Miyamoto is Black Enough
Speaking truth to power on subjects ranging on colonialism and slavery, police brutality, gentrification, gun violence, and being black in America, MiBE challenged, protested, looked inward and outward, insisted on waking us up from apathy, to feel the power of words to the beat and heat of the music, to have imprinted in our memory the pain, the anger, the fight we have to fight. Bonair-Agard sent the audience into the night with one final refrain, and etched into our minds an anthem for a social movement–“BE ALIVE, BE BLACK, BURN, BUILD.” – Arts and Culture Texas
Miyamoto is Black Enough is a collaborative exploration of meaning and conversation, named after Ariana Miyamoto, a Japanese national who grew up as a self-described mixed race “hafu,” the child of an African American father and Japanese mother. After winning Miss Universe Japan 2015, many Japanese expressed concern at her lack of “pure” parentage—that she was not Japanese enough.
In Miyamoto is Black Enough, a contemporary band that boasts two hafu of their own—a Trinidadian-Brooklynite Black man, and an Irish/Finnish/Swedish hip-hop influenced drummer—Miyamoto is certainly Black enough.
This work celebrating Miyamoto’s legacy is a blend of hard driving rhythms and biting social commentary that utilizes steelpan, cello, drums, and poetry/vocals. Drawing from a melange of musical styles, M is Black Enough forms a brash symphony that nods the head, moves the feet, and asks the listener/viewer to challenge and disturb her own comfort. The resulting work is a bold narrative about people, justice, struggle, joy, and celebration.
Miyamoto is both a building frenzy of excitement and a cerebral jaunt through one’s own belief systems, leaning towards a joy that refuses itself unless it is foundation’d in justice.
Four remarkable artists form the cohort that makes this project possible: Andy Akiho as composer and performer on his trademark steelpans; Roger Bonair-Agard with poetry and spoken word; Jeffrey Zeigler as cellist; and Sean Dixon on drums.
“…'(M)iyamoto,’ incandescent in its synergy between music and poetry, is already more than good enough.” -LA Times
Music by ANDY AKIHO
Text by ROGER BONAIR-AGARD
Performed by ANDY AKIHO, steelpan; ROGER BONAIR-AGARD, vocals; SEAN DIXON, drums; & JEFFREY ZEIGLER, cello
Produced by National Sawdust
This engagement of Miyamoto is Black Enough is funded through the Mid Atlantic Tours program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.