10.21.20 – October Salama Circle: Pleasure

10.21.20 – October Salama Circle: Pleasure

Black woman at peace, standing with her eyes closed and hair blowing in the wind
scarritt bennett center logo
beyonce mass logo

“Salama” is a Swahili word that means safety. It has a historical etymological relationship with the Hebrew word, shalom (peace), the Arabic, salaam (a greeting), and Portuguese salamo (flying or soaring). The word points to the freedom that comes with being safe as you enter and dwell in a particular space or community.

Scarritt Bennett Center in collaboration with Beyoncé Mass presents Salama Circles: an intentional respite and safe space for Black women all over the globe to soar, to be free to express emotion and release pain, and anger for the sake of healing.

Salama Circles is a four-part series that invites Black women all over the globe to directly address issues of grief, joy, pleasure, and burden by engaging in conversation about the intersectional realities that Black women face daily, and how they impact particular kinds of trauma and exclusion.

Salama Circles will also offer resources and models of healing that allow Black women to reclaim joy and pleasure as mechanisms of liberation.

e/Time: October 21, 2020, 12 pm–1:30 pm (Central Daylight Time)
October Theme: Pleasure
Cost: Free and open to Black women across the globe

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October Circle: Pleasure

woman standing at podium during a worship service

Host: Rev. Yolanda Norton

Creator/Curator of Beyoncé Mass

Rev. Yolanda Norton is a womanist biblical scholar and the Creator/Curator of the Beyoncé Mass, a womanist worship service that uses the music and personal life of Beyoncé as a tool to foster an empowering conversation about Black women—their lives, their bodies, and their voices.

In addition to her work with the mass, Rev. Norton is Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible and H. Eugene Farlough Chair of Black Church Studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Rev. Norton is currently on leave from SFTS for the 2020-2021 academic year as she serves as the Black Religious Scholar Group’s Crump Professor of Black Theology at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX.

Cherisna smiles at the camera while sitting in church pews

Facilitator: Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie

Director of Racial Justice Ministries at Scarritt Bennett Center

Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie is the Director of Racial Justice Ministries at Scarritt Bennett Center.  In 2010,  Rev. Jean-Marie earned a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University Divinity School, where she was awarded the coveted Florence Conwell Prize for outstanding preaching. In 2012, Rev. Jean-Marie was ordained into the Christian ministry by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville, TN, where she served as an Associate Minister. Rev. Jean-Marie completed her Chaplaincy work in Atlanta, GA in 2014, offering up the ministry of pastoral care and counseling to a diverse community of all walks of life and faith traditions. Rev. Jean-Marie is a co-contributor for the African-American lectionary, a 3-book project with the Bethany Fellows Group (Disciples of Christ), including These Sistas Can Say It, Partner Prayers for Advent 2014, and Prepare: An Advent Devotional 2019. She is a Bethany Fellow (Disciples of Christ), a member of the National Consortium of Black Women in Ministry–Nashville Branch, and serves as the Vice President of the Fellowship of Black Disciples Clergywomen. Rev. Jean-Marie begins her ministry with a vision to lead Scarritt Bennett Center to becoming a leading voice that proclaims love, justice, and hospitality.

Joan Morgan

Clinician: Joan Morgan, Ph.D.

Dr. Joan Morgan is the Program Director of the Center for Black Visual Culture at New York University. Morgan is an award-winning cultural critic, feminist author, songwriter and a pioneering hip-hop journalist. Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” in 1999 when she published the groundbreaking book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks it Down, which is taught at universities globally.

Regarded internationally as an expert on the topics of hip-hop, race and gender, Morgan has made numerous television, radio and film appearances. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The New School, Vanderbilt, Duke and Stanford Universities. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor at her alma mater, New York University, in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis.

Her most recent book is She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Jamaican-born and South Bronx bred, Morgan is a proud Native New Yorker.

Featured Contributor: Esther Armah

Executive Director and Founder, The Armah Institute of Emotional Justice (AIEJ)

Armah is Executive Director of The Armah Institute of Emotional Justice (AIEJ), providing emotionality education in the context of Race, Gender, and Culture via the visionary Emotional Justice framework. The Institute is global—in New York, London and Accra.

Armah is an international award-winning journalist, a playwright, and an international speaker. As a journalist, Armah has worked in London, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.


Artist: Apriorkor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey

Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey is a Ghanaian Poet, Writer and Author, Literary Critic, Media Practitioner, Activist and Versatile Creative of Ga-Daŋme and Ewe ancestry. She is the author of The Matriarch’s Verse (a collection of Poetry, which is available on booknook.store and Amazon, both in Paperback and Kindle editions). Her work is noted for its rare narrative, prosaic nature, which is uncommon in poetry. She has also been commended for the sharp, vivid imagery of her pieces.

From pages to stages, her work has been highlighted and acknowledged in anthologies, university theses, performance sets, among others. In October 2018, she staged a Poetry concert, dubbed “The Matriarch’s Verse”, at the plush Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra. It remains Ghana’s largest Poetry event, to be hosted by an individual artist, having featured over twelve supporting acts and having attracted an audience of about a thousand people, representative of various industries and walks of life. When she’s not creating literary orgasms, Apiorkor is most likely designing content, producing (or hosting) award-winning shows on Accra-based Citi 97.3 FM and Citi TV.

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Date(s) - 10/21/2020 - 11/18/2020
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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