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Wounded Healers

By Timothy Berry

Directed by Timothy Berry

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Wounded Healers is an original spoken-word play and performance. It is a historical chronology of how Black bodies have used creative expression to heal from racialized trauma.
Adult language
The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 12-15 and up
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Background Information

This is an excerpt performance from the full play

In America, there is a need to understand precolonial Africa. However, due to systemic racism, Black bodies have been excluded from upward mobility, victimized by dehumanization, fallen prey to biased and racist policing practices, and plagued by disparities in health and education. Such conditions have led to internalizing toxic race-based stress, causing damage to the central nervous system. Yet, against all odds, Black bodies have creatively persisted and survived. Drawing upon a conceptual framework inspired by Tupac Shakur–imagery of roses growing through concrete–this story addresses historical trauma and creative resilience. Related to the oral tradition of African/Black Djalis, this spoken-word performance play focuses on five movements/historical periods that function as a chronology of Black bodies grappling with racialized trauma in America: (1) Chattel Hands and Feet; (2) Reconstruction: My Sin is My Skin; (3) The Great Migration: Running for Our Lives; (4) Civil Rights Without Democracy; and (5) Black Body Commodities and Wounded Healing. Combining multiple disciplines including, Africana Studies, Critical Race Theory (CRT), Black History, Music Composition, and Creative Writing, this work expresses the ways in which Black bodies have suffered, transcended their own pain, and fostered healing through creativity. A post-performance discussion is offered for audience members to engage in reflection and critical discourse with the writer, and performers. Drawing upon experiential education models for reflection, this discussion aims to inform audiences about the wounded healing process by better understanding the history and connection between structural racism, body trauma, and self-healing. Ultimately, as a result of this performance, audience members can locate themselves within a structurally racist society; grapple with how complicit whiteness perpetuates suffering; and, contemplate how to engage in somatic body work by uprooting White supremacy in their own bodies, leading to personal transformation.


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