You had to be as surprised as me. We were all blindsided by a Duce and a Quarter- iron reinforced dump truck, full to the brim with a deadly, invisible virus. Let’s not talk about who saw it coming, or who sent it on its way. The fact that it arrived, on our front porch unpackaged with no return address. As a Storyteller, Spoken Word-English Language Arts; Teaching Artist, Touring Artist and Family Literacy (Library / Museum) performance, workshop presenter, the crash feels like the hit was head on, at high speed. On March 12, 2020 I completed my “Discover Africa” after-school session for Jr. Players Dallas at Dorsey Elementary. The students and I made a drum recording w/ sing-a-long song … “Time To Play”. The 12th was also opening day of Tejas Storytellers’s Annual Festival in Denton. Earlier in the month, I had been appointed to the Board of Directors as the Youth Program Coordinator, YaY! I sent word that I would be there for Saturday to attend the Board meeting and stay for Sunday. I arrived on Saturday, met the other board Members- Had a great conversation with the incoming board Director. Due to COVID19 we will have to cancel Sunday, but lets do everything on the agenda for Sunday tonight. Quick Aside- I was invited to participate in the (newly scheduled) Tall Tales contest… and the rest is History. That evening, 3/14/20 the festival closed!
THE VOICE OF MY MOTHER! Thank God for the Ancestors. It was clear as a bell. Monday Morning March 16, which happens to be the Birthday of Our Mother-Opearline King. I heard her voice in the morning and I got up, kneeled down to pray. I gave thanks to God for living, and letting me see another day. I wished Mom a Happy Heavenly Birthday, remembered, a picture from when she visited me in Chicago and we went Oprah Studio. I opened my iPad and I posted the picture. I’m pretty sure I heard my Mama say… And then, I pushed the FB LIVE button and presented my first Storytelling LIVE • 50 minute, Interactive, Djembe drum, stories and songs-mostly original material – Virtual Storytelling Performance. Nearly 300 viewers, 80 comments, 35 shares, 14 donations. ( I was so new at it, I had my device horizontal for 10 mins-before I read the notes from folk saying “Turn Your iPad Over” I did, And the “hearts” flooded the screen! ) My best friend told me, “your Passion and Raw talent is the beauty of your work” (Thanks, Tim Duggan). The audience stayed with me, shared the link, and one parent sent a pic of her children watching the computer and playing along on their drums while repeating the “Call/Response” verses in their living room-all the way across town.
A NEW PARADIGM ! Is what the Elders meant? It feels like these are the days we have been groomed for, this why we listened and learned, researched and studied, practiced and prepared. Now, is why we prayed and asked God to order Our Steps. Now, is why we studied the stories, learned the parables, memorized the speeches, and honed our craft. We have grown our Mustard Seed. Now, Is time to move the mountain.
ASANTE SANA for YOUR SUPPORT • GRACIAS for YOUR PRAYERS • THANK YOU for ENCOURAGEMENT • WE ARE CONNECTED • Let’s Go! Subscribe: Youtube.com/Oba William King • Follow: #storytellingking • Like: Virtual Storytelling Distant Learning (facebook-“brief” story page) Support JUSTUSarts Educational Entertainment. MISSION: TRADITIONAL FOLK ARTS, STORYTELLING, POETRY, SPOKEN WORD Specializing in Cultural Arts with Drum Rhythms, Reading, and Writing.