We Are Owed Tour

Alan & Ariana: We Are Owed. Fall 2021 Tour
Black futures & queer kinship

Performances with Live Dialogue
1hr 30 minutes (10 min intros, 25 mins Ariana, 25 mins Alan, 30 min Q&A)

Ariana Brown and Alan Pelaez Lopez’s Fall 2021 tour, We Are Owed, explores the history of enslaved Black people in the U.S. and Mexico, loneliness, and migration while centering articulations, demands, and visions of Black freedom in our contemporary moment. Named after Brown’s debut poetry collection, We Are Owed., is an interactive artistic experience between both poets. Pelaez Lopez will share work from a manuscript-in-progress that envisions a Black future free of nation-states, and Brown will read from her debut collection committed to a Black consciousness that doesn’t leave anyone in the Americas behind. Intimate question and answer sessions will follow the readings.

Alan – Artist Talks
(1 hour: 30-40 min talk, 20-30 min q&a)

Art as Civil Disobedience: Taking Our Stories Back : Artists are often taken-for-granted contributors to social movements. In this art talk, Alan Pelaez Lopez will share their experience as a young undocumented, Black queer organizer in the migrant justice movement. They’ll talk about the ethics of storytelling, why stories matter, and the dangers that exist when allies become surrogate storytellers for communities they are not a part of. This art talk features Pelaez Lopez’s artistic contributions to various social movements while also highlighting five currently and formerly undocumented Black migrant artists.

Demanding Better Care: On Community Organizing, Accountability, & Future-Making: In this artist talk, Alan Pelaez Lopez writes to Ms. Marsha P. Johson in the hopes that the writing can offer the activist, now ancestor, care. In writing to Ms. Marsha P. Johnson, Alan Pelaez Lopez weaves their story as an artist and organizer to explore moments where they needed care but did not know how to ask for it. In centering the lessons that Black, transgender, migrant organizers have taught them in conjunction with Ms. Marsha P. Johnson, Pelaez Lopez’s art-talk serves as a manifesto of how to think with (and about) accountability and futures where trans Black migrants no longer live in the absence of care but in excess of care. 

Ariana – Artist Talks 
(1 hour: 30-40 min talk, 20-30 min q&a)

Taking Care of Black Girls When the World Won’t: In this artist talk, Ariana Brown describes finding her way to poetry in 2009 and using it as a tool for personal and communal care. Ariana will contextualize her work within Black performance traditions and rituals, particularly in local slam poetry communities in Texas. Drawing on her lived experience as a queer Black Mexican American and her research in African Diaspora Studies and Mexican American Studies, Ariana will trace her attempts to recover Black girlhood not just for herself, but for other Black girls too. Combining storytelling, poems, and dialogue, this artist talk is an opportunity to hear from Ariana directly about how her identities and politics shape her writing.

We Are Owed: Language and Liberation: In this artist talk, Ariana Brown considers how cis-heteropatriarchy and white supremacy inform the construction of cultural and national identities. Using poems and research from her new book, We Are Owed, Brown interrogates the accepted origin stories of Mexican and Mexican American identities, focusing on histories of Black relationality and resistance in Texas and Mexico. Combining storytelling, poems, and dialogue, this artist talk emphasizes Brown’s lived experiences growing up in Texas as a Black Mexican American and links them to the larger project of anti-Blackness within Texas and Mexico.

Writing Workshops (Alan and Ariana)
1hr 30 minutes

We Are Owed: This workshop serves as a meditative space where writers dialogue with the changes they wish to see in the dominant culture so that  easier and better worlds can be actualized. As a group, we will discuss the work of trans, Black filmmaker and writer Tourmaline while also developing pieces about what we are owed as individuals and what we’re willing to give up. In doing this work, we begin to build a toolbox for the future and the present.

Gender, Sexuality, Freedom: Gender and sexuality inform not only how we see ourselves, but how we experience the world. In this workshop, we will explore how gender and sexual orientation affect our relationships to power and freedom.

Caring for Each Other: Since oppressive logics such as white supremacy and capitalism inform our relationships with others, it is crucial to ask: how can we provide better care to one another? This workshop explores how we understand collective care and political solidarity as part of the journey toward liberation for all. 


Book Alan and Ariana at bit.ly/WeAreOwedTour