Summerworks is running all month and is FREE! We hope you get a chance to experience the richly diverse contemporary performances this festival has to offer. Softness is a blessing, by Dainty Smith and Ravyn Wngz, is one show that you don’t want to miss.
In it, the duo explore softness, as it pertains to Black femininity. “It is an exploration of Black femme grief, rage and faith and hope, and about allowing for Black women to be fragile and soft in a world that demands of them and expects strength, sexuality and stoicism,” they explain.
The powerful piece was created with the help of Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism. We caught up with Dainty and Rayn to find out more about the inspiration behind it, and how writing Softness is a blessing is making the artists feel.
When did the idea for this show first come to you?
Dainty: The idea for this show initially came to me last summer, during lockdown. I was thinking about my interactions with other Jamaican women, particularly with older women, and how these women can sometimes come across as hard and tough, but there’s much softness and sensitivity there, if a person is willing to look. And through numerous conversations with Ravyn Wngz, the idea of Black women being allowed our softness kept coming up. So the performance piece Softness is a Blessing came from there.
What does ‘softness’ mean to you?
Ravyn: We live in a world that forces us to be hard and survive through any means necessary; softness is revolutionary.
What philosophy is currently guiding your work/life?
Dainty: I have been reflecting on what blooming means for Black women and femmes, and what surviving and thriving looks like. I would say that is currently guiding my work and lifestyle—the continued and necessary blooming and thriving of Black women.
Ravyn: James Baldwin says we must tell the truth and that artists sometimes need to be the hammer. So right now, I’m using my art as a hammer to carve a new future for all Black people.
How does it feel to create Softness Is A Blessing?
Dainty: Creating with Ravyn is always a pleasure. I think we have respect and understanding of each other and how we each create performance and stories. Right now, focusing on softness and tenderness feels complicated–hard and easy at the same time. And it feels like something that’s very important to make time for.
Ravyn: The sky is big enough for all the stars to fit inside it, so there’s enough space for you and there’s enough space for everyone else to be a star.
What five words would you use to describe it?
Hopeful, dreamy, magical, vulnerable and seeking.
What life advice has served you well?
Trust your instincts.
What does joy look like these days?
Dainty: Making time for myself to rest and reminding myself that abundance, ease and joy belong to me too.
Anything else you want to share?
Dainty: Let Black girls be as soft as possible.
Summerworks runs until August 31st and is FREE. Find more details on their website.