Silence is the best weapon for some, but not for me.
I will not be silenced.
– oluwatoyin salau
Voices is a poetic performance piece and artistic campaign. We need you! The creative process will be just as crucial as the piece itself. This is an urgent call for submissions of poems and monologues written by Black Women for all women and those who love us. We are also accepting visual art submissions that we will curate throughout the campaign for performance and the solidarity-making toolkit. The performance piece will ultimately be in service of and for women to speak to the complexities of their experiences as well as an inclusive vision for change, justice, compassion and solidarity. We seek to encourage and establish a world that nurtures radical truth telling love. We welcome all poems and monologues that speak to our hurt, our hope, and our wisdom. Poems that cast spells and poems that animate the future we know is possible. We want paintings, portraits, collages, and illustrations that establish our visions for a world where we are heard. What are our examples of sisterhood? What is our call to action? How do we work together and expand one another? This project seeks to get out of the stories that have been constructed for us. What are the stories we have inherited and carried that have been hard to give up for the sake of transformative justice? What are the stories we still lean on today as a source of strength, inspiration, and guidance? What will be our new story?
We have created several prompts to inspire and animate our submissions. Please feel free to write in response to any of these prompts:
- Share a story where you have used your voice to speak up against violence.
- What are ways that you have been silenced?
- What are stories that demonstrate examples of solidarity and transformational justice?
- What are visions for a world where women are loved holistically?
- Praise a woman or several women in your community that are often unheard or underrepresented.
- What is an example of when someone has shown you solidarity and how did they show it?
- Describe a story where a man in your life showed support or care holistically?
- Tell the history of a scar on your body.
- Describe the first time you stood up to someone who abused their authority.
- Share a story from the perspective of your lover’s arms.
- What is advice an elder woman has given you in your life that you have had to use and how was it useful?
- How has social media helped or hindered your voice?
- Whose voices do you carry with you?
- Tell us about a letter you never sent.
- How are you stealing your body back?
- What is power to you?
- What are things you do in the dark?
- Who are the women that have mothered you?
- How would your mother describe you?
- What do you want to scream to the world?
- Sing us a song of resistance.
- Describe the loss or grief and how you moved through it.
- Speak in tongues.
- What have others erased while you speak?
- How do you make life out of death? -or- how do you make life
- When was the last time you felt safe?
- Describe a community where you feel safe.
- Who would you be if money wasn’t a concern?
- Can you describe the relationship between you and the sister you’ve never had.
- Share a moment when you were ‘seen’ or ‘heard’ by someone you least expected? How did you feel?
- What do you believe are your great-great grandmother’s dreams for you?
- Share a time you witnessed another woman’s courage? What did you see in her? Did you see it in yourself too?
- Write a love letter to your voice when it was silenced or misunderstood.
- If your voice had a personality and being in the world, what would it look like? What would it do?
Share the Prompts and Voices with the World with These Translated PDFs:
- Can I submit more than once?
Yes, you are welcome to submit more than one submission. Please keep in mind each submission has a 1,000 word limit.
- Can I submit if I’m not from the US?
Yes! We invite and welcome Black women everywhere – on the continent and across the diaspora – to submit to Voices. So, yes, please submit and tell your sisters.
- Can artist collectives submit? Or can we submit as a group of sisters?
Yes and we look forward to seeing it!
- Can we submit work that’s been published?
No, we prefer work that has not been published yet or publicly performed.
- Will there be compensation provided to selected artists?
The creators of the stories we select for the theater piece will each be compensated $1000 US dollars.
- Once I submit, where does it go? How will submissions be made public?
Once you submit, our team will review the submissions. About 25 stories will be selected to be incorporated into the Voices performance arts theater piece. Voices Creative Artistic Director, Aja Monet, will take the stories selected and write based off of those stories for what will become the final theater piece shared with the world. The women whose stories are selected will be notified, will receive creative credit for their stories and $1000 compensation.We also want to share as many stories and artwork as possible, as such we will be uplifting some of the artwork and stories that don’t make it into the theater piece in Voices amplification campaigns.
- Do we lose rights to our piece even if it isn’t selected?
You will not lose rights to your piece, you retain the copyright. Including if your piece is selected, you retain the copyright. Our legal agreement simply allows us to use your story and if your piece is selected we will be in touch with you to request a time frame of exclusivity to Voices.
GUIDELINES / LEGAL TERMS:
All submissions must be created by Black women: cis women, transwomen, and non-binary people across the African continent and Diaspora. We welcome all written forms of storytelling: poems, monologues, short stories etc. All work must be unpublished original work and never before publicly performed or published (i.e. not self-published online on personal websites or other publishing platforms, including blogs). 1000 word max. Languages: English, Spanish, & French. For visual artists, we welcome all files in .jpg or .pdf format. (300 dpi or higher recommended)
In connection with your submissions, you agree that you will not: (a) submit material that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner to post the material and to grant us all of the license rights granted herein; (b) publish falsehoods or misrepresentations that could damage Voices/V-Day or any third-party.
By making a submission, you hereby grant Voices/V-Day a nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid, and sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your submission and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your submission in all media formats and distribution methods now known or later developed on the Services. Voices/V-Day requires this license grant because you own your submission (or have permission of the owner) and Voices/V-Day therefore cannot use it and display it across its various mediums/venues (i.e., mobile, web) without this permission.
You expressly acknowledge and agree that once you submit your submission to Voices/V-Day, it may be accessible by others, and that there is no confidentiality or privacy with respect to such submission, including, without limitation, any personally identifying information that may be you included in your submission. (Please do not include first or last names, including your own, nicknames, towns, schools and other identifying information in association with your story). Voices/V-Day assumes no liability for any submissions made by you that you submit to Voices/V-Day. You are solely responsible for your own submissions and the consequences of Voices/V-Day’s posting them and other related uses.