CATALYST SERIES The Blacker the Berry…

MaMa mOsAiC Theater & Intermedia Arts present
A Multidisciplinary Cultural Response by Twin Cities Women of Color
Curated by Shá Cage, with Cristina BenzSigne HarridayZenzele Isokeand Rose Brewer

EXHIBIT: November 5, 2014 – February 7, 2015
GALLERY HOURS: 10AM to 6PM weekdays; 12-5PM Saturdays | $3 Suggested Donation

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, November 6, 2014 | 6PM | Free | Everyone Welcome

Twin Cities women of color exhibit a layered and intriguing multi-media response to the culturally provocative prompt, ‘The Blacker the Berry.’ The exhibition articulates a personal and intellectual examination of women’s bodies and experiences through photography, mixed media, video installation, textile arts, and more.

“When women begin to share places of connectivity, we break through isolation to discover healing, nurturing, networking, and critical sharing. That is The Blacker The Berry.” –Shá Cage

Dig Deeper …

Million Artist Movement (POWER GATHERING)
Monday, January 5, 2015 4-10PM
An opportunity for community organizers, activists, students, artists, clergy, and more to come together following the Dec 13th rally…to build, strategize, map coalition work, shape alliances, share artwork and vision for forward moving ‘localized’ change. Arts + Activism: a meeting ground.

Expect a variety of events, conversations, and happenings in the building.
For more information contact: [email protected]

Post-Show Dialogues | November 5 & 7

Wednesday, November 5

Panelists: Zenzele Isoke and Meena Natarajan
Facilitator: J. Otis Powell

Friday, November 7

Panelists: Dr. Rose Brewer and Mansuda Arora
Facilitator: Soojin Pate
Vocal Village
Saturday, November 8 12:30-1:30PM
Join Jayanthi Kyle and other women of color in a healing song circle.

Closing Night DJ Dance Party
Saturday, November 8 | Following the show
Dust off your dancing shoes and get down to some old school jams with DJ Keezy!

A Walk in My Shoes: Workshop led by Loretta Day and Ester Osayande
Saturday, December 13, 2014. 1-2pm | FREE
Sponsored by Obsidian Arts
Using shoes as a metaphor for your journey, you will work with other sisters to create art-shoes that reflect the humor, joy, pain and growth that you have experienced during your time in Minnesota. We will provide shoes casts and all the art and decorating materials you need. You bring your sisters, mothers, aunts, daughters and stories. This event is designed to nurture the sharing of stories and art making. You do not have to be an artist to participate! Simply bring a love of shoes and a willingness to share your stories. For information or to reserve a place for you and your guests please call 612.871.4444 or email [email protected]. Only 20 spaces available. RSVPs are recommended.

PERFORMANCES: Wednesday – Saturday, November 5 – 8, 2014 | 7:30PM
TICKETS: $12 advance, groups, student, senior | $15 at the door
November 5 | Sliding Scale Admission

Featuring dynamic performances by more than thirty Twin Cities women of color, this powerful multidisciplinary performance and companion visual arts exhibit at Intermedia Arts explores and responds to the culturally provocative prompt, ‘The Blacker the Berry.’

Featuring: Dynasty Anderson, Charla Marie Bailey, Julia Berry, Lisa Brimmer, Chrys Carroll, Hope Cervantes, Beverly Cottman, Jada Daniels, Loretta Day, Ivory Doublette, Mameneh George, Gabrielle Grier, Mariza Guzman, Allison Herrera, Brianne Hill, Shavunda Horsley, Awazi Jaafaru, Christine Belfrey Johnson, Amairani Jonapa-Sanabria,Tish Jones, Jayanthi Kyle, Ifrah Mansour, Wisdom Mawusi, Jesse McCormick, Adaobi Okulue, Eshter Osayande, Akiko Ostlund, Thomasina Petrus, Eliza Rasheed, Katie Robinson, Rebecca Roepke, Ar’tesha Sabollos, Lula Saleh, Marisa Stevenson, River Urke, Keegan Xavi and more!

MaMa mOsAiC is a women of color theater company dedicated to developing and producing female centered work that is empowering and accessible. Born out of the absence of dynamic theatrical performances that reflected the lives and experiences of women of color; f MaMa mOsAiC has a 14 year history of producing original works, conducting workshops, commissions and the summer Conservatory for training the next generation. Our mission is to evoke positive social change through female centered theatre that is empowering and accessible.


