Writing the Evolution: Rituals for Narrative Liberation



Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative welcomes registration for Writing the Evolution: Rituals for Narrative Liberation. This intensive pushes the boundaries of writing to encourage participants to manifest everyday rituals that cultivate spaces of radical imagination, personal, and collective creative emancipation.

Writing the Evolution is about self-care and sustaining a personal creative practice. It’s about taking yourself seriously and writing a new story for your life and your future. This is about exploration and experimentation.

Writing the Evolution is about starting a new chapter and trying something new. If you have been working on your chapbook, bring your poems. If you have been working on a novel, bring a chapter. If you want to develop a personal journaling practice, this is a place. If you don’t know why you are showing up, that’s ok! Join us for the journey.

Our time together isn’t about product. We won’t have a show. We won’t produce a chapbook. We will support each other in developing an internal spiritual connection to voice and possibility.

Be prepared to teach and be prepared to grow!

Course Elements


Nina Angela Mercer || At the Crossroads: Africana Ritual Poetics and Performance

During this interactive keynote, Nina Angela Mercer playwright and scholar, will discuss her ongoing work in ritual performance, She will share ideas about the importance of everyday ritual as a creative practice. She will also talk about the necessity of cultivating secular rituals in support of writing for performance and personal transformation.


Monifa Lemons || The Art of Allowing: Pressing Towards Vision

In this workshop participants will explore visioning and the art of manifestation. Participants will bare witness to how these artistic and meditative practices impact and affect the creative writing process when we allow witnessing to take place. Writers should expect to engage in exercises, explore goal-driven writing rituals, and learn the lessons that emerge when we write and manifest our truth and move beyond ego.

Natasha Ria El-Scari || Double Up: Ekphrastic African Diaspora Art –Inspiration to Transformation

Visual artists are by nature, “before their time”. Their art is often a catalyst of change, a homage to often forgotten/ignored times or a unique look at the present. As an African American poet, I think it is important to also highlight art from other genres. Ekphrastic poetry is a way to “double up” on the time we have with audiences on the stage and page. In this workshop we will examine how visual art can push our poetry beyond its comfort zone and begin our own creation.

Ebony Noelle Golden || Writing the Evolution: Crafting a Poetics of Liberation

Very early in my writing practice I experienced poetry’s potential to transform my physical reality. This is the reason I write. I am not enticed to write by prizes, publishing opportunities, or performances. I write to conjure the reality I imagine for myself, my family, and my community. In this workshop, we will explore practices, poems, and creative activities that provide a foundation for a poetics of black liberation now and in the liberated afro-future.


Additional Program Elements

1. Private Meetings (project + practice coaching)
2. Peer Reviews
3. Personal Rituals
4. Critical Workshops
Important Dates

Registration + Deposit Due: November 23

Registration Closes + Final Payment: November 30

Workshop Dates


5-23: Virtual Residency (7-9:30 pm)

5: Orientation Ritual (7-9:30 pm)

7, 8, 14, 21: Master Classes (7-9:30)

12, 15, 19, 22: Craft Workshops (7:9:30)

10, 11, 17, 18: Private Meetings (Times to be scheduled)

23: Closing Ritual (7-9:30)



Nina Angela Mercer | Washington, DC and New York City

Nina Angela Mercer is a cultural worker. Her plays include GUTTA BEAUTIFUL; RACING MYGIRL, SALLY; ITAGUA MEJI: A Road and A Prayer; GYPSY and THE BULLY DOOR; MOTHER WIT and WATER BORN (a trilogy); and DEEP SOUL IN THE TEMPLE. Her work has been shared at the Warehouse Theatre, The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company for DC’s Fringe Festival, Rutgers University-Newark and New Brunswick, Wings Theatre, Brecht Forum, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre, The Nuyorican Poets’ Café, Abrons Arts Center/HenryStreet Settlement, Dumbo Sky, and The Little Carib Theatre.

Her writing is published in The Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Black Renaissance Noire, Voices Magazine #SayHerName Edition, and CONTINUUM. She is a co-founder and co-director of Ocean Ana Rising – www.oarinc.org. Nina has taught at Medgar Evers College – CUNY, Howard University, University of Maryland, College Park, and American University. She is currently a doctoral fellow of Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center-CUNY. She teaches at Brooklyn College. Nina is also mother to two daughters, which makes her slightly out numbered at home. Updates about productions, performances, and other musings can be found at http://windowsdoorsclosetsanddrawers.blogspot.com



Monifa Lemons | New York City and Columbia, South Carolina

Also recognized as Selah the Poet, Monifa Lemons began her poetic journey in Columbia, SC in the late 90s, as a Spoken Word Artist and open mic host. Originally from New York City, Monifa has studied theatrical arts most of her life and performed in plays, including Dreamgirls in SC at Workshop Theatre and Two Trains Running at Black Spectrum Theatre in NY.

