Arriba! Uplifting Black Immigrant Storytellers

Freddie Seipoldt
August 15, 2022

The Center for Cultural Power is a cultural strategy organization that mobilizes artists of color to advance narrative change through art and culture; in their communities and the larger society. As we continue to grow as an organization, migrant justice is more urgent than ever. With that urgency, comes a greater sense of responsibility to focus our efforts at the intersections of disability and climate justice, as well as racial and gender justice.

In the fight for migrant justice, we are focused on amplifying and uplifting voices from communities of the African diaspora. While Black migrant experiences have been historically underrepresented, we wish to emphasize the ways in which anti-Blackness overlaps with the struggle for refuge and opportunity. Through recent attacks on Haitian asylum seekers by U.S. Border Patrol, and the mistreatment of Black Ukrainians, we are called to re-examine the narratives present in mainstream media, art and culture that inform our image of who migrant justice is for. This re-examination then leads us to ask ourselves who we are representing in the immigration stories that we tell.

Led by our communications team, we sent a call-to-artists to draw from their experiences and tell stories that sit on the intersections of the Black Immigrant identities. Through our commission initiatives, The Center for Cultural Power aims to distribute wealth to culture bearers for their continuous work as artists, activists, and leaders in social justice.

We’re excited to share the work of these two amazing artists, Austin-based Kenyan poet and visual artist Aluoch Ojode(she/her) and NYC-based musician Nelson Baltazar (he/they). The piece, entitled Arriba, gives the audience a glimpse into the past, the present and the future of Black Immigrants who both find themselves grounded in a sense of community and lineage while also feeling a sense of searching for “who is home, where is home?” as Ojode muses in her piece.

We hope you enjoy this video and show love and support to these two incredible artists.