




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