Posts tagged NYC
HOWL FOR CHANGE WITH MANUSHKA MAGLOIRE FROM AFROPUNK
 
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As the Director of Community Affairs at AFROPUNK, Manushka Magloire’s work is steeped into helping to elevate and create spaces for black and brown people, for marginalized communities, as well as for those who are differently abled. As a space that was created for and led by people of color, Manushka ensures that Afropunk continues to listen to their stories and provide a platform for them to “push and agitate and disrupt, and ravel and rouse and fuck shit up.”

Manushka’s role allows her to do what truly inspires her. “It’s really about how do you catalyze and how do you mobilize a community or people around passion points?” she states. “Part of the work that I do is getting our community and our audience to wanna put in some sweat equity back into your block.” Although she admits that she incentivizes festival tickets and uses AFROPUNK to “broaden the aperture, and point them and sort of lead the way,” where people put in work and “can get back by way of tickets to the festival,” her work is really about “connecting people to organizations, to social justice movements, to just activate folks.”

Manushka is inspired by the young, talented people that are part of AFROPUNK ARMY. “I’m inspired by the breadth of their talents, and not just from a creative realm or perspective,” she states. “I can be talking to a 22 or 21 year old that is so self-assured that is able to take up that agency and space and to use the power of their voices, whether collectively or individually, to have uncomfortable conversations to cause people to pause and think through the lexicon and the language being used, to think through their particular space that they’re taking up, how is that you can use or check your privilege, because you can be on both sides of those things. So being challenged in that way, and having young people sort of coming through the ranks and coming through as apprentices and interns, and festival volunteers there’s a whole bunch of different paths.“

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Richard Perez aka Savage The Poet

Richard Perez aka Savage The Poet

As a leader in the media and festival industry, Manushka uses her resources to provide opportunities for black and brown people and to create positive change. She states, “Truth be told, this industry whether its media, whether it’s production, whether it’s all sorts of industries, we are still such a small representation of, and by we I mean communities of color, in particular, I can speak to festival production and media, and the work that we do, it is largely white and male-dominated.” Manushka uses her platform to provide paths for people like Richard Perez aka Savage The Poet, who is an artist under AFROPUNK ARMY and was a former intern at the Afropunk office. “Part of the work is legacy building...bringing in the next generation and giving the tools to succeed in a particular field in which you’re completely blocked out of, and we come in and we disrupt and we’re just like, ‘listen, its all black vendors back here, we want black people and brown people working, we don’t really wanna abide by your rules, we’re doing our own shit here on the side.’”

 

As someone who has been in-between jobs, Magloire got into the media and festival business and found her place at Afropunk accidentally. Magloire happened to meet someone at an event who was giving away free tickets to a festival in exchange for volunteer work. She states, “I actually listened…the cause that they supported was around homeless youth...and I got to go to east NY to a transitional living facility and help paint murals with some of the most amazing, amazing young, like I’m talking about teenagers- 13,14,15 years old - who found themselves on the streets due to their sexual orientation because they were LGBTQ getting kicked out of their homes and not knowing what to do, and so that day really changed the trajectory of how I saw myself and my place in the world.”


This experience helped connect for her that coming back full circle, she realized, “I have to do this, I have to get more people involved in this way.”

Magloire worked for a Virgin Mobile festival for 5 years “baiting black and brown people with free festival tickets.” She found herself doing the same type of work at Afropunk but ultimately focused on organizations that are directly looking at how we impact the systemic issues affecting our communities. Magloire mentions a few organizations featured at the Howl For Change Empowering Communities showcase, and states, “I think that’s part of the reason why connecting to organizations like We Got Us Now, like Fokus...there’re so many people doing real, dynamic work that is innovative, that is impactful, that is shifting the narrative, and shifting how people are perceiving themselves and seeing themselves in this world. And also looking at how we affect policy and change and there’re people doing that valuable work and I think I’m more than happy to be the conduit, and the megaphone and to leverage the platform of AFROPUNK to just be like, ‘why are you not doing this shit over here,’ and that’s really my purpose and the long story of how I got here.”

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Magloire states, “I’m still trying to figure out what I wanna be when I grow up...I’m actually happy to have that sort of outlook on things because it keeps me curious, it keeps me wanting to try new things.”


As someone who embraces narrative in her line of work, Magloire’s personal definition of storytelling stems from her lived experiences. She states, “What is it that I’m getting out of my lived experience that is propelling me on my journey, and how am I finding ways to express that experience to others and also myself. I think storytelling, sometimes when we talk about it now in this particular cannon, we think about how is it outward facing and the consumption of others, but storytelling also has a wholly subjective perspective to me, I have to first build my own story, I have to first understand what I’m feeling, what are the machinations I’m going through, what are the experiences? How do I set language to it, how do I set movement to it? So I think storytelling is expansive in that way, but I think... first it has to be an insular process for me in particular, and then when you’ve realized you’ve gotten it out and the catharsis of it, it’s like, ‘Whew I got this out, now what am I gonna do with it?’ is when it starts the movement to outwardly looking at objective delineation of it, like how do I express it outwardly?”

