50 BLACK MINNESOTA VOICES OFFER TRUTH AND TRIUMPH!
“Time has come and gone
You must now
Learn to love us
Better than your
Edited by writer, actor, director, and activist Shá Cage, Twin Cities-based producer Tru Ruts offers a bold and resonant action of visibility to elevate Black voices in Minnesota by launching an anthology of new work. Facing the George Floyd uprising and the Covid-19 Pandemic, “A MOMENT OF SILENCE: 50 Black MN Voices in a historical moment of Transformation” is both provocative and refreshing.
In partnership with the Playwrights’ Center, Tru Ruts and Cage have curated some of the most prolific artists and authors of our times, across genres, styles, cultural identities, and generations. The anthology will include work by authors Toki Wright, Nothando Zulu, Alexs Pate, Stacey Rose, Sagirah Shahid, Marlon James, Chaka Mkali, Douglas Kearney, Valerie Deus, Harrison David Rivers, Sarah White, Carlyle Brown, Keno Evol, and many more.
The Anthology shines a light on a rich Minnesota literary community of leaders, activists, politicians, scholars, mothers, youth, and elders who speak truth and resilience at a time when it is needed most. They’re inspired both by the desire to imagine and bring forth a radical new future reality and moved by the need to assert political power and collective solidarity in the Black Community, as if saying, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
“Daily our existence as Black bodies in White space is threatened. Daily we lift up our joy, our truths, and our voices as an act of resistance! The community at large is invited to pause and take account of what some of the leading Black voices from our community are saying, feeling, and existing at this moment,” said Cage.
“Shá has been part of the Playwrights’ Center family for many, many years, and we’re always grateful to find new ways of collaborating with her and Tru Ruts,” said Playwrights’ Center’s producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen. “In response to the murder of George Floyd, we have continued to seek ways of creating more space to illuminate and lift-up Black Minnesotan Artist voices. Centering Sha’s leadership - from concept to execution of this project - is among the most important work we’ve done in our nearly 50-year history. The community needs to hear these voices, and to hear them right now.”
“A Moment of Silence” is a multi-genre anthology of contemporary writing including poetry, playwriting, fiction, essay, and hybrid forms that redefine the boundaries of notions like “genre” and “author.”
“When the smoke clears
Will our efforts matter?
Our anger no longer vilified?
Or will we go back to business as usual
When the smoke clears”
Cage has a stellar team of collaborators including copy editing by Otis Ramsey-Zoe, web design by Sonitha Tep, and photography from Adja Gildersleeve, Regina Williams, and E.G.Bailey. The project’s Community and Organizational Partners are Harry Waters Jr., Marlon James, Danez Smith, The Red Eye Collaboration, and Catalyst Arts.
The anthology launches fully online today, July 1, at blackmnvoices.com. The works on the site will be free and open to the public but donations to the artists involved are being requested. Tru Ruts is working to publish a printed version of the anthology in the near future.
And book your tickets now for the first event in our Summer in Conversation Series on Tuesday, July 14 at 7:00 PM CDT.
On the heels of the launch of the anthology edited by Shá Cage A Moment of Silence: 50+ Black Voices in a Moment of Transformation, Cage and featured artists Shannon Gibney, JuCoby Johnson, and Danez Smith, will hold a Community Salon titled BLACK MADE THAT.
The event will center blackness, joy, and truth-telling. The artists will interview each other, share snatches of work from the anthology, and love on each other.