* Black Cultural Center

March 7, 2007

Black Cultural Center writing group to present spring production

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Haraka Writers, one of the four performing arts ensembles sponsored by Purdue University's Black Cultural Center, will share the stories, sights, sounds, rhythms and rhymes from their neighborhoods during the annual spring production of Haraka Fest.

Its original production, titled "Porches," will take place at 7 p.m. March 23-24 at the Black Cultural Center, 1100 Third St. The ensemble, under the direction of artist-in-residence Khari Bowden, will portray subjects surrounding self-image, neighborhood gossip and family relations.

"One of the highlights of the production will be a 'Toast,' which is a modern and urban form of the black oral tradition with the same roots as other popular practices such as 'signifying' and playing the 'dozens,'" said Bowden, a spoken-word artist who has traveled internationally, sharing his talents and skills in the art of cultural creative writing and performance. "Toasts were often recited on street corners, porches or wherever groups of blacks got together. They frequently focused on major historical events where storytellers extended the legend for dramatic effect. In keeping with this custom, Haraka's 'Toast' will be a group piece about Hurricane Katrina heroes."

Although the primary focus of the ensemble has been poetry, members also will feature a short story. The intergenerational group also will recreate the essence of each generation from a poetic perspective as they take the audience on a journey spanning four decades.

The production is free and open to the public.

"Come to the event expecting excitement, fun, vulnerability, social commentary and imagination translated with power, purpose and passion," Bowden said.

Haraka began in 1973 under the name Creative Writers Workshop. Five years later, the name was changed to Haraka, a Swahili word that means "expression."

For more information, call (7656) 494-3092.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432,

Source: Juanita Crider, BCC program adviser, (765) 4943092,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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