She is currently the Co-Founder/Director of The Watering Hole Poetry Organization which provides continuing education to southern poets of color. She now resides in Columbia, SC where she is writing towards her first manuscript. Her work can most recently be found in The African American Review (July 2016).


Natasha Ria El-Scari | Kansas City, Missouri

Natasha Ria El-Scari is a writer, Cave Canem fellow, 2016 Ragdale Residency recipient and educator for over a decade. Her poetry, academic papers, and personal essays have been published in anthologies, literary and online journals. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Natasha has a BA from Jackson State University and a MA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Natasha’s Black Feminist approach is reflected in her writing, poetry and performance pieces. Once asked in an interview what makes her unique she replied, “…most people lie to themselves, but I like to reveal myself.”

In 2015 Natasha released her first book, Screaming Times (Spartan Press, 2015). Of her work, critic and poet Denise Low writes, “Poems lift off the page, almost reading themselves. Unlike some performance poetry, her words translate well to the printed page.” Her CDs, Dragon Butter Firefly (2006), This is Love… (2010), Cuddle Complex (2016) and DVD Live at the Blue Room (2015) display how Natasha connects with any crowd with maternal warmth and unrelenting honesty. Her second book, The Only Other (Main Street Rag) was released in June 2016. Driven by the relentless need to create, Natasha is the mother of two beautiful teenagers and the co-owner of Rollin’ Grocer, Kansas City’s first mobile grocery store. For details and booking: www.natasharia.com



Artistic Director
Ebony Noelle Golden | Houston, TX and New York City
Hailing from Houston, TX, artist, cultural worker, public scholar, and strategist Ebony Noelle Golden is the visionary leader of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC and Body Ecology Womanist Performance Project. Guided by an unflinching pursuit and practice of radical creativity, wellness, and justice Golden has served as BDAC’s CEO + principal engagement strategist for the last eight years and Body Ecology’s founding artistic director for six. Golden is also an accomplished performance artist, poet, director, and choreographer who stages site-specific rituals + live art productions that profoundly explore the complexities of freedom in the time of now, through her work with Body Ecology and a host of creative collaborators.

Ebony has been nominated for a Pushcart Poetry Prize and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem Foundation, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Alternate Roots, Highlander Center for Research and Education, and North Carolina A&T University, to name some. Her performance work, choreography, and directing projects have been staged at Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, The Ensemble Theatre (Houston, TX), Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre, Judson Memorial Church, Hayti Heritage Center (Durham, NC), Harlem School of the Arts, DC Arts Center, and The Theatre at St. Claude (New Orleans), among others.

Golden was recently awarded a Creative Collisions residency at Space on Ryder Farm, during which she will continue to devise 125th & Freedom, slated for a summer 2017 debut. In the face of large scale gentrification and environmental shifts in Harlem USA, 125th & Freedom is a collaborative and choreographic meditation on home, legacy, and displacement. 125th & Freedom re-imagines this cultural and political corridor as Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad by activating a public(s) engagement project as well as a durational, processional, river-to-river, performance installation with an intergenerational ensemble of artists, educators and activists invested in the legacy and future liberated black spaces of possibility.


About The Body Ecology Womanist Performance Project

Conceived in 2009, The Body Ecology Womanist Performance Project trains artists, activists, and educators in community action, solo, and ensemble performance through the lens of experimental, womanist performance, popular education, and cultural organizing. The Body Ecology process requires individuals to investigate the use of creativity and performance as a process for personal and social justice transformation. All are encouraged to apply, regardless of race, class, performance skills, ability, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. In short, this opportunity is open to the community.

The Body Ecology Womanist Performance Project is proudly brought to community by Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative’s Cultural Arts Direct Action Laboratory.


Is this workshop just for black people?

Nope. People of color, transfolks, gender-queer, and cis-gender women are highly encouraged to register. Woke white folks are welcome. Cis-gender men are welcome, as long as you have done your work. This is a space led by womanists. It is a strictly no hate zone. Microaggressions are treated as macro-aggressions and won’t be tolerated at all.

Must I be a professional writer?


Can I be enrolled in a degree-granting program?


Must I submit a manuscript?


Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

No ID requirements. The course is 18 and up.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Email us at info@bettysdaughterarts.com

Is my registration/ticket transferable?


Can I update my registration information?


What is the refund policy?

No refunds. No exceptions.

The name on the registration/ticket doesn’t match the attendee. Is that okay?