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caption: Left to right: Nii Okaidja, Syreeta Bernal, Natasha Marin and Hasaan Kirkland at The Jack Straw Cultural Center 
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Left to right: Nii Okaidja, Syreeta Bernal, Natasha Marin and Hasaan Kirkland at The Jack Straw Cultural Center
Credit: KUOW Photo/John O'Brien

Speakers forum: Black voices, origins, and futures

There has been a series of conversations happening in Seattle recently. They seek to answer questions around who people are, and where they came from. Or how they view their relation to Africa.

Artist Natasha Marin gathered small groups of people to make community and share origin stories.

We were invited to hear this session, which started with the question: What does it sound like when you claim yourself -- who I am; where and who I came from; what I’m here to do?

The conversation flows on, prompted by more questions. When do you feel most indigenous, or at home? What is your relation, real or imagined, to Africa? Then it finishes with lullabies.

The gathering is casual and caring, but Marin invokes a sense of presence. It has the import of an honest moment, of both weight and lightness.

Natasha Marin is a poet and interdisciplinary artist: “The creative work I produce takes on many forms: poetry, video, sound, performance, and immersive and interactive installation. This multiplicity defines my work and functions like a native tongue. I use this language of multiplicity to communicate most profoundly who I am and what I believe about the world we are living in.”

Marin is the curator of the new book Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures. She led this conversation with guests Syreeta Bernal, Hasaan Kirkland and Nii Okaidja at the Jack Straw Cultural Center studios on December 13, 2019. Ayesha Ubayatilaka engineered the session.

Please note: This recording contains unedited language of an adult nature.