Miami, Oct. 3, 2023 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Koubek Center, in collaboration with Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator and Parris-Bailey Arts Inc., proudly presents Linda Parris-Bailey’s “Yankee-Bajan” on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3 & 4, at MDC North Campus.
Directed by Dahlak Brathwaite, “Yankee-Bajan” features a Barbadian cast (Bajan is the familiar moniker for Barbadians, or people from Barbados) and original and traditional Barbadian music by composer/music director H. Stefan Walcott.
“Yankee-Bajan” explores the experience of an African-American family in the U.S. with ancestral roots in Barbados. Hugh and Keryl have two teenage children and are fed up with the violence and racism in the country. Looking for a place with a Black majority and leadership, they try Atlanta, Georgia. But the dangers of the day come home when their son Xavian is the victim of a racially motivated attack. For Hugh and Keryl, it’s time to leave the U.S. and try to settle in Barbados, but the pandemic complicates the move, and once on the island, they must navigate cultural, economic, educational and generational challenges.
Through the live performance and musical references from Brooklyn to Barbados, “Yankee- Bajan” takes audiences along as the family dreams of a Bajan past and a Barbadian future.
“What has been going on in the U.S. regarding racial relations and even the COVID crisis has impacted us all. I wanted to offer an opportunity to look at an experience outside the white gaze,” said Parris-Bailey, whose grandfather and grandmother were immigrants from Barbados. “I wanted to have this family explore that experience for people to understand that we have options and choices, and none of the options we pursue will be perfect. So the question becomes an examination of what’s most important to you regarding your family, your culture, and your purpose.”
Music, both original songs written for the play and traditional Bajan music, is a vital part of the play as a backdrop and connecting tissue.
“Looking over my career as a playwright, almost all of my work tends to be plays with music, not musicals, but plays with music,” notes Parris-Bailey. “I just think music is such an important part of African and African-American culture — and it was a pleasure to work with Stefan Walcott, who introduced me to the unique Barbadian music forms and the traditional songs. And the cast is very well versed in the traditions of Barbados and the traditional dances, some of which appear in the play.”
WHAT: “Yankee-Bajan” by Linda Parris-Bailey
Friday, Nov. 3, at 11 a.m. – free performance for MDC students only
Friday, Nov. 3, at 8 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 4, 8 p.m.
WHERE: MDC North Campus, Lehman Theatre
11380 N.W. 27th Ave
For directions, visit https://goo.gl/maps/s7wkDG97E6Pv87TA7
Tickets: $20 online in advance; $ 25 at the door
Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator
Since its inception in 1996, Diaspora Vibe has functioned as a laboratory to promote, nurture, and cultivate the vision and diverse talents of emerging artists from the Caribbean Diaspora and other artists of color or from immigrant experiences.
The Koubek Center
A South Florida landmark with a long and rich history as a cultural hub, The Koubek Center is dedicated to building community through the arts. Over the past several decades, the Center has offered a variety of activities, including workshops, art exhibitions, theater performances, literary readings, and concerts. It is a place for artists and local arts organizations to explore, experiment, collaborate, and share their work with the community. The Koubek Center includes a 200-seat theater, an expansive garden, classrooms, rehearsal, and multi-use spaces. Built in 1929 by Austrian trader John J. Koubek as a gift to his wife, it was later donated to the University of Miami and acquired by Miami Dade College in 2011.
Equal access/equal opportunity
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution that does not discriminate based on sex, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, ethnicity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or genetic information. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the College’s Equity Officer: Dr. Joy C. Ruff, at (305) 237-2577 (Voice) or 711 (Relay Service). email@example.com