The Triple Deities, 2020

This weekend I will be sharing the background of my project Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic, Movement III - The Triple Deities that was set to debut this past weekend and has been postponed. This is the third movement in my four-part Be Alarmed film series.  leading up to the debut of the trailer for the project on this Sunday evening;

Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic, Movement III - The Triple Deities is the third movement in the Be Alarmed series. Movement III – The Triple Deities is a multimedia installation and performance that merges art song, exhibition, film, and sculpture to examine the intersections of Black woman intersubjectivity within the context of American society. The Triple Deities draws its inspiration from the art song “Songs To The Dark Virgin” composed by Florence B. Price in 1941 —the first African American woman to have a composition performed by a major American symphony orchestra. The composition takes its name and lyrics from Langston Hughes’s poem which was written in 1926. The work will consider how African American classical musicians historically used the art song form as a critical tool while examining present-day perspectives.

McClodden is collaborating with composer and pianist Courtney Bryan, who will create and perform a score that will include references to Price’s original composition, as well as a range of traditional African American musical genres and styles. Soprano vocalist Janinah Burnett will perform both the work in its traditional form and alongside Bryan’s new compositions in a live performance that will take place within the installation of the film.

I have worked long and quietly on this project and had plans to present it in North Philadelphia in a warehouse space accessible to the community that I have lived in to allow my work an opportunity to be seen first by those who have inspired me and my process, and secondly by the art going community of Philadelphia. 

I am working with a group of amazing Black women who have stuck with me as I have navigated fundraising for this project. 

Courtney Bryan and I have been in conversation about this piece since 2015, and she is producing an original score for the project accompanied by Janinah Burnette who will provide vocals during the performance. Ladi’Sasha Jones has provided research and thought partner support since I embarked on this Be Alarmed series many years ago when it first debuted in 2014. Pamela Shepard-Hill has provided extensive wardrobe styling. Kimberly R. Drew is currently providing me with guidance on marketing and engagement. My long time collaborators Ashley Tai and Danielle Deadwyler (the sole lead for the entire series, have gifted me with performances so nuanced and thorough it’s hard to edit at times. And lastly, my dear friend, beloved art guide and museum guard of the city, Linda Harris is featured in her first film performance ever.


**Major support for this project has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with the 2018 Project Art Grant, with additional support from 2017 The Astraea Global Art fund, and the 2016 Ossian Arts Fellowship.


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