Dynasty Anderson is a student at Linwood Monroe. She is 12 years old and has been acting, singing and dancing since she was young. She has been a part of the MaMa mOsAiC Conservatory for 2 years.

Mansuda Arora is a senior at Saint Paul Academy. She graduated from the Penumbra Summer Institute this August. Since then she has opened her heart to art for social change and hopes to go to college next year to study theater and ethnic studies.

Christine Belfrey Free is a native of Minneapolis, MN. She was immersed in music from a young age, her father (a pastor) and uncles formed a gospel group the Belfrey Brothers that performed around the world. Her mother and aunts are noted singers in the Church of God in Christ within the Minnesota community. She has performed her music at a number of venues in the Twin Cities and Atlanta area.

Eshay Brantley is a senior at Washburn High School who is in her third year in the Washburn Blackbox Theater Program. She is the first person in her family to do social justice theater and/or spoken word. Through her acting and poetry she strives to bring self-awareness to youth and to be an example of a young person making their voice heard. Her work is all about undoing oppression by being a black, educated, powerful young woman who’s not afraid to speak truth to power.

Lisa Brimmer is a writer, performance artist and community organizer. She is a two-time Givens Foundation for African American Literature fellow and has received a Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellowship and is a member of Savage Umbrella Theater Company. Her work has been published in Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine and her improvisational music collective, High Society, has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio and KFAI

Shá Cage is a writer and actor who tours regularly and specializes in experimental performance.  She has been named a Changemaker by the Women’s Press and is the recipient of a TCG Fox Theater Fellowship, a McKnight Theater Fellowship, an ensemble Ivey Award and a regional Emmy. She is a co-founder of Mama Mosaic Theater (for Women) and the MN Spoken Word Association.

Feng Chen is a practicing artist in the Twin Cities.
Jada Daniels As an Actress/ Dancer and Performer, Jada Daniels has been working in the industry since she was 3 months old. She has done Broadway plays, voiceovers, industrial videos, commercials, music videos, television and film work. She is currently dancing at Summit Dance Shoppe and she just got cast to be the voice of a character in the animated movie Beautiful Danger.

Ivory Doublette has performed at The Children’s Theatre, Illusion Theater, Chanhassen DinnerTheatres, Interact, Old Log, Nautilus Music Theater and Marriott Theater. She holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from the University of Minnesota. Ivory loves the Lord. She has been singing with her family’s gospel quartet, SeVy (Say-v) for 20+ years. Member Actor’s Equity Association.

Mameneh George is a writer, designer, mother and is actively engaged with the Liberian community. She is a part of the L.Y.F.E. Project for Liberian artists and performed at the Loft with them in 2014.

Signe V. Harriday is amultidisciplinary artist, teacher, trainer, director, and theatre producer. She is Co-founder of MaMa mOsAiC.  She is also an Associate Company Member of Pillsbury House Theatre.  She earned her MFA in Acting from the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University.  She splits her time between New York and Minnesota as she works to encourage positive social change using the tools of theatre to guide and inform the process.

brianne a. hill is a Detroit native performance artist currently based in the Twin Cities.  Some of her favorite theatrical roles are Camae in The Mountaintop, Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights, Beneatha in A Raisin in the Sun, and Sara in Stop Kiss. brianne is a graduate of the University of Washington (Master of Fine Arts) and Wayne State University (Master of Social Work).

Shavunda Horsley is a 2012 alumnus of the University of Minnesota/B.F.A. Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program. She has a minor in African and African American Studies which she integrates in theatre/spoken word workshops across the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public School Districts upon request. A Writer and Hip Hop artist, she is the Poetry Slam Winner of The 2010 Farrago Freshers’ Slam at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and is one half of the duo that won the What it Do? 2010 Peace Fest and Hip Hop Competition in Dallas, Texas. She is currently rehearsing Beveardance; A Marxist Fur Trade Musical at Bedlam Lowertown.

Awazi Jaafaru is a young actor and social justice artist in the Twin Cities.

