Co-commissioned by Danspace Project and Abrons Arts Center.
Ni’Ja Whitson’s Oba Qween Baba King Baba engages spiritual multiplicity and the role of Queerness in the Divine. The work’s title is based on the Yorùbá word “Oba,” which is a genderless term that has come to be known as a king.
This interdisciplinary work, performed by The NWA Project, is informed by personal narratives of queer and trans children of preachers and designed to be witnessed from above. Through movement, poetry, jazz, textile and video art, Oba Qween Baba King Baba uncovers architectures of the body, space, and sexuality to interrogate power and ways masculinity influences the perceived histories of religion.
An iteration of this work was presented during Dancing Platform Praying Grounds: Blackness, Churches, and Downtown Dance (Platform 2018) curated by Reggie Wilson.
Created/Directed by: Ni’Ja Whitson
Performers: The NWA Project: Kirsten Davis, Shayla-Vie Jenkins, Paloma McGregor, Ni’Ja Whitson. Featuring Djola Branner.
Process/Rehearsal Archivist: Kirsten Davis
Musician/Composer: Douglas R. Ewart
Sound Design: A.J. McClenon, Jeremy Toussaint Baptiste, and Ni’Ja Whitson
Lighting Design: Tuçe Yasak
Video Design: Gil Sperling
Costume Design: Jeanne Medina
Text & Vocal Arrangements: Ni’Ja Whitson
Objects: Ni’Ja Whitson
Dramaturgy: Sharon Bridgforth & Katherine Profeta
Free preview showing, March 23, 7pm:
On Saturday, March 23 at 7pm, there will be a free preview showing of Oba Qween Baba King Baba for QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) identified people. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on March 22.