What is Fort Mom?
Fort Mom is my "virtual Bed and Breakfast" consultancy and production service. I don’t have a Bed and Breakfast, but, because I have always wanted to have one, I make the spirit of that desire a part of how I work with organizations or individuals. I love having guests in my home and heart. When I work on a project, I offer a spirit of “taking care” to the interaction. When I produce or direct a show, I work in a similar fashion. Fort Mom is producing and directing this episode of the Colored Girls Museum for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. What that means is that I am paying for everything, which is weird, because I don’t have anything, but somehow we are managing. I think this is an important and necessary project, and I believe in it.
Why is the Colored Girls Museum in Your Home?
It was available and free, for the most part. I also kind of love the idea of having to put my stuff away, so the house can receive stories that are not my own – when artists begin to prepare their spaces, I feel like I/we are ritually creating a space to protect and honor the stories and objects of ordinary, extraordinary Colored Girls everywhere. The objects are, in most cases, representing the colored girl, and we are charged with protecting and elevating their story.
What is The Colored Girls Museum?
"...an awesome place to be a colored girl."
It is so hard to be free with your story sometimes. Freedom is necessary to acknowledge hurt or health; to heal, or to celebrate. All history is complicated: it's not all good, it's not all bad, it just is. I hope that this "Colored Girls Museum" concept catches fire, and we wind up building this museum on a campus large enough to house our stories, which are as diverse as our skin tones. I am interested in all Colored Girls stories, but I have always been fascinated by what I see as the "Ordinary, Extraordinary Colored Girl" — she is easily overlooked, but not in this place — she is really the center of attention. Her story relates to every other human's story, but this is an opportunity to focus on her. It is not about ignoring other women and girls; through the colored girl, we see everyone.
The Colored Girls Museum opens for business in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival on September 11th, 12th, and 13th. There are two shows on Friday, the 11th, and Saturday, the 12th; there is only one show on Sunday, the 13th. We welcome anyone. It’s a show. It's an interactive museum.
What Should I Expect?
Art, in many mediums: photography, beautifully curated exhibits, music , poetry, gardening, fashion and hair, and video.
I Want to Support You. What Can I Do?
We've identified 5 ways:
Come to the show
Most important, you can get the word out. You can start telling the world that you will support a Colored Girls Museum. Share it on your social media, tell a friend, write a blog, or enter an object into our "virtual museum," and tell us why it is significant to you.
You can sponsor a Colored Girls Room in the Museum. There are 10 to choose from, each curated by a different artist, each a tribute to an "Ordinary Extraordinary Colored Girl." Your donation can be as much or as little as you want. You can do it by yourself, or pull together your book club, your work buddies, or your family, and fund a room. The Artists-in-Residence are working on this project because they believe it is important. I can’t pay them, and I really wish I could. Your donations might move that needle, and that would be incredible.
If you know a videographer who would be willing to be on hand to document as much of the process and product as possible, that would also be amazing. We will obviously take photos, but we do not presently have the resources to invest in this very important part of the work.
You can purchase tickets through the TCGM Paypal account, so that someone who can’t pay can still come.
Email, call, or text with your great ideas.
We are working on it, but right now it looks like a Colored Girls Conference is in the making... stay tuned!
How Were the Artists and/or Colored Girl Room Submissions Chosen?
I asked people I knew. It's not an easy project to understand, or execute. I was working with limited time and money. I asked people who I thought might see the potential in the idea, and whose work I knew would enliven and deepen the discussion.
Not all of the people I asked were Colored (or Girls, for that matter), but they all shared a belief that this place, this idea, needs to happen, and that it will make the world a richer place, not just for Colored Girls, but for all of us. I am honored that they said yes.
How Long Will The Work Be on Display?
Probably a week, so that it can be properly documented.
Is This Museum for Colored Girls Only?
We get that question a lot. The Colored Girls Museum focuses on documenting the history of Colored Girls from the African Diaspora. We feel that this is a part of history, and a segment of the population, that has been overlooked, and we are excited about creating a physical place and a consciousness for these stories. We believe that this will be a great benefit, not only to Colored Girls, but to everyone. You can’t really talk about a "global consciousness," or being a "global citizen," if you don’t have an understanding of how everyone fits into the puzzle.
The late, great Lorraine Hansberry once said, "...in order to be universal, you have to be specific."
I think that is so true. In order for us to have an understanding of how our lives and stories are interrelated, we have to invest the time and resources into all of our stories. If you only know your part of a story, you don’t know the whole story at all.