Face the Music
Using Roots Music to Confront Racism
This curriculum was originally developed by Joe Seamons, and has expanded to become a program of The Rhapsody Project! Click here to learn more and register.
The musical history of the U.S. constitutes a unique and powerful lens for deepening our grasp of how culture has sometimes confronted—but too often reinforced—oppressive systems that terrorize historically disenfranchised communities.
With an emphasis on artists who were nonconformists, women and people of the African diaspora, each week of this workshop and discussion group explores stories about American culture and artists.
Each story or artist profile will serve to ground participants in historical knowledge as we engage in facilitated, constructive discussions about how participants can use their knowledge and power to effect positive change in their families, workplaces, and communities.
A group of 8 - 12 participants meets weekly for 90 minute workshop sessions via Zoom video conference for 8 consecutive weeks.
Each workshop session consists of:
A quick check-in to connect as humans + set the table for a productive session.
A brief overview of the current week's story, musician or song.
A facilitated discussion about the lessons and themes drawn from the presentation.
A collaborative strategy session that develops individual or group stratagems for uprooting racism in our own families, workplaces, and communities. These strategies will be tailored to each individual's situation, and then implemented over time. Grown from our discussions, each participant's approach will likely combine some of the following elements:
Articulating or refining the personal work we do to align our everyday language and actions with our values.
Heritage work that each person undertakes to identify meaningful dimensions of our personal or family stories. We will discuss and reflect upon how our personal backgrounds and family histories inform our approach to uprooting racism.
Identifying how both our passions, professions, and relationships position us to create sustainable, meaningful effect on the people and institutions around us--while remaining humble and supportive of others' parallel efforts.
Learning to draw stronger connections between historical narratives in American music and the modern realities that these stories both anticipate and reflect.
Starting in Week Three, the strategy session will begin to blend with a check-in with each group member as we support and hold one another accountable to the implementation commitments grown from our sessions.
A focus on one bedrock principle of anti-racist work.
After 8 weeks of workshop sessions, each participant will gain:
A deeper grasp of how to effectively address issues of race and social justice in personal and professional life.
An expanded, enduring network of friends and collaborators willing to serve as trusted supporters in the work of forging and more just and compassionate society.
A greater knowledge of the history and evolution of American music and culture.
A toolbox of strategies for uprooting racism and recognizing invisible bias in one's family and society.
A wider knowledge of institutions and resources that exist to help us challenge systems of oppression.
How to register:
Two cohorts of this weekly workshop are launching in April of 2021:
Every Tuesday, from April 20th through June 8th from 6:30pm - 8pm PST
Every Sunday, from April 25th through June 13th from 6:30pm - 8pm PST
Email The Rhapsody Project to register.
If the dates and times don't work, fear not!
To be notified about the next cohort of this program, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Face the Music" as your subject heading.
About the Facilitator:
Joe Seamons began his work as an anti-racist activist through engagement with his fellow partners in Seattle's Black & Tan Hall. The experience of engaging in and facilitating monthly White Caucus events allowed him to explore his love for Black American music and culture more deeply. The work lead him to become Board Chair of the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center. Struck by the many lessons that emerged from the study and interpretation of living American musical traditions, as well as the unique forms or flavors of racism in the Pacific Northwest, he began to develop the idea for the new Face the Music workshop.
Joe has completed multiple trainings for anti-racist work from institutions such as The Dialogue Company, and in 2020 was certified as a Conflict Transformation facilitator. Learn more about his background here.