incarceration, prison system

Pushing the Envelope

This solo 2013 performance piece featured Patrisse displaying enlarged copies of the envelopes and letters that she and her father exchanged while he was in prison. After a series of emotional correspondence, the last envelope she presents is addressed to the heavens. Patrisse’s father died in 2009 just months after he was released from prison. Their relationship developed within the confines of his incarceration, a situation that ultimately contributed to his death. Pushing the Envelope also served as a way for Patrisse to give more agency to herself and her father. 

“I say that him being incarcerated most of his life killed him. I say that because folks who are on the inside age and their life span is over much earlier than those who are able to live on the outside and a healthy life. This piece is dedicated to him, it’s dedicated to me, it’s kind of like an ode to our relationship and it’s about giving me more agency to say ‘goodbye father and thank you for everything you’ve given me.’ He spent most of his life behind bars, I spent most of my life writing him while he was behind bars, so it was a really powerful piece for us.”

Watch a collection of performances including a short clip of Pushing the Envelope:

Malcolm X, Black Lives Matter, protecting Black lives

Malcolm Revisited

Patrisse and FOREMOST curated Malcolm Revisited, a tribute to freedom fighter Malcolm X.

This series of workshops, live performance pieces, and visual exhibits explored the life, legacy, and impact of this iconic historical figure, as well as his influence on the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Featuring powerful retrospectives from Prentis Hemphill, Aaryn Lang, and Brayan Gonzalez, the performance explored Malcolm’s effect on each person individually as well as collectively.

#BlackLivesMatter has pushed the country to have a new conversation about what it means to protect Black lives.

Art allows for conversations to happen across generations, gender, race and ability. This piece served as a contribution to #BlackLivesMatter, Malcolm X, and the past and current freedom fighters in this movement.