Who We Are
Be/Come has identified issues of identity and cultural displacement within the African Diaspora split into 3 areas:
Come - lack of vision as to who we are going.
We create events and platforms to create space for knowledge exchange and to spark conversation in order to help reclaim and rewrite the narrative of Africa
Where We've Been
Be/Come began in 2017 as iterations of dance theater performance. It branched into a series of 6 talks that provided a safe space for diaspora to share experiences, and then a trip to Sierra Leone to learn traditional dance vocabulary to incorporate into the performances turned into an arts council funded inter/national storytelling and performing arts festival (#BeComeNSF) collaborating with local traditional dancers, drummers and storytellers to provide collaborative workshops, a competition, and a program of showcases on the day of the festival.
Where We Are
An African proverb says "To go fast, go alone, but to go far, go together".
Our current phase is concerned with developing relationships and connections by growing our Networks and Partnerships with artists, venues, funding bodies and various communities to improve on the portfolio of services and events we produce.
We partnered with usifu Jalloh (traditional drummer and storyteller) and the Patriotic Advocacy Network (PAN) based in Freetown to create the Festival, and now also provide a weekly mentoring program and tri-annual women's empowerment event.
Empowerment - Trust - Growth - Community Teamwork - Autonomy
Where we're Going
From 2020, we will launch the development of opportunities for international exchanges between the UK and other African countries, and collaborations through residencies, RnD, and the development and tours of new productions.
Change narratives - an African proverb says "until the lion learns to write, the hunter will always be glorified in the story".
We will use our voice and on/offline platforms to equip Africans of the continent and diaspora to reclaim and rewrite their narrative.
Talent to turnover - talent is abundant but platforms and the infrastructure to sustain economic growth of the creative industry in Sierra Leone are not. We will equip creative's to turn their passions into regular income.
Teach to teach - each programme developed will equip members to pass on applicable knowledge to others in their communities.
Out in - within 5 years, any questions must be autonomously run by those benefiting from it.
Strategic planning must be set from the start so leaders and nurtured and our influence can phase out in a way that it continues to flourish without our influence.
Last year, Be/come joined forces with the Usifu Jalloh and the Patriotic Advocacy Network to host (PAN) a 1 week intensive taught by artists based in Sierra Leone, UK and New York. We had over 60 students from 10 different schools around Freetown Sierra Leone, focussing on traditional and contemporary dance, drumming and storytelling. This culminated in a performance on the same platform as national and international guests in the 1 day event - the national storytelling festival. We also conducted a women’s empowerment event where 100 school aged girls spent a day being taught about the importance and application of education, entrepreneurism, personal hygiene and self esteem in response to the president announcing a national state of emergency of gender based rape against girls as young as 5 months, and the 1st lady’s “hands off our girls” campaign.
Following these events, we are ongoing with our collaboration with PAN in supporting them in providing business and empowerment training to the students and hosting their own events. They have also taken part in a national debating championship
This year, we wish to expand the program further afield. We plan to add an extra week ahead of the 1 week intensive where we will take the program outside of the city to reach those who have even less access to opportunities but have a wealth of talent and voices that we believe deserve to be seen and heard. We also wish to include a 1 day flagship empowerment seminar (the day before the National Storytelling Festival) bringing influential speakers to invest in the mentality of the young people of Sierra Leone, equipping future leaders to be effective in creating positive change.
If you are in New York, purchase a ticket or just donate to #DanceUndivided - An evening of diverse dance and music: from Flamenco, Contemporary Indian, Hip Hop, Afro-diaspora, to world disciplines. All proceeds will be split between Be/Come and building a full production of "Jarem-Roots" - an original production portraying diverse dance communities, touching on immigration with an overall message of peace and unity.
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