The Millennial Womanism Project (TMWP) Presents “Millennial Womanists To Watch”
A monthly profile highlighting emerging voices doing incredible work in ministry, the academy and in social justice work.
Name: storäe michele
City: New York City
TMWP: What does it mean to be a millennial woman of African descent in the creative arts and art therapy?
TMWP: Tell us about your work? What inspired you to do this work?
storäe michele: Part of my heart-work is to investigate how films can become rituals: fostering transformation, allowing brave space for healing, and reconnecting to our communities and authentic-selves. As an educator of ten years, I realized how interconnected we become through the sharing and integrating of our stories. It is through this same wisdom that our ancestors were connected to the world and found compassion towards one another. In my time at Union Theological Seminary, I came to parallel children’s stories with sermons, which are also ritualized, and embodied. As each generation is nourished simultaneously by old flat documentaries, harsh new realities, and diversified liberation, I realized the importance of creating new myths. New narratives can serve as affirmations to the well-being of communities which eradicates our unsustainable worldviews and expands to embrace unique peculiarities. Such experiences inform my desire to return to stories in my academic study and artistic practice drawing from African myths and griot culture, where knowledge is gleaned around the circle, spoken orally throughout generations.
TMWP: How does your work expand traditional womanist epistemologies?
storäe michele: As I address the ritualized fragmentation of black women into caricatures; I realize that in order to call back our bodies, black women must both write and [re]mythologize the story of their bodies. I believe this is the work of a Womanist, honoring and reclaiming narratives that are a part of our lineage and resistance. Womanists speak their truths to nurture those on the margins and center our stories, culture, and rituals. Through this re-indigenized approach, the traditional Womanist framework which curates the culture of our African diasporic traditions, also transcends into Afro-futuristic narratives of expanding our imagination beyond what is and explores what will be.
I put this epistemology into practice throughout my film [the listening heart]–an Afro-Native Futuristic story about self-love and deep listening, that brings to life an original story grounded in Mayan and Yoruba cosmologies. The characters’ voices echo in song, and poetry as spiritual blueprints. Drawing from Eco-womanist framework, my film speaks to truth-telling, restorative justice, connectivity to nature and healing through culture care of black and brown community.
TMWP: How can people support your work?
TMWP: Where can they go for more information and updates?
storäe michele: Please explore my website, www.storaemichele.com
Millennial Womanism is an emerging concept developed by Liz S Alexander and Melanie C Jones that seeks to draw upon a unique womanist epistemological and methodological framework utilizing a millennial lens.