Ask a colored girl

Ask a Colored Girl, Part 2

How are you doing, Colored Girls Museum?

We are so glad you asked us! We are remarkably well, all things considered. We still have some walls to paint, some things to move, and some stuff to gather, but we are managing. Oh, and there is still that business of locking down a videographer to document this great work; but we are confident something will come.

I don’t know how to explain this show to my friends. What should I say?

I tell people "The Colored Girls Museum: Open For Business" is a show about the making of a Colored Girls Museum. In this show, a Colored Girl collaborates with a team of experts (Colored Girl "Knowledgeables") to create the experience of a Colored Girls Museum in a home, which then has to be disguised as a bed and breakfast (for the safety and security of the Museum, of course). The characters in the show are the exhibits and/or the artist; the objects in the rooms, contributed by the Ordinary Extraordinary Colored Girl, are displayed for the express purpose of giving visitors a small glimpse into a Colored Girls story.

What can folks expect when they come to the show?

Expect a guided tour through the Colored Girls Museum. Our idea is that the tour will have a "musical chairs" type feel to it. Patrons move in small groups throughout the Museum, sampling the rooms and the theater within them. Each moving group is a mini-family: they have to stay together until the experience ends. No wandering off to join another group.

What has been the hardest part about creating the Colored Girls Museum?

The whole process has been an act of faith. The fuel to move forward has come from a few good friends, the pop-up encouragement and shou touts, the incredible artists who said "Yes," and the countless people who said, in one way or another, "If you build it I will come." Sometimes, I have questioned whether or not this is something that people want, or see the benefit of. I thought, maybe I am just some grief-stricken colored girl, playing at my leftover life, and I should be doing something more serious. I have had to face that insecurity and doubt, and move forward anyway. I missed my husband a lot in this process. I also lost touch with some folks whose energy and opinions I really value, and that affected my confidence as well. I say this because it’s important to me to share with everyone, especially Colored Girls, that no one is ever gonna give you permission to dream out loud, and you shouldn’t expect it. If you wait for that permission, you will never dream. And, when you start moving towards something you want, you will often attract exactly what you need, and it may not look like what you expected. Embrace that!

Will there be any surprises during the show?

Sure. The whole show is a surprise -- even I am not sure what to expect.

How can folks help? I know everyone won’t make it to the show.

This is one event (a show) which announces our intention to create The Colored Girls Museum as an institution. It’s not the end of anything, it’s the beginning, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, you can help by getting the word out! Use your social media, group gatherings, etc.

If you have an idea for another site for a Pop-Up Colored Girls Museum, reach out to us at www.thecoloredgirlsmuseum.com and let us know.

If you come across interesting information about Colored Girls, post it to our Facebook page, so we can share that knowledge.

And of course, please consider donating to The Colored Girls Museum. We are winding our way through the incorporation process; however, we do have a fiscal sponsor, soyour donation can be tax deductible.

What have you learned during this process?

I wouldn’t know where to begin answering that question entirely, but these are some highlights: I have learned that we have a greater capacity to do than we know. I have learned that sometimes, you just have to start, right there where you are. I have learned that just because you can’t do it today, doesn’t mean it won’t get done. I have learned that not having the money to do a thing, and then not doing it, never allows you to know if you could have done it anyway, so you should try.  ...that heartbreak is real. That I can heal in public. That my children are incredible. That friendship is real, which is not to be confused with perfect. That love never ends….

To learn more about this, and other shows at the 2015 Fringe Festival, visit http://fringearts.com.

"Ask A Colored Girl" Part 1 The Colored Girls Museum FAQ

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.

Who's Invited

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:

  1. Come to the show

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. You can purchase tickets through the TCGM Paypal account, so that someone who can’t pay can still come.

  6. Email, call, or text with your great ideas.

What's Next?

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.