Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beauty and the Beat by Hilton Als

The New Yorker 2006

Pamela Sneed is a six-foot-three-inch-tall black woman with a shaved head, a big smile, and a wily sense of humor. Born and raised outside Boston, she began making a name for herself in New York in the early nineties as a writer at poetry slams and other performance-art venues while teaching at Hetrick-Martin, an organization for gay, lesbian, and transgendered youth. There and elsewhere, Sneed gave voice to the fraction of the city’s population suffering from AIDS, poverty, and bias-related crimes. In her new performance piece, “Kong,” at Long Island University’s Kumble Theatre, in Brooklyn, on Tuesdays Dec. 5-19, Sneed the activist tackles—from a distinctly and delightfully partisan point of view—our contemporary American cinema as it relates or, more specifically, doesn’t relate to race. And she’s taking on Katrina and our health-care system, while she’s at it. Gorgeous in her lack of restraint, Sneed has a voice—she earns a little money on the side doing voice-overs—that sounds like a cello, but a cello that’s interested only in dissonance, not the sound of mourning.

1 comment:

Grace32 said...


I was introduced to Pamela Sneed's work while browsing at a book store a few months back and I saw "Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery". I read a few poems and thought they were intriguing and deep. Fast forward to tonite. I am lying on my bed, just finised Yoga (I'm teaching myself), and being still.... after about 20 minutes of this I roll over and pick up Pamela's book that had been next to my bed for months. I started from the back this time and read the poem that inspired the title. I was so moved by this poem and felt so connected that I wanted to learn more about her and to possibly send her a message. My message if you happen to read this blog is: Thank you!! For you have truly touched my heart and soul with your words. I hope to one day meet you when I am in NY.
You truly are an inspiration and I wish you every success in all you do. Be well.