Reflection on Angela Davis at ‘WOW’ Southbank

‘Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just don’t make the same mistakes we made. Make new ones.’ Angela Davis, 2017.

Words will never really suffice to describe the emotions felt during Angela Davis’s talk, nor to describe the feeling of being within such a space, surrounded by such energy and anticipation. Sharing this experience with a community such as Shades of Noir will forever leave a marked impression on me. Angela has been a symbolic figure of the black consciousness, social justice, activism, mass incarceration, liberation movements, etc of her time up to our current reality and our present; her mere existence to me is like a beam of hope that even though these disastrous times we are living in now, she is still here to bear witness, to listen, to speak, to fight and to teach.

By breaking down complex terms such as ‘intersectionality’ and it’s meaning, to feminism and what it means to her within it’s current sociopolitical context. She also broke down why she identifies as an abolitionist feminists; by speaking out on the prison system, on islamophobia, on muslim women primarily of colour, on black lives matter, on free palestine, on why and who do we define as ‘A Woman’ by speaking on transwomen, etc. Her words were met with umms and and hums resonating from the audience like a choir, all in response to the endings of her sentences, in response to her truth, in response to our truth.

I couldn’t help but feel emotionally overwhelmed. Throughout the whole talk, listening and reflecting, I would rethink all my current perceptions, and also of myself and how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go.

She gave us moments of vulnerability, of total raw honesty, of emotion. Events like these really assist me on my journey of filling myself up completely to overflow, and not just on my own, but within a community and amongst a family.

‘If we come together, if we unite, we will do the impossible’. – Angela Davis, 2017.

Words by Tiffany Webster.