Millennial Womanists To Watch: storäe michele

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Millennial Womanists To Watch: storäe michele

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
Age: 35
City: New York City

 

TMWP: What does it mean to be a millennial woman of African descent in the creative arts and art therapy?

storäe michele: I understand art as healing. Using my artistic license, I write about and engage with black women’s voices using the language of poetry—honoring its epistemology of healing and transformation. I am committed to the sharing of these stories with black women as subject, while unearthing the narratives of our ancestors and creating braves space for our whole-selves. My heart-work requires that I collaborate within African diasporic communities, to honor our integration of faith traditions found in southern, black folk wisdom, Yoruba, as well as Christian, Earth-honoring, transnational and Indigenous worldviews.
 
As a black queer woman, my point-of-view centers women of color of varying orientations and gender expressions. I retell our stories with radical truths that allow for simultaneously “wild and holy” beings to exist. Like these women, I challenge and subvert constructions of power. Drawing from Indigenous and Greek mythology, I explore new meanings in well-known stories and excavate lesser known details of the archetypes in seeking self-love stories with these wounded-healers as subject.

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: What can we expect from you within the next year?
storäe michele: I aspire to cultivate new narratives through film for women of color, which provide space for our complexity, truths, and communal healing. I plan to continue offering workshops and presenting on panels to interactively educate audiences as embodied practice. As an interdisciplinary artist and contemplative practitioner, my heart-work will always integrate various mediums and continue to stretch my own perspectives and imagination. I am also writing my next film, a hip-hopera, titled Medusa Sings the Blues, about a queer woman of color who retraces her roots to the Libyan Goddess Medusa—a woman misunderstood. I am currently building a cinematographic team and have begun casting main characters.

 

TMWP:  How can people support your work? 

storäe michele: I would love to think collaboratively, and to brainstorm with community, seasoned practitioners, and established resources. The film industry is extremely competitive in the way of sustainable financial resources, locations, equipment and promotional materials. I would be grateful to those who are able and willing to connect with me or place me in conversation with those knowledgeable in the field. I also welcome invitations to present workshops or to speak on panels. Feedback from attendees helps to nuance my stories and to expand my artistry. Of course, love offerings in forms of words of encouragement, financial resources and warm hugs, are certainly appreciated.

TMWP:  Where can they go for more information and updates?

storäe michele: Please explore my website, www.storaemichele.com, which is regularly updated with new events and curates my heart-work. I am also active on Instagram, using the handle, @brklynmee3.  [the listening heart] is currently available for private screenings. Please contact me via email at m.lisa.stanback@gmail.com, with inquiries.


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.

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