storäe michele, [known by her ancestors as Michele Stanback] is an artist, art therapist, eco-feminist, writer, director and educator of ten years. As an Interdisciplinary Masters of Divinity graduate of Union Theological Seminary, storäe infuses the arts into theological inquiries--exploring rituals, and breathing new life into sacred spaces for meaningful reflection. Her first film [the listening heart], is performed with an amazing cast of incredible women of color, bringing to life an original story grounded in Mayan and Yoruba cosmologies. Through embodied poetry, song and dance, she uplifts the feminine divine and investigates ways we communicate the meaning of love to our youth. storäe is committed to the sharing of these stories with women of color as subject—[re]mythologizing and unearthing the narratives of our ancestors.
Black women who write in their native tongue.
Poetry is the language of knowing. It begins in your gut, igniting intuition. For a woman—especially, a woman of color—her words dance along the pages in a rhythm that reunites her truth from the spaces that fade in-between. Poetry is also her prayers and tears that reverberate the blurred words that most don’t know to listen to. My heart-work addresses the ritualized fragmentation of black women into caricatures—in order to call back their bodies, black women must both write and [re]mythologize the story of their bodies. I use my artistic license to intentionally write and engage with voices using the language of poetry—honoring its’ epistemology of healing and transformation.
[the listening heart] an original film.
written and directed by storäe michele.
Performed with an amazing cast of incredible women of color, this film brings to life an original story grounded in Mayan and Yoruba cosmologies. The protagonist Ix Chel originated from collaborative conversations with Edyka Chilomé, as a child healer learning the word love. Through embodied poetry, song and dance, we uplift the feminine divine and investigate the ways we communicate the meaning of love to our youth.
This film features dynamic individuals: Jadele McPherson, Shantez Tolbut, Jaguar Mary X, Kevonnie Shelton, Cocoa Sarai, Jaye Watts, Alexandria Johnson, Esperanza Lin, Medina Ouida, Kay Lowry, Tamara Dumay Murad, and Jazmin Peralta--who are exceptional artist, performers, entrepreneurs, mothers, activists, singers, songwriters, dancers, poets, & educators. Brilliant avant garde make-up design by Janis Crespo. This piece is beautifully captured by our dynamic cinematographer Cspinfilms Chris Gman. Powerful program production by sacred arts activist, Je' Hooper, founder of FrequencyHouse productions. Soulful & rhythmic sound production by Ony Irv.
The opening screening took place Thursday, April 6, 2017 at Pratt Institute in Memorial Hall. This screening featured an opening ritual by John Scott-Richardson, and panel discussion with the director & cast. Moderated by Yazmine Nichols.
magic moon | within.
I OPEN my mouth as wide as I possibly can
I will be a wombyn with a moon falling from my mouth
The moon made it uncomfortable to speak
Sore from sinking into a fixed posture
Battle scar craters
The moon harvested the power
Of what I now speak.
I scratch at my roots
Scratching out the stinking thoughts
Scratching out the dead air
Wild thoughts are sent fly-ing
Daggers in the wind
I am shielded by my truth.
What I am left with is unexplainable
In any language,
I am rooted and yet extended
Bees buzzing ‘round
Are they jealous because stars shine bright?
Picking one that sings to
covered in midnight violet orchids
What was silent and bare
Is now saturated
Never again empty.
My stages of growth are reflected in the phases of
Making room for other moons
As our mouths now wide
Dancing lamp posts,
Singing loudly in a new key
Glowing in the darkness
Resonating with conviction in our hearts.
To explore storäe michele's presentations, heart-work & speaking engagements, please click here.
Storae Michele as Artistic stylist | Costume designer, New Sanctuary: a film & ritual, directed by Andre' Daughtry | featuring Ricarrdo Valentine and Orlando Hunter of Brother(hood) Dance!--Judson Memorial Church, NY, NY, 2017.
As a costume designer, I was provided an opportunity to reimagine angels, in a project that addresses the inhumane treatment of immigrants. Following Ramesh, a Guyanese immigrant who works at a sewage company to support his family, we accompany him on his walk to Immigration Services where he must check-in three times per week. Wearing an arrest anklet, he is [re]criminalized daily and is [re]injured upon every visitation. This film reimagines his walk with two angels accompanying him, acknowledging his divinity as human, adorning Ramesh with amulets and dressing his arrest anklet. As if the angels landed in the middle of New York City and created an aesthetic from found objects and trash, I provided a futuristic perspective of divine beings. This procession took place in public, as a declaration of humanity.