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Magloire discusses black identities and the spaces black and brown people go into or create themselves. She states, “Afropunk is ‘us,’ it’s a community, it’s not anybody saying what Afropunk means or looks like, and that it has to fit within this decree. I think from a visual narrative and storytelling standpoint, it sort of becomes that now in this digital and social age that we’re in, but the narrative of Afropunk is ‘us.’ This is us, for us, by us, we’re moving this engine, we’re shifting the needle collectively, it’s about the power of community, it’s about the power of the individual within the collective to be able to unleash freedom of expression and creativity and to just be. Full stop.”

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When discussing shifting identities, Magloire argues that its the nature of humankind, of societal evolution that becomes restrictive or expansive depending on our environments. “I think that we all inhabit spaces and our identities can sometimes shift based on those spaces that you’re in. What I find really empowering and exceptionally beautiful about the community of people that support and are fans of Afropunk, is the truth of standing in this particular identity. That I might choose today to say that I’m cisgendered, heterosexual, black woman and tomorrow I might decide something else and that’s okay.” She states, “If I choose to shift how I’m telling my own personal story, that ain’t nobody’s business but my own and the mark of seeing how people are so assured in, ‘no one else can define me but me,’ and being unapologetic about it, and being bold about it, and being vocal about it, is what in an organic way is such a compelling and resonating spirit of who we attract as Afropunk as a platform.”

When asked to give advice to someone who is feeling discouraged about expressing themselves, Manushka replied, “It’s part of the human experience, there’re days that are great days and days that aren’t for everyone no matter what identity you ascribe to, and I think that you have to be able to sort of ride the wave of personal discomfort as well.” Although she wouldn’t call it advise, Magloire states, “living in your truth has to be something that you commit to do.” She states, “It’s the high’s and low’s and ebbs and flows and peaks and valleys going through this journey called life. But as long as you stay connected to what it is that personally anchors you, nobody else can tell you what that is. Part of the journey is you figuring that part out for yourself and you’re gonna have to get uncomfortable and you’re gonna have to push yourself past it.”

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“We’re all on our own separate journeys, we all have our own pace of maturation and movement and figuring out what our agency is. And it’s not prescriptive, there isn’t a blueprint...it’s gonna hit you, how it’s gonna hit you, when its gonna hit you, and that’s really it and a lot of it is the lived experience is what moves you through the next step and sort of turning the page in the next chapter.”


She reiterates, “I don’t have advice, just stay true to yourself and figure it out as you go along, I told ya’ll I don't know what I wanna be when I grow up.

Although she hasn’t figured out what she wants to be when she grows up, Magloire has determined what allows her to anchor herself in her own personal narrative. “I have to be of service, I have to connect people, I have to use this what was once a latent gift of gab for something that is greater than myself. I love being able to use my access, to use my privilege, to use the spaces that I’m in to open up and kick down doors for others. This is what I live to do.”

 
Chelsie Denise

Chelsie Denise

By the end of the conversation, Manushka states that she enjoyed talking to Howl For Change but is more concerned with the artists that were set to perform after we were done speaking with her. “That’s where the hope lies for me,” she states. “I come in contact with so many truly truly just riveting human beings who understand their place and understand the power of their art and their voice...who have a roadmap and a strategy whether its written out or not but understand where due north is for them and understand what pushing culture looks like and feels like. And so the hope for me lies in the Justo and the Savage The Poet. It’s looking to you and how you use your art to affect change, to cultivate new spaces and narratives and ways of thinking. To look at how you’re like, ‘yo fuck this on this side, i’m doing my own thing’ and I’m gonna remain true to me whether you like it or not, this is my lived truth, this is what I choose to do, and I think there’s so much that we can learn from that...I look to that for the hope because its razor sharp, its due north, its unmovable in such an aspiring and amazingly compelling way, and I’m watching it just fangirling the fuck out.”

Manushka closes the conversation staying true to her word by plugging Afropunk Army artists and organizations and states, “Together, collectively...we have to support one another. And what support looks like is, even when you wanna sit on your phone and hit like on something, that goes a long way.”

Her selflessness and sense of humor shine through as she ends with, “This is the part of the program where I say thank you, I’m done... I want everybody else to have their moment to really highlight the work that they're doing cause it’s dope shit.”  

To take a look for yourself and see who she refers to and was featured during the event, visit:

Chelsie Denise: https://soundcloud.com/chelsiedenise

Savage The Poet: https://soundcloud.com/user-87015522

Justo Ontario & The Deadwildin’ Band: http://soundcloud.com/justoontario

DJ Kfeelz: https://soundcloud.com/kfeelz

We Got Us Now: https://www.wegotusnow.org

Fokus: http://www.fokus.org/about.html

We Are Happy Period: http://hashtaghappyperiod.org

Katal Center: https://www.katalcenter.org


For more information on AFROPUNK & AFROPUNK ARMY visit www.afropunk.com https://www.propeller.la/afropunk