• MoMA PS1 / Trans Day of Remembrance: OlaRonke Akinmowo

Trans Day of Remembrance

OlaRonke Akinmowo

  • Performance

View of Rashid Johnson's Stage. Performance of OlaRonke Akinmowo on November 17, 2020. Photo: Marissa Alper Video: Eva Cruz

Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on November 20 to honor the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Founded by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Transgender Day of Remembrance began as a vigil to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.

The transgender community, particularly trans women and femmes, are disproportionately impacted by acts of violence in this country and abroad. In an effort to center these voices and showcase the beauty and resilience of trans lives, we invited artists, activists, and collectives to activate Rashid Johnson’s Stage. These special recordings continue to be amplified in the Courtyard, becoming a part of the expanding collaborative and participatory audio repository played on loop during our open hours.

Stage is a participatory installation and sound work that draws on the history of the microphone as a tool for protest and public oratory, while recalling the metonymic references to microphones in hip-hop lyrics from the 1980s to the present.

OlaRonke Akinmowo is the creator of the Free Black Women’s Library, a social artwork and archive that celebrates the work of black women writers. Here, Akinmowo shares her own work, as well as the work of Pauli Murray, an iconic trans activist and writer. Akinmowo begins by sharing four of Murray’s poems: Love's More Enduring Uses, Words, Tears, Dinner For Three. Akinmowo also reads an excerpt from Murray’s memoir, Song In A Weary Throat, followed by her own poem, A Spell/Prayer for Black Trans Folks.