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New initiative launched highlighting stories of Black liberation

Ajala Omodele and Liana Nanang of Unstoried. (Photograph supplied)

A new initiative has been launched to highlight stories of Black liberation and resistance in Bermuda and across the Atlantic.

Unchained on the Rock, organised by island-based entertainment studio Unstoried, will offer talks, tours, workshops and an education curriculum on a range of topics linked to Black history.

The programme, named after the trailblazing book by historian Cyril Outerbridge Packwood, offers sessions on a wide variety of topics that can be delivered either at a client’s premises or sites around the island.

The sessions are delivered by Liana Nanang, a multidisciplinary storyteller, and Ajala Omodele, an author and educator.

Session topics include “Uprising: Black Protest and Resistance in Bermuda”; “They Called Him Roose” – named after Mr Omodele’s book about Bermuda National Hero Pauulu Kamarakafego; “Beyond Seascapes: Black Art in Bermuda”; and “A Tale of Two Lawyers”, focused on Jamaican barrister Matthew Spencer-Joseph and the late lawyer and MP Julian Hall, the father of Ms Nanang.

Further topics can be found in Unchained’s information pack, available on its website.

Mr Omodele, who also wrote Dame Lois: The People’s Advocate and Look for Me in the Whirlwind: A Story of Marcus Garvey was a featured speaker for Oxford University’s Race and Resistance Conference and ThinkFest and has been featured in a range of international documentaries.

He said: “I see the study of African history as both a map and mirror that simultaneously shows us where we have been, where we are and where we can go, while reflecting our limitless capacity for courage, creativity and greatness.

“For the past few years, Liana and I have been working on melding our talents and knowledge and I’m excited to formally introduce our offerings.”

Ms Nanang is a New York-qualified attorney whose writing and photography have been featured in the New York Times. She is also a Best of Bermuda Award winner for Best Columnist.

She said that while Black History Month was not officially celebrated in Bermuda, several companies had reached out to Unstoried to request talks in its recognition.

“Consequently, we felt that February was the perfect month to launch our initiative,” Ms Nanang added. “With support from the Bermuda Arts Council, we attended the Rock Retreat – a weeklong writers’ intensive – in Gibraltar last May, where we further developed our storytelling skills and knowledge.

“Following the murder of George Floyd, global interest in learning authentic Black history as a bridge to justice and equity piqued but has since waned.

“Ajala and I have been lifelong students of Black Bermudian history and we feel it important that our stories continue to be told.”

All talks and tours include a question and answer period and all workshops are tailored for the audience to provide a more interactive engagement.

Interested organisations are invited to e-mail unchained@un-storied.com to register their interest and obtain a quote.

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Published January 27, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated January 27, 2023 at 7:58 am)

New initiative launched highlighting stories of Black liberation

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