“Hear Us Roar” - NEW
Join Griot/Storyteller Vanessa Johnson in this lively, multimedia, and interactive telling of the stories hidden in between the pages of the 2020 Syracuse Cultural Workers Women’s Suffrage Centennial Calendar. Be ready to chant, sing, and play hand instruments as we celebrate the struggles of diverse women and their battles to obtain the right to vote in the United States.
Vanessa Johnson is a fiber artist and contributor to the 2020 Syracuse Cultural Workers Women’s Suffrage Calendar.
(1 hour - 4th graders through adult audiences)
“A Story, A Story!”
A special collection of stories for Pre-K through first-grade students! The stories feature interactive tales using hand movements, instruments, and active story-game.
Join in on this Interactive Telling of the Voices of Children that play in Ms. Johnson’s neighborhood, where she lives during her summers in Ghana, West Africa. Their hopes and dreams, their challenges and triumphs, and neighborhood adventures!
Travel to Ghana, Africa with Ms. Johnson’s Syracuse Africa Bound International Program! Since 2005, Syracuse Africa Bound International (now Roots Uplifted!) has given Central NY youth from ages 10-18 years old, the opportunity to explore the cultures of Africa and the adventure of travel to Ghana, West Africa. This multimedia story-tell features a powerpoint put together by youth travelers, a touchable exhibit of items collected in Ghana, and stories about Syracuse Africa Bound International trips. Hear African Folk Tales that relate to Africa Bound Travels! Learn about family life and cultural traditions in Ghana.
1st -12th grades
Through Interactive Stories, Rhythm and Song,
Animals from the African Diaspora Share their
Life Lessons, and Wisdoms! Character Education Issues such as Bullying, Sharing, Tattle-Telling, Joking and Teasing, Honesty and Lying, are addressed through these Delightful Voices of the Animal World!
Hear the Brave and Poignant First Person Narratives of Children that Took Part in the American Civil Rights Movement! These Stories will make you Laugh, Cry, Shout, and Celebrate these Children’s Commitment to Ensuring Justice and Equality to all of America’s People.
Enjoy These Tales from Around the World featuring Drums and Stories Using Drum Rhythms. Bring a Drum or Small Instrument. Some Drums and Instruments
from the African Diaspora will be Provided.
“Voices of the Earth”
A Fish Living in a Polluted Lake, A Tree whose Branches Hang Over a Little Girl’s Porch, A Creek Running through An Inner-City Neighborhood, Lonely Flowers in a Field, and other Voices of the Earth!
Stories Of Sharing Mother Earth with Humans!
Add Your Voice to these Lively and Interactive “Earth Tells”
Abolitionist and Slave Holder, Northern and Southern, Black and White, Free and Enslaved…Hear the Voices of the Women of the Underground Railroad! Based on Primary Documents from the Onondaga Historical Association, the New York State Archives, and from National Collections
Hot Combs, Chemicals, Hair Colorings, Afros and Locs - Follow This African-American Woman’s Hair Journey from 1957 to the Present! Issues of Diversity, Beauty, and the Politics of Hair are weaved into the roots of this telling!
Biographical Tales of My Storytelling Life as an
African-American Griot! Why I Tell, How I Got Started on this Journey, and the Challenges and Rewards of Living a Performance Artist’s Life!
Stories Weave In and Out of this Tell!
“Jerry Rescue Re-Enactment”
On October 1, 1851, the People of Syracuse New York broke William “Jerry” Henry out of Jail. “Jerry” Escaped from Slavery and was Living in Syracuse. Abolitionist and other Sympathetic citizens helped get “Jerry” to Freedom in Canada. Follow the Events of this Historic Day, and Lend Your Voice to this Interactive Re-Enactment! Age Appropriate Scripts and Props for Groups of 20 - 500 provided, with the Guidance of Griot Vanessa Johnson in this Community Re-Enactment.
Enjoy Jazz Music and Nibble on a Box of Decadent Chocolate as You Listen To Stories About….Love!
High School through Adult Audiences
Join Griot Vanessa Johnson on this Biographical Journey,
Featuring Her Good Behavior, and Bad,
as She Travels through Time and Place in the
Race Obsessed Landscape of the United States of America!
“Many Voices - One Woman”
A 245 Pound Ballerina, An Encounter with a Homeless Woman and Her Street Altar, A Middle-Age Woman’s Courtship by a Younger Man, A Grandmother’s Unconditional Love…..Hear the Voices of Contemporary Women Celebrated Through Original Stories by Griot Vanessa Johnson!
