Howard J. Davis

Howard J. Davis

Exploring Narratives Through Mixed Media


Christabel Nsiah-Buadi

“A History is written, but I believe a myth is what we believe.” 

When I think about Howard J. Davis saying those words to me, I can’t help but reflect on the history I was told and believed – AND how that shaped how I moved in the world.

As a kid, I loved TV and was fascinated with the US primarily because of the many American sitcoms I watched. Through those shows, I fell in love with the myth of the American Dream. So much so that I looked for ways to travel and eventually live in the country.

On the other side of the equation, I grew up in the UK, being challenged by myths about Africa during lessons at school and through the media. I quietly resented the global phenomenon ‘Live Aid,’ for example, because of how it reinforced the myth that everyone who lived in Africa was poor and starving. That wasn’t the reality I grew up with.

These things inspired me to pursue a career in the media and use that platform to challenge perceptions about my people. I wanted to see - and wanted the world to see - nuanced and rich stories about the Ghanaian…African…and Global Black experience.

It is incredible how words and stories can shape our lives.

So, I’ll ask you: Where does the truth in the message exist for you, and where has it taken you?

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This captivating episode of AudioDiaspora takes you on a journey to Canada and introduces you to Howard J. Davis, also known as HAUI, a mixed-media artist and director.

Based in Canada, HAUI's work delves deep into the intersections of race, queerness, myth, and identity. His film Private Flowers’ is set against the backdrop of that nation’s Civil War and explores themes of masculinity and queerness through the medium of dance, offering viewers a unique perspective on queer storytelling.

Join us as we explore HAUI's experiences growing up as a mixed-race person in Britain and the US, his transition from acting to mixed media, and the inspiration behind ‘Private Flowers’ and its reception. We'll also discuss how his identity influences his work and the support he receives from his family.

Don't miss this enlightening conversation with HAUI on the AudioDiaspora podcast with host Christabel Nsiah-Buadi. Tune in to discover the creative process behind mixed media and how it's shaping a new narrative for the Black diaspora.

Where to Connect with Howard J. Davis

Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera For Portia White Shines a Light on a Black Canadian Icon in Classical Music

Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera for Portia White

Nova Scotian contralto Portia White was the first Black Canadian concert performer to achieve international fame in the mid-20th century and was hailed as the best classical voice of her generation. Despite her accomplishments, her story has been largely erased from Canadians’ collective memory. Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera for Portia White is a bold, new Black opera from Canadian director and AudioDiaspora guest Howard J. Davis, aka HAUI, and Toronto and New York-based composer Sean Mayes that sets out to reclaim Portia White’s story. 

The world premiere presentation takes place June 14, 15, and 16, 2024, at the Canadian Opera Company Theatre, with a special Q&A with the opera’s creators following each performance. In celebration of Portia White, opening night audiences are encouraged to wear white, honoring the Canadian artist’s name, life, and incredible legacy.

Fear not if you’re not in Canada and want to check out HAUI’s work - you can enjoy it via live stream! Read on to learn how.

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Join host Christabel Nsiah-Buadi as she 'passes the mic' to Black creative visionaries worldwide. In this series of relaxed, engaging interviews, hear them reflect on moments that shaped their lives. Then, discover how these experiences inspired them to create art, media, and movements that celebrate their cultures - and shatter old narratives about them.
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