Dreams aren’t written in black and white; they manifest themselves in a variety of colors. They take shape and form in various sizes. Dreams build walls of hope that lend inspiration to all who are willing to fly. The letters, “Be true to your dreams” are written in black ink circled around my ring finger. Those words are like an engine roaring, a vehicle to my creative exploration.
Almost a year ago, my dear friend Shea Rose started the process of sketching out the steps she’d take to begin her journey exploring her ancestral roots in Barbados – a land her ancestors lived, worked and walked on. Shea’s vision to return to trace her ancestral roots was intriguing to me, especially considering the way in which our paths have mirrored over the years. I’ve been working on a similar project tracing my maternal and paternal genealogical timeline, with the hope to find the Link to my history. The steps to “finding my voice” as Shea said it, lit our way. Shea’s vision was a dream that opened the door to exploring the concepts of identity, self-acceptance and home. Together we’ll explore the duality of gift-giving abroad.
When we arrived in Barbados on June 10th as International Artists in Residence at the Fresh Milk Art Platform, we were greeted by Annalee Davis, Founder and Director of the organization and residency programme. Our first day we settled in, unpacked and traveled to Lime Grove for dinner and to see spoken-word artist Rebel Glam perform.
The second day we met with Barbadian creatives, the U.S. Embassy and a host of musicians, photographers, videographers and dancers to share the overview of our project, “Exploring Creative Collaboration: Music and Identity” and “The Duality of Gift-Giving.”
By the third day, during our creative collaboration a transference of energy took place. I attribute it to being in the midst of such talented artists, composers, poets, singers, photographers, videographers — listening to the echoes of the percussion, a solid rhythm-thumping, notes on the keyboard joining in unison — music making moments filled with lyrics that tell a story, that hum a tune, that inspire.
Music is a story. I’m listening right now. It’s transformative. My father says it brightens his day, challenges and lights a flame of hope. For me, here in Barbados, I’m dreaming a story that sounds like waves smashing against the algae-painted shore walls. The distant undercurrents are whispering: “You’re not in control.” The music takes over on the platform of Fresh Milk. As it emanates from collaborative voices that surround me, I glance down at notes from my lesson plan for the workshops I’ll be teaching on the duality of gift-giving at three schools here on the island.
I’m here. I’m ready and willing to embrace each strand of knowledge passed down by our ancestors who carved the creative way for our artistic existence. I’ve learned it’s okay to dream and explore. Dreams are written in many shades; they tell stories in various forms. Shea and I are here to walk in our dream and co-inspire the world.