Mama Odessa's 80th Birthday Party

By: Ola Lawal

Mama Odessa was dressed in a lovely African dress and so were the rest of the hundred people celebrating her milestone of eldership. We were in Historic Oakland and the vaulted ceilings vibrated with the djembe drums in her honor as we sang in Wolof, a language of West Africa. They served jolof rice and plantains. Mama Odessa gave a small speech about what the number 80 meant. People from every walk of her life: her sorority friends, church, social work, friends, international travelers, and family members were in attendance. She talked about the importance of Africa in her life. Mama Stella wrote a beautiful piece called Dear African, African-American that described our relationship after more than the 500 hundred of colonization. She seemed to channel the connection of us before colonization, drawing visuals that brought the audience to tears. WombWork sang, danced, and gave words of acknowledgment for this great milestone.

We honored Mama Odessa for walking in a way that was pleasing to our ancestors and for not only thinking for herself. We honored her for listening to guidance and we prayed for her that when her soul reaches the end of this flesh journey she will meet the creator with straight eyes and clean hands. We told her that she’s experienced a lot, but how will she remember her 80 years of life?

Mama Lydia, Mama Odessa’s daughter, booked WombWork Productions, Inc. for this occasion. In addition to community productions, WombWork Productions, Inc. is also available to perform at personalized functions like birthdays, weddings, and social gatherings.

Art of Transformation: Reworking Baltimore's Stories

by: Marvin Roxas

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"On March 3, 2016 people came together at WombWork Productions in Baltimore, with a hope of finding a way to access and share their experiences with race."

WombWork Productions, Inc. partnered with the University of Maryland Baltimore County in order to expand our work in Creating Sacred Space to discuss race through a theatrical experience. The Imaging Research Center at UMBC in collaboration with the Baltimore Imagining Group, a coalition of individuals from Baltimore's arts and social justice organizations, filmed and documented the project "Race and Art".

During this film, Baltimoreans shared their own stories to counteract misleading narratives about life in our city. Scholars share stories about the background of the city's history and policy, activists organized and engaged, and artists provided the means for the community to express what people felt about living in Baltimore. There is potential for the arts and media to transform culture and impact policy.

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International Black Film Festival Performance

by: Marvin Roxas

Next Generation Art Ensemble performed a 15-minute piece of their Judged by 12 Carried by 6! Plantation Psychosis after being welcomed by Mayor Catherine Pugh and watching several black youth films regarding bullying and police brutality during the opening night of the International Black Film Festival at the Charles Theater (1711 N. Charles St.) 

Mayor Catherine Pugh introduced the movies by mentioning her vision about having a school night next year so that more students would be able to attend the Festival. She also referred to the performers, filmmakers, and actors as some of the "most creative people in the universe."

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Park Heights Baltimore Block Party

By: Marvin Roxas

Regarding drug addiction and poverty, Park Heights neighborhood has been one of the hardest hit neighborhoods. Visionary Roots organized sponsors, performers, and vendors to hold a one-day community outreach day to show that Baltimore is more than its crime. At the corner of Beaufort Street and Belvedere Avenue, WombWork Productions, Inc. Next Generation Art Ensemble performed Judged by 12 Carried by 6! Plantation Psychosis, which showcases systemic racism and violence (police brutality, shootings, gangs) through theatrical narration.

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Photo by Visionary Roots
Photo by Kenneth Aston

Photo by Kenneth Aston