emphasis on UMN and Sermon Practice
Ṣangodare (Julia Roxanne Wallace) is a safe space for transformation. Ṣangodare comes from a thick legacy of Black Baptist preachers and church workers. As Visiting Artist in Film at Lawrence University and Artist in Residence at UMN-Twin Cities in the Art Department, Ṣangodare brings a transformation, evolution and love filled approach to filmmaking, composing, interactive sound & visual art practice and preaching. Ṣangodare is co-founder of Black Feminist Film School and has created Ritual Screening, a film viewing technology that is interactive and grounded in Black Feminist practice and our non-linear reality. As co-founder of Mobile Homecoming, a national experiential archive project, Ṣangodare along with Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs, amplifies generations of Black LGBTQ brilliance. Over the next two years Ṣangodare's art practice at UMN will focus on creating a large-scale round sculpture designed specifically for acoustic resonance where Ṣangodare's multi-sensory and interactive sermons will be ignited.
Sangodare (also known as Julia Roxanne Wallace) creates media and art intended to support us to heal and transform and facilitates safe spaces for transformation. Sangodare is a filmmaker, multimedia collaborator/consultant/strategist, musician, composer, theologian and facilitator, building on her familial legacy of three generations of Black Baptist preachers working in communities in the South.
Sangodare is the founder of Queer Renaissance, a multimedia movement based on the premise that we can create the world anew. Sangodare’s creations and collaborations work from the belief that by 1) expanding the realm of possibility within our minds and 2) tapping into the tools and resources necessary to actualize our expanded possibility, we can create balance for ourselves and the world we collectively deserve to have - a new world.
Sangodare’s primary collaborator is Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Together they have co-created Mobile Homecoming, a national intergenerational experiential archive project that amplifies generations of Black LGBTQ brilliance by every means including using multimedia and building intergenerational family of choice across time and space. The Mobile Homecoming feature film is in post-production releasing shorts while in process including No Legacy Let Go which has toured with the show Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance 2012-2013.
Black Feminist Film School, a collaboration between Alexis’s organization Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind and Queer Renaissance, engages and amplifies films that are (or may be) Black feminist and grows filmmaking skills among those who are historically under-represented in filmmaking. bffs has been hosted by Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, The Sallie Bingham Archive at Duke University and Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Our most recent film project, (written, directed and edited by Sangodare) is a short film called When We Free created in collaboration with our national community and black feminist film school fellows. It imagines the first camp meeting (revival) a community of black folks in the Carolinas have after emancipation. To share When We Free, Sangodare created the Ritual Screening technology that activates the screening as an interactive community space for participatory engagement with the audience and other interactive elements present in the space.
Sangodare and Alexis have also hosted more than 7 multi-day retreats in the Carolinas and the South including:
- Queer Black August at The Stone House (Mebane, NC),
- Combahee Pilgrimage at The Penn Center (St. Helena Island, SC),
- Combahee Survival Revival Week (Durham, NC),
- Black Feminist Film School Summer Intensive (Durham, NC) and
- When We Free Production at the Stone House (Mebane, NC),
- Dark Sciences: POC Dream Retreat at Alma de Mujer in Austin, TX.
They have also facilitated workshops, daylong retreats, multi-day retreats and Black Feminist pilgrimages, residencies and coordinated tracks and institutes at over 50 universities, conferences and in communities across the country including USC, San Francisco State, Ramapo College, Creating Change/The National Gay Lesbian Task Force, Colgate University, University of Texas at Austin, Black Lesbians United (BLU), allgo, University of Florida, Smith, Barnard, Columbia, Rutgers, Allied Media Conference, Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride, Hotter Than July/Detroit Black Gay Pride, Sexuality in the Lesbian Community (Brooklyn, NY), University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Howard University Law School to name a sampling.
