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"Imitation of Life/HARLEM Hopscotch," video by Dianne Smith and "Harlem Hopscotch," poem by Maya Angelou

Author: Dianne Smith and Maya Angelou

Imitation of Life/HARLEM Hopsctch from Dianne Smith on Vimeo.

Harlem Hopscotch is part of my Imitation of Life Series which I like to call digital storytelling. The work consists of a compilation of videos and images.

These images and videos are mostly what I have documented as I move through my beloved Harlem community. They are a string of day to day occurrences. They are simply a sum of my lived experiences, that together become very performative.

The videos and images are layered, in a sort of stop motion like way. The aesthetics of the work speaks to a place that is textured, unique, spirited, animated and diverse. With this series I show the dichotomy of the community how the old or nostalgic view of Harlem is ever present, while the new seeks to alter its landscape.

Often times walking up or down Lenox Avenue I feel as though I am gliding amongst the words of Langston, Zora, Maya and Baldwin. Or I am at the Red Rooster as the Deejay or live music vibrates across the space causing bodies to sway almost unconsciously or walking across 125th Street leaves you at times overly stimulated with repetitions of sound, textures, colors, and movements.

At any given moment I can walk out my apartment and encounter a gospel trio on the corner in front of the bodega in song praising the Lord as if they were in church on Sunday morning. There is no other place I could live were music playing aloud on the street during a sidewalk flea market results in a one man dance performance.

Harlem is a vibrant, frenetic community that’s not without its complications. It’s an ever changing community, however with all of its transitions there are things that remain. The pulse, energy, and life fuels my creative practice.

Harlem Hopscotch

by Maya Angelou

One foot down, then hop! It's hot.
Good things for the ones that's got.
Another jump, now to the left.
Everybody for hisself.

In the air, now both feet down.
Since you black, don't stick around.
Food is gone, the rent is due,
Curse and cry and then jump two.

All the people out of work,
Hold for three, then twist and jerk.
Cross the line, they count you out.
That's what hopping's all about.

Both feet flat, the game is done.
They think I lost. I think I won.

Maya Angelou, "Harlem Hopscotch" from Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie: Poems by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1971 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (Random House, Inc., 1994)

DMU Timestamp: March 29, 2019 18:11





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