AfroPoP Digital Shorts Series Presents Hands Performance For Pride Month

Credit: Jeff Vespa

Black Public Media’s AfroPoP Digital Shorts monthly series celebrates Pride Month with the film Hands Performance. The film is the brainchild of Oakland director Rashaad Newsome, an artist, and a vogue scholar. They created an AI named Being the Digital Griot which is a non-binary robot that travels through space. A team of Black Queer ASL interpreters, various vogue fem performers, flex dancers, and motion capture technologists, worked with Newsome to translate his poetry into a motion dataset representing the uniqueness of Black Queer sign language. Newsome debuted the griot in their  Assembly exhibition. Being is the star of Hands and the film continues Newsome’s cartography of Black popular culture. The fluid movements are based on a style of the dance called vogue fem and they are delivered with a fierceness to assert Black Queer lives that are always fighting erasure. Hands Performance is available for viewing on Black Public Media’s YouTube channel


Being, from Rashaad Newsome’s Hands Performance