project image
David Ian Griess

first performed on October 25, 2015
Rosa Parks Blvd and Bryant St, Detroit, MI
performed once in 2015


Scheherazade Washington, Matthew Daher, David Ian Griess, Neil Griess

Brooklyn, NY


This ritual/action, marking the inception of Black Seed (the movement), took place on October 25, 2015 and was dedicated to all (the ancestors) who lost their lives during the Middle Passage. To those who died in captivity; and those who sacrificed their lives for liberation… Their struggle is STILL our STRUGGLE.

This community-based ritual was structured as a three-part durational action and was the collaborative effort of Body Count Collective (BCC) members, Yon Tande (née Whitney V. Hunter) and Preach R Sun.

I. Gestation (Meditation)

II. Labor (Struggle)

III. Birth (Awakening)

The actions (performed by Yon Tande and Preach R Sun) were:

Labor: A (4 hour) 2.5-mile trek bearing two (5 gallon) buckets, totaling 80 pounds, of water from the Detroit River.

Gestation: A 2.5 day fast and 7 hours (covered in dirt and molasses) hanging (by rope) from a tree while confined in a netted cocoon with 86 nightcrawlers.

The ‘Birth’ marked the end of the action whereby Preach R Sun emerged from the cocoon. A communal celebration followed.

Planting a seed is the promise of a presence. That is to plant, means to cultivate… Means to be present, to cultivate the seed. Black Seed is not an escape, it is a metaphoric “tilling of the soil” until we reach a point by which the seed can be housed – that the planter must be present to do. To escape is to – essentially neglecting the seed – leave the land barren and vulnerable to the whims of a predatory other. We don’t intend to abandon that which we have planted. We have committed to the work that it will take to see the growth of this precious new crop and reap the fruits that it yields… LIBERATION.

BLACK SEED… We are RE-MEMBERING through BLACK-NESS. Intuiting the ancestral resonance and consciousness that is our BIRTH-RIGHT—forging and turning it into an object and instrument for our LIBERATION.

WE ARE CONJURING… Conceiving a movement to spawn a REVOLUTION

This project was sponsored by Spread Art Film documentation. The action was captured by David Ian Griess and Neil Ian Griess. Other key participants included Scheherazade Washington (Guardian), Matthew Daher (Drummer) and the Detroit community.