Xai Osa, “Language and Feminist Empowerment post #MeToo – Echo Ascension: Her Voice is Heard”
Mentor: Amanda Schoofs, Music
Echo Ascension: Her Voice is Heard is a project by UWM Music Composition & Technology major Xai Osa with the goal of creating a mini-opera that provokes discussion about the #MeToo movement. Xai’s research focuses on individual stories within the #MeToo movement that, through whatever method, reached multiple people, and how the sharing of those stories strengthens our language. In her research she sites viral posts, memoirs, and local stories within the Milwaukee community that contain powerful language surrounding rape culture and feminism. Her research revealed that social media platforms are the easiest access to progressive language for most audiences to discuss sexual assault and the various processes and responses to trauma, and interpreted these snippets of powerful statements as an “echo”; sounds with meaning that travel and disperse to others. Access to language empowers survivors to begin or continue their process of healing, and her opera illustrates this by sharing 5 different perspectives of #MeToo for a silent character to explore. These perspectives are drawn from compilations of powerful feminist images to create concise characters with individual stories, focusing on healing from childhood trauma, activism and the validity of anger, victim response to domestic violence, post-traumatic stress following violent sexual assault, and the importance of sharing empathetic language and resources with victims. Each aforementioned description matches a character in the opera who all work to encourage the silent character to process her trauma, and to make her own empowered choice of taking her next step. In summary, this opera is a conversation that leads to reflection and sharing of experiences, echoing together and ascending together. Echo Ascension: Her Voice is Heard was composed for 5 voices and string quartet with a premiere date of March 27, 2020.