As women navigating the culture of violence in society, we have many stories to tell.These stories, are our memories of violence that are not only endured by our bodies and psyches, but even limit our ability to speak and define ourselves. Two Women, a bellydance choreography created by us, Raks Africa, attempts to tell those stories. It’s a story of pushback, of finding one’s voice and solidarity with others amidst the chaos of a broader social revolution.
We were fortunate to find the talented Anand Parmar of the Sol Collective, who skillfully remixed Lauren Hill’s I Find It Hard to Say (Rebel). The song now has a prominent dumm of a doumbek that creates a heartbeat that emotionally and sonically moves the piece. The drive of the drum and Lauren’s plea of “Rebel! Rebel!” matches our own desire to connect the lived experiences of the women that we met in Cairo and the young women that we dance with in Oakland.
And so Two Women was created. Two women from different cultures, Cairo and Oakland, forging a new nation through revolution and through the demand to Say Her Name!
Two women, seemingly fighting in isolation from each other, eventually finding solidarity in each other’s struggles and triumphs. Two women united in the fight against violence against women and for dignity for their communities. We have a voice. We have agency. We can and will rebel. Rebel! Rebel!
Check out Two Women and Girls Raks’ piece, The Calling, at Resistance and Revolution: Sisters Challenging and Changing the World. The show will be held Saturday, November 21st, 7:30pm, at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland. It’s FREE!