On April 18, 2021 Abdiel and Kristine (main subjects of FollowLeadLOVE) conducted an eye-opening “Solidarity Meeting for Dancers of Colors” at Nancy Meehan Studio located in the historic Westbeth at 55 Bethune Street, New York City. This meeting was attended by seven of the well-established, experienced, and Award-Winning Dancers, Choreographers & Broadway Performers: Cecilia Marta, Tsotso Ablorh, Marielys Molina, Naomi Kakuk, James A. Pierce III, Devanand Jamki, and Ron De Jesus.
The meeting started with Abdiel and Kristine welcoming everyone, paying homage to the ancestral heritage of the place, providing an overview on topics and the flow of the conversation. Right after, each participant talked about their preferred pronouns, backgrounds, and their past/present/future projects. Then, the heart-wrenching testimonials of each of the participants on their professional experience with racial bias and discrimination and how it carried over and affected their personal lives.
This “Solidarity Meeting for Dancers of Colors'' provided such a powerful and visceral insight into the complacency on some facets of the Performing Arts Organization. It unravels the ugly and inconvenient truth of cultural racism happening within the industry by assigning values and perpetuating the normalization of white supremacy in a subtle way. As a result, it further rationalizes the unequal status and degrading treatment of Communities of Color behind their superficial embrace of inclusion and diversity. The collective heart wrenching, explosive and illuminating testimonials of Abdiel, Kristine, Cecilia, Tsotso, Marielys, Naomi, James, Devanand & Ron proves that TRUE EQUALITY matters NOW more than ever and active participation to fight Racism should be at the forefront of each Performing Arts Community’s agenda at all times.
The crew consists of Brian Rubiano (Producer), Brian Thomas (Director) & Renzo Esposito (2nd Camera) felt very enlightened and were fortunate to witness & film this eye-opening meeting and meaningful conversation on issues of race, equality, hardships, professional challenges for being a person of color in the world of Performing Arts. On behalf of the rest of the production team, we are honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to capture this meeting as part of the documentary.
We believe that FollowLeadLOVE can help create a cultural ecosystem of representation, diversity & inclusion that we can be proud to pass on to future generations.