Mover. Artmaker. Healer.
Bad as in “bad black,” in direct opposition to the “good black,” who is expected to assimilate into popular American culture to be successful. A black person who attempts to separate themselves from the larger black community, the “exception,” to how black people are expected to behave. (As discussed in The Good Black written by Paul Barett). As a young, queer, happily out black girl growing up in the West End of Atlanta, making me certainly out of the grace of being recognized as a good black, and being carted across town to the predominantly white private school, where I was then deemed an eloquent and ambitious, good black. I know about being viewed upon as both a “good black” and a “bad black.” The blacks who are seen as unkempt, those who excel at making others uncomfortable due to their unwillingness to compromise their truth. I prefer bad. That’s whom I write for, the bad blacks.
Aya began pole dancing as a therapeutic tool for healing and reconnecting the spirit with her body in a magical way. Through dance she’s healed intense past transgressions and grown stronger, more flexible, and in tune with her body. Pole dancing is something she wants to share with her community. She is currently in the process of creating a curriculum for pole healing: queer + people of color + trauma/ sexual assault survivors. Movement has the potential to be the catalyst for encouraging people in our communities to rethink their body, their physical space in the world, reimagine and reaffirm the power of bodies that have been marginalized for so long. Essentially, she seeks to create communal healing through intentional movement. There’s something empowering about literally flying, the act of lifting above when bodies that look like yours are so often held down. Her goal is to reclaim our (*ALL) bodies, sexualities, and freedom together.
She is a certified pole instructor through elevatED.
She is also a Liquid Motion instructor and will begin teaching Liquid Motion classes in April.
Check out her Tumblr page to see her movement journey and her Vimeo for video of past performances.
Music & movement go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that Aya is also a music maker. As a feminist DJ, she is constantly on a musical quest for finding new ways to infuse stories from women, queer folks of color, and the Southern trap music that she listened to while growing up in Atlanta.
She also owns every Outkast CD ever created. Follow her Soundcloud to see what music she’s manipulating these days.
I spent an entire day at the beach. I gave offerings and prayers to the sea for my all of them in breath, not allowing myself to sink into complacency. I vowed to remain vigilant, to always find sweetness because I deserve it, but also to not forgot, not even for one moment, everyone from my community murdered here, because in the sunshine is easier to let pain melt away, runny onto the sidewalk for someone else to step in. I drank white wine at the shore, cleansed myself in the mother, squinted at the sun and saw bittersweet.
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