Tish Jones, Director of TruArtSpeaks, is a Spoken Word artist and Emcee. Jones has performed at The Walker Art Center, Intermedia Arts, The Cedar Cultural Center and more. As a teaching artist she has shared space in adult and youth correctional facilities, colleges and universities throughout the country, K-12 schools and numerous other spaces that provide youth and community programming. Former Community Engagement Director for the Saint Paul Almanac, Tish Jones is now the host of one of the most successful and inclusive community open mics in the state, Soul Sounds Open Mic at Golden Thyme Café.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, DJ Keezy has broken through the Twin Cities scene by quickly making a name for her self. She currently DJ’s around Minneapolis, having recently played at venues such as Honey, the 7th Street Entry, and The Fine Line to name a few. Aside from spinning at different events and dance parties you can catch her rocking the stage as BdotCroc’s official DJ. With a heavy influence of hip hop, jazz and rap. Keezy is known for spinning the old school jams and bringing people together, grooving on the dance floor!

Ifrah Mansour is multi-disciplinary artist who blends improvisational storytelling, poetry, photography, movement, and installations made from recyclable materials. Off-stage, she enjoys teaching elderly East African students, leads craft-circle program and Healspace gatherings, tends to community gardens and is in training to be a bike mechanic. Upcoming shows include ii-Sheeg At Bedlam Theatre, Guri.Hogar.Home at Pangea World Theatre, East-African Women Storytellers at Maplewood Community Center on 12/6/14, and IM series at multiple venues.

Jesse McCormick is an active young artist in the Twin Cities. Recent credits include: Choreography for Shrek the Musical at Edison High School, All Shook Up and more. She has been a part of the MaMa mOsAiC Conservatory for 3 summers.

Brianna McCurry(stage manager)is an alum of the Penumbra Summer Institute, Mama Mosaic’s Conservatory for women. She is an actor and stage manager and is active in the community around social justice issues.

Adaobi Okolue is a writer, visual artist, and creative producer born in Anambra, Nigeria. She is a Givens Foundation Black Writers Collaborative alum, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications-Public Relations and African/African American Studies from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.

Akiko Ostlund is a tribal fusion belly dancer /choreographer who regularly performs in various places and events in Twin Cities.

Thomasina Petrus is part of the Twin Cities thriving jazz and theatre scenes. Known for her multifaceted range she has become one of the premier vocalists on stages both local and abroad. She has music collaborations with great artists/producers including Prince, Javetta Steele, Walter Chancellor, and Morris Hayes. Thomasina has produced 3 CD’s. Thomasina has also gained a loyal audience for her wickedly delicious Thomasina’s Cashew Brittle online.

Katie Robinson is a writer, poet, and recent transplant from California, though she was born and raised in Minneapolis. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Narrative Studies from Pitzer College. Her poetry, prose, and everything in between, is based in ideas of ancientness, identity, and womanism.

Rebecca Roepke is a poet, social worker, and activist (all really the same) convinced the arts create change. As a Native performer/presenter, she showcases marginalized stories to spark empathy. As a therapist, her passion is clients discovering inspiration in their own stories and finding voice to author the lives they wish to lead.

Lula Saleh is a writer, poet, performance/visual artist and journalist. Her writing explores personal healing and witness, diaspora, notions of home and citizenship, blackness, womanhood, and identity. Lula was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, is Ethiopian by citizenship, and Eritrean by blood. She has also lived in London, UK and has traveled to four continents (and counting). She currently resides in St. Paul-Minnesota with her family.

Cherish Sonja is an emerging writer, poet and spoken word artist whose work is grounded primarily in her Liberian-American identity. She is a proud member of E.G. Bailey’s L.Y.F.E. ensemble and can be reached at [email protected].

River Maria Urke has the heart of a poet and the eyes of an artist. She lives in Stillwater with her teenage daughter.  River’s poetic writings and artistic touches reflect her Ojibwe and Celtic heritages along with the ponderings she has being a forty something American mother disabled from Multiple Sclerosis.

Joetta Wright is an actor/singer in the Twin Cities. Credits include Franconia Sculpture Park: The Tempest; Ten Thousand Things Theater: The Seven; The Guthrie Theater: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ; Penumbra Theatre: The Amen Corner; The History Theatre: A Civil War Christmas; Chanhassen Dinner Theatres: All Shook Up.

Wisdom Young is a 2013 & 2014 Givens Fellow, word artist, educator and mother that resides in North Minneapolis with her beautifully made black berry sweet, fly and talented children.


This presentation is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. This project is made possible in part by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.