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. 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.
An Afro-Native Futuristic film, [the listening heart] is performed by an amazing cast of all women of color, embodying poetry, song, and dance. This film uplifts the feminine divine and investigates the ways in which we communicate meanings of love.
[the listening heart], 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 meanings of the word "love." [Re]indigenizing the myth of the Mayan Goddess Ix Chel –a healer connected to Earth as a midwife of safe passage– this story follows a common paradigm of women who are hurt and disembodied when going against social norms. But, in this film, their voices are reclaimed through self-healing.
Brave space is created to speak to the mistruths we were given about love and ways to radically transform them through art as ritual, folk-talk and deep listening.
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, Jessica Peñaranda 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 fashioned garments for futuristic angels made from found objects and trash to be featured in a film project that addressed the inhumane treatment of immigrants. Following Ramesh, a Guyanese immigrant, the film records his walk to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices where he was required to check-in three times per week. I was deeply moved to have dressed the two angels who accompany Ramesh, adorn him with amulets, and dress his arrest anklet— a symbol of criminalization and the injury he incurred upon each visit. This procession took place in public, with the angels performing a public declaration of his humanity. It was groundbreaking to witness Ramesh walk in profound confidence in the busy streets of downtown NYC, and to watch crowds of people make room for him in a country where he struggled to find such space.