Watch the poem here!
“I’m deeply aware of the stress that’s put on our community,” artist Carrie Mae Weems states in the video above. “The stress that’s put on black women, the stress that’s put on black men.”
“It’s not a play,” she adds. “It’s really this battle.”
The “it” in Weems’ sentence refers to one of her recent performances, titled “Grace Notes: Reflections for Now.” The work is a combination of music, spoken word and dance that pays tribute to the young black men who’ve lost their lives over the past few years.
The performance follows the story of a woman compared to Antigone who is grappling with the duty of burying her dead brothers in the face of individuals who seek to deny their deaths. The work is meant to shine a light on escalating racial tensions in America, and, more specifically, the role of grace in the pursuit of democracy.