Bust it Open, a public art performance by Danielle Deadwyler.

As the inaugural recipient of the Laura Calle Grant, artist and actress Danielle Deadwyler put on a multimedia public performance that shed light on the role of black women's labor. While promoting black feminism, it also tackled gendered and racial confines for the backbone, main dame of southern hip-hop, and champion of civil disobedience: the black woman.

“The Atlanta black woman is someone fierce and special,” she says. “I want to take her private labor, show the public something they don’t always see, and create a space for us to have a conversation about it.”

Her performance gave way for spectators and bystanders to observe that the labor carried by the black woman is intensive and fierce; to shed light the black woman's perseverance at the face of prejudice, degradation, and disregard.

The performance allowed individual audience members an opportunity to step into an intimate circle as she interacted with them through dance and physical engagement. Danielle danced for four consecutive hours without break as she responded to each individual’s emotional weight with excitement, empathy, and compassion.

 

It was honest, powerful, and truly an honor for Living Walls to help Danielle bring her vision to life.