This project originated when teaching artists in Philadelphia contacted PFP with their concerns about cultural appropriation and misrepresentation. Rather than discuss cultural appropriation as a good/bad binary, we chose to enlist artists in dance and music from across the country to deliberate on salient issues regarding the politics of teaching, learning, sharing, and performing culture as insiders, outsiders, and diasporic cultural members. Some of whom are from the culture they teach about, others are not, and all of whom teach students with diverse cultural backgrounds. The resultant four-part virtual workshops were held by the Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP), and received financial support from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the American Folklore Society, and Urban Artistry.
Join us for a special screening of the documentary, “The Ancestors Live: 50 Years of Kulu Mele.” Established in Philadelphia in 1969 by Baba Robert Crowder, Kulu Mele is the fruit of many peoples’ dreams and is the nation’s longest-enduring African dance company. This nationally and internationally touring dance and drum ensemble preserves, presents, teaches, and embodies excellences in West African, Cuban and African Diasporic and African rooted traditions, including contemporary American hip hop. After the film, there will be a Q&A with group members, the film director, and the founder of the Philadelphia Folklore Project!