Honey Pot Performance is a woman focused creative collaborative comprising four members: Felicia Holman, Abra Johnson, and Aisha Jean Baptiste, and Meida McNeal. Honey Pot forefronts African diasporic performance traditions following in the footsteps of cultural workers such as Zora N Hurston, Beryl McBurnie, Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunham. The collective draws upon a central notion found in performance studies, black feminist discourse and sociology: non-western, everyday popular and folk forms of cultural performance are valuable sites of knowledge production and cultural capital for subjectivities that often exist outside of mainstream communities. Dismantling the infrastructure of oppressive social relationships is part of the work. Since 2001 HPP has created multidisciplinary performance works, employing dance, music, and theatricality as key art making tools in HPP’s ethnographic/sociological creative generation process. Cycles of research, development, and staging lead to the creation of full productions complemented by public humanities programming including workshops, dialogues, and publication projects.
HPP’s current project, Juke Cry Hand Clap (2014), focuses on house music culture as a conceptual ground to explore social practices developed in Black Chicago during the long 20th century. Drawing from music forms such as blues, gospel, disco, and funk as well as dances such as the slow drag, bopping, stepping, the hustle, and line dances, Juke Cry Hand Clap explores “house” as an evolving embodied lineage of African American forms of making community and of cultural resistance influenced by the Great Migration from the rural South to the urban North (1910s through the 1970s). Through an interconnected weaving of performance, dialogue, exhibition, and both live and mediatized critical scholarship, Juke Cry Hand Clap will preserve and foreground local interpretations of Chicago house while connecting it to a wider breadth of Chicago’s musical and social cultures.