This is a spoken-word show that could be deemed the cousin to Color ME Brown: Conversations With Unmuted Voices, a 2012 documentary by Nicole Townsend that posed the simple question: “What is it like to be brown in Asheville, NC?” The film offered a unique platform that allowed black and Latinx folks residing in Asheville to share their stories related to living in a white progressive southern city.
Spoken word is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of wordplay and intonation and voice inflection. The show will unapologetically dig deep into the realities of navigating through a white supremacist society while existing in a black body. Attendees should expect to be challenged, as they will not be pacified.
Existing While Black will be hosted by Sheneika Smith and will feature poetry by Nicole Townsend and music by LYRIC.
Sheneika Smith, a native of Asheville, was recently elected to Asheville City Council on Nov. 7. She is best known for the “Date My City” initiative, which is dedicated to the inclusion and empowerment of Black Asheville. Sheneika can often be found mentoring and creating space that allows for leaders of color to develop their skills and talents.
Nicole Townsend is a community organizer and poet who is unapologetically black and queer. She collectively fights for the liberation of black folks, of undocumented folks, of queer folks, of trans folks, and of poor folks.
LYRIC is a singer-songwriter, musician, and music teacher who was born and raised in Asheville. She gracefully intertwines Soul, R&B, Funk, and even a little Hip-Hop into her performances.
Existing While Black takes place Sunday, November 12, 2017 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Road in West Asheville.