Photo by Clover Linh Tran
Yesterday evening marked the 21st annual Colors of Rhythm showcase, conceived in 1997
to highlight certain cultural modes of performance notably absent from curricula and mainstream
awareness. The event has persisted to this day as a platform for artists and performers
of color to explore and celebrate cultural art forms.
The primary objective for Colors of Rhythm is to provide “a forum for disenfranchised artists
and performers of color” to express themselves through forms historically omitted from
course offerings, and, in so doing, to “initiate constructive protest against issues of cultural
appropriation and uncritical cultural assimilation by and within dominant cultures,” according
to its mission statement.
Presenting a variety of performances from Taiko drumming and dance forms like step to
spoken word and vocal pieces, the showcase seeks to raise awareness about whitewashing
and appropriation, as well as challenge the dynamic of decontextualization that can occur
when such forms are coopted into dominant artistic movements.