IN CONVERSTAION WITH CANDICE DAVIS
Sharing some conversation with Bay Area musician/artivist Candice Davis who will be participating in our upcoming event FUTR OnAir | Rio de Janeiro = San Francisco. Candice is paired with Brazilian choreographer Renato Cruz. The two of them will be collaborating in OnAir via live stream at Little Boxes Theater on Nov 6th.
FUTR: SPEAKING GENERALLY ON YOUR PRACTICE, WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK?
CD: My ancestors. They talk to me. They want me to tell their stories so that their suffering is never forgotten and so that the next generation doesn't make the same mistakes or fall for the same traps of oppression. As they were spread out all over the world through the Arab Slave Trade and the TransAtlantic slave trade, they birthed so much culture into the world that would not exist without them. American popular music would not exist without the African diaspora. The ways that we have become a patchwork, a tapestry of diversity, yet oneness, is hella inspiring. We are a miraculous people. I celebrate Blackness in my work. I guess resistance inspires me too. I can't be silent in the face of what I know is wrong. Oppressing, exploiting and discriminating against people should make us all sick. Seeing the suffering of others and turning a blind eye is not human. Human beings don't do that. Human beings are compassionate and kind. Some people are evil spirits in human form or they are possessed. They can't feel. I am inspired by humanity and truth and the resiliency demonstrated through resistance. It's beautiful.
FUTR: CAN YOU SHARE SOMETHING WITH US ABOUT THE PROJECT THAT IS TAKING SHAPE WITH YOUR ARTIST COUNTERPART FROM RIO?
CD: We talked about the challenges that we both face as diasporic people. Poverty, gentrification, racism, sexism, we discussed it all and I loved how passionate Renato was about misogyny. He has a piece about misogyny in hip hop. I'm a Black woman, which means that I've been hypersexualized and a-sexualized, harassed and invalidated. People fear me, love me, hate me, exoticize me, fetishize me and revere me. It's such a complicated issue. It is such a source of cognitive dissonance and psychological confusion. So, our piece is about that. I guess it is about the confusion.
FUTR: WHAT SO FAR HAS BEEN THE MOST SURPRISING OR INTERESTING PART OF THE EXPERIENCE?
CD: My Americanism. The fact that my partner Renato has to try so hard to communicate with me in English and I have no way of trying to communicate with him in Portuguese. The fact that America is so hostile to languages other than English that we don't teach other languages. My niece went to elementary school in Switzerland and came out proficient in three languages and fluent in two. I feel bad that I can't meet him halfway on the communication and that he has the lions share of the burden of figuring out how to communicate with me.
FUTR: HAVE YOU EVER PERFORMED BEFORE THROUGH A LIVE STREAM WITH AN ARTIST IN ANOTHER COUNTRY?
CD: No. I have performed in 5 countries (Iran, Ghana, Tanzania, Spain, Malta) but never through live stream.
FUTR: HOW DO YOU THINK THIS EXPERIENCE WILL INFLUENCE YOUR OWN PROCESS AND CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT AS AN ARTIST?
CD: I am hoping to continue to work with Renato and I would love to get out to Brazil to do some collaboration with musicians from Brazil. It is a country that has been calling me for a while now. I relate to the conditions that Afro-Brazilians must endure and I am sickened by the racial politics. Most Brazilians have African ancestry. MOST. Like 80% but because the Brazilians who are phenotypically Black are treated so poorly, many Brazilians would rather pass as "blanco oscuro" or "moreno". But I see that change is happening there and I want to give whatever support I can give. Maybe I can also learn a little Portuguese.
Candice “Antique” Davis is an international edutainer (educator and entertainer) committed to social transformation and justice. With a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in Sociology and a M.A.Ed. from San Francisco State University in Education with an emphasis on social justice and equity, she founded Antique Edutainment in 2011 to use her gift for dynamic facilitation, curriculum development and musicianship in order to challenge social justice issues and transform the international racial and political landscape. Her work has made it possible for her to travel all over the world to places like Malta, Ghana, Tanzania, Cuba and all over the United States, performing, recording music and facilitating social and racial justice workshops, as well as writing curriculum for international organizations such as UNESCO. Antique is also the founder of the Remember Project, which travels to countries of the African diaspora to employ musical collaboration and performance as a tool for building cultural bridges and solidifying a pan-African identity. Lead singer of the acclaimed Bay Area-based beatboxing soul band, Antique Naked Soul, she is also Assistant Director of the renowned performance ensemble Young Gifted and Black of Oakland.