The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) is proud to announce the institution’s historic new initiative, a multi-year relationship with decolonial theatre artist, H. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams, PhD, popularly known as Dr. Herukhuti. The Brooklyn-native is a cultural worker committed to making revolution irresistible through theatre/performance art, filmmaking, poetics, and cultural criticism. The producer-playwright-director has presented work in and around NYC including the New York International Fringe Theatre Festival, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance Blaktinx Festival and Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute Afribembé Festival. November 24-25.
CCCADI is a co-producing partner of Dr. Herukhuti’s new play, “In the Valley of Coming Forth,” an Afrofuturist, funk, ritual play about a Black woman’s struggle to rescue her kidnapped non-binary child and destroy the system that has torn them apart. With an individual artist grant,marketing, and other production support, CCCADI is modeling a new paradigm for cultural organizations that cultivates an environment for re-indigenizing and decolonizing relationships between artists/cultural workers and art and culture institutions.
“Supporting artists and cultural workers of African descent dedicated to using their medium to advance racial and social justice is critical to our mission and part of our organizational strategy. Dr. Herukhuti, as an artist, and an alumnus of CCCADI embodies that dedication through his work. Therefore, an investment in his artistic practice is our commitment to the advancement of our community-at-large,” said Melody Capote, CCCADI Executive Director
Dr. Herukhuti participated in CCCADI’s Digital Evolution Artist Retention (DEAR) program in 2021, the organization’s professional development lab. Primarily for artists and cultural workers of African descent, DEAR offers the opportunity to connect, reflect, cultivate innovation, and strategize in a community of peers committed to growth and adaptation. After participating in DEAR and with the support of a $10,000 individual artist grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and using African cultural heritage in the oral tradition as a grant making practice rather than the standardized written application, Dr. Herukhuti and CCCADI focused on their relationship building for an entire year in an effort to ground their collaboration in the strength of their mutual knowledge of each other. The conversations culminated in an excerpt performance of “In the Valley of Coming Forth” at CCCADI’s annual Afribembé Festival held in August, in alignment with the festival theme: Black to the Future.
The collaborators will bring a premier performance of the full play to Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC), located at 158 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11213, at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 24th with an Artist Talkback at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 25th. As a historic site and cultural center in Central Brooklyn that uses education, arts and a social justice lens to preserve, document and inspire engagement with the history of Weeksville and the Historic Hunterfly Road Houses, the venue has specific resonance with the themes of the play.
Presenting the play, which deals with the tradition of marronage and freedom in the face of European settler-colonialism, imperialism, and white supremacy initiated by the Pilgrims—whose actions are celebrated on Thanksgiving weekend, at the site of one of the largest free Black communities in pre-Civil War America, is critically important to Dr. Herukhuti who lives within walking distance of the site and whose father and uncles were raised across the street from Weeksville Heritage Center in the Kingboro Houses.
The two-day event is presented with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, The Theatre Offensive, and Double Edge Theatre, Goddard College Faculty Development Fund, and the Applied Theatre Racial Justice Conference of the CUNY School of Professional Studies MA Program in Applied Theatre. Ticket options include $15 for the Artist Talkback, $20 for the Performance and $25 for both. For more information or to get tickets, Click Here.
Dr. Herukhuti is the author of various published works including the poetry collection, Race. Resistance. Love., co-editor of the Lambda Literary Award nonfiction finalist and Bisexual Book Awards nonfiction and anthology winner, Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men. Dr. Herukhuti is executive producing and co-directing a forthcoming documentary film about Black bisexual+ men. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, H. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams, PhD is a cultural worker committed to making revolution irresistible through theatre/performance art, filmmaking, poetics, and cultural criticism. She is a core faculty member at Goddard College, adjunct associate professor of applied theatre research at City University of New York School of Professional Studies, and visiting adjunct professor in the department of fine arts at Pratt Institute.
The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), is an arts, culture, education, and media organization that advances cultural equity, racial and social justice for African descendant communities. CCCADI’s programs serve children/youth, families, young professionals, elders, local and international artists, and practitioners of African-based spiritual traditions. Through our work, CCCADI offers a collective space where African descendants honor the contributions of the global African Diaspora through exhibitions, performances,