Sophia Stephens Presents at the Racer Sessions This Sunday!
We're honored to welcome Sophia Stephens to the Racer Sessions. Sophia is a regular presence at our weekly series, and this Sunday she will present of number of written works that explore her deeply-rooted identity as a woman of color. Read below for more information about Sophia Stephens' background, and an essay about her presentation written by the artist herself. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday, September 4th at the Racer Sessions!
"Feel yourself prickle the smallest bit when you think about the places where you don’t fit precisely “right.” What does that mean to you?" -Sophia Stephens
Sophia Stephens is an educator and award-winning writer based in Seattle. Her writings – academic, journalistic, and creative – address intersectional issues in communities of color, LGBTQIAA+ identities, and the societal presences that act upon both groups, as well as how those topics have touched her personal life. She has been published in Rookie Magazine, Washington State University’s The Daily Evergreen, and was recently featured in Mixed-Up, a documentary on multicultural/mixed-race children and families.
I am honored and excited to read my pieces for the first time as a presenter at the Racer Sessions. As a mixed-heritage woman of color with Greek and Japanese ancestry, my writings focus on what it means to be an “in-between American” – a term inspired by Ijeoma Umebinyuo’s Diaspora Blues. As Umebinyuo wrote, “So, here you are/ too foreign for home/ too foreign for here/ never enough for both.” Within the societal space of identity that I have been afforded, that cultural and national space is one that is rampant with ambiguity, confusion, and otherness as it is simultaneously shared with countless people. With my writing, I am able to explain and dispel these feelings and ideas in a way that is meaningful for me – and hopefully for my audience as well.
The relationship between the foreign and familiar will be explored tonight with various topics – including but not limited to national/ethnic identity. As intersectionality holds precedence in my life and writing, a similar approach to the session will be asked of the musicians who perform afterwards. Here is a series of questions and statements to guide performers into tonight’s session:
Think of the space(s) you occupy. Take a moment to consider where you are. Feel yourself settling, feel where you are able to sit at peace in your identity. Feel yourself prickle the smallest bit when you think about the places where you don’t fit precisely “right.” What does that mean to you? What does that feel like? How can that be expressed? Can a shared space be created around the topic of distance and the foreign? Share that with your fellow performers through your sound and create a narrative that focuses on addressing these ideas through music. I am very excited to hear what you all come up with! "