In the tradition of Ntozake Shange, Mahogany L. Browne’s choreopoem Quilted Steel is a literary event that brings the critical voices of system-impacted Black women to the stage.
Braided from the real-life source material of PEN America 2018 Writing For Justice Fellow Priscilla Ocen’s interviews, this powerful choral performance poem centers the pain, lives and dreams of formerly incarcerated women in the form of a short film featuring actresses Dominique Toney, Yazmin Monet Watkins and Jasmine Williams.
Produced by Caits Meissner, director of Prison and Justice Writing at PEN America, this collaboration is a call to bear unflinching witness. Browne’s vision demands we look clear-eyed at the impact of mass incarceration on the lives of Black women in specific, and asks how we can honor and hold humanity of the individual at the forefront, while organizing towards systemic abolition.
The night will host a premiere of the film, followed by a panel moderated by PEN America Deputy Director Nicole Shawan Junior and featuring Donna Hylton, Vivian D. Nixon, Vanda Seward and Heather Stokes.
Though the event is free (please RSVP below), we invite you to donate to Essie Justice Group’s Black Mama’s Bail Out movement in lieu of a ticket purchase. This past Mother’s Day, Essie bailed out a Black mama of four with a $50,000 bail and another Black mama with a $200,000 bail. Donate here.
Special thanks to the Art For Justice Fund for generous sponsorship of this project, and Dr. Self Tapes for video production.