Sangodare and Alexis offer workshops by request but mostly based on needs they see within community. For example, some of Sangodare’s workshops draw from media literacy training and teaching that Sangodare facilitated as a theology student at Emory University, as a graduate communications student at GSU, as an independent multimedia consultant and artist working with institutional and grassroots organizations such as Digital Arts Entertainment Laboratory - DAEL (Atlanta, GA), Kindred Healing Justice Organization (Atlanta, GA), Allied Media Projects (Detroit, MI), and Tierra Negra Farms (Durham, NC). Sangodare also collaborates with artists and healers in a discernment process they created called Spiritual Portrait. The Spiritual Portrait process connects an individuals deepest calling and purpose to actionable strategies for implementation that take into account spiritual and ego blocks that recur in the individuals life. This process combines all the tools and techniques that Sangodare has studied including but not limited to:
- chakra systems and tree of life
- outreach (aka marketing) and niche marketing,
- emergent strategy,
- personal organization (aka GTD - Getting Things Done)
- multimedia technology and more.
Sangodare and Alexis have also been featured in national press - print, television and radio including being named one of Colorlines 10 LGBTQ Leaders building a new politics in 2012 and in The Advocate magazines Top 40 under 40 in 2012.
Sangodare composes and produces music in multiple forms (including West African derived music, Gospel, Hip Hop, Blues, Jazz and more). Sangodare produced the audio piece for Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s poem To You Who Understand (My People) which toured internationally with Makeshift Reclamations: New Feminist Art and Activism a multimedia showcase.
Sangodare received an undergraduate degree in Multimedia Computer Science from UNC Asheville, a Masters in Divinity from Emory University's Candler School of Theology and has completed three years of coursework toward a Masters in Film Production at Georgia State University. As a part of the leadership council of Ile Ori Ogbe Egun, an African centered national spiritual community that bridges the gap between African and African American traditions, Sangodare focuses on self-development, pedagogy, logistics and cultural practices.
Sangodare has written and directed short narrative films and experimental films, feature length
documentaries, a short documentary piece on award winning artist Lillian Blades and
has also documented many LGBTQ community events. Sangodare debuted a collection of
work at the event Queer Renaissance: The Ties that Bind in Atlanta, GA in 2009 and continues
to write, score, direct and produce independent films that prioritizes healing poetics.
Quotes & Excerpts
FilmMaking as spiritual practice
"It is impossible for me to ignore the many levels on which media, or anything that can be perceived for that matter, has an impact on us. I do everything I do as an expression of who I really am spirit-mind-body. So, for me, filmmaking and even walking is a spiritual practice. What is unique about bffs is that we acknowledge that and create the space for practitioners (novice or so-called expert) to be immersed in this non-linear approach to filmmaking."
Visit When We Free online to learn more about the film.
"I am a composer. My partner gets on me for saying that I am not a musician but it is true, for the most part. I may be a vocalist but when it comes to instruments I play what I hear and what I feel in the moment. I have not maintained a consistent instrument practice since choir as an elementary school aged child and band in middle school. I say this as someone who was the pianist and minister of music at a church. Extemporaneous expression or musicianship is not to be denigrated though. There is just a different kind of practice that gives one the ability to do it."
"I began directing choirs out of necessity. As a young child the choir directors were usually young women. Growing up as I got older my cousins, usually male cousins, directed the choirs but I sometimes played the piano in rehearsal while they taught the songs. This training was invaluable. It wasn't until I was an adult and part of a church that needed a choir director and pianist that I became minister of music and took on the role I had been training for since childhood. In this role, I taught and composed traditional and contemporary gospel.
What I do now is a whole 'nother ball game. It grew out of a deep desire to have the congregational songs and meter hymns I grew up with present and alive inside my new communities that did not have the Carolina Black baptist tradition. So, I developed a collective composing process that grew out of a sound circle foundation. Where we are headed feels like an emergent kind of space; creating the melodies and resonances for a multi-everything community of choice which is not based on many shared cultural or spiritual practices beyond love and justice."