High School and Adult Audiences
A History of Freedom Songs In America Told Through Stories and Songs from the Abolitionist, Women’s Rights,
Labor Union, Peace, and Earth Justice Movements! Lyrics provided in this educational sing-along!
4th-12th grades - small classroom groups
Stories are Hidden in the Folds and Creases, the Threads and Embellishments, and in the “Wearing and Tearing” of a Lifetime! Hear Cloth Memories in these Tales of
Quilts made by Griot Vanessa Johnson! Touchable, pass around Quilts provided!
“The Cloth Remembers”
This Multimedia Tell Features a powerpoint of African-
American Quilt Images, both Historical and
Contemporary. Quilts, Fabric, and African Textiles from the African Diaspora add their Stories to this Document Based Story Tell about African and African-American
Fiber Traditions. Touchable pass around fiber pieces provided.
9th through 12th grades
“The Dead Are Not The Dead”
Hear the Voices of Abolitionist, Anti-Abolitionists and Soldiers From The Civil War Buried In Syracuse, New York’s
Oakwood Cemetery! With 3 - 6 months notice, this program can be done as a walking tour, late spring,
summer and early fall months.
4th grade - Adult Audiences
Laugh, Cry, Hold Your Stomach, and Roll Your Eyes as Griot Vanessa Johnson Travels to Ghana, West Africa! Travel with Her From The Modern Convenience Filled Life in America - to Her Ghana Life in a Concrete Block One-Room Home Without Running Water, Electricity, A Modern Bathroom, nor Stove! Enjoy Her Tales of Negotiating the Pitfalls of Living in a Different Culture, and Trying to be
“Like Everybody Else”!
“Telling The Harlem Renaissance”
An African-American Baby That Refuses To Be Born in the South, Billie Holiday’s First Performance, Rent Parties, and a Night at the Apollo Theater…Hear Legends, Songs, Stories and Poems From the Harlem Renaissance Period in
America’s New York City!
“The Soft Whispers of Ancestors"
If You Listen, You Can Hear the Voices of the Ancestors! From Africa and the Middle Passage, Through Slavery and the Underground Railroad...Hear the Softly Whispered Narratives, Stories, and Folktales from the voices of African Americans
Brer Rabbit from African-American Oral Tradition, Menace from the Caribbean, Anansi the Spider from Ghana, and Other Tricksters From the African Diaspora!
Laugh Out Loud as You Learn the Life-Lessons That these Animal Adventures and Tricks Teach Us!
Hear the Voices of Fanny Lou Hamer, Viola Liuzzo, Rosa Parks, and Other Women - Known and Unknown - Heroes of the American Civil Rights Movement! Based on Interviews, Oral Histories, Letters, and other Primary Documents -
These Stories Celebrate Women
Who Fought for Racial Equality and Social Justice!
“Pass the Stories, Please!”
Stories Told by Griot Vanessa Johnson’s Family, and Stories About Their Lives Told by Ms. Johnson. These Stories Span Three Generations of Family History and
“Pass YOUR Stories, Please!”
In this Classroom Workshop Series, Students learn How to Tell Stories, Collect and Preserve Family Stories, and do a Storytelling Performance for their school and parents!
“This Little Light of Mine”
One Woman Show Honoring Civil Rights Activist and the Movement’s Songstress Fannie Lou Hamer! Ms. Johnson Performs in costume as Ms. Hamer - telling excerpts from her Speeches, Interviews, Television and Voice Recordings, and from Newspaper Articles. Sing-a-long as Ms. Hamer’s favorite Songs from the Civil Rights Movement are shared in this
Lively and Interactive Life Tell!
Custom “Tells” Written and Performed for All Occasions!
(Three - Four weeks notice, please!)
“Here Comes The Bride”
A Special Collection of Bridal Shower Tales, Celebrating the Bride and Her Upcoming Wedding Day! Love, Laughter,
and a Small Touch of Naughtiness!
“Stories of a Life”
Honor an Elder with a Commissioned Oral History and Tell, Create a Collection of Family Stories for a Family Reunion, Honor a Bride and Groom! Celebrating a Life’s Journey!
Griot Vanessa Johnson Uses Audio-Taped Interviews of Family Members and Friends, to Create a Custom Storytelling Performance. Family Members and Friends are Invited to Join in on the Performance of the Custom Story, assisting in Telling the Laughs, Tears, and Adventures that Make Up a Life! Fun-Filled and Inspiring, this Telling of a Life is a Memorable Experience! Be sure to Video Tape this Once in a Life experience!
Contact Ms. Johnson for more Information about this Tell!