Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Photo by Scott Shaw.

Eva Yaa Asantewaa came out in the creative and radical queer community of late-1980s New York, which is where she learned to trust her mind and use her voice. The Black lesbian community — and specifically writer-activist Audre Lorde — was a particular source of influence, teaching her the importance of recognizing everything she is and carrying that knowledge with her in the world. “When I stand in my power now — personally or professionally as an arts writer, educator, and curator — all of that comes from my ancestors and Blackness and queer community,” says Yaa Asantewaa. “There’s a definite through-line from that to all that I stand for and accomplish today.” And what she’s accomplished today is major. Yaa Asantewaa is currently the Senior Director of Artist Development and Curation as well as the Editorial Director at Gibney, New York-based center for dance and social activism. In 2017, she was awarded the Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance as a veteran writer, community educator, and curator. Queer|Art created the Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant for Queer Women(+) Dance Artists in her honor in 2018, and she was honored with a BAX Arts & Artists in Progress Award in 2019. No matter what she creates or what award she wins, though, Yaa Asantewaa is always working to uplift and support the BIPOC community — herself included. “Wherever we have been historically sidelined in the LGBTQ+ movement, it’s now time to take a substantial role in dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy,” Yaa Asantewaa says. “The momentum is with us.” — IL

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