The Nefertiti Alliance reflects on their practices in the present, and imagines new futures

The Nefertiti Alliance (Pittsburgh, PA) attended a self-care residency, and reported that “we were able to practice stillness and mindfulness, without all the hum, hustle and bustle of the city and the distractions of our home lives. The rural setting, layout of the house which provided us plenty of space to interact as needed or not, and the hum of nature rather than electronics was very peaceful, refreshing, and allowed for the type of silence one needs for genuine meditation and deep introspection.”

Susanna caught up with Taliya Allen to share about the mission of the group and how they recharged on site.

The Nefertiti Alliance, what a femme-powered name! What does this alliance do for its members and community beyond? Nefertiti Alliance is a group of women that focus on the self care and protection of the cultural capital of black women. In application, this means we continually identify and promote ways for black women to practice wellness and to care for themselves. We recognize that black women are pillars of the community, and yet are often underrecognized and undervalued. We also understand that black women are creators, innovators and cultivators that face a unique set of obstacles and barriers in the various social and cultural stratas. We recognize this by creating a space for these various powerhouses to come together and be understood, uplifted, empowered, and recharged. This Alliance is truly “the sum of its parts.” We come to create a bond, an energy, wherein we as women are replenished and able to go back and do the work of healing, community building, loving, cultivating, nurturing and wearing the many hats that we all wear.

Was there anything particularly generative, or better yet, regenerative about being in a rural residency setting? During this trip, we were able to practice stillness and mindfulness, without all the hum, hustle and bustle of the city and the distractions of our home lives. The rural setting, layout of the house which provided us plenty of space to interact as needed or not, and the hum of nature rather than electronics was very peaceful, refreshing, and allowed for the type of silence one needs for genuine meditation and deep introspection. We lit the fireplace and sat, sipped tea, danced in the house, saw a strangely beautiful convergence of birds who seemed to be plotting something, and enjoyed a walk with John through the forest. This was just the right space for collecting one’s thoughts and feeding creativity.

A little about the Nefertiti members who came out:

Celeste Smith is a writer, administrator, independent arts consultant, and speaker as well as the Chief Curator of Culture and Strategic Initiatives for 1Hood Media. She used this time to catch up on work, entertain her muse, and write creatively while resetting in the peace and quiet.

Erin Perry is a dancer and administrator who runs the Legacy Arts Project. She and Celeste, along with Staycee Pearl (not present), are co-founders of the Nefertiti Alliance. Erin used this time to reflect, practice some new dances, and write.

Taliya Allen is a writer, educator, and administrator who is the Director of Cultural Enrichment and Efficacy for 1Hood Media. She used this this time to catch up on work, reflect, write creatively, and work on her personal strategic plans, mission and values.

Taking pause to process, members of the Nefertiti Alliance rest and rejuvinate at North Mountain