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What Soccer Teaches Us About Freedom

In August 2017, Marc Bamuthi Joseph presented at TEDGlobal, addressing how his new artistic piece /peh-LO-tah/ sought to address the inequities and freedoms found on a soccer field. Told through soccer inspired choreography, spoken word and the sounds of samba and hip-hop underscoring the poetry and movement. Bamuthi Joseph is an artists who believes that art can transform, but so can sports, and the intersection of these often polarized fanbases and cultural entertainment.

I don’t know, man, soccer is, like, the only thing on this planet that we can all agree to do together. You know? It’s like the official sport of this spinning ball.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Bamuthi Joseph’s aim with /peh-LO-tah/ is to unlock the powers of freedom and where those freedoms lie. “I want to associate the joy of the game with the exuberance of culture, to locate the site of joy in the game at the same physical coordinate as being politically informed by art, a grass-laden theater for liberation,” remarks Bamuthi Joseph.

The joy of soccer and the politics of the game were imperative components of the piece and his mission. In order to articulate the power of the game,/peh-LO-tah/ comes with it’s own curriculum, developed by Bamuthi Joseph, that combines political discourse and soccer all within an arts festival arena. How would a goalkeeper address gun control? A midfielder explaining Black Lives Matter? How do we translate the strategy and freedom from the field to the world?

We’re thrilled to bring Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s piece /peh-LO-tah/ to ArtsEmerson, MAY 1-5 at the Emerson Paramount Center to continue this conversation on equity, soccer and this game we call life.

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